BBC asks WUWT for help

I received this email this morning from Roger Harribin, the BBC’s environmental analyst. It’s interesting because I received an email from the Guardian yesterday asking if I’d like to write a 200 word guest piece. Unfortunately it somehow ended up in my spam filter (which I found this morning) so I missed the 3 PM GMT deadline today.

Roger Harrabin

Here’s what Mr. Harrabin wrote. I hope WUWT readers will come to aid, especially since skeptics are now apparently getting a voice in UK MSM.

From: Roger Harrabin – Internet

Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 6:10 AM

To: [Anthony]

Subject: BBC query

Dear Mr Watts,

I am trying to talk to UK scientists in current academic posts who are sceptical about AGW.

I’m struggling to find anyone – but there may of course be a number of reasons for this. Please could you post my request on your website – and ask people to email

We are looking for scientists, of course – not insults.

It strikes me that it might be useful to meet sometime to discuss a project I am planning on the weather.

I enclose my latest column

which touches on the difficulties of reporting climate change FYI.

I look forward to hearing from you


Roger Harrabin

If you know of a skeptical scientist in the UK that may be interested, please advise them of this. Thanks to all for your consideration. – Anthony


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John Diffenthal

A slight format problem on the Harrabin link – this one works:

Thanks, that was the way the email program formed links automatically, looking for an ending space, fixed now. -A


Amazing! 🙂 Kudos to Watts!

Richard Saumarez

Britain has embraced climate alarmism for so long that there probably aren’t any sceptical climate scientists who will admit to the fact. I suggest that you nominate a few of the leading lights from the US. Lindzen would be good place start as he obviously erudite and sensible.


Oh, and I would like to nominate Wibjörn Karlén of Sweden!

John from MN

One word….WOW…..I hope you and others can give them some good rebuttal. The door is open. I also hope you and other contributers don’t go to far over the top with hyperbole. As you are well aware there is a sweet-spot. You don’t want to fall into the trap people like Jim Hansen have fell into. Sincerely, John


Missed the boat again, someone else got in first about the link, delete my last one if you want.

Thanks all the same – Anthony

Peter Miller

The problem is climate sceptics have been systematically rooted out of the UK academic establishment by Jones et al over the past decade.
There obviously are still some British academics who are climate sceptics, but are probably too scared to come out and be counted for fear of losing their jobs and/or support grants.
I am a geologist, a chartered scientist and a sceptic, but not an academic. For what it’s worth, I do not know any geologists anywhere – and believe me I know a lot – who believe in AGW.


wow… I guess the BBC has come under fire for one-sideness of its reporting on the issue. What surprised me was the Guardian’s stance. I’m skeptical about the Guardian though. If they seem unbiased, more people will believe what they say. Polarised views do not work on everyone.

Steve Goddard

Lord Monckton would probably have some good names.

John W.

“…I received an email from the Guardian yesterday asking if I’d like to write a 200 word guest piece. Unfortunately it somehow ended up in my spam filter…”
That’s a very good spam filter.

Maybe I wasn’t clear, I only found it today. – A


There are no scientists who are sceptical about AGW because they can’t get any funding. Maybe he will settle for a honest one.

stephen richards

[snip – but thanks for the note ]

Dave B

I’m currently researching a longish piece on the politics of AGW and received a reply (see below) from a friend in UK academia. It explains why it may be hard to meet Roger Harrabin’s “in current academic posts” criterion.
A British scientist of unchallengeable repute who might be available is of course Peter Taylor, author of “Chill”, the best book-length critique of AGW theory I’ve read.
“‘. . . research council funding is moving increasingly from ‘responsive mode’ (proposing to work on whatever takes your fancy) to being directed into strategic areas. How these areas are selected is heavily influenced by government agenda with a strong steer for applications to address priority areas such as climate change. At, say, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, topics include engineering of drought-resistant plants, development of biofuels etc. Given the current financial crisis in the university sector with academics losing jobs for not bringing in grant income (there is no academic tenure in the UK any more), it is inevitable that just about anybody in the business with kids and a mortgage is going to buy into the climate change thing if it will help bring in the grants.’

