Over the last several years, Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) and I have taken a great deal of interest in the BBC’s coverage of the climate debate, and this has involved a good deal of behind-the-scenes research. So we were obviously interested when the BBC Trust announced in early January this year that they were to conduct a review of the impartiality of their science coverage.

Our first reaction was to write to Professor Richard Tait, the Trustee who was fronting this project, requesting that we should make a submission to the review and pointing out that the main critics of the BBC coverage of AGW were in the blogoshpere. Not only were we unable to get a reply form Professor Tait, but we were unable even to get confirmation from the secretary of the Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee that he had been given the letter. This will be the subject of another post.

Fortunately, in April,  Andrew’s remarkably well-developed antenna picked up a request for comments from the general public on an obscure BBC web page. He contacted Professor Steve Jones, the person commissioned by the BBC Trust to conduct the review, who proved to be rather more approachable than Professor Tait. It was quickly arranged that we should make a submission before the end of October. His report is due to be published in the Spring of 2011.

The document that we finally sent to Professor Jones can be found here and it will be interesting to see whether anyone takes notice of what we have said.

See the thread about this at Bishop Hill too.

__________________________________________________

Read James Delingpole’s typically enthusiastic take on this post at the Daily Telegraph

And JoNova’s perspective from down under here

John A is sensibly cautious about the  BBC listening at WUWT

91 Responses to “Bloggers’ submission to the BBC Trust review of the impartiality of science coverage”

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  1. 51
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    That’s all a bit thin. Yes, you can find articles like the ones you’ve quoted. I’ll just repeat this summary from one: “The North Atlantic is hotting up fast but it’s not because of climate change, say scientists in the most recent edition of the journal Science. No, it’s because there’s less dust around to keep the water cool.”

    This is just one report from one group. All the same, it could well be true. What it does say is that between 67% and 69% of the measured warming, 0.25deg C per decade in the tropical region of the North Atlantic can be accounted for by less dust. OK. Still, the point to note is that it doesn’t say that there is no significant anthropogenically induced climate change. That’s not quite the same thing.

    You’ll need to do a bit better than that.

    The BBC pretty much stick to the IPCC line. If you are saying that the BBC have got their science wrong you’ll need to find evidence that scientific bodies like the NAS and RS think the IPCC have got it wrong too.

  2. 52
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain (51): “If you are saying that the BBC have got their science wrong”

    That’s not what you’ve asked me. You asked:

    Can you provide a single credible reference to show the BBC have seriously misrepresented the current state of scientific opinion on the AGW question?

    And that’s exactly what I have done, with three examples. You might also want to consider, for each example:

    (a) how Mike Hulme himself was not impressed with the Copenhagen statement being branded as a consensus document

    (b) the joke that is to talk global warming effects starting from a single poster presentation

    (c) the poor, copy-and-paste quality of the shrimp cocktail BBC article

    Please try again, either by showing how exactly those three examples fail to show misrepresentation of the “current state of scientific opinion” as it was at the time each article was published, or by defining once and for all what did you mean by the expression “seriously misrepresented”.

    And if you want to have an example of the BBC _not_ misrepresenting the science, it’s here.

  3. 53
    geoffchambers Says:

    What would constitute “impartial coverage”? My fear is that even after the review, the BBC would feel happy with an hour-long programme in which – say – Steve McIntyre was given three minutes to expound his views, and Mann was given equal time to reply.
    The problem is not simply in the bias of individuals, but in the attitude to programme-making which thinks that letting both sides have their say is sufficient – that the journalist should be a neutral referee between opposing camps, with no analytical contribution of his own.

    On the content of the Newbery / Montford submission: it is – on the surface – odd to expend so much effort on detailing the difficulty the authors had in finding out the names of the scientists attending a single meeting. But of course, it is equally odd that the BBC should refuse to release those names. That’s the story – the dog that didn’t bark, or rather, the dog that refuses to bark and covers its silence by referring to its exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.
    I’d love to write a Gilbert and Sulllivan-style comic opera based on that meeting. Would that be good grounds for demanding the list I wonder?

