BBCLetter In the Mail on Sunday today, David Rose has reported on some startling developments in the long, long quest for information about a BBC’s 2006 seminar on climate change. He has been very careful, as ever, to get his facts right, but writing for a popular Sunday paper necessarily means that much detail has had to be sacrificed in favour of a broad brush and the big picture. This is not a criticism in any way, it is just that a lot more could be said if space and the genre permitted.

What is clear in the Mail on Sunday report is that funding for the 2006 BBC climate change seminar came from a government department. Also that the funds were channelled through environmental lobbyists who were organising the seminar. And it is possible that the government department that provided the funds had some input about the topics selected for the seminars.

The documents concerning the International Broadcasting Trust’s (IBT) application to the Department for International Development (DFID) were obtained by Terry Sanders who kindly sent them to me. He deserves a very big thank-you indeed!

The Mail on Sunday article does not mention the 2005 G8 summit, which Tony Blair chaired. The subjects that he chose to lead on were development in Africa and climate change. Those happen to be the very subjects that the seminars focused on at that time. It is also interesting that when Sir David King was reminiscing at the time of his retirement as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government he not only laid claim to turning Tony Blair on to climate change, but he also seems to imply that he was instrumental in getting the subject on the G8 agenda.

What is certain is that the Government organised the 2005 Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change conference at the Hadley Centre, which led to a barrage of scare stories in the media, and that this was done in order to raise public awareness of the problem. A major seminar at the BBC early the following year, which was organised by environmental lobbyists who were being funded by a government department, must have seemed like a godsend to the Downing Street spin-doctors.

Lord Hall, as the man who encouraged Roger Harrabin to set up the seminar programme, features in this story too. He had left the BBC to run the Royal Opera House before DFID got involved with the seminars, so he bears no direct responsibility for what happened in 2005 and 2006. However since his return to the BBC he has thrown some interesting light on the matter, contradicting just about everything that the BBC has claimed about the seminar previously.

Here are some of the things that the BBC has said about the seminar:

It was described in John Bridcut’s landmark ‘Wagon Wheel’ report on BBC’s impartiality, which was adopted and published by the BBC Trust in July 2007, as:

”A high level seminar with some of the best scientific experts [on climate change]”

The BBC’s letter of 31st August 2007 refusing to disclose the information I had requested says:

”… information relating to the seminar is held to help inform the BBC’s editorial policy around reporting climate change.

The attendees at the seminar were made up of 30 key BBC staff and 30 invited guests who are specialists in the area of climate change.”

A BBC submission to my previous Information Tribunal appeal last year had the following description:

“The requested information concerns the organisation, administration and content of a seminar concerning editorial challenges to the reporting of climate change. The seminar was held in order to provide attendees with an understanding of the existing state of knowledge on the issue of climate change, to identify where the main areas of debate lie,to provoke the imagination of the media to deal with the scope of the issue and to consider the role of the BBC in the public debate.”

Lord Hall of Birkenhead, BBC Director General, in written supplementary evidence to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee 25/06/2013:

“ The title of the seminar was ‘Climate Change, the Challenge to Broadcasting ‘ … the guests were not ‘a panel of climate change experts’, nor were they ‘advising the BBC on what their approach to climate change should be. Seminars such as this do not set BBC editorial policy on how it covers climate change’”.

You just could not have a more explicit conflict of evidence, and surely it really is necessary now to dig down to the truth, however uncomfortable that might be.

With so much at stake where trust in the BBC is concerned, it would seem essential that, as the statutory regulatory body, the BBC Trust should now set up a genuinely independent inquiry into how editorial policy on climate change has been formulated and who has been able to exert influence on that process. If you think that this is the right next step, then you might like to write to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee ( If enough people do so, then they just might put some pressure on Lord Patten to act next time he is hauled up in front of them. He has been on the receiving end of some pretty rough handling by that committee recently.

There is still a great deal more to come out about this matter, and I think that the best thing that I can do at the moment is attempt to answer any questions that people might have.

The Disclosed Documents

Documents that Terry Sanders obtained from DFID concerning IBT funding. These include a very recent additional disclosure which names some senior BBC executives and shows that Mark Thompson, then Director General of the BBC, was directly involved in negotiations over the seminar programme with the IBT.

