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Smaller world

In the last post, we noted that the odd coincidence that one of the BBC TV shows that was illicitly funded by green groups was fronted by a journalist who later on illicitly accepted wrote a story placed by the Outside Organisation, thus helping out the University of East Anglia over its Climategate problem.

Here's another odd coincidence.

In the update to yesterday's post, I embedded a video called Earth Reporters: Sea Change, and linked to the full video at the UNESCO website. If you look carefully at the credits at the end of the programme, you will notice that the show was also co-produced by the Open University.

Now, longer term readers here will remember the shenanigans over the BBC's Cambridge Media and Environment Programme, a series of seminars put together by Roger Harrabin and the Open University's Joe Smith and sponsored by (among others) green groups. The idea of the seminars was to put senior BBC decision makers together with senior environmentalists. The conclusion of the seminar about climate change was that global warming sceptics needed to be kept off the airwaves. This seems to have started a process that culminated in the Jones report the other week, which, in another extraordinary coincidence, concluded exactly the same thing as the environmentalists at the BBC seminar.

Anyway, you'll never guess who was the scientific adviser on Earth Reporters: Sea Change....

Dr Joe Smith.

It really is a small world. It does seem to me that the BBC is just up to its eyeballs in inappropriate relationships with environmentalists.

A little further digging turns up this Joe Smith powerpoint, which discusses the Open University's Creative Climate project, under the banner of which the Earth Reporters series was commissioned. The BBC shows involved were:

  • BBC World Service Radio documentaries ‘The Climate Connection’ looking
    at: imaginative responses to pressing questions (5 x 30 mins in both
    December 2009 and 2010)
  • BBC World Television documentaries ‘Hope in a Changing Climate’ (1x 30
    mins 2009) ‘Earth Reporters’ (5 x 30 mins 2011) focusing on novel research
    and problem solving
  • Short film competition – best young UK filmmakers make 2 min shorts for
    the web on environmental research issues

Hope in a Changing Climate can be seen here and it appears to also have been a sponsored show. The involvement of environmentalists is well flagged on the Open University page, but there is nothing in the credits of the programme itself. I guess this was not part of the BBC Trust's audit sample.

I wonder about the World Service Radio documentaries. Were these sponsored too? If so, were listeners told? Could it be that all of the programmes on the Open University Creative Climate strand were funded by green groups? Interesting implications for the integrity of the course if so.

[Updated 19/11/11]

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Reader Comments (46)

I conclude that the Open University is in fact, far from it, judging by their responses to your FOI efforts here:

Nov 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

It's a wonder that the Trust report didn't highlight all this interconnectivity and bring it to the attention of the board of Trustees for further investigation, hhrrmmph.

Nov 16, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Did you really think this new Lysenkoism convolved with imaginary 'back radiation as the new phlogiston evolved randomly? It was cleverly planned by experts who stood to gain from carbon trading and the control of the means of power production. The link of the Murdochs with CRU is the key here.

It involved fake science [Hansen has just doubled the 1st AIE when that is based on incorrect physics which he must, in my view, realise], using the cover of Marxist dogma [the destruction of Western capitalism by the red-green alliance] and the population of the scientific hierarchy by people given accelerated promotion above their objective scientific ability, e.g. Mann and many other IPCC people.

We are now into the last 6 months of the destruction of this movement as the wider establishment acts to prevent UK meltdown to a third world economy. Look into the eyes of the psychopathic politicians who lashed themselves to the CAGW mast in return for power and remember that Colombian marching powder offers the exaggerated self worth needed for those thrust into power but is also the source of the blackmail which eventually destroys their will.

Nov 16, 2011 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Like some catchy song that keeps springing to mind, I keep recalling these words of David Hume when I am exposed to such machinations by the BBC and by other players in the climate game:

Inward peace of mind, consciousness of integrity, a satisfactory review of our own conduct; these are circumstances, very requisite to happiness, and will be cherished and cultivated by every honest man, who feels the importance of them. Such a one has, besides, the frequent satisfaction of seeing knaves, with all their pretended cunning and abilities, betrayed by their own maxims; and while they purpose to cheat with moderation and secrecy, a tempting incident occurs, nature is frail, and they give into the snare; whence they can never extricate themselves, without a total loss of reputation, and the forfeiture of all future trust and confidence with mankind.
(from ' An Enquiry into the Principles of Morals')

There have been a lot of 'tempting incidents' over the past 30 years or so of CO2-based political and financial opportunism. The remarkable charts that can be produced with novel use of principal components analysis, the headline lure of disappearing Himalayan glaciers, the visual appeal of polar bears, the facility with which children and vulnerable adults can be scared witless, the credulity of UN bodies, politicians, charitable foundations, and other grant-awarders, and of course the fund-raising attractions of nightmarish tales from the future told by once-noble NGOs.

