Australia's ABC has introspection on climate reporting

Having worked in TV and radio for 30 years, this story really hit home for me. When the editors and newscast producers see climate change as ratings losing proposition, you know the battle for eyes and ears has been lost by the climate alarmists.  – Anthony


A stormy forecast for climate change reporting

By Margot O’Neill

ABC Environment | 3 Nov 2010

Not all journalists believe the media has done a good job in reporting climate change.

Fresh from a sabbatical studying climate change reporting at the University of Oxford, the ABC’s Margot O’Neill considers whether or not the media has done a good job.

WHATEVER HAPPENED to climate change? This time last year climate change was a hot topic regularly appearing in news bulletins and on front pages. Phrases such as “the future of humanity could be at stake” were quoted, celebrities marshalled and 4,000 journalists prepared to descend on the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen. Apparently humanity’s future is now secure… or so it might seem given the paucity of journalism devoted to the issue in the mainstream media.

Where did all the climate change stories go? “The [programmers] are against it because it loses ratings,” says a senior BBC journalist. “The wave [of public interest] has gone. There is climate change fatigue. That is why I am not [reporting] it now.”

Other journalists agree. Even reporters at The Guardian, which especially targets environmental reporting, complain that it’s difficult to get a run. Another UK broadcast journalist said he was warned that putting climate change on prime time would risk losing a million viewers.

In a series of interviews with some of the UK’s top specialist environment and science correspondents, I explored the changing climate for reporters covering global warming – as part of the ABC’s Donald McDonald research fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. Most of the journalists rated the media poorly on communicating what some have dubbed the epic news story of the century. “We have failed to engage the public,” said a broadcast journalist.

The key problems? The list is long but includes a cold winter in Europe, the distant impacts, the failure of the December 2009 UN climate change Copenhagen summit to produce a binding international agreement, public confusion about whether there is a reliable scientific consensus, and alarmist media coverage with Hollywood-horror headlines like “Be Scared; Be Very Scared!” that are more likely to induce the purchase of popcorn than solar panels.


The biggest hurdle mentioned by most journalists was the so-called ‘Climategate’, the controversy surrounding the publication of hundreds of hacked emails from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK between influential climate scientists. It was a “defining moment in all our careers,” according to an environment editor.

Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries, what is it that the journalists believe they were guilty of? Firstly, they missed a cracking story that was instead first pursued by the blogosphere and which proved to be, unlike many other climate change stories, a hit with the public. After struggling to find stories the public wanted to read, a tabloid journalist observed “Climategate … got a strong response; it made climate change more topical.”

Many journalists say the UEA email hacking, combined with the discovery of an error regarding the melting of the Himalayan glaciers in the 2007 report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also proved they had failed to cast a critical enough eye on climate science and that they had been far too dismissive of sceptics.

Read the rest here, well worth the click.

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November 4, 2010 12:29 am

I had just finished reading the ABC article seconds before switching to WUWT. I couldn’t believe my eyes – something that looked remarkably like a balanced, thoughtful report on ABC? Yes, there was the banner at the top, and yes, there was the phrase “The science is never settled” halfway down the page. My gast has been well and truly flabbered. I ‘ll have to Google for a nice, quiet religious retreat somewhere so I can rest and contemplate the meaning of life.

November 4, 2010 12:44 am

Interesting shift in the dynamic there….

November 4, 2010 12:48 am

You’re a bad influence Anthony… after reading this I couldn’t resist jumping in and firing a few salvos at the ignorant blog comments in response to the ABC article. The ABC’s audience is very pro-AGW so any semblance of leaning towards the science side of the debate gets gunned down by the CAGW trolls there.
To their credit the Aussie ABC occasionally puts skeptics up on their shows and gives them a chance. Usually you find that panels are left-leaning and the audiences especially so. But they do try… sometimes. It is, after all, in their mandate to be balanced.

November 4, 2010 12:51 am

“A BBC correspondent said it is arguable that journalists need qualifications in science, politics and economics to straddle the demands of climate change reporting.”
Duh! I am appalled by the comments on that article. There are people in Australia who actually believe that there is a shred of evidence that “global warming” is a threat and the skeptics are loonies! That says a lot about competent science reporting.

Harry the Hacker
November 4, 2010 1:05 am

Curious. In Australia the dear ABC mentioned the ClimateGate emails once. When one of the various reports found no wrongdoing (and we’ve since seen how thorough the investigations were). At the time of the publication they were mysteriously silent.
I’m currently reading “The Hockey Stick Illusion”. Damn thing is such a cracking read its keeping me up till midnight for the last 3 nights and now my eyes are half hanging out.
In reading this book – I’m just GOBSMACKED by the arrogance and hubris of the climate research community. Every page is a case of “oh my god, how could they”? One WTF moment after another. Just when you think it can’t get any more awful, there’s more on the next page.
The ABC has reported none of this.
There was a time when the ABC had a report of Climate Change in EVERY SINGLE news bulletin. Thankfully that farce seems to be over, but they are not playing the honest broker role at all, they’ve just gone silent.
The stuff of “The Hockey Stick Illusion” is one of the great scandals of our time. Once upon a time, the BBC Horizon, or the ABC “4 corners” would have made an hour long program investigating and reporting something like this. Instead they are still disgracefully complicit by saying nothing.

November 4, 2010 1:06 am

Fresh from a sabbatical studying climate change reporting at the University of Oxford, the ABC’s Margot O’Neill somehow manages to string 1200 words together about the Media’s coverage on the subject without any mention of the ABC’s own woeful performance that ABC Chairman Maurice Newman described as “GROUPTHINK”.
(See Seems like someone didn’t get the memo! It also seems, with the absence of any introspection on Margot’s behalf on ABC’s poor reporting (see , that more tax payers money has been wasted for no improvement in performance, or will Margot be providing a refund for her tax payer funded trip?
For links see “Don’t mention the G-word”

November 4, 2010 1:08 am

The media is generally in the posture of looking for two extremes of a controversy and saying “Let’s you and him fight” (while we cover the story). It’s odd that in this subject they have abandoned this practice by suppressing one side. Makes one wonder why…

Patrick Davis
November 4, 2010 1:09 am

Is this the start of balanced reporting of climate issues in the Australian MSM. I very much doubt it, they’ve moved on to “climate disruption” now.
Everyday we are bombarded with stories of “climate calamity”, or articles stating that “If there is no price on carbon, power pieces will rise.”
Well I say phooey to that. This quarter’s power bill was more than last, and my wife and I used less energy.
There is a great program on Monday night TV called “Good New Week”. This weeks show mentioned nothing about climate change. I thought it odd as there usually is some mention of it, maybe there is a bigger change in attitude happening?

John R. Walker
November 4, 2010 1:38 am

It’s a bad thing if climate fraud loses its prominence in the media. The corrupt political class who have been using CAGW as a means to tax and control us will not stop and the fraud will fall out of public consciousness…
Climate fraud, and how much it is costing us, needs to be kept in our faces until it becomes a serious vote loser…

November 4, 2010 1:49 am

The critics and skeptics of AGW are not just coming from science and journalism, but the law has stepped in, too. It all gives me hope.

November 4, 2010 1:50 am

Like everything else that sounds too good to be true, the full article did not live up to the promise of the headline. The last para, in fact, is as alarmist as anything else the captive MSM regurgitates. And relegating ‘Glaciergate to the realms of minor mistakes is nothing short of outrageous!
The journalist who wrote this piece is obviously singing from the government-approved song sheet – ‘Global Warming’ is so last year, dear, it’s ‘Climate disruption’ now, don’tcher know! She sounds as if she experiences a delicious thrill at the thought of the awful and calamatous future the climate has in store for us.
Progress such as this is not progress at all.

Ian Holton
November 4, 2010 1:52 am

It is no wonder as almost all of Australia is flooded and wet and below average temps since winter. We are still stoaking the fire in early November to keep warm!
Record rain and record cold temps are a common occurrence. the Murray is flooding regularly, farmers have in the main had now well enough rain and the cold temperatures are causing disease, hay and sillage making is a nightmare. Desal plants that were built look like being waste of money white elephants.
Who wants to know about global warming in Australia?!

Cirrius Man
November 4, 2010 1:58 am

I’m not convinced of any shift in ideology. After all this is the ABC we’re talking about.
To participate in the ABC’s AGW debates down-under you need to be either :
– A Greens supporter
– A far left aligned Labor voter
– An extreme Socialist protagonist
– Or an Economist plus one of the above.
No science background, or even any basic understanding of science is required. Of course you need to prove is that you blindly believe in AGW so as not to corrupt the outcome of the debate. This ensures a fair and accurate debate outcome.
The Political Science is Settled, but that darn rain and cold just won’t go away !

Ale Gorney
November 4, 2010 2:06 am

Tnanks for reporting this mr. watts … I apprecite your candor on subjects that are pertinent to our lives.

