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« Putting windfarms to the sword | Main | Biofuelishness »

Booker on 28gate

Christopher Booker makes sure that the 28gate story doesn't go quiet, with a survey of the affair in his Sunday Telegraph column.

There is a scandal here that is, in its own way, as disturbing as the one over the Savile affair. But whereas that is being looked into by a series of inquiries, we can be sure that no one will inquire into this second scandal. Remember, after all, how the BBC Trust (now chaired by that committed warmist Lord Patten) aided the cover-up with that lie about “the best scientific experts” in its 2008 report – which was, laughably, supposed to be addressing the BBC’s statutory commitment to impartiality.

Isn’t it odd how often, through all this, one word recurs: “trust”?

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Reader Comments (92)

" is not the BBC’s job to promote a crusade and ‘lead opinion on climate change’."

I expect the spokesperson got fired or moved sideways- hence the fact that this idea did not continue to be enforced.

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

For me, at least, the discovery of this list has ominous (or should it be "omnologous"?) repurcussions for the BBC. That they tried to hide this meeting and its attendees isn't surprising. What we have is the BBC asking the opinion of the Greens, who have only one MP, what its output on the topic of CAGW should be, and as there've been six seminars we're left wondering what other topics the IBT has instructed the BBC on. Not only that, what other lobbyists get to decide on the BBC'S stance on other major political topics of the day. That' what we need to know.

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

*McCarthy mention is at bottom of article:

Common Dreams: Climate Change is the Major Problem Facing the World
by David Attenborough
(*As told to Michael McCarthy)
Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by the Independent/UK
Now I do not have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate. The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years...
I have seen the ice melting. I have been to parts of Patagonia and heard people say: "That's where the glacier was 10 years ago - and that's where it is today." The most dramatic evidence I have seen was New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Was that climate-change induced, out of the ordinary? Certainly so. Everyone who does any cooking knows that if you want to increase a chemical reaction, you put it on the stove and heat it up...
So it's true to say these programmes about climate change are different, in that previously I have made programmes about natural history, and now you could say I have an engaged stance. The first is about the fact that there is climate change and that it is human-induced. I'm well aware that people say it's all a fuss about nothing, and even if it is getting warmer, it's nothing to do with us. So I'm glad that the BBC wanted some clear statement of the evidence as to why these two things are the case...

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

"Was there once an alarmist blogger here called BBD, who ended up being banned for abuse?"

He turned almost every thread into an enormous argument. He moved to where he can now be seen doing the exact same thing. Still everyone else's fault of course.

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Common Dreams sounds like Common Purpose to me.

How about this article on the same site....

Nov 18, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Good idea keeping michel's comment in despite it being an answer to the Challenged Commenter. Sometimes so-called trolls are good because they inspire outrage conveyed through great analyses.

In fact I have put up michel's text at Omnologos.

Nov 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Newbery points this out at CA

[1] The BBC has pointed out that the seminar(s) had great journalistic importance, and therefore, the BBC will not disclose their participants - in order to justify the 'for the purposes of journalism' defence to overrule FOI.

[2] The BBC also has pointed out the seminars were hardly of any journalistic importance and that they did not significantly influence its content - in order to underplay the significance of green pressure groups being most of the seminar participants.

Which one is correct? Both cannot be.

Nov 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Registered Commentershub

Shub - one wouldn't believe Harrabin and Smith going around the web now to say their work had little importance after saying it had a lot of importance.

Post-normal science has these effects.

Nov 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

@Clive Best re - NS and “Climate Change – Five Years ago we feared the worse. But it’s looking even worse than that”.

Writing easy mystical stuff, pretending to be a science article, is a cake walk. What the hell, I’ll tell you exactly how to do it. Your starter is always the headline. You gorra go for something eye-catching. Scientists say the world’s going to end next Tuesday at exactly 8 minutes and 14 seconds past noon. Eating salads can kill you. Your household pet is your worst enemy. Researchers say having Tantric sex could add years to our life. Any one of those headlines will pull in the punters and its link to the article, doesn’t have to be very strong.


Nov 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

My current reading of the current BBC and the BBC Trust position...

1 – We openly stated that a decision to cease providing balance in Global Warming coverage was taken at the 2006 meeting of ‘experts’, which is why balance is no longer sought.

2 – Then we indicated that a decision to cease providing balance in Global Warming coverage was really taken internally, and the 2006 meeting was not involved.

3 – We now claim that no formal decision has actually been taken to cease providing balance, and so the BBC continues to provide equal coverage

4 – No further complaints about or discussion of this situation will be responded to, because it is all secret.

