Has the BBC broken faith with the General Public?

Sir Paul Maxime Nurse, FRS (born 25 January 19...

Paul Nurse - Image via Wikipedia

Guest Post by Barry Woods

It is my opinion that the BBC in broadcasting the BBC 2 Horizon program ‘Science Under Attack’ did not treat the general public in the UK and at least one of the interviewees with the ‘good faith’ that they should be able to expect from the BBC. After the program aired, I contacted James Delingpole, who was one of the sceptics portrayed in the program and he told me how he was approached to participate by the BBC.

“I am making a film for BBC’s Horizon on public trust in science and I was hoping you may be able to help.”  – BBC Producer

However, the programs underlying message to the general public came across to me as that climate science was under attack by climate sceptics or deniers of science who are on a par with those that deny Aids, vaccines and extreme anti GM environmentalist activists.

Yet, in discussion with a NASA scientist, the presenter Professor Paul Nurse apparently makes a gross factual error informing the viewer that annual man-made CO2 emissions are;

seven times

that of the total natural annual emissions. This raised a number of eyebrows and is now subject to some discussion amongst the blogs, including at Bishop Hill.

That such an apparent major error was presented to the public as fact, in the BBC’s flagship science program, should I think raise questions with respect to the handling of all the issues within the program.

Paul Nurse: The scientific consensus is, of course, that the changes we are seeing are caused by emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. But given the complexity of the climate system, how can we be sure that humans are to blame for this?

Bob Bindschadler[NASA]: We know how much fossil fuel we take out of the ground. We know how much we sell. We know how much we burn. And that is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. It’s about seven gigatons per year right now.

Paul Nurse: And is that enough to explain…?

Bob Bindschadler: Natural causes only can produce – yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year. So there’s just no question that human activity is producing a massively large proportion of the carbon dioxide.

Paul Nurse: So seven times more.

Bob Bindschadler: That’s right.

Paul Nurse: I mean, why do some people say that isn’t the case?

(from a transcript of BBC Horizon – Science Under Attack)

Following the program I contacted James Delingpole and he agreed to a telephone interview about the program. We had a few telephone conversations about the program  and he sent me a copy of the email from a BBC producer at the  BBC inviting James to participate in the program. (my bold)

“The tone of the film is very questioning but with no preconceptions.  On the issue of who is to blame no-one will be left unscathed, whether that is science sceptics, the media or most particularly scientists themselves.   Sir Paul is very aware of the culpability of scientists and that will come across in the film. They will not be portrayed as white coated magicians who should be left to work in their ivory towers – their failings will be dealt with in detail.”

-  BBC Producer to James Delingpole

The contents of that invitation put the presentation of his interview in the program into a different context. In my opinion it demonstrates bad faith on the part of the BBC in failing to present to the public the details of the sceptical argument about climategate and ‘climate science’ yet allowing those involved to present their defence without serious challenge.

The premise will be  ‘This is a  turbulent time for science.  After the debacles of Climate-gate, GM products and MMR, I want to explore why science isn’t trusted and whether we as scientists are largely to blame’. By looking at these different areas he will dig into the difficult questions of how to deal with uncertainty in science, the communication of this uncertainty, and the difficulties when science meets policy and the media.

- BBC Producer to James Delingpole

The BBC is the UK’s national public service broadcaster (funded by a per household TV Licence) and by its Charter it has a duty to its audience to be fair and balanced.

The Horizon program is the BBC’s flagship science program, so when it uses the weight of the BBC’s authority alongside, Sir Professor Paul Nurse, a Nobel Laureate and the new President of the Royal Society it has a clear responsibilty to the public to fairly present the detail of the sceptical views  climate science and the issues around the climategate emails.

My interview with James Delingpole

James actually received a lot of criticism from sceptics for somehow ‘failing’ to get across the sceptical arguments in this program. When I spoke to him his frustration was obvious as he said he had spent three hours talking to Professor Paul Nurse about the detail of the climategate emails, the failings of the inquiries and the many and varied sceptical arguments with respect to man-made climate change.

James said he had explained in detail why sceptics describe the inquiries as whitewashes, this included the vested interest of the participants, the fact that no one actually asked Jones about whether he had deleted emails, the failure of scientists to provide data to critics and journals (as scientific process would expect) the importance of hiding the decline in proxies, the fact that scientist had become advocates for policy.

Yet in the program all that comes across is a fade to voice over where Professor Paul Nurse states that James believes the inquiries were whitewashes. Why not allow the public to consider some of these reason from James Delingpole

Why did Professor Phil Jones say to delete emails?  Why did he ask colleagues to delete emails relating to the IPCC reports. And most importantly of all. Why did Phil Jones feel the need to ask colleagues to delete these emails?

Those question surely support James Delingpole’s view that the peer-review process and the IPCC processes had been corrupted.

Another question that has been often asked was, why did James trust the BBC?

To put the interview into context the BBC had received a number of complaints regarding both the BBC’s coverage of Copenhagen and the coverage of the climategate emails. The BBC had seemed genuinely surprised by this response from the public and had even launched a review of how science in the media handled subjects like climate science, vaccines and GM.

The invitation that James received from the BBC to be involved in this program appeared to be very much in this context.

“As an influential blogger on climate change, among other subjects, I’d really like Paul to meet you and chat to you about your views – how you see your role and that more generally the influence of the internet in changing the debate; your views on climate-gate and how that was handled by the media; the failings or otherwise of scientists in communicating the science.”

- BBC Producer to James Delingpole

James said that he had looked forward to this opportunity to discuss and present sceptical issues in the apparent spirit of the invitation.

The ‘trick’ and ‘hide the decline’

The BBC described the ‘trick’ and ‘hide the decline’ as at the crux of the climategate email scandal. Why would they not at least allow a sceptic to voice to the public the  sceptical viewpoint on this issue.

Paul Nurse (voice over): Tree rings have been shown to be a good way of measuring ancient temperatures, and they’ve mostly matched instrumental measurements since the advent of thermometers.

However, after about 1960, some tree ring data stopped fitting real temperatures so well. The cause of this isn’t known. When Dr Jones was asked by the World Meteorological Organisation to prepare a graph of how temperatures had changed over the last 1000 years, he had to decide how to deal with this divergence between the datasets.

He decided to use the direct measurements of temperature change from thermometers and instruments rather than indirect data from the tree rings, to cover the period from 1960. It was this data splicing, and his e-mail referring to it as a “trick” that formed the crux of Climategate.

Phil Jones: The Organisation wanted a relatively simple diagram for their particular audience. What we started off doing was the three series, with the instrumental temperatures on the end, clearly differentiated from the tree ring series. But they thought that was too complicated to explain to their audience.

So what we did was just to add them on, and bring them up to the present. And as I say, this was a World Meteorological Organisation statement. It had hardly any coverage in the media at the time, and had virtually no coverage for the next ten years, until the release of the e-mails. (transcript)

The program was supposed to deal with the failure of the presentation of uncertainties regarding climate science, the criticism is that climate science has presented to politicians a narrative of ‘unprecedented’ temperature rise which ‘must be due to humans.

Yet the ‘complication’ that is not explained clearly to the public or politicians, is that temperature proxies declined when modern thermometers showed warming.  Even the simplest of politicians could grasp that if the proxies decline when thermometers show warming it reduces their credibility of recording historic temperatures.

Yet somehow it is deemed to complicated, this is a prime example of scientist becoming advocates for policy and presenting the issues as certain when they are not.  Remember this was the described purpose of the program.

An interesting response to ‘hide the decline’

James Delingpole wrote in his blog about how the mathematician Simon Singh, the best selling author of ‘Fermat’s Last Theorum’ had tweeted:

Sorry, but @JamesDelingpole deserves mockery ‘cos he has the arrogance to think he knows more of science than a Nobel Laureate

Simon Singh wrote a rebuttal in his own blog, yet in the the comments there arose an excellent rebuttal to the programs description of ‘hide the decline’ from a respected scientist Paul Dennis who is also at the University of East Anglia

Paul Dennis said…
Before I add anything further to the debate I should say that I’m an Isotope Geochemist and Head of the Stable Isotope and Noble Gas Laboratories in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. I’ve also contributed to and published a large number of peer-reviewed scientific papers in the general field of palaoclimate studies.

I don’t say this because I think my views should carry any more weight. They shouldn’t. But they show there is a range and diversity of opinion amongst professionals working in this area.

What concerns me about the hide the decline debate is that the divergence between tree ring width and temperature in the latter half of the 20th century points to possibly both a strong non-linear response and threshold type behaviour.

There is nothing particularly different about conditions in the latter half of the 20th century and earlier periods. The temperatures, certainly in the 1960′s, are similar, nutrient inputs may have changed a little and water stress may have been different in some regions but not of a level that has not ben recorded in the past.

Given this and the observed divergence one can’t have any confidence that such a response has not occurred in the past and before the modern instrumental record starting in about 1880.

Paul Dennis was thought by many newspapers to be the potential ‘whistleblower’ of the climategate emails. He commented a few times at Simon Singh’s blog and his identity was confirmed at Bishop Hill

Thus it could be said that on this particular issue at least and that the ‘science is not settled’ even at UEA!

The Conduct of the BBC

I last spoke to James Delingpole after the BBC4 program Meet The Sceptics had been aired that focussed on Christopher Monckton.  James had also been involved in the making of this program and had got to know the makers well and trusted them. (from his blog)

“The BBC? Not bloody likely. You’ve come to stitch us up, haven’t you?” I said.

“Not at all,” said Murray. “Look, there’s something you need to realise. I’m an independent filmmaker, I have no big budget for this, so I’m dependent on my work being original and interesting. The very last thing the BBC wants to commission is another hatchet job on sceptics. How boring and predictable would that be?”

Over the next few months I came to like and trust Murray. He was there filming Lord Lawson, Lord Monckton, Lord Leach and me when we debated at the Oxford Union. And he was there to capture our joy and surprise when we won – and to hang out drinking with us, afterwards, like he was our mate.

By this stage, we’d all come to accept that Murray was genuinely interested in presenting our case sympathetically. In fact, I must admit, I was really looking forward to seeing the finished product. “God this is going to be fantastic!” I thought. “At long bloody last, the BBC is going to do the right thing – and at feature length too.”  – from James Delingpole’s blog

When I last spoke to him, James was genuinely angry and felt badly let down by the BBC. He had taken part in the making of both programmes in good faith, yet the BBC had basically said to the world in his view, that climate sceptics are deniers and an organised group of these deniers are responsible for stalling political action to ‘save the planet. It appears to me that this was the program makers intention all along.

I asked James if he felt concerned for his safety now, and he said absolutely that was a concern, following how sceptics were depicted in these programmes.

Prior to this program being aired apparently both people at the BBC and Paul Nurse spoke to the Guardian with comments that gives every reason for me to think the program was intended all along to present sceptics in a bad light.

I believe that in this type of BBC science program the public has an expectation that the BBC would present fairly both pro and sceptical arguments on the issues in enough detail to allow the public to take own view. If a respected main stream journalist can be treated like this by the BBC, what hope and expectations of being treated fairly should a member of the public or a blogger (like me – RealClimategate) have of the BBC?

The issue I have with this program and the BBC is not who is right or wrong in climate science, but the failure of the BBC to fairly present in the program the sceptical arguments in detail (which it must be fully aware of) with respect to climate science, the climategate emails and the inquiries to the general public.

I would like to leave the final words to James Delingpole that he said to me (and ones that he left in the comments at Bishop Hill) about why he participated in BBC Horizon  – Science Under Attack program  and trusted the producers of the  BBC 4 program, Storyville – Meet the Sceptics.

Why shouldn’t one have faith in one’s national broadcaster to tell the other side of the story? – James Delingpole

Links/sources:

BBC Horizon -Science Under Attack – transcript

BBC Horizon – Science Under Attack – video (youtube)

The BBC email invitation to James Delingpole (my bold)

From: “Emma” [email address removed by author]

Date: 3 August 2010 19:25:08 GMT+01:00

To:  James [email address removed by author]

Subject: BBC Horizon

Dear James

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you on this email address but I was given it by Louise Gray at the Telegraph.

I am making a film for BBC’s Horizon on public trust in science and I was hoping you may be able to help.

The film will explore our current relationship with science, whether we as a society do and should trust it.  It is being presented by the nominated President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse.  If he is voted in later this summer he will be taking over the at RS at the end of the year at around the same time the film will be transmitted so it would very much launch his presidency.  The premise will be  ‘This is a  turbulent time for science.  After the debacles of Climate-gate, GM products and MMR, I want to explore why science isn’t trusted and whether we as scientists are largely to blame’. By looking at these different areas he will dig into the difficult questions of how to deal with uncertainty in science, the communication of this uncertainty, and the difficulties when science meets policy and the media.

The tone of the film is very questioning but with no preconceptions.  On the issue of who is to blame no-one will be left unscathed, whether that is science sceptics, the media or most particularly scientists themselves.   Sir Paul is very aware of the culpability of scientists and that will come across in the film.  They will not be portrayed as white coated magicians who should be left to work in their ivory towers – their failings will be dealt with in detail.

Now obviously one of the other great areas of contention is when science meets the media.  Much as most scientists would like their papers to be published unedited in the mainstream media that obviously does not work. We will be visiting the newsroom of a national newspaper (most likely the Times although we have also been talking to the Telegraph) to explore the realities of where science fits in the news agenda, but I also want to explore the equally important role of the online world.

As an influential blogger on climate change, among other subjects, I’d really like Paul to meet you and chat to you about your views – how you see your role and that more generally the influence of the internet in changing the debate; your views on climate-gate and how that was handled by the media; the failings or otherwise of scientists in communicating the science.

Filming would be on the afternoon of 18 August ideally.

If you are interested please drop me a line or give me a call.

Kind regards

Emma [removed by author]

Producer/Director
BBC Vision Productions

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156 Responses to Has the BBC broken faith with the General Public?

  1. pax says:

    Something wrong with the heading of this post.