Alex the skeptic
November 4, 2010 2:11 am

The Climate Change Global Fraud was propped up on three pillars: The science, which turned out to be, at best, faulty. The (hyping by the) MSM. And the political machine.
The first pillar, science, collapsed with climategate and the fact that the planet failed to obey hockey-sticks and other the computer-generated temperature graphs.
Now its the MSM’s turn as this report shows.
And the political machinery supporting CAGW will soon die the death.
Global warming has now been turned into a computer game for kids, where one can even have the opportunity to kill most of the global population by spreading a virus and thus save the planet. As in such computer games, for CAGW it will soon be: GAME OVER.

November 4, 2010 2:14 am

A bit off-topic, but check out this piece by Roger Helmer MEP, who was recently invited to the CRU at the University of East Anglia.
The way they tried to <a href="; title="put the block" on some of Roger’s colleagues (Lord Monckton, Jame Delingpole) from attending is very telling.
Apparently we global warming denying ignoramuses are still getting things “out of context”!

Christopher Hanley
November 4, 2010 2:19 am

“…Then there’s the actual climate. If the scientists and insurance companies are right, it will produce increasing horror temperature, drought and precipitation events as well as more natural catastrophes. How we adapt to a dramatically changing climate, if or when it emerges, could, sadly, become the most compelling story of all….”
Hilarious, Margot’s a blonde:

November 4, 2010 2:21 am

Anyone remember swine flu?
How much money did the vaccine companies make out of stoking up that scare? How many medics got catapulted into the media limelight by jumping on that bandwagon? And when did they “prove” that swine flu was not a serious threat to public health.
Did we ever get an apology?
I can’t remember the date, but there was a point the press began to realise that the only people dying from swine flu were people who normally died from seasonal flu and as they only cared about the one or two who might die only because of swine flu and didn’t care about the 20,000 who die each year of the cold in the UK … it became a none story.
Likewise “global warming” has got to that same stage. The press have realised that none of the “extreme weather” is anything but the equivalent of normal seasonal cold deaths and they can see the public have got fed up to the back teeth of this none-scare.
So, just as the swine flu scare machine was dismantled in a virtual news blackout, so we can look forward to the steady dismantling of the global warming scare machinery until in a few years time someone will say: “whatever happened to global warming?” (or not given the lack of press analysis of the press-created swine flu hysteria)

November 4, 2010 2:29 am

Yeah, and unless you can prove that AGW is wrong, you too are
[/snip]. Scientific discovery holds no prisoners, and all at WUWT are [/snip].
And I don’t give a hoot what you think, all are guilty.
By the way, ignorance is bliss, so don’t worry.

November 4, 2010 2:41 am

This post links nicely to a documentary on Channel 4 in the UK this evening called “What the green movement got wrong!”
It’s only scheduled to last one hour but I think there is enough meat in this topic to keep the viewer entertained for 26 x 1 hour long weekly instalments over 4 series!

November 4, 2010 2:46 am

Yes, come to think of it, it’s now a long time since I have had to put up the the drivel that what classed journalism put out by Roger Harribin on the BBC Ten O’clock News. He was on virtually every night this during 2009.
My guessing is he has taken a serious beating from the sensible stick (BBC Compliance). Shame, I would have paid good money to watch that.

November 4, 2010 2:56 am

Anthony says it best; “the battle for eyes and ears has been lost by the climate alarmists.”
The battle has been lost for some time. This article demonstrates that the losers are beginning to suffer the consequences of their arrogant behavior. Viewers are voting by changing channels, or dropping subscriptions.
I canceled subscriptions to Scientific American and National Geographic some time ago, after subscribing for decades, because their one-sided, hysterical warmist nonsense grew intolerable. I wrote and explained my reasons at the time; they did not deign to reply. I note with some satisfaction that SciAm has been forced to cut its staff by 30% or more and NatGeo is in similar dire condition.
But I’ve also canceled subscriptions to trade magazines when columnists or editors use their position to promote their ignorant bigotry regarding warmism. I choose the words ignorant and bigotry with care; these people don’t even claim to be familiar with the science and the literature, but publish statements to the effect that “deniers” are stupid, evil, both, or worse.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that one must have an advanced degree in certain physical sciences to be qualified to express an opinion about “climate science” or any other science. Trade magazine writers are entitled to their opinions, but when they use their publication to insult me, I withdraw my support.
My letters to the circulation department stating the reason(s) for my canceling the subscription and requesting a refund invariably get a reply. These magazines know very well that their livelihood depends upon their subscriber base, for while subscription fees barely cover the cost of printing, the number of subscribers determine both demand and pricing for ad pages.
So I’ve received a few apologies, one columnist was fired after an especially egregious insult, and reduced the torrent of paper into my home. No organized boycott is necessary – one canceled subscription to a newspaper or magazine, with a polite letter explaining the reason(s), will do more to put a stop to this nonsense than any amount of debate with self-interested tax-feeding parasites of any stripe.

John V. Wright
November 4, 2010 3:06 am

Harry the Hacker says:
– The stuff of “The Hockey Stick Illusion” is one of the great scandals of our time. Once upon a time, the BBC Horizon, or the ABC “4 corners” would have made an hour long program investigating and reporting something like this. Instead they are still disgracefully complicit by saying nothing. –
Hats off to you, Harry. Yes, the whole CAGW is a massive wake-up call for the scientific community which has seen its reputation for accuracy, balance, honesty and integrity shredded – but it is also an absolute CATASTROPHE for international journalism.
Just look at O’Neil’s 2nd paragraph:
– ‘Where did all the climate change stories go? “The [programmers] are against it because it loses ratings,” says a senior BBC journalist. “The wave [of public interest] has gone. There is climate change fatigue. That is why I am not [reporting] it now.” –
The utter humiliation of that comment is almost certainly lost on both O’Neil and the hapless ‘journalist’ who made it.
The CAGW issue is BURSTING with cracking news stories involving corruption, worldwide public deception, data manipulation and harassment of dissenting scientists.
The Climategate ‘exoneraters’ who run green energy companies. Unreported. Anthony’s shocking investigation into UHI effects on weather stations. Unreported. Hal Lewis’ resignation from API. Unreported. Mann’s Hockey Stick shame. Unreported. Failure of climate models to predict flattening of the warming curve. Unreported.
All “unreported” because they are not served up on a plate by University/State/Government/Research Institute Press Officers to lazy journalists desperate to launch the next bogeyman on their gullible audiences.
But hang on. Maybe those audiences are not so gullible after all. What our BBC man perceives as ‘climate fatigue’ is actually public distrust. Journalists in the mainstream media have seriously underestimated the wisdom of crowds. We know when we are being sold a pig in a poke.
The effect is, unfortunately, corrosive. This morning on the BBC’s Today programme, I listened to Justin Webb interviewing Michael Grade about another BBC news humiliation (reporting that Band Aid contributions had been used to buy arms in Ethiopia). There was not one iota of evidence to prove this breathtaking slur, which Sir Bob Geldof generously described as “an unusual lapse in standards by the broadcaster” (sorry, Sir Bob, you got THAT wrong).
Webb’s interview was perfectly fair and did not shy away from the hard facts about BBC failure. But all the time I was listening to it I was, I am ashamed to say, criticising him for his technique, picking him up on minor points and generally behaving in a lip-curling manner to the way he was conducting a perfectly fair interview.
Why? Because in the past I have heard Webb’s craven interviews on climate change, marvelled at his absolute lack of journalistic enquiry and cringed in embarrassment at the pat-a-cake questions he served up in wide-eyed awe to the agenda-driven Establishment figure in front of him. And so now I don’t trust him.
This is a terrible state of affairs. Both the media and the “warlarmists” (my portmanteau word for those scientists who are both warmist and alarmist) have created a public antipathy towards them (James Delingpole and others are honourable exceptions) that is steadily widening.
I do not know what the outcome will be for the reputation of science. Neither do I know whether journalists are either incompetent or conniving. The world, however, is departing the MSM in droves and turning to the internet – and its abject failure to report CAGW in an objective, balanced, and courageous way is surely one of the reasons why.
So it’s not climate fatigue – indeed, thanks to the internet, the public are much better informed and interested in these matters than ever before. No ‘senior BBC journalist’ it is not that – so let me spell it out for you. And, as you are not scientifically trained, I will write slowly so that you fully understand….

November 4, 2010 3:07 am

The change in media mood in ABC and other big media outlets could have been affected by the deepening La Nina and the cold and super-wet weather in many parts of east and west Pacific. South Thailand, some southern provinces of the Philippines, are in deep floods. Really bad timing for the UN FCCC meeting in Cancun just more than 3 weeks away. I briefly wrote it here,

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
November 4, 2010 3:25 am

From Mike Haseler on November 4, 2010 at 2:21 am:

Anyone remember swine flu?