I believe that MPs are not allowed to raise questions about the BBC? But at the least I think that constituents should point this strange situation out to them...

Nov 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

It’s impossible to get the BBC to see the light on scepticism because of the nature of people attracted into TV as a career. Think of how many musicians, actors, artists, writers (including journalists) and other arts graduates there are. They chose a life that was more style than substance and often spent their early careers in poverty. They’re pre programmed to be left wing idealists with little practical experience or desire to know the gritty workings of a productive society. Even when they become a success, most of their friends are still poor and in their minds down trodden. They’ve no interest or appreciation for industry and would happily see all of it gone.

Aunty Beeb is the right term for the BBC but contrary to our own mental picture of a slightly puritanical, kindly old soul, Aunty Beeb is a slapper who grew up in the sixties and is now suffering the effects of too much self indulgence and a string of sexually transmitted diseases. She still loves Green Peace although the world has moved on. She wants to legalise all her bad habits so that she doesn’t ever have to admit she’s in the wrong. She’ll take money off you that she doesn’t intend to pay you back and then give it to some cause you despise. She feels good about herself and berates you for your right wing stingyness. For her, caring is her contribution to the World, yours is to pay for it. She buys into the white man’s guilt and wants you to recompense everyone else for your ancestors’ activities. Global warming resonates with her because it’s proof that capitalism is evil. She’s anti establishment, no matter who’s in power which is how she can maintain her delusion of non bias. She doesn’t bother with detail because she’s a big picture kind of person. The picture is green and smells faintly of dope.

The composition of the 28+ ddidn't matter, the outcome of the meetings would always have been the same. The people they invited were the people they wanted to hear from, not people who might have educated them.

Nov 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

To get significant public attention you are going to have to call it what it is. The public are not going to read between the lines to work out what "28gate" is all about. I could hardly be bothered and I've followed Climategate etc for the last few years. There's too much else going on.

Is it a lie? Is it a fraud? Is it a conspiracy? Would it be correct to headline this story as BBC, DEFRA and DFID in global warming propaganda conspiracy? If not, what's the headline?

Nov 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon

It is a lie. That is the broadest category this falls into.

Nov 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Registered Commentershub

Somehow you have to install incentives for journalistic integrity and focus on progamming instead of politics. There have to be some incentives for the organisation not to turn loose the private prejudices of the middle managers into advocacy on political issues. You can see this going disastrously wrong in the Newsnight fiasco. A combination of political prejudice and lack of management and accountability leads to a total failure of journalistic integrity.

The only incentives that spring to mind are market mechanisms, of which the leading one has to be making subscription to the BBC voluntary. Also split off the magazine publishing business into a separate unit. There is no reason to have a state magazine publisher.

You notice that the evil Murdoch closed the NoW overnight. What has the BBC done, or what will it do, or what will be done to it?

Nov 18, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermichel

A very perceptive assessment, if I may say so. I've got reservations about the "left wing" aspect; mainly we are just talking idealists and woolly thinkers (the two usually go together) though I agree that this mostly means they tend to drift leftwards in political terms.
I tried to work with a local arts group many years ago because they thought I had some business sense and some practical ideas to improve their finances. I did — but not to any good purpose as far as they were concerned. Most of them saw it as compromising their artistic integrity.
Their "purity of vision" (it took me some time to come up with that phrase — consider it 'open source') explains their relationship with the eco-activists since in essence they are the same animal, and in quite a few cases the same people.
It should be no surprise that the BBC follows this road.

Nov 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Booker hits the spot once again at the DT. The comment thread is not so exciting these days as the trolls are having great difficulty defending the indefensible. There seem to be two themes in the attacks going on, mainly from the retired school-teacher in Aberdeen (savant):

'GWPF should not be a charity 'cos it doesn't publish its donors'!
'It's not 28-gate: there were 30 people at the meeting, and five, not three, were scientists!'

(So there - say the trolls! (putting thumb to nose and wiggling fingers while going 'nah-nah-nahhhhhh!'))

Nov 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

The Telegraph has disappeared behind a paywall. (Is it because I is an expat?)

If anyone else is having problems accessing the Booker piece, there is copy at GWPF.

Nov 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

No problems here and I've just reopened it up to check.

Nov 18, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Messenger -

Common Dreams were simply posting an article from The Independent. as with much about Attenborough's move into CAGW advocacy and particularly this first documentary, little is accessible online, and the article has been removed from the Independent's url, so i posted from CD's page.