David Ball

I nominate my father, and if anyone disagrees, I request explanation as to why. Please and thank you. Anthony, you have become a household name. I am curious that he said he could not find any skeptical scientist. Does this not strike anyone as odd? My father on the Michael Coren show out of Toronto
REPLY: He’s asking for scientists in the UK – A


As a British BBC viewer I would add this warning:
Do not trust this man.
Do not trust this man.
Do not trust this man.
Do not trust this man.

Well I wouldn’t know, the BBC won’t let me watch their programs here in the USA with their iPlayer, citing only UK licensees or some such issue. Maybe that can change. I wanted to post a link to Newsnight yesterday but was thwarted. Mr. Harrabin perhaps you can inquire? – Anthony

Steve Goddard

I also have a geology degree and worked for many years as a geologist. Likewise, I don’t know any geologists who are concerned about catastrophic global warming.


Wow! That is quite a refreshing tone from Mr. Harrabin (and the BBC, I might add). I think the important thing to get across is that yes, climate warms, and yes, climate cools. It is rarely stable and we have been able to notice long-term natural cycles such as the PDO cycle that lasts around 60 years (30 years or so of warming and 30 years or so of cooling). So maybe when we see warming and the timing, rate, and amplitude of that warming is consistent with a known natural cyclical event, it might not be prudent to predict the warming will continue forever.
In the 1970’s when we were in the cooling phase of that cycle, the scientists (including Hansen) were convinced it would continue cooling and we were headed for an ice age. When the other phase of the cycle began and things began to warm, they were all convinced that it would continue warming and all the ice would melt.
Those people must have a very difficult time riding the roller coaster at the park.
I would point him to Dr. Roy Spencer if Dr. Spencer has the time.


Philip Stott? David Bellamy?


And Roger Harrabin, if You read this: Well spoken in Your column! Science should always be open to debate. The opposite is truly a dangerous route.


There are more than a few down under too. Dr. Bob Carter of James Cook University is my favorite.

Brian Johnson uk

Mr Harrabin says…..
“We are looking for scientists, of course – not insults.” [Bit rude, that remark.]
He is more likely to find scientists via WUWT than insults.
He obviously does not look at RealClimate!

Robert Rust

I’m a skeptical skeptic. I figure that it’s far more likely that they will try to cast as dim a light as possible on AGW skeptics.

David Ball

I see he framed the request with “in current academic posts”. Hmmmm,….

rb Wright

Perhaps Mr. Harribin would also like to speak with a few Canadian scientists, or a few Indian scientists (Himalayan glacier scientists)?

Leon Brozyna

After a couple decades of quashing dissent, it looks like the UK’s media have finally wised up. Unfortunately, thanks to Phil Jones and crew and government disincentives, skeptics are a rare commodity. Oh well, better late than never.
While the media seems to still be hanging onto AGW, they are also looking at some serious ethical breeches; let’s face it — a story is still a story.


Sent a note to Lord Monckton for you


Harrabin is a long-time good egg. Go for it, people, I mean scientists. (I am not a scientist, sadly, but look forward to the BBC rediscovering its reputation for balance, thanks to Harrabin.)

Peter S

I don’t think David Bellamy is working – the BBC sacked him for his views on global warming.


Run quickly away.
This man is not to be trusted at all. He is weak.
It’s an attempt to get some skeptics on board so they can be shot down and made to look foolish.
Please don’t fall for it, we have legions of these people in the UK.

Peter Miller

In an earlier post, I should have said I was a British geologist.
If anyone knows of UK academic climate sceptics, it would be Nigel Lawson, who is probably as well connected as you can possibly get in the British Establishment.


Does this chap have the required background to view climate science as a multidisciplinary field and not a monolith? It would seem to me to be easy to find someone sceptical of models, for example.


I am sure David Bellamy would love to be included.

Mick J

This could all be a ruse to shake out any remaining dissenters of the “thermogedon” message in the UK scientific community. 🙁
The government honcho Ed Milliband has threatened war against climate change deniers (do they ever think about that phrase?), using their propaganda arm, the BBC would be a natural route for them to pursue and reveal such.
Also if none are turned up by WUWT sources they can claim that none exist.
Now where did I leave the meds. 🙂

Dan in California

I’m an engineer, not a scientist, and an American, but I have some relevant comments for Mr Harrabin. Thank you for having an open mind. Skepticism is part of science. If it can’t be challenged by an outsider, it’s dogma, not science. Third, and most importantly, if you accept the truth of the linked chart, it shows that CO2 concentration in the past is not correlated to global temperature; it has been as much as eleven times higher than currently. How do climate scientists accept this and simultaneously claim that an increase in CO2 will lead to amplified temperature runaway?
Thank you

Daniel H

There is always Philip Stott. Also, isn’t Mike Hulme a skeptic now? Those are the first two that come to mind.


