back to article SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!

A list of attendees at a climate-change seminar the BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to keep secret has been unearthed on an internet archive. The listed names emerged after the publicly-funded broadcaster fought off requests for the list under freedom of information (FOI) laws. This surreal story is only …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    i wonder

    If there was a second, unpublished meeting, perhaps afterwards in the back room at the local tavern?

    1. Luther Blissett

      Re: i wonder

      Given the attendee list, the supposition is not plausible. But let's entertain it anyway -- so would the back room meeting have been for those people on-message or for those off-message?

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        Re: i wonder

        It was the other kind of "back room" meeting I think - you know what that lot are like!

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: i wonder

          No. That would be "back-door" meeting !

      2. JeremyP99

        Re: i wonder

        "off message"? Believe me, no-one invited to that meeting would have been off-message. An nobody at the BBC is off message. CAGW is the in-house religion

        1. Fibbles

          Re: i wonder

          Whether you believe in anthropogenic climate change or not, the BBC's insistence on shoving it in our faces at every possible opportunity really is tiresome. I've been enjoying Andrew Marr's History Of The World, it's not too fact heavy which makes it ideal for putting on in the background as I work. Each episode dealt with an 'age' of history in a narrative manner, this week he'd finally caught up to the modern age. The episode covered the usual stuff; womens' emancipation, Hitler's rise to power, Gandhi's movement for a free India, etc. The last twenty minutes though were just Andrew Marr waffling on about climate change and how we'd all have to get used to living very poor lives or embark on a massive population cull. I really don't understand why the BBC felt the need to shoehorn this into a history programme.

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: i wonder

            20 minutes you say? I just went and checked the episode on iPlayer and I kid you not he literally says the word climate only once and the moment passes in just 5 seconds.

            I guess climate skeptics are so obsessed with silencing the subject of climate change that any brief mention of it is to them is propaganda that ruins a programme. Similar to how creationists can't bear those brief indirect mentions of evolution in nature documentaries.

            1. Fibbles

              Re: i wonder

              Thanks for assuming you know my beliefs regarding climate change based on no evidence whatsoever (we're all aware of your position though since you never shut up about it).

              I may have exaggerated a bit because I didn't have access to the programme when I made the post. I've just gone and checked and he waffles about climate from the 52 minute mark until the end of the programme (that's nearly 1/6th of the total run time). He may not say the word 'climate' every 2 seconds but that doesn't mean it's not what he's talking about. It's called subtext, you may want to look it up.

              1. NomNomNom

                Re: i wonder

                "I may have exaggerated a bit because I didn't have access to the programme when I made the post."

                You didn't just exaggerate. You fabricated and your excuses don't wash. Problem for you is the episode is available on iPlayer. It doesn't remotely support your initial claim. Maybe you thought you could get away with it. You can't.

                Now you talk about "subtext". BS he was talking about resource usage and challenges ahead, inc rainforest and overpopulation. All that part with the tribe in the rainforest, you including that? How's that relevant to climate change? He mentioned climate in 5 seconds.

                1. Fibbles

                  Re: i wonder

                  "All that part with the tribe in the rainforest, you including that?"

                  You mean all 2 minutes of it? He uses that as an emotional set up so that you're in the "modern man is evil and destructive whilst hunter gatherer tribes are twee and in tune with nature" frame of mind (as if life were as simple as a Disney cartoon). He does that so he can then move on to;

                  "BS he was talking about resource usage and challenges ahead, inc rainforest and overpopulation."

                  And does he talk about viable solutions? Cleaner, safer energy supplies? Better food production methods to feed an increasing population? Better contraceptive availability and sex education in countries that are affected heavily by the dogma of the Catholic Church et al? No, he goes the route of the typical AGW zealot*, suggesting population culls and a decrease in the quality of life for everybody.

                  *This is not somebody who simply thinks the science is correct but somebody who thinks the only way to solve this is for us to become an agrarian society powered by windmills and nonsense.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: i wonder

        Luther. I would suspect on-message (if that means what I think it means.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impartiality about what?

    You say:

    > The BBC is under a statutory obligation to remain impartial, so this gave the "brainstorm" a historic significance: the BBC has not previously abandoned impartiality in peacetime.

    There's going to be an eclipse of the sun tonight in Oz, but I doubt the BBC will be asking the Flat Earth Society for their opinion.

    All of human research, then and now, points overwhelmingly to the Earth being round, I mean to Human-Engendered Climate Change being real.

    1. Luther Blissett

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      Your are correct about Human-Engendered Climate Change being real, but not in the sense you intended. The danger, as the screed from the UN Durban jamboree showed, is the the eco-totalitarian astroturfers of the UN would like to implement policies which reduce atmospheric CO2 to levels at which plants fail to grow, thus endangering not just humans, but the whole food chain. Somehow the concept of eugenics doesn't quite cover this.

      1. Douglas Lowe

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "is the the eco-totalitarian astroturfers of the UN would like to implement policies which reduce atmospheric CO2 to levels at which plants fail to grow"

        Eh?

        Where the hell did you get this juicy tidbit of mis-information from?

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          Corn will grow even if no CO_2, so no problem.

        2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          It would be nice to get some real data here.

          My understanding is that plants vary considerably in their minimum CO2 requirement, but can take as much as possible, up to 100% maximum. They love it at about 2000ppm, which is what they get in a polytunnel (which is quite safe for unprotected humans to enter).

          Depending on the plant, you would notice increasing distress from about 300ppm down to about 150ppm, at which point all plants will stop growing altogether.

          We are currently about 390ppm, which means that we are on the low side for plant growth, but acceptable. Increasing CO2 would improve crop yields - it already has as we have increased from about 330ppm in 1970. Dropping to 350ppm would not lose much yield - though it would lose some. Dropping to 300ppm would start to constrain plant existence in various habitats.

          So I suggest that anyone suggesting that 350ppm should be a minimum target is not endangering plants - anyone suggesting dropping below 300ppm probably is. I think that Hansen is suggesting 350ppm, but thinks that a lower target could be viable.

          Of course, all this assumes that we can influence the CO2 cycle. The natural movements of CO2 are far greater than any human inputs or sinks, and there is really no indication that human activity can alter the concentrations - it is just treated as a matter of faith that stopping human output will leave all other processes working in exactly the same way at a lesser concentration.

          And of course we have the inconvenient truth that concentrations have been rising, giving us better crops, while the temperature has not been doing the same, as the models say it should. This suggests that CO2 concentrations actually do not drive temperature at all....

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Impartiality about what?

            "Of course, all this assumes that we can influence the CO2 cycle."

            That's not an assumption at all. There's overwhelming evidence that we are.

            "The natural movements of CO2 are far greater than any human inputs or sinks, and there is really no indication that human activity can alter the concentrations - it is just treated as a matter of faith that stopping human output will leave all other processes working in exactly the same way at a lesser concentration."

            The natural movements of CO2 are currently a net sink. Overwhelming evidence that this is because of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere being so high. Which means if we stop emitting nature isn't going to suddenly turn into a net source.

            "And of course we have the inconvenient truth that concentrations have been rising, giving us better crops, while the temperature has not been doing the same, as the models say it should. This suggests that CO2 concentrations actually do not drive temperature at all....""

            Yet temperature has been rising. Temperature rise doesn't have to perfectly track the model predictions for CO2 to be a temperature driver. The weight of evidence is that CO2 is now the dominant driver given how fast we are increasing it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Impartiality about what?

              "Yet temperature has been rising."

              Well, the "temperature record" once "cleansed and adjusted (inevitably up), such that it is, seems to have been manipulated sufficiently to indicate warming at a level below the accuracy of the instruments measuring it.

              This may or may not be attributable to the trivial amount of Extra CO2 being emitted by humans (relative to the entire system).

            2. Chet Mannly

              Re: Impartiality about what?

              "Temperature rise doesn't have to perfectly track the model predictions for CO2 to be a temperature driver. The weight of evidence is that CO2 is now the dominant driver given how fast we are increasing it."

              The models have predicted all sorts of warming outcomes based on 17 years of warming (up to 1996). Even the University of East Anglia admit that there has now been no warning for 16 years - you need temperature rises for ANYTHING to be a driver of warming.

              What happens when that's 18 years (ie more time flat than warming)?

          2. Burb

            Re: Impartiality about what?

            @Dodgy Geezer "there is really no indication that human activity can alter the concentrations"

            Yes there is. You get something like that completely wrong and yet you try to pass yourself off as some kind of expert on plants. The fact is that it's not as cut and dried as you imply - see for example this paper "Decade-long soil nitrogen constraint on the CO2 fertilization of plant biomass". Furthermore, if there is significant climate change over a relatively short period then the disruptive effects on agriculture may well outweigh any marginal benefit from extra CO2.

        3. Marshalltown
          Trollface

          AGW? Really, we need it

          Plant productivity essentially stops at CO2 concentrations of about 140 ppm, We are presently at about twice that. Notably, the *only* other time in the last 500 MY that armospheric CO2 has been nearly this low was about 300 MYA at the Carboniferous-Permian boundary. The remainder of the planet's history has seen CO2 levels much higher, and based upon the fossil evidence, much more biologically productive. In any case halving atmospheric CO2 would be "a bad idea," very bad, especially if it is keeping us out of another ice age. Dubious, but Arrhenius suggested it. Now, companies like Monsanto and Dupont that sell fertilizer and that produce GMOs might not be concerned. They may see market opportunities. Possibly they can produce fertizers that can help plants regardless, and patented GMOs that will tolerate low CO2. But, do you really like that idea? AGW may be a good a bad theory - personal bet is bad - but regardless, reducing CO2 right now would be sociologically, economically, and militarily speaking a really poor idea. Lower crop productivity will drive increased famine, increasing immigration and warfare, and benefiting very few. Likewise, supposing that CO2 is actually the magical molecule that AGW theory makes it out to be, cooling the planet has the same effect. Habitable zones move south. Canada invades the US, Scotland invades Britain, Russia invades Turkey. Chaos all around. It quite literally doesn't matter whether AGW is real or if the warming we see is natural. Stopping it is not a good idea.

    2. Onid

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      I thought the existence of a flat earth society was a joke to illustrate the argument...

      Hahaha it actually exists !!..

      1. This Side Up
        WTF?

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "I thought the existence of a flat earth society was a joke to illustrate the argument...

        Hahaha it actually exists !!.."

        Wtf was the Church of England doing at the seminar?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          Possibly they're a global organisation who work with poverty stricken people in many of the countries who are actually and potentially affected by climate change.

          As are cafod, tearfund, etc. etc.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          "Wtf was the Church of England doing at the seminar?"

          Probably the same reason the Head of Comedy was there, free food.

      2. Onid
        Mushroom

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        two down - votes WTF we have flat earthers here...

    3. Lazy Gun
      FAIL

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      "All of human research, then and now, points...Human-Engendered Climate Change being real."