Common Dreams is what americans call a "progressive liberal" website that has been around since the mid-nineties.

the irony as regards CAGW, as Joanne Nova seems to grasp better than most sceptic sites, is that Big Oil, Big Energy, Big Banks & even Big Tobacco - devils in the minds of Progressive Liberals - stand to profit the most from the CAGW scam.

Nov 2006: Infochangeindia: Keya Acharya: Indian tobacco giant turns carbon philanthropist
The India Tobacco Company claims to have stepped into the carbon sinks business in order to benefit village communities. But who really profits?…
The fortunes of the poor village turned when three years ago it began growing eucalyptus trees for the multi-billion-dollar India Tobacco Company (ITC), whose paper division buys the logs for wood pulp…
With new interest in green projects among industrialised nations, ITC hopes to turn a new profit from the village tree projects. It plans to do this by collaborating with businesses abroad that are trying to meet international clean air obligations under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM…
With other big names in the Indian corporate world, like Reliance, Tata, Birla and Ambuja also involved in CDM projects, India tops the world list of CDM ventures…
But Miguel Lovera, a plantation expert from the international Global Forest Coalition, is cautious about the benefits. He says that carbon sinks are not viable on small scales like in Basavaga because carbon content must be verified before it can be sold, and measuring carbon absorption in the trees is only cost-effective on a large scale.
Lovera also warns of soil degradation from projects like the one in Basavaga, because single-species, cloned trees are very hard on the land…

Imperial Tobacco: Our climate change strategy
Climate change opportunities
Climate change also presents a number of opportunities, such as making use of renewable energy tariffs and tax incentives that can help deliver return on investment for reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions…
Using our community investment process, we have already made several investments aimed at proving concepts for generating carbon offsets within our supply chain. We have provided guidance to our suppliers to show the potential for an additional income stream from carbon credits by enlarging the reforestation activities they are currently undertaking, in order to be self sufficient in wood for tobacco curing. The extra financial incentive from carbon credits may help encourage suppliers to increase the size of managed woodlots in tobacco-growing areas…

as jimbo commented at WUWT recently:

- BBC Pension Trust – Top equity investments at 31 March 2012

Investment Holding £m
British American Tobacco 63.65
BP 55.71
Royal Dutch Shell 52.83
Imperial Tobacco 48.09
Oao Gazprom 16.77
Occidental 11.53
Hyundai Motor 9.14
Chevron Corp 8.71
(plus Banks, Insurance Companies, Big Pharma etc further down the list.) -

nothing leftwing or socialist about the CAGW scam, i'm afraid. when it comes to CAGW, science be damned. that the green lobby has cheered it on is just another instance of the hypocrisy of the so-called environmental movement today.

Nov 18, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

It seems the troll Savant over at the Booker comment thread has finally nailed his colours firmly to the mast:

"Booker would be much better informed if he read Derrida and Foucault, but these literary giants are probably too intellectual for him. Postmodern science is the only way to understand everything about the world. That's why we desperately need the BBC to get its message across to ordinary people in terms they can understand."

Post-normalism is the enemy within; scratching away at the very possibility of rationality or the goal of reaching for the truth. If it continually wins these battles, we will lose our civilisation. A mild rise in temperatures is the least of our worries...

Nov 18, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

From the cited David Attenborough piece above:

"The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear "

- This is the voice of someone widely regarded as a scientific authority? Really?

Nov 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis


Thanks for checking, but it is because I is an expat.

Hmm, £1.99 a month. I wonder if there's a discount for pensioners.

Nov 18, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Yes, it is because you are an expat and if you want all the DT stuff it's a tenner a month! £1.99 is just the mobile version.
I'd go for a VPN if I were you!

Nov 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Dreadnought - I am posting here the most important part of Booker's article:

last week, those names were finally revealed – thanks to another blogger, Maurizio Morabito

HTH 8-)

Nov 18, 2012 at 5:05 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Are you sure this is the same savant? He's never shown that much intellect in my run-ins with him!
He's right about the BBC getting a message across in terms the ordinary person can understand, just not the message he wants. Maybe I am not as bright as I thought I was but I don't see any direct connection (at least per se) between post-modern science and global warming. The one does not require the other to be correct.
As for Attenborough, I am less worried about his falling for the CO2/temp correlation, which plenty of others have done, than about his connection between Katrina and global warming. Of the 35 Cat 5 hurricanes recorded since 1851, 14 were still Cat 5 when they made landfall, 16 were Cat 4, and 16 (including Katrina) were Cat 3. I would love to know on what basis Attenborough attributes Katrina rather than any of the others to "global warming".

Nov 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike/Katabasis...I just had a run in with Savant - only to discover it was Savacnt. (not a bad nickname, in some respects). So I have apologised to him. It will be interesting to see his response.