Nov 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

That is presumably the Joe Smith who has high broadcasting standards close to his heart as exemplified by his attempt, together with Sir John Houghton, William Connolley, Bob Ward et all to have OFCOM declare against C4's 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'.

Perhaps you now have the 'Small World Warming Swindle' in your sights?

Nov 16, 2011 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Brilliant couple of posts Bish. I wondered earlier in the year when and how Girling would next come up on the radar, having been so key to the 'poor Phil' push but (for me anyhow) pretty unknown at that time. What a tapestry. Keep pulling at those strands.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

It gets much worse.

Remember the now famous January 2006 seminar that the BBC wont let anyone now what was said at but was addressed by Lord May. It was organized by Roger Harrabin and Joe Smith on behalf of the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme.

Later Joe Smith wrote a book “Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth.” Guess what? Roger Harrabin, without disclosing any link with Joe Smith, reviewed it and said it was one of the finest essays he had seen on the predicament we are in.

Also, the University of East Anglia has given £15,000, to the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme. They said

“The Tyndall Centre also contributed sponsorship for the Cambridge/Open University Media and Environmental Programme, which engages senior journalists and producers from the BBC and other mainstream media.”

So the University of East Anglia gave money to Roger Harrabin's and Joe Smith's group, who used it to organise a one-sided seminar on climate change.

And then Roger Harrabin reports on Climategate WITHOUT disclosing his financial connections with the UEA.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterCCS

The Climate Connection radio shows are here.

The webpage doesn't say they were sponsored. I wonder if there's anything in the audio.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

CCS That's a good point. And of course we know that the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme was a private organisation run by Harrabin and Smith. It was not part of the BBC.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

There could be a book in this.... :)

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


Is that true?

If so its almost unbelievable. The UEA has financial links to the Cambridge Media and Environment Group which is Joe Smith and Roger Harrabin, and Harrabin in turn represents their interests to the BBC, and then reports on UEA's climate gate without saying he's had money from the UEA!!!!

Can it be true?

If so then the BBC is in deep trouble.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPdeelt

"What tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive"

The 'Open University of Global Warming Advocacy', this is a damning expose and all in it up to their necks, who the heck is Harrabin - he's no expert on anything still less - on cloud physics.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I think david Holland has already been there:-

Complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office

Concerning the failure of the Open University to comply with
Regulation 4, 5 and 11 of the Environmental Information Regulations
2004, in relation to the research activities on environmental matters of
Dr Joe Smith - Senior Lecturer in Environment

David Holland

8. I had also then become aware that others were also trying to find information about the organisation run by Dr Joe Smith and Roger Harrabin of the BBC. The University of East Anglia had responded4 to a request for information and disclosed that, between 2002 and 2006, their Tyndall Centre had given £15,000, of what I presume to be public funds, to an organisation they called the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMEP) but disclosed no address or other contact details.

The University of East Anglia Information Services Directorate were obviously under the impression that the Open University was actively involved as they also referred to the organisation stating:

“The Tyndall Centre also contributed sponsorship for the Cambridge/Open University Media and Environmental Programme, which engages senior journalists and producers from the BBC and other mainstream media.”[my

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand.

Thats a side issue IMHO.

The main point is the conflict of interest between Harrabin and the UEA given their financial links, and the UEA having influence on BBC reporting via the CEMP, and Harrabin being a BBC reporter ('impartial') dealing with UEA's climate gate.

Imagine if it had been revealed that Pesto had shares in a bank he was reporting favourably on.

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterIMHO

not only was harrabin benefiting financially from the UEA via the CEMP, harrabin was allowing the UEA's money to influence BBC's reporting strategy by allowing the UEA to buy access to BBC bigwigs using the CEMP.

Harrabin also reported on climate gate without revealing his conflict of interest.

This is the biggest scandal I have ever read in the pages of your grace. Did the BBC management know about this?

[BH we did put this to editorial standards but were rebuffed. We also put it to the Jones review but Jones just misrepresented what we were saying in his report.]

Nov 16, 2011 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBoles

Someone want to e-mail Mr Murdoch and see if Sky News might be intrested. Could be at least a poke in the eye for the BBC, although my guess is he's run back to the US and left his son to face up to everything.

BBC ain't been the same since they let the Mitchell brothers go.

