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« North threatens to sue Monbiot | Main | The sole solar paper »
Monday
Jun282010

Watch and read

The BBC's Panorama piece (the one featuring Michael Mann) is on tonight. The Panorama home page features a clip in which presenter Tom Heap visits the Rowe family "to find out what effect they think their lifestyle is having on warming the planet", which rather suggests that the programme is going to be toe-curlingly awful.

Meanwhile, Skeptic magazine has an article called "Climate Skeptics - the good the bad and the ugly", which looks interesting. If anyone can get me a copy of the text I'd be grateful.

Also there is this piece by PZ Myers proclaiming the deflating of Climategate. The basis for Myers' claim is the Sunday Times retraction of the Amazongate story, which seems a little odd since this was nothing to do with Climategate at all and the principal claims of Leake's article still seem to stand.

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Reader Comments (30)

I was going to watch the Panorama programme, but having read this and your earlier link (the Editors' blog) I'm not sure I'll bother!

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-gaggle/2010/06/25/newspapers-retract-climategate-claims-but-damage-still-done.html#comments

There's propaganda (and wishful thinking ) for you!

This is Sharon Begley, wife of the peer-reviewed Ed Begley

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

How much longer must we put up with this Goreballs from the BBC

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

Shub,
I think the only peer review Eds ever had is at imdb? he is apparently sincere in his adherence to his beliefs in his lifestyle, so I'd say kudos to him for that, just don't ask me to agree or mimic, or lecture me on my lifestyle.

Bishop,
If we combine the piece from the fragrant PZ M, together with the piece linked by Shub above, and the Salon piece I linked in the Amazon thread -

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/25/climategate_retraction/index.html

it seems likely that there is a concerted effort to conflate all the 'gates' together, to 'debunk', 'rebut' and 'refute' them all from one retraction. Usual standards then.

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

The Panorama trailer in this link below could be enough to put most people off. Irritating 'lite' music; testing how much CO2 the family's pet dog is breathing out. The wife is "certain" man is warming the planet: "because all of what you keep hearing in the news". The husband thinks its a natural cycle. So wait to hear the reporter tell the husband: "you should listen to the scientific concensus, not deniers like Sarah Palin". Let's see....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/default.stm

Jun 28, 2010 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Just watched a piece on BBC News 24 promoting the Panorama show tonight. Looks like the strategy is to define non believers as absolutist deniers whilsts the fundamentalists are presented as reasonable and do not know for sure but isnt it worth taking insurance just in case. Acknowledged the extreme position was too much but still the overall picture is the same.

Showed a clip with a large board split into four sections asking people to place a marker in the section that they think best answers the question is man responsible for warming of the climate (i think from memory) ? I think (again) the sections were absolutely and slightly yes or no. The first greenie went for the middle option between the two slightlies but the car club they were visiting mostly when absolutely not. Very subtle and an attempt to appear to be ever so reasonable whilst carefully selecting the "deniers" and placing them in a trap of choosing the no categories despite there being no calibration on the extent of the effect and then getting so called experts to explain why they are wrong because of the uncertainty.

Jun 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuz Graz

Clever propaganda from Panorama. Or is it Panorganda ?

Jun 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

one comment from the wife on the panorama link says it all really. when asked why she thought it was very likely that humans were responsible for GW, she answered"well its everything we here on the news isn't it".. so i guess thats settled then.. the MSM says its true. could somebody tell her to do some independant research, then make up her mind.

Jun 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderland steve

correction. hear not here.

Jun 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersunderland steve

PZ Myers and Phil Plait are going to wake up to a nightmare someday; their blog archives.
=====================

Jun 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I was actually a bit shocked and depressed at the 'strong' nature of the posts on the PZ blog. Really incredibly hardcore "disagree with us and you're a denier" style. Quite offensive references to people as well. Can't help feeling that the blog comments are in need of a moderator. In it's current form, there's little point in trying to engage in reasoned argument. It actually made 'Real Climate' look positively cuddly. Perhaps I need to get out more...

Jun 28, 2010 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Crook

The BBC is required by legislation to do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality.

It is disappointing that in 2007 the BBC adopted a policy of biased reporting of climate change. In June 2007 the BBC Trust published a document called; "FROM SEESAW TO WAGON WHEEL Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century" which may be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/impartiality_21century/report.pdf . On page 40 may be found the statement: "The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus."

The BBC has refused to accede to FOI requests to release the names, or the criteria for selection, of the 28 or 30 “best scientific experts” who attended its January 2006 seminar to inform it on climate change. I just wonder why. Who were the "experts"? How were they selected? Why the bias? Why the lack of transparency?

May I suggest that tonight’s Panorama should be viewed with this background information in mind?

Jun 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

The programme gave the impression that even skeptics agreed on the scientific arguments for AGW by carefully avoiding asking the right questions, their chain of logic went: "Is CO2 a greenhouse gas... does human activity generate CO2...has human activity contributed to global warming ..?" Leading to even the skeptics interviewed answering "Yes" and the uninformed viewer wondering why the skeptics were rocking the boat of scientific consensus.

The missing question was ".has human activity contributed significantly to dangerous levels of global warming?", and that was carefully never asked.

As noted above, the "even if we don't know for sure its sensible to buy insurance" (i.e. invest in "green" tech and carbon capping) argument was also plugged.

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiam

Just watched it. Very superficial even by the BBCs low standard. One glaring error - the reporter drove a Nissan electric car and said it had no emissions. Even a 7 year old child would understand that the emissions were at the power station producing the electricity for the car. BBC reporter [probably paid more than the Prime Minister] not.

