Wednesday, July 20, 2011
BBC funded "Independent" Report finds BBC Don't Lie About Catastrophic Global Warming - Who Expected that?
I will send this to Jones - according to Richard Black all BBC employees have a duty ot answer queries even if it is to say "f--- off" (though I have noticed them usually falling short of that level of coutresy. We shall see if he makes any substantive points:
Man-made global warming: a microcosm of “false balance”? not exactly an impartial heading
A belief in alternative medicine or in astrology and a fear of vaccines or of GM food are symptoms of a deep mistrust in convenional wisdom. argument by false association ...
Nowhere is the struggle to find the correct position better seen than in the issue of global warming.
.... I have had a number of communications from the public on this issue and the BBC has received many complaints about alleged weanesses in its treatment of the subject. Many emerge from an organised response by determined climate-change deniers rather than being objective disagreements with particular programmes.(mine was one, I was not organised by anybody, if he had any evidence of such he should have produced it together with the evidence that none of the lobbying by eco organisations or political parties had ever been sufficiently organised by such organisations or parties to be worth mentioning) Thus, Climate Wars (broadcast on 14th September 2008) had 88, the news coverage of the East Anglia e-mail “scandal” at around that time got 122, Panorama’s “What’s up with the Weather?” of 28th June 2010,just 45; Horizon on “Science under Attack” (24th Jan 2011) 101, and the Storyville
documentary of 31st Jan 2011 “Meet the Climate Sceptics” stimulated 67 written complaints. There has in addition been a drizzle of criticism of BBC coverage of the topic in some newspapers, much of it arising from a handful of journalists who have taken it upon themselves to keep disbelief alive. not accused of "keeping alarmism alive"(what a remarkable and dishionest phrase - why would disbelief in catastrophic warming cease to exist without a handful of journalists and why, turning in the opposite directio are the BBC This barrage of criticism by one side of the argument (matched, to a lesser degree, by complaints from those who believe that man-made global warming is real) shows that the BBC is at least annoying both parties to the debate and is achieving a measure of impartiality by so doing (if using that argument had any validity he would have to have also given the number of .letters to these programmes denouncing them for being too sceptical - my suspicionn is thatb there were far fewer or none which shoots his own defence out of the water)
Even so, the coverage of this topic, and the tone of some reports, has led to many comments during my Review. In some ways global warming shows how hard it is reach due impartiality in the treatment of science and how the BBC in its attmpts to do so may inadvertently achieve almost the opposite.
One of my interviewees described the BBC as having been “scarred” by this controversy. I saw no sign that such a term is justified, but the Corporation has certainly put plenty of effort – and resources – into its attempts to be impartial. There have been seminars with high-profile speakers, there exists a Climate Change Steering Group and there have been lengthy discussions of those involved with the BBC’s Environmnt Analyst.(this is dishonest - the BBC has refused to say who those speakers are but all the evidence is that they,, the members of the group and certainly Harrabin the environment correspondent are unitedly alarmist - if Jones honestly believe what he is saying he must be on record as saying how impartially Stalin found a range of experts to agree with him on Lysenkoism - my suspicion is he hasn't) He made it clear to us quite how seriously the issue was taken, how hard it has been to persuade people to understand estimates of risk (upon which much of the argument turns) (not true statistical assessment of the risk of catastrophic warming is impossible because there is simply no evidence amenable to statistical analysis) ...
They ("denialists"), with many others, practise denialism: the use of rhetoric to give the appearance of debate. This is not the same as scepticism, for a sceptic is willing to change his or her mind when provided with evidence. A denialist is not. (If Jones is not personally corrupt willing to say anything for the money he would here be able to say where Hansen, Jones, Cameron, Obama etc have shown themselves changing their mind about alarmism - without that this is just throwing around insults) Many among them see themselves as intellectual martyrs in a war against political correctness and as worthy successors to Galieo. Whatever the claim – AIDS has nothing to do with viruses, the MMR vaccine is unsafe, complex organs could never evolve, or even that the 9/11 disaster was a US government plot – the syndrome has some consistent themes. (non-sequiter insults).
Standards of proof should be set so high as to be impossible to attain. (contradicts his earlier about quantifying risk) Personal attacks (Hitler was against smoking) are acceptable and absolutism is useful (one ninety year old smoker proves that tobacco is harmless) (his own use of the term denialist is a personal attack using a term designed to give a false caomparison to Holocaust deniers). Doubt shades into certainty: a scientist can never be sure that a vaccine is always safe – which means that it never is. Often, the proponents unite into a movement that can, in these electronic days, bombard its enemies and give the impression of being far larger than it really is. (for eample government funded alarmists can use propaganda to portray themselves as a "scientific consesns")
Most important in the context of this Report, any concession by the establishment that it is less than certain of the accuracy of its claims – that there is, in other words, room for discussion – is taken as a statement of surrender. (No such acknowledgement is given because no prominent one exists - taking this the other way Jones is justifying censorship of doubt) Because so much of science involves uncertainty, it is open to attack from those who have never experienced that sensation.
