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Science Media Centre's casual misrepresentation

The Science and Technology Committee's first hearing on public understanding of climate science was, as expected, a bit of a charade, with softball questions being tossed by green-tinged MPs in the direction of like-minded witnesses. There was little by way of truth-seeking behaviour and precious little truth and light either, and the impression you get is that most of the MPs on the committee have little or no interest in the issues being discussed. It really leaves a very poor impression of Parliament.

As one would expect, the Empty Statement on consensus was tossed around a great deal, without anyone on the panel apparently wondering what it was that scientists were (allegedly) agreeing about.

Tom Sheldon, the witness from the Science Media Centre, did what the Science Media Centre usually does and alternated between drivel and outright misrepresentation. Sheldon's claim that Nigel Lawson regularly appears in the media saying "climate change isn't real" was later on called out by Graham Stringer, who, using the proper Parliamentary language, pointed out that this claim was simply untrue.

Sheldon also tried to extol the virtues of specialist reporters in informing the climate change debate. This is probably the time to relay a couple of anecdotes. From time to time I have tried to interest mainstream journalists in stories uncovered on the climate blogs. One example was Nic Lewis's expose of the IPCC's rewriting of the Forster and Gregory results in AR4. When I mentioned a big IPCC scandal the journalist's eyes lit up. However, when I mentioned "Bayesian priors" his eyes rolled instead, and the conversation was quickly moved on elsewhere.  Another journalist, who I was trying to get to address some of the issues around paleoclimate simply shrugged his shoulders and said he couldn't understand them.

So much for specialist climate change journalists. If they had scientific backgrounds they might well be helpful, but - as I repeat ad nauseam - environmentalist journalists do not cut the mustard. The green beat should be shut down and its duties split between science and economics journalists.

The hearing is here:

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Reader Comments (61)

The green beat should be shut down and its duties split between science and economics journalists.
Or indeed any journalist prepared to behave like a journalist and do his homework on subjects he doesn't fully understand.
The trouble is that the "green beat", as you call it, is the journalistic equivalent of the Mickey Mouse degree. You can spend a few years not needing to engage the brain all that much while getting paid a decent salary to regurgitate other people's press releases. It helps of you believe in 'The Environment', but then who doesn't? Gray has it down to a fine art.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

How embarrassing, to be a specialist climate change journalist and be so obviously ignorant of your own subject.

Reminds me of that Telegraph 'journalist' who called the Spitfire a jet.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

Once again - it seems that Graham Stringer is willing and able to stand up for truth and high standards.

Well done that man.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

Of course, The BBC employs non-scientists such as Harrabin, as a "science correspondent", so the idea of what a science journaist is would need to be redefined to fit in with the BBC.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If I was an oil funded destroyer of worlds I'd love the '97% of scientists' claim. I'd laugh that sinister laugh with an echo and a thunder clap and know I was going to win. Why? Because, as the biggest, most convincing claim that can be made in defence of climate science, it's embarassing.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The MPs and "science journalists" don't understand this kind of stuff (imposed by the MPs) either
"Electricity prices in Britain may be almost double those in Germany within three years due largely to the impact of a new tax aimed at supporting renewable power generation, a report by bank Credit Suisse has claimed."
Watch industry gradually pulling up their tent pegs and emigrating to lower power and wage countries.
Really sad that our political masters are so uninformed that they cannot comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

It reminds me how much time (and money) gets wasted in the public sector with pointless "talking shops".

The Stringer rebuke was in the section from 9:52:53.

Jun 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

This is a really important point: how laypeople can understand the truth of what's going on with climate change etc. I'm not sure having journalists with scientific backgrounds is as important as having journalists who are willing to do enough work to be able to explain the complexities in language that the masses can understand. In fact it could me argued that journos with scientific backgrounds may not be so well positioned to do that as they are less able to understand the masses ignorance.