1 IBT application for DFID funding.pdf

2 Correspondence.pdf

3 Grant Agreement.pdf

4 Grant Approval.pdf

5 Financials.pdf

6 Addional disclosure BBC names.pdf

The documents that I have obtained from the BBC, including lists of attendees, their brief biogs, Jana Bennett’s opening remarks, and a briefing document and some administrative documents.

1 BBC diclosures.pdf

2 BBC disclosures.pdf

Some of the files are quite large and may take some time to download.

Anyone seeking more context on this post may like to read Andrew Montford’s excellent The Propaganda Bureau or Christopher Booker’s equally excellent The BBC And Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal. Both deal with the earlier revelations about the BBC climate change seminar and its consequences.

42 Responses to “What price the BBC’s support for climate policy?”

  1. Roger Harrabin was on the advisory board of the Tyndall centre, at the same time his CMEP was being funded by Prof Mike Hulme (seminar attendee) Tyndall to organise the seminars.

    I’m curious to know whether he had stepped down or not from Tyndall , when the January 26th, 2006 seminar happened.
    Perhaps you or David Rose could ask Roger, or the BBC, or Tyndall?

    According to wayback machine,

    Roger Harrabin was on the Tyndall Advisory (alongside Bill Hare Greenpeace) board in August 2005,
    (after this date, the Tyndall website changed and advisory board info was no longer available, via wayback)

    the conflict of interest for the BBC seems huge, given:
    Mike Hulme (climategate 2 email):
    “Did anyone hear Stott vs. Houghton on Today, radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme to starve this type of reporting at source.” (email 2496)

    Both Harrabin and Smith seemed to think hem Influential:
    The CMEP seminars seem to have been very succesful in persuading the BBC to change it stance and policies in the reporting of ‘climate change’ as described by Dr Joe Smith’s in his OU profile: (h/t DAvid Holland)

    “The seminars have been publicly credited with catalysing significant changes in the tone and content of BBC outputs across platforms and with leading directly to specific and major innovations in programming,” – Dr Joe Smith

    “It has had a major impact on the willingness of the BBC to raise these issues for discussion. Joe Smith and I are now wondering whether we can help other journalists to perform a similar role in countries round the world” – Roger Harrabin

    I wrote about the above at Watts Up With That, when climategate 2 broke, quotes from & more detail here:

  2. Barry

    I’ll pass on your question about Roger Harrabin still being on the Tyndall board when the seminar took place, but I have a hunch that I looked at this once before and he wasn’t.

    Some of the other quotes are new to me and I’ll add them to the pile. Do bear in mind that David Rose has had to pack a tremendous amount into a very short piece, and he could only use a fraction of what I gave him. Now there is the problem of trying to find an outlet for the rest.

  3. Hi Tony.. there is almost too much information…

    both the 2 quotes (Harrabin/Smith) available via wayback

    David Holland’s OU complaint, quoting Smiths bio

    Roger Harrabin quote (pg 56)

    Seminars prior to 2006, appear to be when Roger was on the advisory board of Tyndall (joined 2002)

    When Mike Hulme was saying this is why we fund CMEP, to keep Stott of airwaves (in 2002) Roger Harrabin had been invited onto the board, in 2001!

    see this email from Mike Hulme (Tyndall) extract:

    “date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 15:12:40 +0000
    from: Mike Hulme
    subject: Advisory Board members

    We have been strongly ‘encouraged’ by our Advisory Board to broaden
    membership slightly to include someone from the media, another NGO member,
    and an ‘economist’ or investor, also to think carefully about membership of
    our External Review Panel and our Annual Assessment Panel. I am therefore
    proposing the following:

    1. We invite three more members to our AB:

    Roger Harrabin (media; Radio BBC) – reserve Paul Brown (The Guardian)
    Bill Hare (NGO; Greenpeace) – reserves Mike Harley (English Nature); Derek
    Norman (NWREDACTEDSustainability Group)
    ???? (one suggestion Thomas Johansson, energy economist, UNDP/Sweden) –
    others please.”

    So how much influence did CMEP/ BBC’s Roger Harrabin have between 2002 and August 2005 (or later, when did he step down) when Roger was on the Tyndall Advisory board

  4. Hulme’s unfortunate Climategate email was part of the pack I gave David Rose, but if he had gone to that kind of level of detail he would have needed far more space than he would get. I think he’s done a good job in getting the crux of the story out concisely.

    You have a valid point about Harrabin and the Tyndall Centre, but so far as climate change is concerned, I think it was after the seminar in 2006 that bias really took hold. The IBT was also very interested in African Development, seminars on that subject also translated into programming.

