Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > BBC & Media Bias re :climate/energy/green issues thread

Alan Kendall, the reason that AGW swamped all other ideas is not science but economic resources.
This is a bit off topic but you are asking why the BBC didn't ask the right questions at the time and this is the reason, I think.

AGW only became newsworthy when it affected policy. That means the BBC (and all the rest of the media) only got on board when the UNFCCC made its Rio announcement.
But the UNFCCC had already decided AGW was a catastrophic and irreversible problem and we needed to act now to stop it. They called this the Precautionary Principle. The Cautionary principle says “look at the evidence and act accordingly”. The Precautionary Principle claims that the evidence can’t be spotted until it’s too late. So we had news, and policy before we had the evidence.

Now all the money was going on proving that the policy was right. Climatology was not a big player in academia but now it suddenly had money, publicity and importance (saving the world). But only the parts of climatology that were on board with the UNFCCC. The normal rules of science did not apply. It couldn’t self-correct.

Consider the analogous position of farmers in Afghanistan. They may know that growing opium isn’t right. They may know that they are going to be crushed by the global powers, one day. But for now it just pays so much more than growing wheat. All the world’s superpowers can’t stop them growing opium.

"if someone came up with definitive evidence that disproves AGW, wouldn't they have published it? Wouldn't they have gained fame and prestige from publishing, wouldn't the journal publishing it also get due recognition? Wouldn't environmentalists and politicians be eager to adopt the implications of the work - no necessity to cover the landscape with ugly wind turbines, no need to cover the costs of switching away from fossil fuels."
If that was the case then the questions, “Why isn’t this just the opposite of what caused the LIA? Why isn’t this just what caused the MWP?” would have been published and the story would have died.

May 11, 2016 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Why don't people go against supposed orthodoxy on CAGW ? #1 Fear I suppose

So doubters stay in the closet, Climate skepticsm is the new gay.

May 11, 2016 at 12:32 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

M. Courtney. No I wasn't really asking why the BBC wasn't more sceptical. I accept your view that when AGW became newsworthy, the pattern was already set. What I question is why the scientific establishment was so quickly and completely taken over? This might form the basis of an explanation for how and why other institutions, like the BBC were converted to the cause? In turn, an explanation might inform how the present bias might be overturned.

May 11, 2016 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

It was all going to plan until 1998
"in the years after 1998, their predicted rise in temperature came virtually to a halt. "
..and some people started to say ..why didn't they admit 1997-98 wasan El Nino year ?
Around that time there would have been a big 'narrative controlled' IPCC meeting
COP3 "the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997"

May 11, 2016 at 2:44 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Alan Kendall, The root cause goes back to the adoption of the Precautionary Principle.
The Precautionary Principle is illogical and can be used to justify anything. And it was adopted by the UNFCCC.
That let the money flow.

But why was the Precautionary Principle adopted?
I've no idea. Maybe it was fear?
The unknown is scary.

But I will note that a virulent disease can spread rapidly through a population if it has a powerful vector with no immunity to it. That vector was money. There was no immunity.

Once the Precautionary Principle was adopted by the UNFCCC the game was over for real, questioning science.

May 11, 2016 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

BBC Costing The earth managed to do a new episode The Sun King of China lionising Huang Ming, he employs 3000 people in solar research

Maybe someone can listen and check if the prog mentioned the giant failing Chinese solar corps Hanergy and Yingli Green Energy Holding who employed more people
(news for Yingli from 1 hour ago Yingli Green Says It Probably Can't Repay Debts Due Thursday

May 11, 2016 at 3:13 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

There was also the lack of any meaningful data or the resources to analyse it before the political establishment took over.

It takes someone with enough experience to understand the real situation, have enough prestige for others to give their support, to be financially secure enough to pay next month's mortgage and see that there is an opportunity that might succeed.

Climate Science is still a young discipline, and back then very few had the spread of knowledge to be an all rounder and be confident to force a change of heart. It was easier just to go with the general flow and focus on their speciality, their well known fraction of the puzzle, and be invited to international meetings.

And then there is the Precautionary Principle!

It happens in the Private Sector, but usually the problem does not persist for as long, as the company goes bust! Even there, there can be public money to prolong the misery.

May 11, 2016 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Nearly forgot: so few people in politics or reporters have any knowledge of Science, Engineering, Auditing, Business, Human Behaviour or Economics in the Real World. Quite often the questions asked are about basic technology and not the options available, or even the basic questions are based on a very poor understanding.