  2. Al Gored says:

    Thanks for this summary. Hopefully this combined with the Harrabin/MET affair will wake more people up about the BBC’s agenda.

    I always appreciate your comments at Richard Black’s AGW promotion site. If Black is any indication the BBC hasn’t really changed at all yet (despite ending its daily ‘Climate Doomsday Report’ by David Shukman) though the ratio of skeptical to believer comments at Black’s site sure has. So there’s hope. But I still can’t believe how the UK has shown such ‘leadership’ in this battle to save the world from the planetary fever, even considering the vested interests of the moneyed twit class there.

    Anyhow, may Queen Elizabeth live to be at least 120 to spare the world from Charles.

  3. harry says:

    JD is ridiculed for admitting that he does not directly read cimate science papers, but instead distills comments on those papers from people he trusts and the blogosphere.

    Australia’s adviser to government on climate change Ross Garnaut was on radio today blaming the recent floods and the cyclone on Global Warming, and said that these types of events would be more frequent and stronger in the future and that evidence of this was being seen in the Atlantic.

    Strangely this “adviser” is an economist, I wonder how many climate science papers he reviews to make his determinations …

    (A CSIRO climate scientist has refuted these claims and said that la nina events are common and unrelated to any effect of AGW)

  4. Jeremy says:

    When I think of the BBC now, the image in my mind is of these people:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ircpresident/3169562620/

  5. Onion says:

    The BBC has an embedded editorial policy on the veracity of the theory of CAGW. All else flows as a consequence of this
    This is also a reason why Roger Harrabin’s deflection on WUWT was so nauseating and Orwellian. He knows full well the editorial policy even while pretending he is independent

  6. Billy Liar says:

    pax says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I agree. Sensible people have never had any faith in the BBC.

  7. Doug Proctor says:

    The circular logic of Phil Jones – to drop the mis-matching tree ring data for the recent past on the basis that the previous trends (before temperature data) of proxy data were valid, while the recent proxy data was invalid because it didn’t follow the temperature measurement trends is still not understood.

    The warmists don’t understand the importance of the discarded data and “trick”. The “trick” hid the fact that proxy data and temperature data may not correlate well enough to say that the past millenium was any specific temperature and therefore much different from what it is today or recently. The basis of “unprecedented” is all in that mis-tie.

    Perhaps the journalists don’t understand. Or perhaps they do understand, but, coming from a humanist/idealist place, see the difference between accuracy as usefulness as being minute. If Jones et al had supported a temperature during the Middle Ages, the Roman Warm and the Minoan Warm Periods, would we have had the end-of-the-world fears and VP Gore at the Nobel Prize presentations? No, no, and no, no, no.

  8. Pete Olson says:

    Well, you did it while I was writing, apparently…

  9. ColinD says:

    This higlights the overall problem with the CAGW issue- in public it is always an argument from authority. Sir Paul Nurse is clearly a highly accomplished scientist but is not a climatologist. He is apparently also a good communicator. Dellers is an experienced journo but is also not a climatologist. The authority of the ‘team’ climatologists has been thoroughly embedded into the minds of MSM, academic institutions, politicians, science collectives (e.g. Royal Societies) to name a few. It will take more than a few years to change this.

  10. Veronica says:

    Paul Nurse is an immunologist. Very eminent in cancer research but probably rather less so in climate research. And greener than grass when it comes to tv appearances.

  11. John Robertson says:

    The show in question is available as a torrent…Storyville – Meet the Climate Sceptics from thebox.bz

  12. Andrew30 says:

    pax says: February 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm
    “Something wrong with the heading of this post.”

    I expect Barry just missed the word “Why” as the first word in the heading, probably just a cut and paste error.

  13. Henry Galt says:

    As Ulric Lyons said to me in conversation yesterday;

    “D-Notice”.

    (Nowadays known as a DA-Notice) We know that they know that we know.

  14. brokenhockeystick says:

    So when do the formal complaints to OFCOM and litigation start? Can’t let the watermelons get away with this.

  15. neil says:

    they are at it again just turned on bbc news to see them discussing 2 recent droughts in brazil and immediately linking it to global warming and the likelyhood of it happening again .according to them the amount of trees that died off in the latest drought released the equivalent of 1.5 times the annual output of the USA emissions with the knock on effect of less trees to reabsorb it.they never miss a trick and neither do they seem to care.how can they be stopped.this world has gone mad

  16. banjo says:

    Delingpole was naive, as was Monckton.
    The entire premise of the show what eccentrics sceptics are.
    If you don`t agree completely with the bbc groupthink, dont play with them.
    After all they have the biggest mouthpiece.
    Never, never trust the bbc.
    I got a text off a friend afterwards his take on it was,”What a crap documentary.It made all sides look stupid,especially the bbc for broadcasting it.”
    What did everyone think of the comedy incidental music that accompanied Chris Monckton?
    Anyone who thinks for one moment that the bbc will ever seriously interview a sceptic scientist,or even open a debate ,doesn`t understand the bbc at all.
    This is old..but applies now more than ever.
    From Andrew Marr at the bbc.
    “The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias”.

    So…M`lord Monckton, Dellers, Mr Watts ,and any other sceptics who still believe the bbc is where you may get a fair hearing, abandon all hope ye who enter there,they ain`t nice.

  17. Doug in Seattle says:

    Fool me once . . .

  18. David Ball says:

    My take is that the British people are not buying the party line any longer. This will only hurt the BBCs credibility further in the publics eyes. In James’ defense ( I don’t believe he needs any here), they would have cut any one of us, credentialed or not, to ribbons on the editing room floor. The smooth talk when enlisting the victim is to convince him that the show will be impartial. Classic bait and switch. Someone who has integrity cannot help but be sucked in by the deception. I guarantee that James will not fall for that again. I can only speak for myself, but I just want people to be aware of the hoax and the dangerous path we are traveling on in regards to climate legislation. I am impressed and stand behind Mr. Delingpole, for I see the subterfuge for what it is. Desperation.

  19. frank verismo says:

    The BBC were the primary reason I evicted my television. Being propagandized in your own home and paying for the pleasure is not my idea of fun. They have not received a single penny from me for the last five years.

    Things, it seems, have only gotten worse since: the stitch-ups more blatant and the agendas more laughably transparent. Thankfully, the public trust so carefully built up by the BBC over the years is certainly melting at a far greater rate than any Himalayan glacier.

    Really, we should all simply walk away – their usefulness is over.

  20. Mike Haseler says:

    scientists … will not be portrayed as white coated magicians who should be left to work in their ivory towers – their failings will be dealt with in detail.

    There is bias and there are lies.

    This program went way beyond bias and is nothing short of an out and out lie. Not just white lies, but vindictive, abusive, insulting lies supposedly for the “good of humanity” but really a Nazi style persecution of people whose views have just as much right to be heard as anyone else, but whose views the BBC have decided to repress.

    Whilst the BBC have always taken sides, this program has really showed their true colours as being almost indistinguishable from Goebbelian propaganda.

    This was my reply to my complaint asking them to cover the climate science:
    =====
    Dear Mike

    Thank you for your note.
    The BBC is committed to providing programming on the subject of climate change which represents a full range of views but which also properly reflects the balance of scientific opinion.

    The intention of Meet The Climate Sceptics was to explore the arguments of those who question whether global warming is predominantly manmade. The filmmaker looked for the scientific evidence behind the arguments of the climate sceptics, and compared these findings with the theories from scientists who have examined the impact of man on global warming. In the light of this detailed research, the filmmaker came to his own conclusions, but also encouraged viewers to make up their own minds.

    In recent years we have made a number of films which explore aspects of climate change, either directly or indirectly: most recently the Oceans film David Attenborough hosted (where we discussed ocean acidity); the Horizon on population last year and the ‘President’s Guide to Science’ in 2008. More broadly, Professor Iain Stewart’s 3 part series Climate Wars looked at many of the arguments on BBC 2 in December 2009.

    Regards

    Emma Swain
    Acting Controller Knowledge Commissioning
    Rm 6060 BBC Television Centre | Wood Lane W12 7RJ
    Tel: 020 8576 7138 M: 07718 966136
    emma.swain@bbc.co.uk

  21. Arno Arrak says:

    When it comes to skeptical science I am surprised that no one has taken them to task for false temperature curves. I don’t mean Climategate which is no more than the tip of the iceberg compared to what is going on with false warming claims promulgated by NASA, NOAA, and the Met Office. They all show warming in the eighties and nineties when satellite temperature measurements prove that there was none. Why am I so vehement about that? First because this is the period that Hansen in 1988 declared to be the start of global warming. That statement was a lie but his testimony became the foundation of the present global warming movement. Second because they claim that it is experimental proof of the predictions of their theory. The absence of warming in the eighties and nineties also proves that their theory’s predictions still have no experimental proof. I have demonstrated graphically how these phony warming curves were derived by distorting real temperature measurements. This is what needs to be thrown in the face of these warmists, not some nambi-pambi talk about interpreting emails. The science behind global warming simply does not exist. Add to this Ferenc Miskolczi’s observation that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared band where carbon dioxide absorbs remained constant for 61 years despite constant addition of CO2 to the atmosphere and they will have to explain that or give up their claim that Arrhenius explained it all in the nineteenth century. Everything I said is backed up in “What Warming?” but obviously our side is just as negligent in reading it as the warmists are. All I can say is that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

  22. David C says:

    Barry – great post – very clear and well argued. Thanks.

  23. John Kehr says:

    It is an ugly battle at the moment. What the BBC did is typical of the warmist media. I can understand that people hope to be able to get their message out, but going through a media where the control the final presentation is always going to be a serious risk.

    This certainly shows where the BBC stands on the issue and their stance has nothing to do with journalism.

    John Kehr
    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/

  24. Mike says:

    Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.

    As for: “However, the programs underlying message to the general public came across to me as that climate science was under attack by climate sceptics or deniers of science who are on a par with those that deny Aids, vaccines and extreme anti GM environmentalist activists.”

    Yes, that is how you are viewed by the scientific community. There’s no denying it.

  25. William Mason says:

    Such a shame that an organization like the BBC can’t be trusted. I don’t really want an advocate from the media but at least a fair and balanced debate. Perhaps if all this cold continues things will get better.

  26. Ralph says:

    The BBC has a history of doing this. When they think ‘they know best’ they will set up an author or scientist or whatever, to be deliberately ridiculed. They will film 5 hrs of intense debate, and choose to screen the two minutes where you screw up and say something incorrect (or cannot give an answer).

    This is exactly what the BBC did to Delingpole, while Nursey had the kid glove treatment and could say whatever rubbish he liked. It was pure propaganda, to spread the BBC’s Green beliefs. Pravda would have been proud of this Horizon episode. Joseph Goebels would have shed a tear in appreciation. The rest of us are disgusted that the BBC could have sunk so low, and Raymond Baxter will be turning in his grave.

    They are truly the Biased Broadcasting Corporation.

    .

  27. sfb says:

    I can’t believe James was dumb enough to fall for this.

    It was always going to be an ambush. He’s a scribbler – he knows the score.

    The BBC is rotten to the core and James really should have known better.

  28. Asim says:

    Yeah I remember watching about 5 mins of the programme, seeing the direction it was going in and grabbing my laptop. Posting here on an earlier thread on how the BBC were shaping the debate. They say state owned television in egypt has bias on bbc news 24… I think the bbc isn’t exactly free from bias either ^_-

    Let there be no doubt that the BBC is an acronym for the “British Brainwashing Corporation”! ;-)

  29. 1DandyTroll says:

    What can one expect from a country that, for some crazed hippie reason, made its own citizens the stars of the world’s most perverted version of that utterly stupid but depraved telly show called Big Brother.

    What else to expect from the Big Brother Communists but for them to have forsaken the public’s right to the truth. After all it is all about money, especially for that rainy day fund come retirement.

  30. fenbeagle says:

    A good post mr woods.

  31. Nicely argued, Barry

  32. Doug says:

    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.

    As for: “However, the programs underlying message to the general public came across to me as that climate science was under attack by climate sceptics or deniers of science who are on a par with those that deny Aids, vaccines and extreme anti GM environmentalist activists.”

    Yes, that is how you are viewed by the scientific community. There’s no denying it.”

    Just because the climate scienetists (oxymoron?) view those with valid sceptical viewpoints that way – does not mean that the scientific community per se is not sceptical of the advocasy that climate science has sadly become.

  33. JohnWho says:

    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    As for: “However, the programs underlying message to the general public came across to me as that climate science was under attack by climate sceptics or deniers of science who are on a par with those that deny Aids, vaccines and extreme anti GM environmentalist activists.”

    Yes, that is how you are viewed by the scientific community. There’s no denying it.

    No.

    That is how skeptics are viewed by the media when it is professing to be the spokesman for the scientific community.

    No one speaks for the scientific community but the community itself. Since skepticism is an important attribute of this community, the skeptics speak for (especially in the GW discussion) the honesty, integrity, and openess of the discussion.

    At least, the majority do – there are fanatics on both sides of every debate.

  34. Barry Woods says:

    I am convinced that the BBC’s environment team (Richard Black, Roger Harrabin, etc) were oblivious to both of these programs content and had nothing to do with them. I’ve commented on Richard Black’s blog for a long time and I met Roger once at the Guardian Climategate meeting last year, I’m sure neither would be involved in such a cliched approach to scepticism.

    The BBC would be wise in the future to sanity check programs made by independant producers with the BBC’s in-house environment team.

  35. Toad says:

    Doug in Seattle/ sfb
    ‘fool me once’ -don’t forget both programmes were ‘in the can’ before either was released.
    ‘James should have known better’
    I think you have to re-read Barry’s article very thoroughly to realise the extreme lengths to which the combined forces of the BBC, the Guardian newspaper, the Royal Society and the boys at the University of East Anglia went to, to get James and ‘Christopher’.
    As a mere ‘journo’ he will bounce back, if indeed he needs to, but the reputation of the ‘Scientific Establishment’ can never recover with Nurse at its head, and the BBC will just sink further into the nasty little cess pit which it is busy digging.

  36. D. Patterson says:

    The time is long past due to produce a documentary/s about the BBC documentarians and their methods.

    When our television broke in 1997, we didn’t replace it with another. What little television we see now is on the Internet or in the hotel while traveling. It really is not missed. Advertisers are wasting their money on the television networks.

  37. ZT says:

    Paul Nurse – President of the Royal Society – if he is interested in truth – will issue a press release apologizing for misleading the public on the amount of human produced CO2 in the atmosphere.

    I doubt that he and his organization want to be internationally recognized as the boobs who made Baghdad Bob look reliable.

    The BBC on climate change – are a lost cause.

  38. Tom says:

    Seriously how do the Skeptics keep falling for this. Its no different than when Menne took Anthony for a ride. These people believe they are in a fight to save the planet. Any evils they commit like presenting false are in their minds morally justified by the greater good. You cannot trust them, EVER!

  39. Ted says:

    OT:
    Dr Andrew J Weaver allows himself to be introduced on the radio and in the media as one of the world’s leading climate scientists and Climatologist but his bio states he is a climate modeler?

    I have a question about Dr Andrew J Weaver of the University of Victoria Canada. He has a PhD in Mathematics, is a Climate modeler and a IPPC reviewer. Where did he earn his Doctoral Degree as a Climatologist or in the field of Climatology. Does he even have a Climatology Ph.D. I can’t find any specific reference to Dr Andrew Weaver attending any institution or University that offers such courses or degrees in Climatology. He seems to holds many honoree degrees and titles – but these do not a Climatologist make, as far as I understand? Can somebody enlighten me, is he a qualified Climatologist or not? If not can one just claim that grand sounding title?
    Thanks.

  40. Paul Deacon says:

    The bulk of environmental journalists are classic ideologues for whom the end justifies the means.

    Anybody who does not understand this, and expects to be treated fairly by them, is being naive.

  41. Malaga View says:

    Has the BBC broken faith with the General Public?
    Yes… years ago… so last century… so dumbed down…
    The BBC are not Hiding Their Decline – they are broadcasting it for all to see :-)

  42. Barry Woods says:

    What should James Delingpole have done?

    Refuse to particpate in the Horizon program, BBC’s flagship science program?

    Especially after such a ‘nice’ letter to have a ‘chat’ with a nobel prize winner presenter, who is also the new President of the Royal Society! (/sarc off)

    That would have been a good headline, we asked the sceptics but they were to scared to debate a ‘scientist’!

    I think in the long run, the all to obvious endorsement by Professor Nurse of Jones and ‘hide the decline’ will be damaging to the reputation of the Royal Society. Look at Paul Dennis’ response to ‘hide the decline’

  43. meemoe_uk says:

    The BBC don’t seem to mind that they are alienating the intellectual classes with their transparent lying strategy. I think the theory is, the intellectual class of today doesn’t matter, it’s the next generation’s minds that matter. AGW BS is being drilled into UK kids heads I fear.

    btw, alot of us deny the offical story of AIDS and vaccines. Who here has bothered to find out who peter duesberg is?

  44. Sam the First says:

    The programme was an absolute disgrace. Nobody who had the merest acquaintance witht he science behind the issues could have taken it seriously, yet sadly most folk have none.

    Monckton and Delingpole were well stitched up but should have seen it coming. The BBC is a mightily pernicious influence in our society – and you don’t last very long there unless you are part of the groupthink

  45. UK John says:

    Mike says:-
    Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.

    As for: “However, the programs underlying message to the general public came across to me as that climate science was under attack by climate sceptics or deniers of science who are on a par with those that deny Aids, vaccines and extreme anti GM environmentalist activists.”

    Yes, that is how you are viewed by the scientific community. There’s no denying it.

    I view the scientific community with great skepticism and hope, this community is just the same as any other human community, it has its overblown ego’s, cheats, liars, zealots and is full of self interested groups, it also has people who are genuine, caring, at times brilliant, and offers hope for the future.

    But when Science turns to predicting the future, and develops a consensus rather than a proof, it is invariably wrong! Credibility in this area is zero. History is littered with the wreckage of scientific consensus, from the Y2K computer bug theory back to the “creationist” theories of how the world came to be.

  46. GlenB says:

    Down here in Australia we have the ABC (the A for Australian and the BC like the BC in BBC) who are pro-warmists like the BBC. Then we have SBS (the ethnic TV Station) – it’s also pro-warming. Then Channels 7,9 and 10 – all lefty based pro-warmists. We have a federal Labour govt (very socialistic) being pro-warmy and implementing a Carbon Tax in July at $20/ton. There are no TV stations that give sceptics (always called “Deniers” by the TV) a chance of even saying what the problems are with the warmists beliefs, so people in Australia are pretty much screwed. Power bills have risen about 15% a year over the last three years, and will rise 25% this year (excluding the rise that will be caused by the Carbon Price). I just hope and pray that either Channel 9 or 10 will start investigating the warmist cause and present the truth so that Australia can be saved from the Watermelons ….. “tell him he’s dreaming” – The Castle.

  47. Michael says:

    I had to post this from a Climate Depot headline.

    Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer Mocks Gore: ‘OMG! ANOTHER GLOBAL WARMING SNOWSTORM!!

    ‘Gore has caused the spread of more pseudo-scientific incompetence on the subject of global warming (I’m sorry — climate change) than any climate scientist could possibly have ever accomplished…No serious climate researcher — including the ones I disagree with — believes global warming can cause colder weather. Unless they have become delusional as a result of some sort of mental illness’

  48. Mark says:

    I have some expertise in PR and media relations and here is a primer on handling documentary producers.

    Before the interview:

    * Do not sign the release form/waiver until after the interview. Do not sign a release form that is a blanket release. Add in a line that limits your release to that day’s date and up to the current time of day. That prevents a subsequent ambush interview also being covered under the released.

    * Carefully limit the length of the interview in writing when you agree to the appointment. I suggest a maximum of 30 minutes. No one is usually on camera for more than 90 seconds (if that) and 30 minutes is more than enough time for them to get what they want if they are being straightforward. Giving them more time just lets them go ‘fishing’ for some gaffe or misstatement. Don’t let them.

    * Have someone there on your side who is going to be your watchdog. Get someone who doesn’t have trouble disagreeing with people and holding them to their word. They should be like your defense attorney.

    * Ask for a specific list of questions in advance. Print it and have it with you.

    * If they have any problems granting any of the above, you should take that as an almost certain sign that they are up to no good.

    * Assume that they are recording the entire time they are in your presence, even if it appears the camera is off. Once they put a radio microphone on you, carefully manage when it is on and off. Turn it on and off yourself. A good tip is to actually clip it to the back of the chair you are sitting in instead of your belt. That way you can’t forget and wander off with it during a break.

    * Try to negotiate the right to see the finished documentary before it is aired. Any producer will be reluctant, even if they are on the up and up because it’s more work. However, how they respond to this discussion can be telling. Point out that you’re not asking for any editorial input (which they would never agree to anyway), you just want to have some idea of what to expect before it airs.

    * Remember that ALL professional documentary makers have already decided their angle on the story before they begin. Any claims to the contrary (such as “we’re just taking a neutral look at both sides”), should be taken as evidence that they are not being up front with you. Making a documentary is hard, time-consuming and expensive. They wouldn’t go to all that trouble and expense if they didn’t think they had an important and compelling angle on the story.

    * Always research the people and the company making the documentary. When they first contact you ask lots of questions about who’s involved in production, who’s backing the project, which production companies are being used, where it will air, etc. Google all of this and follow the threads. Generally zebras don’t change their stripes.

    * A few days before the interview ask who else they’ve already interviewed (to save costs they tend to group production sessions together). If you can, contact those people and ask how it went.

    * Just as they are getting ready to roll, reach into your pocket and take out your own audio recorder (or cellphone with recording app) and turn it on saying “you don’t mind if I get this for my notes do you?”

    * Doing video interviews is hard. Very hard. Coming across naturally and clearly is tough even for skilled news presenters and politicians. So if an interviewer wants to make you look bad, they have a head start if you’re a novice. This why I strongly suggest doing some practice sessions with a friend. Get out your camcorder, sit down interview style and go through a list of likely questions several times. Have your friend get tricky and try to mess you up. Have fun. Then make some popcorn and watch it. Make notes. Do it again. A little practice is better than none but a lot of practice is ideal.

    During the Interview:

    * Strictly hold them to the agreed length and remind them when they arrive and when the interview starts.

    * Keep your answers very short and very focused. This can take practice because we all like to ramble on. Don’t! It never comes across well, even in a friendly interview.

    * After they have asked each question, feel free to take a few moments to collect your thoughts before you start your answer. They will edit out the question anyway. Do not ever let them rush you. Do not ever engage in a rapid fire back and forth because this is where you are most likely to misspeak. Your watchdog friend should feel free to interrupt with “Let’s take a break” right in the middle of a question if they feel it’s appropriate. If you take a break, remember, mic off.

    * If you feel like you are in the process of flubbing answer, immediately stop and say “that’s not correct, let me try starting over” and then just start over. Feel free to do this multiple times if necessary. If they try to use the start of your flubbed answer, it will look pretty bad for them when you release your audio recording showing they used something that they knew was “not correct”.

    * If they surprise you with a question that you are unprepared to answer. Immediately stand up. The reason is that it can be a very effective technique to ask their “zinger” and let the shot hang on your uncomfortable expression. If you stand up, the camera shot is of your zipper – something they are unlikely to linger on for very long. Keep in mind that standing up is the only sure way to “scrub” an interview shot. Feel free to use it as often as needed. A good pretext can be reaching over to get your print out of the questions so you can note that this question wasn’t on there.

    * If it is becoming clear that this is a hostile interview, don’t waste time making grand points that eloquently prove your case. If it’s good for your position, they simply won’t use it. This is like a legal deposition or police questioning. What you say can only be bad for you, never good.

    * You may need to question the question if it’s of the “when did you stop beating your wife” category. This is perfectly acceptable to do. It’s your interview too. However, never have this kind of discussion with the mic on or in view of the camera. There is usually an additional shotgun mic on the camera that provides a less perfect but still usable audio feed if they choose. Also keep in mind that the interviewer’s radio mic can pick you up as well if they are within a few feet of you.

    * If the interviewer keeps circling back and re-asking basically the same question in different ways, that means that he’s not happy with how your response is coming across. In a hostile situation this means you are doing very well! Now the key is to simply smile and “play broken record”. Keep repeating the exact same answer verbatim. Do not expand on it. Do not add to it. Nada. This might feel uncomfortable at first but just do it. They can’t use what they don’t have.

    * When you feel that you’ve said what you want them to have then feel free to end the interview (even if the half-hour isn’t up). Just stand up, turn off the mic, grab your recorder, make some polite excuse and make like Elvis and leave the building. Let your watchdog observe them as they pack up and leave.

    After the Interview:

    * Before they leave, they may want to get what is called “B-Roll” footage of you walking about your environs. Whether you decide to grant this request or not will depend on how things have gone up to this point. If you are sure they are hostile or are unsure, then I suggest not granting this. It won’t help your position and it will give them lots of footage over which they can add their own narrative that will probably be damning to you.

    * If they do turn out to be hostile to your position then, sadly, the best you can hope for is that they don’t use any of your interview at all. That means that they didn’t get anything from you that would help them make their case. Congratulations! That’s as close to a perfect score as you can hope for in this twisted game.

    I hope that helps…

  49. Rob Huber says:

    James Delingpole is great! I just love the dry, biting British snark in his writing!

    He was royally screwed. Had he come up with a witty retort to Nurse’s medical “trap”, the retort would simply have been left on the cutting room floor.

    I do have one general suggestion for James should he happen to read this: Change the picture on your blog, preferably to one were you are SMILING and don’t look like you’re smelling your own farts!!!

  50. Theo Goodwin says:

    Doug Proctor says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    “The circular logic of Phil Jones – to drop the mis-matching tree ring data for the recent past on the basis that the previous trends (before temperature data) of proxy data were valid, while the recent proxy data was invalid because it didn’t follow the temperature measurement trends is still not understood.”

    That reasoning is typical of a highly confident bully or a total, raving lunatic. What really worries me is that the English government, most of the English people, and all of the English broadcast media are unwilling to question it. One can only conclude that they respect the power of the highly confident bully or they share in the lunacy.

  51. Theo Goodwin says:

    Rob Huber says:
    February 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm
    “I do have one general suggestion for James should he happen to read this: Change the picture on your blog, preferably to one were you are SMILING and don’t look like you’re smelling your own farts!!!”

    OMG, that picture is pure James Dean. Americans love it. Never change it!

  52. John Finn says:

    Paul Dennis said…

    [Snip]

    What concerns me about the hide the decline debate is that the divergence between tree ring width and temperature in the latter half of the 20th century points to possibly both a strong non-linear response and threshold type behaviour.

    It’s much, much worse than this. The only period when the tree ring proxies and the temperature record agree is during the ‘calibration period’. This is the time period chosen when the 2 datasets overlap and when the temperature can be calibrated against tree ring growth.

    If the 2 sets of data don’t agree in this period then something is seriously wrong

    If you examine the tree ring reconstructions closely, you may notice that there is a lack of agreement in the pre-calibration period (i.e. late 19th century). In fact, temperatures and tree rings are heading in opposite directions – just as they are in the late 20th century.

    Tree ring growth can respond negatively to an increase in temperature. Think about it logically. If it’s hot – it might be dry. The average annual temperature of the malaysian rain forest is roughly the same as the average annual temperature in the Sahara desert. How can you possibly guage temperature from tree rings?

  53. Richard Lawson says:

    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    “Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.”

    What of course Nurse and Bindschadler did was to compare gross anthropogenic emissions with net natural emissions. Class act those two!

    You have to watch the pea Mike – you seem to have fallen for it!

  54. JPeden says:

    meemoe_uk says:
    February 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    btw, alot of us deny the offical story of AIDS and vaccines. Who here has bothered to find out who peter duesberg is?

