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« Josh 36 | Main | UEA response to the inquiries »
Monday
Sep062010

Uncertain climate part 2

The second part of Roger Harrabin's history of climate change is now available.

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Reader Comments (84)

"strictures of routine reporting deny space to the uncertainties and ambiguities in climate change"

Let us stick this one up and leave it flapping for Michael Tobis, Josh Halpern, Joe Romm, RealClimate, Tim Lambert and the hordes of self-styled media critic hangers-on.

Who would have even thought that such limitations existed in "conventional climate change reporting"?

Sep 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

Whilst giving a superficial impression of even-handedness the underlying message was that sceptics are a small minority who don't really understand the extent of the problem. The quote from Steve McIntyre, for instance, confirming he isn't a "denier" was undoubtedly cherry-picked.

Sep 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

It sounded like an arse-covering exercise to me! And who was the editor who 'tried to ban' him from going into the modelling aspect (as if anyone could leave that out)? Sounds like a ham-fisted appeal to get us sceptics on-side, forgetting that we are also cynics!

Sep 6, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

In the first part of this (which I thought was quite interesting) Roger details and encounter he once had with Al Gore. During an interview Roger was presumptuous enough to ask a real question – not the sycophantic pre-approved questions that Al Gore is usually confronted with.

After the interview Al Gore, and his media handler both screamed angrily at Roger.

This incident is extremely revealing for two reasons.
One. Al Gore believes himself to be a Master of the Universe and above question or contradiction. (But we knew that).
Two. With prima facie evidence of this the BBC's environment correspondent did not consider it to be important enough to tell the people who pay his salary: namely us.

Only now, when the paradigms is beginning to shift, does this information start to seep slowly out from the gatekeepers.

Roger is just beginning the process of self-examination. But we don't yet know why, and we don't know how far he is prepared to go in the pursuit of truth.

Sep 6, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

I thought it was interesting that the 'science is settled' meme would not have stood up well to the propositions of this episode of the story. Certainly more weight was given to allowing that discussion and investigation should be taken more seriously. I am less sure if this is really the start of a paradigm shift, or just a token nod in the direction of the moment.

One interesting aspect which was not taken further was the public perception of risk. A scientist's 90% certainty can reasonably be interpreted as 'take action', but at the other end of the scale, there were scientificly acknowledged possibilities which were given the same weight in terms of action when they are acknowledged to be based on unknowns.

Nice to hear Dr Spencer mention his recent paper increasing uncertainties, although there was no mention of his initial results which identify cloud feedback as being negative.

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

It is a bit rich asking Phoney Tony about the uncertainties surrounding climate science - after all he was the man who stripped away all the uncertainty surrounding Iraq's WMD and replaced it with lies.

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

The quote from Steve McIntyre, for instance, confirming he isn't a "denier" was undoubtedly cherry-picked.

Never had the impression Steve is a denier or even a sceptic, he looks to be just doing as his website name suggests Auditing the published papers and exposing their short comings. He does not seem to have an axe to grind as to what the final result will be, as long as the data and the techiques used to process them are valid then he would accept the result.

But as the data is not valid or manipulated and the techniques by design or accident bias the results towards warming by CO2 the result is only going one way.

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

There were a lot of problems in that piece. Harrabin is obviously trying to justify his lack of diligence in past reporting while trying to suggest that he didn't really miss anything or get anything wrong all that time. Very evident selective quoting, too - shoddy work indeed. But the first word that came to mind, listening to Harrabin in this piece, was "BORING!"

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

Why is Harabin doing this and why was it agreed to and allowed on BBC time? It comes over as a nod to uncertainty but without going near doubt. If Harabin does want to re-examine his past position, why not travel a logic route rather than swan around the place seeking opinion. He could start with;
Is there a temperature rise? Y/N
If yes, is any man-made? Y/N
If yes, is it significant? Y/N
If yes, is it malignant as oposed to benign? Y/N
If yes, is there an efficient way to deal with it. Y/N
If no, discuss.
The BBC choses to be at stage 6 when there is evidence we haven't finalised stage 1. This is just obscuring the real issues (and lack of reporting thereon) and perhaps that was its intent.

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

CiF Experiment II: How BIG is Leo Hickman's Recommend Button?

It has always intrigued me the way how the Recommend button is used and employed at the Guardian's CiF site for environmental commentary. A high number of recommendations seems to confer support for a superior arguement. As an experiment to test this I set up multiple indentities and hit the Recommend button many times over a short period on a Leo Hickman blog "We need a better understanding of the 'environmentalist's paradox' "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/02/environmentalist-paradox-wellbeing-resource-depletion

In particular I was recommending the comments of a responder who had named themself ClimateResistance. Leo Hickman made an early reply to another responder "ImranCan". Leo's response had less than 5 recommendations in comparison to my efforts, which at that point had boosted ClimateResistance's contributions to over 40 on average. Leo was losing.

Then quite suddenly, in an instant really, Leo had over 90 recommendations. From less than 10 to over 90 in a fews seconds is a remarkable response. How could that be possible? It was as if a call to arms had suddenly been made and reinforcements were called upon, or could it be that Leo has a bigger and better Recommend button than normal people and was able to trump what I was doing.

Eventually I was glad to see that others had recommended ClimateResistance's contributions, nearly matching Leo's.

What is certain from this and my previous experiment is that 'septics', as Nick Barnes calls CAGW doubters are never given the last word at CiF nor allowed to win the arguements.

