Coffee House

Another BBC scandal: hiding their climate change agenda

11 November 2012

1:53 PM

11 November 2012

1:53 PM

While the BBC struggles to deal with its recent bout of self-proclaimed ‘shoddy journalism’, there’s another ethical scandal simmering away. The simple question of ‘who decides how the BBC covers climate change’ has a rather complicated answer. In 2006, the BBC Trust held a seminar entitled ‘Climate Change  the Challenge to Broadcasting’. As m’colleague James Delingpole has written at Telegraph Blogs, the seminar appeared to be far from a healthy debate. One of those in attendance, conservative commentator Richard D North, has gone public with his take on the event:

‘I found the seminar frankly shocking, The BBC crew (senior executives from every branch of the Corporation) were matched by a equal number of specialists, almost all (and maybe all) of whom could be said to have come from the ‘we must support Kyoto’ school of climate change activists…
I was frankly appalled by the level of ignorance of the issue which the BBC people showed.,I mean that I heard nothing which made me think any of them read any broadsheet newspaper coverage of the topic (except maybe the Guardian and that lazily).

‘Though they purported to be aware that this was an immensely important topic, it seemed to me that none of them had shown even a modicum of professional curiosity on the subject … I spent the day discussing the subject and I don’t recall anyone showing any sign of having read anything serious at all.
I argued at the seminar that I thought most broadcasting coverage on climate change was awful. But I also said there was no need for them to become self-conscious about it, This was because, although the issues were scientifically, politically and economically difficult, the BBC’s reporting of the thing would improve as soon as their audience was asked to vote or pay for climate change policy.’

Curious environmental blogger Tony Newbery filed a Freedom of Information request to the Beeb to find out if these accusations were true by asking who were the 28 participants at this seminar. The BBC refused to release the information, citing the seminar was a journalistic endeavour and afforded the protection of sources by law. This is a get-out clause the organisation has used in the past on questioning of their commercial arm BBC Worldwide.


Newbery disagreed and took on the corporation in an information tribunal. Sadly, as the Register reported a few days ago, Newbery has lost his legal battle. Although the blogger is considering an appeal against the settlement, it looks unlikely we will ever find out the names of these individuals who had a mysterious hand in how the BBC should cover climate matters.  The organisation went to some extreme efforts to protect the identity of the attendees. From the court session, the Register reports that the BBC was represented at the tribunal by six lawyers, including a cross-examination of Helen Boaden, Auntie’s Head of News who is also tied up in the Jimmy Simmy/Newsnight saga.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. At a time when one of Britain’s great institutions is under huge pressure to appear transparent and open to public scrutiny, trying to cover up their decision making is the wrong approach. Whether you agree with the BBC’s coverage or not, it is a tax-funded organisation with strict orders to be balanced. If it has decided against balance, on one of the biggest questions, the public have a right to know why. If the BBC is to acquire a new broom, this is one area of the corporation that deserves a good sweep.

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Show comments
  • Bazbulldog

    The List of Names the BBC Did Not Want You to See Scientist Exposed by Climategate Set BBC Policy

  • Mark Raven

    2006???? Is this the most recent climate scandal you can cook up?

    • dodgy

      Well, it broke Monday. Did you need a new one for every day of the week?

      Actually, the scandal is not about climate. It’s about the BBC changing an editorial line away from providing equal balance as their Charter requires, then lying about the justification for this when asked, and then spending a lot of money trying to cover up the lie, and finally being detected.

      The ‘senior scientists policy advisory committee’ is obviously nothing of the sort. They changed their line, then claimed that they had taken proper advice which recommended this, and pretended that their last climate jolly was where this happened. It is impossible to believe that no minutes would be taken of such an important decision, even if individuals needed to remain anonymous.

      Now we have found out that the ‘advisory committee’ did not even include the Met Office. How can that be? And half of the ‘specialists’ were activists with job titles like ‘Advocacy Director’.

      That wasn’t an ‘advisory committee’ – it was an activist conference, which was claimed to be an advisory committee in retrospect, and then made secret to prevent anyone finding this out.

  • didymous
  • Bogs_Dollocks

    The secret BBC list of the 28 members of the climate change seminar has now been found, at a public site, and exposed.

    Instead of scientists, it was a gaggle of activists.

    • Richard

      Thanks for finding it, but have you actually read it? There are some scientists, some activists, a representative of BP, someone from the CBI, even someone from the US embassy under the Bush government! A wide range of attitudes was clearly represented. So much for the accusation that this was a narrow clique. Why on earth the BBC didn’t just publish it I can’t imagine. It completely disposes of these accusations.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        The idea being that the BBC used this meeting as cover for adoption of an editorial policy that sceptic opinions did not need to be aired, the debate being over. That is why the meeting was stuffed with people who agreed with that pre-determined conclusion. If it were the case that different views were expressed, then how was the conclusion reached? There is only one detectable sceptic on the list. His report is that he was horrified at the ignorance of some of the attendees, who were uninformed about sceptic positions.