    I have and Duesberg is wrong, unless something’s changed dramatically from when this issue was thoroughly taken up at Dean’s World about 6-7 yrs. ago. I’d go into what happened at that time, but it’s OT. It actually surprised me, but the “hiv doesn’t cause AIDS” postition had no case. Koch’s Postulates have essentially been satisfied, etc..

  55. George Steiner says:

    The Horizon program is just one battle in a long war. Dellingpole and Moncton have lost this battle. Of course you don’t loose a war because of one battle but you don’t want to loose too many of them, do you? Most are surprised that these two were suckered. You shouldn’t be. Conservatives are very naïve lot. And vain as well.

    They mask their naivete with words like courtesy, civility, high mindedness, politeness. But in the end they are just naïve. Look it, the BBC is big, prestigious, famous, rich, renown, and like the Economist all style but no content. The BBC is a quasi Marxist propaganda machine and will out maneuver conservatives every time.

    As for the people? Well they are not well educated, not sophisticated, trusting and ignorant.

  56. Jack Greer says:

    ZT said February 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm:

    “Paul Nurse – President of the Royal Society – if he is interested in truth – will issue a press release apologizing for misleading the public on the amount of human produced CO2 in the atmosphere.”
    ***********************
    The context of that piece was generally “are humans the cause of warming”.

    First of all, Dr. Bindschadler botched his comment, it should have been caught during editing, and an apology and correction should be issued.

    Unfortunately for skeptics, the correction is actually more harsh than the original mistaken comment. The underlying premise is that warming is occurring, that the warming is caused increasing levels of GHGs in the atmosphere, particularly CO2, and that man is the cause of the increasing CO2 levels, not nature.

    The current scientific understanding of Earth’s carbon cycles that, at this time, natural carbon emission sources weighed against natural carbon sinks should result in a net reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels. In other word, all (or virtually all) of the accelerating increases in atmospheric CO2 levels in caused by human interventions, primarily by way of burning of fossil fuels and changing land usage.

  57. Hoser says:

    The Producer said, “whether that is science sceptics, the media or most particularly scientists themselves.”

    They seem to believe the sceptics are not scientists, and by default the only authentic scientists are the climate scientists. I would guess that bias is found throughout the program.

  58. Smokey says:

    Jack Greer,

    I agree with what you said. However, you didn’t go far enough, thus making an implied threat of catastrophic AGW. No evidence supports that conclusion, so you didn’t go there.

    If I’m wrong, show us convincing evidence of global harm as a result of the increased CO2. No models, please; no papers, peer reviewed or otherwise, unless they provide testable, measurable, verifiable evidence of global damage caused by CO2. And please, no claims that CO2 is the culprit along with other factors; the conjecture is that CO2=CAGW. Being a skeptic, I challenge you to put up or shut up.☺

    See, no empirical proof of global damage from the rise in this minor trace gas is ever presented. But if you like, I can show you evidence that the increase in CO2 is harmless and beneficial.

  59. RDCII says:

    Mark-absolutely awesome overview of how to protect oneself in an interview situation. I think this kind of advice is going to be absolutely essential in the next 10 years or so, because I think the AGW folks are hiring people who can tell them what to avoid and how to abuse the system.
    For instance, the “friend” advice is essentially what happened along the way when James Cameron dropped out of the debate challenge…

  60. Jack Greer says:

    Smokey, I choose to limit my comment, here, to the scope of this thread. I was addressing a specific and valid complaint on a segment within the ‘Science Under Attack’ program. My point was that the correction is actually worse, from a skeptic’s POV, than the misstatement.

    I am aware of the skeptical view on most issues, including “beneficial effects of CO2″. Having seen several of your posts, thou’, I must say that I do not get the impression that you’ve actually read the scientific arguments/positions contained within the IPCC report. Can you honestly say I’m wrong?

  61. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    [snip - this isn't a place for a mind dump on propaganda theory ~mod]

  62. RoyFOMR says:

    Great summary Barry. Thanks.
    A lot of commentators have advised that sceptics shouldn’t agree to taking part in stitch-up programmes.
    In the short-term, I would agree but this is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
    The more the true believers hijack, once noble, public services to spread their ideology, the greater will be their fall, however long it takes.
    The more underhand their mechanisms become to spread their gospel, the greater they will be loathed.
    Yes, they achieved their objective but only for the present. Tomorrow they will be judged by history and history is written by the Victors.
    They will not be victorious. They promise us what?
    Unemployment, lower standards of living, a lifetime of hand-wringing guilt, abandonment of freedom, puritanical self-denial and a return to servile serfhood!
    Doesnt sound like an attractive manifesto to me. It would , perhaps, be so if I was convinced of the “Scientific” integrity of the claims of coming thermageddon.
    But I’m not. Growing numbers are not. I know of too many lies that I have seen exposed as shameless appeals to authority.
    The once Good Old Boys have lost my trust and those who quote them are either fools, wise men or scoundrels,
    If the BBC want to stitch you up then let them. Again and again.
    Joe the plumber is a genius at being Joe the plumber. He hates being taken for a fool and he doesn’t do it twice!

  63. Orkneygal says:

    Does anyone know if the missing tropical tropospheric hotspot was discussed at all during the BBC piece?

  64. Tom Harley says:

    The Desperately Biased BBC are only desperately trying to save their superannuation.

  65. Smokey says:

    Jack Greer,

    If you’ve read my posts as you say, then you know that I’ve repeatedly asked the same question of numerous believers in CAGW. Interestingly, not one has ever answered it.

    As your post shows, the typical response is to divert the question onto another subject. I just want a simple, straightforward answer: can you show global harm due to CO2?

    You can say no, and that will be the end of the matter. Or, you can try to find empirical evidence showing verifiable, measurable damage caused by CO2. But prevaricating makes me think you can find no such evidence.

    My question is central to the debate over AGW. Because if CO2 has not caused any global harm after a very significant ≈40% rise, then the CO2=CAGW conjecture is pretty well debunked, no? Why should we continue to waste $multi-billions every year on this non-problem?

  66. Jack Greer says:

    @Smokey
    So I’ll take your response as meaning …

    “No, Jack Greer, I have not read the IPCC report. And even thought my reading the report might actually answer many of the questions I pose over and over, I’m going to demand that someone answer me, even if it’s within a thread not really focused on that discussion.”

    Thanks, Smokey.

  67. Smokey says:

    Jack Greer,

    I’ve read the UN/IPCC report. Answer my question.

  68. Rhoda R says:

    It’s amazing how that tropical tropospheric hotspot has dropped out of the conversation.

  69. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Dear Moderators…
    I’ll be happy to edit, if you’d like.

    C.L. Thorpe

  70. Aynsley Kellow says:

    Mike@ February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    ‘Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.’
    Nonsense – and demonstrably false.
    You have produced not a scrap of evidence that they meant net.
    Bob Bindschadler: ‘Natural causes only can produce – yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year. So there’s just no question that human activity is producing a massively large proportion of the carbon dioxide.’

    Why is it demonstrably false? Because IPCC AR WG1 Fig 7.3 shows the following figures for anthropogenic fluxes (shown in red):
    Fossil Fuel: 6.4 GT out
    Oceans: 20 GT pa out; 22.2 in (A net anthropogenic sink of 2.2 GT pa)
    Land use change: 1.6 GT pa out; Land sink: 2.6 GT pa in (A net anthropogenic sink of 1 GT pa).

    Had they been referring to net fluxes, they would have to have referred to ‘human activity’ producing around 3.2 GT pa if they were accurate.

    Both statements cannot be correct.

    Incidentally, the total flux of 190.2 GT pa is subject to ±20% error, so ±38.04 GT pa. The figure is more accurate for fossil fuel combustion, but even then this is based upon national reporting and makes certain assumptions about conversion efficiency.

  71. Smokey says:

    Rhoda R,

    The tropospheric hot spot – the “fingerprint” of AGW – did not appear as the models predicted.

    Conclusion: AGW debunked.

  72. jorgekafkazar says:

    Ralph says: “…Joseph Goebels would have shed a tear in appreciation…”

    He’d have done cartwheels down the corridors of the BBC, seeing Britain’s institutions reduced to lock-step instruments of a monomaniacal government like the one he served. This is not Britain’s finest hour. That is long past.

  73. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Cool. I hope you understood it.

  74. David Ball says:

    Does anyone know what attention deficit disorder, ……. oh , look a bunny, …….

  75. Orkneygal says:

    RE: The missing hotspot.

    I think it is a bit of a stretch to claim that the missing hotspot debunks AGW.

    I think it is more appropriate to say that either-

    1) The IPCC models are wrong, not just unskillful, but truly wrong, or
    2) There is not as much warming as the official records claim.

    In either case, the missing hotspot is a massive hole in IPCC’s claims about how Gaia works to control her temperature and they are missing something very important and very fundamental. If they can’t get the basic physics right, everything else they claim about the fundamentals of climate forcings, feedbacks, etc. is in doubt.

    So, better to point out that the missing hotspot means nothing IPCC claims about the basic, fundamental factors affecting the ever changing climate, has scientific merit.

  76. AJStrata says:

    A big issue with the pre 1960 and post 1960 comparisons is the density of the temperature measurements. The selected trees are near the tree line in latitude and altitude. This mean they are far from city sensors and the locations for the temp data in the earlier period.

    Which simply means it could have been completely random coincidence that the tree rings in the early period and the temperature readings (sparse and distant) were correlating.

    Then, after 1960 where the blanket of temp readings expanded, became more dense and more synchronized to Time of Day for the measurements (i.e., became more accurate), the reality was finally expose – tree rings DO NOT correlate to temperature at all but are driven more by other local factors (like days above freezing and not the amount of delta above freezing, freezing or some other minimal temp being a point where growth occurs).

    Under this scenario the correlation pre 1960 is random garbage, not ground truth. Unless the alarmists can prove otherwise (since it is their theory which needs to be proven).

    Food for thought, but one sequence is closer to reality and the antiquated tech and methods don’t seem to hint it would be the pre-1960 data.

  77. ZT says:

    Jack Greer said:
    February 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    (ZT) “Paul Nurse – President of the Royal Society – if he is interested in truth – will issue a press release apologizing for misleading the public on the amount of human produced CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    (JG) First of all, Dr. Bindschadler botched his comment, it should have been caught during editing, and an apology and correction should be issued.

    Glad you agree that Paul Nurse misled the public. Not really the sort of thing that you would want the president of the Royal Society to be doing, unless of course the Royal Society were a PR organization for the climatology ‘movement’.

    I’m not really sure what you mean about ‘editing’ – wouldn’t you think that the President of the Royal Society would know (at least roughly) what the relative proportions of man made and other forms of CO2 in the atmosphere are? He was making a program loosely based on the ‘science’ of climate change, after all.

    There are two possible explanations: Nurse misled the public by accident, in which case he wasn’t particularly well aware of the subject he was dabbling in, and he will issue an apology and correction, as you suggest. Alternatively, Nurse considers himself the President of a PR firm, intent on salvaging the climatology train wreck in the eyes of the media. (In which case the few remaining scientists in the Royal Society would be best advised to leave).

    At least Baghdad Bob had dignity, poise, and an evocative turn of phrase.

  78. Greg Cavanagh says:

    Once upon a time, I would have attributed confusion, misunderstanding, selective quotation and other honest if mistaken attributes, to statements like what Paul Nurse has made.

    But these subjects have been so analysed, I can no longer accept honest mistakes on their behalf. It looks more and more as though they are knowingly lying about many of these subjects.

  79. Brian H says:

    First, a grammarnasty natter: will people (this means U, George) PLEASE learn that “loose” means untie, or release (as a verb) as in “loose as a goose”? And “lose” means not-win, or be-unable-to-find, rhymes with “use” and “dues”. (Also, “do to” s/b due to, etc.)

    On to heap more praise on Mark’s Guidelines. That comment should be linked (it’s the date field under the name) everywhere on every skeptic site. I’ve copied it and saved it permanently.

    And AJStrata: the tree rings issue statistically comes to this, doesn’t it: among all the sampled trees, there was bound to be a sub-set of a sub-set, somewhere, that matched a portion of the temp record. They found a few that were close, and one particular tree that was very close. And that’s all that happened — persistence in looking for bogus proxies finally succeeded. Until it didn’t.

  80. Brian H says:

    P.S. to AJStrata;
    Of course, as you point out, “the temp record” wasn’t even the local temp record, which was and is unavailable. So it was really quite brazen curve-fitting-by-snooping.

  81. steven mosher says:

    Smokey

    “can you show global harm due to CO2? ”

    nobody answers your question because it is ill formed.

    The questions are.

    1. Will an increase (say doubling) of C02 cause MORE warming than we would see without a doubling?

    2. How much warming ( whats the range of possibilities)

    3. Who Will that warming harm and how.

    4. Who will that warming benefit and how.

    5. Can we do anything about it?

    6, Should we?

    Your question “can you show global harm due to CO2? ” is definately yes. if, for example, the C02 content were to rise to a high enough percent of course there would be harm. you’d die.

    So, if you learn to ask better questions, more precise questions, taking care to familiarize yourself with the literature and spend enough time reading as you do commenting, then you can have better conversations

  82. John Brookes says:

    The beautiful thing with this show was that the AIDS denialist came off rather better than Delingpole. He at least seemed sincere in his beliefs, and quite prepared to wear the personal cost of them. Delingpole, on the other hand came out looking like “I” from the movie “Withnall and I”. I’m still left wondering if Delingpole is sincerely deluded, or cynically playing to an audience.

  83. Ron Manley says:

    Two unrelated comments:
    1. The bias starts in the choice of defenders of the sceptics’ points of view. James Delingpole can be labelled a ‘right-wing blogger’; Lord Monckton was a ‘political advisor to Margaret Thatcher’. The implication being that the sceptic view is only held by the unscientific political right.
    2. The decline in tree-ring growth is a major point which has been swept under the carpet. One intersting aspect, not much discussed, is that it seems to be mainly a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon. See:
    http://www.climatedata.info/Proxy/Proxy/Proxy/treerings_northern.html
    and
    http://www.climatedata.info/Proxy/Proxy/Proxy/treerings_southern.html

  84. PKthinks says:

    The AIDs denialist was treated very gently indeed and in my opinion he was there to help add strength to the anti- science denier label that Dellingpole was being branded with.

