Richard Black, BBC, Hypocrisy, and FOI

BBC's Richard Black

Geoffrey Thorpe-Willett writes in with this:

Following the Gleick incident Richard Black of the BBC thinks there is a lack of transparency for the organisations involved. I agree, and so I also tried to see how transparent the BBC were.

I requested information on the number of flights taken by Richard Black, this is important as he is increasing CO² in the atmosphere. The BBC refused to give me the information stating an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act. Though they did give me the BBC policy concerning flights in Economy and Business.

I then requested information on the annual operating costs of the BBC News Environmental Unit, in particular :

  • Salaries
  • Travel Costs
  • Expenses
  • Office Space Costs

The response from the BBC Information unit was that this information was excluded from the FOI Act as it concerns journalism.

I then requested the contractual status of Richard Black with the BBC. Many correspondents at the BBC are not employees, they create companies so that they can avoid tax, some of them even creating a company in Ireland, a well known ploy used by many BBC journalists. The BBC refused to state what his employment position is stating an exemption under the FOI Act.

So the BBC are quite happy to demand transparency from private companies, but as a publicly funded company they habitually refuse to publish information transparently.

The smell of hypocrisy is overpowering.

For your reference the FOI request replies are (PDF) :


I performed the same exercise in 2008 demanding the number of flights for Roger Harrabin, that time the BBC responded with the information:

RFI20080378 – final response_Harrabin (PDF)

So why not now ?  Hmmmmmm, strange.


For those that wish to track Mr. Black’s publication record, there’s a website dedicated to it called Black’s Whitewash. – Anthony


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you may want to remove your email address from the pdf’s unless you want a lot of carp in your email


Has anyone noticed the facial similarity of Black and Mann?


From the Bishop:-


Black’s photo makes him looking like he and Michael Mann were separated at birth.


anybody thought about doing a connections diagramme with Black at the centre and radiating out
Black used to work at the BBC World Service plus lots of others seem to have the World Serice connection

Jimmy Haigh.

Black, Mann and Schmidt. A trio of clones if ever there was one.

Mike D in AB

The CBC in Canada had taken a similar approach to any and all questions regarding their spending, insisting that since they had to compete with free enterprise channels, they couldn’t publish the wages and perks of their talent lest the evil competition offer them a little more and lure their talent away. I don’t think that the CBC has won a case yet whenever this claim is taken to court, but I’m certainly not an expert on it because the only thing on CBC that I can stand to watch is hockey because everything else is infused with their far-leftist worldview.

Doug Proctor

The political nature of CAGW: politicians regularly attack each other for failing to follow their stated positions, while failing to follow their own stated positions. It is a style of argument that knows neither end nor resolutions, as neither will respond to the others’ allegations.
Those of us technically oriented work with masters who regularly ask us to report on things that they have already determined have “an” answer for. When we report differently, we are sent back, sometimes to find our reports “adjusted”. To our complaint we get, silence. This is the most effective way to combat dissent when you, not the dissenters, have the power.
CAGW advocates, like politicians, get away with their deceptions, lies and manipulations because they, not those scratching their heads with the spreadsheets before them, have the power. The power to determine what is and what is not discussed. Hansen, Gore, Gleick – none will argue publicly because they will not be able to control what is said by the other side, and not be able to control what they have to answer. Of course non-answers are possible and probable, but non-answers can be seen for what they are. Bait-and-switch is difficult with a moderator, as well: another source of power that could lie outside the advocates.
Black is a political actor. He is not a technical man, not one concerned with the “facts”. Facts for such as Black are not determinable by him: the greater story is both what counts and what he can understand. “Warming” is real. Others say it is catastrophic: their words are also real. This he gets. For him to determine that the amount of warming is highly questionable is probably impossible and, anyway, irrelevant. Once your position is that Man is harming the planet, and have a linear no-threshold view on life, the skeptics quibble. We all know how fussing about the edges can derail the most reasonable discussion. Black and others see the skeptics’ fight as a quibble in a quorum.
It is too bad that a full page in the NYT could not be run challenging the die-hard alarmists to a public discussion of the technical merits of CAGW (not the effects should one be happening). Some act that the warmists could not ignore. Perhaps a big billboard in Times Square, asking for the same thing.
As long as Black, Hansen, Gore, Gleick can avoid confronting the inconvenient truths, they will prevail because we live in societies now dedicated to alarm. We are sensitised to and prepared to act on the possibility of harm, not the occurrence or probability. All the surveillance cameras in Britain, all the Homeland Security procedures, the Patriot Act curtailment of civil liberties, the Australian carbon taxes, are based on alarm have been raised in the populace of the possibility of harm – how much, where and when are not important. Black et al tell us that we – or our grandchildren – may suffer unless they act, and we respond. We’ve become nations of Pavlov’s dogs. They ring the bell and we cringe, tails between our legs.
This is the style of our times. Not that it hasn’t been the style before. WWI was a response to a possible threat, the Archduke’s death notwithstanding. How many coups d’etat have their beeen because the army felt that things might be going in the wrong direction? CAGW is the threat of a threat of our age.
Black et al see no difference between a danger that might exist, the danger of a danger, and the danger itself. Skeptics want to argue about the reality of the danger. Warmists argue about the need to respond to the danger of danger as equally as to the danger itself. Two different arguments using the same words.
Transparency is not in the interest of the warmists. They aren’t arguing about what is, but about what might be. The donations to the Heartland reveal, to them, what might be, a fright that is more real than what is.

