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« BREAKING! IPCC responds - Josh 239 | Main | Met Office concedes the error »
Thursday
Sep262013

BBC links to BH

The BBC has linked to the BH in one of its online articles.

But there are also sceptical bloggers such as Anthony Watts and Andrew Montford who accept the basic science that adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature. They contest mainstream findings on the sensitivity of the climate to carbon and the future impacts on temperature.

I'm trying to remember if this has ever happened before.

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Reader Comments (78)

I commented on this on unthreaded and repeat here:

Blimey, the BBC acknowledges the likes of Bishop Hill in another scare story in the run-up to Friday.

But there are also sceptical bloggers such as Anthony Watts and Andrew Montford who accept the basic science that adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature. They contest mainstream findings on the sensitivity of the climate to carbon and the future impacts on temperature.

But get this:

Bart Verheggen is an atmospheric scientist and blogger who supports the mainstream view of global warming. He said that sceptics have discouraged an open scientific debate.
"When scientists start to notice that their science is being distorted in public by these people who say they are the champions of the scientific method, that could make mainstream researchers more defensive.
"Scientists probably think twice now about writing things down. They probably think twice about how this could be twisted by contrarians."

The last word, of course, is left to extreme alarmism from the IPCC. On sensitivity:
Even if this turns out to be the real sensitivity, instead of making the challenge extremely, extremely, extremely difficult to meet, it is only making it extremely, extremely difficult.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Perhaps the leaked IPCC rant is even too much, even for the Beeb. Or is this wishful thinking?

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Andrew, that has got to be one of the biggest advances the "sceptical" cause has made.
For any mainstream news outlet, especially the BBC, to agree that (what I would consider to be) two of the most important sceptical sites accept the principle underlying science and are only challenging the scientists' extreme interpretation of their models has to be a big, big step forward.
Forget that there are those who have reservations about CO2's ability to have any material effect, what you might call the "mainstream sceptic" view is pretty much as stated.
Well done!

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Whatever next? :O

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Yes indeed, your sensible and rational approach is beginning to pay off. Who knows, the BBC might even start to look a little more closely at the IPCC itself. One day.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

'mainstream findings'? sorry shouldn't that be mainstream predictions ? as ' findings 'make it sound like the real world is complying with the models !

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMat

I'm a little bit uneasy about it. It has the feelings of Achtung Juden about it, in that perhaps they are simply identifying the demons to the masses to make them easier to deal with When your enemy starts being nice to you, keep you sword handy.

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

It's a face-saving thing.

They can't possibly run a story saying that they were wrong all along. They need to follow the steps below:

1 - ignore sceptics
2 - poke fun at them
3 - run a story on them, clearly indicating that they are wrong
4 - run a story on them, including one supporting phrase
5 - run a story on them, giving reasonable balance
6 - run a complete story on them alone
7 - attack the concensus and support the sceptics
8 - claim that the BBC supported them all along.

By the way, I see that the BBC story included the following lines:

Who are the sceptics?
Although there are only a small number of mainstream scientists who reject the established view on global warming, they are supported by a larger group of well resourced bloggers and citizen scientists who pore through climate literature and data looking for evidence of flaws in the hypothesis.

I like the 'well-resourced' bit...

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Big Yin

I can understand the caution but this really does look like the crossing of the Rubicon. The sceptical viewpoint, accurately represented. Where now for the Crazy-denialists-in-the-pay-of-Big-Oil meme?

This is getting interesting

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Yes it does seem a shift to me, at least whilst Principia get a link too this blog is firmly set apart contextually ;)

I think the articles content is also interesting in indicating a shift too. Listening to the voices from the “sides”. There are quotes from one side of people who simply talk of the positives of sceptic involvement, especially Marcel Crok expressing “relief” that some “opening up” is happening. When contrasted with the other side, represented by Ypersele and Verheggen, I think anyone can see a rather incoherent defensiveness.

Verheggen struck me as coming across as especially disingenuous and a little unhinged with quotes like:

…sceptics have discouraged an open scientific debate.

Scientists probably think twice now about writing things down. They probably think twice about how this could be twisted by contrarians.

Utter paranoid incoherent drivel, crazy. Please keep giving them this rope. ;)

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

"sceptics have discouraged an open scientific debate"

Shades of Phil Jones.

"Why should I show you my data, when all you want to do is find something
wrong with it.
Don,t these people ever listen to themselves!

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

But there are also sceptical bloggers such as Anthony Watts and Andrew Montford who accept the basic science that adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature.

Indeed, most would agree that anthropogenic CO2 CAN affect temperature but the problem being that there is no real way of determining what that discernible impact is ... or if it is even measurable.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

They contest mainstream findings on the sensitivity

That's still rubbish. Contest the more alarmist findings which outlets like the BBC give too much credence.