On this note, I'm interested to know how a confused lay person can understand the debate. Blogs are probably a better place than the MSM as they tend to discuss the issues in more detail. But as both warmists and skeptics sound so convinced that the other side is wrong, it can leave one baffled. In a post last week I tried starting a discussion about the different interpretations of the recent lack of warming, citing a Guardian post by Dana Nuccitelli:

This discussion never got going and has gone off on a tangent. But on reflection, this appears to be a good example. Nuccitelli sounds very convinced of his point that the warmth has been soaked up in the oceans and cites some apparently sound research as proof. Rhoda pointed out on this discussion that this research is flawed.

But how is a layman meant to know this? It's all very well having rigorous skeptic blogs like Bishop Hill and WUWT etc, but once discussion of the important issues gets into the nitty gritty of the evidence, the message is lost.

It obviously depends on what each blog is trying to achieve and who their target audience is. But if skeptics want their message to be heard and, importantly, understood by more people, including the MSM, then I would argue for a greater degree of interpretation in everyday language.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

"The green beat should be shut down and its duties split between science and economics journalists."

Or moved to the religion desk.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

There are a few in parliament who are on the right track. If you have not seen it, Nigel Lawson’s recent speech is well worth a read.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrJohnGalan

I am reminded of the Telegraph science correspondent who referred to Pi as a recurring number.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

It seems to me that parliament rarely scrutinizes anything properly, still less seeks to ascertain the truth, and/or the consequences of the policies that they pursue. That is why one see a plethora of unintended consequence issues.

These committees should be structured more like a court of law with an adversarial approach adopted. There should be two counsel one for and one against what ever is being proposed/discussed backed up by an expert in the field. These counsel should be instructed to destroy the other side's case and to expose inconsistencies in the other side's case and unfortunate consequences that arise should the other side's case be adopted. So all witnesses called before the committee would be subject to rigorous cross examination. There should not be any soft balling. Those sitting on the committee can of course also ask questions, and these may well be soft balls since each committee member will have their own political slant which will of course colour their views on policy considerations and what they would like to see achieved..

The committee panelists can then properly listen to both sides of the argument and would be better equipped to reach an informed view on the pros and cons of any policy, draft policy etc.. There report should spell out in clear terms the arguments for and against the policy together with evidence cited in support of those arguments, and then they should put forward a reasoned conclusion as to what they recommend and why.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Charlie, most sceptics are happy for people like Nuccitelli to present their findings and try to convince people of their validity. It's a research paper, it's not "truth" - it's the current take on the phenomenon by one researcher, and might be rebutted or overturned tomorrow by a different piece of research.

What happens in the popular media is that something like the Nuccitelli paper is taken as the "final word" on it, and at the insistence of the scientist themselves, told that any dissent from this truth is not to be published, since it might confuse the public Journalists on the whole go along with this idea.

And so over time, you get scientific ideas presented as truth, and any criticism of them suppressed in the name of not confusing the lay public. if the journalists themselves chose to suppress one confusing side or the other, that would be one thing, but to do it at the beck and call of the researchers doing the presenting is just plain wrong.

It would be the equivalent of a company telling journalists to present their company in a good light, and telling the journalist not to allow the printing of any criticism of the company from other rival sources since it might just confuse the public - and the journalist GOING ALONG WITH IT! That's not journalism, that's advertising.

The mainstream media have been unwitting marketing PR company for one small clique of science for about 20 years. They even got you to call their rivals names and demonize them on their behalf.

All sceptics want is the admission in the public sphere that climate is a GENUINE scientific controversy - there are scientists on both sides arguing with evidence for both sides. Sure, some people might not be able to choose one side or the other - such is the nature of complex and unclear controversies.

But it's morally wrong to choose a side for them, decide not to report on the other, the public have a right to know both sides, even if it does confuse them. It's especially wrong to do it when asked to by one side.

This is why we are angry. We don't expect the media to flip over to "our" side - we just want an acknowledgement that we have a legitimate side and that it's not moral depravity or financial corruption to hold that view. You listened to them when they told you that, without proof.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

It really leaves a very poor impression of Parliament

Not for the vast majority of the sheeples.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Specialist reporters with their English degrees, you can't expect them to be able to understand science stuff.