I think that, at least historically, with pension provision being so closely linked to Final Salary and the employer, it is easy to travel within your comfort zone until retirement, and by that time it is often too late

May 11, 2016 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

But where are UK journalists on the political spectrum? as Reuters in a new PDF page 12


We asked journalists to choose a point on a scale
from 0 to 10 (where 0 was left, 10 was right, and 5 was centre) that was closest to their own political stance. Our results show that the single most chosen point on the scale was the centrist 5, with 24% of journalists choosing that position. A little over half (53%) chose a position to the left of centre and 23% to the
right of centre

(When they check the figs for senior managers its' 42%, 27%, 32% )

Women are 65% of journalists with less than 2 years experience
The women trail off, so by 30 years experience the proportions are reversed.

May 11, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Science news is spoonfed to the media hence little proper criticism.

"Next, with 24 reporters, was ‘Technology and Science’, although the emphasis was heavily on technology. Only four journalists gave science as a specialism (0.6% of our total sample). Given the challenges of covering such a fast-moving and complex topic, and the importance of science in society – from climate change to cloning – it is something of an indictment of journalism in the UK that there are not more science journalists."

However, says Connie St Louis*, Director of the Science Journalism MA at City University London

the scientific community too deserves criticism. Its strategy has been to systematically hire an ever increasing number of science public relations experts, many of them former science journalists, who are now paid to propagate and translate its findings and produce large amounts of material to highlight novel findings and discoveries, which leaves little space for the few science journalists to call science to account thereby fulfilling its [journalism’s] key ‘critical friend’ role.
(* not the #1 reliable source in the world)

May 11, 2016 at 4:00 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

styewgreen interesting. From the Executive Summary alone we get this:

• Journalists are less religious than the general population and a smaller proportion claim membership of the Muslim,Hindu, and Christian faiths.
• UK journalism has a significant diversity problem in terms of ethnicity, with black Britons, for example, under-represented by a factor of more than ten.
It seems obvious that the two points are related.

I suggest that it's the irreligiousity that drives the recruitment practice.

My tendentious supposition comes from the disproportionate number of noon-homosexuals that engage in the Arts. They feel most threatened by passionate religious belief (which is traditionally not keen on their lifestyle). The Arts are more closely linked to Journalism than STEM because journos need words not numbers.

What does this have to do with our main topic?
Well, we've recognised that journalists aren't good at Science. But I'm suggesting that they have a sub-culture that doesn't reference any framework for moral belief - save working it out for yourself.
That is likely to be more vulnerable to crusading Greens ideologies.
Loving the planet is actually a good thing, after all.

May 11, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Re Costing The Earth "Hi stew, no mention of fails or how small solar PV is in china, did ( rightfully ) push solar hot water & mentioned it’s use in cooling" @saveenergy May 11, 2016 3:16 pm

May 11, 2016 at 4:20 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

M. Courtney (3.02pm) A reasonable explanation, yet I'm not convinced (and neither I think are you). Most good scientists I know, and especially those with reputations, are pretty independent critters and view any new fangled interpretations with considerable suspicion (after all it used to be said that the old generation of scientists would have to die off before any real advances could be made). Why did the innate cussedness of older scientists not work to stifle the fledgling and flawed early ventures of AGW. I speculate that it may have been due to1) the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and 2) its reliance on super complicated computer modelling, that the establishment previously had little experience with. With no checks and balances from the old guard, the new turks were given free reign. By the time distinguished scientists raised objections, it was too late.

May 11, 2016 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Why did the innate cussedness of older scientists not work to stifle the fledgling and flawed early ventures of AGW

Your two options sound right.
But that happened in a few fields at the same time. They may be necessary but are not sufficient.
What made Climate Science unique was that the funding levels increased 10-fold overnight. That meant that the young guard greatly outnumbered the old. Whole department's worth of people came along at once.

That's not how science normally works. Normally the employment gaps have to be fought for. And the fight proves the ideas.
Yet not in this case.

May 11, 2016 at 4:52 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M. Courtney. Yes, but now we have to explain why funding of new academic positions came along like gangbusters. My suspicions here point towards politics, and especially UN politics.

I still find it extraordinary that the old guard were so asleep at the wheel. They would still have been in powerful positions. Was it that money, in the form of research grants, departmental expansion and the like, were just so enticing?

May 11, 2016 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall
The discussions here move rapidly and I'm too busy being retired to respond at the time.

EM's problem, however, is that there are other valid explanations for climate change, not least amongst them that the changes are entirely natural, with human effects being minor at most.

