By Paul Homewood
Hardly a week goes by without yet another glaring example of BBC bias, misinformation or just outright lies on climate issues.
Arguably the roots of this lay in a notorious seminar organised by the BBC in 2006. Some of us may remember this, others may not have been aware of it. Either way, it’s worth re-telling the story.
The high level seminar was held on 26th January 2006 for the purpose of deciding how the BBC should cover reporting and discussion of climate change in the future. According to a BBC Trust report (P40) on impartiality the following year:
“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus”
Ever since this policy has continued to be followed, with the virtual exclusion of anybody not signed up the BBC’s idea of a consensus, no matter how highly qualified they might be.
However, some began to be a little bit suspicious about who these “best scientific experts were”. After all, science should never be about consensus, and proper scientists should always welcome debate.
It was a blogger named Tony Newberry who decided to file a FOI asking for the list of names of those who attended. Little did he know that he would end up in court in 2012, still trying to force the BBC to release the information. With the help of a team of lawyers, the BBC won the case.
But it was a hollow victory, because just days later another blogger, Mauricio Morabito, used his initiative and found the list of attendees anyway with the help of the Wayback Machine.
This is the list he published at the time:
January 26th 2006,
BBC Television Centre, London
Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia
Jana Bennett, Director of Television
Sacha Baveystock, Executive Producer, Science
Helen Boaden, Director of News
Andrew Lane, Manager, Weather, TV News
Anne Gilchrist, Executive Editor Indies & Events, CBBC
Dominic Vallely, Executive Editor, Entertainment
Eleanor Moran, Development Executive, Drama Commissioning
Elizabeth McKay, Project Executive, Education
Emma Swain, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual
Fergal Keane, (Chair), Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Fran Unsworth, Head of Newsgathering
George Entwistle, Head of TV Current Affairs
Glenwyn Benson, Controller, Factual TV
John Lynch, Creative Director, Specialist Factual
Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy
Jon Williams, TV Editor Newsgathering
Karen O’Connor, Editor, This World, Current Affairs
Catriona McKenzie, Tightrope Pictures firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Molyneux, Editorial Executive, Factual Commissioning
Matt Morris, Head of News, Radio Five Live
Neil Nightingale, Head of Natural History Unit
Paul Brannan, Deputy Head of News Interactive
Peter Horrocks, Head of Television News
Peter Rippon, Duty Editor, World at One/PM/The World this Weekend
Phil Harding, Director, English Networks & Nations
Steve Mitchell, Head Of Radio News
Sue Inglish, Head Of Political Programmes
Frances Weil, Editor of News Special Events
The army of BBC bosses who attended tells us just how significant the seminar was to them. It clearly was not just a talking shop, but a major milestone in their editorial policy.
But more important was the list of “best scientific experts”.
It included two Greenpeace campaigners, several other environmentalist activists, representatives of business, charities, the Church of England, BP and Npower Renewables, economists, media people and politicians.
As for climate scientists they were very thin on the ground.
There clearly could have been very little, if any, debate on the actual science.
The very real suspicion is that the event was deliberately designed from the very outset to come up with the result that it did– ie that “the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus”