BBC's Roger Harrabin @RHarrabin beclowns himself with a major FAIL on TV


From the Global Warming Policy Foundation

London, 24 January: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has lodged a new complaint to the BBC about its misleading reporting on global warming.

The BBC’s News at Ten programme on the 18th of January 2018 contained two factual errors in its report of the global temperature of 2017.

The errors were in the cue to the report by Roger Harrabin, and in the report itself.

The newsreader, Huw Edwards, said that 2017 was “the hottest year on record,” insinuating that global temperatures have continued to rise last year.

This is untrue. In reality, global temperatures have declined in the last 12 months. According to the Met Office, 2017 was the third warmest year on record.

In his report Roger Harrabin said, “2017 had no heating from El Niño.”

This is also untrue.

El Niño warming was evident during eleven weeks in the spring and summer of 2017, pushing global temperatures up accordingly.

2017 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies in the El Niño 3.4 region reaching and surpassing the 0.5°C threshold; Source: NOAA

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) there were El Niño “conditions” for nearly three months in 2017, but they did not lead to an El Niño “event.” A formal El Niño event was not declared because the El Niño heating did not continue for five consecutive three-month periods.

It is therefore untrue to say that “2017 had no heating from El Niño.”

“These are two factual errors that should be acknowledged with an on-air apology and a correction on the BBC’s Corrections and Clarifications page,” GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser said.

GWPF letter to the BBC (PDF)

As reported previously, NASA GISS says 2017 was the second warmest year and NOAA says it was the third warmest year.

109 thoughts on “BBC's Roger Harrabin @RHarrabin beclowns himself with a major FAIL on TV

      • BBC FAKE NEWS. again.
        It doubly untrue since it is well known that global mean lags about 5mth behind any Nino effects in the Pacific Nino34 region. The El Nino effects are still there in the global record even when there are no longer El Nino conditions in the Pacific.

      • The BBC didn’t get it wrong, this was intentional, they knew exactly what they were doing.
        This Harrabin fellow is simply telling his audience to keep the faith. He’s telling them that the world is still warming up, humans are the cause and the Mother Gaia god is gong to punish us any day now.
        He’s also trolling the climate skeptics, hoping to make their heads explode. And from what I can see he was successful.
        Just sayin’

  1. The BBC will claim this was an ‘opinion piece’ by Harrabin and leave it at that. No apology, no correction. Standard practise.

    • Presenters on the BBC are given carte blanche to say anything they like as long as – in the view of the BBC – it would not mislead the average listener. That, in effect, is what I was told by the BBC Complaints Unit.

      • Sadly, Alba, you are probably right although GWPF should point out that his comments were made in a news programme and the BBC are tasked to separate news from comment.
        For anyone who follows global warming science Harrabin is a face-reddening embarrassment to journalism but, of course, one of the BBC’s lefty golden boys. Listening to his abysmal reports you would think that there is no dissent to the global warming mantra, that everyone agrees that CO2 is an evil that needs to be eradicated and that renewable energy is the answer to everything. This disgraceful episode reported by Anthony is just another in a long line of misleading and unbalanced packages from Harrabin and the BBC.

    • There’s always newswatch, but personally I’ve given up complaining. Add to that the regular sceptical science trolls in the comment section and they’ve essentially turned it into a propaganda arm for the worst of the alarmist brigade.

  2. What is surprising is that believing anything the BBC says on climate is still the default option, and they never miss a chance for biassed reporting and climate change is always a fy uture problem for whatever environment they are in with no evidence offered of cause and effect. “This can only get worse as climate change occurs”? Up? Down? What Sort? When? Natural or otherwise? Climate change has always occured, etc. NOTHING is changing significan amounts in human lifetimes.

    • The problem is that the BBC is still revered by too many as the same institution that Lord Reith founded as opposed to the left-wing propaganda outlet it has become in the last few decades. During the years of the Cold War, the oppressed behind the Iron Curtain would risk punishment to listen to news from the BBC as they knew it was more trustworthy than their own sources. Strange how it is now reversed. The BBC as in much of the west, the creeping cancer of the left has taken over. We have in the UK the supposed party of the right, the Conservatives, now behaving as a centre-left bunch barely different from Labour under Blair.