        The objection, the reason for the FIOA, is that BBC editorial policy ought not to be decided in that way, secretly. The BBC claimed, indeed testified, that the meeting was under Chatham House Rules. It was not, the sponsoring organisation in fact published the list of attendees at the time.

        So, who thinks BBC policy ought to be decided at a secret meeting, whoever attended? Who thinks the BBC should misrepresent that meeting in order to defend the list of attendees to the extent of testifying (on oath?, I don’t know) to the Chatham House lie?

        • Richard

          But sceptic opinions are frequently aired on the BBC. The policy you are describing has never existed. Or are you demanding that they should not only be aired but be given a dominant position?

          • Rhoda Klapp

            That is not my impression. However, the policy also involves putting the ‘beyond-dispute’ climate case into drama, comedy, nature programmes and all. It is not just that a sceptic might occasionally be on question time and get one chance only to be shut out by Dimbleby. It is the whole thing. I am demanding nothing. I merely observe that there is a sceptic case and nobody gets the opportunity to make it. And you may not be aware why. The sceptic case such as it is puts the CAGW case in doubt. It insists on a realistic levels of uncertainty. It does not (usually) state that there is no AGW, no greenhouse effect, no 20th century warming. Just that it is overblown and poorly supported by evidence. The BBC policy is to suppress that expression of doubt because it destroys the agenda of urgency. One cannot support ‘we must all act now!’ on the basis of a doubtful assertion. That is why there must be no debate. It is not that the sceptics have no case, but that the sceptic case might disrupt the whole bandwagon.

            • Richard

              But it simply isn’t true that ‘nobody gets the opportunity to make it’. I have heard it made on ‘Home Planet’, ‘Costing the Earth’, ‘The Moral Maze’, ‘Any Questions’, ‘Newsnight’, ‘Question Time’ and so on. I’ve heard it made by polemicists like Melanie Phillips and James delingpole, politicians like Nigel Lawson, specialist journalists like Richard D North (present at this seminar) and scientists like Philip Stott. And if we are talking about entertainment programmes, what about ‘Top Gear’? It cuts both ways. Environmentalists are often mocked. And the unquestioned assumption in business reports is generally pro-consumerism and pro-growth.
              Of course, in terms of the field of expertise, the ‘sceptical’ case is a minority case, and you don’t think the coverage should suggest otherwise, do you?

          • Bogs_Dollocks

            “But sceptic opinions are frequently aired on the BBC. ”


      • Bogs_Dollocks

        It is now clear that the BBC policy was set by a gaggle of activists with a vested interest in mis-representing man-made climate change as a well established fact.

        Only three of the participants are scientists. Only one of the participants could be called a climatologist – climate scientists.

    • JamesTennant

      I couldn’t really understand the hysteria about this list and it does seem baffling that the BBC didn’t just publish it. They shot themselves in the foot.
      Accepting the reality of anthropomorphic climate change would mean that you also have to accept that the world requires a policy response that is communal or socialist in nature. Continuous attempts to keep up the facade and pretend its a big globally co-ordinated conspiracy look increasingly desperate and pathetic.
      Can Sebastian Payne now run a blog/news post laying out the facts?

      • Rhoda Klapp

        “Accepting the reality of anthropomorphic climate change would mean that
        you also have to accept that the world requires a policy response that
        is communal or socialist in nature.”

        Problem is, some of us think that socialistically-inclined folks are looking at that the other way round, the as a socialist response is required it is politic to accept the reality of anthropomorphic climate change, and as such they do not examine the arguments supporting it too closely or accept too easily criticisms thereof.

        • JamesTennant

          I think that you have a point. Many on the ‘left’ have been as eager to promote AGW without really looking too closely at the facts as those on the ‘right’ have been to dismiss it out of hand. It tells you a lot about the nature of some people’s beliefs. This article is a good take on that issue: “The research showed, for example, that those who value both rank and individualism — known as “hierarchical individualists” in social-science speak — are inherently more skeptical of environmental risks. “Such people intuitively perceive that widespread acceptance of such risks would license restrictions on commerce and industry, forms of behavior that hierarchical individualists value,” the researchers noted. “In contrast, people who hold an egalitarian, communitarian world-view — one favoring less regimented forms of social organization and greater collective attention to individual needs — tend to be morally suspicious of commerce and industry, to which they attribute social inequity. They therefore find it congenial to believe those forms of behavior are dangerous and worthy of restriction.””
          But that does not mean AGW is a nonsense or for that matter every time it is discussed or debated (at the BBC or elsewhere) we need a 50/50 (or so) balance between those that are willing to accept the facts and those that aren’t.
          I often wonder, if you genuinely believe that AGW is a socialist conspiracy, do you ever suspend your disbelief for a minute and think ‘but what happens if it is true?’

          • Rhoda Klapp

            No, I do not think AGW is a socialist conspiracy, but it has seemed to be a bandwagon. And yes I do wonder if it is true. Then I look at the evidence and find it weak. Even the IPCC admits to a significant degree of scientific uncertainty in some areas. That is why I want the debate to take place. I want to see scientists from each side thrash it out. It is suspicious to me when one side declares itself the winner at half time.