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva


Point taken about "climategate", but if you check through the complaint you will find:-

"It is utterly unreasonable to suggest that the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia would hand over to CMEP funds unless it was believed Dr Smith and Roger Harrabin could, through the CMEP seminars, change BBC reporting policy in the direction the Tyndall Centre wanted."

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

Also B-BBC has a post about 'The Television Trust for the Environment' which produced alot of environmental programs for the BBC but it now has disappeared from the net, check the comments for links to there programs though as some sleuthing has found them on the way back machine.

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

A key fact is that two members of the Tyndall Centre at the UEA were at the seminar organised for the BBC by harabins CEMP.

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterkey fact

This being more widely known may very well explain the apparent BBC shift away from hardline CAGWism in recent months.

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


Oddly, it was the NOTW that broke the story of the BBC Radio One payola scandal in the 70's. Back then it was sex for airtime - I wonder if a chance to 'save the planet' is considered a reward by some nowadays?

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I sense another (televised) parliamentary Q&A session (with Mr Stringer in the chair) might be entertaining. I wonder who we could call on to do the televising?

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

All this cross-sponsorship et al., manifestly against every public institution's mandate on every level, is but the tip of a propaganda iceberg scraping AGW and its Green Gang of peculating cargo-cultists to oblivion.

Next up: Why not explore just who continues propping up Railroad Bill Pachauri's execrable IPCC?

Nov 16, 2011 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

Key fact

Interesting - can you say who?

Nov 16, 2011 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"Creative Climate" appears to bear a striking resemblance to "Creative Accounting"...

Nov 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Does Guido know...bigger audience...

Nov 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

As Jack Hughes pointed out:

In Ireland some would describe him as a cute hoor.

Sounds like we have a whole house of them here.

Nov 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Can this be reduced to a diagram? One suitable for a Josh cartoon? I'm having a bit of difficulty following the Byzantine interconnectivity (or Climateclown circlejerkery, to be more succinct.)

Nov 16, 2011 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Another case of "Follow the Money" then?

Nov 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Biased BBC well on their case as well, and finding a trail of steaming turds to follow. This could - should - be fun.

Nov 16, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton


Have a look at the latest BBC/Attenborough production " On Thin Ice" currently being shopped around by the Beeb to other networks internationally. Stock from the same larder. I'm afraid. Mind you the last two segments [out of seven] are optional for outsiders as they largely consist of Attenborough holding forth on the BBC AGW meme at great length.

Nov 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered Commentertetris

What point to an 'investigation'? When the BBC can use the courts to 'impound' the Balen Report the results of any inquiry into AGW bias will be chicken feed to them.

Nov 16, 2011 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Wasn't Steve Jones wife a documentary film maker? I wonder how many connections there are between him, her, and the unattributed documentary sponsors?

Nov 16, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Extraordinary deja-vu

The subject of a Delingpole post precisely one year ago to the day

Nov 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

"Also B-BBC has a post about 'The Television Trust for the Environment' which produced alot of environmental programs for the BBC but it now has disappeared from the net..."

The Television Trust for the Environment - TVE - has its last Annual Review available through the Wayback machine. It is interesting reading.

Nov 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S


It does make us look pretty good doesn't it? (pats self on back)

Nov 16, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.
Edmund Burke

Nov 16, 2011 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

tetris -
anyone familiar with the endless repeats on the cable channels, must be amused to hear BBC say Discovery Channel only had slots for six shows!!!

(2 pages)16 Nov: Columbia Journalism Review: Frozen Planet Freezes Out Climate
BBC’s polar series unwisely sets apart episode about global warming
By Curtis Brainard
Nonetheless, The Telegraph suggested that broadcasters’ decisions may have had as much to do with their countries’ biases as their appreciation of Attenborough. According to its article, the BBC said that Discovery Channel, which co-produced Frozen Planet and is airing the series in the US, “had a ‘scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes’, so ‘elements’ of the climate change episode would be incorporated into their final show, with editorial assistance from the Corporation.”...
The decision to offer Frozen Planet’s climate-change episode as an optional extra is, for the most part, an entirely different matter, although it does lend credence to accusations that the BBC’s climate coverage isn’t as vigorous as it used to be. Its marketing strategy may be fairly “standard,” as it claims, but if the last episode’s format was so different that it set it apart from the others, one has to question the episode’s editorial approach.
A complete and comprehensive series about the poles simply must include a discussion of climate change, and it’s up to the journalists involved to make that discussion is cohesive, so that viewers get the full picture, rather than six-sevenths.