I certainly remember the swine flu vaccine. President Obama, on behalf of the American public, bought enough doses for the entire US citizenry, all legal residents, and for about another 60 million people who just happened to be wandering through US territory. Something like a half to a third of them were never used. It also seems pretty clear it should have been known from the start the order had no chance of being delivered and used before the surge hit and passed through, for such as the surge turned out to be.
But, for some mysterious reason the public was getting panicked, and prompt authoritative action in the midst of panic is the mark of a true leader, right?
Does anyone know if expired vaccines have to be disposed of as bio-hazardous waste, presumably by likely unionized workers?

Ian Cooper
November 4, 2010 3:28 am

Ian Holton,
it is all La Nina mate. September for us here in my neck of the woods in the ‘Shaky Isles,’ (N.Z.) was the third wettest month on record since records started in June 1928! La Nina is good for us though. The switch was flicked at the beginning of October and the tap was turned off, the sun came out and the wind changed direction. Farmers are preparing for what can often follow the big wet month of a typical La Nina episode, the Big Dry! Our big dries don’t compare in the least with what you jokers get in Oz. Our big dry is only relative to our normal ‘green’ situation. Farmers are obviously not keen on it. But the rest of us are looking forward to a long hot summer.
Having said that, winter-like conditions are about to give our mountains one last coating of snow which could take this year into first place for the heaviest mountain snowfall aggregate of the past 30 years just ahead of 2009, and 2008!

Ian W
November 4, 2010 3:34 am

This is more an article of concern that a message that the reporters still believe in is not getting across. One line from the article struck me straight away; I am surprised it has not been picked up yet as it demonstrates what is actually thought:
Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries, what is it that the journalists believe they were guilty of?
In other words the writer thinks that there is CAGW but the media are guilty of failing to get the message to the public. This article shows no change of heart but is more a call to put the CAGW message across in a more effective way.

November 4, 2010 3:42 am

I can’t avoid thinking that Traditional Journalism is loosing another war. Though largely suppressing the information on Climategate, most folk connected to the internet have read about it by now. And in fact, getting that information through e-mail from a friend or reading one’s favourite blog, while the MSM just whistle to the side, lends much more importance to the news. If I read this in a blog while the media says nothing about it, certainly there must be something wrong…
This is information in the XXI century. And thankfully WUWT is a major part of it.

November 4, 2010 3:58 am

“Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries, what is it that the journalists believe they were guilty of”
I didn’t realize that the underlying science was ever investigated, let alone “exonerated”. The writer makes it a matter of fact (use of the word “given”) Nonsense – the MSM has been a willing participant and partner in selling the alarmist message. In terms of the credo of most news media namely “objective, balanced, reporting”, they are guilty of betraying their professional mandate and are in the main simply an amplifying voice box for their masters. There are many fearless journalists around the world that have helped to expose and topple tyrants, so one can only muse that the global warming/climate change/disruption cabal have an especially long and scary reach.

Les Francis
November 4, 2010 3:58 am

The Australian A.B.C. is so left leaning it nearly falls over.
There have been so many inquiries into the A.B.C.’s bias it is laughable.
A balanced A.B.C. climate debate will include 6 alarmists and maybe a sceptic.

Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries,

The author of the article is still a believer

November 4, 2010 3:59 am

Is a crack appearing.

Ulric Lyons
November 4, 2010 4:03 am

” How we adapt to a dramatically changing climate, if or when it emerges, could, sadly, become the most compelling story of all.”
Will become the most compelling story of all, when we are forced into having to adapt to increasing cold events over the next 14yrs, sadly.
If one can predict weekly weather for many years ahead, then future climatic trends can be defined, it does not work the other way round, sadly.

November 4, 2010 4:08 am

The MSM has pump primed the AGW issue and now it is pay dirt.
Governments and big business can all cash in.
It will take the MSM about 10 years of ‘Real’ reporting to turn this ship around.
I am sorry but most of the journo’s these days are lazy spoon fed bottom feeders.
Thanks for nothing guys.

graham g
November 4, 2010 4:26 am

Today was the coldest November day ever recorded in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia of 23.8 degrees maximium, and this is summer in the tropics.! Australia has less than 200 years of recorded temperatures, and probably only reliable data since 1900. it still has been the coldest day for at least 110 years.
The West Virginian Democrat who ran the election TV advertisement of him shooting the poster of the Cap & Trade Bill with a scoped rifle knew what he was about .
Guess what , he was reelected a few days ago, when 60+ of his Democrat mates lost their seats partly for supporting Obama’s Cap & trade Bill.

November 4, 2010 4:29 am

I used to only read The Guardian paper and the BBC website. After it became obvious that they weren’t just taking a point of view — which is fine, everyone has one — but actually omitting and exaggerating, to the point of lying or even braindeadedness, I stopped reading them.
I still like what Chichton said about the greens; what they get wrong is the problem of complexity. See some of the comments in the other threads, where people argue that yes, CO2 increases breathing problems because in a round-about-way, some other thing has a knock on effect on something else… well, if your chain of causality is that tenuous, it is also subject to a million other causes and chaotic unpredictabilities.
The greens decided they wanted to save the planet — they stared into complexity and promptly lost their minds; they reverted to magical thinking.
Meanwhile the people of the world are trying to live life guided by ordinary consequences, and climate change never materialised as anything real.

November 4, 2010 4:34 am

Oh, where is Raymond Baxter (of the BBC) and his ilk from the ’60s and ’70s. Poor Raymond must have turned so many times in his grave, he must be half way to Australia by now.

(nice little dig at the Yanks – could not resist it…)
P.S. Just watched the BBC’s flagship science program last night. Apparently, some meteors might contain water….. (One hour to explain that one – fell asleep at the 35 minute mark.) The rot set in when the BBC started advertising for science reporters and producers on Sesame Street.

R. de Haan
November 4, 2010 4:34 am

They are cleaning their vests and running for the exit.
AGW Climate Change is dead.
We have known this for a long time now but it is nice to have it confirmed.

mike sphar
November 4, 2010 4:36 am

Bobby D got it right when he wrote the lines “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows” or a climate change reporter.

Robin Guenier
November 4, 2010 4:40 am

Richard Lawson:
Re Channel 4’s documentary this evening (“What the green movement got wrong!”), I fear this will prove to be little more than an exercise in clearing the decks so that they (the greens) can focus all their attention on promoting CAGW. Here’s an extract from Channel 4’s trailer: “A group of environmentalists … believe that, in order to save the planet, humanity must embrace the very science and technology they once so stridently opposed“.
Perhaps Krishnan Guru-Murthy (who chairs the “debate” that follows the film) will press for an answer to the obvious question: if you got all these things wrong, what possible confidence can we have that you haven’t got this wrong too? But, given Channel 4 News’s track record – where Guru-Murthy is one of the main anchors – I’m not holding my breath.

November 4, 2010 4:40 am

In this particular case propaganda, hyperbole, and disinformation on either side will only temporarily win the day. The climate itself will settle the argument. If arctic ice continues to melt, if tropospheric temps continue to rise, if scorching summers, disruption of world agriculture, increasing wildfires, and rising sea levels threaten our way of life, people will be furious with deniers and skeptics. If it gets only mildly warmer and actually even pleasant, people will laugh at and mock the climate scientists.
Either way, nature will decide. I actually believe the the preponderance of evidence to date supports the former rather than the latter. I don’t think the scientists are wrong in their general conclusions that increasing heat accumulation will follow increasing CO2 levels. The specifics are up for grabs.

Sean McHugh
November 4, 2010 4:54 am

Mike Haseler asked:
“Anyone remember swine flu?”
Yes, and I remember Bird Flu that came before it and the SARS that came before that. In each case it was Chicken Little running around in a frenzy. How many in Australia died of Bird Flu? How many in the US died of Bird Flu? How many in Australia died of SARS? How many in the US died of SARS? The answer for each of those is zero. Just as now with ‘Climate Change’, the media would feed us daily doomsday prophesies for whatever Armageddon happened to be in vogue. Apparently stupidity sells, and who better to deliver it than the MSM.

James Sexton
November 4, 2010 5:02 am

Well, an epiphany if not a real reversal. As noted by a commenter or two, they’re still buying the “exonerated in successive inquiries…” , so it it fairly obvious they haven’t changed their journalistic standards in regards to climate. But, I was heartened to read, Not all sceptics are equal Maybe, just maybe, they’ll quit trying to paint us as neanderthals, incapable of understanding the science which they, themselves obviously don’t understand.

November 4, 2010 5:21 am

-S says:
November 4, 2010 at 2:56 am,
Fine comment.
Owen says: [ … ]
Wrong. Sea levels are rising due to the emergence from the LIA. The tropospheric “fingerprint” of AGW is nowhere to be found; it is a myth. And CO2 has no measurable effect on temperature.
The proponents of AGW scare tactics are beclowning themselves. The smart move would be to get on the right side of the debate.