Purity of belief makes it easy for denialists to attract the attention of news organisations (that is quite obviously a total lie since sceptics don't "easily" get reported and something Jones could never say if he were remotely honest) but hard for them to balance thei ideas against those of the majority. This can lead to undue publicity for views supported by no factual information at all.
In its early days, two decades ago, there was a genuine scientific debate about the reality of climate change (although that attracted rather little attention). Now, there is general agreement that warming is a fact even if there remain uncertainties about how fast, and how much, the temperature might rise. At present, the pessimists are in the ascendant and today’s increase in floods and snow (as predicted for a warmer atmosphere which can take up more water)(the predictions, at least those reported by the BBC, were of more drought filled summers it was only after flooding that floods were "oredicted" so he is lying again) is on their side....
Accusations of bias fly, together with claims of fraud (a simplification of an image for the cover of a report means that climatologists are doctoring a graph to hide global cooling, a single mistake in a report about Himalayan glaciers is evidence of a conspiracy to exaggerate the impact of greenhouse gases.(this would be the "mistake" defended for years of caliming the Himalays would melt by 203, now acknowledged as being deliberate to influence the world's most populaous countries) Media attention switches to scandal rather than to evidence (what evidence was there for the Himalyas threat that the media didn't report). In the furore, the crucial point that there is always doubt in science (precisely yet even the BBC acknowledge that with 10s of thousands of hours devoted to promoting scepticism they have broadcast not one of scpticism, not even 50% of one),particularly when it tries to look into the future, and that to be uncertain does not inevitably mean to be wrong, is lost.
Where policy is concerned, the argument is far from resolved. Science can inform the debate, but policy implications of global warming remain a legitimate part of the news agenda. In its submission to this Report, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (active in casting doubt on the truth of man-made climate change) told me that they are producing a review with a focus on climate science and science policy. As they say, “… it is one thing to get basic science facts right yet quite another to promote (or criticise) particular science policies”. That is a reasonable point and they should, no doubt, have a voice in this debate. All of us involved in this debate need to remember that we are entitled to our own opinions but none of us are entitled to ourown facts. (yet the only criticism he has allowed of the \Himalyas fraud is of reporting of the proven fact that the claim was untrue)
That is not the case for warming itself, for the evidence is overwhelming. Starting in 1959 with measurements on Hawaii it is clear that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising. Ice cores shows that for half a million years before the Industrial Revolution its level fluctuated between 180 and 300 parts er million. Since around 1800 it has risen from 280 to 390 parts per million; a 40% increase. Basic physics shows that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. There have been many computer models of what may (!) happen in future, and although there remains controversy as to how much the feedbacks – melting ice, rising seas, dying plants – will multiply (if the feedbacks are negative, as they may well be then they will not multiply, note that rising sea levels are not a serious feedback and "dying plants" are most unlikely when there is more CO2 in the air to feed them) the direct effect of the gas, almost every climatologist predicts a period of rising temperature (name one single one who is not also a government employee - if he could he would be doing something no other has - note, however the sleight of hand in pretending that catastrophic anthropogenic warming is the same as any warming and that the evidence he then gives is not for warming at all but for a rise in CO2 which is not remotely the same thing). ....
A 2008 survey to which thousands of Earth scientists responded found that 90% agreed that temperatures have risen since 1800 (but then he dated the CO2 rise which, if ne believes what he says, started in 1959 - in fact it was a bit earlier but long afterv 1800) and that 82% consider that human activity has been significant (another weasel term) in this. 96% of specialists in atmospheric physics agreed with the first statement, and 97% with the second23. Truth is not defined by opinion polls but it is difficult to deny the consensus (so name a single scientist who supports catastrophic warming and isn't paid by the state - if what he says is not a pack of deliberate lies that will be easy - allso he doesn't mention that far amd away the largest expression of scientist's opinin, the Oregon pPetition, says the opposite). Its extent is clear from an open letter to the journal Science by two hundred and fifty members of the US National Academy of Sciences: (Oregon has 31,000 but is airbrushed out)
.... Fewer than half considered that scientists agree that humans are causing climate change (they don't or he would be easily able to name one independent one). The divergence between the views of professionals versus the public may be seen as evidence of a failure by the media to balane views of very different credibility. The BBC is just one voice but so many in Britain gain their understanding of science from its output that its approach to thisquestion must be considered.