  85. Maxwell35 says:

    What no-one seems to have mentioned is that Dellers and Monckton are widely read and heard. They’ll not remember the Beeb with affection and I reckon that neither will lose any opportunity of bringing up the Beeb’s disgraceful conduct. Having heard Monckton speak, which he does frequently to world wide audiences, I bet he won’t lose any oppportunity of trashing the Beeb rather well. I wouldn’t be the least surprise if the Beeb doesn’t actually lose some of its market, especially in the US. I wouldn’t want to make an enemy of either Dellers or Monckton. Also it must be said that although the greenies will continue to listen to the Beeb a high percentage will have angrily turned against it. That can’t be good for sales or come to that, its future.

  86. Pompous Git says:

    steven mosher said @ February 3, 2011 at 10:35 pm:

    “Smokey

    “can you show global harm due to CO2? ”

    nobody answers your question because it is ill formed.

    The questions are.

    1. Will an increase (say doubling) of C02 cause MORE warming than we would see without a doubling?

    2. How much warming ( whats the range of possibilities)

    3. Who Will that warming harm and how.

    4. Who will that warming benefit and how.

    5. Can we do anything about it?

    6, Should we?

    Your question “can you show global harm due to CO2? ” is definately yes. if, for example, the C02 content were to rise to a high enough percent of course there would be harm. you’d die.

    So, if you learn to ask better questions, more precise questions, taking care to familiarize yourself with the literature and spend enough time reading as you do commenting, then you can have better conversations”

    We are told that, for example, that the current weather conditions in far north Queensland are due to increased GHGs. We know that weather conditions in far north Queensland were far worse ~300 yBP. So, unless the laws of physics have changed, the far worse storms of ~300 yBP were also GHG induced. What evidence is there that there were elevated GHGs ~300 yBP? Is that a well-formed question?

  87. Kate says:

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  88. Waffle says:

    Let me get this straight. A journalist who has spent the last, who knows how many years, attacking the integrity of the climate establishment and the BBC says, he trusted them to do the right thing? Not even a contractual “Allow me to produce my own version” prior to the production?

    James, it’s time for you to move on mate. This ain’t your fight. Fish should never swim with sharks.

  89. Mailman says:

    Hindsight is a fantastic thing isnt it. And yes, I would NEVER trust the BBC when it comes to Mann Made Global Warming ™ simply because the BBC is a fully paid up eco-advocate for Mann Made Global Warming ™.

    The BBC is tight with the Met Office, where Harribin seems to be their official spokesman and spends most of his time defending the Met Office.

    Also, its rather curious that the BBC can be so incredibly incurious when it comes to Mann Made Global Warming ™, lapping up anything that supports their religion unquestioningly.

    As the BBC continues to hide its committment to Mann Made Global Warming ™ by citing that they are exempt from FOI because their decisions are made in forming journalistic standards then it is right to continue question their integrity and dismiss their claims of impatiality!

    Until the BBC comes clean over its involvement in Mann Made Global Warming ™ then they should be avoided like the plague.

    Regards

    Mailman

  90. George Tetley says:

    When you have invested millions ( and perhaps all ) your pension fund in AGW the boss says anything goes to increase the dividends, the BBC has become what it once would have made a program about propaganda.

  91. J. Felton says:

    Ted said

    “OT
    Dr Andrew J Weaver allows himself to be introduced on the radio and in the media as one of the world’s leading climate scientists and Climatologist but his bio states he is a climate modeler?”

    Mods, I know this is OT, but permit to me to answer this question, if you would.

    Andrew Weaver is only a mathematician. He programmed many of the initial models on which many of the IPCC scenarios are based on, but to my knowledge, he has no Climatology degree himself. His models were chosen because they represent the warming the IPCC wants the public to see-the inaccurate ones.
    I live in the same city, and know several students who have tried to engage him in debate. He is a bully, known for making accusations of corruption and dishonesty when they contradict his beliefs. He, like many on the AGW bandwagon, is nothing short of an overpaid fraud.

  92. wayne Job says:

    steven mosher,
    Playing pedantics over a question is a trait of post normal science and PC nonsense.

    Answer this question. Will a doubling or a tripling of CO2 cause harmful effects to our world?
    Understanding the saturation of radiation in that bandwidth is almost done. That higher temperatures in the past led to advancement in civilization and that higher CO2 levels are not only beneficial to flora, but evolved with much higher levels and have thus been starved.

    So Sir answer the very straight forward question, without fobbing, put forward by a very sincere person on this blog.

  93. Mailman says:

    ZT,

    Baghdad Bob was also a lot less dangerous than Nurse! :)

    Regards

    Mailman

  94. Peter Plail says:

    For those of you who are criticising Delingpole for cooperating with the BBC, consider what he would have been accused of if he failed to take part.

    He would have been presented as a sceptic who wasn’t even prepared to defend his position when offered an opportunity to do so, and his published comments and broadcasts would have been selectively edited to arrive at the same or worse conclusion by the program makers. The same e-mail which promised a balanced approach to the subject would then have been wheeled out to show how unreasonable his refusal would have been.

    Having taken part, and being able to reveal the dishonest promises made in the BBC’s e-mails, enables him to assume the moral high ground. In the process this has revealed to those who want to hear, the illiberal approach to communicating their message taken by the metropolitan liberal “intelligentsia” of the BBC and their acolytes.

  95. PaulM says:

    The BBC news this morning is that the BBC has apologised for ridiculing Mexicans in a humorous motoring show called “Top Gear”.
    Any chance they will apologise for ridiculing climate sceptics?

  96. SteveE says:

    Smokey says:
    February 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    Jack Greer,

    If you’ve read my posts as you say, then you know that I’ve repeatedly asked the same question of numerous believers in CAGW. Interestingly, not one has ever answered it.

    As your post shows, the typical response is to divert the question onto another subject. I just want a simple, straightforward answer: can you show global harm due to CO2?

    —————————-

    I think the answer is not yet, but that like saying can you show any long term harm from having one cigarette?

    No you probably can’t, however if you keep on having one cigarette a day for the next 20 years there’s lots of evidence that’ll show you the harm it’s caused.

    Prevention is better than cure, and usually cheaper too.

  97. Mike Haseler says:

    PKthinks says: February 4, 2011 at 12:16 am

    The AIDs denialist was treated very gently indeed

    I never questioned the link between Aids and HIV, ok it might have crossed my mind it could be more complex than portrayed, but if you had asked I would have said the link was clearcut and until other evidence arrives that is the proper assumption.

    Then you see what people like the BBC do to the science of global warming. They butcher it like Like Eugenicists butchered the science of ethnicity in the 1930s.

    And then you realise that if this corrupt science system and broadcasting media can be so wrong on something so simple as the science of causation of 20th century warming … any sensible person would begin to wonder about other “established science” like HIV->AIDS.

    It makes you wonder. Is the reason much of science has stagnated in the last 30 or so years due linked to this new-age post-modernist post-normal “science”?

    Here’s a hypothesis worth considering?

    Did post normal science lead to the slow-down** in scientific development or did the slow-down in scientific development lead to post-normal science?

    **I’m using as a criteria the change in the content of introduction course in University physics from 1920-2010. Against which you could argue that development is proceeding apace in areas like genetics.

  98. Aynsley Kellow says:

    J. Felton and Ted:
    Your should know by now that anyone who is on message is a ‘leading climate scientist’; anyone who questions the message lacks appropriate expertise. ;-)

  99. Barry Sheridan says:

    There should be no surprise at the underhanded tactics of the BBC. As Peter Sissons recently confirmed, should any confirmation be necessary, the staff at the BBC, are for the most part at least, of a certain mind set. One not above using its influence to try and bring about solutions of which it politically approves.

    James Dellingbole is far from being the first to suffer from its innate deceit, indeed it is possible to state that the British people as a whole are ill served by the national broadcaster, an organisation of which they are forced to fund.

    This tragedy is profound, given the outstanding contribution the BBC has made to broadcasting as a whole. Indeed still, some of its drama and sporting coverage has much to commend it, however in the serious field of the documentary and news reporting, there is little to say other than is no longer worthy of being believed.

  100. Julian Flood says:

    Jack Greer says:
    February 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm
    quote
    The current scientific understanding of Earth’s carbon cycles that, at this time, natural carbon emission sources weighed against natural carbon sinks should result in a net reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels. In other word, all (or virtually all) of the accelerating increases in atmospheric CO2 levels in caused by human interventions, primarily by way of burning of fossil fuels and changing land usage.
    unquote

    This, presumably, is your take on the mass balance argument, which boils down to ‘CO2 is going up, humans are producing more CO2 than the amount it’s going up, therefore the CO2 addition is caused by burning fossil fuel’. Note the non sequitur at the end — the argument says nothing about attribution. I’d add ‘or something else is going on as well’. For example, because the mass balance argument says nothing about absolute numbers or attribution it may be that we are also — for example — destroying carbon-fixing plankton, reducing the breaking of waves and hence mechanical mixing with the upper ocean, releasing methane in the tundra which was previously held by acid rain and which can now be converted to CO2, or it may be we are just seeing a deep current, a tiny bit warmer than usual because of the MWP, heating deep ocean clathrate so that methanophage bacteria can devour it and give off CO2. Or something else is going on as well.

    And the sinks are nearly coping.

    I find it interesting how every word of the warming doctrine must be defended — the Team does this as well. Anyone would think that their house is made of cards.

    JF
    (Brian, I’m with you on ‘loose/lose’. If it goes on much longer I’ll forget how to spell them myself.)

  101. John Marshall says:

    They lost my faith in them some years ago. I knew that this BBCfour program would be biased amd edit to their advantage anything that a sceptic would say.

  102. Greg Holmes says:

    I have long been a fan of the BBC as a public broadcaster, however I have become concerned in recent years about the the presentation of the News and such programs as Horizon. I do now firmly believe that the fix is in at the BBC. If your message is not aligned to the cause you have nil chance of expounding it. I shall be writing to my MP regarding several instances of BBC bias. This issue is becoming more widely recognised in the UK, there is even a website now “Biased BBC” such a thing would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. Carbon trading money, mafia? who knows.

  103. RichieP says:

    Barry Woods says:
    February 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    “I am convinced that the BBC’s environment team (Richard Black, Roger Harrabin, etc) were oblivious to both of these programs content and had nothing to do with them. I’ve commented on Richard Black’s blog for a long time and I met Roger once at the Guardian Climategate meeting last year, I’m sure neither would be involved in such a cliched approach to scepticism. ”

    Then you may be either naive or overly trusting (just like Dellers and Monckton), both of which play directly into the hands of these propaganda merchants. Why are you convinced? There’s a good quote from Hamlet applies here: “One may smile and smile and still be a villain”.

  104. RichieP says:

    Not far off in the UK, the state depicted here

  105. Cold Englishman says:

    I came home from a meeting last night and walked in about 10.15. Now remember, half the middle east is ablaze, and we should all be watching very carefully what is going on, so what was on the news??
    You guessed it, The Amazon is drying out and all because of CO2 which is causing Global Bloody Warming.
    It is becoming intolerable living in England, it truly is. We have this constant drip drip drip. It is of course brain washing, they’ve got at my grandchildren. I am a peaceful man, but there are times…………………..

  106. Snotrocket says:

    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm
    Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2….”

    Tell us Mike, are these natural processes that absorb CO2 able to discriminate between MM CO2 and natural CO2? Are you positing that MM CO2 does not get absorbed and therefore remains in the atmosphere, being the ONLY component of GHG?

  107. Smokey says:

    SteveE says @1:31 am:

    “I think the answer is not yet…”

    In other words: No. If you have evidence of global damage, post it. Otherwise, the reasonable conclusion is that even after a ≈40% increase in CO2 there is no evidence of harm, and therefore the conjecture that CO2=CAGW is falsified. “What if” conjectures don’t pass muster at the world’s best climate site.

  108. Barry Woods says:

    RichieP
    I have ‘every good’ reason to think this. The BBC is a huge organisation and the left hand probably has no idea what the right is doing. Roger or Richard would definetly if they had been involved, would have at least have spotted the 7 times mistake and corrected it.

    If only, if this is your thinking, to stop sceptics to make hay with it.

  109. John V. Wright says:

    Barry, thank you for an excellent post. The BBC has long lost the plot journalistically and, as far as I can tell from my man-in-the-street informal research, it is losing its audience hand over fist in the UK for its news output.

    In the last two weeks, the BBC has apologised for two humorous comments – one, made by Stephen Fry, about a Japanese gentleman, and a second, by Jeremy Clarkson, about Mexico. In the first, basically a panel-type programme called QI, Fry and his panellists were giggling at the fact that one man was unlucky enough to be present both at Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the atom bomb was dropped – and the joke was about him being the unluckiest man in the world.

    In the second, Clarkson and his team on Top Gear were stereotyping Mexican people in what was obviously an over-the-top reference (in much the same way as non-Brits stereotype the English as being cold, reserved, wearing bowler hats and drinking tea).

    So, apologies from the BBC for those two humorous items, as some people were offended by them. But no apology for stereotyping AGW skeptics as (according to James Delingpole) being “on a par with people who don’t believe that AIDs is caused by the HIV virus and people who destroy GM crops”.

    We know that the BBC is blatantly unbalanced in its approach to global warming and admits it. But this is offensive.

  110. Scottie says:

    Well, at least we now have a public admission from Jones that he fiddles his data in order to fit another agenda. From the transcript:

    Phil Jones: The Organisation wanted a relatively simple diagram for their particular audience. What we started off doing was the three series, with the instrumental temperatures on the end, clearly differentiated from the tree ring series. But they thought that was too complicated to explain to their audience.