Gail Combs

GEE, Doesn’t that smell just like the University of Virgina!

Virginia’s highest court has ruled that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli cannot compel the University of Virginia to turn over records dealing with the work of a former university climate scientist, ending an extraordinary legal battle between Cuccinelli and his alma mater.
The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled Friday that the attorney general does not have the authority to issue a “civil investigative demand” to state agencies, including public universities, under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act….

the high court ruled today that the university is not “a person” under the act, and the term “corporation” as used in the statute does not include state agencies such as public universities.
If ever we needed examples that there are two sets of laws, one for “us” and one for the Regulating Class and that universities and the media belong to the Regulating Class we certainly have been getting a lot of evidence recently.

Steve (Paris)

Talk of the devil
Arctic climate ‘tech fixes’ urged
UK scientists say the threat of sudden methane release from the melting Arctic is a “planetary emergency” requiring urgent intervention.
It’s an emergency but they haven’t figured out the power source yet:
“In summer, seawater would be pumped up to the top using some kind of renewable energy, and out through the nozzles that are now being developed at Edinburgh University, which achieve incredibly fine droplet size.”
“…some kind of renewable energy…’ Nuclear? Like the ice breakers?

MangoChutney: This is a most awesome typo — “…unless you want a lot of carp in your email.” Good god! Carp in one’s e-mail is terrifying. Imagine the little bastards swimming around in your inbox. Intolerable! 🙂
Anyway, Richard Black is jerk. I know this because I know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows someone who knew someone that met Richard Black in real life, and that’s what they said. Jerk, they said. Pretty trustworthy fifth-hand info, I’d say. 😛


dpeaton says:
March 17, 2012 at 9:44 am
“Black’s photo makes him looking like he and Michael Mann were separated at birth.”
Neither one exists in reality. They are just two similar avatars of George Soros.


Ahh. The privilege of the liberal elite.

Michael T in Craster, UK

H’mmm – strange, eh?
I recently requested info from the BBC about our International Man of Mystery, in particular concerning his academic achievements and scientific experience (since he appears to be revered at the Beeb and is always turning up in exotic locations as a moderator or chairman, presumably paid, of ecoloon symposia). Below is the BBC reply and my reply to that….
“Thank you for replying to my email that requested information about the academic qualifications and scientific experience of Richard Black, environment correpondent.
Your reply is noted below:
****Dear Mr Taylor
Reference CAS-1325169-0DYXWY
Thank you for your contact.
I understand you’d like to know information on Richard Black.
Information on Richard can be found at:
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
Kind Regards
Joseph O’Brien
BBC Audience Services
NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.****
This does not at all answer my question, as you may be aware. Would you advise that I should make a FOIA request for the information, please?
Thank you for your kind attention
Michael Taylor”
I wonder if I should pursue the FOIA request (not yet done) in view of the treatment that the Beeb has meted out to Geoffrey?
It really is a scandal that a publicly (compulsorily) funded body can get away with this.
Thanks for ypour wonderfully educational blog Anthony – have a good rest


The utter hypocricy is astounding….. Anyway, a taxpayer funded media broadcaster is an obscenity in a modern democracy as far as I am concerned..

P. Solar

Why is it, every time I see this photo of Black, I have a double-take. I think it’s Mann.


As if on cue, Richard Black as a total wing nut article on BBC front page.
The wild claims as well as purported inane solutions to what is, in reality, a non-existent problem is simply staggering. A front page that would normally be expected to be seen on National Enquirer along side an article “Mum gives birth to Gorilla”.
Richard Black is a pathetic creature. I wish him no ill but the sooner he finds another outlet for his twisted depressed mind the better. Richard really needs to learn how to enjoy life and the wonders of our world. Poor guy.