      Please supply a link to a peer-reviewed paper, published in a mainstream science journal, that demonstrates, unequivocally and beyond a shadow of a doubt, a real, attributable, detectable human signature in the Earth's climate. I'm sure you can find one - after, we have "all of human research" to pick from.

      The only "flat earthers" I can see are those people who treat CAGW as an article of religious faith, and don't bother to ask for - or simply don't require - the actual evidence that such a thing exists.

      17 years and counting of no warming...

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "Please supply a link to a peer-reviewed paper, published in a mainstream science journal, that demonstrates, unequivocally and beyond a shadow of a doubt, a real, attributable, detectable human signature in the Earth's climate."

        See the attribution section of IPCC AR4. Plenty of papers linked off that.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          "See the attribution section of IPCC AR4."

          Er, no, he asked for an unequivocal human signature. The IPCC just lists papers which make a variety of claims and then puts their 'probability' marker on the field. SO they say it is 'possible', 'probable' or 'very probable' that humans are affecting climate.

          Nobody has yet produced real unequivocal proof of AGW. It remains the case that you either believe it or you don't. It is not a single process, like gravity or a chemical reaction - we are being asked to believe that out of the whole complex of nature a specific human signal can be identified around the world.

          In my case, if the temperatures had been rising in accordance with the models, I would probably believe that there was something in it. But since they have NOT been doing this, I am inclined to believe that the assertions are incorrect...

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Impartiality about what?

            "The IPCC just lists papers which make a variety of claims and then puts their 'probability' marker on the field. SO they say it is 'possible', 'probable' or 'very probable' that humans are affecting climate."

            The papers are what I was referring to.

            "Nobody has yet produced real unequivocal proof of AGW"

            Proof is for maths. Science isn't restricted to two states, unproven or proven. The theory of evolution doesn't have unequivocal proof either. Something like 99.999% is more than good enough. Even 90% isn't something to sneeze at.

            Problem is climate skeptics downplay the certainty and play a "if its not 100% it must be 50/50" game, or even a "if it's not 100% it's 0%" game, eg in the case of warming since 1997: that warming is 90% significant, but because it's not 100% many climate skeptics go around claiming there's been no warming....

          2. Douglas Lowe
            Thumb Down

            Re: Impartiality about what?

            @Dodgy Geezer

            Except that global temperatures have risen in line with the scientific predictions made for the last 30 years. And there have been no proposed CO2 sources other than anthropogenic sources which could have caused the increase in CO2 concentrations observed over the last 50 years. It's only in denialist circles are these basic scientific facts disputed.

            1. Chet Mannly

              Re: Impartiality about what?

              "Except that global temperatures have risen in line with the scientific predictions made for the last 30 years...It's only in denialist circles are these basic scientific facts disputed."

              Really? The scientific community and the IPCC predicted the last 16 years of flat temperatures?

              Perhaps you can point out the scientific papers that predicted that fact back in 1996. Or perhaps you're talking alarmist BS...

            2. itzman

              Re: Impartiality about what?

              No. 'Scientific' predictions have been adjusted constantly to match the observed rise: which stopped more or less 8 years ago.

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          "See the attribution section of IPCC AR4. Plenty of papers linked off that."

          And plenty of those papers have been utterly discredited, many were written by activists, not scientists. I mean look at the (now-discredited) glacier comment - 1 guy spouts a theory, not even in a formal paper let alone peer reviewed, and the IPCC treats it as gospel truth.

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        @Lazy Gun - A very basic knowledge of chemistry and physics should be enough for you to follow this back-of an envelope calculation: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/recipe-for-climate-change/

        CO2 increase in the atmosphere is unequivocally due to human activity, and what we know of thermodynamics predicts that this increase will produce a temperature increase in line with observed temperature increases.

        Certainly, there can be other drivers for the increase, certainly there could have been eras in the past where both temperature and CO2 levels were higher, most certainly the effects of the warming are not fully understood and will not necessarily be bad, and even more certainly the IPCC reports take higher / catastrophic estimates and present them as likely.

        But you most certainly cannot deny that human activity is affecting the climate

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        You're agreeing, furiously.

      4. Uffish
        Joke

        Re: 17 years and counting ...

        That reminds me of the well known and favourably peer-reviewed joke about having fallen seventeen floors without any problems so far.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "The ice age cometh!" Mark my words.

      6. Gordon 11

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "...Climate Change being real"

        17 years and counting of no warming...

        Why are you so stuck on warming? Change can go in any direction, and not affect just temperature.

      7. daveje

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "17 years and counting of no warming..."

        Oh please, the last decade was warmer than the previous one, which was warmer than the decade before that. If you look at the instrumental record, the last 11 years have all been in the 12 warmest years. 17 years ago was what, 1995? Ever year but one since then was warmer. 2010 was a La Nina year, and it's the second warmest year on record! You can repeat denialist memes all you want, but they're not true, and the planet is going about its business regardless.

        You can't be convinced, it's just the adult equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and going, "la la la, I'm not listening." Carbon isotope ratios in the atmosphere indicating that fossil fuel emissions cause the recent CO2 increases? The anomalous rises in CH4 and CO2 over the past few thousands years being completely different to the trends in the other interglacials? The complete lack of natural climate drivers? Solar emissions in the wrong direction? The collapse in Arctic ice? Shifting biomes? The planet's energy balance? Basic thermodynamics?

      8. leedsjon1
        Stop

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        'Please supply a link to a peer-reviewed paper, published in a mainstream science journal, that demonstrates, unequivocally and beyond a shadow of a doubt, a real, attributable, detectable human signature in the Earth's climate'.. -

        There is a vast multinational scientific body known as the IPCC which has collated together several thousand peer reviewed papers, published in mainstream science journals from respected universities and research institutes around the world, and presented to the world's media, government representatives and scientists at several global climate change research conferences which demonstrate, unequivaocally and beyond a shadow of a doubt, the real, attributable, detectable human signature in the Earth's climate which you seek.

        '17 years and counting of no warming..' - What kind of warming are you refering to here? - eg surface temperature increase, water temperature increase, atmospheric warming? - All of these (and more) have recorded significant increases in temperature, observed via a vast body of research (see above) which documents the warming of the earth (in a variety of different parameters) observed throughout the intense period of industrialisation characteristic of the late 20th (approx 1950 onwards) and early 21st Century to date, a period accounting for approx 72 years. The term 'climate' itself is generally defined by scientists as an average of changing weather patterns recorded over a fairly lengthy time scale (minimum of 25 years). During such a timescale it is quite normal for fluctuations in temperature (ie warming or cooling of earth's surface) to be observed from time to time. What is important is the overall pattern of change, a pattern which, when you combine the additional data from such measures as ice cores, tree rings etc provides scientists with an accurate picture of temperature change going back many thousands of years (eg most recent research into ice cores contains samples 50,000 years old). By anyone's standards, it seems clear that the observation of 17 years' no change to temperature record (assuming that this is in fact the case - debatable), when compared to the vast length of temperature change data which climate change research is based on, is pretty insignificant and inconclusive.

    4. despun

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      And the experts that it used to come to this conclusion were the ones in the list ????????????

      Which it then tried its utmost to hide ?????????????

      Surely the point of the article, which you conveniently manage to ignore.

    5. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      Research (and, indeed, fairly basic thermodynamics) points to the earth warming as a result of CO2 due to human activity.

      All of the catastrophic forecasts, runaway positive feedbacks, metres-high sea-level rises etc that are supposed to occur because of this warming are based on models that keep getting pwned by reality.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "All of the catastrophic forecasts, runaway positive feedbacks, metres-high sea-level rises etc that are supposed to occur because of this warming are based on models that keep getting pwned by reality."

        The models have never predicted any of those things.

        Although meters high sea-level rise is inevitable given even current temperatures. It's a matter of how long it takes: centuries.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          "The models have never predicted any of those things."

          So you are saying the IPCC has NEVER predicted sea-level rises? Not once? Or are you trying to claim they predicted sea level rises a century in advance without consulting models?

          Sorry, either way your credibility just evaporated...

        2. James Micallef Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Impartiality about what?

          "The models have never predicted any of those things."

          Funny, that, since Al Gore, Greenpeace and co keep telling us that that's what's going to happen if we don't stop burning fossil fuels. So what DO the models show?

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Impartiality about what?

            "Funny, that, since Al Gore, Greenpeace and co keep telling us that that's what's going to happen if we don't stop burning fossil fuels."

            Citation needed.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      oblate, surely?

    7. Chet Mannly

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      "All of human research, then and now, points overwhelmingly to the Earth being round, I mean to Human-Engendered Climate Change being real."

      You don't need research to prove the earth is round - just look at the shadow at a lunar eclipse - the round shadow from the earth definitively proves this.

      Climate change is being thoroughly disputed. None of the models or research predicted that there would be zero warming for 16 years (the original warming was only 17 years!).

      BTW you said human "engendered" climate change - so which gender did we give to climate change - boy or a girl?

      1. James Micallef Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Pedantry alert

        "You don't need research to prove the earth is round - just look at the shadow at a lunar eclipse - the round shadow from the earth definitively proves this."

        technically the earth could be a flat disc and still cast a round shadow on the moon. I would say there are other more convincing ways to show that the earth is a sphere, like, for example, photos from space / edge of space (have you seen the Paris pics?) or circumnavigation.

    8. itzman
      Headmaster

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      YOU might claim that. I couldn't possibly comment

    9. Avatar of They
      Thumb Down

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      Your statement would have merit were it not for the list of attendees included the church of england. A well known hotbed of scientific knowledge and forward thinking progress. That is pretty much the same as asking the flat earth society.

      How can you measure climate change over fifty thousand years when one of the attendees worships / believes a book that dates earth as 4000 years old.

      Well at least there are some education and science people, though just because they are from oxford and cambridge doesn't mean they are scientists, they could be language or history professors, I teach latin therefore I know about clouds and stuff.

      And WTF? The US Embassy???????????????

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Impartiality about what?

        "Scotland invades Britain"

        I for one welcome our irn bru drinking red headed overlords. The battered haggis in Gretna chippy is quite decent. I really really dont want to know what is in it. Just like I dont want to know what the runny clear stuff is in our butchers meat pies (its not fat as it doesnt congeal in fridge).

    10. NomNomNom

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      Climate skeptics claiming no warming for 17 years...

      The University of East Anglia data they refer to actually shows 0.097C +- 0.113C/decade warming in the past 17 years. So that's a maximum possibility of 0.23C/decade warming (2.3C a century). Yet they claim there's been no warming....

      Also why they are trusting the UEA data? Why not the satellite data? That shows 0.121C +- 0.191C/decade warming in the past 17 years. A maximum of 3.1C/century.

      Of course to skeptics if the lower range is below zero they can go around claiming there's been no warming. Some of them even bend the truth more and claim it's been cooling.