Mann's contribution vague waffle - again no attempt by the reporter to understand the bad science involved.

Overall I got the distinct impression that the producers/researchers/reporters did not have much of a clue what it was all about.

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Hewitt

Did anyone notice the emails were first "hacked" and then "leaked"?

The "insurance" analogy is false, as far as AGW is concerned.If you pay out for fire insurance and your house burns down, the insurance company will pay out and you will get a new or repaired house. If you pay out large sums to reduce CO2 in order to reduce GW and " save the world", there is no guarantee at all that it will work, whatever happens in the long run, and you won't even be able to go to the insurance ombudsman and claim your policy was mis-sold....

Jun 28, 2010 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Agree. Depressingly superficial. I couldn't help wondering how much protestation ended up on the cutting room floor?
How much did it cost the BBC to obtain the interview of Mann? And not even scratch the surface?
One can only assume this is in some way an attempt at a spoiler to defect interest from the outcome of the email inquiry. Can't imagine why else it has been broadcast now.

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

I left the UK some time ago and harboured fond notions of Panorama producing intelligent analysis of current affairs. I'm back in the UK right now and watched it. How utterly dumb. Panorama used to be an hour long, didn't it? Now they struggle to produce a narrative for half that time that would prove interesting to the intellectually subnormal.

The world really is going to hell in a handcart. But not from CO2 emissions.

What on earth have you been doing in Britain while I've been away? The place is fubar.

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerBoy

@Gixxerboy

Me too - I've been in the free world for a few years and I don't recognise Blighty on return.
I think the free world has opened my eyes.

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Appears that the programme went ahead without Jo Abbess's approval:

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/28/bbcpanorama-on-climategate/

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

The PX Myers commenters are seriously disturbed

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Not too many polar bears though,the
situation can't be all that bad.

Jun 28, 2010 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterWOJ

"Appears that the programme went ahead without Jo Abbess's approval:"

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/06/28/bbcpanorama-on-climategate/
June 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull


True Alex but she agrees with us on one thing (even if it is for the opposite reasons)....
"In summary, I think the BBC cannot be trusted to relay Climate Change Science to us".

Jun 29, 2010 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

I found the questioning of the public and the questioning of the experts on how likely climate change was manmade, very frustrating. The public had one simple question which either made them out to be thick or to be on the side of the great and the good. When the questions were put to the experts, they were re-worded to allow for the obvious nuances with the issue.

Very badly done in my opinion.

Jun 29, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Hartshorn

From the Jo Abbess blog...

"And he also neglected to mention that ongoing research and developing into Wind Power is dragging the prices down."

Is this true? I thought they were subsidized for the next 20 years or so? Where does that subsidy come from?

(Sorry, I could be wrong on this point. I thought it was still going to be costing us a fair amount for a long time, no matter how good the infrastructure got?)

Jun 29, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Hartshorn

Would I be over cynical if I observed that it has taken Mann 12 years to notice that the Hockey Stick has been over hyped. And his public comments come in the same month that the esteemed Bishop announces a US distributor for HSI?

It is enough of a coincidence to make one wonder....certainly up to the normal climatology standard of proof needed for cause and effect.

(And I used to be such a trusting soul before I started to study AGW. Now I have turned very very suspicious...)

Jun 29, 2010 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Dreadful programme. I'd have been better off watching the second half of the Time Team special on the Cosmati Pavement in Westminster Abbey.

(Tim Yeo seemed to be rowing back a bit. "We mustn't be alarmist.")

Jun 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

The Panorama program was very frustrating. The scientists on both sides of the debate were asked to place cards on a chart that ranged from 'certain' to 'no chance'. One card was whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas, so of course, they all put this in the 'certain' category, etc.

In other words by leaving out all numbers, they appeared to create a false agreement between sceptics and warmists.

The hockey stick was mentioned very superficially - most time being wasted by showing part of an ice hockey match!

I just hope most people didn't watch it!

Jun 29, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey

I agree with most of the comments here; it was indeed a frustrating program. It did at least vaguely acknowledge that there is disagreement about 'climate change' I suppose, which is something the BBC would not have done a few months ago. And don't the claws come out quickly if even that is allowed?

But it was unbelievably facile - I can't believe there is anyone alive who needs to have 'the theory of global warming' explained.

Jun 30, 2010 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMingmong

Sorry if this is a little off-topic Your Worship. Being in Ireland I've only seen the clips on the Panorama website. But tonight I was treated to Irish TV's homegrown AGW rallying cry.

That awful word "denier" hasn't been diluted here like everywhere else - until tonight. The presenter used it, one of the experts he interviewed used it and then I was defiled by Former Irish President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Her Excellency Mary Robinson saying it. She then proceeded to announce all the AGW horror fantasies as absolutely guaranteed to happen unless drastic measures were taken. Of course the experts could not put it in those terms, but at least they managed to claim that "it's worse than we thought".

No sign of Richard Tol, who would seem to be the obvious choice to consult since the government here recommended him (but refused to pay his expenses) for the IPCC.

The rest of it was interspersed with vox-pops which went from total derision of AGW at the start to 2007 vintage Guardian commentator "even if there's only a tiny chance we can't take the risk" style mindlessness at the end.

I'm mortified. If anyone fancies wasting an hour cringing it *might* be available worldwide about 24 hours from now called "A Burning Question" at http://www.rte.ie/player/#

It's sad, Mary Robinson was the only politician in the world I had any respect for.

Jun 30, 2010 at 2:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterFergalF

freelance writer

Nov 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherrieMeadows

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