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« Lord Smith on Owen Paterson | Main | Enviro-mental - Josh 279 »
Thursday
Jun262014

New BBC policy: right is wrong, wrong is right

News that the BBC continues to sing from the greens' hymnsheet is never hard to come by and so we can turn to the latest news with a sense of weary inevitability rather than any great surprise. The Today programme interview with Brian Hoskins and Nigel Lawson on the subject of the winter floods was, as readers no doubt recall, the subject of a concerted campaign from green activists and, with a certain predictability, a formal complaint or two. Anyone who has ever dealt with the BBC Editorial Standards unit will know that it can take months to get a response and years to get a ruling, but wheels seems to have been oiled to a remarkable extent for this green-tinged complaint and the Guardian now seems to have got hold of the findings, just months after the offending programme appeared:

Reviewing the broadcast, the BBC's head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel, took a dim view. "Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says, "and I don't believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience … Furthermore the implication was that Lord Lawson's views on climate change were on an equal footing with those of Sir Brian." And they aren't. Sceptics have their place in the debate, Steel says in his provisional finding, but "it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight." Chong is only partially satisfied. He'd like a right of reply and perhaps a balancing programme. And others say "due weight" should mean not having Lawson on at all.

During the Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into the public understanding of climate science, I pointed out to the committee that other witnesses seemed to be pushing very hard for dissenting views on climate change to be flagged up front as "wrong", something that was hotly disputed by chairman Andrew Miller and Ros Donald of the Climate Brief:

Andrew Montford: The undertone of some of these answers is that somehow sceptic views are not valid. Ros says they should be there in the context of what the real science is, and that any sceptic view should be put forward with somebody saying why it is wrong. It is a mad way of running things.

Q138 Chair: I have not heard anyone say that.

Ros Donald:I think that is a bit unfair.

Andrew Montford: You wanted the sceptic views put in context.

Ros Donald: That means putting them in context; it does not mean they are wrong. That is a big difference.

As we can see, the head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel thinks that audiences need to be told that Lawson is wrong; his "views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research". I wonder if Ros Donald still thinks I was being "a bit unfair"?

At this point it's worth returning to the transcript of the interview and it's hard to recall a better one on the BBC. It's not often you hear a scientist challenged on anything on the BBC, an organisation whose journalists seem to hold people with the letters PhD after their name in a certain awe. It's even rarer to hear a climate scientist challenged. And readers will be hard to put to find anything incorrect that Lawson said in the interview - indeed there was considerable agreement between him and Hoskins.

This is a stark contrast to Julia Slingo's infamous statement about the floods on the BBC, namely that "all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change", something that her own organisation denied. But in a way this is beside the point. Steel seems to want to take the view that any interview with Lawson that touches on the subject of AGW should carry a health warning.

When you think about it, the BBC's new position is going to put them in an utterly hilarious position. It will be possible for true things said by people like Lawson, to be preceded by a formal statement that they have "views that are not supported by the evidence [sic] from computer modelling and scientific research". At the same time incorrect things can be said by people like Julia Slingo, who will be introduced as those who have those evidence-supported views.

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly preposterous.

Looking on the bright side though, it is another nail in the coffin of the BBC.

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Reader Comments (69)

"Looking on the bright side though, it is another nail in the coffin of the BBC."
==========================================================

Don't hold your breath. The BBC's sole purpose - as is that of any bloated bureaucracy - is to protect itself, and it will do anything to do that.

I've just sent my third follow up letter to my original complaint to them in February, regarding their coverage of the Levels flooding. Which refused to mention the EU Wetlands Directives. Copied to the BBC Trust and my MP this time, having been fobbed off three times now - the first time, I got an answer, but not to the complaint I made, so I pulled them on that, and the later two both apologising and in reality hoping I'll go away. I won't.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Why would anyone such as Lawson appear on such terms? Hardly anyone would wish to appear on a programme while their views are essentially being described as incorrect. When someone quotes from an IPCC report, it is ludicrous to suggest that those quotes are incorrect. It is quite clear that if this judgement is followed we are going to be fed unchallenged propaganda. It will be viewed in the same way as pronouncements from the media in, say North Korea.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

The BBC definition of "science" is really just any academic (they largely ignore privately funded organisations).

