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« It's Google's fault | Main | No US Climategate probe? »
Tuesday
Nov162010

Submission to the BBC science review

This posting deals with a project that I have been working on with Tony Newbery of the Harmless Sky blog. Long-term readers will be aware of the story already, but it's all explained if you have only been coming here in the last twelve months. The posting here is a joint one, and has been crossposted at Tony's blog.

Over the last several years, Tony N (Harmless Sky) and I have taken a great deal of interest in the BBC’s coverage of the climate debate, and this has involved a good deal of behind-the-scenes research. So we were obviously interested when the BBC Trust announced in early January this year that they were to conduct a review of the impartiality of their science coverage.

Our first reaction was to write to Professor Richard Tait, the trustee who was fronting this project, requesting that we should make a submission to the review and pointing out that the main critics of the BBC coverage of AGW were in the blogosphere. Not only were we unable to get a reply form Professor Tait, but we were unable even to get confirmation from the secretary of the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee that he had been given the letter. This will be the subject of another post.

Fortunately, in April, I happened to spot a request for comments from the general public on an obscure BBC web page. He contacted Professor Steve Jones, the person commissioned by the BBC Trust to conduct the review, who proved to be rather more approachable than Professor Tait. It was quickly arranged that we should make a submission before the end of October. His report is due to be published in the Spring of 2011.

The document that we finally sent to Professor Jones can be found here and it will be interesting to see whether anyone takes notice of what we have said.

Read the submission at the link below.



BBC Science Review Submission

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (73)

@BBD 1. we disagree here. 2. A big danger yes. 3. Koch brothers and more generally the fossil fuel industry stands to lose if CO2 is strongly curtailed, perfectly relevant if others claim climate scientists are acting entirely out of self interests.
Next post. Why? If a cancerous growth is spotted on a vital organ the doctor will presumably advocate to have it removed. Science informs advocacy or stops it depends on the issue.
And will check out Pielkes 'Iron law', thanks for the link.

Nov 16, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBemused Scientist

This to bemused's 8.52pm post

You are concatenating a series of statements there and drawing an unjustified conclusion. Warming is happening is more or less universally agreed. (though for how much longer?) The degree to which it is anthropogenic generates a fair bit more heat, and the debate over the risks resulting could power a steam turbine. Your melisma from the opening statement to the justifying a 'significant' policy is most tuneful but entirely begs a bagful of questions.

Now my point was that a specific policy IS being promoted, and dishonestly so, as my later comment puts it.

Nov 16, 2010 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

I contacted the BBC in January this year with the following complaint:

------------------------------------------
Climate Change Bias

Sir,

How much longer is the BBC going to continue to peddle the AGW case in
such a ONE SIDED AND EXTREMELY BIASED way?

Not only is the information flowing from the BBC with regard to this
subject biased, it is very often WRONG to the point where it actually
feels like the BBC are lying.

Does the BBC have some sort of vested interest to keep this lie moving?
Or are your masters (the government) putting you under pressure to
enable them to tax and control the sleep walking public more easily.

Please look at the scientific FACTS. Do not just publish what Al Gore
and cronies refer to as a 'consensus' as if it were fact. Publish only
scientific FACT and not opinion.

Your thoughts on this subject will be gratefully received.

Yours sincerely

Leonard Jones
---------------------------------------

Their reply was meant to confuse me with a plethora of 'facts' and lies. It did. Hopefully this will be of use to somebody reading this blog:

---------------------------------------
Dear Mr Jones

Thank you for your e-mail regarding BBC News and for your comments regarding our coverage of the issue of climate change and the so-called 'Climategate e-mails scandal'.

Your e-mail has been passed to us by the BBC Trust as it relates to matters which, in the first instance, are the responsibility of the BBC's management. Under the BBC's Royal Charter, the Trust has the distinct role of setting high-level strategic and editorial frameworks, but responsibility for day to day decisions within them rests with BBC management, so your correspondence has therefore been forwarded to us to respond on their behalf.

I understand that you feel our coverage of the so-called 'Climategate scandal', and of the issue of climate change in general, has been biased.

We are committed to impartial and balanced coverage when it comes to this issue. There is broad scientific agreement on the issue of climate change and we reflect this accordingly; however, we do aim to ensure that we also offer time to the dissenting voices.

