The Secret 28 Who Made BBC 'Green' Will Not Be Named

The BBC pits six lawyers against one questioning blogger, Tony Newbery of Harmless Sky, who was making an FOI request for the 28 names. In the process, the judge demonstrates he has partisan views on climate change.

Via Dr. Benny Peiser at The GWPF

As expected, the BBC has won its legal battle against blogger Tony Newbery. Newbery wanted the list of “scientific experts” who attended a BBC seminar at which, according to the BBC Trust, they convinced the broadcaster to abandon impartiality and take a firmly warmist position when reporting climate change.

When the Beeb refused to divulge who these people were and who they worked for, Newbery took the corporation to an information tribunal. Now the names and affiliations of the 28 people who decided the Beeb climate stance – acknowledged by the Corporation to include various non-scientists such as NGO people, activists etc – will remain a secret.

The other lay judge, former Haringey councillor Narendra Makanji, appears to have strong views on climate-change skeptics, as he tweeted here this year: “Michael Hintze who dines at no 10 is backer of Global Warming Policy Foundation, climate change deniers fronted by Nigel Lawson.” We asked the Information Commissioner’s Office how a lay judge with such partisan views on climate change came to oversee hearings so closely coupled to the subject of climate. Campaigning lay judges would not normally be appointed to sit on such a case, a spokesman noted, and concerns would be legitimate grounds for appeal.

–Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 9 November 2012

Newbery writes about the affair:

Harmless Sky in court – a fair hearing?

Andrew Orlowski of The Register has written a very accurate and fair account of happenings at the Central London Civil Justice Centre last Monday. This was the first day’s hearing of my appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision that the BBC were correct to refuse a request for the names of the ‘best scientific experts’ who attended their seminar entitled ‘Climate Change the Challenge to Broadcasting’ in January 2006. This expert advice was cited on page 40 of the BBC Trust’s excellent report ‘From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century’ as the authority for a very important editorial decision.

I’ve written about this very strange seminar here and many other times at Harmless Sky.


Bishop Hill writes:

Tony Newbery has lost his FOI claim for the details of the attendees at the BBC’s climate change seminar. The decision was issued in an extraordinarily short period of ten days (it normally takes four weeks).

Andrew Montford has written a 26-page guide to the seminar saga, and the subsequent Freedom of information battle: you can buy it in ebook format here for ~75 cents.

Footnote: Given that the BBC is publicly funded, and has denied public disclosure of the information which by law should be public, this list of 28 won’t likely stay secret very long. In every organization, there’s usually a few people with a conscience. As we’ve seen in Climategate, it only takes one. – Anthony


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Dr Michael Bravo was there, he even listed it on seminars attended as SPEAKER, in his colleges annual report. So he didn’t think it a secret
Andrew Simms was there, whose views on deniers he has tweeted.

Bloke down the pub

It is so sad when institutions, once held in such high regard, fall by the wayside. Sorry to say, but the sooner the BBC is put out of it’s misery the better.


Not a surprise. The BBC has, for a long time, been horribly partisan most obviously on N Ireland, Sri Lanka and Syria as well as Climate. I have, for some time now, ceased to get my news from the BBC because I expect ALL news to be heavily slanted to fit with this PUBLIC broadcaster’s world-view.
I would prefer the truth (in as far as that is possible).


Goodness me. Here we have an organisation funded from public funds that has been accused of covering up internal claims of child abuse AND spending large amounts of money to maintain secrecy about its Climate Science investigates.
Surely this is unprecedented or is it just par for the course nowadays?


“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 says if you “watch or record” but in reality it’s more “own or have” just another tax.

peter Miller

e BBC lurches from crisis to crisis and this once highly respected institution is fast becoming the object of ridicule.
Their fawning adulation of paedophiles, such as Jimmy Saville, to the promotion of junk science, especially in regards to ‘climate change’ has demonstrated what a truly amateurish organisation it is, run by hugely overpaid bureaucrats concerned only with maintaining the status qui.
Their insistence on secrecy means it is probably a safe bet that the identification of these 28 individuals would expose the BBC to more ridicule and derision.

The BBC is in deep s–t at the moment after the disclosure of a name of a man accused of child molestation.This disclosure had no evidence on which to base it apart from the hearsay evidence from a victim. The victim later retracted his accusation because the named man was not the correct one! Tabloid justice at its worst. BBC is now grovelling so would be a good time to repeat this FOI request. Give it a try.