      Even worse they sometimes claim the UEA has "admitted" all this. It hasn't. What they mean is that the conclusion *they* draw from UEA data becomes an admission by the UEA itself.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Impartiality about what?

      "points overwhelmingly to the Earth being round,"

      So is that a fact or a, "consensus of scientific opinion?"

  3. Douglas Lowe

    Impartiality and scientific theories

    You claim that the BBC has abandoned it's impartiality over climate change. I would suggest, instead, that it is simply reporting the best scientific knowledge that we have at the moment on the subject. If impartiality means that the BBC has to give airtime to every person who thinks that they know better than the scientific establishment then we'd be up to our eyeballs in documentaries on faked moon-landings, perpetual motion machines, and world governments run by giant lizards. Impartiality is not the same as credulity.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

      This was addressed in the Bridcut Report.

      Since you're new I'll quote it for you:

      "These dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as "Flat Earthers" or "deniers", who "should not be given a platform" by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926."

      Here's the bit that the BBC forgot:

      "The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them."

      Sounds reasonable to me.

      1. Douglas Lowe

        Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

        "Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space."

        I've seen few arguments from the sceptics against the current scientific knowledge which are truly coherent - most seem to rely on a scatter-gun approach to trying to deny the anthropogenic influence. Additionally, while sceptics persist in claiming that ice-loss in the Arctic is somehow balanced by sea-ice gains in the Antarctic, and cherry-picking short (~10 year) time periods in the temperature record in order to "prove" that warming has stopped, we cannot truly call their claims honest either.

        "The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them."

        This seems fair to me too. Still doesn't mean that those who argue against the scientific consensus without providing an equally coherent and reasoned theory of their own should be given equal consideration.

        1. Christo

          Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

          @Douglas Lowe - Science is not, and never should be about, consensus. Then again if you really want to talk about consensus are you talking about the widely held (and completely untrue) believe of 97% of scientist?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

            You know what? Much of science is about consensus, when I go to do doctor she treats me with the best scientific consensus that is available. It would be utterly inethical for her to do otherwise.

            Consensus isn't the be all and end all, but if there are only 3% of people saying something and the rest are saying something else it's incredibly unlikely that the 3% are correct. The times that scientific consensus has been overturned by an individual or tiny group of people are rare, so rare that we pretty much know all of them: Galileo, Einstein, Semmelweis etc etc are all known partly because of the rarity of what they did.

            1. Chet Mannly

              Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

              "Consensus isn't the be all and end all, but if there are only 3% of people saying something and the rest are saying something else it's incredibly unlikely that the 3% are correct."

              Tell that to Galileo.

              A consensus of (what we know now to be) laughably wrong scientists did everything in their power to shut down the truth in that case.

              Think it was Mark Twain that said "a majority sometimes means all the fools are on the wrong side"

          2. Douglas Lowe

            Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

            @Christo

            Great scientific advances can be made by mavericks who prove the current consensus wrong. However 99%+ of those people who believe that they are such a maverick are just wrong. To the scientific consensus you have to: a) understand the basic physics behind them; b) construct a coherent alternative theory which explains the observed phenomena; c) convince other researchers that your theory is more valid than the currently accepted explanations for those observations.

            Most AGW denialists fail at point (a). Of those who have passed that point a few might manage to achieve point (b). But none have provided any theory which survives examination by other experts to achieve point (c). Until someone does that then AGW is the best explanation we have for the observed climatic changes of the last 50 years.

            1. blah111
              Stop

              Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

              "(c). Until someone does that then AGW is the best explanation we have for the observed climatic changes of the last 50 years."

              Please explain the failure of the models to predict the past 15 years of flat temperatures. Please explain the failure of the models to predict the increased Antarctic ice extent. Please explain why GISSTemp has methodically revised temperatures before 1950 lower and temperatures after 1950 higher. Please explain why the ARGO network is showing a flattening of upper ocean heat content. Please explain how WWF grey literature claiming that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear this century made it into the most "authoritative" document on global warming (IPCC AR4); or the host of other non-peer reviewed literature that was also included.

              Please explain how the current climastrologists' models masquerading as science can be proven false. It isn't science if it isn't falsifiable and the warmists explain everything as CAGW: floods, droughts, hurricanes, lack of hurricanes (Did you know the US is currently experiencing its longest recorded stretch of no landfalling Cat 3 or higher hurricane), lack of snow followed by... snow?! Remember that masturbation and simulation are alike: do them both often enough and long enough and you start to think they're real.

              This isn't science, it's the Climate Inquisition.

              Is the planet warming? Yes, a little.

              Are modern temps "unprecedented?" Ask the Vikings that farmed portions of Greenland a millenium ago. Could we do the same today with 11th century technology?

              Is human generated CO2 contributing warming? Yes, a little, i.e. about 1C for every doubling.

              Is the cult of CAGW getting paid its rent for crying wolf? It is and to the tune of billions of dollars a year.

          3. Burb

            Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

            @Christo "Science is not, and never should be about, consensus."

            I keep seeing this comment in one form or another but no one really explains what they mean by it. Surely there has to be a strong element of consensus in science in order for a field to move on. Otherwise everyone would be arguing about the basics and not making any progress. That is not to say that occasionally someone might come along with something that disrupts the established viewpoint. But they have to explain the observed phenomena at least as well as any current theory and if it is convincing it tends to become the new consensus.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

              The problem is that "consensus" covers too much in its meaning.

              There is a consensus that the internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. However, its a belief which is testable and therefore falsifiable.

              However, consensus doesn't actually require proof - it just requires some people to agree. If enough of us agree that the earth is flat, we have a consensus, with no need to be correct.

              Ultimately it isn't even about global warming, its about whether we are going to cause disaster. Two hundred years ago, if sea levels rose, you'd just build another house a bit further inland, no real harm done. Now we are so specialised and produce so little food for ourselves that millions of people will starve if the current financial system breaks down. We've increased our risk in return for wealth. With wealth looking decidedly shaky, the risk is coming home.

              Real science is repeatable, this is just stats and guesswork using proxies that we think might work and which are subject to all sorts of caveats. This allows all sorts of errors to creep in either accidentally (incorrect assumptions), or intentionally (you think human activity should be curtailed so you cherry pick the study parameters).

              That isn't to say its wrong, its just not really scientific (in the physics/chemistry sense) and the current dictum of the day is that only science has the truth. We don't really need consensus regarding how electricity is conducted by copper, we can try it out. When people talk of consensus, it immediately brings doubt to my mind in the same way that "everybody knows that" rings alarm bells. When the scientists hide the data or massage it to fit their inadequate computer model; when the cash and the politics push in a coherent direction, of course the scientists will pronounce on demand, everyone knows that, just as Saddam had WMDs.

              What is particularly galling in this instance is that the BBC changed policy not by listening to the science, but to lobbyists. Whatever the truth of AGW, that was not the right way to go about things. They have brought disrepute on the argument they are supporting.

              1. James Micallef Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: scientific (in the physics/chemistry sense)

                Thumbs up for AC

                Basic chemistry allows us to calculate roughly how much CO2 human activity has released into the atmosphere in the last 200 years or so since the industrial revolution. Basic thermodynamics tells us how much hotter the earth will get per increased CO2 in the atmosphere (about 1 degree per 100ppm CO2), and the observed temperature increase in the last 200 years roughly matches this approximation.

                Beyond that, past temperature proxies are built on layers upon layers of assumptions, adjustments and tweaks, and future climate models, however complex, are built on an incomplete understanding, and every few months a new finding comes up that contradicts the models expected outcomes.

                So it's got to be clear when 'consensus' is mentioned, what the consensus is about. If the question is: "is the world warming because of human activity", the consensus of anyone with a basic grounding in chemistry and physics is "Yes", and that is a consensus that I accept.

                But that doesn't mean that I can arbitrarily extend that consensus to a number of other mantras such as : temperatures now are higher than in the last 500 years, or than they EVER have been in 300 million years, temperatures will continue to increase indefinitely, positive feedback forcing will result in runaway warming, etc etc

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: scientific (in the physics/chemistry sense)

                  > about 1 degree per 100ppm CO2

                  Not even close. The warming is supposed to be about 1 degree per doubling of CO2 which means it has to increase by 300ppm for the first degree 600ppm for the next, 1200ppm for the one after that etc.

                  > observed temperature increase in the last 200 years roughly matches this approximation.

                  Again, not even close. CO2 has been rising steadily over the last 200 years, but temperatures have been going up and down. The overall trend is upwards, but then we were coming out of a period known as the Little Ice Age. It is only the warming since the late 1970s that climate scientists claim has an signature in it that is attributable to human activity.

                  > Beyond that ...

                  I pretty much agree with everything beyond that beyond that.

            2. Chet Mannly

              Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

              "I keep seeing this comment in one form or another but no one really explains what they mean by it. Surely there has to be a strong element of consensus in science in order for a field to move on. "

              There have been many examples over the centuries of scientists being completely right against the scientific consensus (and usually being mercilessly persecuted by the scientific/religious community to maintain the consensus). They become consensus when the weight of evidence simply cannot be refuted anymore, but that frequently occurs after the scientist in question has shuffled off the mortal coil...

              Galileo is one - maybe read up on him as but one example...

              1. Burb

                Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

                @Chet Mannly "Galileo is one - maybe read up on him as but one example..."

                Thanks for your patronising reply.

                The Galileo example is a standard response to this. Interesting that nobody mentions many other people...

                There are a number of problems with the Galileo example. First it was a different time, when religion was much more dominant and the scientific method was in its infancy. Second, there are many more examples of people proposing theories against the prevailing scientific consensus that turn out to not to hold water. Third, if *convincing* paradigm changing theories are proposed they do tend to get accepted (e.g. relativity was quite shocking at the time but it quickly became the new consensus). Fourth, theories of AGW have been around for a long time and have already been through the phase of having been disbelieved by the scientific community before the weight of evidence has led to their acceptance. Fifth, I am not aware of an alternative, consilient 'skeptical' theory that has the same explanatory power as current theories. Lindzen's theories might have been the nearest possibility at one point but they are now dead in the water. When you have a consilient theory that is not just cherry picked nit picking, then you can then start to talk about countering the consensus.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

                  @Burb: Do mobiles cause cancer? Does the MMR jab cause autism? What was the consensus?

                  The problem in these scenarios is that stuff was made up and scientists had to produce facts to counter each bit of 'science' which pushed the illusion of a problem. And even though the consensus brought self harm (out of contact/health issues) people ran along with it. Now give the kinds of funding for MMCC to these causes and you would have a consensus that mobiles cause cancer and the MMR jab causes autism. Even though the 'scientific' methods are disproven a new one is produced by the cult because they can do it quicker (easy to fake data, hard to do it right).