            I’ve asked on climate blogs for empirical evidence. It is not forthcoming. Ditto a falsifiability criterion. Nope. Or an experimental demonstration of claimed IR effects and feedbacks. Nada. It is the tactics and practices of the CAGW crowd which most cause me to disbelieve them . If they are right, why do they have to cheat?

            • Rhoda Klapp

              Oh, and in your comment, replace ‘accept the facts’ with ‘accept the assertions’


    I’m fed up of this bollox about Global Warming – the planet is cyclic only on a time scale way beyond the past 100 years – there’s a whole army (1000’s) of career scientists that take a salary, pay their bills and mortgages like everyone else, they’re not gonna give up their justification that easy especially when there is a raft of governments eager to tax, tax, tax and more tax for companies that are ooooooooh – killing the planet. 20 million years all the oil will be back in full force and mankind will have kindly vacated and paved the way for a far less violent, materialist and inhuman species – carbon footprint, carbon footprint ha – the suckers out there that believe this sh1t – pay your carbon footprint tax like a good little droid – do as you are told – BECAUSE YOU NEED TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU ARE TOLD TO BELIEVE!

  • brossen99
  • dodgy

    “…It is disgusting that we are legally obliged to fund an organisation that holds massive swathes of the population in contempt….”

    Oddly enough, this is no longer the case. The advance of technology has meant that broadcasting is no longer the only way to obtain information, news and entertainment.

    I have recently stopped paying a license fee to the BBC. I get my information entirely from web search engines – I get my news from the various portals, as well as the free web pages of all the main newspapers (except the Times!) including the BBC, and my entertainment is also drawn from the web – all the old TV series are there, as well as comic strips, discussion fora, you name it.

    There is no longer any need to have a television taking up space in a living-room. So I don’t, and the room is a much more popular place for all the family as a result. I am also far better informed and entertained, since I can pick precisely what I want to view when I want to view it…

    • eeore

      And the only downside is the letters from Capita threatening you with court action. And the occasional visit from a numpty in a lanyard who appears to believe they can enter my house without a warrant.

      Either way it’s all good, it’s their money they are wasting.

      • dodgy

        Ah… in an earlier incarnation I provided security consultancy for Capita on their license-fee project – which puts me in a good position to understand how the system works and how to game it most effectively and safely. (Not that I am doing anything illegal, I hasten to add)

        This is one reason for my handle – I am dodgy in the sense of being able to dodge unpleasant things which might come flying at me…

        • eeore

          It’s not unpleasant, I just bin the letters and laugh at the inspectors.

          • dodgy

            Glad to hear it. With any luck you should be getting a lot fewer of these. The process is expensive, and was cost-justified on the grounds that there would only ever need to be a very few teams.

            Given the numbers of people who are likely to drop their licenses over the current BBC scandals, I suspect that the teams will never get round to all of them. Unless you live in Scotland, where they recruited quite a lot of people…

  • Gary

    What about Attention Deficit Disorder, the made-up illness which did not exist just a few decades ago but has now magically appeared out of nowhere so psychologists, Big Pharma, and doctors can get rich.
    There’s no evidence for the existence of ADHD yet people believe this nonsense.

  • Merlyn

    At this time, when the public are demanding transparency, can we have the BBC’s ‘Balen Report’opened to public scrutiny?
    That same report that hundreds of thousands of our license fees is going into paying lawyers to keep under wraps.

  • raymond francis jones

    Their heart or interest is not in it.

  • M Class

    You can add the BBC’s pro EU sance to the list too, very damaging to public perception especially with a referendum looming

  • graham dunton

    I live in Australian, and have been appalled for a very long
    time now, on the biased within climate reporting. This is a pernicious, it
    crosses international boundaries’, a main part of our Auntie the ABC News24, is
    sourced from the BBC. That bastion of
    truth, well that myth, has now been well and truly blown! It is criminal in as much;
    it is dumming down our younger generation. I thought the BBC was about education,
    not indoctrination!

    As an a Pom, now resident of Australia, in my opinion, this
    does justify a royal commission’

    Graham Dunton,
    146 Upper Cassowary Valley, Qld, Australia.

  • brossen99

    Perhaps a significant majority of the 28 had pushing propaganda to fire the starting gun on this in mind, all stems from around that time in its inception under Labour ?

  • JamesTennant

    For more than thirty years the scientific community has been warning the world about the dangers of climate change. And now at the end of 2012 – after record arctic ice melt and a whole host of other extreme weather events across the globe – there are still some idiots mouthing off on the Spectator website who seriously think it’s all a big leftie conspiracy. It beggars belief.

    • ArtificialIntelligence

      You aren’t aware that the number and total energy of hurricanes has reduced over the last 30 years, are you? You seem to have swallowed the bullshit hook, line and sinker.

      • IRISHBOY

        Having spent too many lines baiting Lindsay today, I’m glad that eeore and yourself have tackled James Tennant.
        Can’t these people just use the tools that man has been using for years against Climate Change? A good woollen coat and an umbrella.