Nov 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Is anyone going to write to "I have my fingers in every pie" Patten and ask him why the BBC is in breach of its Charter with respect to coverage of climate change?

Nov 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"Maybe I am not as bright as I thought I was but I don't see any direct connection (at least per se) between post-modern science and global warming. The one does not require the other to be correct."

Nov 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Registered Commenter Mike Jackson


Maybe just thinking about it the wrong way. With CAGW, the political dimension cannot be teased out, and since it's largely a political matter the question of whether it's correct is secondary to getting people to do things and believe things. As a political question, we could say, "We accept totally what Al Gore says and catasrophe will follow our wicked ways, but considering that we don't care; we don't want any green taxes, we don't want any windmills".

However, a great deal of effort has been directed to shepherding us into being worried to death and post normal science - using he trappings and authority of science to illustrate (sell) a political narrative - is part of the shepherding. We've been there before with PNS; Lysenkoism.

I see CAGW as an attempt to extract a signal from a shed load of noise, and the shed load of noise we have is only a tiny subset of the amount of data we should have to even approach the problem.

Nov 18, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

RE: Don Keiller:

"Is anyone going to write to "I have my fingers in every pie" Patten and ask him why the BBC is in breach of its Charter with respect to coverage of climate change?"

I have sent a letter of complaint to the Director of the BBC Trust and copied the same letter, with a covering letter, to my MP. The rules about complaining are suitably couched so as to allow the BBC and then the Trust to brush them aside. If your complaint is about the BBC, you have to complain to the BBC, then when your complaint is ignored appeal, and only then can you raise it with the trust. Alternatively you can make a complaint about the Trust to the Director of the BBC Trust.

Fortunately in 2010 I myself sent a complaint to the BBC about bias on the subject of climate change and asked for the names of those attending the seminar. The brush-off I got was that they had no record of any such seminar. But it means I did complain and the answer was false (and absurd, as the seminar is mentioned in "Wagon Wheel"). However, my written complaint now is to the Trust and I have also asked my MP to pass my letter to the relevent parliamentary committee. The complaint I have made is that the BBC, and by endorsing the "Wagon Wheel" report, the Trust, have both lied to the public about the basis of their historic change from impartiality and as a consequence are acting unlawfully with regard to the Charter.

Nov 19, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

ThinkingScientist - well done, please keep us license payers informed of any response you get.

All - has anyone asked the BBC for the names of the experts who attended the 5 or 6 other seminars where climate change is bound to have been on the agenda?

Nov 19, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Lapogus @ 8:36

I copied and pasted the names of the seminar attendees from the Wayback Machine in a posting at 8:29 on 13 November 2012 on the "Tony's first reaction" thread which was started on 13 November.



Nov 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

@Thinkingscientist- would it be possible to post up your letter of complaint, so that those of us here can use it as a "proformer" to send our own letters?
Concerted action is the only way we are going to stop the big lie.


Nov 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Hi Don,

I can do that, although its quite long and contain some items specific to myself (for example my previous complaint). I also included a summary of my technical and professional background as an additional page, partly for the benefit of my MP (and potentially the Trust) to try and head off "crank" arguments as far as I can.

Nov 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

@ThinkingScientist, if you could, stripping out personal detail, that would be great.

Nov 20, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller


I have forwarded a copy of both the letter to the BBC Trust and my covering letter to my MP to our host as I Was concerned about getting the formatting right. That was yesterday. If Andrew M does not have time to post with formatting then I will have to do it at the weekend and hope I get it right

Nov 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Sorry Thinking Scientist

Try this

Nov 20, 2012 at 9:48 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Brilliant letter, Thinking Scientist. I hope you get a personal reply from Lord P.

Worthy of a whole new thread in its own right?

Nov 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

I shall try to make that letter my own.

One point for nitpicking. I have _not_ PUBLISHED the list. The list has been MADE PUBLIC (=PUBLISHED) by IBT sometimes in 2007 and totally of their own volition. It has then awaited to be re-read in the Wayback Machine between sometimes in 2008 and last Monday.

I have simply FACILITATED its reading.

Nov 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Wayback donation page:

A lot less than lawyer's fees :-)

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Thanks Andrew!

Omnologos - point taken.

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Thanks alot ThinkingScientist (and Andrew).

I will send a slightly amended version of this to the BBC "Trust" and my MP (a enviroMENTAL Liberal).

Who knows maybe they will be the first to find positive proof of "a well-organised denial machine" ?

Nov 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

For those interested Tony Newbery's case number is EA/2009/0118.

Nov 21, 2012 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

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