Flagship BBC programmes such as 'Newsnight', 'Today' and our network news bulletins on BBC One have all included contributions from those who challenge the general scientific consensus and we will continue to offer time to such views on occasion.

You might like to know that criticism that the BBC had underplayed the significance of the leaked e-mails in the 'Climategate scandal' was discussed during 'NewsWatch' on 4 December. Our Environment Correspondent, Richard Black, commented as follows:

"In quantitative terms I'm not sure that we have underplayed it. I don't think that stands up but there is another side to - certainly comments I've had in from the public - which talk about the way in which we've treated it and whether we've asked the kind of questions that...perhaps need to be asked."

"...there are different views about how enormous it really is. I mean there are many in the scientific community who say that it doesn't actually alter the scientific picture one jot. To start with, the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is just one of a number of institutions in the world that keep records of global temperatures. So even if all the CRU interpretations and analysis turned out to be wrong, that doesn't invalidate all the other analyses. And they also point out the fact that the raw data is not something that's gathered by CRU - it's used by CRU and analysed by CRU but the raw data is still out there."

As far as we are aware, the BBC was the first mainstream news organisation to cover the story - the following article by Mark Kinver was published on the BBC News website just after 14:00 on Friday 20 November:

'Hackers target leading climate research unit'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8370282.stm

The morning after, our Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin, did a piece for the website looking at the arguments sparked by the leak:

'Harrabin's Notes: E-mail arguments'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8371597.stm

Roger also covered the story for Radio 4 later that night.

Martin Rosenbaum reported on the Freedom of Information aspects of the hack on Monday 23 November:

'Hacked climate e-mails and FOI'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/opensecrets/2009/11/hacked_climate_emails_and_foi.html

'Today' also covered the story on the Monday - the former Chancellor, Lord Lawson whose book 'An Appeal to Reason' is highly critical of the scientific consensus on climate change was on the programme, as was Professor Robert Watson - professor of environmental science at the University of East Anglia.

Roger Harrabin reported on the leak and subsequent calls for a public inquiry into the science behind any deal made at the Copenhagen conference for Radio 4 news and the BBC World Service on Monday morning and again later that evening. Susan Watts' piece led that night's edition of 'Newsnight' and a live studio discussion with Professor Watson (UEA) and Professor Fred Singer from the University of Virginia followed.

BBC North weather forecaster, Paul Hudson, blogged about it briefly that day and followed it up with a more detailed entry on 24 November:

''Climategate' - CRU hacked into and its implications'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2009/11/climategate-cru-hacked-into-an.shtml

''Climategate' - What next?'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2009/11/climategate-what-next.shtml

Roger Harrabin covered the story further for the BBC News website on the Tuesday:

'Harrabin's Notes: E-mail impact'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8377465.stm

The BBC News Channel ran the story the same evening - excerpts from some of the leaked e-mails were read out and Bob Ward from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics was live in the studio for his reaction.

These are just some examples of where the story was covered within the initial few days of it breaking. It also received coverage on the BBC News Channel on 2, 3 and 5 December; the 'BBC News at Ten' on 2 and 3 December; the 'BBC News at Six' on 3 December and on both the 'BBC News at One' and 'Breakfast' on 4 December. All this as well as on-going public comment on Richard Black's blog:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/

It has also been suggested that the claimed lack of coverage of this story is evidence that the BBC is biased against the dissident view in the climate change debate.

This was rejected by the BBC's Deputy Director of News, Steve Mitchell, during an interview for 'NewsWatch' on 4 December. When asked whether the BBC had taken a corporate decision to downplay the dissident view in the climate debate, he said:

"I can categorically assure you there has not been any such decision and any such decision would be entirely at odds with the culture of the organisation. Our job is to pick our way through what is a highly complex scientific discussion and also to do so with a sense of proportion - making sure the full range of voices in these areas are represented."

The BBC's Editorial Policy unit also issued the following statement, which was read out on the edition of 'NewsWatch' broadcast on 11 December:

"Our job is to help audiences make sense of the issues and to report on where the centre of gravity lies in the debate. This is why, when we report on the variety of public opinion about global warming, we explain that the broad majority of climate change scientists say that the evidence is clear that human activity has contributed to global warming. The scientific background is not, of course, undisputed and we also feature sceptical voices. We aim to pick our way through what is a highly complex scientific discussion, making sure a range of voices is represented."