      • JamesTennant

        No I wasn’t aware of that. Where do you get that from and what do you suggest it proves?
        In response to your previous comment, how exactly does having no sceptics in the room mean that BBC editorial policy is flawed?
        Of course there are a lot of uncertainties about the precise nature of climate change but that it is directly caused by human activity is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. I cannot pretend to have seen and understood every aspect of current climate science but It seems utterly irrational to completely deny the scientific community and the evidence they present. Whatever motivates your posturing – and it certainly isn’t a calm analysis of the facts – it is utterly irresponsible.

        I’m wasting my time of course but a few facts from the The U.S. Global Change Research Program for you.

        U.S. average temperature has risen more than 2°F over the past 50 years and is projected to rise more in the future; how much more depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases emitted globally and how sensitive the climate is to those emissions.

        Precipitation has increased an average of about 5 percent over the past 50 years. Projections of future precipitation generally indicate that northern areas will become wetter, and southern areas, particularly in the West, will become drier.

        The amount of rain falling in the heaviest downpours has increased approximately 20 percent on average in the past century, and this trend is very likely to continue, with the largest increases in the wettest places.

        Many types of extreme weather events, such as heat waves and regional droughts, have become more frequent and intense during the past 40 to 50 years.

        The destructive energy of Atlantic hurricanes has increased in recent decades. The intensity of these storms is likely to increase in this century.

        In the eastern Pacific, the strongest hurricanes have become stronger since the 1980s, even while the total number of storms has decreased.

        Sea level has risen along most of the U.S. coast over the past 50 years, and will rise more in the future.

        Cold-season storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are likely to become stronger and more frequent.

        Arctic sea ice is declining rapidly and this is very likely to continue.

        • eeore

          Having no skeptics in the room leads to groupthink. Which in turn leads to demonisation of the out-group. Hence the use of term ‘climate change denier’ as both a form of abuse and a reinforcing mechanism for those in the in-group.

          As for it being irrational to ‘deny the scientific community and the evidence they present’ – phrenology, Lamarkism, racial science, alchemy, there are plenty of scientific schools that have fallen into disrepute.

          “I’m wasting my time of course”, you are not if you are prepared to debate your case and not succumb to the false consciousness of the left right paradigm.

          As for the changing weather there have been numerous experimentats to change the weather. There is even a UN treaty governing the use of such techniques. HAARP, Hamp, cloud seeding and chemtrails are perhaps the best known, and may relate directly to weather effects you speak of. It is alleged that these techniques can also be used to control the jetstream, something that has been ascribed to global warming.

          • JamesTennant

            The point I am trying to make is that this endless debate about whether or not the scientific concensus on anthropomorphic climate change is valid is simply ludicrous at this point in time. Most people have moved beyond that to trying to be constructive about the situation and work out how we tackle it. Instead of just going on and on saying it’s all rubbish.

            Of course I’m not suggesting that we just accept what the scientific community tells us on faith and without any thought. It is now beyond just a theory, it has been through the mill dozens of times and tested again and again. Citing examples of when some beliefs within the scientific community turned out to be false doesn’t mean that this one is.

            I do not subscribe to the religious fundamentalism – visible on both sides of the debate to varying extents – that is driven by the need to defend and promote a specific ideology.

            And I agree the left / right paradigm is flawed and misleading.

            • eeore

              The problem is that the science is there to mask something far darker, and it was always intended to be so.

              But you are right people do need to work out ways of how best to tackle it, the problem is that while they are arguing about ‘the science’ they are not addressing the real agenda.

          • Richard

            But Richard D North was there. His presence is the basis of the report above. Why this determination not to see it?

            • eeore

              I was replying to the points above.

              • Richard

                “Having no skeptics in the room leads to groupthink. Which in turn leads to demonisation of the out-group.” In this case, there was at least one prominent sceptic invited. The BBC was not excluding that viewpoint, as alleged.

                • eeore

                  “In response to your previous comment, how exactly does having no sceptics in the room mean that BBC editorial policy is flawed?”

                  To which I made the general point about the dangers of clique thinking.

                • Richard

                  Does your general point about clique thinking apply to Right as well as Left, and to the global warming ‘sceptics’ as well as their opponents?

                • eeore

                  Of course. Why wouldn’t it?

                • Richard

                  Well, often it seems not to. You don’t often find the self-declared ‘sceptics’ being equally sceptical about the challenges to the consensus, and the conspiracy-theories about the climate scientists. On this blog, people who are worried about climate change are routinely accused of bad faith and of being ‘useful idiots’. But fair enough! Point taken.

                • eeore

                  Indeed, which is why I suspect you scanned the comments for the word skeptic in order to make you point about Richard North, without seeing if it were in context or relevant. But no matter.

                • Richard

                  No, it was your comment about “having no skeptics in the room”, which in context did imply to me that you were accusing the BBC of having invited none. But I’m glad of the correction.

                • eeore

                  But I was making it in a general sense in order to…., but we are going round in circles.

        • ArtificialIntelligence

          Point 1, 2F is well within the bounds of natural variation. A realistic increase from doubling is around 1C, possibly lower. As it hasn’t doubled yet, the increase must at least in part be natural.

          Point 2: US average temperature has increased mostly because people like James Hansen have been deleting temperature stations from the record, adjusting historical records lower, and removing lower recent records. This process has been well documented, but is seldom mentioned by people like you.

          Point 3: With respect to precipitation, climate models predict less, not more, so they are wrong and you are trying to have it both ways.

          Point 4: Are you seriously suggesting that a rise of 1C has caused a 20% increase in precipitation? Do you know that even a modern infrared camera would have a hard time distinguishing that temperature in the background. I know because I work with them every day.

          Point 5: Extreme weather events have absolutely NOT become more frequent and intense over the last 50 years. In fact the opposite is true. A paper, for example: “Analysis of trends and of aggregated time series on climatic (30-year) scale does not indicate consistent trends worldwide. Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive. Similarly, Svensson et al. (2005) and Di Baldassarre et al. (2010) did not find systematical change neither in flood increasing or decreasing numbers nor change in flood magnitudes in their analysis.”

          Point 6: The destructive energy of Atlantic hurricanes has fallen in recent decades, as has their frequency. Northern Hemisphere cyclones are at RECORD LOWS at the moment.

          Point 7: Sea level has been rising for centuries and the trend is constant. The rate of increase has not changed AT ALL.

          Point 8: October hurricanes are not unusual and follow similar tracks to that considered normal. As I have pointed out before, the frequency of hurricanes has DECREASED over the last 30 years.

          Point 9: Arctic sea ice might be declining, but Antarctic sea ice is at a record high. But even so, this is not outside of the bounds of natural variation. If you cannot rule out natural variation and you do not fully understand the scope of natural variation, your hypothesis cannot be verified or falsified. It is therefore unscientific.

          As I said, you have succumbed to all of the AGW bullshit hook, line and sinker. I’m guessing you ALWAYS take on trust absolutely everything every Green NGO publishes and never read anything counter to your pre-existing world view. So it goes.

          • JamesTennant

            The points that you refute with sometimes the most ludicrous and spurious arguments, made by ‘people like me’, are the views of twelve US federal agencies:

            Department of Commerce
            Department of Defense
            Department of Energy
            Department of the Interior
            Department of State
            Department of Transportation
            Department of Health and Human Services
            National Aeronautics and Space Administration
            Smithsonian Institution
            U.S. Agency for International Development
            Department of Agriculture
            Environmental Protection Agency

            • ArtificialIntelligence

              12 Federal Agencies that receive huge grants to promote the hypothesis, yes. 12 Federal Agencies who’s job it is to promote and implement government policy, yes.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Wait a minute, this is a bit of hilarity I’ve yet to encounter. So these 12 US federal agencies are supposed to signify something? So the US State Department is now the arbiter of global warming? So the top hats at Foggy Bottom are now going to save human civilization from this scourge? Maybe it was both the YouTube movie and global warming that got those 4 diplomats killed in Benghazi? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • eeore

      I’d be interested in to know what weather events you think were the result of global warming?

    • Cogito Ergosum

      What you and your supporters seem unaware of is the natural variability of weather. And even if a ten-year average goes up or down, nature operates on a timescale of millions of years.
      It’s time to stop worrying about mere fluctuations.

    • Fergus Pickering

      What the fuck is the scientific community? Do you mean everyone who calls himself a scientist? Does every scientists know about all science?

      • JamesTennant

        What the fuck do you think it is?

  • Barry

    And hiding the Balen report.

  • JamesTennant

    I can’t believe this is the best you can come up with. The BBC had a seminar on the challenge for broadcasters presented by climate change. According to one Richard North the particpants didn’t seem particularly well informed about the issue. Then the BBC would not publish the names of the participants.

    So this means the BBC’s entire journalistic output on the issue is biased and they have decided to be unbalanced on the matter? Was the seminar an editorial policy meeting?

    This is such utter nonsense. Can you not contribute something useful to the debate on an issue that is of the most profound importance instead of trying to chip away at anyone or anything that does, at least, attempt to present the facts about anthropomorphic climate change.

    • ArtificialIntelligence

      Yes. Because the room was full of Green activists, with absolutely no sceptics or critics of the hypothesis there at all. Such people do exist you know and many of them are eminent scientists themselves.

      • Richard

        Hang on. Richard North was there.

        • Laurie Childs

          Yes, though not Richard A.E. North, the well known sceptical author and “EUReferendum” blogger you might well be thinking of, but Richard D North, the equally well known ex Independent and Sunday Times columnist and blogger. Outspoken and critical of policy (or non-policy) on climate change for sure but certainly no sceptic.

          • Richard

            i know who Richard D North is. He’s a well known climate change ‘sceptic’ (not the right word, really, but let that pass). Just to be sure, I’ve just checked his website and clicked on ‘climate change’. The first sentence on his page is “I’m a climate change sceptic.” Artificial Intelligence’s claim that there were absolutely no sceptics present at the seminar was wrong, wasn’t it?

  • terence patrick hewett

    I was listening to the WS last night: its climate change agenda was so disgusting I simply switched off.

    • Gary

      Yet the made-up mental illnesses like ADHD don’t bother you at all, do they? That’s because you are a hypocrite.

  • Agouts

    Deserves a good sweep? No. What it deserves is about a million tons of TNT detonated directly up the complacent bums of the senior BBC management.

    Their behaviour, as smug as it is stupid, as iniquitous as it is ignorant, as cretinous as it is cack-handed, tells us all anyone need know about their supposedly superior brains.

    They should be deeply ashamed of their obvious and clumsy hi-jacking of a matter of immense importance simply so that they could reinforce their collective sense of de haut en bas superiority.

  • Heartless etc.,

    The BBC should be forced – and would already have been by any self-respecting Government – to provide full, in-depth refutations and apologies for all of the hours of mindless bollocks they have broadcast about “Climate Change” (sic) and the several mini-fortunes that shameless ‘presenters’ and other people have trousered as a result.

    Furthermore, the H2B – and those before him – should be called to account for his wet namby-pamby utterances and the fact that he slithered aboard this madness and went to Father Fantasy Land. More so should he – and his other toadying flunkies – be called to account for wasting – or causing to be wasted – money and resources on the farming that increasingly durst not mention its name – no! – not the poppy!

    • Thick as two Plancks

      I’m sure you are right about the H2B. Cameron has total lack of scientific nous, and listens to the likes of Zac Goldsmith. That latter point is another instance of his lack of judgement of people’s character.

  • Michael990

    There are no longer any analogue TV transmissions in the UK. In analogue days, it was not possible to enforce any subscription model. But now, with all digital TV via satellite and ground transmitter, it is perfectly possible to do this.
    The BBC should be required to move to a subscription model, possibly with a very low subscription initially, but with a phasing out of the appalling ‘licence’ fee over a number of years and its replacement by the subscription model.

  • Bishop Hill

    Imran Khan

    In what sense is the global warming debate “settled science”? Real Climate doesn’t think much of your suggestion

    That CO2 is a greenhouse gas might be generally agreed, that the world has warmed a little is also little debated. Beyond that there’s a great deal to dispute.

    • telemachus

      You’d like to think so as you drive your 4 litre SUV without a care for the polution of our childrens lungs with your foul effluent

      • johnfaganwilliams

        We might take more notice of you,although maybe not, if you had learned how to use the apostrophe

        • telemachus

          Too much attention to punctuation detail may dilute the message.

    • Gary

      Global Warming is nonetheless more credible than Attention Deficit Disorder, an illness for which there is no proper evidence, as indeed there is no evidence for most of the crap in the pile of drivel that is the DSM IV.

  • Fenbeagle

    There should be no secret agendas in an organisation funded by a public license fee, that criminalises non payers.

  • Imran Khan

    Climate change is a settled scientific debate. Researchers across the University of Oxford are looking at many different aspects of climate change. Carbon emissions are now rising faster than any time since the 90’s. Coal has increased from 25% of world energy demand to 30%. Before you ask what is so wrong with coal, well, coal mines produce lots of methane, leaves the water table with metals, requires much energy to get the coal from the ground, take it to oupower stations, which then cause a whole oad of other pollutants. All that ash created by the power stations then has to be gotten rid of. Terrible.

    • Bluesman

      “Climate change is a settled scientific debate.”

      It certainly is to closed minds.

      • Gary

        There’s more evidence for it than Attention Deficit Disorder and the DSM IV (a vast collection of made-up mental illnesses which don’t actually exist).

    • Rhoda Klapp

      Chatting to a Professor of Physics at Oxfrod the other day. He doesn’t buy the climate change agenda (is doubtful of the extent of the effect as I understand it) and reckons the good brains don’t go into climate. And no serious work is being done at oxford on climate (that last is my opinion, not his).

      But if you think this is truly a settled debate, tell me when the debate happened. Explin to me why the IPPR in 2006 issued a paper suggecting that the best way to have the debate was to claim it s already settled, that there could be no question.

      That paper is called Warm Words, and you can find it on the IPPR website.

      • Imran Khan

        Debates on science subjects are properly best analysed by bonafide scientists, such as th Climate Dynamics Group in the Department of Physics, University of Oxford. Read Prof. Lesley Grays paper on The nature of Arctic polar vortices in chemistry-climate models”, where she argues that “extreme variability of the Arctic polar vortex being a key link for stratosphere–troposphere influences its evolution into the twenty-first century is important for projections of changing surface climate in response to greenhouse gases”

        • Rhoda Klapp

          Yeah, well done Imran, Attempt to bamboozle noted Now, what is the empirical evidence that the climate sensitivity is anything to worry about or that GHE effects are greater than other natural variations or that they can lead to antthing but mild warming? It doesn’t matter, the debate is over. See how that works? Just like your ‘if you don’t agree with the BBC you are extreme right’ idea. I don’t even believe in imran Khan any more. He is so in tune with all the bien-pensant memes that he must be a construct, or have no ideas of his own at all.

        • Bishop Hill

          The “leave it to the priesthood” argument carries little weight these days.

          • Richard

            Are you saying there is no such thing as informed expert opinion on this subject? What would constitute a ‘balanced’ approach to this question? Equal time for the large minority of specialist experts and the minority of dissenters? Would you apply this principle generally?

            • Bishop Hill

              No. Just that anyone should be able to question the scientists when they are demanding that their findings inform public policy. It’s called accountability.

              • Richard

                I’m not sure exactly what you are asking for. Anyone can question the published science. I really would like to know what you think would constitute balanced coverage of a subject on which there is a large scientific majority for a particular view. You presumably don’t think all opinions of everything deserve equal time.

                • Bishop Hill

                  My comment was addressed to Imran, who seemed to be suggesting that the grotty public need not bother themselves with scientific debates.

                  In areas in which there is a genuine consensus (is CO2 a greenhouse gas? Was there a temperature rise at the end of the twentieth century?) there is no need to give much time to dissenting views. In areas in which there is no consensus (Was that temperature rise significant? What is the value of climate sensitivity? What will the impacts of any hypothetical temperature rise be?) then every claim should be challenged and every counterclaim should be given airtime.

                  The BBC’s policy on climate has been used to remove almost any coverage of any scientific challenge from the airwaves. That’s why it’s so pernicious.

                • Richard

                  So – where there is a substantial specialist expert consensus, the BBC coverage should reflect that, but on uncertainties within the overall thesis a wide range of expert views should be aired. I wouldn’t quarrel with that. I don’t think most serious environmentalists would. It seems to me that’s more or less what the BBC does already.

                • Bishop Hill

                  No. I put it to a BBC journalist that sceptics should get airtime to take a shot at some of these controversial areas. The answer was that this was not “due balance”.

                • Richard

                  I have heard a variety of expert views on all these points on programmes such as “Costing the Earth” and “Home Planet”, I’ve also often seen Melanie Phillips, James Delingpole and others on BBC TV voicing the crude “it’s all a scam” position.

                  I don’t know exactly what sort of programme you were suggesting, or what authority that journalist had, but whatever was said in that particular conversation, the “sceptic” view is quite often expressed on the BBC, though not as often as the mainstream scientific view, reasonably enough.

        • eeore

          Who paid for the research?

        • HooksLaw

          There is zero evidence that man is causing any global warming. CO2 is a minority component in greenhouse gasses.

          In terms of atmospheric vortices we have this

          As ever it is all based on computer models. But at most it says that there are none man made components to temperature changes which come in natural cycles.

          But why if science is so settled do the BBC seek their comfort in secret?
          What possible motive can they have to exclude from our view the people who give them the cover they need to remove their obligation to objectivity.

        • Rods

          For 2.6million years we have been in an ice age, for the the last 800,000 years the majority of that time has been ice ages. Which makes most of the Northern hemisphere unlivable and kills the warm period eco system. The reason we have this problem is that CO2 levels have been dropping for a very long time and are at historical lows.

          No scientist on Earth knows what starts an ice age, what they do know is that they start and develop very quickly in one to twenty-five years, last a very long time 10’s of thousands of years and also take a long time to recede.

          This is the biggest threat to Northern-hemisphere civilization, so we should probably be increasing CO2 levels to increase our safety margin from the next one. Ice core samples give us this information and the papers discussing this are out there. So the climate science is only settled to closed minds.

          As a scientist, I consider all evidence for a situation. As for global warming there are still too many unknown variables for modelling to be valid, so it is no more than an unproven hypothesis.

          Climate is a dynamic system, which all living things will affect to a lessor or greater degree. One of the biggest factors is our Sun, which in the context of the life of the earth, we have not been studying for very long and there is still much to learn.

          The question I pose is what is the optimum CO2 level and global temperatures for the best earth eco-system? To me this is the real question that we should be asking and I suspect it is not where we are now, but somewhat higher. Higher CO2 levels would release Greenland and maybe make Antarctica habitable like they have been in previous hot periods before the current ice age.

    • eeore

      There are many topics that were a settled scientific debate until someone comes along and undermines the premise of that debate.

      • Number 7

        Phlogiston anybody?

        • eeore

          No thanks, I’ve just eaten.

    • Baron

      Imran, you aware human activity accounts for around 4% (four per cent) of the aggregate release of the compound? If the 7bn humans walking the earth were to stop flying, cooking, bashing steel, driving and everything else we do, the discharge of CO2 would drop but marginally.

      The correlation between world temperature and the CO2 density may be as telling as that between the UK inflation rate and the cases of dysentery in Scotland in the 60s last century.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    The BBC is seriously unbalanced on this issue and is at odds with much of the public’s views on other important issues.
    It is overmighty, massively arrogant and smug. It is disgusting that we are legally obliged to fund an organisation that holds massive swathes of the population in contempt.
    Equally disgusting are our political class who lack the balls to deal with it.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The BBC cannot be assaulted piecemeal. A coordinated, multi-prong attack, sustained and amplified over time, is what’s required. As well, every bit of funding removed from them represents a force multiplier to the offensive.

      • dalai guevara

        You seriously worry me. You did use that Karcher in the end and damage something, did you not?

        Yes, in order to balance things and save face for the right-wing press haunted by Leveson, we must now also cut some fat out of the BBC – fine. But calling for what you are calling for exposes your juvenile and gung-ho tendencies in matters of real importance.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Have you finished bleach cleaning your room?

          • dalai guevara

            James, get your dad to buy you a yacht or something – then go and play and leave Rupert to do a proper day’s work, will you?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Was all that supposed to mean something to somebody other than your fellow crackheads?

              • Gary

                Or Ritalin-heads. Parents who pump Ritalin into their kids should be thrown in jail.

              • dalai guevara

                Coming out with what you come out with exposes you as a person with the mental capacity of an Australian press baron.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Best that you avoid these subjects, son. You’re not of age or nous.

                • dalai guevara

                  That’s right – I am still in full control of my portrait in the loft, whereas DC might not be.

      • Gary

        Do you believe ADHD actually exists, then? There’s no way to medically prove it. Its bunk.

    • Imran Khan

      Just like you lack the balls to use your real name? Pot calling kettle black?

      • Imran Khan

        Like the balls you lack, I meant.

      • Russell

        Woh! Imran Khan blogging here on the Speccie!
        From a real Russell.

      • eeore

        What a numpty.

      • Baron

        what does using one’s name have to do with global warming? You got released too early, my blogging friend.

      • IRISHBOY

        If one is even perceived to be Right Wing in one’s views, in many areas of life, you could be hounded out of your job. Just as in my part of London, and many many more places too I’m sure, were one to put up a Tory or UKIP poster in your front window, the chances of that window, or even oneself remaining intact for more than an hour or two wouldn’t be good. That’s because socialism is a pathology, and its supporters pathological thugs, whose warped brains simply can’t deal with the two qualities that advanced and enriched civilization for thousands of years, empiricism and experience, and so their response is abuse and annihilation. Lovely people otherwise.

        But why did you leave the gorgeous Jemima? Talk about a beauty in a thousand million!

        • eeore

          Arthur Redfearn.

          • IRISHBOY

            Not to mention some in the public sector having to sign contracts which state that they are professionally AND personally dedicated to the principle of Equality and Diversity.

            An effing disgrace, but which politician or journalist ever mentions the word freedom?

            • eeore

              I shouldn’t worry, they have a drug for promoting empathy and preventing racism now. So there’s need for the brownshirts to smash windows, they can just send you to a psychiatrist.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        You think it takes balls to use a real name? (pur-lease) How about, Alan Jones, Bill Williams, Jack Smith, or Imran Mohammed, Mohammed Imran, Mohamed Khan. They real enough for you?
        Anyways – the Spec’s got my real one and that, my evasive friend, is all you need to know.
        Incidentally, some of us are obliged to use noms-des-blogs because it’s a sacking offence to publicly object to (say) the violence of the Koran or immigration,

      • Hexhamgeezer

        … ..and another thing. Where’s your photo, ‘Imran’ ‘Khan’? Bollocks gone awol?

    • Thorfeil

      Balance? So the BBC should give equal time to creationists and biologists? Is that what you are saying?


      No, what’s needed is not “balance” but actual factual, objective reporting.

  • HooksLaw

    You are only a day after me on this one.
    Quite why the BBC should consider the list secret is amazing.

    Its almost amazing that it went to the trouble of secretly being told by a carefully invited clique about how it should think.
    The truth is likely to be that the purpose of the meeting was to give the BBC the necessary excuse for what it wanted to think.

  • Stiffit

    Do keep up Seb. The Register has been running this story since 29 October. (

    It’s also reporting the departure of key staff from the Universal Credit project:

    a story now picked up by the Independent (

    The Government’s flagship reform of Britain’s welfare system, which is being piloted by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, has been placed on a Treasury list of projects in crisis, The Independent on Sunday has learned.

    The programme’s director, Malcolm Whitehouse, and the DWP’s head of IT, Steve Dover, last week announced they would be leaving the department. The senior civil servant on the project was described as being “on extended sick leave”. Other key personnel have also left.

    • HooksLaw

      The Independent is forced to report that the DWP say as follows ….
      “Universal credit is on time and on budget. It will be delivered in a controlled way, starting in April 2013 in Manchester and Cheshire, to ensure it is fully tested before being rolled out nationally from October 2013.”

      There it is on the record. BTW ‘rolling out nationally’ does not mean ‘imposed instantly’.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        I’ve been peripherally involved in a few software projects. i can’t think of one where the IT head leaving would have made any difference except perhaps to speed things up. In my observations, half the people in any enterprise are there to stop the other half getting anything done. It’s 50-50 whether any individual leaving makes it worse. In public service that ratio may be different.

        Oh, kudos to the spect for catching up to this story, unless it is just an additional chance to bash the Beeb. I think it matters more than newsnight.

        • HooksLaw

          We can agree.

        • ArtificialIntelligence

          This is the first government IT project to be run using Agile methods, such as Scrum. It will be a big test of this methodology.

        • Faustino aka Genghis Cunn

          More like 80% stopping getting things done in my sad experience.