Much of it has been exemplary, with the investigations of Roger Harrabin, its Environment Analyst, in particular following every twist and turn in the argument. The BBC itself has accepted in an internal document that the balance of debate has changed. (bullshit - nothing more seems appropriate)
In an Impartiality Report submitted to the Trust in 2008 the Executive noted that: “The centre ground in climate science has shifted markedly. One main reason for the change in global opinion was last year’s resolution of the most fundamental questions in climate sciene by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s official climate change assessment forum (a political rather than scientific body & repeatedly shown to have lied). The IPCC concluded that it is beyond doubt that the climate is warming and more than 90% likely that this has been driven by human activity. Given the weight of opinion building up around the IPCC it makes sense for us to focus our coverage on the consensus that climte change is happening, is serious, but is manageable if tackled urgently…”
These are welcome words(and these are hardly the words of somebody who ever had the slightest intention of producing an impartial report) ...... The Panorama programme itself came up with a remarkable revelation: that Bjorn Lomborg, previously a major sceptic, was now in accord with most climatologists (deliberate lie - Lomborg has always said he believes warming is happening - but that it is too minor to be worth spending trillions on when there are worse problems and he has not chamnged from this) . This was a telling statement – but to present it in “debate”format (lie - the BBC has never allowed a formal debate on catastrophic warming - this was part of my submission to Jones, and clearly he has not been ionterested in supporting debate or even in saying why he is opposed) was to set up a false balance; ....
As the Content Analysis indicates, there was a (to put it kindly) nuanced News and Current Affairs treatment of the 2010 Muir Russell Report on the University of East Anglia’s “Climategate” story. The report’s findings were, in order, that the honesty of the scientists involved was not in doubt, that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s conclusions were not undermined by their work, and that they had been insufficiently open about the presentation of some of their data. The major point was the acceptance of scientific accuracy – but most news reports led on the last, openness, (to put it kindly the BBC reporting of this whitewash concealed the fact that Muir Russell made no serious investigation and that the fact that he was fired for allegedly concealing from Scottish politicians the defrauding of the Scottish people of £380 million over the parliament Building, may render his assertions dubious) point; and most included a substantial contribution by climate sceptics whose claims had been refuted rather than accepted by the Reprt itself. (simply a lie) ....
The impression of active debate is promoted by prominent individuals such as Lord Monckton and Lord Lawson. The BBC still gives space to them to make statements that are not supported by the facts; that (in a February 2011 The Daily Politics show) 95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources, while in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration, or (a November 2009 Today programme) (simply a lie - a Parliamentary answer to John Redwood confirmed that only 3% of CO2 is manmade so it is dishonest of him to claim 5% is understating) that volcanoes produce more of the gas than do humans (the balance is a hundred times in the opposite direction). For at least three years, the climate change deniers have been marginal to the scientific debate but somehow they continued to find a place on the airwaes. Their ability so to do suggests that an over-diligent search for due impartiality – or for a controversy – continue to hinder the objective reporting of a scientific story even when the internal statements of the BBC suggest that no ontroversy exists. There is a contrast between the clear demands for due impartiality in the BBC’s written guidelines and what sometimes emerges n air.
Things are, perhaps, improving. Lord Monckton is, without doubt, a man who adds to the gaiety of nations and is a skilled communicator of his views. However, a recent BBC Four investigation (“Meet the Climate Sceptics”, Storyville, 31st Jan 2011) of his activities made his isolation from mainstream beliefs very clear. A 2011 Horizon in which the President of the Royal Society interviewed other climate sceptics also revealed their marginal postion.
A submission made to this Review by Andrew Montford and Tony Newbery (both active in the anti-global-warming movement, and the former the author of The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science) devotes much of its content to criticising not the data on temperatures but the membership of a BBC seminar on the topic in 206, and to a lengthy discussion as to whether its Environment Analyst was carrying out BBC duties or acting as a freelance during n environment programme at Cambridge University. The factual argument, even for activists, appears to be largely over but parts of the BBC are taking a long time to notice. (he is clearly lying here in suggesting that Montford, the author of Bishopp Hill, cannot argue against tha basic claims of warming alarmism, since he does so daily on his blog - he made a tactical decision to concentrate on 2 instances of obvious corruption in the BBC and Jones has chosen not to address that)
The climate story has lessons about impartiality that could be useful in a wider context. It promotes the essential lesson that science is a process and not a result, that as information grows its narrative can alter and, occasionally, may even change direction.
Uncertainty is part of the system and often means that a discovery can be stated only in terms of probability. Unlike the deniers, scientists accept that they could be wrong. To do so is not to admit that they are dishonest. (he should name a "denier" who says he would never change his mind - by comparison on "SDcienceblogs" and elsewhere I have asked alarmists to say what evidence, short of waiting till 2100, would persude them catastrophic warming is false buty none of the alarmists have given even one instance that would make it a falsifiable theory. Clearly if Jones is not wholly corrupt he will be able to do so) (Note that despite all the stuff about improbability and doubt Jines is totally opposed to any broadcast debate, but refused to say why)
(Indepeedent in title, coutresy, 2035, ontroversy...)
Why not post a link at BH then more people will find it.