  4. 54
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    Geoff – “impartial coverage” is exactly what BBC’s Mukul Devichand managed to achieve IMHO:

    Rather than recording the usual regurgitated press release in order to reaffirm how any scientist that happens to be near a microphone is always right and always will be, Mr Devichand has done his job, what should be the normal job for every self-respecting journalist at the BBC and elsewhere: he has put forward interesting, probing, challenging questions to the scientists at hand, making sure the listeners understood the limits of the proposed theory, and going as far as to suggest some of the criticisms could be warranted

    The guy has obviously read what the scientists in question were proposing, has informed himself about the criticisms by other scientists, and then has proceeded to investigate the issue by using his own brains, rather than reciting the pantomime of leaving the scientists state whatever of their fancy.

    This is “being impartial” in the sense of “not being partial” to either side, and yet not being a damp squid of a middle-man news typer either.

    And by the way: any scientific journalist that ever writes “they say” or “the scientists say” should be made to wear the classical “dunce cap” at for a month at least.

  5. 55
    geoffchambers Says:

    Maurizio #54
    I’ve just read the transcript of the Devichand programme and I agree entirely. To get programmes of this quality on climate change, we’d have to have e.g. Black interviewing Lindzen, and Durkin interviewing Mann. Now who of those four people do you think would refuse to do the interviews?
    If you’d like to continue the discussion with someone who probably disagrees fundamentally with you on the subject of the Devichand programme, drop me a line (I’ve lost your email address on an ancient harddrive).

  6. 56
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    maurizio At morabito Dot name

  7. 57
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    The BBC are a broadcaster not a scientific institution so there is no requirement to report on every scientific publication – just the ones that they may consider to be of general interest to the public. Furthermore, I would expect that the BBC’s take on the AGW issue should be very close to what we might read on the RS, the NAS, or the CSIRO’s website. The BBC don’t employ climate scientists, and their coverage will at times may be less than perfect. If they do stray too much off line then, of course, it’s fair enough to make a scientific case that they need to improve.

    Although you claim to be doing just that, it strikes me that the basis of your criticism is precisely the opposite. It’s not that their reporting is misrepresenting scientific opinion but rather that they are representing it rather too closely for your liking.

    I’ve often noticed that people like yourself claim to be scientifically motivated, but, in reality their motivation is usually political. If I looked a little further into your blogging history, would I find any evidence of right-wing political leanings?

  8. 58
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain (57): I see that you’ve renounced defending the impossible.

    In fact I can provide more examples of the BBC misleading its public by twisting the science to serve a different purpose: a leading climate scientists that wasn’t, flat-out denial of new research showing a link between cosmic rays and climate, asymmetrical reporting privileging denial of a Sun-climate change connection, the most classical of cold-is-weather, warm-is-climate examples, idiotically canned replies to complaints about irrelevant pro-warming reporting. Etc etc etc.

    In fact, I will go as far as to say that if anybody shows me the ONE article by Harrabin or Black on the BBC site that could be accused of a tiny, minuscule, microscopic, infinitesimal anti-AGW bias, I will declare henceforth that the BBC has never been biased on AGW, and that everything that has happened so far has been a case of randomly falling this or that side of catastrophism.

    If they do stray too much off line then, of course, it’s fair enough to make a scientific case that they need to improve

    Since they have demonstrably been straying off line since the day David Whitehouse left his post as chief science correspondent, you’re welcome to the club!

    Only thing, there is no “scientific case” to be made. The BBC is not a scientific institution, as you say. The case to be made is journalistic and societal, that as a public broadcaster they should not single-mindedly push AGW propaganda. Or at worst, they should abandon all pretense of fair and balanced reporting, and declare for all the world to see that they believe in catastrophic AGW and in their duty to help humanity avoid disaster.

    it strikes me that the basis of your criticism

    Your statement is completely baseless. First of all I have never claimed to be criticising the BBC on purely scientific grounds. Secondly even if I were (and our discussion has been momentarily exactly about that), I have just inundated this website with links showing that reporting at the BBC does not follow contemporary scientific understanding of AGW, but emphasizes each and every time the catastrophic/negative aspects. Please provide counterexamples and/or some quotes of mine demonstrating where your understanding comes from.

    I’ve often noticed that people like yourself claim to be scientifically motivated, but, in reality their motivation is usually political

    Please provide any evidence whatsoever from anything I have ever written, where I have stated that I am “scientifically motivated” instead of “politically motivated”. I’d say, I am both, but I am not sure if that fits into your understanding of reality.

    would I find any evidence of right-wing political leanings?