      • Telling inconvenient truths to the people has never been the policy of our establishment. But they were always covered up before. Any new issue is examined to determine whether it can be exploited by law to profit the rich and powerful in the cash flow that results, at public expense. This includes providing the media with an agenda to follow. Rhetoric is then created to justify the racket. Any relation to technical reality is purely accidental. Opposing it with facts is labelled anti social heresy. This legalised crime model of government prevails across the “developed” world, the alternative reality of modern so called democracy, legalise the crime and keep it non violent. Except in Hispanic countries 😉

  3. Under a Freedom of Information request a few years ago I found ( after battling for a year to get the information out of them) the BBC upheld only 0.014% of 1.2 million complaints over the 5 year period. OFCOM, now the final arbiter of complaints, very much tows the BBC line. The document is available to any who are interested. Don’t hold your breath …

    • What people should note as a step forward is that, kicking and screaming of course, the BBC has been forced to provide more information on programmes that get complaints. If 100 complaints are received then they must report this and also report the result of their investigation. A small step to making them more open if we can only get enough complaints sent in.

  4. This could have been good for a laugh until one realizes that a lot of greens believe the falsehoods the spotlighted moron spews. I don’t call it GLOBULL WARMING for nothing. Globull warming is in fact a TRUE statement!

  5. When I use my own data set and ignore others, I can claim what ever I darn well please.
    Therefore, 2017 was a record year for everything!

  6. It was only last month that BBC presenter Kate Humble, in episode 2 of her show, ‘Off the Beaten Track’, warned that the draining of Wale’s central wetlands would result in the release of ‘toxic carbon dioxide’ into the atmosphere.
    Did she mean’ toxic’, or ‘essential’? Either way, does she write her own rubbish or just read from a script?

    • ‘Toxic carbon dioxide’ ??? Lord, these talking heads have no concept of absurdity
      Let’s see, CO2 is 400ppm in the air, about 40,000 ppm in exhaled breath, and absolutely vital to all life on the planet.
      Hard to square that with “toxic”

    • “toxic” is a wonderful word, that you can apply to anything, including air and water.
      And, of course, to Kate Humble babbling. She is certainly more toxic than CO2, though.

  7. The Beeb continually propagandise the subject of GlobalWarming on TV & Radio that the General Public have no chance of knowing otherwise; as a scientist I find this very sad.

  8. Horrorbin has lots of “previous”. Both he and the BBC are incapable of telling the truth when it comes to “climate change”.

    • “Horrorbin has lots of “previous”.”
      In America the phrase would be, “Horrorbin has lots of “priors”.”—where “priors” is cop-talk for “prior convictions.”

  9. “It is therefore untrue to say that “2017 had no heating from El Niño.””
    According to the graph shown, there was more time of La Niña conditions than El Niño in 2017. So it would be true that 2017 had no net heating from El Niño.

    • That the stupid averaging argument, yet again. With my feet in the freezer and my head in the oven, on average I am comfortably warm. Do you never have anything sensible to say?

    • Just because it wasn’t an official El Niño year doesn’t mean that temperatures didn’t cross the El Niño thershold. AND temperatures which cross the El Niño threshold certainly have a warming effect.
      Since temperatures did cross the official El Niño thershold in Spring and Summer, El Niño DID have an affect on the 2017 temperatures.

      • Don’t worry. 2018 will more than make up for it. It is cooling everywhere.
        From Ulaanbaatar where the wind chill this morning (feels like…) is -52 C.

      • “The newsreader, Huw Edwards, said that 2017 was “the hottest year on record,” insinuating that global temperatures have continued to rise last year.”
        Not if this is true (and I haven’t verified)

      • “Not if this is true”
        The newsreader said it, but it isn’t true. Harrabin, in the remainder of the sentence about El Nino not warming the average, said that 2017 was one of the top three, which is true. I can’t see the relevance here though.