    So what we did was just to add them on, and bring them up to the present. And as I say, this was a World Meteorological Organisation statement. It had hardly any coverage in the media at the time, and had virtually no coverage for the next ten years, until the release of the e-mails.

    He quite unashamedly admits that he altered the graph to suit the needs of the WMO.

  111. Cold Englishman says:

    I remember a long time ago, advising Anthony not to talk to the BBC, because they will edit and control what is said – especially having regard to Anthony’s disability. Believe me, they take no prisoners.

    The only way you can get a point across is in a live debate, that, they cannot control, so ask them if they’ll do it? And don’t hold your breath while waiting for the answer.

  112. DaveF says:

    Delingpole, Monckton and the rest should not refuse to debate the subject, because that would make them look scared, like Al Gore. They should, however, insist on only taking part in a live, unedited debate. Programmes such as ‘Any Questions’ and ‘Question Time’ are good for this. Unfortunately, Delingpole, like many who are primarily writers rather than speakers, isn’t too hot on ‘the hoof’ either.

  113. Alexander K says:

    An excellent and all points are well made.
    At the age of sixteen I learnt by hard and extremely embarrassing experience that journalists will lie to ‘improve’ a story or bend it to their purpose and have taken any so-called news disseminating organisation, bet it radio or television broadcast, or any form of print media or electronic media with a huge portion of wariness.
    But the BBC plumbed new depths yesterday morning during their Breakfast Programme when the focus turned to Cyclone Yasi impacting on Queensland. An earnest young ‘scientific expert’ was introduced and when asked a leading question about the corelation between ‘climate change’ and cyclonic activity, he assured listeners that the corelation was proven beyond doubt. The manner in which he was fed the question made me wonder if the question and its answer had been scripted.
    The BBC proves every day on many of it’s fora that it is deeply biased to the point of rank dishonesty.

  114. mikemUK says:

    It says much for the competence or otherwise of the BBC that between the original filming commenced last summer, and the broadcast at the end of January, no one picked up on the Nurse/ Bindschadler assertions about CO2 emissions and edited them out.

    Either they were all ignorant on the subject, or they knowingly left them in.

    Shades of Himalayan glaciers retreating – accidentally on purpose?

  115. Chris Wright says:

    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    “Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2.”

    No, he is talking about emissions, not absorptions. He does not use the word ‘net.’ He says: ” Natural causes only can produce – yes, there are volcanoes popping off and things like that, and coming out of the ocean, only about one gigaton per year.”

    In other words, Bindschadler stated very clearly that natural causes can only produce about 1 gigaton per year.

    If you think that is a true statement then I suggest you familiarise yourself with the basics of the carbon cycle. If you are fully familiar with the figures, which show natural emissions are roughly 30 times larger than human emissions, then I suggest you consider the honesty of your statement.

    Here is a perfect example of why many climate scientists cannot be trusted.
    Chris

  116. Viv Evans says:

    There is one other point in regard to these two BBC programmes which shows the inherent bias and, sorry, dishonesty:
    Not one of the well-known scientists who question the AGW ‘science’ was interviewed.
    I understand that there was a tiny clip showing Prof Lindzen in the ‘Meet the sceptics’ film. The film-maker was actually in the USA at that time. So why was Prof Lindzen not given more space? Did his interview end up on the cutting-room floor?
    Why were none of the others – the Pielkes, the two Mc’s, Dr Spencer, Dr Loehle, etc etc etc being interviewed?
    Can’t have been because of the cost …
    Nor did Sir Nurse interview any of the ‘usual suspects’ on the sceptics’ side. Again – why? Too expensive to get to the USA or Canada? Odd that when one thinks about the hundreds of reporters and journalists being flown to the footie world cup, to Cancun, or even Copenhagen.
    This, imho, underlines that there is not just bias in the Beeb regarding AGW, there is an underlying dishonesty, cherry-picking the scientist who get heard and who don’t.

  117. Ryan says:

    “After the debacles of Climate-gate, GM products and MMR, I want to explore why science isn’t trusted” – hmmm, I remember one Professor Richard Southwood reassuring the British people that British beef was safe to eat during the “Mad Cow” scandal. Shortly afterwards 125 people died from vCJD and 155,000 cattle had to be slaughtered. Government scientists promoting public policy and coming down on the wrong side of the truth? Well I never……

  118. Ryan says:

    “Simon Singh, the best selling author of ’Fermat’s Last Theorum’ had tweeted:

    Sorry, but @JamesDelingpole deserves mockery ‘cos he has the arrogance to think he knows more of science than a Nobel Laureate”

    Hmm, well an IQ of 137 certainly doesn’t make me a genius, but I think it is quite enough to detect the smell of scientific bullshit – and the pathetic attempts to sweep it under the carpet.

  119. David says:

    On the broad subject identified by this heading, you do have to wonder what goes on in the minds of BBC producers..
    Recently on BBC Breakfast was a feature about the fact that, due to council funding cuts, a lot of councils would be switching off their speed cameras.
    Cut to reporter standing by a speed camera in the Midlands – brief spiel to camera on the reasons and implications, and then the reporter introduces someone to give his view on the matter.
    Someone from a motoring organisation..?
    A representative from one of the councils involved..?
    Nope.
    A guy from FRIENDS OF THE EARTH..!!
    So what does anyone expect him to say..? ‘Awww – poor motorists – we sympathise totally – set them free from these tyrannical boxes..’
    Well – of course not. Actually he was quite restrained – went on about it discouraging people from walking and riding bikes – not that I could see any connection whatsoever, but never mind…
    So – agree wholeheartedly. The BBC HAS broken faith with the general public…

  120. kzb says:

    Did you notice, as well as the humorous music, that Moncton was always referred to by his first name only, as “Chris-to-pher” ? Made him sound like a child or someone who needs looking after.

  121. jack1947 says:

    Thanks for this clear summary. I was appalled by the BBC Horizon Programme. It was clear from an early stage that this was no unbiased comment and investigation. By the end we saw that Paul Nurse had comepletely abandoned any scientifci objectivity. There was a sense that this was an ambush. Deli9ngpole cam across and uncharacteristically weak and hesitatnt, and then we smelt a rat. Indeed it was a stitch-up. The error over amounts of CO2 (human and natural) was immediately obvious to any intelligent informed person. The Royal Society was already strongly pro-AGW under, Nurse’s predecessor, Sir Martin Rees.

    How sad it is that the BBC has become a propagande machine. One would like to think that it is unconscious, but when it is this blatant – no, it is deliberate and conscious.

  122. Snotrocket says:
    February 4, 2011 at 2:09 am
    Mike says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    “Nurse and Bindschadler meant net CO2 emissions. Many natural processes absorb CO2….”

    Tell us Mike, are these natural processes that absorb CO2 able to discriminate between MM CO2 and natural CO2? Are you positing that MM CO2 does not get absorbed and therefore remains in the atmosphere, being the ONLY component of GHG?

    Natural sinks don’t discriminate between natural and human CO2 (except for some differences in isotopes). But the total yearly absorption is only halve the amount of human emissions. That means that the MM emissions are fully responsible for the increase, whatever the flows within the natural cycles are (3, 30 or 300 times larger or smaller). A cycle is throughput and doesn’t add or substract any net amount of CO2, only the difference between sources and sinks at the end of the year is what changes the total amount in the atmosphere.

    I don’t know where the “seven times” is based on, volcanoes emit less than 1% of what humans emit, while oceans emit and absorb around 8 times more CO2 and vegetation 12 times more over the seasons. But both oceans and vegetation are net sinks for CO2, not sources.

  123. melk says:

    Let me pose a different question. Let’s assume for the purposes of argument that ALL current global warming is due to increasing amounts of anthropogenic CO2. We know what this level of increase actually is. It’s about 0.25-0.5% per year, or 1-2 ppm. At this rate, it would take 140 years to double the current level of atmospheric CO2. Does it not seem likely that this miniscule annual increase of CO2 could be halted or even reversed by the ingenuity of a society that went from horses to Lamborghinis in fifty years? It’s the classic Michael Crighton what-to-do-with-the-increasing-horseshit problem. My point, of course, is that, by defining the GW problem purely in terms of very small increases in anthropogenic CO2, the pro-AGW faction suggests a fairly simple solution. After all, global temperatures were very acceptable to everyone as recently as 25 years ago.

  124. Steve E says:

    As someone who has vigorously supported the BBC in the past, I now cannot wait for this Government to privatise it!

    Even Question Time selectively picks it’s guest speakers on occasions.

    Andrew Neil stands alone as a loan beacon of journalistic integrity IMHO.

    I am now opposed to paying for an overtly Politically Biased TV station.

    I really do wonder how many people would pay-up if it was privatised and encrypted?

    Not me!

  125. Sam the Skeptic says:

    … and Question Time isn’t live.

  126. wormthatturned says:

    Would UK TV licence payers have a case to stop paying their licence fees on account of evidence that the BBC is not being impartial, fair or balanced in its handling and reporting of climate change issues? Any views from a legal point of view?
    Or would a court simply rule ..”if you have a tv, you have to have a licence ..end of”?

  127. Mike Haseler says:

    Does anyone else think there is something terribly reminiscent of the Nazis in all this. With this corruption of science by “post normal science” (i.e. science which looks for the evidence to fit a preconceived idea), and the propaganda machinery of the BBC, there is something appallingly similar to rise of Nazism with its pseudo-scientific Eugenics and Goebellian propaganda.

    Can we forget that like the BBC Nazism was originally a left-wind organisation to restore national pride!

    The real danger of course, is not this petty squabble about global temperatures. It is the way, the precedent has been set for any tin pot dictator to use these same tools to undermine democracy in a real crisis: to set aside the standards of science to allow it to “prove” the political desireable by the “consensus” of the (party) scientists and then use the state funded propaganda machine to inform the masses of this “proven” science that jews are … or whatever.

    From climategate to an authoritarian regime like the Nazis isn’t that big a step:

    1. Science that is tailored to fit the political need not the evidence (inverting the Null hypothesis).

    2. Monolithic state-funded news machines that allow themselves to become political propaganda machines.

    What next? “Re-education” camps for the deniers?

  128. fenbeagle says:

    @ryan says…
    …..Hmm, well an IQ of 137 certainly doesn’t make me a genius, but I think it is quite enough to detect the smell of scientific bullshit – and the pathetic attempts to sweep it under the carpet.

    Well Ryan, I’m only a D O G but I could smell it too

  129. Katabasis says:

    I think a good way to express just how significant an error this is would be to imagine this scenario:

    Imagine an economics documentary in the wake of the credit crunch. Two “top economists” are discussing the causes of the crisis. During a key interview both economists agree that the U.K. economy is 7 times larger than the U.S. and was therefore the driving force behind the world economy.

    Can you imagine the reaction to such a grevious error? Why is this particular mistake not being treated even remotely as seriously?

  130. idlex says:

    frank verismo says:
    February 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    The BBC were the primary reason I evicted my television. Being propagandized in your own home and paying for the pleasure is not my idea of fun.

    I entirely agree. I got rid of my TV set 2 years ago for exactly this reason. But it’s not just the BBC. The other terrestrial channels were just as bad, in my view.

    For those who haven’t got rid of their TVs yet, the withdrawal symptoms aren’t too bad. For a few weeks or months you keep thinking of the programmes that you’d have liked to have seen. But after a while, you no longer know what you’re missing, and it doesn’t matter any more. And when you do see some TV programme round at someone else’s house, it all seems cheap and tawdry.

    It’s a terrible shame. TV could be (and should be) a medium of public debate. The 21st century version of the town hall. But these days, about almost everything, the debate is over. It’s not just climate change. In the UK there’s no longer any real debate about the EU and the endless rain of health and safety rules and regulations. TV has become trivialised. It has become a medium of public propaganda, with a rigid editorial policy about more or less everything.

    And so the real debate has moved to the internet, which is now the place to go to find out what’s happening.

  131. richard verney says:

    I can just about accept that since Paul Nurse is not a specialist in the climate field that he could take the NASA scientist at face value when the NASA scientist makes a mistake as to the amount of naturally occurring CO2 emmissions which dwarf the manmade proportion. This mistake having been pointed out, both the BBC and the Royal Society should now issue a prominent correction of the true facts.

    However, I cannot accept how Paul Nurse simply meekly accepted what Phil Jones said about the ‘hide the decline’ issue. Paul Nurse knows about data sets and would therefore know that when you have two data sets which should be showing the same result/trend and yet they do not, alarm bells ring. He must know that this means that there is a problem with one or even both data sets.

    Further, he knows that this is one of the significant issues arising out of Climategate (the ‘Harry Read Me’ file, the pal review system, the control by the Team and Trenberth’s admission that it is a travesty that the missing heat can’t be found probably being more significant issues) and therefore if he was seeking to enquire in to this issue (or to act neutrally), one would have expected him to query Phil Jone’s explanation that it ‘complicated’ matters. The obvous response would have been ‘you mean that it was thought that including this data set would complicate matters since it would graphically show that either (i) the proxy record is wrong and unreliable such that one does not know what the temperatures were prior to the instrument record, or (ii) if the proxy is sound, the modern instrument record post 1960 is wrong suggesting that the earth has not warmed as much as the various data sets (HADCRU, GISS etc) suggest pehaps because they are being upwardly biased by UHI and/or other post record adjustments, or (iii) it is a combination of both of the foregoing.

    The failure by Paul Nurse not to see the significance behind the divergence of the proxy record and instrument record, and not to question Phil Jones on this and hold him to account for his reasons behind the divergence and to what extent either record can therefore be safely relied upon is inexcusable for a scientific mind. Personally, I consider this to portray Pual Nurse in a very poor light.

  132. Vince Causey says:

    PaulM

    “The BBC news this morning is that the BBC has apologised for ridiculing Mexicans in a humorous motoring show called “Top Gear”.
    Any chance they will apologise for ridiculing climate sceptics?”

