THE BBC’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE IS NOT JUST DISHONEST BUT ILLEGAL
by JAMES DELINGPOLE
9 March 2015
I promised I’d leave it to Christopher Booker to give chapter and verse on what was wrong, scientifically, with the BBC’s latest desperate attempt to promulgate the cause of climate change alarmism.
The programme – Climate Change By Numbers – purported to explore global warming from a fresh, unbiased angle by getting three mathematicians not hitherto known as arch-warmists to crunch the numbers and conclude that, yes, climate change is indeed a greater threat than we could ever possibly have imagined…
In my takedown last week, I did the snark. Now Booker has dealt with the main scientific flaws with the programme. They are as follows:
First section: this attempted to make a big deal of the fact that the world has warmed by around 0.85 degrees since 1880. But as Booker notes, this isn’t really the issue of contention.
What she [the first mathematician] left out was that there has been nothing unprecedented about our recent warming. As the world has generally warmed since emerging from the Little Ice Age 200 years ago, two earlier warming phases from natural causes, between 1860 and 1880 and from 1910 to 1940, were just as great as that of the last 30 years – before CO2 levels rose as they have done recently.
Second section: this sought to tell us that just as we can use models accurately to predict the future performance of premier league football clubs, so too we can rely on them to predict climate.
What he [the second mathematician] omitted to explain was that, in the past 17 years, the IPCC’s computer model predictions have turned out to be comprehensively wrong.
Third section: this used a long sequence about Formula One motor racing to back up its assertion that pouring increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere has already led to an increase in “extreme weather events” and that, unless we radically change our lifestyles, things are going to get much, much worse.
What he [the third mathematician] failed to tell us was that, as even the IPCC concedes, such events have not become more frequent or intense at all. There have been no more floods, droughts and hurricanes than there were before the global warming scare was invented.
If the programme was such palpable nonsense you might wonder why I am giving it such attention. But its palpably nonsensical quality is precisely the point.
Here was a programme so lamentably biased, so completely uninterested in counterarguments, so blatantly determined to pull the wool over its viewers’ eyes with straw men, false analogies and calculated misrepresentations of the real points at issue, that it constituted a flagrant breach of the BBC’s statutory obligations to accuracy and impartiality.
In short, this programme broke the law.
Under the BBC Charter 2006, the BBC is legally obliged to “do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects [such as immigration] are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.”
Not only did the BBC fail to do this with Climate Change By Numbers but it has also failed to do this with every single documentary it has made on this subject [and on the subject of immigration] for well over a decade.
What’s more, as Booker noted in his 2011 report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation – called The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal – the BBC has been doing so quite deliberately.
The bias (though it actually dates back much further) was formalised in 2006 at a secret meeting, co-organised by the BBC’s house climate activist Roger Harrabin, in which the BBC’s senior executives were briefed by the “best scientific experts” and reached the conclusion that the ‘consensus’ on climate change was now so rock solid that there was no longer any need for the BBC to cover it with even a semblance of impartiality.
In fact, though, these “best scientific experts” (the phrase comes from a supposedly independent report into the affair by the BBC Trust) were nothing of the kind. Many of them weren’t even scientists at all but were activists from environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Stop Climate Chaos.
Yet, on the say-so of these zealots the BBC’s senior editors decided, in their wisdom, that in the case of climate change the BBC’s charter obligations to impartiality no longer applied.
None of this might have come out if two enterprising bloggers – Tony Newbery and Maurizio Morabito – hadn’t done some deep background research and uncovered the truth. The scandal became known as Twentyeightgate (after the 28 activists present at the meeting whose identity the BBC spent many thousands of pounds on legal fees trying to keep secret).
But no heads ever rolled as a result of this abuse of licence-fee-payers’ money. Nor – not least because the mainstream media failed to get behind the story – was the BBC put under any serious pressure to mend its ways.
So the result is that the BBC in virtually all its programming dedicated to the topic of “global warming” continues to act as cheerleader for the biggest scam in the history of science – one that is doing no end of harm to the economy, to the integrity of the scientific method, to living standards and, indeed, thanks to the proliferation of bird-slicing, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes, to the environment too.
In theory, this ought not to be possible. What else is the BBC Trust for, if not to ensure that the BBC lives up to its charter obligations?
But the BBC Trust is part of the problem. It’s supposed to be independent and arm’s-length but in reality it’s anything but. Never was this clearer than in the way it dealt with criticisms of its science coverage, especially that part dedicated to the climate change issue. At great expense it commissioned a report from a left-wing Welshman known as Jones the Snail (because his field of expertise is snails) which completely acquitted the BBC of all charges of bias and concluded that, if anything, the BBC should be even more biased in its climate coverage because “deniers” were little better than people who think that “AIDS has nothing to do with viruses, the MMR vaccine is unsafe, complex organs could never evolve, or even that the 9/11 disaster was a US government plot.” (No, really. And this guy is a professor…)
There is, at least, a small glimmer of hope that the BBC Trust’s new chairwoman, Rona Fairhead has acknowledged this conflict of interest.
The BBC, she argues, cannot be trusted to police itself: “Responsibilities for regulation and broader accountability need to sit at one remove.”
This is in line with the view expressed in a recent report by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee which argued that the BBC Trust should be scrapped and replaced with a new Public Service Broadcasting Commission.
Would this really make a difference? Quite probably not: you can already imagine the kind of politically ‘correct’ placemen who’d be put in charge of such a quango.
But I suppose we can agree that it would be a step in the right direction.