Steve (Paris) says:
March 17, 2012 at 10:06 am
““…some kind of renewable energy…’ Nuclear? Like the ice breakers?”
Hey, the proposal is by Salter, so of course a few millions of these:
(Salter’s duck – yes, the same guy)


Mmmm i wonder if our ally (is it Graham Stringer M.P.) in Parliament might be able to find anything out.
What difference F.O.I requests made about Journalists makes is beyond me???Yet ANOTHER on the public’s pay list and supposedly unaccountable,where did it all go wrong with the BBC?

The BBC pay a football (soccer) commentator £2 million pa for 2 or 3 appearances a week. They also pay to have him chaffered in a Bentley from Surrey to Salford (~200 miles) and back for each show. They spent 100’s of millions to move the Salford studios from London, in order to save costs!!

Vince Causey

The BBC are not interested in transparency, except where they can obtain information about others. They are not interested in equity, except when it is other people who shoulder the burdent. They are not interested in reducing carbon footprints, except when it is other’s who are doing so.
The BBC is a lib-left elitist group who look down on the ordinary folk who pay their wages. The great unwashed, the hoi-poloi, the plebs. They are hypocrits extremis and should be allowed to die in the playing fields of the free market.

kbray in california

From Blacks’ article…
“An eminent UK engineer is suggesting building cloud-whitening towers in the Faroe Islands as a “technical fix” for warming across the Arctic.”
Hey you guys, why not just paint the clouds directly ? Put silver paint into jet fuel and Voilà !! Let the jets do it !! Painted clouds to reflect the sun. You buy the paint. Silver paint settling to the ground or floating on the ocean keeps on reflecting indefinitely.
And don’t forget this one about painting the rocks…
Try mirrors instead…?
Goofy ideas are a dime a dozen.
Just don’t use my dime.
In these odd ideas, common sense and practicality are greenblind.

Mick J

I recalled this post and googled it, the forum details do not include how it was sourced. The numbers suggest that BBC staff are a somewhat mobile bunch. Also mentioned, some difficulty in getting updates. 🙂
“BBC’s Carbon Footprint
« Thread Started on Aug 6, 2007, 7:55pm »
In the period Jan- Dec 2004 (The most recent for which data is available) BBC staff and other individuals on BBC business took a total of 51,570 flights with an aggregate mileage of 181,706,000 miles. Or 1000 flights a week.
This is equivalent to 36,543,000 kgs of carbon emissions.
I am trying to get this up to date -but there is resistance.”

I think we agreed this in Pune, or was it Bali, perhaps Abu Dhabi, though it might have been Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, I forget. Anyway repeat after me: ‘some animals are more equal than others’.


Cant see why there would be an exemption under FOI for asking how many flaights he took last year. The data should be readily available— he should just look back through his diary — simples
I can understand some off the reluctance with detailed personal contract details— but not the number of flights— the preach to everyone else to keep these down.
I would put in a formal appeal to the information Commisioner on the Flights issue— this was what the FOI was supposed to be for. Shows the BBC up as hypocrictical—- usual left tendancy

mike abbott

Steve (Paris) says:
March 17, 2012 at 10:06 am
Talk of the devil
Arctic climate ‘tech fixes’ urged
UK scientists say the threat of sudden methane release from the melting Arctic is a “planetary emergency” requiring urgent intervention.

According to a recent article posted on the U.S. Geological Survey web site, there is no emergency at all:
Gas Hydrates and Climate Warming:
Why a Methane Catastrophe is Unlikely


In the same way that men sweat but women glow, mortals are hypocrites but gods are capricious.
Perhaps it is time to occupy Mount Olympus.


For those who do not live on these islands.
“You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.
It costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for a black and white TV Licence.”
Points to note
Who has a black and white TV? Not many.
“if you watch or record TV ” Even if it’s not the BBC. As for computers, phones, etc, if they’re out to get you you, have to prove that you don’t watch or record TV.
The TV licence fee a tax in all but name.

Rhys Jaggar

His latest piece returns to the thesis that Arctic Septembers will be wholly ice free ‘within a few years’, which he backs up with a graph which I believe must be using rolling trends of a few years, as there is no way that 2011 had considerably less sea ice than 2007.
His latest focus is methane emissions and the need for geoengineering approaches, presumably pioneered by academics at Edinburgh University either holding funding for- or bidding for it currently.
There is no evidence presented as to the current contribution to arctic ocean warming of underwater volcanism, which has been reported as being significant activity currently. This is the obvious first point of call for rapid warming in arctic waters and I for one would like to see far more research data about that presented.
The theme of the article, as usual, is imminent catastrophe. There is no mention of the likely evolution of solar activity in the next 30 years, nor is there any evidence presented that multidecadal cyclicality of arctic sea ice is not entirely normal.
A review of his latest theses by suitably realistic scientists would be much appreciated.