    Many thanks, and this comment will go in the folder too.

  5. I’m not criticising…! just thought a good idea to collate some of this in this article.
    I wonder if anything will happen next, at the BBC? or elsewhere

  6. Tony

    Well done for your perseverance. It seems years ago that we first talked about this. I am still unclear as to whether this activism ties in with the BBC’s pension fund which was alleged to be tied up in green investments so it was beneficial to promote a green agenda.

    Some people say that allegation was debunked. I don’t know the truth either way. Do You?

    Once again, many congrats.


  7. Problem is the establishment in this country (of which the BBC is a part) is now utterly rotten to the core and riddled with those who combine in varying degrees a mix of cultural marxism, opportunist troughing, allegiance to our common enemy the EUSSR, and perverted environmentalism. Four successive establishment whitewashes of the Climategate scandal attest to that rottenness. Until the UK’s Augean stables can be cleansed it’s like bashing your head against the nearest brick wall, these rogues will not readily give back the territory they have successfully occupied.

  8. I am a bit confused. What is the link between IBT and the notorious seminar?
    If there is one, then IBT seems to have obtained government funding under false pretences, since the application , document 1, speaks only of coverage of the developing world – nothing about prmoting global warming activism?

  9. The IBT was one of the organisers of the climate seminar in 2006. See guest list and badges in the BBC disclosures. Mark Galloway is identified as an organiser.

    The funding of from DFID was for seminars and a research programme during 2005 and 2006

    At the time that the funding application was submitted, the subject of the 2006 seminars had not been decided. See Funding Application page 8 last paragraph.

  10. Thanks Tony. It’s remarkable that IBT got money from the government to try to impove coverage of the developing world, and spent it on promoting climate activism.

  11. There is still a particularly tantalising redaction in the last para. of page 11 on the additional disclosures file. Might DFID have had a representative on the steering committee which chose climate change as the subject of one of the 2006 seminars? Wouldn’t I like to know that.

    And are you a Paul M who I remember from way back?

  12. What is clear in the Mail on Sunday report is that funding for the 2006 BBC climate change seminar came from a government department. Also that the funds were channelled through environmental lobbyists who were organising the seminar.

    What also seems to be clear is that Roger Harriban worked with the lobbyists. If he helped set up IBT, and has described himself elsewhere as an environmental campaigner, it’s a breach of the BBC’s impartiality remit to have him working as a journalist, never mind one covering the very topic on which he’s set up an activist lobbying group. It would be like having Gordon Brown’s biographer as an economics and business editor. Oh, hang on…..

  13. Well done and thank you.

    [TonyN says: Thanks Colin]

  14. TonyB

    Good to hear from you.

    I really is many years since this started, and there’s a way to go yet.

    So far as the pension fund is concerned, if the BBC really have been investing in ‘sustainable’ things like renewable, I suspect that could explain reports I’ve seen of it’s poor performance.

  15. The BBC is also a member of the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association:

    UNESCO’s 2009 International Conference on Broadcasting Media and Climate Change was designed specifically to tell the assembled Members of the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association (including the BBC) that the media should propagate the idea that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing climate change – a message conveyed specifically by the Director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, who spoke at that conference. Quotes on the Internet.

    The enormous funds make it possible. Stop the funds and the AGW campaign will grind to a halt. I rather think the foolish Labour Party was bewitched and well-funded by very wealthy people on the far Right.

  16. […] yet another reason why the BBC is so biased in its reporting on climate change: because in 2006 the Labour government effectively paid it to be so. It was a £67,000 grant from the Department for International Development (DFID) which paid for […]

  17. Very well done Tony and your various colleagues.

    I am curious about the way government seem to be able to fund NGOs and other groups out of taxpayer funds to lobby them – it is a trend we have seen recently in the EU and now this… Have governments always done this? Or is it one of the many things that the spin doctors have recently dreamed up to pervert the democratic process?

  18. Masked Marvel

    So far as I know Roger Harrabin had nothing to do with setting up the IBT.

    The early seminars were organised by him and Joe Smith (calling themselves the Cambridge Media and Environment Project) with BBC Television. In 2004, IBT joined the team and the BBC were quite up front about this until the litigation over my FOI request started. After that the the IBT were not mentioned as organisers, only Harrabin’s CMEP and BBC Television.

    There is a lot more to say about all this and I hope to add another post tomorrow.