      • “When your argument is hottest except for all the cooling you’re already failing.”
        The argument is that it was the 3rd warmest year …. and this despite a net cooling contributed by a predominantly La Nina (like) year in the Equatorial Pac.
        Full stop.
        So you wouldn’t claim the opposite (if true)?
        That it was the coolest despit all the warming?
        Yeah. Right.
        And yes, your argument is failing ….. except of course on here.
        This place is not representative cross-section of the science and it’s review of it.

      • ” it was the 3rd warmest year”
        Which is of course total load of BS, because you are talking about a TINY, IRRELEVANT period of time.
        Nothing apart from the satellite data , 39 years, is worth even bothering about.
        Before that there was some HIGHLY BENEFICIAL warming out of the COLDEST period in 10,000 year
        And for the 7000-8000 year before that it was WARMER than now.
        The AGW FARCE is a TOTAL FAILURE when put against any real historic reality.

      • Nick, you are being DISINGENUOUS as always,
        You know just enough to KNOW that 2017 contained a significant El Nino effect
        So you are being DELIBERATELY untruthful.
        The ONLY way you can support your manic AGW fanaticism is by LYING and MIS-INFORMATION.

    • IT takes several months for el nino/la nina events to go from ocean temps to air temps. The La Nina events were late in the year.

    • So where does the graph lead the BBC to the statement “The world’s leading climate agencies have said for the first time that global warming caused by humans now dwarfs natural temperature changes”?

    • So Nick, if you put on 20 lbs after Christmas last year and then settled out and finally lost a few just before this Christmas, you’d be correct to say that there was no period of weight gain in 2017?

    • Nick, gawd, really?
      “…no net heating from El Niño”
      The quote is: “It is therefore untrue to say that “2017 had no heating from El Niño.”
      By your own admission, it had some. “no heating” and “no net heating” have entirely different meanings.
      This is why I often think you are a paid troll. Your comment is simply spin. This is almost as stupid as your defense of “death threats” that never occurred.

      • I always thought “silly” worked better than “stupid”, one confers a bad thought process while the other a total lack of intellect.

      • fine… if it wasn’t for the El Nino…temps would have been a lot lower….I do agree with Nick on that one

      • So, the 3-month ENSO conditions occurred during the northern hemisphere early summer and the impact would lag well into fall. Seems like the possible impact should be acknowledged and its impacts would be lagging into the fall months

  10. Horrorbin is WWF/Greenpeace man at the BBC , he used to be Blacks boss and you remember how ‘unbiased ‘ he was and that is before we get the infamous ’28 meeting ‘ In short if you are looking on AGW for truth the you are looking in the wrong place .

    • It’s the law! I don’t have a TV or watch live TV or iPlayer so I don’t support them (or Channel 4 and La Newman).

    • Why pay these clowns? Because if you do not you are liable to a fine of £1000 + legal fees , and if you continue to refuse you will, as dozens have, go to prison (in England , less likely in Scotland).

      • Precisely, Cathy Newman’s (CH4 is state funded too) wages are paid from money extorted from people on pain of imprisonment. Those in prison for non-payment are disproportionately poor single mothers whose poverty, fear and ignorance leads them to confess to the sin of watching without a licence which is otherwise undetectable despite the mocked-up ‘detector vans’. There has never been a conviction based on a ‘detector van’. Rant over, apologies, see diclaimer above, I don’t need a TV licence since I don’t watch live TV or iPlayer.Test Match Special and The Shipping Forecast, both on radio, only for me!