                  So when you have a self harming theory like MMCC where economies and lives are lost as a sacrifice to the cult there is a direct relation to "the Galileo example. First it was a different time, when religion was much more dominant and the scientific method was in its infancy". The different time looks very similar.

                  It is possible the earth is warming, its possible its due to humans, its possible it will run away and kill us all and its possible that at the centre of every black hole is a guy with a flashlight looking for the circuit breaker. But the masses of made up evidence for the event are being constantly disproven and so damages the theory. There could be strongly valid evidence that it is happening but the credibility is already damaged.

                  We all accept the theory of gravity. As newton and others look into it and produce solid pieces of work they find that many more pieces of work are produces by a cult (say christians). This cult also argue in favour of gravity and publish their own work but it is not only wrong, it is massively lies and cherry picked bull (maybe claiming we will all be squished under the magic force unless we all give our money to their 'problem solvers'). As they have the political ear they can make huge announcements of the end but are discredited often. While the consensus may seem to agree with the cult it doesnt change the fact that they are wrong.

                  The IPCC, NASA, Al Gore, etc have all been proven liers by publishing rubbish. They are still the big voices and (even some idiots on here think) the experts. The actual scientists who may find warming and maybe find links to why are ignored, even by them. Because MMCC is a political device NOT related to science. The science is ongoing and divorced from the MMCC we all gonna die nonsense.

                  1. Burb

                    Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

                    @AC "Do mobiles cause cancer? Does the MMR jab cause autism? What was the consensus?"

                    I think the overwhelming consensus was that they don't - certainly that was true of the MMR jab (I haven't followed the mobile issue TBH as I don't use one often enough to be worried). The problem is that these things get blown up in the media because of this 'two sides to the debate' argument, as if it were a political argument that needs each side to be given equal weight. This is what is happening with climate science. I am afraid I don't follow your 'argument'.

      2. daveje

        Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

        Judging by the number of times Nigel Lawson appears on Newsnight whenever climate change gets in the news, it's abundantly clear that the minority view is quite well represented on the Beeb.

        But why anyone thinks Lawson - with no scientific qualifications or training whatsoever - is worth listening to on this subject, is utterly beyond me. The fact that the prominent opponents of AGW in our media are invariably economists, politicians or Delingpoles - but not scientists - should indicate something of the quality of this minority view.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

          I'd just like to point out that being a 'human induced global warming by means of excess co2' sceptic does not mean that I don't believe it is possible that we are the cause, just that I have yet to be convinced by the evidence.

          Evidence, that is, which subsequently does not turn out to be 'massaged' in some way.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

        I think the BBC probably do give them the "appropriate space" that the report suggests - ie a very very small amount. If the scientific community is split 95%-5%, say (it's something like that isn't it?), then 5% of the coverage might be right - the odd mention here and there is fine.

        But overwhelmingly for Deniers it's a Faith, ISTM - they just smell a rat, they've decided it must be false, and they don't know the science better than the Scientific Community, so they endlessly try to pick on anything they can. (It used to be my Faith too, BTW. And I loved it.)

        And even if it's a very popular faith - even if it's 50% of the population, say - that doesn't matter here. When there's a story, say, about a new homonid's bones, they don't have our legions of Christians and Muslims on to insist it's false "because God created Man in His image."

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

      The very concept of "the scientific establishment" is unscientific. Scientific fact is not determined by authority, but by the establishment and exercise of verifiable, repeatable experiments.

      1. Gordon 11

        Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

        "...by the establishment and exercise of verifiable, repeatable experiments."

        I look forward to the time machine that lets us re-run the last 100 (1000, 10,000, ...?) years of Earth history with differing amounts (please define) of human activity.

        No idea which universe will get the result, though - probably one I'm not in.

        Until then it really is a matter of arguing and consensus. Or just arguing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

      That's an interesting argument. However it doesn't really explain why the BBC wouldn't release the list of attendees.

      I can think of two reasons:

      1) any objective analysis of the list would indicate that the group was not impartial about climate change.

      2) that would prove that the BBC was failing to meet the obligations of its charter.

      Whether you like it or not, there are differing views on climate change and not all of them are professed by people wearing tin foil hats.

      Attempting to filter the information to reflect only one point of view is neither impartial or unbiased. It's actually more like state-sponsored propaganda and fascism and worthy of Dr. Goebbels (I call Godwin, yes!)

      Thank you very much Wayback Machine

    4. Justicesays
      Devil

      Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

      On the other hard, if it turned out the seminar was run by David Ike and the Church of Scientology, you would like to know, right?

    5. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Impartiality and scientific theories

      > If impartiality means that the BBC has to give airtime to every person who thinks that they know better than the scientific establishment ... world governments run by giant lizards.

      That's why we have Sky News.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Questionable credentials

    I can see that some of the "specialists" may actually have some useful knowledge to contribute. However I'd love to hear how the views of The US Embassy or The Church of England could be relevant. Also, organisations such as Stop Climate Chaos doesn't exactly make you feel that an informed and objective discussion, with no preconceived biases, will take place.

    On the BBC side, what does the Development Executive, Drama Commissioning have to offer to the debate or even a person from the kiddies telly. Though given the outcome from this meeting it's pretty obvious what the Head of Comedy was there for.

    1. Werner McGoole
      Unhappy

      Re: Questionable credentials

      I think this is the crux of the matter, actually. AGW may (or may not) be happening and scientific consensus may (or may not) exist, but can the BBC rely on the attendees at this meeting to inform them reliably on these matters? You have to remember that the BBC staff themselves aren't scientists, so the quality of their independent expert advice would be absolutely critical.

      Apparently, the BBC thought they could (or so they say) - and were so convinced of the reliability of this group of experts that they changed editorial policy in an unprecedented manner on a topic of huge importance. However, pretty well any outsider can see the shortcomings in this meeting in terms of expertise, coverage, balance, etc., etc.

      So it does look very much as if the BBC convened this meeting as a smoke screen to justify an editorial shift that they'd pretty much decided to implement anyway - which, of course explains their reluctance to have it examined.

      This tendency to select the evidence to support their editorial preconceptions and not to seek out independent evidence is, of course, also what got Newsnight into such a lot of trouble.

  5. hplasm
    Big Brother

    Board of Governors

    Replaced by Ministry of Truth.

    Bad Show, BBC.

    1. Ministry of Truth

      Re: Board of Governors

      Oi!

      Do you think I'd be seen dead fraternising with that bunch of pinko trots?

  6. GrumpyJoe

    Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

    Could someone point out WHY each of these attendees was bias or otherwise? At the moment, to me (not really been following this) it's just a list of names. Okay, I know Greenpeace, but a bit of history on the people involved would be useful?

    1. Psyx
      Thumb Up

      Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

      "Could someone point out WHY each of these attendees was bias or otherwise?"

      Aye. Looking at the top two names on the list, how are these people not authorities on the matter?

      Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London

      Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA

      1. Latimer Alder

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        Robert May's specialty is 'theoretical ecology'

        Mike Hulme comes from UEA and was widely discredited in the Climategate e-mails.

    2. Lazy Gun

      Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

      Simple - they're all rent-seeking vested interests that stand to lose out if CAGW is exposed for what it is, ie., a fraudulent scam.

      Google "BBC pension fund climate". Then research how much money greenpeace makes. Then research how much taxpayers' money is wasted on grants to the ecotards for the purposes of lobbying etc. Then look at how much money is stolen from everyone who pays an energy bill by types of power generation that don't work and wouldn't exist without subsidies.

      This is a big deal because it betrays the BBC for what it really is: a nasty bunch of lefties, in bed with other nests of nasty lefties, all conspiring to lie to everyone about the climate and using taxpayers' money to do it.

      The lot of them should be marched outside, put against the nearest wall and shot.

      1. Juan Inamillion

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        Are you, by any chance, 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' ?

        I think we should be told....

        /

      2. Psyx
        Stop

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        "The lot of them should be marched outside, put against the nearest wall and shot"

        If you really think this country would be better off with news solely in the hands of the tabloids, Sky et al, you are insane. The BBC might be partisan on occasion, but it's a darned sight less so than...err... everything else!

        "lefties, in bed with other nests of nasty lefties, all conspiring to lie to everyone"

        A news source that doesn't agree with me! Shoot them all! The outrage! *froth*

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        1 para against AGW.

        3 against the BBC.

        More a reader of the Sun, than a supporter of academic truth.

      4. Gordon 11

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        This is a big deal because it betrays the BBC for what it really is: a nasty bunch of lefties,...

        The lot of them should be marched outside, put against the nearest wall and shot..

        Presumably with Jeremy Clarkson the first to go?

    3. Captain Save-a-ho
      Thumb Down

      Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

      Type google.com and search for the first name on the list.

      Rinse, then repeat.

      1. GrumpyJoe
        Mushroom

        Re: Without knowing the ins and outs of this..

        Ah, the JFGI response - nice! Thanks for that, wasn't aware of search engines, having not been using them since Altavista et al.

        I was sort of hoping for a more clued-in response at the moment, maybe a follow up article will give more details (this is a news site, after all). Without analysis this list is nothing but that, a list. TELL ME why it is so important!

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Imagine faces at BBC ...

  9. The BigYin

    Why all the secrecy?

    Trying to deny climate change is like trying to deny gravity. You can try it, but it's pretty futile.

    All that really remains to be debated around climate change is the rate, exact details on the feedback mechanisms (i.e. the finer details) and what (if anything) can be done. If the BBC has to be impartail about science of this nature, does it also have to be impartial about string theory, quantum mechanics and everything else?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      Not sure that anyone is denying climate change - it exists - there's a wealth of evidence to support it.

      What is definitely up for debate is the cause and this is the heart of the issue here. The BBC's impartiality should not have been set aside given that there is no conclusive proof that MMGW is solely to blame for the climate change that we are experiencing.

      Those comparing this debate with flat-earthers and the like are simply using a very lame straw man.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      > Trying to deny climate change is like trying to deny gravity.

      And curiously enough that is precisely what climate scientists tried to do. They use to make extravagant claims that the climate hadn't changed for a thousand years or more.

      > All that really remains to be debated around climate change is the rate

      They also need to work out the attribution. The current level of change is still within the bounds of natural variation and climate scientists do not know if any anthropogenic contribution is 1% or 100%. Even the IPCC, in its last report didn't pretend to know, with any degree of certainty, how much was human caused.

      > exact details on the feedback mechanisms (i.e. the finer details)

      They still need to work out the gross details on feedback, never mind the finer details. They also do not know if positive or negative feedbacks dominate.

      > If the BBC has to be impartial about science of this nature, does it also have to be impartial about string theory, quantum mechanics and everything else?

      Does the BBC have a policy on quantum mechanics? Have they brought in the Executive Editor of the CBBC to get the BBC's policy on string theory into the children's programs? Would the BBC's policy on quantum mechanics mean that they would suppress or highlight the latest results from LHC that cast doubt on supersymmetry (or do they?).