Nov 16, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

love how Discovery's Military Channel and their Planet Green Channel have links:

9 Nov: C21Media: Liguori to leave Discovery
In January, in the wake of the restructuring, Eileen O'Neill was promoted to the new role of group president of the Discovery and TLC networks.
At the same time Marjorie Kaplan was promoted to president of Animal Planet and Science Networks
Henry Schleiff, head of Investigation Discovery and Military Networks, moved up to lead Planet Green and FitTV...
More recently Kevin Bennett moved to Investigation Discovery, Military Channel and Planet Green as senior VP of programming and research after previously occupying a similar position at Discovery Channel...

plan for a 7.2 degree rise says the Defence Science Panel:

14 Nov: USA Today: Defense science panel: climate a national security threat
The Defense Department’s highly-regarded science panel is calling for the U.S. military to improve intelligence-gathering related to climate change…
“Climate change has the potential for significant impacts on all three of the basic elements important to national and international security: defense, diplomacy and economics,” says the Defense Science Board report. Particularly in Africa, the report warns of increasing challenges to national security caused by global warming…
The report, “Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security,” was first noted by the Federation of American Scientists’ “Secrecy News” website. The DSB makes recommendations for the White House, Defense Department and other agencies including:
•Creating an intelligence group to address climate under the Director of National Intelligence
•Support civilian satellites to monitor climate change
•Decision making that assumes a 5.4 to 7.2-degree rise in global average temperatures by the end of the century…
The report concludes in an appendix by assessing various “tipping point” events, such as the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet and the potential for other nations, mentioning China, to attempt unilateral geoengineering schemes for staving off climate effects.

Nov 16, 2011 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

One for the conspiracy theorists?

The Broad Left was a political faction within the National Union of Students of the United Kingdom (NUS) during the 1970s. It consisted of a working relationship between the Labour Party, the Liberal Party, Plaid Cymru, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), and other, non-aligned, supporters in order to work as a single voting bloc against the Conservative and some Trotskyist student groups. It held the union presidency from 1973 to 1982.

‘The student ‘Broad Left’, vintage 1970s, held a reunion in London

Those elected to the NUS executive on the Broad Left ticket include the following:

Charles Clarke (Labour; NUS President, 1975-77)
Trevor Phillips (Non-aligned Broad Left; NUS President, 1978-80)
On 20 September 2010, it was announced that Clarke had been appointed Visiting Professor to the School of Political, Social and International Studies at the University of East Anglia
Phillips worked initially as a researcher for London Weekend Television (LWT), before being promoted to head of current affairs in 1992, remaining in the post until 1994. He produced and presented The London Programme for LWT and has worked on projects for the BBC

Roger Harrabin
studied English at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he was president of the Junior Common Room.

JCR Presidents and External Officers in Cambridge are ex officio council members of the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU). Before CUSU was established, individual JCRs were direct members of the NUS.

Nov 16, 2011 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Maybe the government is 'getting it' and then even the bbc will cave in.

Still very weasel-esque type language construed through an EU strainer but then, Greg Baker is indeed a strain on us all.

No point in Kyoto pact extension without US, says Britain

New Delhi: While supporting the extension of Kyoto Protocol, Britain says it won’t be good for the European Union (EU) to sign up for a second commitment to the only legally binding agreement on emission cuts if the US and other major economies do not follow suit.

Britain’s Minister of State for Climate Change Gregory Barker, on a visit here, told IANS that his country, and the 27-nation EU, are ready for a global agreement on climate change, but other countries seem less enthusiastic.

Nov 17, 2011 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

There is something positive in this:

If this particular network is really such a small world, it may still be beheaded.

Nov 17, 2011 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

more military madness:

14 Nov: Guardian: John Ashton: Climate change: there is no plan B
Time is almost up. It is critical we secure a legally binding approach on climate change in Durban
(John Ashton is the Foreign Office's special representative for climate change)
The choice between what needs to be done but looks impossible, and what can be done but is clearly not enough, is as old as history. It lay behind the struggle between Churchill and Halifax as Britain faced Hitler's tanks on the Channel coast...

Nov 17, 2011 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Beaverbrook - Straw should be in that list as well. Lefty mate of mine way back, himself a student politico, said of Straw (this would have been in the 90s) - He was a prick back then and he's still a prick. What he said

Nov 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Dear Andrew

As I feature in this post I've drafted a blog post that responds to

I hope it helps to clear up some of the misunderstandings in the post and comments



Nov 18, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Smith

Thanks for the response.

I have added a new header post, so I'm closing comments on this thread.

Nov 18, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
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