So, what they really mean is this:

Any academic whether a geneticist like Nurse, or Medical researcher like Walport is free to say whatever they want DESPITE THEIR INCOMPETENCE TO SAY ANYTHING about the climate.

Any person who is not an academic is by their definition unqualified to speak on the science.

So, e.g. someone like me with a physics degree who has worked in the wind industry "worked" (unpaid) studying climate for six years and is qualified to speak on the history, economics and industrial impacts. Is deemed by them as not qualified to speak on the subject - merely by not being an academic.

Just to repeat that:
Nurse, Walport, Jones -- none of them have any qualifications to speak but are called "scientists" and get to speak at length about the climate.

Lawson has just as much relevant qualifications as the above (i.e. none), but ...
Montford (Chemist) and myself -- we are undoubtedly far far more qualified to speak on the subject than Nurse, Walport, Jones, have extensive experience in this area. But we are NOT ALLOWED TO BE HEARD solely because we are not part of the public-sector academic club.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:26 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The BBC gets £3,500 million from the public but behaves how it likes and pays little regard to the viewers. No matter how many complaints it receives about its "scientific" programmes or debates, it keeps singing the same old AGW song.

There is only one way to deal with the BBC and that is to get rid of its public funding!

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I suspect that the situation will remain unchanged until enough MPs are embarrassed enough by the ludicrous absurdities of the 'consensus' to begin questioning the whole subject. They may then also start to realise that the BBC are acting way over their Charter remit, and so effectively in contempt of Parliament. The BBC may then have to start behaving, if they want to maintain their license 'tax' funding (which is being increasingly questioned anyway). I know that quite a few 'ifs', and it will take time, but I think sustained pressure on our MPs to drop the consensus line (by demonstration of contrary real evidence) can be the most effective.

Jun 26, 2014 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

Turn it around on them. Next time an anti GMO activist appears complain demanding their views are belittled using this ruling as precedent. Once the BBC realise this ruling also applies to their greenie chums it will be dropped faster than a BBC exec packing a golden parachute.

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

I've modelled n-body systems in Lovelocks old Cybernetics department, guess that makes me more 'qualified' than Nurse or Walport...

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

What did Fraser Steel actually claim that Lord Lawson was incorrect about? Fraser Steel isn't personally qualified to judge whether Lord Lawson is right or wrong. So who did he consult when before arriving at his judgment. Might be time for an FOIA.

Hoskins: [Surface temperature] hasn’t risen very much over the last 10-15 years. If you measure the climate from the globally averaged surface temperature, during that time the excess energy has still been absorbed by the climate system and is being absorbed by the oceans.

Justin Webb: So it’s there somewhere?

Sir Brian Hoskins: Oh yes, it’s there in the oceans.

Lord Lawson: That is pure speculation.

Sir Brian Hoskins: No, it’s a measurement.

Lord Lawson: No, it’s not. It’s speculation.

As best I can tell, measurements of ocean heat content are not accurate enough to say that the heat which is "missing from the atmosphere" (say 0.3 degC of warming) can now be found in the ocean. The heat capacity of the atmosphere and mixed layer is so much smaller than the heat capacity of the deeper ocean, that the heat from 0.3 degC of missing warming (Hoskins calls this "excess energy") is probably undetectable given the noise and measurement uncertainty OHC. Lord Lawson should have admitted that ocean heat content has been increasing recently, but challenged any claim that the "missing heat" had been located. PreARGO measurements of OHC are so bad that no one can possibly show that the rate of heat uptake by the deep ocean has decreased in the past 15 years compared with the earlier decades with surface warming.