      How about instead of a policy on the science they report it. Your own belief that the only thing they need to work out now is the finer details demonstrates how the BBC has failed to inform of how much isn't known and how much actual doubt there is.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Why all the secrecy?

        AC -1

        Extravagant comments with *no* reference -1

        Irrelevant non sequitors -1

        Amusing comment. Highly untrustworthy.

    3. Captain Save-a-ho
      Meh

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      No sane person is denying climate change, which, as a term, sounds unbelievably redundant to me...climate is always changing. The only real argument is over the degree of human influence. Do try to keep up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why all the secrecy?

        @Captain Save-a-ho - "No sane person is denying climate change"

        Nigel Lawson, darling of the climate change "sceptics" very definitely denies that the climate is changing. Every time he is on Radio 4, he makes a point of saying that nothing is happening. Although I do admit that sometimes he says that it's getting cooler, but nothing is happening as well as that.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: Why all the secrecy?

          "Nigel Lawson, darling of the climate change "sceptics" very definitely denies that the climate is changing."

          Weak attempt - he is referring to the last 16 years where there has been "no statistically significant" warming. The trend is -0.1c, but it a longer time frame is needed to make it statistically significant. (BTW - when did skeptics get a "darling" FFS?)

          Ask him if the climate had changed from 10,000 years ago and he'd definitely agree.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      By your logic, when string theory was first suggested (and at the time not been accepted within the general science community) Horizon should not have been allowed to produced any programmes on the subject.

      By there very nature, scientific theories (even hypothesese) have not been proven and accepted when first suggested.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      What is being debated here is not the validity of Anthropological CC, it is the validity of the BBC refusing to disclose something as mundane as this list.

      You have to ask yourself why did they persistently refuse to do so ... if they had nothing to hide or being embarrassed about.

      It's exactly the same issue as the FOI request sent a few years back to the East-Anglia University to share the data that eventually shaped public policy.

      I personally don't deny the humanity is responsible, in parts, to climate change and rising levels of CO2, but I fail to understand why trivia such as lists of people attending an event or scientific data from a public body should remain shrouded in mystery and be only seen by the "right" sort of people.

    6. David Neil

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      It's not about climate change, it's about the amount of weighting you put onto the man-made element.

      The BBC appear to have decided it must be man made and that is the only explanation to ever be given airtime.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "does it also have to be impartial about string theory, quantum mechanics and everything else"

      In a word YES.

      If somebody has a new theory (different to string theory) then the BBC should not be able to say 'doesn't agree with our stance on string theory....not going to show it". Likewise for non-QM related items (e.g. determinism).

      For the record, the BBC will screen 'conspiracy theory' programs. Showing the program does not mean they support the views - but actively BLOCKING a programme or content based on this premise stinks.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: "does it also have to be impartial about string theory, quantum mechanics and everything else"

        "If somebody has a new theory (different to string theory) then the BBC should not be able to say 'doesn't agree with our stance on string theory....not going to show it"."

        So they have to allow every crack-pot, moon-unit a voice? Bollocks. The Beeb should give weight to proper, peer-reviewed results/theories and that's it. Otherwise we'll be having crap like Creationism given the same air-time as evolution and that is plain wrong (creationism isn't even a theory FFS) and homoeopaths given the same credence as actual medical doctors.

        I'm sorry, but no.

    8. Chet Mannly

      Re: Why all the secrecy?

      "If the BBC has to be impartail about science of this nature, does it also have to be impartial about string theory, quantum mechanics and everything else?"

      Of course!! - why is that even a question?

      The quantum/string theory docos I have seen from the BBC clearly express which bits are theory, which bits have proven through observation, and where there are scientific disputes.

      All we're asking is that same balanced approach be taken with AGW - the BBC should never be an activist.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha!

    That is all.

  11. Bernd Felsche
    Coat

    Jeremy Clarkson to Run the BBC

    You know it makes sense.

    Sack the board(s). Hand the cutlass and whip to JC and let him loose.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15
      Joke

      Re: Jeremy Clarkson to Run the BBC

      Don't do that, stick him in Downing Street instead!

      1. This Side Up
        Pint

        Re: Jeremy Clarkson to Run the BBC

        Marsham Street, surely?

        Bring back Greg Dyke at the Beeb. He should never have had to go.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Jeremy Clarkson to Run the BBC

      You mean the man whose such big mates with Rupert Murdoch?

      I think not.

  12. Crisp
    Coffee/keyboard

    Oh that's priceless!

    Thousands of pounds spent on lawyers trying to do a cover up, only to be thwarted by the Wayback When machine!

    1. Stephen 11
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh that's priceless!

      Teh Interwebs: 1 BBC Legal team: 0

      1. Tim #3

        Re: Oh that's priceless!

        Actually, it's

        Teh Interwebs: 1 BBC Legal team: 0 The Taxpayers -1

  13. Some Beggar
    Facepalm

    Lesson 4: making a hysterical mountain out of no molehills.

  14. g e
    FAIL

    The best incompetence money can buy

    Greenwashing your information for you.

  15. amck
    Alert

    Science doesn't do equal weight

    It was good to see the BBC move from "equal weighting" in reporting scientific stories.

    It was annoying that over that time period, for each story presenting new evidence in favour of climate change, an equal proportion of the story was given summarising "the opposing view". At the end of fifty articles presenting evidence you'd be forgiven for thinking the situation hadn't changed, rather than realising you'd read 49 pieces of evidence on one side, one on the other. It was especially infuriating when the report was for example describing the IPCC results: when the story was in itself a summary of all the evidence, you then dedicated the next 50% of the article to the denialist opinion!

    "Equal weight" should apply to opinion pieces, not summaries of the evidence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Science doesn't do equal weight

      > "Equal weight" should apply to opinion pieces, not summaries of the evidence.

      Why?

      The very opposite is true.

      The BBC is not a court of law.

      They are not required to express an opinion one way or the other or to reach a conclusion.

      1. amck

        Re: Science doesn't do equal weight

        Because it is the very opposite of the "balance" it claims to aspire to.

        Each article of evidence is "counterbalanced" by a repeat of the same denialist statement. If you read all the articles, you get 49 new pieces of information on one side, 49 repeats of the same "counterbalance" on the other.

        For anyone who is not paying attention and reading every article over the course of a decade, the issue looks "balanced" rather than seeing the sum of the evidence on both sides.

        Then, when someone does a summary of all the evidence, and comes out on one side, instead of reporting their summary, you get this summary which includes the minority evidence, "counterbalanced" with another 50% of the article on the minority side.

        When reporting opinion, balance and quote all opinions. When quoting facts, " just the facts, ma'm", and let the reader decide.

        1. Werner McGoole
          Thumb Down

          Re: Science doesn't do equal weight

          You don't have to report 49 items of evidence on one side and 49 items on the other side just to balance it. That's plain daft.

          However, doing 100% of the evidence on one side and 100% of the evidence on the other isn't daft and is what we'd usually consider to be balanced reporting. This allows people to make up their own minds on the balance of evidence.

          The problem is that the BBC is doing 100% on one side and 0% on the other side.

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: Science doesn't do equal weight

          "When quoting facts, " just the facts, ma'm", and let the reader decide."

          Any yet you are advocating denying the reader access to an entire line of argument!!!!

          LOL - did you read that before posting?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy ???

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tangentially

    "This surreal story is only tangentially about climate change: " as all the 'evidence presented by deniers.

    Unless somebody somewhere has just one piece of REAL evidence that the huge consensus of scientific opinion is inaccurate?

    N.B. Yes, I did say 'just one piece of real evidence; I haven't seen any thus far.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: tangentially

      Can you tell me what the "huge consensus of scientific opinion" is?

      Science does not proceed by consensus. Activists and religions do. Every so often we get told that 'the science is settled' or that '97% of scientists agree' to something. But we never get told what in any detail.

      For what it's worth, I believe that most scientists would agree that the climate changes, and that the average world temperature has increased from a low point in the 1970s. Or decreased from a high point in the 1920s. Or is on a gradually increasing trend since the last Ice Age, if you wish.

      Most scientists would agree that human activity can alter micro-climates - urban heat islands are a classic example. But few would argue that the increasing trend since the 1970s can be unequivocally shown to be human-caused, and that anthropic CO2 release is the primary cause of this trend. Too many papers have shown this argument to be wrong.

      The hockey-stick is now broken and the MWP is back. There's one of your items of contradictory evidence. There's no tropospheric warming. The model projections have now diverged greatly from reality. Cloud creation has been found to be a major determinant of temperature, and this is not modeled at all in the GCMs. How many more do you want?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tangentially

      Evidence of what?

      There are three separate debates

      1. Is the climate changing (for the worse) Y/N

      2. Can we do anything to prevent it getting worse (assuming 1 is YES) Y/N [this is closely linked to debate 3, below).

      3. Are humans the cause of the change (assuming answer 1 is YES). Y/N

      Each area is contested to some degree (no pun intended). There is a lot of evidence to support item (1), but item (3) is more contentious. The fact that (1) may be YES, does not imply (2) and (3) are also YES. Most of the debate is not around point (1) but points (2) and (3). Although there is 'some' evidence to counter even item (1).

      The huge concensus of scientific 'opinion' (your choice of words) tends to confirms point (1), but then speculates that points (2) and (3) are also true. This is not to say they are incorrect, but you have to be clear on which part of the 'climate change' debate the so called 'deniers' are actually denying.

      Personally, as we have limited resources on the planet, I'm interested in what comes out of option (2), regardless of (1) and (3). If you follow.

    3. David Neil

      Re: tangentially

      Show me a solid piece of stand up evidence that categorically says it is entirely man made?

      1. Red Bren
        Coat

        @David Neil

        "Show me a solid piece of stand up evidence that categorically says it is entirely man made?"

        That's why the head of comedy was there, to provide the stand-up evidence...

        I'll get my coat but I might not need it.

      2. red death

        Re: tangentially

        No one has claimed it is "entirely man made" - that would be utter nonsense. The issue is whether the human contribution to greenhouse gases is significant enough to add to climate change.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tangentially

      Unless somebody somewhere has just one piece of REAL evidence that the huge consensus of scientific opinion is accurate?

      N.B. Yes, I did say 'just one piece of real evidence; I haven't seen any thus far.

      N.B2. Perhaps you could also set out exactly what the consensus opinion is. I am often called a "denier" and yet since I think CO2 is a greenhouse gas, temperatures rose in the 20th century and some of that rise may be due to human activity I would be included in the consensus.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tangentially

      Well, you could go and look up the background to the Doran et al "97% of scientists agree" paper, widely quoted as evidence of the "huge consensus of scientific opinion".

      You'll see that it was what we engineers call "bollocks". You'll need to read the paper and do a bit of fact checking to see why :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tangentially

        And I doubt if more than one of the "28 experts" would have passed Doran's exclusion tests and been classified as a climate scientist (Hulme might have passed).