According to the Newburry/Montford – Andrew Simms was there, his views on ‘sceptics’ (ie deniers’) are clear. see his tweet here, when he welcomed the Carbon Brief to twitter:
How do we know whether they were Chatham House rules at the time (did the BBC just make this up, after the event?) I ask, because one of the speakers, felt perfectly able to put it down in a list of conferences seminars attended, in his departments annual report. (which shows at the VERY least, the BBC has no excuse to not publish names.
Michael Bravo
Lectures and Conferences
November 2005
Bravo, M.T. ‘Where is upstream? Science and its publics for International Polar Year (2007-2008)’, Science and Technology Studies Workshop, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
January 2006
Bravo, M.T. ‘The impact of climate change on northern peoples’, Climate Change – The Challenge to Broadcasting, BBC Bush House April 2006
Bravo, M.T. ‘Science’, British Association for Canadian Studies Annual Meeting, New Hall, Cambridge
May 2006
Bravo, M.T. ‘James Rennell and the cartography of shipwreck’, Shipwreck Conference, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
August 2006
Plenary panel, ‘Narratives of climate change’, with William Cronon, Diana Liverman, and Richard Hamblyn, IBG Conference, Royal Geographical Society
The above implies to me (ie a routine listing) it was just another routine CMEP style seminar, and the secrecy requirement after the event, is just an excuse, so that the BBC doesn’t get embarassed by this seminar..
more on CMEP (but I recommend the Montford/Newbery report)


The UN and club of rome is behind the hole propaganda plan!
its not the BBC that is the problem its the UN mandatate given to it self that is the problem. Broadcasters allready promised to cooperate directly to the UN and you are just focusing on a symptom not the reason behnd medias loyalty to the UN. The loy and corruption of independence and integrety is guaranteed through informal meetings. They ar not that stupid that they leave transcripts or written agreements behind. Its implemented by pressure and group pressure.


A dreadful episode.
I wonder how a Scottish court would have handled the case; or can’t the BBC be taken to court in Scotland?


Considering the trouble the BBC has put itself in with shoddy investigative standards on Saville and the false accusations Lord McAlpine this might be the proper moment for whistleblowes to step forward to crack this cartel of misinformation on global warming.

A biased judge has caused a major problem for the New Zealand Government relating to the Turitea wind farm The never forgetting internet has come to the aid of those protesting this corruption.


Go straight to the BBC’s Director General in an open letter and ask him,
If the BBC has nothing to hide, why are you not releasing this information?
Why should certain news lobbyists at the BBC be kept secret?
As other folk have pointed out, the BBC DG is under scrutiny and pressure at the moment.

Latimer Alder

It’s not been a good week for the Beeb.
Apart from their Pyrhhic victory over Tony Newberry, the row over the Newsnight programme is getting worse and worse. Legal proceedings are threatened and the new chief shows yet again that he has the cojones, savvy and attention span of a small female goldfish.

Gail Combs

Anthony Watts says:
November 10, 2012 at 4:10 am
@ Barry Woods
I think we can divine a probable list and publish it here. Start with Richard Black and work your way down the food chain.
The climategate e-mails would give good clues.

Richard Steward

I would be surprised if the list didn’t include a few Defra funded apologists for the UK Government’s coastal abandonment policy.


An excellent suggestion from Anthony.
For the amateur sleuths out there here is a good link to get some possible candidates into the frame for the ‘BBC28’


‘TwentyEightGate’ anyone?


“In every organization, there’s usually a few people with a conscience. As we’ve seen in Climategate, it only takes one. – Anthony”
At the BBC? Won’t hold my breath.

David, UK

AW: …this list of 28 won’t likely stay secret very long. In every organization, there’s usually a few people with a conscience.
I wouldn’t hold your breath. These 28 scientists, NGO reps and activists were probably selected on the basis that they were true to the cause and would give the BBC the excuse decision it sought.

Chris Wright

Soon I’ll be sending a cheque for £145 to pay for my TV licence, which finances the BBC. I think I’ll include a note to say how much I resent being forced to pay for a corrupt left-wing organisation that ignored child abuse for decades, that attempted a cover up over Jimmy Savile, that is now actively taking part in a witch hunt against innocent people and whose coverage of the EU and climate change is completely biased.


Dr Joe Smith, Harriban’s climate buddy must have been there…

jonny old boy

The BBC has been a laughing stock here in the UK for a few years now. Even the superb series “Wild China” included the warning that the Himalayan Glaciers were going to vanish within 30 years…. They long ago lost control of the tightness of their output and contantly produce dubious material. The coverage of the current sex abuse scandal is amateur to say the least. So called broadcasting “professionals” on six figure salaries paid by the public are on a slippery slope though because the ship it seems has completely lost its rudder…..hopefully one day soon it will loose its funding completely and have to compete in the real world.