      • @mikewaite: I’m currently in the late stage of harassment for not having a TV licence, so I can give all you non-Brits a flavour of 21st-century life in our “free country” (snort …) verbatim. Note that, like Nigel S, “I don’t waste my time watching TV – I have much more interesting ways of wasting my time”. “They” have been informed of this numerous times over the last few decades. I do listen to some radio, and download radio programmes (only) from the BBC.
        Interestingly, this time around the letters are addressed to me by name, rather than to “The Legal Occupier” as they used to be, despite the fact that, as a long term non-TV user, there is no reason for my name to be on their database at all.
        “Dear Mr C,
        As you have not responded to our letters yet, you have left us no alternative but to proceed with the final stages of our investigation.
        An Officer has been scheduled to visit (address) to find out if TV is being watched, recorded or downloaded illegally. The Officer may visit your property any day of the week, morning or evening.
        The information below explains the procedure. You may refer to it during a visit from the Officer.
        Yours sincerely”
        The “information below” reads:
        What you need to know about the enforcement process.
        – We can apply to court for a search warrant to gain access to your property.
        – An Officer may interview you under caution in accordance with national criminal law.
        – Anything you say to the Officer may be used as evidence in court.
        – You risk a fine of up to £1,000 plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.
        – If your property needs a TV licence, you will still need to buy one.”
        Curiously, I have never received demands for proof that I don’t, say, pilot aircraft, or take ships to sea, or anything else I don’t do and don’t have a licence for, but the TV licence people can get court warrants, use anything I say as evidence, blah blah. “Innocent until proved guilty?” Ha!

      • Steve C: Ignore all that BS, if you’re not watching live TV they can’t get a warrant without lying. Write to deny them the right of access to your property, if they turn up anyway say nothing (or at least the absolute minimum) and deny them access. I got rid of them with this letter (extracts below) written over ten years ago.
        ‘Your company appears to operate on the principle that failure to have a television licence whatever the circumstances is a criminal offence. However you have no legal or moral right to operate your business in a way that harasses me. If you continue this harassment I shall report it to the Police.
        Your employees or agents must not call at my address. This letter is a legal warning that any visits will constitute trespass and harassment. Any assumed right of access to my front door is denied to your employees and agents.
        Your employees or agents will not be admitted without a warrant. You will not be able to obtain a warrant unless you provide false information. I am sure that you are aware that the penalties for obtaining a warrant based on false information are severe.’
        Courage! (See this site’s Maxim)

  11. I (finally) got to watch the film ‘Patton’ yesterday afternoon.
    Even in a 1970 film, it had mention of climate where at some point (in a North African desert unsurprisingly), one character comments to another:

    I’m always amazed how cold it gets in the desert

    How can that be, we’ve been told since age 4 and greater that deserts are Hot Places.
    So, is not an ocean (Pacific by example) not = A Desert. The landscape is pretty flat and nothing much grows there.
    Then along comes ENSO to freshen things up.
    To start, lets go with a non El Nino. ENSO neutral, is that right?
    East to West winds are piling up warm water up against Australia, pretty much
    This, as Bob T constantly drilled into us, creates a fairly deep well of warm water in the Western side of the ocean. (Beside Aus)
    But, like pushing rocks up an ever steeper gradient, the thing collapses. The big pile of warm (some may say hot) water effectively ‘does an Oroville’ and flows backwards across the ocean towards the Americas and in doing so, spreads itself out a fair bit. (Warm water will float over colder stuff)
    El Nino as I understand it.
    Now then, climate scientists will see a (much) larger area of warmer than normal water and this will go into their temperature calculations and create a warmer globe.
    During the El Nino event proper, a large volume of water with a small surface area (while piled up near Australia) becomes the same volume of water with a much larger surface area than it had previously (When it comes up against The America(s))
    Both volumes containing the same amount of energy but because the ocean can only lose heat from its surface, does that not actually mean El Nino is ‘properly’ a cooling event. Earth is losing energy that was previously stored in the ocean (the deep well in the Western Pacific)
    Yes the temperature goes up, but it is a net energy loss. Thermodynamically= cooling
    Hence where I came in and Patton in the desert – deserts may have high temperatures but they have low amounts of stored energy and hence are actually cold places.
    So in actual fact.these people bleating about rising temperatures is actually a VERY scary thing as it represents an overall loss of energy from the ‘Earth System’
    Just like the water pile in an El Nino, the thing will collapse. Into cold.
    BTW. My little survey of Wunderground PWSs covering what is effectively Central England tell me that 2017 was 8th out of 18 on the scale of warmest to coolest
    2017 averaged 10.72
    2006 was warmest at 11.56
    2010 was coolest at 9.09

  12. At some point you have to call it a form of harassment when these reporters take advantage of people with the assumption that the audience is not well informed. They don’t even punish the child molesters at BBC anyway.