    And of left-wing political leanings, and (mostly) of libertarian political leanings (is that left or right???), and of concerns for the destruction of science and environmentalism in the eyes of the public at large caused by rabid catastrophists. And much more. But again, does this fit into your understanding of reality?

    And how exactly does it make any different, the fact that the BBC reported a consensus among scientists at Copenhagen in March 2009 that was in truth nothing of the sort? Or the fact that Mr Black almost completely made-up a 2007 story about climate skeptics? Or the fact that in June 2009 a BBC correspondent from Australia pre-packaged a report strictly following a pro-AGW party line? Or the fact that Richard Black (again!) misread a report’s findings to argue about a bogus relationship between climate skepticism and being male?

    Well, if my political leanings have an effect on all of that, I shall don a cape, a mask and tights and fly off to save the world myself!

  9. 59
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    OK so you have what you call libertarian political leanings? I’d say that in UK terms that would put you on the right of the Tory Party, sympathetic to Daniel Hannan for example, or maybe UKIP?

    Are you English or Italian? In Italian terms I’d guess you’d be sympathetic to Snr Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia or the European Peoples’ Party maybe?

    I have this same problem with Max. He wants to debate the science but I can’t see the point if his motivations, like yours, are largely political. It does seem that that there is a tendency worldwide, with those of similar political beliefs to yourself, to link AGW with some sort of left wing hoax or conspiracy. Its a curious phenomena that I wouldn’t have predicted, and I’m not claiming to fully understand it, but it’s a big problem.

  10. 60
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain (59): time for irrelevant questions, it seems. And congratulations on being able to be wrong on so many fronts!

    ( a ) The UKIP is the only political party whose leaflet I have given back to its startled distributors at my local station, as I find its very existence offensive to a tax-paying foreigner such as myself. I am mildly sympathetic to the positions expressed by the former trotskyites of Spiked, if you really want to know, even if I find them excessively meldrewsque at times.

    ( b ) In Italy I have voted for both centre-left (Prodi) and centre-right (Berlusconi) coalitions. I have been politically active in both coalitions. Funny thing is, I didn’t have to change my political convictions in order to do that.

    ( c ) I have repeatedly stated that I do not believe that AGW is a left-wing hoax or conspiracy of any sort.

    ( d) If you find anybody of similar political beliefs as myself please do send me name and address, as it will be the second member of the Party!

    The only big problem here is your complete misunderstanding of what this particular correspondent (me) talks about. Seems you have a grave issue in grasping complexity, and given the characteristics of the world’s climate this “insight” may go a long way in explaining a thing or two about your attitude towards AGW.

    But there is reason to rejoice, as I will soon publish a blog explaining why it is so (politically) important to fight against poorly-understood poorly-explained scientific concepts such as AGW especially as they are poorly-translated into poor policies. My post, may I dream for a second, will contain nothing specifically right-wing or left-wing, even if Maoists and neo-Phalangists will disagree a lot with its content 8-)

  11. 61
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain: I forgot to say: I am a Roman Catholic and I strongly disagree with the Church’s involvement in politics, or its teachings about public attitudes to sex. That’s hardly the opinion of a potential candidate for the Presidency of the European’s People’s Party.

    There is a saying, even the astrologer can’t always be wrong. You’ve managed to come close.

  12. 62
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    I have just been looking through your blogs and you haven’t just got one! That’s obviously not enough for the incredible amount you do have to say for yourself! You seem to have three or four!

    You don’t seem to be quite the one man centrist grouping you claim though though. I presume this is you?

    Maurizio Morabito(*) and Ilaria Filippi(**)
    ‘Freedom People’ (Popolo della Liberta) Party’s Supporters Group in London

    Furthermore you claim to “have repeatedly stated that I do not believe that AGW is a left-wing hoax or conspiracy of any sort.” (Where was that then?)

    Yet you do make the parallel between Lysenkoism, which has become a by-word for fraud and state sponsored scientific conspiracy, and AGW

    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/parallels-between-lysenkoism-and-agw/

    That’s the problem with the net. Once you post up your opinions for all to see, its not so easy to deny them afterwards.

  13. 63
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    You accuse Maurizio Morabito (62) of making

    the parallel between Lysenkoism, which has become a by-word for fraud and state sponsored scientific conspiracy, and AGW

    Let’s check that out.