It is however important to note that on 18 June 2007 the BBC published a report on safeguarding its impartiality in the 21st century. It is the result of a project first commissioned by the BBC Board of Governors in conjunction with BBC management in November 2005 to identify the challenges and risks to impartiality. The report has been fully endorsed by the BBC Trust, the BBC Executive Board and the BBC Journalism Board.

Below is an excerpt from the section of the report relating to coverage of the climate change debate:

"The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC's role to close down this debate. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution."

The full report can be found on the BBC Trust website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/other/century21.shtml

Our view is that the BBC covered this story at length and that we did so in a fair and impartial manner. We will continue to report on the climate change debate in this way, allowing appropriate airtime to both those who support the broad scientific consensus on the causes of climate change and to those who reject it.

I hope this information is helpful and would also like to assure you that we've registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback we compile daily for all programme makers, news teams, and senior management within the BBC. The audience logs are important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content and ensure that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your views.

Regards

Stuart Webb
BBC Complaints

Nov 16, 2010 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeonard Jones

I believe Climate Wars was a 3 part series of programmes and not a 4 part one. Also it was heavily criticised by many viewers however, the BBC did not fully address the many concerns of "cherry picking" the programme makers appeared to have carried out.

Nov 16, 2010 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

When fixing the typos - could you make the 'O' in CO2 upper case? i.e. CO<sub>2</sub>! Many thanks in advance.

Nov 16, 2010 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Round filed. Bets?

Nov 16, 2010 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Bemused

If you disagree with the statement that 'unilateral decarbonisation will not significantly reduce the atmospheric fraction of CO2' then your reasoning must be questioned.

Unless the country in question is the US or China, the reduction in the global rate of emissions growth will be negligible.

The situation in regards to the UK is particularly illuminating. Using CDIAC figures (as per the UN), the UK's annual contribution is 1.84%. China's is 22.3%.

The annual growth in Chinese emissions is larger than the annual total for the UK.

So reducing UK emissions by 80% over the next few decades (which is economically, technically and politically impossible) would have no climatically significant net effect by, say 2050, whatsoever.

Indeed, if the UK ceased all emissions tomorrow it would still have no effect worth mentioning on global emissions growth and so none on future climate change.

This is why I stressed earlier that only co-ordinated international action could work. That it will not is evident in the robust stance of the potential losers - the newly-industrialising economies like China and India.

If you believe that they will voluntarily halt development, turn off the lights and consign their populations to starvation and civil war, you are detached from reality, to say the least.

I hope this clarifies things for you. There is far too much wishful thinking around this topic and far too little numerical analysis, even the noddy variety I have provided here.

Nov 16, 2010 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Isn't it about time we started praising coal? Coal is moveable, cheap, compressed energy. It can be transported to the poor areas of the world easily to give small groups, or large groups, warmth, energy and light 24 hours a day. It is a gift to the world from the past. It will run out, but only many thousands of years into the future. It is the real black power.

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterxyzlatin

I think I read somewhere that a very senior manager or director of the BBC's Pension Fund is also such an AGW supporter that a very significant amount of the fund is invested in climate/green/renewables/environmental companies/projects. I cannot substantiate this, but it's worth investigating, as if a large number of BBC staff discover that their funds have or will collapse with the failure of the 'Climate Change' gravy train, they will not be pleased, and any bias in the higher echelons will soon be exposed.

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSCS


I think I read somewhere that a very senior manager or director of the BBC's Pension Fund is also such an AGW supporter that a very significant amount of the fund is invested in climate/green/renewables/environmental companies/projects.

Pension funds have legal obligations as to how they invest. I wouldn't have thought much of the fund is invested in such risky investments.

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

SCS...here it is...£8BN BBC ECO-BIAS

Nov 16, 2010 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

BBD:

Is mitigation - of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide release - needful in any way whatsoever when there is not even any verified or verifiable proof that such increases in CO2 levels cause any significant adverse effects requiring adaptation?

The premise of anthropogenic carbon dioxide atmospheric forcing global temperature increases has been, from the very beginning, a speculation that avoids being termed "preposterous" only on the strength of an excess of courtesy in academe. I recall hearing about it in the early 1980s (I'm a clinician, not a climate scientist), and it immediately invoked to me Richard Feynman's "Cargo Cult Science" commencement speech at CalTech in 1974.