But they know they are helping to save the planet - so they must be right.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

There are discussions about bankers being held responsible for their actions, but why not politicians?

Why should politicians not be responsible for negligence in the discharge of their duties in public office and held personally to account? If they could be held liable for their negligence, they may be a bit more careful in the performance of their duties and it may well be the case that billions would not be so recklessly squandered..

Of course, it may be that certain areas should be exempted such as defence, and it may be that the standard should not be simple negligence but more akin to gross negligence, or crass error.

But I see the UK energy policy, which is not so much an energy policy as a green agenda, to be the perfect example of gross negligence and all those involved in iits pursuit should be held to account and held to recompense the tax payer for the billions wasted.

Another example are the PPI contracts entered into by the labour government. Some of the terms of these contracts are so ridiculous that you cannot believe that any sentient government representative agreed to there terms. After all, a government possess an inequality of bargaining power in its favour, such that the terms of any approved contract ought to be favourable to the government.

How come have we got ourselves in a position whereby the government has to on occassion fork out several hundred pounds to change a light bulb or pay for laptops at several thousand pound a whack. It is just ridiculous, and if MPs were made accountable for negligence this type of governmental waste would soon be stopped.

Jun 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Interesting thoughts, TBYJ. The politicisation of the whole topic has skewed the whole discussion, if there has ever been a discussion. It's all so complex that it comes down to belief in the end, as someone pointed out one the discussion last week, and I suspect a lot of those who write about AGW don't do enough to really grasp the complexities of it all themselves.

I maintain that more interpretation and explanation from the more fair-minded reporters and bloggers won't do any harm, particularly if politicians are finding it hard to keep up. However, with so much misinformation around – much of it seemingly very convincing – it still ends up with a choice of who to believe. So maybe it would be fruitless. I would hope that having more information available that is both accurate and understandable would be a step in the right direction.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

Sorry off topic.t Horizon last night had a programme on Fracking. I missed the first fifteen minutes there was no mention of Climate Change?

The programme was reasonably well balance. Has the BBC decided to mend its ways or does it realise the benefits of fracking would make them fools to campaign against? I hope its the latter.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Why doesnt this committee interview Lawson or Pieser? Why don't they interview your Grace or, talking of specialist reporters, David Whitehouse for that matter. Instead they interview idiots like the Science Media Centre guy who clearly doesn't know what he is talking about. And since one of the biggest failures is the BBC why don't they get the new DG in, or Shukman - now that would be interesting!

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeed

"But if skeptics want their message to be heard and, importantly, understood by more people, including the MSM, then I would argue for a greater degree of interpretation in everyday language."
Jun 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Charlie Furniss

That is what I try to do, to the best of my ability, Charlie. Few people can follow all the science. Probably none, actually. So what to do to assess the claims about global warming?

Use your own abilities as best you can, and LOOK AT THE PREDICTIONS.

If a 'financial-wizard' keeps telling you your investment will go up lots, but it doesn't, or even goes down; then you might ask some hard questions.

If the financial-wizard then says "Arrgh, but I never said it would go up much this decade" (or something equally evasive); then you might go and get the original sales-brochure he gave you, and point out where it did say that.

If the financial-wizard then says, "Yes, but look, it doesn't have my name on that particular quote in the sales-brochure. It was another financial-wizard that said that. I said, in the small print, that it would go up more in the second decade"; Well, if he said that, then you might start wondering what was the value of self-declared financial-wizards......

With this approach, you can get quite a long way without any detailed scientific expertise.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Charlie, the mainstream media just need a friendly informed sceptic to tell them what questions to ask or what criticisms to level when yet another confirming paper comes out. Most of them get demolished in the blogosphere - but only after publishing and after the initial press releases - there seems to me no journalist able to deconstruct and criticise the press release as it comes out. This means the rebuttal is always a few days later, on the blogs, which is too late to make it into the MSM which have moved onto something else.