    Wiki informs us:

    Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.

    Hmmm… Does this description apply to the IPCC approach to climate science today?

    Has the “scientific process” been “manipulated” or “distorted”? I would agree with Dr. Judith Curry and many others (as witnessed by the recent revelations) that this has, indeed, been the case.

    Was this done in order to reach a “predetermined conclusion”? Again, I believe the evidence indicates that this has been the case, with the “predetermined conclusion” being alarming AGW.

    Was it “dictated by an ideological bias”? I believe Brute, Lord Monckton and many others would definitely agree that this is the case, and I would lean in this direction, as well, but I admit that the evidence to support this is less compelling than for the previous two conclusions.

    Has the “scientific process” been “distorted” in order to advance “social or political objectives”? Kyoto, Bali, Copenhagen, etc. all confirm that this has been the case – will Cancun be a re-run (I believe so)?

    So it looks to me like the comparison between AGW and Lysenkoism is “spot on”.

    If you disagree, please point out why on a point-by-point basis.

    Max

  14. 64
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    Yes, yes you would agree with the parallel between Lysenkoism and AGW. You think AGW is a hoax and a left wing scam , so crazy though the notion is , you are at least consistent in your argument.

    Maurizio however, claims to “have repeatedly stated that I do not believe that AGW is a left-wing hoax or conspiracy of any sort.” So he’s not only harbouring a crazy notion, he’s inconsistent in his argument too.

  15. 65
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    My thoughts on this are not that different from those expressed recently by Dr. Curry (who is undoubtedly more knowledgeable that either you or I on this matter).

    Refer to my 2457 on the NS thread for the complete text or check it out here:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/

    Rather than talking about hoaxes and left wing scams, re-read Dr. Curry’s assessment, then read my 63 for the comparison between AGW and Lysenkoism (as I see it), and then respond if you have any pertinent comments to make.

    Max

  16. 66
    manacker Says:

    Maurizio Morabito

    You wrote to PeterM (61)

    even the astrologer can’t always be wrong.

    This may be true, but there is one person who is always wrong: the doomsayer who predicts cataclysmic disaster (such as imminent “tipping points” that will result in “irreversible deleterious effects” to our climate leading to “devastating effects on wildlife”, “extermination of a large fraction of plant and animal species” and “sea level rise this century that may be measured in meters”).

    Most doomsday predictions have been supported by a scientific (or pseudo-scientific) premise and by oracles, prophets or computer models (possibly with a pseudo-religious “guilt and retribution” element), but ALL doomsday predictions have one thing in common.

    Unlike the astrologer who may have a 50% (or even higher) hit rate, doomsday predictions are ALWAYS wrong (100% of the time), by definition (or we would not be here today)

    Max

  17. 67
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain (62)

    So I write that “I have been politically active in both [Italian centre-left and centre-right coalitions” and you reply with the “discovery” that…I am politically active in the centre-right coalition!

    Don’t you think, that’s a restatement of what I have just said.

    ???

    And as for the “one man centrist grouping you claim”: I have claimed nothing of the sort. Actually, it’s more evidence of your inability to grasp complexity, so that not-exactly-left, not-exactly-right in your world is “centre”.

    Well, I have nothing in common with any “centrist grouping”, thank you very much.

    Lysenkoism, which has become a by-word for fraud and state sponsored scientific conspiracy, and AGW

    So we start with a claim about AGW being a hoax and a left-wing scam, and we end up with the parallels between AGW and Lysenkoism? If you’d read my blog post, you would have found this witty remark (not mine):

    Lysenko’s personality and attitude would have made him a “guaranteed success in British science today”

    Sadly, one doesn’t need no conspiracy, and one doesn’t need no hoax to find success in British science today with half-cooked scientific theories that fail to deal with reality.

    ========

    Anyway…in all these years on the net, there have only been three kind of people that have consistently moved every discussion from talking about the topic, to talking about me: creationists, chemtrailers and AGW believers. So don’t you worry, you’re not alone.

  18. 68
    tonyb Says:

    Maurizio

    Peter in #57 said to you.

    “I’ve often noticed that people like yourself claim to be scientifically motivated, but, in reality their motivation is usually political. If I looked a little further into your blogging history, would I find any evidence of right-wing political leanings?”

    If you look back through the long history of the New Statesman thread you will see that Peter asks this question continually of anyone who happens to catch his eye for a milisecond.