    The BBC hate Top Gear, even though they produce it. Top Gear is the antithesis of their world belief systems. In fact, so visceral is their hatred, that they have on more than one occasion, attempted to get the presenters killed. In one episode they were filming in the reddest of redneck territories in the Southern United States, and issued a challenge for each presenter to decorate the others car in such a way as to ‘get them killed.’ After the trio pulled into a gas station with slogans such as ‘man love rules’ and ‘Hillary for president’ emblazoned on their cars, they eventually had to flee for their lives.

    Having failed in this attempt, and being stuck with the series by popular demand, they have no compunction about apologising for perceived offenses at every opportunity.

  133. Beesaman says:

    It has been interesting to note how the BBC have played certain news stories recently:

    It filled the airwaves with news about the floods and storms in Australia, but hardly a mention about the snow and ice storms in the USA.

    Lots of coverage about the lack of rain in the Amazon, not a word on the UN Forestry report.

    Not that they are biased towards AGW (sarc mode).

    The trouble for the BBC is that the coming cold will not be buried so easily.

  134. DirkH says:

    AGW is the religion that gives the EU its raison d’être; and the BBC, like all the public (state-controlled) media in Europe, are the muezzins of this religion. Ireland, as broke as it is, continues to build windmills galore. As one moslemic country after the other in North Africa goes down in political instability, the Desertec planners in Hamburg and Munich assure us that Desertec will help to stabilize these countries by providing green jobs (i guess like in Spain).

    Assuming the BBC would be neutral with regard to AGW would be like assuming the Pravda in Soviet times to report neutrally about communism. The same goes for Deutsche Welle, of course, and the other state-controlled media.

  135. ZT says:

    Interestingly, a search for “Sir Paul Nurse Baghdad Bob” now returns this very thread as its first hit.

    Good for Sir Paul, long may his positive impact on science remain.

    Here is the URL for those interested in monitoring the great man’s progress in scientific reporting: http://www.google.com/search?q=sir+paul+nurse+baghdad+bob

    I wonder if an apology from Sir Paul might sever this soon to be permanent linkage?

  136. holbrook says:

    Ultimately the weather will make it abundantly clear who was right and the betting at present is firmly on the side of the sceptics.
    What infuriated and yet amused me most about Climategate was the tree ring fiasco with Al Gore fearing the game was up and ducking out of his trip to Europe, thus leaving the people (suckers) who had bought tickets for his lecture high and dry.
    In the real world the the media would have been camped outside his house in America waiting for the moment to pounce and ask some very awkward questions.
    The fact that they showed no interest speaks volumes.

    With regard to Michael Mann and his tree rings theory, he should surely have been invited to debate the subject with Steve Macintyre on the BBC……with his no show a certainty it would have left Steve the simple task of a shoe in.

    The overall picture when set against the climate of the last three years or so clearly underlines the desperation of the AGW’s and it is simply a matter of time before the game is up.
    Expect early retirements as the pre-cursor to the like of Jones, Trenberth, Harrabin et al finally accepting they have screwed up without actually admitting they are wrong.
    The writing is already on the wall in America where I understand that President Obama made no reference to the climate in his recent State of the Union Address.

  137. nemesis says:

    “I hope you don’t mind me contacting you on this email address but I was given it by Louise Gray at the Telegraph.”
    This should have had alarm bells ringing. Louise Gray is a well-known and much mocked warmist.

  138. Bickers says:

    Following Mike Haseler response from the BBC acting commissioner of Knowledge Programmes I’ve just fired off the following email:
    Dear Emma,

    I’m writing to you to express my disappointment with the recent programmes, Horizon (anchored by Paul Nurse) and Meet the Sceptics.

    I was hoping the BBC was going to drop its ingrained support for an unproven scientific hypothesis i.e. manmade Global Warming/Climate Change/Dangerous Climate Change/Climate Disruption etc and attempt to use its legendary powers of journalistic vigour and investigation to explain to the public the uncertainties and scepticism that’s rife in the scientific community about this issue. I watched the shows with friends who are both ‘believers’ & ‘sceptics’ and surprisingly the ‘believers’ commented that both shows, in different ways, were hardly concealed propaganda pieces in support of the so called consensus on manmade global warming. In fact an investigative journalist would have very little trouble undermining the consensus claim that is used all the time to state the ‘science is settled’. Science is very rarely ‘settled’ and doesn’t understand ‘consensus’ (if Galileo, Einstein and Newton were alive today they’d confirm their own struggle against the ‘consensus’ of their day)

    We found it difficult to understand why the BBC had not sought out and conducted lengthy interviews with some of the very many reputable scientists who are sceptical about the impact of CO2 and mankind on the global climate. Why did the BBC seek to talk to journalists like Delingpole rather than sceptical scientists? One was left with the impression that across both shows the BBC was using the ‘speaking from authority’ tactic to support the manmade Global Warming position and aligning sceptics with ‘oddballs’ in order to undermine them.

    It’s not difficult to look back over the last twenty years or so and see many examples where Governments, the media, NGO’s and academic experts have spread doom and gloom about some ‘disaster’ or another (AIDS, Millenium Bug, SAR’s, Bird Flu, WMD etc) only for that ‘disaster’ to be no more than a small problem or to go away altogether, or in the case of WMD be one of the key reasons (false though it was) to go to War. It’s intriguing that some of the supporters of Global Warming were some years back supporters of Global Cooling. And didn’t it strike anyone at the BBC making these programmes that if the Met Office was so wrong so often in its short range forecasts then why using the same computers and methodologies should we have any faith that their forecasts for what the climate might be doing in fifty to hundred years time was nothing more than an educated guess?

    What the BBC should have done if it was genuinely serious about wanting ‘sceptics’ to have a platform was to commission one of the leading sceptical climatologists to explain the reasons for their position.

    As a long standing supporter of the BBC I’m becoming increasingly aware of many people who are concerned about its impartiality and apparent siding with various causes of a political nature. Once the BBC loses its impartiality then its reason for existing in its current guise, or at all is undermined.

    Yours sincerely

  139. richard verney says:

    There have been a number of posts on the payment of a UK TV Licence fee.
    My understanding of the law (which is not guaranteed to be correct and is put forward without guarantee) is this:
    1. You do not need a TV Licence simply because you own a TV set.
    2. A TV Licence is required if you use a receiver (TV, computer & monitor, telephone, video, hard-disk recorder) to watch (or record) material which at the time you are watching (or recording) the programme is being broadcast on a live basis.
    3. You do not need a TV licence to watch catch up TV provided that at the time you are watching, the programme is not being simultaneously broadcast on live basis.
    4. Following from 3, you can watch programmes on for example i-player (other than the news channel) without the need for a licence (unless you are unlucky and the programme that you are watching on catch up TV happens just by chance to being repeated over the ether by way of live broadcast).
    5. Simultaneous live broadcast is given some leniency. For example, if you receive a programme by cable (or satellite), it is often being received some 2 to 6 seconds after its broadcast over the ether. The fact that you are watching something some seconds after it was broadcast would not be rgarded as catch up TV and would be considered as if you were watching a live broadcast.
    6. It may be the case that a TV licence is not required to watch TV programmes which are being broadcast on live basis but where the broadcast does not eminate from the UK. I have not checked, but it may be that no TV licence is required to watch foreign satellite channels (although you may need a viewing card for those channels).
    &. You need a TV licence if you watch any programme that is being broadcast (from the UK) on live basis. Accordingly, even if you were to disable the TV from receiving BBC channels, a TV licence would still be required.
    7. It follows from 6 (in the absence of some relevant Human Rights legislation – and I am not aware of any) that it would be no defence to a breach of the law requiring a licence to argue that the BBC is biased and that is why you have not bought a licence.
    9. It follows from 2, that a licence is not required to watch DVds or if using the TV as a monitor perhaps for gaming or the computer (provided always that in the case of the latter, you are not using the computer to watch live broadcast TV).
    10. The state bears the burden of proof that you are using your TV to watch programmes that are being broadcast on live basis thereby requiring you to be in possession of a vaild licence.
    11. It is best that the TV (hard disk.video recorder) is not coupled to an aerial if and when the licencing authority inspect the TV/appliance.

    Given the growth in catch up TV, it is possible to watch a lot of TV without having to buy a licence.

    For the sake of good order, I should observe that anyone who views TV should satisfy themselves that they are doing so legally.

  140. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    In the last analysis, the BBC has let themselves down and finally burned their bridges with a previous generation of much more principled program makers and presenters.

    Its like watching the flickering embers of a dying fire and remembering the light and heat that once emanated from it.

    RIP BBC 1922-2011

  141. JPeden says:

    SteveE says:
    February 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Smokey says:
    February 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    Jack Greer,

    If you’ve read my posts as you say, then you know that I’ve repeatedly asked the same question of numerous believers in CAGW. Interestingly, not one has ever answered it.

    As your post shows, the typical response is to divert the question onto another subject. I just want a simple, straightforward answer: can you show global harm due to CO2?

    —————————-

    I think the answer is not yet, but that like saying can you show any long term harm from having one cigarette?

    No you probably can’t, however if you keep on having one cigarette a day for the next 20 years there’s lots of evidence that’ll show you the harm it’s caused.

    Prevention is better than cure, and usually cheaper too.

    SteveE, apart from not considering that the alleged cure to the alleged disease of CO2=CAGW is almost certainly much worse than the alleged disease, what you have just done is a form of what in logic is called, “begging the question”, in other words, simply presuming to be the case, or already proven, that which is instead the very question to be proven.

    You have presumed to be the case, or already proven, all of the questions involved in the CO2=CAGW propositions, by presuming they’re “just like” what happens in the case of tobacco damage. Other warmists have presumed the CO2=CAGW hypotheses are confirmed because they’re “just like gravity”, and have likewise incorrectly used the presumption that CO2=CAGW scepticism is “the same as” the attempt of the tobacco industry to deny or cover up the damage done by tobacco, as proof of CO2=CAGW, when all they are really doing is getting nowhere by “begging the question”.

    But the fact is that ipcc Climate Science has not proven that CO2 is causing GW or that GW is a net disease. It’s really quite pitiful, because all the ipcc Climate Science has done is to intentionally demonize fossil fuel CO2 and disasterize GW via a massive Propaganda Operation, which anyone could “prove” the opposite of if given the same funding.

    Worse, ipcc Climate Science has led to an alleged cure of its alleged disease which would obviously lead to a bona fide disaster, nearly the same one the underdeveloped countries, India and China, are trying to escape from by massively increasing their use of fossil fuel!

  142. roger says:

    Smokey says:
    February 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm
    Jack Greer,

    I’ve read the UN/IPCC report. Answer my question.

    But answer came there none………………………..

  143. Peter Wilson says:

    I know hindsight is great, but would it not have been satisfying if Delingpole had answered Nurse’s question on cancer specialists thus:
    Sir Paul, as a cancer specialist yourself, you will be aware of the many wonderful achievements in your branch of medicine over the past 50 years or so. Just what is it that you believe Climate Science has achieved that entitles their views to the same deference or respect we would accord, for instance, your views on the development of a carcinoma? What predictions have they made, what insights have they revealed, what discoveries have they made?
    Of course, had Dellers been so quick witted (as he probably was during the rest of the interview), it probably would have ended up on the cuttingroom floor like the rest of
    the 3 hour interview

  144. Brian H says:

    Steve E said on Has the BBC broken faith with the General Public?
    February 4, 2011 at 5:41 am

    As someone who has vigorously supported the BBC in the past, I now cannot wait for this Government to privatise it!

    Even Question Time selectively picks it’s[its] guest speakers on occasions.

    Andrew Neil stands alone as a loan beacon of journalistic integrity IMHO

    Would he then be living on borrowed time???
    ;)

  145. Brian H says:

    A blast from the BBC past:
    Confessions of a BBC liberal
    Excerpt:

    We belonged instead to a dispersed ”metropolitan-media-arts-graduate” tribe. We met over coffee, lunch, drinks and dinner to reinforce our views on the evils of apartheid, nuclear deterrence, capital punishment, the British Empire, big business, advertising, public relations, the Royal Family, the defence budget… it’s a wonder we ever got home. We so rarely encountered any coherent opposing arguments that we took our group-think as the views of all right-thinking people.

    The second factor which shaped our media liberal attitudes was a sense of exclusion. We saw ourselves as part of the intellectual élite, full of ideas about how the country should be run, and yet with no involvement in the process or power to do anything about it. Being naïve in the way institutions actually work, yet having good arts degrees from reputable universities, we were convinced that Britain’s problems were the result of the stupidity of the people in charge. We ignored the tedious practicalities of getting institutions to adopt and implement ideas.

    This ignorance of the realities of government and management enabled us to occupy the moral high ground. We saw ourselves as clever people in a stupid world, upright people in a corrupt world, compassionate people in a brutal world, libertarian people in an authoritarian world. We were not Marxists but accepted a lot of Marxist social analysis. Some people called us arrogant; looking back, I am afraid I cannot dispute the epithet.

    We also had an almost complete ignorance of market economics. That ignorance is still there. Say ”Tesco” to a media liberal and the patellar reflex says, “Exploiting African farmers and driving out small shopkeepers”. The achievement of providing the range of goods, the competitive prices, the food quality, the speed of service and the ease of parking that attract millions of shoppers every day does not show up on the media liberal radar.

    The third factor arises from the nature of mass media. The Tonight programme had a nightly audience of about eight million. It was much easier to keep their attention by telling them they were being deceived or exploited by big institutions than by saying what a good job the government and the banks and the oil companies were doing.

    Our knowledge of public events and political arguments come direct from the media rather than from a face-to-face group. We still have some local, territorial group memberships, but their importance is now much diminished and their influence weakened.

    These four factors have significantly accelerated, and indeed intensified, the spread of media liberalism since I ceased to be a BBC employee 40 years ago. It still champions the individual against the institution. The BBC’s 2007 impartiality report reflects widespread support for the idea that there is “some sort of BBC liberal consensus”. Its commissioning editor for documentaries, Richard Klein, has said: “By and large, people who work in the BBC think the same, and it’s not the way the audience thinks.” The former BBC political editor Andrew Marr says: “There is an innate liberal bias within the BBC”.