  13. A couple of years ago, during an exceptionally mild UK winter, Harrabin referred on his FB page to the remarkably verdant and unseasonal growth of the roses in his garden as evidence of the unprecedented march of global warming assailing the planet. When an ‘off message’ contributor did a ‘drive by’ and politely posted a little excerpt from Samuel Pepys’ Diary to demonstrate how unprecedented Harrabin’s garden growth wasn’t in the annals of UK winter climate history, the heretic mysteriously found themselves unable to make any further blasphemous posts to his page. They don’t like it up ’em do they? Oh, and one of the quotes from the Pepys diary, written some 350 years earlier, that Harrabin seemed to find so unsettling was:
    “It is strange what weather we have had all this winter; no cold at all but the ways are dusty and the flyes fly up and down and the rose bushes are full of leaves; such a time of the year as never was known in this world before.”
    Samuel Pepys’ Diary, 21st January 1661
    And this ‘never known’ mild winter occurred just 2 years after, arguably, the coldest winter ever recorded in England at the absolute nadir of the Little Ice Age. If Mann and Gore had been around then, inevitably, such huge swings in temperature would have been claimed as clear evidence of an anthropogenic climate crisis, no doubt caused by all those huge forests successive monarchs cut down to build the Royal Navy. But, perhaps not, I forgot that Mann got rid of the Little Ice Age didn’t he?

  14. Yep, but what Harrabin actually said was even worse than reported or complained about; he said “CO2 emissions are dwarfing natural trends”.
    Complaining to the BBC about false ‘climate change’ reporting? Well good luck with that!

  15. To be fair, the NASA press release was written to be misunderstood or misrepresented. People have been so conditioned to read yet another news article spouting “XXXX was the hottest year ever” that they are bound to skip over the (not including El Nino) caveat. It’s like when the announcer sells the product in a booming voice then in hurried and whispered tones goes over all the legally-required boilerplate.

  16. From the perspective of Harrabin and the BBC, it is not so much a failure of logic, but more a case of the precautionary principle at work. When you’re saving the planet, sometimes you have to pretend that wrong is actually the new right. To avoid political connotations perhaps the BBC might find it easier to merely describe wrong as simply “alt-correct”.

  17. Until circa 2008, I’d simply accepted all the media reports that every year was always hotter and would get worse. Then while watching BBC World Service, there was Roger, quoting the WMO as saying there had been no rise in world temperatures since 1999. This was a revelation. And then I saw his story was taken down from the BBC website (not before I had saved it); then it went up again, but leaving out the no-warming parts. And then I saw that Greenpeace and friends had gone to the BBC in outrage at the story. Roger was off air for two weeks, and has never erred since.

  18. A bit off topic but I woke up today in Melbourne Australia, put on the TV and the Weather report is as follows:
    Paraphrase “…the Heatwave continues (day 6) for South Eastern Australia..”.
    Facts – Brisbane 31C, Sydney 27C, Canberra 33C, Melbourne 27C, Hobart 27C, Adelaide 35C. These are not heatwave temperatures as I have always understood them and as they have been reported in the past. I always was told 5 days over 39C was a heatwave.
    But they are clever and now cherry pick inland sites to create the impression
    “…..another scorcher for Sydney…” yes at Penrith (an outer suburb) 37C.
    This is why the battle is far from over because the heatwave headline is the banner but the discussion is buried in the minutiae.
    Bye the way it is Summer here!!!!

  19. I thought I had better check on what a heatwave was in the modern idiom.
    The BoM “…..A heatwave is now defined by three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area…” and what is more there are now three categories – Standard, Severe and Extreme.
    Here I was wondering where our taxes went.
    Three hot days in a row – really? On this definition we have had a heatwave almost every year I can remember over two Climate periods.
    From my point of view this is just another way of keeping the fear factor up.

  20. Brings to mind the old adage that a lie goes halfway around the world while the truth is getting its shoes on. These people know that they are lying and don’t care as the public never hear about these corrections and absorb the lie as fact.