In all likelihood, Hoskin's' statement about measurement was wrong and criticism should be directed at him. The GWPF should investigate and challenge Steel's findings if the BBC can't even determine who is right after an "investigation".

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

@ Jeremy Poynton

"Looking on the bright side though, it is another nail in the coffin of the BBC."
==========================================================

"Don't hold your breath. The BBC's sole purpose - as is that of any bloated bureaucracy - is to protect itself, and it will do anything to do that."

Perhaps Andrew should have added "......(another nail in the coffin of the BBC) funded via the Telly Tax"

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

It's hardly surprising from the BBC when Newsnight is 'made by 13-year-olds', says Jeremy Paxman. It seems the Grauniad is taking over the BBC.

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:27 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Lawson always plays by the BBC rules (others do this too) when interviewed. Instead of holding the warmist view up to ridicule He states his position within the confines of the BBC mindset.
Marc Morano is the world expert in this regard and shows us all how it should be done.
I remember the intense disappointment when the Bishop himself appeared on Newnight. This was a golden opportunity to laugh in the faces of the BBC consensus but He appeared lukewarmish which does nothing for the cause - if anything it bolsters the opposition.
It's a bit like saying that extreme religious fundamentalism is something that isn't quite nice rather than exactly the same as fascism. Matt Ridley suffers from the same condition.
He writes well and raises some interesting issues but whenever He's been on the box He comes across as someone who thinks there's a problem with climate change but it's not as bad as all that dear.
With friends like Lawson and for that matter Matt Ridley who needs enemies?

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Climate science and climate policy should both be discussed in the media, but the difficulty comes when it is assumed (or claimed) that one automatically leads to the other.

Most people (including our host, and Lawson) agree on the basic points of the greenhouse effect and human influence on CO2 rise, and most people also agree that the future effects of these are massively uncertain. Trying to justify or criticise climate policy primarily on the basis of science is therefore futile - it all comes down to a matter of opinion on how much risk is acceptable from climate change and whether this justifies the policy.

Unlike the person who complained to the BBC, I don't have a problem with Lawson or anyone else being given air time to voice their opinions. If I were to have an issue with the debate on the Today programme, it would be that it kept being framed in terms of whether the science does or does not justify a particular course of action, instead of recognising the uncertainties and the different approaches to dealing with this (the presenter did make an attempt to start this line of discussion, but failed to get it going and didn't pursue it).

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

[..]the BBC, an organisation whose journalists seem to hold people with the letters PhD after their name in a certain awe.

But not so much awe that they actually employ writers and editors with science PhDs in preference to those who don't.

Fraser Steel has the problem that he simply doesn't have any credible internal employeees to turn to for advice. So the BBC are stuck with views filtered by environmental activists, both internal and external.

Their usual alternative is to seek the views of often self-promoting celebrity-academic pop scientists to shore up their image. I hope the BBC are trying to select more carefully than than they did with their DJs.

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The models say the heat should be in the atmosphere, but there has been no warming for 17 years therefore the models are wrong. The models don't say the heat is in the ocean. The fact that Lord Lawson's views are not supported by computer models does not counter his views. Get over to http://judithcurry.com/2014/06/25/model-structural-uncertainty-are-gcms-the-best-tools/ and http://judithcurry.com/2014/06/20/can-we-trust-climate-models/ where intelligent debate is going on and use that stuff in arguments about the climate, BBC and the warmist agenda. The deep understanding about the primitive understanding we have about climate is there and explicit.

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Most people (including our host, and Lawson) agree on the basic points of the greenhouse effect and human influence on CO2 rise, and most people also agree that the future effects of these are massively uncertain.

Richard, how can this possibly be true since Cook et al (2013) have proven beyond any doubt in the climate science community that 97% of scientists support the consensus and Dana has now said that this means >50% of the warming is caused by human activity and Eli Rabbit has said that this means BAD things WILL happen!

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Bishop you don' have enough nails and the BBC has a very big coffin.

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

The BBC have upheld a complaint regarding a single weather event allegedly caused by 'climate change' - for which there is not one shred of proof - by claiming computer models are 'evidence'.

That is simply astounding.

That's all we need to know to recognise (yet again) that their editorial position is totally biased, and ideological they're willing accomplices to reality-distorting green fraud.

Jun 26, 2014 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

" Trying to justify or criticise climate policy primarily on the basis of science is therefore futile"

Eh!! so policy shouldn't be based on the science?

Jun 27, 2014 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

"Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says, [...]


Erm...................... what?


You can see the problem here but it is nothing new at the BBC. Indeed the BBC is full of "shills" [polite euphemism], people who have learned little but seem to know less than that - talking out of their backsides concerning subjects of which they know naught - it is what the BBC does so well.

THE BBC, THE WHOLE DAMNED CORPORATION ARE ADVOCATES OF THE U.N. GREEN AGENDA, THEY CAN'T IMAGINE OBJECTIVITY LET ALONE PRACTICE IT: PRIVATIZE THE BBC NOW!

KILL IT [THE BBC] OFF - BEFORE IT BURIES BRITAIN THROUGH THE GREEN LUNACY.

Jun 27, 2014 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Mikehaseler - I completely agree with your post. Anyone outside the publicly funded academic club are not allowed to comment on the climate science, despite the evident incompetence of many of the people put up to discuss it. As you say, nurse, walport and may are all incompetent in the field of climate science as they are specialists from different fields. They add nothing to the debate when they speak, and are totally reliant on talking points fed to them by their underlings, many of whom know far less about the climate science field than the people posting on this site and at wattsupwithyou.

Obviously the bbc journalists with their art degrees are in complete awe of a guy with a science phd. I was like that when I was 18, thinking someone with a phd must have superhuman intelligence. However, having met a lot of people with PhDs now, the one impression they all give is how unspectacularly mediocre they all are. Certainly no brighter than a bright person with just a first degree. So to me, holding a PhDs does not, or should not, mean only your view is worth anything when talking about climate science, probably because the quality of research being done by many is not first class but decidedly upper second quality in many cases (I'm sure there are some truly brilliant people with PhDs, but I've never met them, and I think true brilliance is quite rare).

Jun 27, 2014 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAbc

Richard Betts - Trying to justify or criticise climate policy primarily on the basis of science is therefore futile

This should be explained to Paul Nurse, Brian Hoskins, John Gummer, Mark Walport, Ed Davey and the rest.

Criticising arguments for policy which are premised principally on the basis, not even of science, but of scientific authority, using the science, seems perfectly legitimate. Hoskins made a couple of statements -- about the frequency of extreme weather and ocean heat content -- which Lawson made perfectly reasonable responses to.

Jun 27, 2014 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Celebrity lectures on rural affairs irritate viewers, BBC is told

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/medianews/article4131220.ece

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/rural_impartiality/rural_impartiality.pdf

Jun 27, 2014 at 3:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

"Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says, "and I don't believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience … Furthermore the implication was that Lord Lawson's views on climate change were on an equal footing with those of Sir Brian." And they aren't. Sceptics have their place in the debate, Steel says in his provisional finding, but "it is important to ensure that such views are put into the appropriate context and given due (rather than equal) weight."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's the utterly blatant partisanship that I find extraordinary, even as one innured to our own ABC's partisanship. They are saying that the BBC has a "position" on a scientific (in this case) issue, and they will "weight" their broadcasts accordingly.

Since the BBC has zero scientific expertise, it has essentially picked a side in a controversial debate and announced that this is the line they will be pushing.

Now, nobody is suggesting that the BBC should be giving equal time to fringe viewpoints such as anti-vaxers or those who claim that coffee enemas cure cancer. But where there are real debates - the various shades of opinion about evolutionary theory is an example that comes to mind (and I don't mean the Biblical literalists) - who the hell are the BBC to decide in advance whose opinion should be given the most weight?

What's more, the notion of specifically stating that certain people's views are ipso facto worthless raises the question - why would you put them on air at all, if that is the case?

If they can't see the utter moral bankruptcy of this indefensible position, and get away with it, you might as well rename them Pravda and be done with it.

Jun 27, 2014 at 3:58 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

ah... those winter floods...

This edition of BBC Points West captured on YouTube for posterity is a nice example of the BBC's balance and objectivity in reporting events in Somerset.... /sarc.

One clear feature of the campaign waged by the BBC is the use of regional units to fire out "poop 'n scoot" propaganda and one cannot I think get too bogged down with squabbling about individual things (important as they are) like one edition of R4 Today. In the Points West edition linked above the intention to mislead is clearly deliberate.

The mendacity of the rashes of anti-fracking pieces simultaneously airing across regional units is just appalling.

It is not institutional bias - it's deliberate and undiluted proselytising / propaganda - both overt and by omission. Given the breadth and consistency of the effort one has to assume that the coverage of climate matters is tightly controlled by detailed editorial guidelines....

Starve the beast.

Nail in the coffin? -> better bring some sharpened fenceposts, garlic, silver bullets and holy water -> otherwise the lid will surely come off.

Jun 27, 2014 at 5:40 AM | Registered Commentertomo

After the infamous 28 meeting it was clear BBC editorial policy was set pro-warmist. Has such you can see how the alarmist would throw the toys out of the pram when the BBC should even allow Lawson on air. After all the have shown time and again their total intolerance for views other than their own, whilst should any one stray from the 'true path' by even the smallest amount the attack dogs are set on them. Now remind me again what this approach has to do with science!

Jun 27, 2014 at 6:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Bish, You said that the BBC holds those with a Ph.D in awe and never questions scientists let alone climate scientists.

Their best science reporter was David Whitehouse Ph.D who certainly did ask awkward questions of scientists which often led him into difficulties because the other science reporter was so establishment (I was a secretary at the BBC until recently).

Dr Whitehouse once told me that he was told not to call himself, or have anyone else call him, Dr on air. He said the reasons for this were twofold. First because listeners would think he was a medical doctor, and secondly because it would annoy other reporters who did not have a Ph.D.

No wonder he left.

Jun 27, 2014 at 6:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBSB

You can get the measure of the standards at the BBC and its “journalists” by watching a recent “Countryfile”, from South Wales – girl presenter interviewing a local, who recalls what that green valley was like at the height of the coal industry, when the river ran black with coal dust: “All you could hear from the river was the fish coughing,” quoth he.
“Really?!” she replied, utterly convinced that what he was saying was true!

Needless to say, he immediately realised how dim she was, and backtracked, told her it was a joke, and refrained from joking any more.

Jun 27, 2014 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

On a side note that Bob 'fast fingers ' Ward is making great thing about being 'leaked ' the information early is both ironic given the number of times he has attacked others for using 'leaked' information and funny given that Bob got his 'fast fingers' for the unethical practice of CIF in leaking a blog to Bob before publication so that he would get his attack in early .
The fact this blog was the results of CIF's own MB going total OTT and so CIF looking to save themselves a court case , just adds to the irony .

Jun 27, 2014 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Denying people who disagree with the interpretations of the evidence access to air time surely doesn't fit with the strategic aims of the climate scientists to communicate the science. Hoskins, who famously approved the papers chosen by the UEA for review by Oxburgh, asserted the OHC had increased, Lawson said it was speculation, this was Hoskin's big opportunity, he could simply have cited the source of his assertion and put Lawson down. Why didn't he?

What this ruling effectively means is that someone who opposes government policy on climate change, even if they are quoting the IPCC reports in support of their political agenda, will not be given air time on the BBC.

If I have a fear about the future for my grandchildren it is that the facsist bastards that call themselves "progressive" will complete their attempt to get a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives.

Jun 27, 2014 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

RR 0656. The only really good rural affairs correspondent lost her job after winning an out-of-court settlement for sexual harassment. She sometimes appears on a freelance basis (paid a pittance) while her ex-tormentor continues in post. Her contributions are startlingly noticeable by her knowledge and quality of reporting.

Jun 27, 2014 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Look on the bright side; at least the BBC makes a distinction between computer modelling on the one hand, and scientific research on the other. Isn't that a start? A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!

Jun 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Roy, see:

"Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says

edit: Ahh.. were you being glib?

The incessant conflation of model data and the gathering of scientific evidence really gets my goat. Computer models don't produce evidence.

"I think, therefore it is" is the epitome of pseudo-scientific reasoning, but it seems to get a free pass every time.

Jun 27, 2014 at 8:34 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Dr Betts,

I always welcome your comments which I find thoughtful. I guess the difficulty that you face is that Lord Blaby's comment about the heat going into the Ocean as being mere speculation was 100% correct. We all know that you understand this, but unfortunately you (like most other "establishment scientists") are unable to say this fact. Like many other commenters have mentioned - until you and your peers are able to do this debate is unlikely to move on from the current politically charged state. I wonder how you feel personnally about this?

Kind Regards

Jun 27, 2014 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurious from Cleathropes

Thanks for your comment, Richard. You said:

Climate science and climate policy should both be discussed in the media, but the difficulty comes when it is assumed (or claimed) that one automatically leads to the other.

Most people (including our host, and Lawson) agree on the basic points of the greenhouse effect and human influence on CO2 rise, and most people also agree that the future effects of these are massively uncertain. Trying to justify or criticise climate policy primarily on the basis of science is therefore futile - it all comes down to a matter of opinion on how much risk is acceptable from climate change and whether this justifies the policy.

I mostly agree with you, but then we see statements like this (in the recent UCL report Time for Change, p92)

Climate science offers a stark message: that to avoid serious future risks, rapid transformative action is required to reconfigure the world’s energy generation system, the economic system and global political practices.

which looks rather prescriptive to me (ironically, in a report that says that it rejects the 'linear model' and calls for dialogue in which 'all participants have useful contributions to make.'). Advocating policy on the 'basis of science' does not seem to receive the sort of criticism that criticising it does.

Jun 27, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

It's hardly surprising from the BBC when Newsnight is 'made by 13-year-olds', says Jeremy Paxman. It seems the Grauniad is taking over the BBC.

Jun 26, 2014 at 10:27 PM | Phillip Bratby
==================================================

And of course the Graun receives large amounts of public funding through the public sector ads placed there. Pickles said this was going to stop, as they are all online. He's done nothing. I wrote to him a while back regarding this, and did not even receive an acknowledgement. And the political classes wonder at the rising tide of hatred for them. Even those you might think are on your side are not.

Jun 27, 2014 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Did anyone see the remarkable new solar panel developed by a Turkish goat herdsman, which according to Dougal Shaw (BBC Technology reporter), can generate 5-7kW !

Where donkeys power the internet - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28002064

Jun 27, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

@ Simon Hopkinson

I hardly thought I would need to point out that my remarks were made tongue in cheek when I implied that if you take the BBC's statement literally it implicitly acknowledges a distinction between computer modelling and scientific research because otherwise the former would be included in the latter.

Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Did anyone just hear Tim Yeo on Today rubbishing the National Audit Office to keep the risk free renewables gravy train on track ?

Jun 27, 2014 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

@ lapogus

The idea of attaching solar panels to donkeys is quite intriguing. We have much to learn from fast developing countries like Turkey. If I were a Welsh hill farmer I would think about asking if there would be any government money for attaching small solar panels to the backs of sheep. The electricity could be used for recharging mobile phone batteries that would also be carried by the sheep. Sheep dogs could round up the sheep before the sun goes down so the fully-charged batteries could be retrieved and given back to the phone owners who, of course, would have a second battery to power their phones while the first one was being carried around by a sheep somewhere on some hillside.