I have been fuming with rage for the past decade and more about the co-option of "big science" by what has been obvious charlatanism, and received the bombshell detonated on the 'Net by Climategate's "FOIA2009.zip" last November with positively Sicilian delight. My suspicions of concerted "back-stabbing, cork-screwing, and dirty dealing" among the alarmists were thoroughly and unarguably confirmed.

With what we call (in medicine) a "high clinical index of suspicion," the past year has been spent in pursuit of those longstanding indicators of duplicity and criminal fraudulence on the part of the warmists who have perverted the seeming of science to their personal pecuniary and political ends.

I refuse, therefore, to concede any credence in any way whatsoever to the concept that man-made contributions to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have had - or could ever have - any significant effect upon the global climate.

After more than thirty years of concerted fraud, the unlimed outhouse of "climate science" requires a re-examination equivalent to a foundation-level teardown and re-building.

A purge, if you will. Think "de-Nazification."

Until then, I accept precisely NOTHING as a "given," and demand proofs constructed de novo on the basis of wholly open and painstakingly detailed appreciations of climate physics.

Which the high priesthood of the "global warming" cult have done everything in their power for more than two decades to foreclose.
--

Nov 17, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTucci78

Wow! Looking at the The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, mentioned in that Express link, I followed the IIGC to their web site and they seem a rather strange and alarmist outfit, claiming to run trillions of dollars. In their latest press release:

http://www.iigcc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/15154/2010-Global-Investor-Statement-Press-Release.pdf

259 Investors Representing over $15 Trillion Call for
International Action on Climate Change

Citing potential GDP losses of up to 20% by 2050 and the attractive economic benefits of shifting to low‐carbon and resource‐efficient economies now, investors released a major statement calling for national and international policies that will encourage private investment into low carbon technologies.

There is no reference to where they got the "GDP losses of up to 20% by 2050" from, which seems totally made up. As far as I know the IPCC projects world GDP growth across the board even in their worst case scenarios. Is this how pension funds usually operate?

Also this letter to Ed Miliband in 2008 is interesting. Not only are the IIGC lobbying about energy policy in our country, it is citing the BBC pension fund as part of its membership. I may be terribly naive here, but surely that is a clear breach of use of the BBC's name an any capacity you could think of?

http://www.iigcc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/1084/IIGCC-on-New-Coal-Fired-Power-Generation.pdf

Dear Secretary of State
New coal-fired power generation in the UK
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a European-wide forum for leading asset owners and asset managers to promote the assessment and active management of the investment risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
The group currently comprises over 40 members with assets under management in
excess of £ 3 trillion. A list of our members is provided overleaf.

Amongst which is listed:

BBC Pension Trust:

They go to say:

We wrote to you predecessor John Hutton at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in March this year outlining our concerns that the consent process for Kingsnorth, Kent, may set a precedent for a new series of coal-fired power plants in the UK and that this may turn out to conflict with the government’s carbon targets

Nov 17, 2010 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Sorry should have previewed my last post, simpler just to repost with blockquote fixed:

Wow! Looking at the The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, mentioned in that Express link, I followed the IIGC to their web site and they seem a rather strange and alarmist outfit, claiming to run trillions of dollars. In their latest press release:

http://www.iigcc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/15154/2010-Global-Investor-Statement-Press-Release.pdf

259 Investors Representing over $15 Trillion Call for
International Action on Climate Change

Citing potential GDP losses of up to 20% by 2050 and the attractive economic benefits of shifting to low‐carbon and resource efficient economies now, investors released a major statement calling for national and international policies that will encourage private investment into low carbon technologies.

There is no reference to where they got the "GDP losses of up to 20% by 2050" from, which seems totally made up. As far as I know the IPCC projects world GDP growth across the board even in their worst case scenarios. Is this how pension funds usually operate?

Also this letter to Ed Miliband in 2008 is interesting. Not only are the IIGC lobbying about energy policy in our country, it is citing the BBC pension fund as part of its membership. I may be terribly naive here, but surely that is a clear breach of use of the BBC's name an any capacity you could think of?

http://www.iigcc.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/1084/IIGCC-on-New-Coal-Fired-Power-Generation.pdf

Dear Secretary of State
New coal-fired power generation in the UK
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a European-wide forum for leading asset owners and asset managers to promote the assessment and active management of the investment risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
The group currently comprises over 40 members with assets under management in
excess of £ 3 trillion. A list of our members is provided overleaf.