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: tangentially

          Doran had wider fields of experts than 27 that also showed high proportions accepting the consensus.

          The point is not that it's 100% manmade, but that, in the IPCCs words, the evidence is that it is likely that most of the warming since 1950 is human caused.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: tangentially

            > likely that most of the warming since 1950 is human caused.

            The IPCC has very strict definitions on what they mean by the terms "Virtually certain", "Extremely likely", "Very likely", "Likely", "More likely than not", "About as likely as not", etc.

            What your quote means is that it is 66% probable that 51% or more of the warming since 1950 is human caused.

            Since this also means that it is 34% probable that less then 50% of the warming is man made you could say, using the IPCC's own terminology, that "It is about as likely as not that less half the warming is human caused".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: tangentially

            The Doran 97% was actually 75 out of 77 “expert” ’active climate researchers’. They selected the 77 out of 3146 respondents to a survey sent to 10,256 people. So they de-selected the vast majority of respondents who didn't give the "right" answers. The whole thing was nearly as reliable as Tony Blair's "Dodgey Dossier" before Iraq.

            The IPCC is not an entirely reliable source either: it has a vested interest in an alarmist view and is not adverse to using gray literature (Greenpeace, etc) as evidence. In any case, there hasn't been much warming in the last couple of decades despite continuing human CO2 emissions; the warming seen being sufficiently small to falsify previous IPCC predictions. And it was warming too before 1950, when the IPCC reckons that the human influence was not significant. Go figure.

            I too would be interested to know exactly what the "consensus" is - I've yet to see it stated in this thread.

            PS: I know that most of the commentards here already have firm views on this subject. I post this only for anyone who is not well informed, and recommend that they do their own fact checking and form their own views. Being in a consensus with 97% of lemmings isn't very useful.

            1. NomNomNom

              Re: tangentially

              "The Doran 97% was actually 75 out of 77 “expert” ’active climate researchers’. They selected the 77 out of 3146 respondents to a survey sent to 10,256 people. So they de-selected the vast majority of respondents who didn't give the "right" answers."

              No they didn't. They reported that 82% of the 3146 respondents agreed that human activity is a significant contributing factor to global warming. Then they broke down the respondents into level of expertise, which included the 77 active climate researcher of which 75 agreed.

              1. Bernd Felsche
                Headmaster

                Re: tangentially

                How about 133 active climate scientist who don't agree on much at all?

                http://www.welt.de/welt_print/article1210902/Die-Klimaforscher-sind-sich-laengst-nicht-sicher.html

                Just because it's in German, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

                1. Grikath

                  Re: tangentially

                  "If it's not published in english, it's not Science".

                  A sad truth about Publish or Perish.

  20. Mark Jan
    Flame

    How Can The BBC's Actions Be Justified?

    It's unbelievable that the BBC could change their "impartiality" stance on "Global Warming" (because that's what it was called in those days until actual measurements and observations began to not correlate with the models) based on this meeting and the "experts" in attendance.

    The infiltration of the BBC by those with a left wing, green agenda is slowly becoming exposed not just in this, but other stories currently affecting the Corporation and the chickens are resolutely coming home to roost - and it's about time.

    1. veti Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: How Can The BBC's Actions Be Justified?

      Contrary to the "story" here, the BBC makes no pretense of "impartiality" on an awful lot of controversial topics.

      For instance, you won't hear documentaries on the BBC about the belief, widely held to this day in parts of Africa, that HIV may have nothing to do with AIDS. You might hear a brief mention of the theory that it was invented by the CIA (or someone) as a pro-pharmaceutical, anti-African plot, but only in the context of a segment saying "this is how paranoid some people are".

      Likewise, you won't find much sympathetic coverage of 'intelligent design' on the BBC. Evolution is treated as established, uncontroversial fact. Why is El Reg not up in arms about that blatant liberal agenda-pushing?

      "Impartiality" is appropriate when covering disputes. The BBC has the right - indeed, the duty - to make a judgment call as to whether a scientific subject is genuinely "in dispute", or whether the only argument is coming from axe-grinders, agenda-chasers, demagogues and lunatics. To call that decision "unprecedented in peacetime" is just plain false - trolling on El Reg's part.

  21. Andy The Hat Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    From this attendee list, this was never going to be a decision based on facts, figures and raw science but on purely political opinions and aims... For a start, NO other countries or commercial organisations should have place in driving editorial policy for the British TV service ... that just stinks ...

  22. daveje
    Thumb Up

    Being someone who constantly criticises Orlowski and Lewis's climate change articles on here as being misleading, poor quality and ideologically driven, I have to say that this is pretty good journalism (for a change), and poor form on the part of the Beeb. The question of whether AGW is happening is a scientific judgement, and there are far too many advocacy groups and non-scientific specialists on that list. And looking at the composition of the attendees, there's not even the illusion of a debate being held - it's a very one-sided list.

    That being said, the Beeb came to the right conclusion. The wealth of evidence is such that there is no good reason to give the opponents of AGW equal time or equal weight, particularly when so much of the opposition has been organised by people specialised in the art of creating doubt. People like Fred Singer constantly exploit the wish of journalists to appear impartial by misrepresenting the state of the science, and claiming scientific differences where the fundamentals are in wide agreement. This isn't about abandoning impartiality, it's about making the best judgement based on the available evidence.

    So, kudos to Orlowski and the Reg for this, it's a good piece.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Coat

      Quick poll:

      Downvote because of complimenting Andrew and Lewis.

      or

      Downvote because of assuming AGW shouldn't be questioned.

      That's all.

      1. daveje

        Credit where credit's due. Even though the motivation is pretty clear...

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Sir

        So, let me try and understand your poll.

        If we think he's a twat and downvoted him for complimenting Andrew and Lewis, we down vote your post.

        Otherwise..

        We downvote your post if we didn't like the fact he suggested AGW shouldn't be questioned?

        Hmm, my logic circuits suggest <kzzzttfnnct!!sptpt..whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr......> error.

  23. clean_state
    Coffee/keyboard

    Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

    In the US, some networks give equal airtime to evolutionists and to creationists. Creationists are actually pushing for the "equal airtime" rule to apply to education too. But let us not forget that the creationist camp is not there for the scientific debate. They have no arguments and no evidence to show. Their only goal is religious propaganda. They need to discredit science globally because scientifically-educated audiences never buy their nonsense (sorry, "holly scriptures").

    No equal airtime for people who want the airtime to push their agenda and have no scientific evidence to offer.

    For climate change, I understand the situation is more difficult for journalists as they have to sort scientific arguments for one side, for the other, and then also the arguments of whackos and lobbies of all kinds who push for the removal of any evidence they do not like. It's not an easy task, but not a reason either to give up and just give equal airtime to all.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

      "..for climate change, I understand the situation is more difficult for journalists as they have to sort scientific arguments for one side, for the other, and then also the arguments of whackos and lobbies of all kinds who push for the removal of any evidence they do not like.."

      As I understand the situation, that's not the case. There are precious few whackos, and the Big Oil lobbies are broadly in favour of being given subsidies to 'address climate change'.

      What is happening is that valid scientific objections are being smeared as 'whacko', and ignored. Steve McKintyre is a classic example - he was denied access to publication for a long time on the grounds that he was a 'nutter'. He was actually perfectly correct, and Kevin Briffa has just co-authored a piece agreeing that tree-ring temperatures have a methodological bias.

      1. Burb

        Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

        @Dodgey Geezer "As I understand the situation, that's not the case. There are precious few whackos"

        There is also precious little actual science coming out of the skeptical community. It is telling that you dredge up McIntyre, whose work showed up some minor errors in the original hockey stick analysis but contrary to popular belief did not refute it (it has been confirmed by many subsequent studies). Where are all these other scientists who have come up with alternative theories that explain the observed phenomena and have stood up to scrutiny? (BTW that rules out Lindzen and Spencer before you mention them.) Rather than science, the 'other side of the debate' is in reality mainly a rehashing of the same talking points and cherry picked 'problems'. It is dodgy think tanks who are generating this sort of stuff, some of whom have links to previous campaigns to oppose environmental protection and anti-tobacco legislation. The arguments being used now - such as that there are 'two sides' that need to be 'debated' - are classic tried and tested techniques. And people are falling for them again.

        "the Big Oil lobbies are broadly in favour of being given subsidies to 'address climate change'."

        Maybe they are - they are not going to say no to some extra money - but they know which side their bread is buttered on and are also funding a lot of the sources of 'skeptic' information.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

          > McIntyre, whose work showed up some minor errors in the original hockey stick analysis

          Actually his work showed that the original hockey stick was fundamentally flawed and that you could get the same result using random values.

          > it has been confirmed by many subsequent studies.

          No subsequent studies have confirmed the the original hockey stick. They haven't even confirmed each other.

          You might look at them visually and think they are they same but they are not. They do not demonstrate any coherence, on any time scale, outside of the instrumental period. You can easily prove me wrong by calculating the coherence of two of the studies and printing the result here. ( I would have to do it for every possible combination of every reconstruction on every time scale which would involve an awful lot of data and work. You, on the other hand, only have to calculate it with any two series and one time scale).

          > It is dodgy think tanks who are generating this sort of stuff, some of whom have links to previous campaigns to oppose environmental protection and anti-tobacco legislation.

          Yeah of course it is. I assume you are talking about the Heartland Institute and/or the GWPF whose entire combined annual budget ($6.7m and £158k) wouldn't last a couple of days in the WWF (0.5 billion Euros) or Greenpeace (200m Euros). Both Greenpeace and WWF are multinational organisations who lobby governments around the world. In Greenpeace's case they even issue non to subtle threats to skeptics:

          We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

          And we be many, but you be few.

          > but they know which side their bread is buttered on and are also funding a lot of the sources of 'skeptic' information.

          That old chestnut."Big Oil" funding. Send some of it here, I'll happily take it. Alternatively, look through the climategate documents and see how much funding and how involved "Big Oil" is with CRU. But, of course, CRU's motives are pure and honest and therefore they can't be stained by "Big Oil". Skeptics, on the other hand, are evil and dishonest and even if it was the Pope himself who gave them money they would still be stained by "Big Oil" because, as every body knows, Catholics use some oil in their ceremonies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

        Briffa is running for cover now that he has been exposed as a piss poor scientist with an agenda. OK, maybe he has seen the error of his biased ways, but then again ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

      Nobody is suggesting that all views should have equal air-time..BUT any decisions not to give equal air-time (specifically if the debate is a science-vs-science one) need to be open. Some people may not like the decision the BBC made but MOST people (if not all) do not like the way they made it (and their attempt to hide the information).

