Hat tip to Barry Woods for pointing me to this Twitter exchange, in which the BBC's Helen Czerski reveals what the corporation understands "balance" to mean in the context of the climate debate:
Bob Ward's latest attempt to silence dissenters from the climate consensus has ended, once again, in ignominious defeat, with the Independent Press Standards people telling him that his complaint against David Rose necessitated his taking a running jump.
17. The complaint was not upheld.
As I have noted previously, as far as Ward is concerned the process is the punishment, so I think it's likely that he will try this line again in the future, regardless of his failure this time round.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at the BBC and the Guardianista types who take it seriously.
The Today programme's piece this morning on the 2-degree temperature target was a case in point: a hilarious example of the corporation's attitude to balance in the climate debate.
The discussion centred around the ideas of Petra Tschakert, an expert in the relationship between climate change and gender, and in particular her view that the 2-degree target should be reduced to 1.5°C.
And to counter this view, the corporation decided to invite none other than Lord Deben, trougher extraordinaire and a man whose tangled relationship with the concept of accuracy is a constant source of stories for this blog.
The BBC's Costing the Earth show is going to look at the sea ice next week in show that will feature Mike Hulme, Helen Czerski and Mark Lynas. I'm not entirely sure that this is a group of people that will shed a lot of light on the matter. Expect lots of hypothesis dressed up as "fact" and speculation flouncing around the place pretending to be probability.
I'm sure it will be entertaining though.
With arctic sea ice shrinking and Antarctic sea ice growing, Tom Heap asks what is happening to the climate.
BH regulars Jonathan Jones and Ruth Dixon have published a much-needed response to Lewandowsky's "Conspiracist Ideation" paper. Appearing in the journal Psychological Science, their study seems to lay to rest the idea that the Lew paper was anything other than a smear-job.
This analysis highlights the fact that a skewed sample can easily mask a nonlinear relationship and lead to serious misinterpretation of modeled relationships (Berk, 1983; Groves, 2006; MacCallum & Mar, 1995). Techniques such as SEM should not be used as a “black box” without thorough initial exploration of the data set to check for nonlinearities (Bentler & Chou, 1987; Cumming, 2014). The curvilinear relationship identified in both the panel-survey data of Lewandowsky, Gignac, and Oberauer (2013) and the blogs-survey data of Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac (2013) suggests that both respondents convinced of anthropogenic climate change and respondents skeptical about such change were less likely to accept conspiracy theories than were those who were less decided about climate change.
There is an accompanying blog post by Jonathan and Ruth here, which alludes to the long and painful process of getting the paper published as well as linking to Lew's response. It also contains this summary of the Lew paper:
All the data really shows is that people who have no opinion about one fairly technical matter (conspiracy theories) also have no opinion about another fairly technical matter (climate change). Complex models mask this obvious (and trivial) finding.
"Just being anti-fracking is nonsense to me and always has been. It's purely a reaction and not a positive one. Often in response to utter gibberish news stories or propaganda set off by Frack-Off and co. I am up to the eyeballs with it. They want me to add professional credence to this utter nonsense."
Antifracking campaigner Mike Hill's job application to Cuadrilla. Seriously.
I'm grateful to Ben Pile and Barry Woods for these observations about the latest edition of Nature Climate Change, a special with a focus on climate change and the media.
Barry noted that it featured articles by Leo Hickman, now of Carbon Brief, and Richard Black, now of the Energy and Climate Change Information Unit. By strange coincidence, both of these organisations are funded by the European Climate Foundation (ECF), a conduit for funding sent by green billionaires.
Ben then pointed out that the author of another article - James Painter of the Reuters School of Journalism - was not only the son in law of Crispin Tickell but also the beneficiary of considerable funding from the self-same ECF. Another coincidence, no doubt, but one that meant that no fewer than three of the five articles in the special feature were written by ECF-funded authors.
In a remarkably clear-sighted article at The Federalist, David Harsanyi seems to put is finger on why the illiberal left have failed quite so badly to convince anyone that they are right on climate change.
By declaring the conversation over, you’re done trying to convince anyone.
Updated on Mar 26, 2015 by Bishop Hill
I have a lot of time for David Spiegelhalter, the Cambridge University statistician who has become something of a go-to guy for the media on matters statistical. You certainly warm towards him when he sticks his head above the parapet to throttle a media health scare at source, as he did yesterday, responding to an article in the Telegraph that claimed that three alcoholic drinks a day could cause liver cancer.
There's no doubt that excessive drinking is bad for you and those around you. But does this justify exaggerated and misleading claims? They got their publicity, but perhaps the WCRF should value its scientific credibility a bit more.
I believe that climate moralists are impervious to the adverse impact of their policies because their morality is closely interwoven with misunderstanding of economics, distaste for capitalism, lack of interest in history and the overwhelming desire of their psychic elephants to dictate how other people should live.
The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power.
Peter Foster places the climate debate in its historical context
Lord Deben has been a busy boy again in recent days, making the keynote speech at a conference about waste management in the food industry.
Former farm minister and environment secretary, Lord Deben (pictured), has called for a ban on food waste to landfill while speaking at Waste-Works today (23 March)...
The Rt Hon. John Gummer, Chairman of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change and sustainability consultancy Sancroft International, chaired the event’s keynote session and took part in a discussion on changing attitudes to food waste and sustainable procurement.
Richard Tol has posted up a review of the strange affair of the "97% consensus", as the second anniversary of Cook's infamous paper draws near. An edited version has apparently been published in the Australian.
The sample was padded with irrelevant papers. An article about TV coverage on global warming was taken as evidence for global warming. In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter.
Requests for the data were met with evasion and foot-dragging, a clear breach of the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet defended by an editorial board member of the journal as “exemplary scientific conduct”.
Today's New Scientist article by Catherine Brahic on the subject of climate change and healthcare is a bit odd. Under a headline about "the rising threat of climate change", Brahic begins by describing the single-degree rise in temperatures since the 1960s....
Average UK temperatures have been rising by about 0.25 °C a decade since the 1960s
...although skipping over the fall in the average since the end of the last century. She then elides straight into the obligatory, uncaveated scaremongering about what GCMs say is going to happen in the future before moving swiftly on to "death rates go up in heatwaves" and the obligatory failure to mention what happens to cold-related deaths.