Amongst which is listed:

BBC Pension Trust:

They go to say:

We wrote to you predecessor John Hutton at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in March this year outlining our concerns that the consent process for Kingsnorth, Kent, may set a precedent for a new series of coal-fired power plants in the UK and that this may turn out to conflict with the government’s carbon targets

Nov 17, 2010 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Actually I was a bit hasty, I look again at the IIGC news release and I see further down they admit the "GDP losses of up to 20% by 2050" is made up ;-)

Barbara Krumsiek, Chair of UNEP Finance Initiative and CEO of US‐based investment firm Calvert Investments. "Calvert is deeply concerned about the devastating impacts climate change ‐ if left unaddressed ‐ will have on the global economy. Based on the Stern Report, we know these impacts could reach global GDP cuts of an unimaginable 20% per year.

"Unimaginable" means bollox to me, but I don't work in the serious world of finance. So at least the Chair of UNEP Finance Initiative admits Stern is talking unimaginable numbers, and we now know how Stern's unimaginable numbers are driving pension funds, weird old world.

Nov 17, 2010 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

@Leonard Jones

I've just read your letter of complaint and Stuart Webb's reply.

I am surprised to say that (against all my instincts) I think that Stuart gave a very reasonable reply to an almost unanswerable letter. Unanswerable in the sense that it raised no substantive issues and did not rise above being a rant. Had I been in Stuart's position I would have been hard-pressed to find any other way to respond.

There was nothing in your complaint that anyone could pin down. Had you said 'in programme x on Channel y at abc.xyz time, you broadcast that following untrue statement...with evidence and examples,..then it is possible to investigate. Or you can take the much broader line that the Bish and Tony Newbery have taken - with a forensically detailed history of events. But a general SHOUTING that they're all wrong simply isn't a good complaint.

Sorry - but for once I think the Beeb handled this poor complaint as well as they could have.

Nov 17, 2010 at 4:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

An interesting bit of research. I found some of it to be quite chilling, to think that one of the world's foremost news reporting agencies could be hijacked so quickly and so easily.

I hope that someone is considering your recommendations.

Nov 17, 2010 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBS Footprint

I have read the submission with interest, and it it has prompted me to look back at some of the BBC Editors blogs ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/archives.html ) I used to occasionally read. These are useful for gathering the thoughts of editors and journalists on issues and themes behind the 'news'. For example I recall reading one editor (probably in 2007 or 2008 - I haven't found the piece yet) saying (and I paraphrase) that the BBC should no longer have to report both sides of the scientific debate because it has a duty to give more coverage to scientists who support the 'consensus' view. But in looking for this I have also found the following which may be of interest:

--------------

Harrabin's appointment - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/08/environmental_changes.html

Peter Horricks denies accusations (from Channel 4) and states that BBC has "No Line" on climate change: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/08/no_line.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/09/bbc_in_the_news_monday_62.html
The Guardian: Peter Preston argues that the BBC should tackle subjects like climate change rather than take an impartial stance. (http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/comment/0,,2165807,00.html)

Harrabin on Al Gore's fim: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7040370.stm

Craig Oliver reiterates that BBC will take no line on climate change - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/10/gore_blimey_1.html

Steve Herrmann 'Climate sceptics' (with essay by Harribin and Black on
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/11/ ) in which they write - "We should confidently take these debates forward, with a modern, accurate sense of impartiality in mind". [So not only do we have to contend with post modern science, but post-modern impartiality!]

Peter Barron states: "For years on Newsnight we've reported concerns about the effects of climate change with caution, due scepticism and balance. But at a certain point I think you've got to assemble all the available evidence and decide whether the threat is real or not. I think we're past that point and that the threat is real". http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/09/hoping_for_the_best.html

Steve Herrmann - 'Climate change debate' Roger Harrabin explains why an online report of the TV interview with the head of the WMO, M. Jarraud was changed, after a phone call from a environmental activist: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2008/04/climate_change_debate.html and Global temperatures 'to decrease' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7329799.stm