November 4, 2010 5:26 am

Oh to be a fly on the wall of the journalists’ room when Climategate broke. Imagine the dirty looks being exchanged. They had told each other the science was settled – and it isn’t … and they’ve made fools of themselves … I am not much given to rejoicing at another’s misfortune, but humiliation was amply merited here after their high-handed behaviour over this issue.

November 4, 2010 5:41 am

When Climategate first broke I hounded “our” ABC for several days asking why the hottest news story in the world sweeping the blogosphere wasn’t even getting a mention anywhere and a search of the name on their website only came up with one reference, which actually had nothing to do with what was going on. I and many others inundated them with complaints and regular counts of the daily mounting thousands of Climategate hits on Google and Bing until they were finally dragged kicking and screaming into giving some coverage, albeit fatally biased and uninformed.
That same bias has continued to the extent I no longer watch any of their current affairs programs.
Nothing will change until it has a complete cleanout from top to bottom and that’s unlikely to happen give that the organisation is stacked with rabid Left-wing propagandists who are under the delusion they are journalists. What a laugh! Fortunately, the internet will continue to make them increasingly irrelevant.

November 4, 2010 5:42 am

I reckon they’ve now realised that there’s far more anti- than pro-AGW news to be had, so the best thing to do is shut up and adopt the principle of : “no news” = “good news”.

November 4, 2010 5:47 am

“Yes, and I remember Bird Flu that came before it and the SARS that came before that. In each case it was Chicken Little running around in a frenzy.”
Your bias is showing.. please make your statement to the families of the medical practitioners just across your border in Canada who DIED doing the ultimate.. dying from SARs caught while treating SARs patients..
So that people like you can made dispicable comments about chicken little behaviour.

November 4, 2010 5:49 am

Coldest November day on record in 3 Queensland towns today. 22 in Mackay- that’s 7 degrees below average. November is supposed to be hot and dry, maybe some storms. Coolest, wettest spring in many years across most of Oz. La Nina of course but it makes it hard to sell warming right now.
Aunty ABC hasn’t changed its spots- still very pro-Green, pro- AGW. But maybe this article is a sign of some hope.

November 4, 2010 5:51 am

Not bad. Now all she had to do is exchange “climate fatigue” for “we got caught out gilding the AGW lily even though we knew it was a weed” and the job’s a good ‘un.

Steve Fitzpatrick
November 4, 2010 5:52 am

The odd thing about the article is the remarkable lack of perspective. There is no big picture view offered.
Climate science has been embraced (and some might argue, captured) by people with a certain political viewpoint: the Neo-Malthusian/enviro-Gaia/Club of Rome/the sky is falling types. If you analyze what climate alarmists say (both scientists and non-scientists), you quickly see that climate alarmism is only one manifestation of a consistent political narrative: humanity is rapidly using up all the resources and destroying the Earth, so economic activity must be drastically curtailed. Which means rich people (who consume much material and energy) must become poorer, and poor people must never become rich (that is, never consume much material and energy). The most extreme of these folks call for drastic reductions (like >90%!) in global human population as the only way to “save the Earth”. Warming due to GHG’s simply a convenient weapon to advance the Neo-Malthusian agenda. Were GHG driven warming not considered a problem, many other rationals would be offered to justify political control of the scale of economic activity. The argument is never going to end with improved scientific understanding of Earth’s climate; it is not, and has never been a scientific issue.
It is clear from the tone of the article that the author is solidly in the same political camp, and so accepts at face value the Neo-Malthusian political narrative. Which is why there is so much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth in the article about ‘poor reporting’. The author’s dismay with the situation tells us more about her political POV than about the quality of reporting of climate science. Her analysis is superficial and mindless… quite typical for Neo-Malthusians.

November 4, 2010 5:53 am

I have been extremely irritated by the world’s bigoted press concerning climate science (if one can call it that, being such a vast, complex subject) for some time. Christopher Booker and James Delingpole, who happen to write for the same newspaper, the UK DT, are two exceptions that spring to mind, and Joanne Nova in Australia (amongst others) all try to produce articles that can be understood by most people, and attempt to put forward straightforward criticism of the AGW nonsense.
The article reproduced above still would seem to side with the nonsense.
If it were not for Anthony’s well -respected WUWT blog, and its balanced views and comments (apart from the odd troll), we would all be the poorer for it.

November 4, 2010 5:55 am

The last programme I saw on AGW on the BBC was Panorama. This was an example of the latest sinister propaganda technique, which was first used for Road Pricing just a few years back.
In this type of programme, any debate about science or anything logical is side-stepped. Instead, we have the “what would it take to get you to believe in…..” show. In this, it is taken as read that the premise is correct or desirable. (Naturally the AGW theory is sound and any sensible person would believe in paying per mile to drive.) We then see a skeptic or group of skeptics being gradually convinced that the premise is indeed correct, and by the end of the show most have seen the error of their ways.
Clever psychology. What we need is a TRULY independent, old-school hungry journalist to trace exactly who is making/funding these programmes, and what their connections are. They appear on all channels, not just the BBC.

Olaf Koenders, Wizard of Oz?
November 4, 2010 5:56 am

“You’re a bad influence Anthony… after reading this I couldn’t resist jumping in and firing a few salvos at the ignorant blog comments in response to the ABC article. The ABC’s audience is very pro-AGW so any semblance of leaning towards the science side of the debate gets gunned down by the CAGW trolls there.
To their credit the Aussie ABC occasionally puts skeptics up on their shows and gives them a chance. Usually you find that panels are left-leaning and the audiences especially so. But they do try… sometimes. It is, after all, in their mandate to be balanced.”

Onya Bulldust. What we need is SBS to back down as well, seeing they’re trying their hardest to avoid the facts. One thing I know will happen, is that the MSM will simply and quietly avoid admitting their shameful and biased reporting of this CAGWist scam, or eventually that they were “misled” by the ahem.. “science”. The MSM is fully implicated in all of this by their search for sensationalism.
One thing I did see recently, was a few negative comments in the Herald Sun with people aggravated that the Education Department advocating “An Inconvenient Truth” be shown in schools without clarification of the 9 serious (and some 35 glaring errors, lies and deliberate misrepresentations) in Gorebull Warbling’s fillum not being shown alongside as in the UK by court order.
Maybe we can flood some emails with these facts..?

Mervyn Sullivan
November 4, 2010 5:58 am

I refer to a comment in the article: “Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries…”.
The extensive work by Steve McIntyre has exposed the various inquiries for what they were – a sham. Furthermore, McIntyre has demonstrated that the actual science wasn’t even the subject of any of the inquiries.
It is therefore completely false and misleading to state that the underlying science has been exonerated in the successive inquiries.
I invite everyone to refer to the archives of Steve McIntyre at the following link, and read what he found out when delving into the inquiries and why they were effectively just a sham and a cover up, and involved various conflicts of interest:

November 4, 2010 5:59 am

The MSM still believe in AGW. It shows in their perspective and language of reporting. The only thing that seems to limit the shouting is the loss of viewers and readers (revenue).

Doug in Seattle
November 4, 2010 5:59 am

“We have failed to engage the public,” said a broadcast journalist.
That kind of says it all. Journalists report the news, commentators provide their opinion on the meaning of news, and propagandists engage the public.

November 4, 2010 6:06 am

Too little too late from the ABC, Maybe they are realising their credibility is now beyond repair.

Jeff L
November 4, 2010 6:10 am

Favorite quotes:
“We have failed to engage the public,” said a broadcast journalist.
So, what is this journalist is saying ??? That they should have been pushing the AGW agenda? Whatever happened to unbiased reporting? Clearly what they didn’t understand is the public is far smarter than they thought & could see the rubbish for what it was.
Quote 2:
“they had been far too dismissive of sceptics.”
Maybe if they had actually done some due diligence on the subject vs trying to push their personal CAGW agenda, they would have seen what most people on this blog have known for years – that the data says the CAGW hypothesis is flimsy at best ; that there are hundreds of unique arguments that can made from the data that call into question the validity of the hypothesis (at least the catastrophic part – some warming , sure; catastrophic, extremely unlikely) ; that the hypothesis is more a political means to an end than a scientific fact; that even if it were correct, we are far better off from a cost-benefit standpoint adapting than trying to stop it.

November 4, 2010 6:12 am

Just wished to underscore John V Wright’s assessment of the phrase “climate fatigue”. Yes, the public is tired of journalists stating that the sky is falling..while simultaneously blocking all input that “the facts” might have given them. Even those without a specific science background should have started smelling a rat even before Climategate. But certainly after. I can only believe that they didn’t read the emails or HST or any of a 100+ articles that should have provoked a “let me check this out” response. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves…*.(* ref: Mark Kermode)

November 4, 2010 6:15 am

“Fresh from a sabbatical studying climate change reporting at the University of Oxford, […]”
Reporting is reporting, regardless of the subject. One would think that journalists would be one of the most skeptical bunch of people around. Not so. In the MSM, journalism and reporting are pretty much dead as near as I can make out. The MSM have sunk to being just another part of the entertainment industry, and poor entertainment at that.
People are turning to the web to ferret out the facts of matters as best as they can from online sources. At least online, there are lots of competing sources with various viewpoints to consider. The MSM seems to all be singing from the same page in the hymn book, regardless of the topic.
(That’s my two cents and I probably owe everyone a penny in change.)

November 4, 2010 6:20 am

We could consider the abnormal obsessions of global warmers/climate changers are in line with the thoughts (if they have some) of cancer cells in a body to be killed by the power drive of some cells turned mad.

Pamela Gray
November 4, 2010 6:20 am

Okay, I was reading it and saying, “Finally balanced reporting, what took you so long?” Till I got to the end:
“…Despite the present crisis of confidence among some UK journalists, I believe it remains a live story and that underlying the short-term news cycles is a number of titanic struggles and shifts which will force the issue back into mainstream press coverage no matter what tag it is given – these include the biggest global energy transformation since the industrial revolution; the unfolding, gobsmacking scientific mapping of the phenomenon (from ocean acidification to polar ice) as well as the reformation of an inward-looking scientific community to accept more transparency and robust public debate and explanation; and the great ideological clash over climate change policy including right-wing fears that it is a front for left-wing eco-fascism.
Then there’s the actual climate. If the scientists and insurance companies are right, it will produce increasing horror temperature, drought and precipitation events as well as more natural catastrophes. How we adapt to a dramatically changing climate, if or when it emerges, could, sadly, become the most compelling story of all.”
Same old, same old. They just can’t help it can they. If it bleeds it leads. So in the end the reporter turned a very good report into once again a bleeding deity statue we should all genuflect to and offer sacrifices lest we parish. The final words lacked only holy water and incense.

November 4, 2010 6:25 am

The climate always changes–its the sun stupid!!–and it’s not due to those small animals on the surface of the earth who think they know everything. The small animals can be a nuisance and make a mess in places but they do not have any major effect on the planet.
Seriously, the climate could well get warmer as we recover from the little ice age of the 1800’s. The roman and middle ages warming periods were warmer but when it gets colder again the human population will suffer more. And its got nothing to do with CO2.

Capn Jack Walker
November 4, 2010 6:37 am

Anyone puts shit on me mate Pamela Grey.
I will [snip] have you.
REPLY: Arrr, soften the pirate talk here or you’ll be keel-hauled. – Anthony

Capn Jack Walker
November 4, 2010 6:38 am


Capn Jack Walker
November 4, 2010 6:44 am

Do not teach me blog.
You hit her you hit me.

charles nelson
November 4, 2010 6:49 am

during the 1630s a mad puritan called Praise God Barebones (seriously) used to wander rounds london’s busy theatre district. He spent his time preaching from the bible and berating the crowds for their consumption of the immoral filth that they saw on stage.
The crowds as they left the plays entertained for the most part and probably drunk, laughed at the crazy man…….
Fifteen years later. The Theatres are shut, England is a Theocracy, Puritanism Reigns and Old Praise God Barebones is invited to speak in the Parliament around the time they beheaded King Charles.
Moral of the story is you can’t always predict how things will turn out.

Capn Jack Walker
November 4, 2010 6:49 am

She made her bones, she’s our mate.

November 4, 2010 6:52 am

Journalists love to drink black ink (aka coffee) all day but they need some green to buy groceries. They do see red but it’s not one of their favorite colors. Red means layoffs and parttime jobs as a bartender, or worse.

November 4, 2010 7:00 am

It annoys me that every time I see the CRU emails mentioned in these articles from the MSM that they are referred to as having been “hacked”. There has never been a single iota of evidence that supports this theory, and indeed the strangely representative sample of important emails points more to the existence of inside whistleblower than anything else.

Capn Jack Walker
November 4, 2010 7:00 am

No offence but last time I looked this ain’t a friendly society.
I never got to do masters or doctor , I was due and went.
But any day Pamela Grey got a problem. I will beat the living shit out of people.
Bank it.

November 4, 2010 7:01 am

The swine flu scare vaccination campaign that some of you are mentioning, came to an end when it became obvious to most people that it was being driven entirely by the pharmaceutical industry and for no better purpose than to make money — but not before the industry made out with untold billions of dollars pushing the sale of hundreds of millions of doses of useless (at best), untested, and potentially dangerous vaccines onto governments worldwide, forcing them to sign undisclosable contracts that exempted the manufacturers of all responsibility. This flu had a lower mortality rate than the regular seasonal flu. So the WHO changed the definition of pandemic (chich requires a high mortality rate) in order to declare it a “pandemic.” After a few weeks, they stopped testing patients for it on the grounds that it was “impractical” and were simply assigning all patients with flu symptoms to this kind of flu. A medical doctor in Spain, who also happened to be a Benedictine nun, made a video wondering why they don’t declare a pandemic every year due to the seasonal flu. When most of those doses were unused because so many people did not buy into it, they were trying to push the leftover doses to thirld world countries, billing them as “humanitarian” aid.
Nothing really new here. As early as the 1920s, a citizens watchdog group in Kansas City, called “The Advertiser’s Protective Bureau”, successfully brought criminal charges against the Missouri state chapter of the American Medical Association for having falsely declared a smallpox pandemic in order to make money through vaccines. Court records apparently exist for this. It was demonstrated there was no pandemic of any kind, but the vaccines did produce a significant number of vaccine poisoning cases, and those cases were being billed as smallpox cases. Here’s an article on the topic.
For a wider and deeper investigation on the history of the pharmaceutical industry and its major sins, especially with regard to promoting vaccines, there is an excellent (if odd) 2.5 hour documentary by Leonard Horowitz. Some of the stuff he presents is pretty shocking.

Julian Flood
November 4, 2010 7:11 am

Harry the Hacker said:
November 4, 2010 at 1:05 am
The stuff of “The Hockey Stick Illusion” is one of the great scandals of our time. Once upon a time, the BBC Horizon, or the ABC “4 corners” would have made an hour long program investigating and reporting something like this. Instead they are still disgracefully complicit by saying nothing.
Horizon, there was a programme: remember ‘When the Chips Are Down’, a programme that galvanised the UK’s approach to computers?
Some time ago I wrote to Dana Bennett, pleading for her to do something about BBC science reporting, I’ve begged Monbiot to be a journalist and not a mouthpiece, I’ve even castigated Revkin for his lack of investigative journalistic qualities.
This whole business will only be resolved by science reporters remembering that their job is not just to paraphrase a press release with which they agree.
Black? Harrabin? Is there anybody there?

November 4, 2010 7:12 am

The problem as i see it is the MSM has become lazy about investicating a story because they just read the press release and repeat it as gospel. NGOs PR Marketing people are just journalist majors who could not get a job in the MSM, So they send these out to there buddys and say this company is the bomb and you need to run with this story and so they do. IMHO!

November 4, 2010 7:30 am

That ABC article scared the hell out of me.
I have been looking for years at ‘Aunty’ to tell the truth about something.. anything.
But, alas, the ABC is the mouth piece for our totalitarian fascist governernment and, as such, cannot say one single thing without first forging it in the fires of the one world government agenda.
There is no truth here.. only agenda.. always.
This leopard would not suddenly change its spots.
It consequently occured to me that perhaps we have all been taken for a ride.
* What if there never was the intention of trading carbon credits globally.
* What if TPTB deliberately released the climategate emails exposing their very own scientists.
* What if the whole global warming agenda was a ruse to destroy the green movement.
A lot of what if’s.. I know..
But there are not many ways to have this article make sense.
I have always considered myself a hippy-greeny.. but I always thought that CAGW was a stupid concept as well.
Perhaps this was a carefuly planned series of events to prevent the extremely strong green movement that was sweeping the planet at the time from actually stopping big companies from polluting.
Is this the ABC’s way of telling us that the next time a multi-national company does incredible indisputable damage to the environment.. they won’t report on it because of the climategate emails??
I am very familiar with Hegelian Dialectic.. and this Global Warming versus Others feud is starting to take the shape of something born of that philosophy.
Seriously.. the problem is CO2??
I am pretty sure they never thought they would ever get away with such incredible nonsense.
Now.. I am pretty convinced.. there always was.. another agenda.