If this plan were adopted the energy used in recharging batteries would be 100% green and there would be no need for people to buy rechargers.

Jun 27, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I'm still to see anyone show that anything lawson said was scientifically incorrect?

Regardless - Its a ridiculous proposition - "caution, the following statement is not supported by computer modelling" immediately followed by "the computer models are bollocks" :)

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterlord voldemort

If I have a fear about the future for my grandchildren it is that the facsist bastards that call themselves "progressive" will complete their attempt to get a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives.

As I grind my teeth, at this miasma of lies, misdirection and propaganda, in reading your words so do I empathize in your angst geronimo.

"the fascist bastards" never went away, as you say they now call themselves "progressives" and unfortunately for anyone living on the Euro end of the Eurasian continent - "the fascist bastards" are still running the show out of Brussels but ably abetted by those clowning idiots in Westminster and beyond.

Finding, seeking the dissolution to all of the above is proving beyond the capabilities of right minded individuals, finally, short of a civil rebellion - I'm not sure if there is a solution, it is getting too late in the day.

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"Lord Lawson's views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research," Steel says, "and I don't believe this was made sufficiently clear to the audience …"

The first thing is, i suppose, just what "evidence" do we get from a computer model? The second is that it was Prof. Hoskins, who, albeit hedged with get-outs, who said, in the face of the IPCC SREX report that weather pattern and intense weather events were proof of global warming. He also said that the world was still warming but the heat was going into the oceans, which, as Lord Lawson rightly pointed out, was "pure speculation".

Richard Betts. I agree that policy shouldn't be driven by the science alone, but it is. Any discussion on policy is peppered with "scientists say..." stories of upcoming catastrophes. Prof Hoskins himself continually used (I must say "dodgy") science to support his case. In all progressive news outlets "science" trumps all arguments about policy. Except of course if the science doesn't support a progressive political agenda, then it's wrong and produced by "quacks". Lawson is concerned about the policy of trying to reduce CO2 using expensive and inefficient energy source. Personally I wouldn't give climate change the time of the day if it wasn't instrumental in driving western industrial countries to adopt madcap anti-business and anti-industrial solutions to the problem. It is just a personal belief, but if we'd have accepted the outcome of IPCC TAR and accepted the "science was settled" we'd be much nearer a realistic renewable energy solution if we had diverted the money from trying to find out more about the climate to pursuing the goal of energy production using nuclear fusion.

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

@Roy

If I were a Welsh hill farmer I would think about asking if there would be any government money for attaching small solar panels to the backs of sheep.

Perhaps for Welsh sheep it would be better to attach a wind turbine to their backs. They could then also attach buckets to the rear end to collect the biofuel ! DECC should offer subsidies of £1000 per sheep per year. Money well spent I say !

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterClive Best

Clive Best

A directional auto feeder on the herd leader as well, to direct them to the peak with the most wind.

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

"What's more, the notion of specifically stating that certain people's views are ipso facto worthless raises the question - why would you [the BBC] put them on air at all, if that is the case?"

Johanna, the BBC have often given me the impression that they may actually believe the usual accusations that sceptics are merely the creation of evil scheming big-oil.

That Nigel Lawson must therefore be treated as such, is probably best viewed in that light. When I used to listen to the radio more regularly, the BBC often seemed distracted by the funding sources of the GWPF, apparently ignorant of the pre-existence of other sceptical voices, and wholly ignorant of the arguments.

Jun 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I am perplexed as to why the sceptical side does not make more of the very large numbers of qualified scientists who are also sceptical. For example there is this open letter:

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/11/29/open-climate-letter-to-un-secretary-general-current-scientific-knowledge-does-not-substantiate-ban-ki-moon-assertions-on-weather-and-climate-say-125-scientists/

from 134 scientists to Ban Ki Moon. Interestingly, only 6 of the signatories are British and none of those has a university post although the majority of the others do. One interpretation of this would be that it is more difficult in a British university setting to hold sceptical views than elsewhere. Another would be that it is more difficult to be appointed to a post in a British university if you fail to sign up to the 'consensus'.