Every UK “subject” is ordered to pay an annual fee for every TV. Directional signal vans prowl the streets looking for pirate signal receivers, CCTV cameras monitor every corner and auditors monitor every sale. Government extortion provides the self-bleeping Beeb lavish propaganda budgets and over paid, under trained, myoptic staff for this Britania Prada.

Steve from Rockwood

If you don’t like the BBC just read about their pension plan. From failed investments in the green economy to a sudden conservative switch to reduce liability (i.e. from stocks to bonds) they have a 2.6 billion pound shortfall (representing 22% of the fund). And now their bond yields are dropping (snicker).

Keith AB

It does look as though there are many, many people who hold similar views to the skeptics on the issue of climate change. The biased BBC website has this . . .
Which shows the whole thing to be political not scientific.


Psalm 28 of David – updated?
To you, BBC, I call;
    you are my Rock,
    do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
    I will be like those who go down to the pit.


Wonderful `though it would be to see the 28 names, the probability is that because they contain some royalty and other `top people` we shall never know. So much for the freedom of information. The `people` always end up being taken for a ride.


Public activities financed by public funds (taxes), shall/must in a democratic society NEVER engage in covert activities. This is only possible for special authorities, which shall establish law and order. NEVER EVER A MEDIA COMPANY! (A media company should in times of crisis convey important and accurate information to the public! If it isn’t possible to trust the company in peacetime because ex. endless propaganda, how can anyone trust them in times of crisis? The government has then lost important information flows! “The light is on, but no one is home … “)
Furthermore, a judge who is not acting objectively – misconduct. If the law works as supposed in the UK, then this judge has problems with his future career …
This is slightly similar to how it is in Sweden, where the (“advertising free“) national TV channels do “advertising” in order for people to pay the television license. As a reason, they say they produce “good“, “objective” and (political / religious) “independent” programs. With several climate threat fiction shows per month, all the arguments fails …

P Wilson

I find it very hard to take the BBC seriously. It is an entertainment organisation thesedays, that occasionally produced good dramas.


A starting point might be to do a search for academics who have themselves down as climate advisors for the BBC in 2006. Academics are an egoistical bunch (I should know) and love to beef up their CVs with such stuff, it doesn’t exactly tell you who was there but it gives you a starting point. For example-
Stephen Peake (University of Cambridge) for example has himself down as ‘Academic consultant for the 2006 OU-BBC climate change season.’
Dr Matt Prescott and Prof Robert Spicer are anothers who name themselves in their online CVs as climate advisors to the BBC in 2006.
Just a thought, besides why should all of this be so secret, what have they to hide?


Mmmmm my fading memory tells me that someone who did attend the secret meeting has reported openly on what was said. I am sure I have seen his words on the web more than once. I am sure that one of your readers, Anthony, will be able to help?


I have never known any other area to be associated with so much corruption as in relation to man-made global warming. Whether it’s governments, government agencies, academics, or the media including the BBC, the stench of corruption to preserve, at all costs, the IPCC’s mantra is putrid!


Tribunal judge David Marks QC supported the broadcaster, cut off several avenues of questioning from Newbery, and agreed with the BBC that it can be considered a “private organisation”, despite the fact that it is funded by a compulsory tax.
That fact alone, and never mind the blatantly biased judge, is grounds for an appeal and/or a judicial review.


Chris Wright
Don’t forget helping those “poorly” paid BBC employees to avoid tax!

Paul Westhaver

If the BBC won’t publish it scientific resources, then “GREEN” must be categorized as fiction.
Science does not operate in secret.


I think it may be safe to assume that the only honest program in the BBC repertoire these days is Top Gear.


The BBC and Penn State–two peas in a pod.


One of the bbc’s own journalis(tsteve hewlett)last night on it’s Newsnight programme stated a poll taken for the BBC showed that 76% of the people polled do not trust the BBC
As for a whistle blower at the BBC no way…big wage every month and a very big, fat ,pension..who’s going throw that away…..

Pamela Gray

So “they” are science experts but skeptics are not. Got it. Great Britain voters take note. Class division based only on belief once again rules your empire.