  19. Hello Tony and Well Done Sir! I admire your tenacity and your accomplishments.


    In 2002 I was asked by my Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (“APEGA”) to debate in writing the issue of catastrophic humanmade global warming and the proposed Kyoto Protocol.

    [PEGG debate, reprinted at their request by several professional journals, the Globe and Mail and la Presse in translation, by Baliunas, Patterson and MacRae]

    We knew with confidence based on the evidence that global warming alarmism was technically false, extremist and wasteful.

    We clearly stated in our 2002 debate:

    On global warming:

    “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

    On green energy:

    “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

    On real pollution:

    “Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.”

    On squandering resources:

    “Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.”

    I suggest that our four above statements are now demonstrably correct, within a high degree of confidence.

    To date, every major dire prediction by the IPCC and the global warming alarmists has failed to materialize.

    I suggest that we, and a few others like us, have been essentially correct in our predictions to date.

    I suggest that the individual’s predictive track record is perhaps the only objective measure of one’s competence.

    Regards, Allan MacRae, P. Eng.

  20. Hello again Tony,

    Here is my real concern.

    Best, Allan

    An Open Letter to Baroness Verma

    “All of the climate models and policy-relevant pathways of future greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions considered in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report show a long-term global increase in temperature during the 21st century is expected. In all cases, the warming from increasing greenhouse gases significantly exceeds any cooling from atmospheric aerosols. Other effects such as solar changes and volcanic activity are likely to have only a minor impact over this timescale”.
    – Baroness Verma

    I have no Sunspot Number data before 1700, but the latter part of the Maunder Minimum had 2 back-to-back low Solar Cycles with SSNmax of 58 in 1705 and 63 in 1717 .

    The coldest period of the Maunder was ~1670 to ~1700 (8.48dC year average Central England Temperatures) but the coldest year was 1740 (6.84C year avg CET).

    The Dalton Minimum had 2 back-to-back low SC’s with SSNmax of 48 in 1804 and 46 in 1816. Tambora erupted in 1815.

    Two of the coldest years in the Dalton were 1814 (7.75C year avg CET) and 1816 (7.87C year avg CET).

    Now Solar Cycle 24 is a dud with SSNmax estimated at ~65, and very early estimates suggest SC25 will be very low as well.

    The warmest recent years for CET were 2002 to 2007 inclusive that averaged 10.55C.

    I suggest with confidence that 10.5C is substantially warmer as a yearly average than 8.5C, and the latter may not provide a “lovely year for Chrysanths”.

    I further suggest with confidence that individual years averaging 7.8C or even 6.8C are even colder, and the Chrysanths will suffer.

    So here is my real concern

    IF the Sun does indeed drive temperature, as I suspect, Baroness Verma, then you and your colleagues on both sides of the House may have brewed the perfect storm.

    You are claiming that global cooling will NOT happen, AND you have crippled your energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected “green energy” schemes.

    I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Britain will get colder.

    I also suggest that the IPCC and the Met Office have NO track record of successful prediction (or “projection”) of global temperature and thus have no scientific credibility.

    I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.

    I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.

    As always in these matters, I hope to be wrong. These are not numbers, they are real people, who “loved and were loved”.

    Best regards to all, Allan MacRae

    Turning and tuning in the widening gyre,
    the falcon cannot hear the falconer…
    – Yeats

  21. Another piece of the jigsaw falls into place… Thank you, Tony, for the admirable perseverance you have shown in bringing this matter to light.

  22. Tony, I have emailed the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee as you suggested.

    This is the very least I can do for someone like yourself who has the tenacity and patience to deal with these crooks over all this time.

    Very many thanks for all you have done.

    John Billot
    Leics. UK

  23. Re: TonyN

    > Might DFID have had a representative on the steering committee …

    The response I got from the ICO said

    The personal data here consists of two names of DFID staff mentioned in a document. These employees are or were in junior grades in non-public facing administrative roles.

    which means there should only be 2 redacted names of DfID personnel in the disclosures. I suspect that both these names are in the second disclosure (correspondence) and they deal with the financial aspects of the grant.

    My own suspects for the remaining places on the steering committee are Joe Smith from the Open University and somebody from Channel 4.

  24. Tony

    Your story is breaking over here in the United States.

    Congratulations and thank you for pursuing the corrupt collusion between the BBC and those with the fraudulent climate change agenda.

    Best Regards,

    The Chester County Farmer

  25. Well done and thank you for your perseverance, have been following this for at least 3 years.

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