What is needed is a skeptical take on press releases on the day they are made, so that the counter evidence and criticism can be presented at the same time as the paper PR. But then, any journalist which published criticism in such a press release would find themselves uninvited to the next glitzy press release, I suppose. It's a vicious cycle.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Well Bish..."Bayesian Priors" is a nice term but...what the hey does it mean? What reader would read a journalist mentioning it?

Remember the first and foremost job of a journalist isn't to inform, or to tell the truth, or to uncover's _to_be_read_.

An unread journalist is like a Vicar telling sermons to an empty church.

In this case instead of "Bayesian Priors" I would say that even somebody completely ignorant of climate can still assume that not all temperature increases are equally probable, eg it's vastly improbable that temps will increase 100C next year. This assumption has to be borne in all computations, and it has consequences.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

richard verney
I know a bit about PPI having reported on various such programmes and having a couple of very good friends who are/were local councillors which is where a very large number of these programmes were initiated and negotiated.
The original principle was sound enough (if not to everyone's political liking). Where it went pear-shaped was when the consortia involved realised that the council negotiators were, comparatively speaking, clueless when it came to negotiating contract details and the contractors essentially wrote their own. Not in all cases but in too many.
So you got hospitals where the cleaning was to be done to a series of minutely detailed specifications regarding frequency, which areas were to be cleaned how often, materials to be used, etc. rather than to a set standard of cleanliness and hygiene which it would be up to the hospital staff to monitor to determine compliance. Which would have been a lot more difficult for the contractor to achieve and would have demanded a higher work rate from the cleaning staff!
And your example of £200 to change a light bulb is symptomatic of the same situation.
Yes, the government ought to have been able virtually to dictate but even at national level the consortia which were bidding were much more street-wise mainly because they had the best brains in the construction industry and consultants with expertise in areas like catering, sports management, and others which were relevant to the contract they were bidding for.
The government tied its own hands, or Brussels tied them for it, by not having the expertise and by being obliged (pretty much) to accept the lowest tender. Even if the specs were identical there are a lot of ways you can cut corners!
Politicians are amateurs in this area as are a lot of civil servants so I fear that talk of jail sentences for gross negligence is wide of the mark. The bottom line is that government has become too complex and complicated for politicians to understand and we are currently bedevilled with a pretty mediocre bunch by the standards of 50 or 60 years ago.
Add in the roaring success which the eco-activists and their hangers-on and their useful idiots in the media have achieved in convincing the right people of the necessity for 'action this day' and you end up with 600 legislators who vote almost unanimously for a Bill that they are unable to see will do damage to the UK economy because they genuinely believe either a) that it won't, at least not in the long-term or b) that the pain is a price worth paying for ensuring that "our grandchildren" will have a habitable planet.

Jun 20, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Buck on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM "The Stringer rebuke was in the section from 9:52:53"

... Isn't one of the problems that when scientists are let off their leashes
... that they tend to get into even more extreme language than politicians?

.. for instance
... climate change was worse than terrorism
... children would never see snow again after 2010

... don't scientists then become part of problem when they make statements like that?

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

If a Parliamentary select committee are prepared to go easy on Climate Scientists .

Would they go easy on NHS managers.

Theres another hospital scandal today.Our Democracy is failing.

If you can be skeptical about Climate Change you can be skeptical about everything else.

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

In his evidence Tom Sheldon of the Science Media Centre accuses the GWPF os using the fact that the global average surface temperature has not increased for 10-15 years to UNDERMINE CLIMATE SCIENCE.

This is not only untrue it is also stupid. The GWPF should respond to this slur in front of Parliament.

The GWPF have been almost the only ones who have stood up and said look at what science is actually being done rather than what celebrity scientists, the media or the SMC say is being done. That is why they were light years ahead about the global warming pause.

Tom Sheldon would not admit his statement that Lawson says climate change isn't happening is not true. That says it all for his expertise.