      I know that the God Channel will be biased to the creationist myth. I know that the Discovery Channel will be biased towards the theory of Evolution. If the BBC is to be biased then I, as a licence fee payer, want to know why.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

      > In the US, some networks give equal airtime to evolutionists and to creationists.

      I actually don't have any objection to this.

      If the scientific community is to have any credibility, it needs to be able to take any kind of criticism on the chin with overwhelming evidence and an aloof attitude to "smearing".

      The only way to tackle religious nutcases is education and public debate. It's only when the public debate is suppressed that these nutjobs start to get a foothold.

      You might not like what religious leaders say, but they have every right to say it and to have people listen to them.

      Conversely, they should also expect that others will criticise their religious position as well, something that many of them seem to have a hard time dealing with.

  24. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Flame

    This story is not primarily about Global Warming...

    There are lies within lies in this story.

    The seminar we are talking about was not originally intended to be a 'policy-making' meeting.

    What happened is that the BBC unilaterally dropped their Charter requirement to provide balance in reporting Global Warming, purely due to internal activists. This change was noticed by outside bloggers, who started asking questions about why the BBC was in breach of its Charter.

    So, to shut them up, the BBC responded that they had duly considered the issue, and received proper scientific advice that there was no real controversy. They picked a recent internal seminar (which had been held to promulgate the Global Warming message to internal BBC staff) and claimed that this comprised 'the top scientific brains' who had provided this policy advice. There had been NO minutes - odd, for such a fundamental policy decision.

    That was meant to shut up the bloggers, who were crying for more details. The meeting was retrospectively claimed to be under the non-attributable Chatham House Rules, which neatly made it unable to be investigated.

    Blogger Tony Newbery submitted a FOI request for the names of these august scientists who had advised the BBC to drop its impartiality position. The BBC fought this tooth and nail, finally spending a 6-figure sum on barristers and packing the Tribunal where, last Friday, the request was rejected on the spurious grounds that the BBC could consider itself to be a private organisation if it wanted to keep secrets from the public.

    Now we can see that the meeting which was claimed to be with a policy-defining group of top scientists was, in fact, an activist jolly/propaganda exercise. And trying to hide this has cost the BBC a lot of money and face.

    I wonder whether charges of perjury are in order?

    1. Juan Inamillion

      Re: This story is not primarily about Global Warming...

      "And trying to hide this has cost the BBC and the taxpayers a lot of money...."

      There, fixed that for you.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sauce for the Goose?

    Is El Reg going to publish minutes of any meetings its journalists have had with climate change sceptics (including details of who ordered the pork scratchings)?

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sauce for the Goose?

      The minute El Reg gets funded by a country-wide license fee, and has to operate under a Bias-Free Charter, I am sure they will be providing all the minutes you require...

  26. Tim Worstal

    Here's what really worries me

    As far as I can tell there's only one economist there (Richard D North, of the IEA...good bloke). But *what we do* about climate change is an economic problem.

    Rather than just buying into the Greenpeace/NEF hippie nonsense, some serious thought on what we should do and how we should do it is required.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Here's what really worries me

      "Rather than just buying into the Greenpeace/NEF hippie nonsense, some serious thought on what we should do and how we should do it is required."

      Well the UK grid is starting to be upgraded and that's likely to be *billions* of £ on its own. Electricity companies has said 9% of their 11% price rises are to cope with climate change*

      And of course Tony Blair *legally* binding requirement to reduce *all* UK energy by 30% (or as I like to think of it the "f**k you Gordon law") won't be cheap (unless it's repealed?).

      *before allegations that the *wholesale* price of gas in the UK within the "market" has been fixed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here's what really worries me

        > *before allegations that the *wholesale* price of gas in the UK within the "market" has been fixed.

        What has not been widely publicised is that the alleged fixing was for a lower price for gas and not a higher price.

        1. marra

          Re: Here's what really worries me

          That is the way it works. Lower the wholesale price, keep the retail price the same as previously, and profit greatly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Here's what really worries me

            Actually, companies usually work to a percentage. If the total costs for building/distributing something is £100 they will charge, for example, £110 making £10 profit. If the price drops to £90 for making it they will charge £99, making less profit.

            In British Gases case they made £9 profit for every £100 they spent on purchasing and distributing gas.

  27. Purlieu

    re: one piece of real evidence

    Me neither, still waiting.

    Meanwhile the Antarctic gets colder

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: re: one piece of real evidence

      Even El Reg knows better than that.

      The Antarctic is getting steadily warmer, just like the rest of the planet.

  28. john mullee

    risk management problem.

    I can't prove you'll crash your car this evening.

    So you should incur the awful cost of wearing a seatbelt ?

    The insurance company just present some baffling verbiage about statistics and impact-severity ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: risk management problem.

      Huh!

      Not really the same is it? Car crashes happen and the statistics are based on multiple previous instances, (with and without seatbelts) - there are even some surveys on the injuries CAUSED by seat-belts (but that is a separate issue).

      What we are talking about here is the probability of a event that may or may not happen in the future (that has NOT happened before -the human element at any rate), and whether we are to blame and/or can stop it happening - assuming, or course it will happen.

      If the statistics were 'We have discovered that during the last 50,000 occurrences of global warming, the impact was greatly reduced whenever humans reduced CO2 emissions" then maybe your analogy would be correct.

    2. droolian01
      Facepalm

      Re: risk management problem.

      Equating MMGW with the laws of motion and simple probability is nonsense., because to 'deny' these would be to essentially abandon causality as a real concept. Something which even Hume would not do when crossing the road!

      You're conflating something with a very clear physical mechanistic explanation (car accidents) with something that is imprecisely (by definition) MODELED which may or may not correspond to any actual real data (man made global warming).

      Are you so sure that future generations will not be bewildered and dismayed that all the dosh you want to 'invest in our future' may have been better spent mitigating the effects of nature rather than trying to be King Canute mark 2?

    3. Corinne

      Re: risk management problem.

      If you're going to quote Risk Management theory, have you done the cost/benefit analysis of your analogy?

      Cost of wearing a seat belt vs likelihood of having an accident & the impact this would have on you - cost zero as seat belt is already fitted to the car, probability of event occurring based on a large amount of historic data, so an easy decision to make without even considering the amount of impact.

      Cost of reducing all man made carbon emissions vs likelihood of this being the sole cause of global climate change & how much this will be (and the overall effect on the world) - actually impossible to mitigate fully as there are various countries who have much higher CO2 emissions than the UK (who have no intention of reducing this, and make things worse by cutting down forested areas), cost of muitigation includes energy bills rising beyond those affordable by a large proportion of the poplace, virtually guaranteed black outs (which will affect industry) etc. Feed in the lack of proof of the overall impact of the risk actually a) occurring and b) the likelihood of it having the degree of severity suggested and sufddenly your analogy isn't quite as simple as you suggest.

      Of course the whole subject is much more complex than this, but that's my point - you can't compare a very simple bit of risk analysis with something as complex as climate change.

      Disclaimer - I recognise that climate change is happening, I am undecided on the degree of the impact of man-made elements.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its called Google and now everyone can play (and make up their own minds)

    Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London

    "Although an atheist since age 11, May has stated that religion may help society deal with climate change. While referring to what he believes to be a rigid structure of fundamentalist religion, he stated that the co-operational aspects of non-fundamentalist religion may in fact help with climate change. When asked if religious leaders should be doing more to persuade people to combat climate change, he stated that it was absolutely necessary "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_May,_Baron_May_of_Oxford

    Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA

    I am Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). My work explores the idea of climate change using historical, cultural and scientific analyses, seeking to illuminate the numerous ways in which climate change is deployed in public and political discourse. I believe it is important to understand and describe the varied ideological, political and ethical work that the idea of climate change is currently performing across different social worlds.

    http://www.mikehulme.org/

    Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace

    Blake Lee-Harwood leads SFP's Communications and Strategy Division. He has also consulted with SFP on matters relating to feed fisheries and sustainable animal feeds. He has both a BSc and MSc in biological sciences and has worked in senior positions for most of Britain’s environmental campaigning groups. Lee-Harwood worked as the head of the Industry Campaign at Friends of the Earth for several years and subsequently went on to work as a senior communicator for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a television producer, and a media director on development issues. He spent the period 1999-2007 at Greenpeace UK as Campaign Director developing national and international advocacy strategies around climate change and sustainable development.

    Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen

    I am so privilliged that my research interests are fully overlapping with my present research. I beleive it is very important to contribute in both the scientific and the public debat on melting ice in a changing climate. The evolution of the big ice sheets is a very 'hot' subject and I beleive our ice and climate research is a very important contribution in improving our understanding of the climate system.

    http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/staff/beskrivelse/?id=45103

    Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

    'Science' is often made to function as a vehicle of public policy. In G8 nations science and technology have a long history of involvement in economic planning. This is certainly true in the Arctic, my region of special interest, where science has played a variety of roles in colonisation, nation-building, and environmental monitoring

    http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/people/bravo/

    Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant

    Potentially, the insurance industry is exposed to climate change in a number of ways, although the effects may vary greatly between jurisdictions, due to industry structure and practice, as well as climatic and geographical differences.

    The insurance industry is already encountering aggravated claims for insured property damage in extreme events, particularly flood, storm, and drought. As yet, the main causes of the rising trend in property claims in recent decades are socio-economic rather than climatic, but the contribution of climatic change will likely rise quickly, due to the strongly non-linear relationship between climatic variables and damage, and the fact that a small shift in mean conditions can create a large change in extremes. The pace of change regarding weather extremes is fast.

    http://cstpr.colorado.edu/sparc/research/projects/extreme_events/munich_workshop/dlugolecki.pdf

    1. GrumpyJoe
      Thumb Up

      Re: Its called Google and now everyone can play (and make up their own minds)

      Thank you. I was asking for something like that - and before someone goes off on the JFGI bandwagon - I'm not a journalist and I read the register to get bitesize items of digested content - I'm no expert in this area and I'm looking for some editorial content.

      If everybody had the time to do the research there'd be no reason for news sites?

  30. IHateWearingATie
    Mushroom

    Not interested in the climate change topic...

    ... but very interested in the abuse of the FOI legislation. Does the tribunal and Information Commissioner have some kind of BBC blind spot? There's usually pretty good at holding other areas of the public sector to task over a strict interpretation of the Act.

    Very disappointed that the BBC Trust also hasn't weighed in on this - of course the managers at the beeb will be tempted to try not to disclose things that may be awkward for them (had to deal with the odd awkward FOI request when working in central government myself), but that is the point of the IC and Tribunal - to stop them taking the piss.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Not interested in the climate change topic...

      They can be contacted here.