    He is very motivated by politics and ideology and thinks everyone else is. He believes that anyone sceptical of AGW must automatically be a knuckle dragging right wing neanderthal who would like nothing more than to run over polar bears whilst on their way to drill for oil in a pristine wilderness in Alaska.

    Unfortunately we keep confounding him here as we are much more interested in the science, but still he likes to stick to his outworn and threadbare hypotheses-bit of an analogy for AGW really.

    He has a great habit of pretending not to see posts that challenge his othodoxy. But don’t worry, the ruder and more off topic he gets the more it means he likes you.

    We think of him as one of Australia’s national treasures in much the same way as Dame Edna Everidge.

    PS you are spot on with your observation;

    “Anyway…in all these years on the net, there have only been three kind of people that have consistently moved every discussion from talking about the topic, to talking about me: creationists, chemtrailers and AGW believers. So don’t you worry, you’re not alone.”

    Tonyb

  19. 69
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    Tonyb hasn’t mentioned the other questions I usually ask:

    1) How much climate science do you understand?
    2) If, like Tonyb, the answer to the above is “not much”, then how can you know that the IPCC and every other world scientific body have it all wrong?

    Even when climate change sceptics do claim some understanding of science, its pretty obvious, from early blog postings, that they made their initial assessment that it just can’t be happening for a variety of odd and non scientific reasons.

    Politics, usually of a very right wing flavour, is nearly always the motivational force.

  20. 70
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    You say:

    “My thoughts on this are not that different from those expressed recently by Dr. Curry”

    Well, I suppose if you mean by “not much different”, you think its all hoax and a scam, and she doesn’t, then you could be right.

  21. 71
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Since you have asked Maurizio Morabito the same, let me ask you a point-blank question:

    How much climate science do you understand?

    a) as much as Kevin Trenberth, Phil Jones, Roy Spencer or Richard Lindzen.

    b) quite a bit, but admittedly far less than real experts, such as Kevin Trenberth, Phil Jones, Roy Spencer or Richard Lindzen.

    c) a fair grasp of the theoretical bases of GH science and the extent of actually observed climate changes, with some knowledge of natural and anthropogenic forcing factors

    d) maybe a bit more than the average person, but not in much detail

    e) nothing at all

    f) none of the above – please explain

    I’d put myself at c), with the hope of eventually advancing to b), by reading all the new stuff that is out there.

    Where would you rate yourself, Peter?

    Max

  22. 72
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    To my statement

    My thoughts on this are not that different from those expressed recently by Dr. Curry

    you concluded (71):

    Well, I suppose if you mean by “not much different”, you think its all hoax and a scam, and she doesn’t, then you could be right.

    No, Peter, that is not the point here. I have not read anywhere that Dr. Curry has used the words “hoax” and “scam”.

    My agreement with her views has to do with the validity of the IPCC assessments, the politicization of climate science and the “IPCC dogma”, where Dr. Curry has recently written:

    At some point, I decided that I could no longer in good faith support the IPCC and its assessments.

    Dr. Curry has also bemoaned the IPCC politicization of climate science in what she refers to:

    a particularly toxic positive feedback loop between climate science and policy and politics, whose direction has arguably been reversed as result of Climategate

    Dr. Curry was quite specific on the topic of “IPCC dogma”, where she wrote:

    The advantages of dogma
    When I refer to the IPCC dogma, it is the religious importance that the IPCC holds for this cadre of scientists; they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC. Who are these priests of the IPCC? Some are mid to late career middle ranking scientists who have done ok in terms of the academic meritocracy. Others were still graduate students when they were appointed as lead authors for the IPCC. These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers. This advancement of their careers is done with the complicity of the professional societies and the institutions that fund science. Eager for the publicity, high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS frequently publish sensational but dubious papers that support the climate alarm narrative.

    She also expresses dismay at the IPCC’s loss of trust and stresses the importance of rebuilding this trust “through greater transparency and greater attention to uncertainties”.

    Following the recent revelations of shoddy science and, even more so, the defensive reaction of IPCC leadership, Curry has questioned whether the IPCC should even continue to exist:

    I began asking whether the IPCC could survive this, and even whether it should survive this.

    These are the points, Peter, where I would agree with Dr. Curry, although I will admit that I have given up on IPCC “fixing itself” under its current political structure and leadership, while she might still have hopes this could be done.