The biggest word in the English language is “if”–and the Warmistas milk it with all the gusto they can muster. By failing to apply logic when discussing “if”, they make themselves look foolish while the rest of us pick up the tab ($). You’d think modern civilization would have generated enough logic by now to control “if” and eliminate abuse. But apparently Mann and other pseudo-scientists have found a way to make money and exploit the populace by replacing science with the smallest of words–“if”.

David Falkner

That’s funny. Heartland posts its annual tax return online. Took me 3 minutes to find it.
But they are opaque?
Here, by the by, is BBC’s financial report. I doubt they have the information you need in there, but you can always check.

Steve (Paris)

DirkH says:
March 17, 2012 at 10:23 am
“Salter’s duck”…
It gets more farcical by the minute. If it wasn’t costing so much I’d find it amusing.

Doug Proctor said (March 17, 2012 at 10:03 am)
“…The power to determine what is and what is not discussed. Hansen, Gore, Gleick – none will argue publicly because they will not be able to control what is said by the other side, and not be able to control what they have to answer…”
And I’ve noticed it whenever they post somewhere – they tend to prefer sites where the moderation agrees with their views. Every time their “message” is sent out of their “zone” the comments are HEAVILY negative to their tactics.
This has been a well-known idea in law circles – don’t ask a question unless you already know the right answer. You may not like the reply you get.
An addition to that would be “Never make a posting at a blog where you don’t control the moderation. You may not like the comments you receive.”

Robert of Ottawa

The British Broadcasting Communists are just the same as the Canadian Broadcasting Communist: FOI for you but FO for me!

Robert of Ottawa

The current focus by the Warmistas on Methane is due to the anti-Fracking hysteria – It’s Methane, by God! This will destroy the planet … nay, the whole fracking Universe!


The Nobel Committee is to blame
They gave CAGW it’s glitter and fame
Now wannabe heroes
who really are zero’s
Are putting the science to shame

Anything is possible

Richard Black and Michael Mann look as though they were separated at birth.
It would explain one heck of a lot if they turned out to be one and the same person. (:-

Silver Ralph

Jeremy says: March 17, 2012 at 10:22 am
As if on cue, Richard Black as a total wing nut article on BBC front page.
That graph of Arctic sea ice reductions, in this Richard Black article. Did not someone prove that this was merely a computer model, and not resl data (it certainly does not look like the sea ice data on the WUWT widget).
If so, is Richard Black using misleading data in his article??

John Blake

Mardler in re “the facial similarity between Black and Mann”: Good call, the resemblance virtually leaps out. Probably more than skin deep… mayhap the milkman made a transatlantic stop one day.


Michael T in Craster, UK says: “…I recently requested info from the BBC…concerning his academic achievements and scientific experience…”
I don’t know what you’re complaining about. If he doesn’t have any, that’s not their fault, is it?

Chuck L

Anything is possible says:
March 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm
Richard Black and Michael Mann look as though they were separated at birth.
It would explain one heck of a lot if they turned out to be one and the same person. (:-
Obviously Gavin Schmidt, Richard Black, and Michael Mann ARE the same person.


If you want to know all about the BBC’s attempts to ‘hide the truth’ just Google ‘Balen Report’. The BBC spent around £200,000 of licence payers money to prevent details of a report into biased reporting, by the BBC, from being released to the public.
The BBC is now known worldwide for the politically-based slant they place on articles of ‘key subjects’ – e.g. AGW, the EU, certain religions…., the Israel/Palestinian conflict – to name but a few.
From once being a beacon of accurate and impartial reporting the BBC are now an embarrassment to the British public.

Richard Black seems to be a bad un.

> That graph of Arctic sea ice reductions, in this Richard Black article. Did not someone prove that this was merely a computer model
It is PIOMAS, like it says it is.
We don’t have obs of sea ice volume (well, certainly not back that far).

John M

re: the schmidt/mann/black clone look-a-likes…
Just caught a Chevy Volt commercial during the NCAA tournament.
Sure enough, bald smug guy with a scraggly goatee touting his Chevy Volt.
Guess it’s de rigueur for earnest World-savers.

Anything is possible

OMG. Clones!!!!
We’re all doomed……..

“I don’t believe the AMEG folk:”
That’s odd William, you swallow everything else that has a warming theme, and by the way. Why is there an Arctic Methane Emergency Group? I think you know the answer. When it comes to AGW the funding never stops; AGW gets the gold and the taxpaying public gets the shaft.

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