Another Gareth

Barry Woods,
Another attendee is D. Steve Widdicombe of Plymouth University, see page 13 here
“Steve Widdicombe attended a “Communicating Climate Change” workshop at the
BBC television centre (26 January 2006). The aim of the workshop was to provide
expert opinion to the BBC on subjects relating to climate change and how the BBC
could best fulfil its commitment to public communication and education.”


beesaman –
Spicer would quite likely have attended given the AMOUNT of “CC” work he suddenly does for BBC beginning in 2006:
Robert Andrew Spicer
Visiting Professor, State Key Laboratory, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing…
2007 Lead Academic Consultant on BBC1 “Climate Change – Britain Under Threat”, I hour Attenborough programme; contributor to accompanying websites; press interviews
2006 Academic Consultant on numerous programmes that comprised the “Climate Chaos” season across the BBC Network including its web presence. Programmes include “Meltdown” BBC4 (subsequently re-screened on BBC2), 1 hour, Paul Rose presenter; eight shorts related to climate change “Some Like it Hotter”, “Snow Patrol”, “Killer Lakes”, “Corking Sunshine”, “Glacial Retreat”, “Savage Heat”, “Northern Melt”, & “Shifting Shoals”; “Climate Controversies” BBC4, 1 hour, Ian Stewart Presenter; Academic Consultant and on-screen contributor to 2 hour-long programmes on climate change, Sir David Attenborough presenter; author of a climate change essay on BBC website; several radio, TV and press interviews in the UK, China and India

The BBC has apparently not heard of the Streisand/Mann Effect.

From the Register post: ‘Individuals wanted to share their views but didn’t want it widely known that they were there’
Do the 28 not have the courage to stand behind their convictions? I would have thought not even a coward would hide when the science is so settled. Indeed in the early hours of this morning I saw a program on Russia Today where Joe Romm claimed the concensus amoung scientists was ’98 or 99%’*
How can you not stand up and reveal yourself with that of proof? Unless…
If you are of the irrationally paranoid persuasion – each and every Freedom of Information Request is obviously an orchestrated denier campaign. Only a conspiracy theorist believing the moon is made of cheddar – not gorgonzola – would not be able to figure out FOIR=possible ‘Death Threat’! I based this on Trenbath’s logic that no warming is cause to believe the warnings of warming were not alarming enough and need a higher content of fudge in the climate mix.
In such circumstances clinging to your connvictions and sanity by the tips of your chewed off fingernails is not an unreasonable position to be in. Indeed it is possible you do not fear Climate Chaos enough. Only Climate Heathens would not be throwing themselves from the climate altars to appease the Co2 offended climate gods. Only those Mann who proclaim the faith from the highest hills (safe from rising tides of people subjected to bigger and bugger waves of carbon taxes) will not need to throw themselves undr the wheels of the climate waggon as an act of faith to the indisputability of climate science.
So it shall be written because we will burn anything and possibly anyone that says otherwise.
* Apparently the remaining 1-2% of ‘deniers’ were fossil fuel funded fundamentalist foundations according to a satellite linked believer not in the studio. I believe this is the reason why ALL THREE panelists were true believers talking to an already affirmed host. I was so alarmed by what I heard in three minutes I turned off to reduce further extreme levels of emissions coming from my tv. I slept soundly knowing I had done my bit for Mighty Gaia
“In tonight’s ‘Bigger Picture’ discussion Thom talks with a panel of experts about climate change and the Right’s refusal to believe in science.”

Jimmy Haigh

The BBC are batting on a very sticky wicket at the moment so I agree with those above who suggest going at them with an FOI request again immediately.

J Martin

I have instructed the Television Licensing Authority (BBC) to cancel my direct debit. I will be taking my television down the tip and will not be replacing it.


interesting that Joe Smith was also involved with Attenborough/BBC in 2006; from what i’ve read, these Real World Brainstorms were more about prepping program makers, including comedy programs, than about science. Peake’s attendance definitely likely too.
Open University: Climate Change – From science to sustainability
Second Edition
Stephen Peake and Joe Smith
Stephen Peake is senior lecturer in environmental technology at The Open University. Over the last 19 years, Stephen has worked on climate change in various interesting guises: as a researcher at the University of Cambridge, as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London (including a stint at the Shell International Petroleum Company), as a Fonctionnaire at the International Energy Agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, and as a diplomat with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany…
***He (Joe Smith) led the team of academic consultants on David Attenborough’s BBC ONE programmes for the 2006 climate change season…
International Broadcasting Trust: (The Real World Brainstorms, a series of events organised jointly with BBC Television, have continued to receive high level support from the BBC. This innovative project, launched in 2004, brings together television executives and developing world experts to debate tv coverage of the developing world and work together to brainstorm ideas for future programming.)
Interestingly, we also had representatives from drama, comedy, features and factual entertainment. For the first time, several independent producers were also present.
A one day event was held in London on January 26 2006, focusing on climate change and
its impact on development. The brainstorm brought together 28 BBC executives and
independent producers…

The reason institutions like the BBC are semi arms length from government is quite simple. They are not publicly accountable and the government’s influence which is mighty is largely unseen. As long as you (read party in power) controls the appointments then it is dogma and ideology not rational thought that runs the show.