    Got it now? (It’s not really that complicated, but you have to read what Dr. Curry wrote in order to understand it.)

    Max

  23. 73
    tempterrain Says:

    Max,

    I accept that people like Monbiot and Flannery, and yes myself, don’t have an expert opinion – but we don’t have to. Its not us who are saying that the IPCC and the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the CSIRO have it all wrong. We do have the advantage over so called climate change sceptics in that sense. Yes, I know its unfair. But that’s life!

  24. 74
    tonyb Says:

    Maurizio

    Peter in his #69 didn’t mention that Tonyb is the only one here (as far as I know) that has actually written articles on aspects of climate change.

    As he has admitted he doesn’t know much about climate science which is presumably why he likes to stick to politics (on which he is invariably knowlegable and interesting if highly repetitive in always seeking an AGW connection)

    tonyb

  25. 75
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    All – there’s already lots of comments on this website so I hereby announce a strict policy of posting only stuff that is strictly pertinent to each blog post’s original content, everything else being by definition not relevant.

    I will also refrain from replying to straw-men arguments such as “how can you know that the IPCC and every other world scientific body have it all wrong?“. I do not have the time to keep repeating that I have never said anything like what a certain individual keeps attributing to me.

    Questions about my views based on flawed exegetical analysis rather than direct quotes will be therefore and summarily ignored.

  26. 76
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    If I interpreted your #73 correctly, it was a response to the question you first asked Maurizio (69) and I then asked you:

    How much climate science do you understand?

    From your answer, I conclude you have chosen c)

    a fair grasp of the theoretical bases of GH science and the extent of actually observed climate changes, with some knowledge of natural and anthropogenic forcing factors

    So it looks like we (believe we) have about the same level of knowledge, along with basic scientific and technical understanding, which should actually give us a “level playing field” for debating the many open scientific issues, based on existing and new data that are reported. You appear to give a lot of credence to IPCC assessment summaries, which you accept at face value, whereas I tend to be rationally skeptical, preferring to look at the scientific studies behind these summaries.

    From what I have seen, I’d say that TonyB most likely has a higher level of knowledge of climate science in general (and, more specifically, of climate history) than either of us, since he has devoted considerable time researching and writing about historical climate developments.

    We three may have different opinions on politics (as do many other bloggers here), but for me these are of secondary importance compared to the scientific or technical issues supporting “climate science”.

    No doubt, Peter, that climate science has become overly “politicized” (as Judith Curry has lamented).

    But is this any surprise?

    Any time you are dealing with a multi-billion dollar big business, the prospect of trillions of dollars of tax revenues and a “convenient network” of powerful interests as described by TonyN, you will have “politics” involved – and this is no different.

    The “political” debate on “climate” certainly needs to take place, but, for me, it is secondary to the “scientific” debate.

    If there is no sound scientific evidence, based on empirical data derived from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, to support the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis, then there is no logical need for political action to mitigate against this potential danger.

    And, Peter, whether you like it or not, that is precisely where the current debate on “dangerous AGW” stands today.

    That is why I have concluded that the debate on the “science” has to come before the debate on the “politics”.

    Max

  27. 77
    manacker Says:

    PeterM and Maurizio Morabito

    Maurazio is right. This thread relates to the credibility and impartiality of BBC reporting on climate science in general, to the internal BBC review on impartiality, more specifically, and to the “Submission to the Review of Impartiality and Accuracy of the BBC’s Coverage of Science” by Andrew Montford and Tony N.

    While it may be indirectly related, I believe that TonyN would agree that we should move our more general discussion on the scientific validity of the “dangerous AGW” premise as promoted by IPCC to the more general “NS thread”.

    Would you both agree?

    Max

  28. 78
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tonyb (68 and 72): actually, going back to the issue with the BBC, there is a political aspect, albeit not a party political aspect to the whole AGW saga. IMNSHO one cannot simply stick to the science or simply discuss the politics. There is no AGW without the IPCC and there is no IPCC without the governments and the scientists working together.

    AGW is not just a “silly cosmologists play with the reifications called Dark Matter and Dark Energy” issue about lowering standards in the scientific arena.

    ps As a side note, I am myself one of the authors of a climate paper submitted to Nature, approved by both (!) peer reviewers and then refused publication (!!) by the editors (this was before the Climategate scandal).

    I guess that makes me a peer-reviewed unpublished climatologist. 8-P

  29. 79
    manacker Says:

    Maurizio

    I would agree with you that there definitely is a “political aspect, albeit not a party political aspect to the whole AGW saga” (including the manner in which BBC reports “climate related” issues as well as the approach the BBC Trust used to “investigate impartiality” in this reporting).

    I think that a major element is that of “political correctness” (or PC).

    BBC (and other similar organizations) want to make absolutely sure that their reporting is “PC”.

    And, due to very clever manipulations by IPCC and its political supporters, the concept of “alarming AGW” (requiring immediate action, of course) has become “PC”.

    Speaking out against the “PC” IPCC AGW mantra has become very “non-PC”. Those who risk doing this are branded as “deniers”, “blockers”, “big oil stooges”, etc.

    “Climategate” and other revelations may be gradually eroding the IPCC reputation (and the blogosphere may be accelerating this process), but until the IPCC message on AGW can be divested of its “PC” mantle, it will be difficult for organizations like BBC to report climate issues impartially.

    Max

  30. 80
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    I not sure that BSc (failed) or Article to Nature (rejected) are any sort of qualifications to boast about. I’m sure Nature reject all sort of articles, some that are even quite good. So, maybe you needn’t feel too bad. Have you tried Energy and Environment? You can really start to worry if you get rejected from that.

    You’re comment “There is no AGW without the IPCC” is a bit odd. So we just close down the IPCC and world temperatures will fall? Then you say “there is no IPCC without the governments and the scientists working together” Yes that sounds fair enough. But, your whole sentence means that Governments and Scientists are working together to create AGW. This sounds like a a conspiracy to me but you’ve previously said:
    “I have repeatedly stated that I do not believe that AGW is a left-wing hoax or conspiracy of any sort.”

    OK Maybe I see now. It is a conspiracy but just not a left – wing one. Is that what you mean?

    TonyB,

    You’ve written articles on climate science too? Blimey I’m impressed. Have you tried submitting yours to Nature too? You should. Just think how your credibility would soar if it were accepted. No-one could accuse you of not knowing what you were talking about ever again.

  31. 81
    tonyb Says:

    Maurizio

    Blimey, a peer-reviewed unpublished climatologist, I’m impressed :)

    Yes, I have thought about submitting several of my items as there is lots of original research plus numerous scientific references.

    My latest is on sea levels through the ages and you will see from my introduction to part 1 that it’s not actually in the style of Nature!

    “Due to a printing error the information that puts modern sea level rise into its historic context was omitted from Chapter Five of AR4. The missing section-reproduced below- should have been included in appendix 5a here;

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf

    Alright a confession. This is the section that SHOULD have been there but wasn’t, so I have helpfully written it on the IPCC’s behalf.

    ‘Historic variations in sea levels’ is in three parts. Part 1 covers the Holocene to Roman times. Part 2 traces sea level changes to the Medieval Warm Period. Part 3-the modern age from 1700 to today.

    Those familiar with my articles know I like the journey with all its byways as much as the destination, so don’t expect the short sharp prose of the IPCC. But would they have brought you legends of drowned lands, King Arthur, Hitler’s Foreign minister and poetry from Tennyson amidst the numerous tedious-but robust- scientific references? No of course not. This first part covers a lot of years to set the scene and when I say it’s a bit of an epic, think Ben Hur.

    There will however in due course be a summary of all three parts for those with limited attention spans- like policy makers. Sit back and enjoy the ride.’

    In all seriousness, I write for the electronic market so links can be followed, like this article on the the Great Arctic warming in the 19th Century.

    It examines the little known period 1815-60 when the Arctic ice melted and the Royal Society mounted an expedition to investigate the causes.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688

    Tonyb

  32. 82
    geoffchambers Says:

    Tonyb #81 Anyone who hasn’t got the time to read and thoroughly enjoy your epic clearly hasn’t got the time to save the world, and should be barred from any decision-making position with respect to climate policy.