matt v.
November 4, 2010 7:46 am

To me the major failing of the news media with respect to climate science reporting was listening only to alarmist scientific experts and then failing to verify their facts with other independent scientists, a fundamental error for any journalist .Here are two partial quotes from Don Gardner’s article called “ Slick talkers and bad forecasters”. Don is a journalist at the Ottawa Citizen in Canada.
“In the late 1980s, University of California psychologist Philip Tetlock got almost 300 experts such as economists and political scientists to predict the sort of thing that is routinely predicted in the news — inflation rates, economic growth, elections, wars, the fates of nations. In all, Tetlock gathered almost 28,000 predictions. Then he waited until the predictions could be judged.
As I discuss in my new book, Future Babble, the results of this grand experiment couldn’t have been clearer: The average expert was about as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee. (Hence, the chimpanzee on the cover, in case you were wondering.)
At this point, the cynic would scoff “what do experts know?” and walk away. But Tetlock dug deeper.
Some experts actually did worse than average, meaning they would have been better off flipping a coin. But others did better. They still weren’t great. The world really is unpredictable. But they showed genuine, if modest, predictive insight.”
Don further said in a later part of his article,
“But experts who gathered information from many sources, who were comfortable with complexity and uncertainty, and were more prepared to admit mistakes and adjust conclusions accordingly — these were the experts worth listening to. “
Read more

November 4, 2010 7:48 am

How many people turn on the TV or radio seeking propaganda?
Yet the media would still be supporting climate change, without question, if the fraud had not been exposed and the public knowing of the fraud. The key words relating to the reporting are……. without question.

November 4, 2010 7:49 am

Isotopious says:
November 4, 2010 at 2:29 am
‘Yeah, and unless you can prove that AGW is wrong, you too are
[/snip]. Scientific discovery holds no prisoners, and all at WUWT are [/snip].
And I don’t give a hoot what you think, all are guilty.
By the way, ignorance is bliss, so don’t worry. ‘
I think you should see your therapist, old son – this is what is called, in psychological circles, deep denial. AGW has already been falsified and the really guilty are already instructing their briefs on the defences they’ll need when the House committees call them up to account. We are smiling here at WUWT, whatever you believe us to be.

November 4, 2010 7:52 am

Well having complained to the BBC about the programme “Countryfile” I recieved this reply:-
“Thanks for contacting the BBC regarding ‘Countryfile’.
I’m sorry to read from your email that you were unhappy with the use of ‘climate change’ used in ‘Countryfile’. I understand you felt the presenters were giving a biased opinion that climate change was caused by man and you feel reference should have been made that it’s a natural occurrence.
The BBC is committed to impartial and balanced coverage when it comes to this issue.
There is broad scientific agreement on the issue of climate change and we reflect this accordingly; however, we do aim to ensure that we also offer time to the dissenting voices.
Flagship BBC programmes such as Newsnight, Today and our network news bulletins on BBC One have all included contributions from those who challenge the general scientific consensus recently and we will continue to offer time to such views on occasion.
We’re guided by the feedback that we receive and to that end I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.”
Balance? I don’t think so!

November 4, 2010 8:04 am

I’ve been saying for about the last 3 years that the real ‘story’ was how the entire world got duped by a flawed and corrupt ideology. That is how history will show it and almost the entire MSM of the day completely missed it. No credit for scientists and not very much for journalists. Its just goes to show that for all the enlightenment of the modern world, we haven’t really moved that far from the Middle Ages.

matt v.
November 4, 2010 8:20 am

Don Gardner wrote another interesting article called “Foredoomed is not forewarned” about the flaws of alarmist forecasts.

amicus curiae
November 4, 2010 8:27 am
George Munster award forum..
biased? the ABC In SPADES!!!
this is a cluster of self aggrandising so called scientists suggesting NO Sceptical reportage be allowed!

amicus curiae
November 4, 2010 8:44 am
combining agw and health politics ..
carbon cards for food fuel and power..

November 4, 2010 8:58 am

Perhaps our brilliant journalists will someday figure out that reporting on the sceptical side of CAGW might even increase their ratings. It is very intruiging they haven’t cottoned on to this sooner.

James Sexton
November 4, 2010 9:30 am

Capn Jack Walker says:
November 4, 2010 at 7:00 am
“No offence but last time I looked this ain’t a friendly society.
I never got to do masters or doctor , I was due and went.
But any day Pamela Grey got a problem. …….”
Capn Jack, perhaps I missed it, but I can’t find where our Pamela has a prob here. Not that she strikes me as a person that typically needs much help. She usually gives better than she gets, but if there’s some fun to be had elsewhere, by all means, provide a link!

November 4, 2010 9:41 am

“Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries”
The public observed those “exoneration hearings” and does not share the opinion that dirt wasn’t swept under the rug.
Big Journalistic caught looking at the plate #2, and that is chalked up to continuing Media bias. The dog & pony show was less than convincing.

November 4, 2010 9:49 am

From the article:
Now, a key BBC news manager has declared that climate science “isn’t quite a settled question”
Backtracking at the BBC. The climate “scientists” have embarassed their allies in the press. It’s only a matter of time before the press turns on them.

November 4, 2010 9:50 am

From the article:
“Then there’s the actual climate. If the scientists and insurance companies are right,[…]”
It seems to be difficult to understand, so i spell it out, if any journalist reads this.
Insurance companies earn their money by taking a premium; and the higher the customer perceives the risk, the higher the premium he is willing to pay.
That is why insurance companies are not objective in their publicly announced risk assessments. Especially the Munich Re specializes in such fear mongering.
Their internal risk assessment probably looks rather different, i could imagine.

November 4, 2010 10:03 am

Funnily enough she makes a claims , that the inquires support the science, which is impossible as the inquires themselves made it clear they did not look at the science. So she clearly has quite a distance to go on her m to enlightnement.

November 4, 2010 10:22 am

The problem, in my opinion, is that the journalists failed to do any actual journalism. How many times over the past 10-15 years have we heard twaddle like this from the media: “These are all of the world’s smartest scientists! How can we doubt them? They are far more intelligent than any of us! We must believe them! We cannot question them!” Oh, please. As a result these journalists ended up with egg on their collective faces and missed the story of a generation.

November 4, 2010 11:00 am

” How we adapt to a dramatically changing climate, if or when it emerges, could, sadly, become the most compelling story of all.”
Wow, doesn’t the writer realise that one of the few accurate prediction that can be made about climate is that it changes. Look at the history of previous epochs – mankind will adapt to the next sudden change whatever it is. At the moment it looks like we’re in for a cooler century again:-
1410-1500 cold – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)-(Sporer minimum)
1510-1600 warm – High Solar Activity(HSA?)
1610-1700 cold – (LSA) (Maunder minimum)
1710-1800 warm – (HSA)
1810-1900 cold – (LSA) (Dalton minimum)
1910-2000 warm – (HSA)
2010-2100 (cold???) – (LSA???)

November 4, 2010 11:07 am

“Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries, what is it that the journalists believe they were guilty of? ”
Not adequately covering that thinly applied whitewash story too? Perhaps they’ve actually recieved a glimmer of the correct message as to the unscientific nature of CAGW but are still paralyzed by some internal dissonance? I hope!

M White
November 4, 2010 11:53 am

Nothing much changes in Britain
“What the Green Movement Got Wrong”
A group of environmentalists across the world believe that, in order to save the planet, humanity must embrace the very science and technology they once so stridently opposed.

November 4, 2010 12:11 pm

An excellent forensic piece on media climate reporting. However, in the last paragraph she seems to suggest that both she and her peers will continue to fear-monger and promulgate alarmist stories. She could have included a warning to her peers that unless they improve, they will similarly be duped by alarmists on the subjects of bio-diversity, ocean acidification and the ecomomics of solar and wind energy.

David S
November 4, 2010 12:24 pm

Dirk H re insurance companies: having competed with most of the major insurance companies for most of my career, I can give you a tip – don’t overestimate their intelligence. While it is true that alarmism suits insurers and particularly reinsurers like Munich Re, I am sure the loss modellers and PR guys in theses companies who come up with the stuff between them are fully onside with the consensus, the modellers because they instinctively believe models in preference to real life, and the PR guys and girls because they are urban trendies who want to be in with the cool kids at Greenpeace and WWF. Lethal combination.

James Allison
November 4, 2010 12:28 pm

Pamela Gray says:
November 4, 2010 at 6:20 am
The final words lacked only holy water and incense.
And a call for Indulgences

November 4, 2010 12:32 pm

Nothing likely to change at ABC…
From Andrew Bolt’s Blog…
Should journalists report the views of global warming sceptics – even just for balance?
A panel of “top” journalists and journalism academics, as chosen by the University of Technology Sydney’s far Left Centre of “Independent Journalism” and broadcast by the ABC, agree that on the whole the answer is … no, or rarely. (Listen at the link.)
Naturally, in accord with their commitment to debate, not one person on the panel is a sceptic, or challenges this group think.
The ABC’s Sarah Clarke says she prefers to rely on material given the “all clear” by the IPCC, and praises the ABC and Fairfax papers for having been two “responsible” outlets that have been “objective” on global warming.
Rest at:

November 4, 2010 1:09 pm

ABC has not changed its spots. It just moved them around. I was a regular listener to the ABC Podcast, “Starstuff”, an audio astronomy program. I am sorry to say that the shrill “global warming/climate change” meme is now becoming ever present towards the end of these broadcasts. I am, as a result, unsubscribing.
Podcast here:
“Environmental news” starts at 26:40min of the Neutron Star broadcast.