Hi Anthony
Have you got a long, long spoon?
Be very careful and very sure before supping with this man.
He only has one agenda, that is the gospel of the true warmers.
He has seldom presented a balanced account of any view that opposes his own.
He never allows discussion of contrary views on his column, (no comments allowed).
You can see the sub text in his next program already, i.e. that is there are no scientists in the sceptic camp, therefore the sceptic view can be dismissed
I believe he is an English graduate, so ask him if he is qualified to comment on technical matters?
I do not see the need to be a scientist to be able to comment on AGW, I am a retired aerospace electronics designer engineer, and I can read a thermometer as well as Hansen or any of the pathetic CRU can!
Just “Google” on “Roger Harrabin”, and read the hundreds of posts about this guy and his position in the warmist camp
Patrick, (in the UK and a long time BBC correspondent disbeliever)


Mr Roger Harrabin,
“Thank you!”


Prof. Ian Plimer (Australia) maybe British don’t know. Someone needs to contact him


This should be cross posted at CA, Sure to find quite a few scientists/academically involved in climnate science there

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley

Philip Stott is surely the obvious choice – the man is a diamond. More than that, he appears weekly on the BBC!
However, I wouldn’t trust Harrabin either (though Stott can manage him), nor Richard Black. They are tarred with the BBC climate brush, and there’s no way back for them. They are on my ‘List of fools who write without researching’. I’d better leave it at that as my doctor says that it’s not good for my blood pressure.


It would be advisable for him also gather all the information about how this issue of global warming/climate change came about. As I have cited many times, a good source of information can be found at:
and, about its historical origins at:

Well done Anthony Watts – I just wonder at what level his “insults” filter is set?

Richard M

The interesting thing about this is that it does not take an academic scientist to point out many of the flaws in AGW. The science really is not that difficult to understand.
In fact, it’s more likely that an academic would simply believe the consensus science argument is valid without really reviewing the work. Most of them are quite busy in their own areas of research.

Jeff Kooistra

Freeman Dyson. though at the Institue for advanced study in Princeton, he is, of course, a Brit!


Lord Monckton is as far as his competencies a scientist. He even has peer-reviewed papers published. They never heard of his name? It’s Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Prof John Brignell through his wonderful web site ‘Number Watch’ has been at the forefront of UK opposition to AGW for years. Sadly he’s not so well at the moment, but I’m sure he’d love to have the chance to have a go.


Stuck-Record (09:22:56)
So, the plan is that this Harrabin guy already knows the answer to his question (ie there are no UK scientists in current academic posts who are sceptical about AGW) and then he writes an article detailing how after X days, WUWT could not recommend a single credible UK scientist to challenge the consensus?
Pretty paranoid, but I think it would be worth investigating before having made this post if your reasons for mistrust have any solid grounding.


Oh dear – Sunny Hundal a Guardian commentator isn’t going to be happy. Today he accuses the BBC of having become a right wing ‘troofer’ supporting organisation due to the fact that it is finally starting to report on Climategate.


@Andy (09:30:33),
That Register story is nearly two years old. A lot has happened since then, principally – of course – Phil Jones’ comfortable little world being blown out of the water just before the Copenhagen conference. If Richard Black, BBC darling of Phil Jones and Michael Mann, was writing to this blog like that – which, note, HE ISN’T – I might be urging people to question his bona fides. But Harrabin has been an environment correspondent at the BBC for (to my knowledge) nearly 20 years – imagine what it’s been like to work at the BBC while only the Richard Black version of everything was allowed to be broadcast.


Who is that chap who predicts the weather/climate on solar activity? He is a physicist and in academic post.
Nigel Calder is well known and is a past editor of New Scientist.
A guarded congratulations on this to WUWT. Please can I join the others who warn to be very very careful how this is presented. The whole point of the programme may be to show what a load of nutjobs we skeptics are. See if you can set any conditions on how you are edited in the final cut.