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGWfactiod

Is it ok to lie to the STC? Perhaps it is.

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Beed, yes, it's a mystery why the Committee is talking to all the wrong people. I spelt it out to them in my submission:

"government has been misled by biased advisers who in some cases are merely activists;"

"If the Government genuinely wishes to understand why people are becoming more sceptical about climate change, the people to talk to, and in particular to listen to, are precisely those who are becoming more sceptical. This obvious point has been missed by the Government and also by most of the academic researchers in the fields of social science and psychology who have studied the question."

It remains to be seen whether they will take any notice of this, but there is no sign yet of them showing any interest in listening to the right people.

I'm not sure whether to get cross about this, or just laugh and leave them wallowing in their own ignorance, which in a way is good thing for the sceptic side.

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM | GWfactiod

That guy Sheldon could hardly open his mouth without lying or gross exaggeration. He makes it pretty obvious that the 'Science Media Centre' is essentially an activist organization seeking to influence the media in the guise of pretending to help them. A propaganda organization. The whole meeting was more or less 'why is our propaganda not working?'

Dr Caroline Happer summed it up in her opening statement - there is no longer any public trust in authority figures. Guess why.

Jun 20, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Just got an email from the committee about the next session, mentioned on the "not just the marxists" thread. This is at the Science Museum on Wed 26th:

At 9.05 am
Professor Nick Pidgeon, Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University
Professor Chris Rapley, Communicating Climate Science Policy Commission, UCL
Dr Alex Burch, Director of Learning, Science Museum Group

At 10.00 am (approximately)
Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive, Science and Technology Facilities Council
Professor Tim Palmer, Vice President, Royal Meteorological Society
Professor Rowan Sutton, Director of Climate Research, National Centre for Atmospheric Science
Professor John Pethica, Physical Secretary and Vice-President, Royal Society

The session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats. Entry to the evidence session will be via the Main Entrance.  The Museum does not formally open to the public until 10.00am.  Special access for the purpose of watching the committee has been arranged and members of the public are encouraged to arrive at the Main Entrance by 8.55am.
There will be no access to the meeting between 9.15am and 10.00am.

It also says that there will be further evidence sessions. I wonder who will be speaking at these - Bob Ward? Leo Hickman? Roger Harrabin? Alice Bell?

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Happer’s start was not exactly gripping, with one of her first words being “qualitative” – I mean, apart from being impressively long, what does that actually mean? Her following language was much in the same line: “…negotiated by audiences, and absorbed into existing belief structures…” and: “…get sense of the impact in the way that impacted on the formation of opinions within a groups setting, and also if that impacted on commitment to behavioural change…” also: “…if anybody gone out in relation to the information [sic] we had given them and changed their behaviour…”

After she talked about “the global and local consequences of climate change […] the massive flood in Bangladesh which led to mass immigration to Britain…” (Did it?) “…and the localised flood in Glasgow…” (which led to mass immigration to England… Oh. No. Perhaps not.), I switched off. Her “research” is so weighted, it would have difficulty standing up if heavily buttressed, let alone to intensive scrutiny – “The flood in Bangladesh…” Which one? They have so many, which was the one that “…led to mass immigration to Britain…” (though surely it was mass emigration to Britain. Oh, well, let’s not get too fussy). She even lost the chairman, which must take a special skill.

Aaaaaargh! And the level of utter, utter, utter arrogance is truly astounding! – “If we are wrong, then the issue is that there are more windfarms; (mumble, you know) if the other side is wrong, then we’re talking about the potential dangers to sustainable life on the planet for large numbers of people…” (Mr Pastry, 9:34:00)

“We should trust the public […] the public are often underestimated…” Yet this is just what this talk is about – the public obviously cannot be trusted, and the message must be forced on them even harder!

I also noted, some time later (9:58:00), Sheldon saying that an “…anti-climate change agenda…” (whatever that may be) is skewing the debate in an unfair way; presumably, having a pro-climate change agenda, is balanced thinking.