  21. I was watching the BBC when this item first came out. The lady (not Harrabin) said, “2017 was the warmest non-El Niño year on record.”
    To me that meant she was saying 2017 was the second warmest year, possibly the third warmest behind 1997 but she made no elaboration. It seems Harrabin simply dropped the qualifier. Judging by the BBC’s own content, his statement warrants correction.

  22. yawn. can someone tell me a time in the past 2 billion years when climate didn’t change?!!!
    news flash!! taxes will increase!! climate will change! sun will come up in morning.
    the headlines we never see: government to slash taxes 75% for the average person. winter cancelled by global warming. co2 prevents ice age.

  23. Roger Harrabin is a travesty of a journalist. Even I complained to the BBC about him once. Last year saw him interview California’s Jerry Brown. It was the most obsequious interview ever. Harrabin did not ask him a single difficult question. Nothing about the millions of dollars taken by Californian Democrats from natural gas and fracking interests to enact legislation for them. Harrabin portrayed Brown as some kind of Knight in Green Armour, slaying the Black dragons of fossil fuel. Nothing about California’s high electricity prices, large imports of electricity from other states, mismanagement of woods and forests which encouraged forest fires, …

  24. I believe that NOAA:s El Niño definition is that its index has to be above 0,5 C for three months in a row and that was not the case in 2017. You used NOAA:data so I guess their definition will do.

  25. Typical propaganda move. Make a false headline claim/lie ….. drop the bomb so to speak….. and your job is done.

  26. It’s time for the BBC to start self-funding rather than taxing the TV owners. Once upon a time the BBC was reasonable sound! But today it’s a political mouth piece.

  27. I recommend to accept this simple fac that the year 2017 was not an EL Nino year according to its common specification. Here is an evidence:
    This was not an usual ENSO event, because there was no La NIna. This has happened twice before: 57-58 and 91-92. I believe that the next 2-3 years are very important, because the Sun activity is going downwards and also the 60 years Astronomical Harmonic Resonance peak starts to weaken. Skeptics will not win this battle by dynying facts like AGW fans. Keep the head cool. The cooling will come in time.
    Dr. Antero Ollila

  28. \\The newsreader, Huw Edwards, said that 2017 was “the hottest year on record,” //
    Yep I was with my aged parents, when that came on
    ..we absorbed their wacky message and quickly changed channel.
    But how many unenlightened were brainwashed.

  29. The BBC is now promoting the latest environmental “Armageddon” scare story from the likes of Greenpeace – plastic. It started with Blue Planet II and it is now pursuing an activist stance against plastic, primarily this morning in the form of discarded plastic water bottles. It has been pursuing this story for several weeks now, in both national and local programming and news. It has covered plastic bottles in the sea and this morning in the River Avon near Bristol.
    The language is clearly lifted from environmental propaganda and is intended to be worrying and inflammatory. In the talk of plastic bottles they are described as “pollution” and they want them banned. This is a classic corruption of the English language to create an alarmist narrative (those opposing smacking children re-label it as “hitting” children; or describing abuse victims as “survivors”). The use of “pollution” is a similar environmental activist tactic as the use of the word “chemical” to describe things. The latter term is used deliberately because it has negative connotations to many people. Basically it is propaganda.
    In my (slightly) old fashioned view of English, a pollutant is something disseminated in water or air and is poisonous. So pollutants such as detergents in a river can kill fish for example.
    What the Environmental organisations and the BBC are calling “pollution” is in fact good old-fashioned Litter:
    Rubbish such as paper, cans, and bottles left lying in an open or public place. So the call should be to clean it up and dispose of it properly, not necessarily to ban it. Unless of course you have an underlying agenda. And that’s why you corrupt the English language to make things more scary and you get your real objective implemented – banning plastics. Surely not a coincidence that they come from evil fossil fuels?
    The question one should ask of the BBC is are they complicit in this, or just idiots? Neither possibility is edifying or attractive.

    • sorry mods forgot the italic closing / after the word poisonous! Appreciate if you could edit…

  30. Read the propaganda bureau book, based on mr harrabin.
    Give you all you need to know about the man and his myths.
    No doughy the retraction will be at 3am on the bbc.

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