Less alarmist sensitivity studies like that of Nick Stokes are mainstream, and based on observational data rather than virtual climates.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

DaveA: I think you mean Nic Lewis!!!!

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"well resourced bloggers and citizen scientists who pore through climate literature"

As if this were a bad thing? We should be grateful that somebody does - no journalists have bothered.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

It's good that they refer to BH and WUWT, but note, "But there are also sceptical bloggers such as Anthony Watts and Andrew Montford who accept the basic science that adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature."

Does anyone know of any sceptical blogger that doesn't "accept the basic science". If they have the view that there are sceptics who don't accept the basic science then clearly muzzling sceptical opinions on the BBC has clearly had the desired effect. That is that most sceptics are loons who don't understand the science, when in my experience the opposite is true, most lay alarmists are loons who don't understand the science.

Sep 26, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Note that they still refer to 'carbon' rather than carbon dioxide.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

Stand corrected, thanks Phillip. You know what, I wasn't sure which Nic/Nick it was so I googled Nick Stokes and climate sensitivity, and the search came up with Nick Stokes and climate sensitivity studies. On reflection that wasn't the smartest way to check!

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

In the past, whenever the Beeb reported on species 'movement' perceived as detrimental, it would invariably add that it 'may' be due to 'climate change'.

Today, it has a report "Europe's key animals 'recovering' ". No mention whatsoever, that 'climate change' may be having a positive effect. Strange, that.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Leopard,
A few years ago on the old Tom Fuller blog, I happened to ask Bart what the 'middle of the road' position might be.
He was adamant that it was the IPCC position (AR4).
He was often talking about 'extreme right' people but seemed to have trouble discerning who might be extreme left.
I doubt he ever wondered what the distribution curve might look like (from his perpective)

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterTony Hansen

Juxtapose

"The new report is believed to indicate a range of 1.5C to 4.5C with no best estimate indicated."

with

"It is just a change in a lower border [of the range of temperature rise]. Even if this turns out to be the real sensitivity, instead of making the challenge extremely, extremely, extremely difficult to meet, it is only making it extremely, extremely difficult. Is that such a big change?"

1.5 is a challenge? I understood that fell squarely in the benign category and of course, we have already had 0.8C of it.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

The BBC will never change. Just this morning, Shukman interviewed someone who had just got funding to sail off in a ship to collect clams for sea temperature proxy purposes based on the calcium carbonate in their shells.

The "impartial" question about whether the warming had stopped was never going to get a sceptical (or even factual)answer.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

This is my view at the moment (2013):

Climate Science is not as advanced as other fields of science such as Astronomy or Chemistry. It's not solid enough to make any reliable predictions - as shown by the unpredicted 15 year flatlining of global averaged temperatures.

It's just not ready to use in the real world.

Does anyone disagree with that?

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I suspect that after the exposure of "28 Gate" by Tony Newbery and others the Beeb have had to back off from their previous extreme position. They will now claim that their reporting is balanced and covers all viewpoints. As stated by others above, however, you'll find that in most cases they still give the last word to the alarmists.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob MacLean

Bish - The BBC link is to your old "Squarespace" url. Still gets there but as discussed previously can distort your visitor stats.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob MacLean

Dodgy Geezer

You are right. 1-8 explain the process perfectly. Unfortunately that process predates the Internet where all the bias, bile, malice, ridicule and rejection thrown at sceptics is recorded. And some of us have long memories…

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Does anyone disagree with that?

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Jack Hughes

I'd say that's pretty much how I see it. Climate science as a discipline is immature. It's also undisciplined, because it is a young subject which has not received the scrutiny (or "academic parenting") which is necessary to properly shape its academic integrity. Instead it has been bestowed with disproportionate funding and political support. In the long term, it will serve as an example of how dangerously easy it is for science to lose its way.

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I think Geezer's list of progression misses out the point we are at now:

The BBC (or any organisation) is not a monolith. At the BBC there will be a spectrum of sceptics and believers. For a long time, the sceptics have kept their heads down for understandable reasons. Editorial policy was decided by alarmists. We are now at the stage where the is almost open conflict within organisations. During this time we can expect conflicting stories and values to come out of the mouthpiece. All that will change over time will be the ratio.

For ages it was 100% alarmist. Recently it's moving, but it's still mostly alarmist, say 90%. At some point it will be 50%. In 20 years time it will be 99% sceptical scientific but even then there will still be enviro-loons getting airtime for 1%

Sep 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Beware of Romans bearing gifts...perhaps!

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterP M Walsh

Let's go Dutch.
(From the BBC article)

In a country where consensus is a key word, the [Dutch] government has taken a more inclusive approach to climate dissenters. To that end, they have funded Marcel Crok to carry out a sceptical analysis of the IPCC report.