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commenteranthony thompson

"I am perplexed as to why the sceptical side does not make more of the very large numbers of qualified scientists who are also sceptical. For example there is this open letter:"
Jun 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM | anthony thompson

Oh for crying out loud. They're not 'qualified scientists'. Most of them have little or nothing to do with climate science. Their opinions on the subject carry no more weight that those of the person in the street.

What is it with deniers and their almost total inability to do even the most basic fact checking for anything they think supports them?

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

@ Roy: "I hardly thought I would need to point out [..]"

Ahh, but I'm only one and a half coffees into today, so far. I'll try to be quiet until I have a full head of steam :-D

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Phillip Bratby: Thanks for the link to the report on Jeremy Paxman. A key pointer to what's happening.

I'm coming to this late but I agree with Ben Pile's critique of what Richard Betts said. Lawson was spot on in his response on ocean heat and it matters. Future risk is a matter of human perception and the sad fact is 'science' (so-called) has been used to build up perceived risk in the minds of multitudes of human beings without proper empirical foundation. Lawson did his best to scotch two small aspects of that and in so doing he was acting as (or at least on behalf of) a true scientist. The BBC needs much more such commentary.

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Desperation again as the Climateloonies resort to spin and misrepresentation again and base their argument around logical fallacy. The BBC's argument here is purely the logical Fallacy of Argument from Authority ie that a statement is true because of the person making it rather than the actual evidence & logic. Best illustrated by the small boy in the Emperors new clothes story. When I look at Green movement webpages the same fallacy is the desperate cornerstone : the validated science does not support their dogma of certainty in CAGW so PR tricks are used. *
1. It is not good to have speculate without full info, before the report is released.
2. If this is a genuine leak, then someone has broken the law and is usurping the proper process and there needs to be an investigation.
3. Expert opinion is just opinion and is not the same as truth : which is what proper validated science is.
4. Actually in this case Expert Hoskins was incorrect there is no proper validated science that says the heat has been found in the oceans, whereas Expert Lawson did quote the proper truth "that's just speculation"
5. Since it is the fallacy of argument from authority there are not two different levels of opinion which automatically divide ie non scientist and scientist, as the truth can come from any source eg the small boy, or more often someone who has experience compared to a mere acadaemic. (Who can tell you more about the way French is spoken a 1st year lecturer at Bristol Polytechnic or the average Frenchman who has speaking French 50 years ?)
* 6. The desperate green movement seeks to push alternate reality to push it's dogma. They first take measures to misrepresent science saying all scientists support CAGW theory, which is ridiculous as it's easy to find dozens who don't Curry, Christy, Tim Ball, Spencer, Bob Carter etc. They then shout see (our carefully selected) "scientists say"... and the naive/compliant media FAIL to challenge.
- Now people with experience and expertise are valuable and deserve more airtime thsn others ie experts can lead us to evidence and logic, they don't have to be titled 'scientist. However the Green-loons are so short of experts supporting them they have to somehow find a way exclude EXPERTS/AUTHORITIES who don't support their dogma. So they use dirty techniques to exclude other opinions and expertise, by pretending "only scientists opinions count". Having pushed forward their fallacy they seek to exploit it by pretending that anything that comes out of the mouths of their carefully selected scientists from outside the field like biologists and geneticists also has some special weight. Wrong people like Rowlatt, Steve Jones opinion is no more valid that the mans on the street.. And they should not be given airtime. whereas people like Carter, Montford, Lawson, Ridly can lead us to evidence and arguments so shhould be aired on the BBC more. when a new computer virus comes out the BBC are quite right to air an expert with his tips, they don't exclude him on the grounds "he's not a scientist". exoect such logical contradictions will be found by people analysing the BBC's report when it comes out.And then it should be appealed otherwise the BBC will remain a laughing stock.

Jun 27, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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