  33. 83
    geoffchambers Says:

    Maurizio #78 Max #79
    on the devious way the “catastrophe” in CAGW gets shuffled between the politics and the science, see this exchange which a colleague of mine had at
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/19/republican-climate-change-bob-inglis
    ScepticMike: the ‘state of the science’ is a range of uncertainty from bad to catastrophic.
    Sisterdingo: Actually, you won’t find the words “bad” or “catastrophic” anywhere in the science. They’re only in the minds of warmists like ScepticMike.
    AnotherBee: Science will tell you how much warming has happened to date, and (within a spread of probabilities) how much is likely to happen. It is then up to the political domain to decide at what level a change becomes a catastrophe. (SkepticMike was making that political judgement, entirely reasonably.)
    Sisterdingo: So why is it, every time we deniers give our political judgement that we are not facing a catastrophe … we are told that the science says we are?

  34. 84
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    tempterrain (80)

    I not sure that BSc (failed) or Article to Nature (rejected) are any sort of qualifications to boast about

    On the other hand, scientifically speaking the only thing I should care about is the opinion of my peers, not yours or Nature editors’. And my peers did approve my article. 8-)

    your whole sentence means that Governments and Scientists are working together to create AGW

    Yes, in the sense that the IPCC doesn’t produce a climate change encyclopedia, but what scientists and Governments believe is needed to know about climate change. There is no need for a conspiracy for this to come about, just the interchange between politicians looking for answers from scientists, and scientists trying to be useful.

    ps As I said, I do not believe in a conspiracy of any sort. Enough with this nonsense.

  35. 85
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    You asked Maurizio (80):

    So we just close down the IPCC and world temperatures will fall?

    Hey, Peter, we don’t even have to “close down the IPCC”.

    Check all those thermometers out there (even the ones next to AC exhausts and asphalt parking lots).

    Temperatures have been falling (0.07C) since the end of 2000 despite the IPCC forecasts of significant 21st century GH warming (0.2C per decade).

    Max

    PS But closing down IPCC may not be that bad an idea, Peter. In view of what’s happening out there in the real world, it appears that they have become redundant.

  36. 86
    temperature Says:

    Maurizio,

    You’re thinking still seems a little muddled.

    If what “scientists and Governments believe is needed to know about climate change” is a known falsehood then surely this is a conspiracy? ( A cospirazione ?)

    Yes everyone has peers. Unfortunately people like yourself aren’t “one of a kind” :-) Have you tried this learned site as an outlet for your article?
    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/

  37. 87
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    Dream on…what would happen if the IPCC were closed down? Climatology will be freed from the need of being:

    1. Always right and consensual
    2. Useful to policymakers
    3. Usable by policymakers
    4. Fixated on climate changes due to human activities
    5. Fixated on CO2
    6. More?

    Now, what would the BBC do? Would the Science editors get the upper hand, seeing the whole richness of climatology reported to viewers and listeners; or would the politics remain in charge anyway, with the masses constantly educated about the “right” science and the “wrong” one cast aside?

    I would expect things to vary along the license renewal cycle…

  38. 88
    Maurizio Morabito Says:

    temperature (86): your comment falls under one of the categories I will not reply about (attributing to me what I have never said or written). it’s boring indeed.

  39. 89
    tempterrain Says:

    Maurizio,

    OK the. Just show me where you’ve ” repeatedly stated that I do not believe that AGW is a left-wing hoax or conspiracy of any sort.”

    What you’ve described is a conspiracy. Its like saying you don’t believe in Santa Claus, but yet you are quite sure there is a fat guy, who dresses in a big red coat, and who delivers presents every Christmas, with the aid of his reindeer and a sleigh!

  40. 90
    manacker Says:

    PeterM

    Let’s talk about the “conspiracy” sidetrack.

    You write to Maurizio

    What you’ve described is a conspiracy.

    This is not exactly correct.

    What you should have written to be more correct is:

    What you’ve described appears to me, personally, to constitute a conspiracy.

    That would be a more accurate statement, which would leave it open whether Maurizio really meant a conspiracy or whether you just assumed that this is what he meant, in which case you would, of course, have to ask him whether or not your assumption was correct, in order to be sure.

    Should he then deny having meant that (as it appears he did in #88), you would obviously have to revise your assumption, since it had been proven to be false.

    Can you follow the logic here, Peter?

    Max

  41. 91
    The Current State Of AGW Science | Omnologos Says:

    [...] not lost unless they appear near the top of the heap. One example is the following extract from note #16 written by commenter Max (“manacker”) at Harmless Sky’s BBC impartiality review [...]

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