My reasons for being sceptical about Man's influence on climate being barely discernible if not actually undetectable are that there is no no answer to my list of parameters.
These are
Has the global temperature been higher in the past?
Has the global temperature been lower in the past?
Has there been more Arctic Ice in the past?
Has there been less Arctic Ice in the past?
Has there been more Antarctic Ice in the past?
Has there been less Antarctic Ice in the past?
Has there been more summer snow and ice cover in the past?
Has there been less summer snow and ice cover in the past?

You can make a much longer list, but you get the idea. You don't even have to go back further than the start of the current interglacial to get the yes answers. If you insert the word "very" between "been" and "more/less" in these questions then going back to the start of the last interglacial covers that base. Going back to the start of the last interglacial is barely scratching the surface of the history of Earth.

Until the BBC and its experts, or Entropic can explain why the warm blip of the last 30 years and its 15 year pause is down to man I will remain a sceptic.

May 11, 2016 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

The answers to your questions do not impact on whether humans influence the climate. We have already been through this exercise elsewhere, and I argued that on both a local and global scale our activities must influence factors that control the climate.

It is the importance of this influence that is more important. I don't believe we can even identify any effect, presumably because natural effects overwhelm human's puny influence. I believe this because I see no difference in the way temperatures (or other climatic variables) have changed in time intervals before and after humans started to markedly alter the CO2 composition of the atmosphere. Furthermore the "pause" is devastating to the AGW hypothesis. It should be dead and buried. We can only hope it will be soon.

May 11, 2016 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Mr K.: “…humans started to markedly alter the CO2 composition of the atmosphere.” Can you be sure that statement is correct? Could it not be possible that the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere be entirely natural? While what you say could be correct, has it yet been determined that there could be no other cause for the rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere? Given that there could be doubt as to the cause of the rise, why concede the point as a “known” fact?

May 11, 2016 at 10:11 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR. Although it has been challanged, the link between our emissions and changes in atmospheric CO2 are extremely strong. The correlation is one of the strongest I have ever seen. In addition, changes in carbon isotopic compositions are consistent with the addition of "old" carbon (ie fossil fuel carbon) rather than any involvement of the biosphere.

I don't think this is a sceptical argument that can be won, and actually it doesn't really matter.

May 11, 2016 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall

I plotted GISTEMP from 1970.

I included a linear regression and approximate 95% confidence limits.

I also plotted the "pause" from 1998 to the present, as a linear regression and 95% confidence limits. Since the post 1998 regression started and ended with El Nino years, the effect of ENSO is cancelled out.

The difference between the two regressions is so small that I have trouble even accepting the existance of an ongoing pause.

Incidentally, stewgreen will be complaining that we are going off topic. As M Courtney has pointed out, I have become reluctant to argue science on other threads, because of complaints about offthreading. Shall I start another science thread?

May 11, 2016 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM. Why do you reject what even Phil Jones acknowledged to be true? You can do all the statistical trickery you like, I look at a temperature curve (with all that is wrong with it), observe in it a flattening since around 1998, and reach my own conclusions.

The public (and the Daily Mail) are not so easily fooled these days.

The BBC currently would love your attitude re climate change. Are you telegenic?

Last parts, I admit, deliberately added to conform to the thread ethos. Ignore at will.

May 12, 2016 at 6:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Backtrack like mad EM, according to a report in WUWT, even Mann proceeds on the basis that there has been a demonstrable slowdown in warming (the closest he could presumably get to writing "the pause").

I wonder how the media will cover this story? See moderator, relevance to the thread established.

May 12, 2016 at 7:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan Kendall
Remember that man isn't the only living thing that has made localised changes to the environment.

May 12, 2016 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I have given up caring about the relevance of the radiative forcing of a stale pork pie. Nothing much has happened, that didn't happen before.

If climate science had the honesty to admit past mistakes, and their appalling track record about covering up past mistakes, climate scientists might be worth listening to. Until then, they might aswell argue about factoring the importance of teapot design and construction, into reading tea leaves.

May 12, 2016 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

SandyS. I am puzzled. What could you be thinking of? The best candidate I can think of on the fly is termites that cause methane emissions. Elephants used to affect large areas of savannah by uprooting trees, so maintaining parkland, but sadly no more. You surely cannot be referring to coral reefs controlling atmospheric CO2, because this hypothesis has long been trashed? Beavers increase wetlands, but sufficiently to cause local climate change.

No you will have to help me out here, I admit (temporarily) defeat.

Ahah reread your comment, you changed the subject from climate to environment. Well yes, but combined the biosphere makes geomorphological changes that are less, by an order of magnitude, than what humans do.

I still don't understand the point you are making.

May 12, 2016 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall