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Coffee House

Revealed: who decides the BBC’s climate change policy

13 November 2012

1:04 PM

13 November 2012

1:04 PM

Just when you thought the BBC had no more scandals, Guido Fawkes has revealed what the Beeb tried very hard to cover up: the 28 mysterious individuals who have been informing its climate change reporting policy. As a state-funded broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide balance. It rejected this on its environmental coverage after taking advice from people in a now-infamous 2006 seminar from people whose identity the BBC was keen to keep secret.

I wrote on Sunday how it had refused FoI requests to reveal those names. But Maurizio Morabito has revealed a list which the BBC cannot describe as a bunch of dispassionate scientists: it’s a veritable who’s who of the green lobby:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra
Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia

[Alt-Text]


Handpicking this selected group to decide an important policy is certainly not the best way to provide balanced reporting. Had the BBC decided any other major editorial matter on the advice of special interest groups, there would have been outrage because it is the very opposite of what public sector broadcasting ought to be about.

Remember, the BBC had claimed to have “held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus” on anthropogenic climate change. So now we know the names of these “best scientific experts”, the remaining question is: why did the BBC feel it was so important to cover the identities up? Their official explanation — protecting journalistic sources — simply does not stand up.

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