November 4, 2010 1:22 pm

“the science has been exonerated”
That quote demonstrates they’re still not thinking clearly. Earth to Journalists: The science has barely been challenged thus far. The scientists have received a nice coat of friendly whitewash, but their incredible claims of doom have remained safely tucked in the corner away from the light of inquiry.

November 4, 2010 1:37 pm

The Main Stream “News” Media’s business is to enhance viewership or readership, in order to make money. Creating panic aids greatly. It used to be, there were real investigative reporters, who, because they had studied closely the technical facts needed to analyze the situation, whatever the situation was, could create great scandals, and become famous in their industry, and make money for themselves and the news outlet they worked for.
Alas, those investigative reporters have become an endangered species.
That something called “climate” would accurately indicate future weather is preposterous. That molecules of what is no more than a trace gas in the atmosphere would cause much of anything to happen, other than that gas is essential to plant growth and vigor, and a good deal more of it would do no more than enhance the growth of plants, which are most of our food supplies, is absurd.
Specialists are those who learn more and more about less and less so that they end up knowing a whole lot about very little indeed.
Broad knowledge in all of the sciences is required to begin to comprehend that thing called weather and how it happens.
One of the most momentous inventions in modern times was the heavier-than-air flying machine. And, exactly who invented it? A couple of bicycle mechanics, with no “scientific” training, just a couple of guys who either didn’t know that scientists had proclaimed it to be impossible, or simply didn’t care what great scientists proclaimed.
At first, as I have read, this most wonderful feat was ignored, as it was thought that it surely must be a hoax, since it had been proclaimed to be impossible by men of science. But Orville and Wilbur Wright persisted, and before long, it had to be accepted that those two bicycle mechanics were right, and esteemed scientists were wrong.
The simple fact is, the consensus of conventional scientists and “experts” has been, by a far cry, almost always wrong.

November 4, 2010 1:56 pm

The once famously tough minded realist Aussies are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from their woolly headed eco-hippy New Zealand neighbours. Can it really be that the land that produced Merv Hughes and Mick Doohan, to name but two, is turning into a gullible soft touch?

November 4, 2010 2:36 pm

In about 6 months time the Republican congress will be chest deep forensically deconstructing Cap’n Trade and all her pirate handmaidens in front of lots and lots of TV cameras.
Here is my question…what is the BBC and the ABC going to do? Cover it? Ignore it and hope it all goes away?
Then there is the sweet thought that Roger Harrabin, Richard Black, Goerge Monbiot and Robyn Williams will have to report all this! Et tu guys.

Mike Edwards
November 4, 2010 3:00 pm

This one quote says it all:

Given the underlying science has been exonerated in successive inquiries

A journalist who says that is either heavily biased in support of AGW views or is lazily ignorant of the truth. Possibly both at the same time.
A journalist who can’t spot a set of blatant whitewashes by establishment figures ain’t worthy of the name.

November 4, 2010 3:45 pm

It’s really no surprise that media outlets only project that partial bit of reality that gets viewers and then only if that bit can be blown out of proportions that serves their purpose–which is always make profit always save face.
Ratings always comes before political leanings and truth. It’s kind of ironic but if one want truth rather then rating filled drivel one has to go to the media outlets that pretty much doesn’t have any ratings what so ever, which in my country spells extreme socialist, conservative or liberal media, or even worse smallished of towneys local newspapers. :p

Patrick Davis
November 4, 2010 3:50 pm

“Nobby says:
November 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm”
Australia of today is very diffeernt to the Australia of Merv Hughes and Mick Doohan’s day.

Andrew M
November 4, 2010 3:54 pm

And yet only last night I heard an ABC panel discussion where it was put forward that both sides of the climate debate no longer needed to be put, as the science is so darn rock solid. The ABC has lost any credibility as anything except the mouthpiece of the socialist alarmists. I wouldn’t care, except my tax dollars prop up this sheltered workshop for the left

graham g
November 4, 2010 4:03 pm

As an Australian, I would like to offer a view on the AGW situation that some of you may not thought about to date. A few days ago, I saw on German TV that Michail Gorbachev received first prize from a science academy for his past enviromental achievements in the Green movement. Peace in the cold war came about in the 1990’s largely as a result of his initiatives on behalf of the USSR with the USA, after nearly a century of world wars that mainly involved Germany. The enviromental movement seemed to start in Germany with a strong Greens Party in the 1990’s again.! Note that these events seemed to occur about the same time.
It seems to me that many scientists could see a Peace movement could be started by
the AGW issue being promoted worldwide, and they choose to sign up. Germany could see this as an opportunity to use it’s obvious technology advantages to build new industries to assist the East and West German economies to rejoin economically, and as a way to improve human health in crowded European countries by reducing CO2 levels. I am therefore not surprised that so many Nobel Laureates were in medicine disciplines.
Finally, People like David Attenborough could also see the effect of the impact that increasing unchecked world population was having on wildlife diversity, and they decided to do something about it peacefully, instead of as people in centuries past did by having wars and reducing the population to their percieved acceptable level.
Hence we have the Optimium Population Trust trying to focus our needs with other species . We should be honest with our younger generation, instead of making them afraid of being drown by rising sea levels, apart from by tsunamis. It would assist peace if all religious leaders were to embrace this concept of population containment instead of trying to be the most dominant group in the world.

November 4, 2010 4:24 pm

a couple of posters have mentioned the following – but u have to listen to it to believe it. it is an hour long and is being repeated something like four times. what it says about the state of journalism in australia is not pretty, but it is pretty shocking:
4 Nov: ABC Big Ideas: 2010 George Munster Award Forum
Thursday 6pm (3pm WA, 5pm Q/NT) and Sunday 5pm
repeated 12am Monday and 3am Friday
Listen or Download

Charlie Barnes
November 4, 2010 4:42 pm

It seems that Geoffrey Lean of the UK’s Daily Telegraph has recently been laying off condemnation of AGW’s so-called ‘deniers’ and turning his attention more towards renewable energy sources etc. Is it too much to hope that the paper’s editor has ‘had a word’?
Also BBC TV’s David Shukman hasn’t been much in evidence lately. We are no longer treated to reports from presumably expensively reached locations showing him warmly clad next to open stretches of water with some bits of floating ice and with slush underfoot. All this, for the BBC’s science correspondent to claim that the Arctic is (or was at the time) melting and that this is clear proof of AGW.

Edward Bancroft
November 4, 2010 5:07 pm

I watched the Channel 4 documentary tonight on “What the Green movement got wrong!”.
It covered the Green topics where they admitted that they were wrong, the ban on DDT, the opposition to nuclear power, and GM foods. However, their view of the main threat to mankind was seen as AGW, hence the volte-face on nuclear power as it emits no CO2. This ‘threat’ was taken as read, and was given as the main personal motivation for Greens to adopt the pro-nuclear stance.
The documentary made no mention of the flakeyness of the AGW science, nor the misrepresentation of the ‘hockey stick’ graphs, nor that there as been no significant global warming in the past fifteen years. It was as if the growing realisation that the hypothesis of CO2 induced danger was wrong had not been debated, discussed, and dissected, at all.
I waited in vain to see a comment linking the Greens literally harmful wrongness on many topics to be compared to the possible harm that their wrongness in the AGW debate might bring.

Brian H
November 4, 2010 6:06 pm

Owen says:
November 4, 2010 at 4:40 am

I don’t think the scientists are wrong in their general conclusions that increasing heat accumulation will follow increasing CO2 levels. The specifics are up for grabs.

Actually, the specifics are the reverse. Heat accumulation increases CO2 levels, which have a negligible effect on further heat accumulation. In other words, both are dependent variables, and CO2 is more dependent than heat.

Brian H
November 4, 2010 6:40 pm

graham g says:
November 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm

It would assist peace if all religious leaders were to embrace this concept of population containment instead of trying to be the most dominant group in the world.

Bushwah. The meme of population containment is indeed core — and egregiously malefic.
Bottom line: the very best forecasts, extended, show a peak of <8bn. around 2030, followed by slow decline. Mostly due to rising living standards (= wealth and energy availability). And energy IS available, for the far foreseeable future.
Gorby and his fellow wannabe World Administrators notwithstanding.