Mike Rudin on the Panarama documentary "What's up with the weather?" in which he demonstrates his ignorance and bias in his summary of climategate:
"Thus far, there have been two inquiries: the Parliamentary Science and Technology Select Committee and an independent review by Lord Oxburgh. Both found that there was no grand global conspiracy and no deliberate scientific impropriety or dishonesty."
Rudin also thinks that Lomborg was a leading sceptic:
"And we find out that the leading sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, author of the best-selling book The Skeptical Environmentalist, accepts much of the basic science and agrees with the critical IPCC finding that most of the recent global warming is man-made. " And he concludes, "There is genuine uncertainty and disagreement about the exact scale and speed of human-induced global warming and crucially what we should do about it. But I was surprised to find how much agreement there is on the fundamental science."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/06/whats_up_with_the_weather.html


----------

I have now looked through the whole archive (from May 2006 to June 2010), and not found the original piece I was looking for. Which is disappointing as I was shocked by it at the time - it was the first time I had seen the BBC bluntly stating that they should give more weight to the alarmists, because there was more of them, rather than because the CO2 AGW hypothesis was proven or even had scientific merit. I immediately thought of Einstein's response to the 100 Nazi-supporting scientists who wrote a paper in an attempt to debunk relativity; "but if I was wrong it would only take one of them to prove it".

Nov 17, 2010 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

I reached the submission via Delingpole. Congratulations on the effort to highlight bias in government run media. Much of what was written could equally apply to Australia's ABC which has given up any semblance of balance when it comes to the AGW discussion (joke). A program called Qand A with a moderator(warmist and leftie Tony Jones) and a panel of five, usually three fellow warmists and lefties and two conservatives one of whom can be a sceptic. Questions come from a random crowd of university students who invariably support the warmist, got to do something, crowd. Doccos and science shows are always biased toward AGW.

Recently an ABC board member addressed ABC senior journalists on the need for impartiality. He was howled down and made the subject of ridicule by several ABC shows.

The only advantage we have over you is that we don't pay license fees but the ABC is taxpayer funded. It has a small and shrinking audience as people realise they are only hearing part of the story. The problem is that once respected in all reporting they have been losing respect and will become irrelevant, much like our once renowned CSIRO, the main scientific organisation. They too are AGW propagandists and even their better scientists are being viewed somewhat sceptically. Of course it's their own fault.

Nov 17, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterLawrie Ayres

I am not sure how much should be expected of Prof. Steve Jones and his report for the BBC.

Earlier this year I saw him interviewed in the BBC This Week program. Andrew Neil asked him about his position on climate change. Jones, as I remember, gave a strong impression that he thinks the science is settled by the consensus and that sceptics are essentially cranks. Perhaps others also saw this and can remember it in more detail than I can.

Steve Jones may not be related literally to Phil Jones, but it may be that they share certain things in common beside their surname.

Nov 17, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterPiAreRound

@ Tucci78

A fine comment: 'unlimed outhouse'; 'positively Sicilian delight' etc. If only everyone (myself included) could write like this.

But.

After a lengthy and tedious review of the science I am in the unhappy position of being largely persuaded that the AGW hypothesis is likely to be validated. Indeed, that it is in the process of being so.

That said, the estimated +3K global average temperature increase (per a doubling of CO2 ppmv from the pre-industrial average) is clearly under-constrained and the catastrophists ignore this at their peril.

Doom-sayers in general are characterised by a blatant anti-humanist, anti-democratic bias, and I have exactly no time for them.

Ingenuity is the key to the future, as it always has been.

There are many that are enriching themselves on the basis of climate alarmism, or that have sought - and gained - power and influence by fostering it.

Far from being part of any solution, they are a huge problem for the rest of us. As just one example, lies about renewables will not 'tackle climate change' but subsides have meant fat profits for the few at the expense of the many.

It is the activities of the opportunists that must be scrutinised, critiqued and curtailed, alongside so-called climate policy advocated by some (but by no means all) scientists, pseudo-charities, environmental NGOs and of course, politicians themselves.

I hope you are right, I really do, even though I now doubt it. Nevertheless, we are on the same side.

Nov 17, 2010 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Does anyone think that the Beeb is getting its Jones's mixed up? I would hope and expect Prof Steve Jones to be his usual non-conformist and straight-talking self over this.

Nov 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Page 10: "Unless this matter is addressed in the present review, there is a grave danger that information about the seminar will emerge by other means".

Aha! I missed this hint on my first reading. So there's another climate mole in the wings [perhaps 'climate moles' could be called 'groundhogs'?]. I hope they have their documentation tucked away safely in a Swiss lawyer's safe, ready for release on the day after the Steve Jones whitewash appears.

Nov 23, 2010 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

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