    For a time it puzzled me that after 50 years of tumultuous change the media liberal attitudes could remain almost identical to those I shared in the 1950s. Then it gradually dawned on me: my BBC media liberalism was not a political philosophy, even less a political programme. It was an ideology based not on observation and deduction but on faith and doctrine. We were rather weak on facts and figures, on causes and consequences, and shied away from arguments about practicalities. If defeated on one point we just retreated to another; we did not change our beliefs. We were, of course, believers in democracy. The trouble was that our understanding of it was structurally simplistic and politically naïve. It did not go much further than one-adult-one-vote.

    We ignored the whole truth, namely that modern Western civilisation stands on four pillars, and elected governments is only one of them. Equally important is the rule of law. The other two are economic: the right to own private property and the right to buy and sell your property, goods, services and labour. (Freedom of speech, worship, and association derive from them; with an elected government and the rule of law a nation can choose how much it wants of each). We never got this far with our analysis. The two economic freedoms led straight to the heresy of free enterprise capitalism – and yet without them any meaningful freedom is impossible.

    But analysis was irrelevant to us. Ultimately, it was not a question of whether a policy worked but whether it was right or wrong when judged by our media liberal moral standards. There was no argument about whether, say, capital punishment worked. If retentionists came up with statistics showing that abolition increased the number of murders we simply rejected them.

    *****

    I do not think the same is true today. The four mitigating factors above have faded into insignificance, but the media liberal ideology is stronger than ever. Today, we see our old heresy becoming the new orthodoxy: media liberalism has now been adopted by the leaders of all three political parties, by the police, the courts and the Churches. It is enshrined in law – in the human rights act, in much health and safety legislation, in equal opportunities, in employment protections, in race relations and in a whole stream of edicts from Brussels.

    It is not so much that their ideas and arguments are harebrained and impracticable: some of their causes are in fact admirable. The trouble – you might even say the tragedy – is that their implementation by governments eager for media approval has progressively damaged our institutions. Media liberal pressure has prompted a stream of laws, regulations and directives to champion the criminal against the police, the child against the school, the patient against the hospital, the employee against the company, the soldier against the army, the borrower against the bank, the convict against the prison – there is a new case in the papers almost every day, and each victory is a small erosion of the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution.

  146. Forest Gunp says:

    Yesterday morning Madonna King (612 ABC Brisbane) received a call from some eminent warmist. He said she was being irresponsible in letting ignorant people with no knowledge of climate science express themselves on air. Madonna replied that it was her task to be impartial and let everyone have their say.
    Almost all the calls thereafter savaged the Green view that all climate events (floods, droughts, cyclones and blizzards were due to man made Co2.
    At last an impartial talk show host at the ABC!

  147. johanna says:

    Great link, Brian. The co-author of ‘Yes, Minister’ knows a thing or two about how the world works.

    It is not the views of the smug liberal ‘intelligentsia’ that I object to – in fact I share a few of them. It is the overweening certainty that anyone who disagrees has a deficit of intelligence, education, integrity, or all three. Like Jay, I got out of that closed circle in my youth and went out into the world. My friends who stayed there are often snap frozen in undergraduate infallibility, convinced that it is their duty to convert or crush, by fair means or foul, anyone with the temerity to have a different perspective.

  148. George says:

    My own view is simple. Stop trying to get the BBC to be fair on anything the Marxists within it have declared to be PC and start attacking — and informing the public — about what the BBC are doing and why. Pull down this perverted edifice and the problem goes away. Why spend year after year moaning about what they do when what they do never changes. The BBC is a dinosaur. The public pay them to brainwash them with left wing propaganda. So, start telling the public to stop paying them and explain why.

    “Oh no. Can’t do that. It would be encouraging people to break the law!” I hear the wets bleating.

    Well, possibly not actually. Some time ago I got talking to a bunch of people in a pub basement near the City that frankly I thought were a group of nutters. One of them explained his theory that not paying a licence was NOT illegal at all. I was sufficiently intrigued by his remarks to do some research of my own about his theory. Now, I am not a lawyer so I may have got this backwards. On the other hand, maybe not. Smarter heads than mine need to get to work on it. However, here is what I discovered:

    It is against the law (Commercial law) to force another person into paying for a service that they have not contracted for. For a contract to be valid, both parties must agree to its content. (This may apply to statutory laws also but that is a whole different area). For this reason, I cannot be forced into a contract I do not like. Neither can you. The act of buying a TV does NOT lock you into a contract with anyone. Any more than buying a car forces you you to pass a driving test. You can legally purchase a TV without signing a contract or verbally agreeing to a contract. You can even watch it, if you wish. Unless the BBC — or the firm that does their dirty work for them and bangs on your door demanding to see a licence — physically provides you with a contract to sign in order to recieve their service and you agree to the terms outlined in that contract, you cannot be held liable for breaching the terms of it. They tell you that you can be held liable but that is a lie.

    Now, if that is correct (any Barristers present?) then not only is it true that you cannot be held accountable for not signing a contract you never had, but also, the BBC owe everybody who has bought a contract (licence) under duress, their money back.

    Food for thought anyway.

    Right or wrong, the point remains the same. As long as the BBC remains it will go on pumping out leftist propaganda and virtually every program they make these days has within it, some nugget of that propaganda. So, pull down the beast and the beast will go silent and the people will be free once more to think for themselves. As Top Gear recently showed over their slagging off of the Mexicans, they do not fear complaints. So they say and do what ever they like, knock out a quick apology when the public complain ad do it all again next time. In other words, ladies and gents, they are out of control and could not give a stuff what the public thinks.

    Welcome to the British Brainwashing Corporation. Screwing your head with your money. Cultural Marxism Frankfurt School style.

    Doh!

  149. richard verney says:

    Regarding George’ post at February 4, 2011 at 8:06 pm, I would refer people to my (richard verney) post at February 4, 2011 at 10:03 am 9 (I note that the paragraph numbering went astray after 6. What I had intended to be paragraph 7 in fact starts with ‘&’ and the paragraph numbered 7 was intended to be numbered 8 etc.). In summary, “If you watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you’re using.” see http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk. The trigger for the need for a valid licence is the simultaneous live transmission of the programme being watched (or recorded).

    This is not a matter of contract law. It is a matter of statutory law. The UK government has decided that a UK TV licence must be bought by anyone who watches (or records) live broadcast material. It is essentially a tax paid to the government, not money paid to the BBC. The government then funds the BBC and it permits the BBC to take steps to enforce the law, ie., that someone who watches (or records) live broadcast material must have a valid TV licence (covering the property in which the appliance is being used).
    This is rather like the law that anyone who drives a car or parks or otherwise uses a car on a public road must have a valid tax disk for the car.

    George, you are right that buying a TV or hard disk recorder (or the like) does not in itself oblige you to purchase a TV licence. However, if you want to use the device to watch (or record) TV programmes which are being broadcast over the ether at the same (well broadly the same) time as you are watching (or making a recording), then a TV licence is required.

    Nowadays, many modern TV’s have internet connection. This can be used to watch catch up TV such as BBC (i-player), ITV (ITV player), Channel 4 (4OD), Channel 5 (Demand 5). I have not researched this but it may be that one could use BT Vision and Virgin Media solely watch their catch up TV (ie., programmes that have already been broadcast and are not at the time you are watching (or recording) being transmitted/broadcasted) without the need for a TV licence.

    The upshot is that there is plenty of material to watch and if you use these services one is being more selective as to what one is watching.

    I agree that the BBC has for decades been unacceptably biased and I myself object to funding such a biased institution. I consider that it requires radical reform possibly requiring it to justify itself in the commercial market place.

  150. Roger Longstaff says:

    George, I agree with you, but what to do?? The BBC got what they wanted. See a post from Richard Dawkins’ blog:

    “Comment 6 by Nardia. Seven times more carbon emissions per year from human activity than from natural sources (NASA). You’d think that fact alone would be enough to convince everyone that we have a serious problem. Permalink Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 7:14 PM | #584503 ”

    This is EXACTLY what they intended – to advance BBC pension fund investments in windmills and to curry favour with the government in support of “green taxes” (not to mention propping up the fraudsters at the University of East Anglia and the Royal Society).

    In my opinion, the only way to redress the balance is to get them on a technicality, and then kick the $hit out of them. It worked with Himalayan glaciers! Valid complaints, that are reasonable, articulate and inoffensive, will bring the whole pack of cards crashing down.

  151. Beesaman says:

    Odd, the BBC normally scream this stuff from the rooftops:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/hi/about/newsid_9376000/9376372.stm

    But only if it is warm not cold I guess (sarc).

  152. George says:

    Hi Richard and Roger.

    Thanks for taking the time to make that contribution by way of an answer. What you have written was almost exactly along the line of what I said to the person in the basement of that pub near the City. He proceeded to explain to me about the law of contract, but he also added something about statutory law. He asked me if I was aware that all statutory law is based upon the principle of consent. When I asked what he meant he went on to explain that for a statute to take effect and have the power of law, those upon whom the Statute is directed must give their consent to it. Only Common Law, he explained, is immutable. He said that taken together with Commercial law, this rendered the licence fee a nonsense.

    I did some research of my own, though not in any great depth and I have to say and what I found did seem to correlate with what they were saying. However, not being a Barrister I cannot speak with any great authority.

    The group he was with that night call themselves ‘freemen on the land.’ They had some pretty wild ideas, laced now and again, with outrageous conspiracy theories that barely stopped short of David Icke’s madness. Among it all however, was this interesting discussion concerning Common law, Maritime law, Commercial law and Statutory law(An offshoot they say, of Maritime law).

    Any way, Just thought I would add that point. Back now to the main issue; what to do with the BBC to get it back under control?

    As I said, I think we are far too passive about this issue and that passivity allows the BBC to go on doing what they are doing, almost with impunity. They feel invulnerable and they must be made to realise that they are not. They are owned by the public and funded by the public therefore, they have to be made to understand they must do as the public demands of them. That cannot happen if the public are themselves too disorganised to make their feelings known.

    They frequently breach the terms of their own charter for example.
    They are biased to an astonishing degree on a par with Soviet Pravda.
    They constantly lie to or mislead the public in many ways in print alone and allow the broadcasting of untruthful information. Listen here: http://www.archive.org/details/FalseDomesticViolenceFiguresExposed
    Or watch here: http://www.manwomanmyth.com/
    They have even defrauded children!

    As someone who has worked inside the BBC for a brief while on a non contracted basis, I have seen how they operate first hand. I have watched their stitch ups. Listened to them lie to my face and then to the public. Heard them try and persuade me to lie for them and according to their Feminist/Marxist agenda and watched them deliberately distort the truth to make it mean something other than what was said to them. Though to be fair, far too many journalists do that every day as routine anyway.

    It therefore seems to me that despite all of these things they have been caught doing over the years, they seem to have a Teflon coating. That could not be so without the collusion of politicians. So, what we are faced with is a corporation failing to be honest with almost anyone and which is arrogant beyond the pale, backed up by politicians who occasionally make angry noises at the BBC but do virtually nothing to stop them.

    That leaves it up to us. WE have to fight back because it is clear no one else will. I think it is time for a little organised rebellion to take place.

    As the Ross/Brand incident shows, many, many, people in this country are pissed off with this corporation. I think they could be recruited into a mass act of defiance against the BBC telly tax or, if that is too dangerous, against the few at the head of the BBC.

    We would have to have our reasons for the rebellion clearly and simply spelled out if we down that route. The public would need to made aware of the movement (because that is what it would become) and asked to support it. The politicians would need to be told that the reason for this mini BBC civil rebellion is because they have failed utterly to take this monster in hand. (You never know, it might just stick a rocket up their arses and get some political movement and save us all the trouble). We could not rely on the national press to side with any movement for change and oversight because most of them are as bad as the BBC anyway and twice as wet. (Journalists it seems become like wet toilet paper sticking to the bowl when they are under threat and would back each other. Few would probably pause to think about the good of the country. After all, they constantly inflict political correctness on us as it is in apparent ignorance (or collusion) towards its dangers). So the Internet (utilising every social network site possible) and the good old soap box, Church hall meeting and postal service would have to do.

    Handled properly it could be a success I think. I cannot organise a fight in a boxing ring but I would be willing to work as hard as I could with what few talents I do have to make it work. Maybe we could make a splash in the press if we took a leaf from Fathers 4 Justice’s book as a way of announcing our presence. I do not meant dress up in stupid costumes and prance about on cranes or bring traffic to a halt, but some decent and eye catching publicity stunts could be thought up that did not threaten, disrupt or ruin anyone’s day.

    A massive TV set mountain in a field for example would make a wonderful bonfire and make the point nicely.

    So Roger and Richard. Those are my thoughts for what they are worth. Oh yes, one more thing. The guy who gave me the info on the various laws, contracts and so on, also claimed a Barrister had looked into it and said that he was right. How true that was I do not know.

  153. xyzlatin says:

    Delingpole and Monckton are the two most prominent critics of the political agenda of the Global warming cartels and the UN. They have the public ear. As the whole AGW campaign is about this (in my opinion) , it makes sense for them to be the ones to be discredited and made to look fools when they issue warnings about freedom.

    As this is essentially a scientific/technology blog it seems to me that most of the techies on here who are commenting on, and more interested in, the science, are missing the point.

    This will be defeated through political action, not through science. There is enough science now that discredits the hypothesis.

  154. Policyguy says:

    Thank you Mark,

    Very perceptive an helpful.

  155. kwik says:

    I think this program was a part of the “How can we communicate better” strategy.

    So, this is BBC’s message;
    Global Warming, sorry, Climate Change, oops, sorry again, I mean Climate Disruption is happening, and Delingpole an Moncton are just stooges for big oil.

    As usual then.Nothing changed.

    But ordinary people don’t buy it anymore.

  156. Barry Woods says:

    i can only agree, it is politcis not science driving things along now.

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