November 4, 2010 7:47 pm

Today, President Obama announced that the administration will not pursue a cap and trade bill because the new members for the house will not support it. However, he did say that “there is more than one way to skin a cat”. I guess this means that he will use a tzar to issue and edict. Meanwhile California and New Mexico have adopted a cap and trade bill. It remains to be seen how it will be funded. The mea culpa by the reporter reflects the mood swing that is happening about global warming. The doomsday predictions advanced by the alarmist have been out there for 10 years or more. Where is the evidence?
Most of the ad hoc evidence presented by the UN IPCC report AR4 has turned out to be unsupportable and not peer reviewed, i.e., Amazon gate, Himalayan gate, glacier gate. The oceans have not risen more than one millimeter; the islands have not been disappearing. There are hardly examples of any of the alarmist predictions that appear to be occurring. The MSM doesn’t have a story to tell that is scary enough to attract readers or listeners. So there is nothing to write about. Can you believe that our local newspaper has become so double minded about the climate change issue that the journalist author in a front page cover story fairly presented two sides of cap and trade issue.? People are tired of the line “this is being caused by man-made climate change”. The list of over 800 changes due to global warming listed yesterday on WUWT show that the changes were not significant and were speculated to be connected to and average global temperature. Even the strongest supporters of man-made climate change have only had the benefit of predictions from computer models as a basis for their concern. No one in the public and certainly not in the crowd of MSM journalists are able to understand the models or the scientific discussions about their reliability in the open literature. The MSM sources of information about AGW have proven to be wrong and unreliable.
Hopefully, the next big story about man-made climate change will be the result of the evaluation of the emails sought under the FOIA. They may end up showing the corruption by several major proponents of AGW. That story would be worth writing.

Mr Lynn
November 4, 2010 8:12 pm

matt v. says:
November 4, 2010 at 8:20 am
Don Gardner wrote another interesting article called “Foredoomed is not forewarned” about the flaws of alarmist forecasts.

Matt, thank you for the link to Mr. Gardner’s piece about M. S. Swaminathan. I knew, of course, of Norman Borlaug, but not of Prof. Swaminathan. We don’t always learn about the true heros. And the prophets of doom, even if there is a ‘consensus’, are not always right.
/Mr Lynn

Brian H
November 4, 2010 9:17 pm

Mr Lynn says:
November 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm

And the prophets of doom, even if there is a ‘consensus’, are not always right.
/Mr Lynn

Heh. When, exactly, have they EVER been right? It would be a very short list, methinks.
But how much have they cost the world? That would be a very long butcher’s bill.

graham g
November 5, 2010 3:34 am

Hi Brian H
When have the UN ever been accurate in their predictions.?
How can you be so sure about the world populations effect on the world’s wildlife,
or on the expected cap on the population in 2040.?
You are probably correct on the energy issue, but why should the people who gave the world all of our modern benefits from European countries largely,be prepared to constrain the effect of population on world diversity just to see their efforts fail because some religious groups wish to dominate the world democracies by their sheer numbers of people in each country.? We know the AGW is a scam. ! You may be very well educated, but I suspect you are short in empathy for the world’s living resources.

November 5, 2010 5:43 am

I wouldn’t bet on either of our Aunties (BBC or ABC) getting out of the AGW camp any time soon. This entirely credulous article on a CO2 experiment in the US being a case in point.

matt v.
November 5, 2010 7:43 am

Mr Lynn
If you have chance to read or obtain a copy of Dan Gardner’s latest book called FUTURE BABBLE, there is a section in the book that deals with the excellent research work of Philip Tedlock [University of California] of the on predictions made by a variety of so called experts and why most of them turn out to be so wrong. [Less accurate than a monkey throwing darts on a dart board or the flip of a coin. or random guessing] This may help us to better understand and interpret various climate warming predictions and some claims of high credibility. In summary, Tedlock found out that there are two types of forecasters. I have added my comments in brackets about the current crop climate science experts and what they are saying. You can decide who belongs in which category.
Those experts who are consistently wrong [no better than random guessing]
Not comfortable with complexity or uncertainty [the science is settled, there are no more climate science uncertainties?]
They sought to reduce the problem to some core or single theoretical theme or template that they stamp out their predictions out on [manmade greenhouse gases are the prime cause of global warming]
Very confident that their forecasts are accurate [100 year predictions with 90% confidence on future climate, claim long term predictions are more accurate than short term]
Make no mistakes or unwilling to acknowledge any mistakes [hide the decline, minimize the error once found]
Seeks public attention [makes mostly alarmist type forecasts]
Those who do better than the average expert forecaster
Different mind set
Comfortable with uncertainty [uncertainties openly discussed and welcomed, opposing views openly aired]
Draw information from multiple sources and synthesize it[skeptics heard and listened to, we do not have all the answers, natural long term planetary cycles play a role , only short term predictions made[decades not centuries]
Self critical [mistakes openly admitted and corrected]
Acknowledge mistakes and not hide errors [mistakes discussed and posted on internet]
See the world as complex and uncertain [cannot accurately model the global climate. Sees Climate models as not accurate or reliable yet]
Less confident that they are always right and acknowledge limits of their work

Mr Lynn
November 5, 2010 9:26 am

Brian H says:
November 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm

“And the prophets of doom, even if there is a ‘consensus’, are not always right.”
Heh. When, exactly, have they EVER been right? It would be a very short list, methinks.
But how much have they cost the world? That would be a very long butcher’s bill.

You mean London is not completely buried in horse manure?
Of course you are correct. It was just a bit of understatement, and an attempt at symmetry with the previous sentence.
/Mr Lynn

November 5, 2010 4:12 pm

These reporters are so thick – if they had reported sceptical positions they would still have viewers.

Keith Minto
November 5, 2010 8:57 pm

Ken Stewart says:
November 4, 2010 at 5:49 am
Aunty ABC hasn’t changed its spots- still very pro-Green, pro- AGW. But maybe this article is a sign of some hope.

Ken, not if you listen to this .
This was essentially a journalists love-in, the contributors were..
Thomas Morton
Associate Professor of Journalism
University of Technology
Anne Henderson – Sellers
Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the Department of Environment and Geography of Macquarie University.
Until 2007, Professor Henderson-Sellers was the Director of the United Nations’ World Climate Research Programme in Geneva .
Sarah Clarke
ABC’s National Environment and Science Correspondent
Ben Cubby
The Environment Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald
Philip Chubb
Associate Professor of Journalism, Monash University

The topic was…
Has the scientific consensus about the increasing scale and pace of climate change rendered traditional journalistic concepts of fairness and balance obsolete?
I listened to this with an open mind as I have mixed with fair minded journalists before and know the skill required to condense complexity into a few words. But in this audio discussion, as time went on and tempers frayed, I became very saddened at the lack of scientific knowledge displayed by all but especially by the ABC and SMH journalists. ‘The fairness’ all hinged around the coverage Lord Monkton received by the Australian media, they seemed to agree that he received too much coverage and that he, to put it bluntly, was unhinged. “But what did he have to say” I kept muttering to myself, but no mention of his message was made, it was all personal attack. This would indicate no understanding or no attempt at understanding the reasoning of the alternative climate message.
As I said, I was saddened at the lack of curiosity and powerful misunderstanding of the scientific process that only left personality assessment as a discussion topic.
Margot ONeill, a least been exposed to European media and appears to be fair minded, I wish her well in her endeavours. As for this group, I despair, I really do.

November 5, 2010 9:20 pm

Excellent link pat!
I would say there’s a bigger problem at the ABC. That’s the army of young, underpaid editorial staff they maintain as the gatekeepers on our publicly funded website. On this thread and many others where I directly criticise Aunty’s bias and unprofessionalism, my views have been censored. In the discussion for this thread I pointed out several of the big political climate stories of the last year the MSM missed. It never made it past moderation.
Without a doubt the ABC has been hijacked by its editorial staff. Not just the BSDs but also the grunts who can quietly filter out opposing opinions in the discussion on the ABC website.

Brian H
November 6, 2010 7:33 am

graham g says:
November 5, 2010 at 3:34 am

In order:
The lowest edge of the lowest band of the UN population projection has always been accurate, for many decades. An exception, I grant you.
“Sure about the effect of the world’s population on wildlife”? Well, sureness is hard to come by. But wealthy countries are far easier on other species than desperate ones.
Population cap: see above. 8 bn by 2030 then declining slowly.
The wealthy countries limit their harm to other species because they want to. As for the historical blight, Islam, that’s another problem and kettle of fish. (As you see, I’m not big on PC circumlocutions.)
The “empathy” card!?!? Newsflash: liberal self-proclaimed empathy for critters and cultures is 90% theoretical, mainly intended and employed as a club for subduing their “immoral” enemies. As it happens, I grew up in a very small town deep in the Central Ontario forests. I know and care lots about critters and “living resources”. Your offhanded slur is despicable and contemptible. Shape up.

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