In an effort to build bridges between sceptics and the mainstream they are also funding an initiative called climatedialogue.org which serves as a platform for debate on the science of global warming.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

crack ... I think the dam is failing. Next thing the brown stuff will start flying.

Sorry, I live in hope!

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.


Gandhi was right.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Wow! Congrats, Andrew.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Tisdale

Ok, guys, the BBC didn't do anything either way before or now. A guy somewhere in the BBC did.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

Here’s my dream scenario:

- Every climate scientist and his seaweed is being approached for face-to-face confrontations with sceptics post-AR5.

- Some activist at the BBC points out the absurdity of putting a mere blogger like Montford up against science’s finest. Maybe the scientists themselves get huffy à la Schmidt.

- Journalists (who notoriously don’t like being told who they can and can’t interview) therefore decide to pitch Montford against Ward, Monbiot or Nuccitelli.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Sceptics are wrong (the earth is warming)
The earth is wrong (it just thinks its not warming)
The models are right (they show the correct amount of warming).

For modellers in climate "science" just as in many other fields "reality is just a special case of the theoretical."
Too often they won't look anywhere, but at their computer screens.

Sep 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterStew

Of course the BBC are totally impartial, with no bias whatsoever, as can be seen in this quote form the article (re: The Dutch approach to sceptics):

In an effort to build bridges between sceptics and the mainstream…

Not a hint of irony.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The media are approaching a tipping point in their reporting on global warming. The evidence is now too great to ignore, and they are just trying to figure out how to back out of all the previous cheer-leading. I wonder how Pravda dealt with its support of Lysenko...

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterrxc

"adding carbon to the atmosphere"

Do they mean soot?

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Sep 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered Commenter mike fowle

"Who knows, the BBC might even start to look a little more closely at the IPCC itself."

No need. They have co-opted the mainstream sceptics. BH and WUWT are now the intellectual support for the greenhouse gas theory and AGW.

What if we get significant cooling, say 2 C? The greenhouse gas theory, promoted by BBC, supported by BH will impede the necessary reaction.

You really think the BBC is your friend now?

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Clague

Matt McGrath gives the impression that Prof van Ypersele is Dutch, wheas in fact he's a French-speaking Belgian. He's a typical Belgian bureaucrat who has got to where he has through political connections and cosying up to the upper echelons of the IPPC. He'd be an ideal candidate for heading FIFA.
Back in 2004 he wrote a paper on climate commissioned and funded by Greenpeace. In 2011 van Ypersele used his UN position to suppress scientific discourse in Belgium by forbidding the European Society of Engineers and Industrialists to hold a seminar on climate science to which Fred Singer was invited. The Belgian government is highly reliant on promoting the green agenda because of the taxation receipts it brings in.

Sep 26, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterwellers

Worth saying 3 times.

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Roger Clague: "You really think the BBC is your friend now?"

(Previous response got lost). No, absolutely not. I despite its intellectual vacuity and inbuilt bias. The point I was trying to make is that one day, perhaps, journalists will start to look at the IPCC as exposed by Donna Laframbois, but I don't expect the BBC to take the lead.

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

@ Brute Sep 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

"Ok, guys, the BBC didn't do anything either way before or now. A guy somewhere in the BBC did."

You should Google "28Gate".

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Things are gradually moving in the right direction. This sort of open mindedness will help support a proper debate of AR5.

In the longer term, it all hinges on what direction global temperatures go.

Most bizarrely, the warmists are so desperate to be proven right, that they WANT the temperatures to rise and at least some of their dire predictions to come true. They have now dug such a hole, that they just can't be happy to hear the world will not end after all.

It reminds me of a Tintin book, Tintin and the Shooting Star, in which a mad professor predicts a big meteor will hit the Earth. When it doesn't, he is livid for being wrong!

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Just out of interest Bish, I've been trying to find somewhere proper costings for the Climate Change Act. It's necessary to rebut Miliband's grandstanding in his speech the other day, claiming to be a friend of the energy consumer, which we all know to be utter tripe. Does anyone know where I can find such information? AFAIK it's around £18 billion a year, but I'm not sure where this figure comes from.

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Robinson,

I've just finished reading "Let Them Eat Carbon: the price of failing climate change policies, and how governments and big business profit from them" by Matthew Sinclair.

It's extremely well-researched and comprehensive - and apoplexy-inducing.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Let-Them-Eat-Carbon-Governments/dp/1849541167

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

Talking about the BBC: seen this?
Ooh look! A hockey stick!

Sep 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Thribb

"the basic science that adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature"

Does anyone besides me understand that "adding carbon to the atmosphere can affect the temperature" is not even a scientific statement? I'm having difficulty accepting that people who are supposed to be scientific-minded make this the basis of some kind of belief system about the climate. God help us.

Andrew

Sep 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Thanks Neil. I've just ordered it.

Sep 26, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

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