      BBC Trust Unit

      180 Great Portland Street

      London

      W1W 5QZ

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here are some more selected quotes

    Trevor Evans, US Embassy

    Having trouble figuring out who he is, 100s of them no obvious link with US Embassy.....hmmmm

    Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change

    Challen founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change in 2005,[1] and has written that he believes the "catastrophic destabilisation of global climate represents the greatest threat that humanity faces."[2] In 2004, Challen presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill introducing the idea of David Fleming's TEQs scheme to Parliament, as a way of guaranteeing that promised emissions reductions would actually be achieved.[3] In 2009, Challen tabled an early day motion calling for all internal UK flights to be phased out before the end of the year, in order to reduce greenhouse gases.[2] He also urged Parliament to cut the national speed limit to 55 mph, and to dedicate two hours of prime-time television each week to explain the dangers posed by climate change.[4]

    In local elections held in May 2011, Challen was elected as a Labour member of Scarborough Borough Council, representing Castle ward.[

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Challen

    Apparently likes to fiddle his expenses as well, when he is not promoting unbiased scientific debate and research:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5390053/MPs-expenses-Colin-Challen-sold-flat-to-senior-researcher-then-rented-it-back-nightly.html

    Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net

    The U.S.'s chief climate negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, loves to rub in the fact that China is now the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter -- missing out the inconvenient truth that the geographical area of the world that is known as "China" contains many times more human beings than the area known as the U.S. The Hinkle Charitable Foundation reckons that "when compared to 1.3 billion people of China, the 290 million people in the U.S. emit over seven times as much, per person."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anuradha-vittachi/durban-climate-talks-un_b_1123351.html

    Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation

    Andrew founded the climate change, energy and interdependence programmes at nef (the new economics foundation), and is author of Ecological Debt: Global Warming and the Wealth of Nations (2009). Described by New Scientist magazine as ‘a master at joined-up progressive thinking,’ he was co-author of the groundbreaking Green New Deal report and co-founded the Green New Deal group. Until the end of 2010, he was Policy Director at nef.

    Claire Foster, Church of England

    Slowly, she says, people are beginning to realize that we cannot "separate humans from the rest of the created order, that we rely on the natural order for life…we can't survive without insects for example…"

    But, Claire adds, while churches are not the worst of environmental offenders, as the Church takes a higher profile on global climate change issues it is important that 'our own house is in order'.

    http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news-extras/yearreview/dec06/gogreenchurchesurged.aspx

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Here are some more selected quotes

      "He also urged Parliament to cut the national speed limit to 55 mph"

      My car gets it's best mile-per-gallon at 65mph. At 55mph in a NSL zone I'm wasting fuel, emitting excessive CO2 and polluting the environment.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So... are we ALL going to be arrested now?

    You, the Registrars, for publishing the list, and us, Registrarees, for having read the list?

    p.s. it was blatantly obvious they didn't want to publish the list because their claim about those greatest scientific minds was just steaming pile of bullshit and they were embarrassed it would be revealed and BBC would be grilled in public. Shock, horror everyone, BBC has sexed up their claim!

    I sincerely hope they will be grilled and kicked in their broad-casting ass in public, because they fully deserve it, from start, with their false claim, to the very end last week, when they successfully hid behind this "purpose of journalism" in the court.

    btw, who's going to send that list to the judge? Perhaps he'd be interested to know who some of the greatest scientific minds in the UK are?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And some more quotes, today Google, the Reg and AO are all friends

    Saleemul Huq, IIED

    Building negotiating capacity and supporting the engagement of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in UNFCCC ahead of COP15 including negotiator training workshops for LDCs, policy briefings and support for the Adaptation Fund Board. Research into vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the least developed countries.

    Lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Lead Author of the chapter on Adaptation and Mitigation in the IPCC's fourth assessment report.

    http://www.iied.org/users/saleemul-huq

    Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University

    At the Centre, Poshendra’s work is at the interface between research and policy on the distributional and equity impacts of climate change mitigation, with a particular focus on i) public perceptions of, and attitudes towards, environmental rights, responsibilities and the concepts of environmental and climate justice in the context of climate change mitigation; and ii) the societal and equality impacts of climate change mitigation proposals, policies and plans. The post is a part of the multi-disciplinary ClimateXChange – Scotland’s Centre of Expertise on Climate Change that involves a number of Scottish universities and research centres (including the Centre) and is funded by the Scottish Government. In particular, the research uses a climate justice frame and explores how equity and justice considerations relate to the performance of mitigation policies, plans and programmes in Scotland (including their potential conflicts, synergies, and differential impacts).

    http://carboncentre.org/carbonCMS/about-us/dr-poshendra-s

    Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China

    Li is a leader in the attempt to draw attention to the Yellow river's plight. The river known famously as the 'craddle of chinese civilization', and is currently subsiding due to the effects of global warming. She was part of a team of Greenpeace China members who took a horrifying trip to the uper reaches of the Anyemagen mountains, where the river valley begins. Quoted at the 2005 montreal greenpeace climate change talks as saying: "I am happy to be here communicating to world decision makers what is going on in China, how we impacted by climate change. I think this is the first time that this has happened."Also added about climate change, "I know how urgent and devastating the impacts of climate change are - and world leaders need to do something about this."

    What does the process mean for her country?: "China fully recognizes that it is important to tackle climate change, because it is getting the worst impacts of the changing climate. China will contribute to clean development, and without China participating in clean development in the future, all other efforts to stop climate change will be futile."

    http://www.unep.org/women_env/w_details.asp?w_id=409

    Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia

    I think there is a question of justice to consider here. The “polluter pays” principle has been successfully applied in Western countries to discourage pollution by heavy industries. Why can’t we apply these same principles on a global level?

    The high living standard enjoyed in the West today is the result of a century and a half of industrialization, primarily driven by the consumption of fossil fuels.

    There is no denying the fact that these industries have contributed to the CO2 emissions which have been blamed for the “greenhouse effect.” With its low industrial base, Africa contributes just 4% to the global total of CO2 emissions, whereas the USA accounts for 20%.

    http://tellitlikeitis.wordpress.com/2006/09/22/tadesse-dadi-on-climate-change-in-africa-and-on-the-polluter-pays/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And some more quotes, today Google, the Reg and AO are all friends

      So far I've only counted the Danish guy from the Bohr institute in the category ot "real scientist".

  34. robin48gx
    Happy

    complain

    complain to them.....http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

  35. scarshapedstar
    Facepalm

    SCANDALOUS SCANDALOSITY

    "as suspected, climate campaigners Greenpeace are present"

    How is this legal? Hell, why wasn't a Predator drone dispatched immediately?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing to bind them all

    Common Purpose

  37. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    what to do about it?

    Might I suggest a letter to Lord Patten of Barnes CH

    BBC Trust Unit

    180 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5QZ

    Or perhaps a call into "points of view" 0370 908 3199.

    This is the *biggest* change in editorial policy in 80 years. It was done in *secret* without telling anybody. *outside* the corporation.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vote with your feet

    If you don't like the bias in whatever form it presents itself as at the BBC, then cancel your TV license. You can still watch the few good items on IPlayer or other catch up TV services. I cancelled 6 months ago. It is amazing the amount of stuff I've got done due to not sitting in front of the idiot box. Try it.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impartiality does not mean giving equal airtime to those who deny the scientific evidence

    This is the problem with science in the media. It thinks 'balance' means that for every scientist who says 'the earth is round' an equal amount of time has to be given to crackpot flat-earth theorists.

    Same goes for vaccines - every scientist will tell you the MMR vaccine is perfectly safe, yet the news media thinks 'I must be impartial, get me an idiot working in a shed who thinks there's a link to autism'

    Balance and Impartiality applies to OPINIONS - like how to govern, or politics, or the best tasting bacon - it DOES NOT apply to those scientific theories for which the preponderance of evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of a scientific theory (and for those morons who say 'but it's only a theory' can I refer you to the back of the class where they are handing out dribble-shields and tongue clamps to stop you licking the windows).

    Read Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science' for all you need to know about what is wrong with media reporting.

  40. flearider
    FAIL

    whoa .. wait a min all of you

    this effectively rewrites the 2000 Act, and redefines the BBC as a private body.

    so if the bbc is redefining itself as a private body why the hell i'm i paying it my tv license fee's ???

    plz someone tell me ??as a public body you can/have been made to pay for it ..

    but if it's private well it can go kiss my pay packet goodbye and all the overpaid suits can go find another job ..

    wonder if i/we can use this in a court of fools/law to stop paying for somthing i/we never use ...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impartial Registr ...

    Why is it, the OIL companies fund 'research' that throw doubt on climate change, is it their concern for scientific accuracy or that such research might hit their quarterly returns.

  42. Martin Budden Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    This is very bad news!

    I was really hoping that the FOI legal case would find against the BBC thus forcing the BBC to fix its FOI process.

    Instead, the discovery of the list on the Wayback Machine has made the FOI battle irrelevant, thus letting the BBC off the hook and able to continue to (ab)use the FOI law as it stands.

  43. crediblywitless

    Everyone at the BBC is utterly convinced that they are "considerably smarter than you" (Harry Enfield, was it?) and therefore almost none of the normal rules of human discourse apply to them. They will always have an explanation, but may not tell you what it is because your tiny brain will be unable to handle it. Institutional arrogance, writ large. The notion that their mega-expensive lawyers didn't know that the list was actually available is pretty damning. Mind, it might just be that the legal researchers were looking for a panel of "the best scientific experts", saw that list, and decided that that couldn't possibly be it.

    I'm a big fan of the specification and design of the BBC, but I have a few problems with its current implementation. It needs some serious debugging and refeaturing. BBC2.0?

  44. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    In other news, the "established scientific concensus" that gravity pulls things together, that metal atoms have electric charges, that the earth is magnetic, must be balanced by opposing opinions.

    1. Fading Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Scientific concensus..

      And that electricity flows from positive to negative.....

      And leaches and bleeding are good cure alls...

      And without force there is no motion (Aristotles theories on motion)....

  45. bugalugs

    might not

    falsifiability be defined as the quantum of credibility(utility,applicability,understanding,etc) of an hypothethis or theory resting on the repeatability of experiment and accuracy of empirical observation ? F = AeO/Re ; range 0 -1. 0 = faith, 1 = applicable science...?

    falsify away

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We don't actually care one way or the other.

    Sincerely,

    The cockroaches.

  47. bugalugs
    Pirate

    @bugalugs "falsify away"

    aweigh, of course

  48. Dogsauce
    Mushroom

    Hiding the truth

    I was really angry when they had footage on the BBC of the so-called 'round the world' yacht race, and at no point was the opposing view that the world isn't round presented. Not a single word. Why do I pay my license fee to these flat-earth deniers? What kind of cabal of pressure groups and educated people with a knowledge of the subject persuaded them to hide THE TRUTH!!??

  49. Helloworld
    Happy

    Proper use of language

    Most educational. Now we all have learned that "the best scientific experts" is another way of saying "people who don't know a lot about science". Now we can use this construction in other fields, such as, "The cast of 'Jersey Shore' is made up of the best etiquette experts." Thanks BBC!

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