I had trouble watching that without the urge to reach through the screen and throttle the three stooges (apologies to Larry, Curly and Mo).

Perhaps we should look at a quotation that I offered to Catherine Happer in her contribution to the misnamed site, “The Conversation”: “The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it” – H.L. Mencken.

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Reminds me (the lack-of-knowledge journalists) of the report in The Sunday Times that James Dyson 'invented' the bagless vacuum cleaner..
Whereas in fact he simply took the bagless vacuum cleaner, applied the 'vortex' principle to the airflow, and added about £150 to the price...
(Oh, and used the slogan 'Never loses suction, ever' which he subsequently had to withdraw as there are internal filters which require periodic cleaning...)

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Confused Photon – they have English degrees?!

How well they hide that.

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

(Oh, and [he] used the slogan 'Never loses suction, ever' which he subsequently had to withdraw as there are internal filters which require periodic cleaning...)
Jun 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM | sherlock1
That must suck. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

One of the (many) problems with modern government is that officials no longer impartially present evidence to ministers, and let them make decisions (& take the rap when it goes wrong). A classic is a piece by Ed Davey in todays Telegraph where he more or less says sceptics should shut up/be ignored. Obviously Davey has no particular expertise in this field, his is merely the Departments mouthpiece. What on earth are they doing, feeding him such stuff to spout? I think there is a difference between the old-fashioned 'departmental view', and a bunch of officials being enthusiasts for a particular course of action and so briefing ministers in a biased way.

Jun 20, 2013 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

RR's mention of Dyson reminded me of another of our esteemed POLs, the ever-truthful J. Archer and his libel case against the Daily Star (which had alleged that he had sex with a hooker).

At that time there was a big poster campaign for vacuum cleaners which included the strapline "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" ... under which someone had wittily sprayed "Monica Coghlan does!"

Compare and contrast the whole saga of Michael Stacpoole (a mate of Archer) giving Coghlan £2,000 in £50 notes on Platform 3 of London's Victoria station to leave the country to avoid reporters with the antics of the Debens and Yeos of today.

Plus ca change.

Jun 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

The Guardian published an article from Pielke that told them that they have already lost.

Pielke is saying what I have said from day one. The science is irrelevant.Whatever opinion polls say, no one actually believes this. If they thought their kids were going to die they would demonstrate. They never have. Celebrities would be queuing up for free publicity. They don't. The average person may not understand science, but they do recognise propaganda. Americans are not prepared to pay for clean energy. The global climate conferences achieve nothing. AGW is over (except in Britain).

Jun 20, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Pielke's position, if that is yours, consists of saying the skeptics don't matter (because of blah blah blah).

The position is mainly predicated on selective reading of public polls.

So much for evidence-based policy making.

Jun 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Registered Commentershub

That article by Pielke has the following in it:

"Earlier this week, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times announced that the "climate sceptics have won". His comments echo those of former Nasa scientist James Hansen who told an audience in Edinburgh last year that the sceptics "have been winning the public debate with the help of tremendous resources.

"Such comments reflect a conventional wisdom in the climate debate. Climate sceptics, or deniers as they are often called, are presented as all-powerful forces bankrolled by rich corporations who have wielded their awesome power to block efforts to deal with the threat of human caused climate change. How do we know that climate sceptics have such power? As Martin Wolf explains, it is the "world's inaction" on climate policy which reveals their power"

This fantasy of climate change nuts that scepticism only exists because of bankrolling by (presumably) the "evil-fossil-fuel-funded-denier-machine" is just absurd. Where are the Guardian reporters digging through the finances of companies and recipients alike to show this is in any way true? Its like Monty Python and belief in witches - look, there's one, quick, burn her!

What it actually shows is complete disdain and intellectual snobbery on the part of the global warmers for the common sense shown by everyday people not to be taken in by propaganda. The general public is not so easily hoodwinked as the global warmers like to think, so they invent the "evil-fossil-fuel-funded-denier-machine" as the bogeyman to explain why no-one believes their end of the world scary stories. What a load of supercilious, snotty, arrogant plonkers the global warmers are.

Jun 20, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

I'm looking forward to the MSM reporting that Julia Slingo invented the first terror flop computer.

Should be next year sometime at the rate of current progress.

Jun 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat


Pielke is smart. He is writing in the Groaniad. He is having a laugh. He is saying that the warmists have lost because they keep blabbing about how smart they are with all their dumb nonsense dressed up in scientific language.


It's worse than absurd, it's just a pack of stupid lies and Pielke knows that.

Jun 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Tpm Sheldon is ideally suited for his job in the Truth, sorry, Science Media Centre. Before that he used to blog for the Guardian.

Jun 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterUnderunder

You are reading your good thoughts into Pielke's writing. I would agree with thinkingscientist: climate sceptics are nothing but an overt manifestation of the larger lay public's natural scepticism for cock-and-bull stories. Climate change alarmism remains alive primarily as a top-down elite- and technocrat driven neo Malthusian concern (with people just like Pielke supporting it), married to defensive blocks (BRIC), small island rip-off artists (Maldives comes to mind?) in the international arena. Pielke's claim is the exact opposite.

Real politicians, who are answerable to their constituencies, are bought off simply by a tyranny of popular consensus - everyone thinks everyone else supports it, hardly anyone knows what they are supporting, and even fewer ones know the true cost of their assent to what they assume are just vote-winning platitudes. Pielke is selling the same placid opiate: 'yeah, if you loosen their wallets just the right way'.

Jun 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Registered Commentershub

I detect resigned contempt in Stringer's body language as he listens to yet another delusional climate gabfest. He's heard it all so often, after all.

Jun 20, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterPharos


Pielke is a 100% sceptic with brains. Read his blog.

Jun 20, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

Then you have David Shukman, BBC1 science editor.

They constantly show iceberg calving at the same time as talking of the "melting arctic ice cap"

But it isn't just the Beeb. I remember Mark Austin of ITV reporting from Antarctica in 2006 at the invitation of the British Antarctic Survey, Chris Rapley was in charge then, running a £40 million per annum budget, his last year before going to the Science Museum to put up global warming displays.

They were out in a motor launch, and a calving event took place behind them with a massive woosh and much drama. Austin got very excited, shouting to camera, "it's happening before our eyes, the ice is melting".

You can read Rapley's final offering here:

"If you have a good story to tell you should use a megaphone, and BAS does. This year we organised a successful briefing day for key parliamentarians, presentations on climate change for senior industrialists, support for the Prince of Wales Business and Environment Group, and a three-day training event by Al Gore in Cambridge."

You too can be trained by Al Gore,, they have sessions in the UK as well, although I don't think the Master attends every session.

Rapley continues "In addition, we achieved television history with the first-ever live broadcast from the Antarctic – by ITN’s news anchor Mark Austin and science editor Lawrence McGinty from Rothera.

A series of broadcasts included a live interview with Tony Blair in Number 10 Downing Street.

The viewing figures were over eight million in the UK, and more than 200 million worldwide. This was the busiest of my ten years as BAS Director. Now I move on to become Director of the Science Museum."

Presumably this is why the next committee meeting is at the Science Museum, as he is one of the speakers.

Jun 20, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

There is no such thing as climate Journalism, it's all spin and on the green side CHURNALISM at its finest. Pathetic "reporting" from a biased pathetic (once proud) media.
But, it's never been about climate, CO2 or saving the planet... if the sky is not falling, there is nothing to report for churnalist, and no grant money for useless academics to "study"

Jun 20, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin


What an oxymoron.

Jun 20, 2013 at 6:13 PM | Registered Commentershub

I spent many an hour in the Science Museum before it was a political entity, staring at the cutaway Napier Sabre or Siemens-Halske 11-cylinder while I should have been next door studying in another institution which has lost its way.

Jun 20, 2013 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

There's an old IC mafia on this blog. Something must have rubbed off.

Jun 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

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