Sep 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I agree with SimonH. It appeared to be very selective, all the time giving the underlying message and impression that we have a warming problem, we just don't know how bad it will be. It is easy to interview people like Lindzen and Spencer and pick (with the help of an editor) the bits that are least damaging to the warming message. There was no mention of the other end of the extreme uncertainty band; namely that the unknown effects of the sun and ocean cycles could lead to cooling. That is the risk we should be worrying about. Who really cares about a few degrees of warming; we have the ingenuity to adapt and do something about it. But cooling by a few degrees; now that would be real catastrophic climate change.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"What is certain from this and my previous experiment is that 'septics', as Nick Barnes calls CAGW doubters are never given the last word at CiF nor allowed to win the arguements."
Sep 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Mac

Hey Mac - guess what. The thing that brought me to this denier site was googling my name and finding out that Natsman and JohnH spend time rigging the voting buttons on Daily Mail comments. They were also giving tips on how other deniers can do the same thing.

I've no idea what goes on with Grauniad voting, but it's sure as hell that deniers are extremely corrupt people.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

I am proud to be an AGW denier, unlike Tony Blair.

He's a straight kind of guy eh ZedsDeadBed ? One of your heroes I am sure.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred

Your lordship

Might I suggest that ZBD has outstayed his welcome to your site by describing it as "this denier site". Would you allow such a person to come into your home and insult (or worse) your friends and family?

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"Your lordship
Might I suggest that ZBD has outstayed his welcome to your site by describing it as "this denier site". Would you allow such a person to come into your home and insult (or worse) your friends and family?"
Sep 6, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Phillip Bratby

Mmm - God forbid a website with 'dissentient' in the strapline would allow views which dissent from its own largely uniform position.

I take it you only like scepticism applied to climate science, but prefer not to have a light shone on you then Phillip?

I've explained my use of the word 'denier' on the previous thread. You bunch use equally emotive terms.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

I say let him stay. Much like Jo Abess, his unquestioning and sometimes hysterical spouting of the party line i.e. the science is settled does nothing but damage to the alarmist camp.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

I was left with the impression that Harrabin is a devout believer and always will be. He has only recently realised that many sceptics have valid criticisms of climate science and they are not all crazy activists in the pay of big oil. In his view he is setting the record straight by recognising this publicly. He is also aware that the BBC has a reputation for bias in climate reporting.

However, he has a totally rigid mindset that the mainstream must be correct. This creates such a large blindspot that he will always act as a cheer leader for the warmists. The new improved Harrabin will, in future, ensure that about 10% of his report includes the sceptic view. He probably thinks this is quite daring, given the position of the BBC and his relationship with all the climate elite.

His firm belief in what he calls the mainstream actually highlights the problem. Scientsts in the academic world totally rely on the peer review and publication of their papers. If that system loses credibility then everything is lost. This is why the establishment, the science elite and academics in general all support the findings of a relatively small number of climate scientists.

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

ZedsDeadBed, you haven't actually addressed a single issue or sufficiently answered the simplest of questions posed to you, except by deflection. I've personally no problem with you sticking around, but wonder if you were planning at any point to make a single worthwhile contribution to the discussion.

You're what is likely termed by the CAGW scientists - particularly the political CAGW scientists - as a "useful idiot", and to my mind serve as a kind of after-dinner entertainment for us. Obviously taking you seriously could lead to annoyance - nobody willingly subjects themselves to the ravings of fools - but I think sometimes it's good for us to look on the occasional useful idiot and remind ourselves how much further along, and how much deeper into the subject of climate change the sceptics have delved, compared with those useful idiots from "the other side".

Sep 6, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

FarleyR is quite correct. ZDB is his own worse enemy. Let him stay and be the clown.

@ZDB

Why did you give up being "BishopPhil"? You were so much more amusing in that guise.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRomeo

makes me cringe

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commentermike

"Why did you give up being "BishopPhil"? You were so much more amusing in that guise."
Sep 6, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Romeo

You've confused me with someone else. I've never been here before a few days ago.

Deniers seem comfortable making false accusations with no evidence though.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

So, DeadHead's arrived here has he (or she)? If he/she becomes as unpopular and as insulting here as he/she is on the Daily Mail site, you'll soon get tired of him/her.

As regards "fixing" the Daily Mail voting is concerned, he himself (or she herself) is the worst offender, but no doubt he'll/she'll be demanding "evidence" of this allegation, which is his/her stock in trade, without providing any of his/her own.

So this blog will inevitably take a downhill turn.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNatsman

ZDB.

The aliens and trolls really are among us.

Please phone home before you leave.

Thanks.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Carter

@ ZDB
I read and very occasionaly comment here because this forum is open to all, as you have clearly proved. Thank you for that.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

AGW requires as much emotion to be dismissed as being of little concern, as a dead parrot.

In fact, one could argue that it is difficult to keep a straight face while batting it out, and not laugh. I see no gratitude from the 'warmists' on that account.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

"So, DeadHead's arrived here has he (or she)? If he/she becomes as unpopular and as insulting here as he/she is on the Daily Mail site, you'll soon get tired of him/her.
As regards "fixing" the Daily Mail voting is concerned, he himself (or she herself) is the worst offender, but no doubt he'll/she'll be demanding "evidence" of this allegation, which is his/her stock in trade, without providing any of his/her own.
So this blog will inevitably take a downhill turn."
Sep 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Natsman

What absolute rubbish. I have neither the patience nor the inclination to spend my life clicking voting arrows on the Daily Mail website. I note you accuse me of being insulting, but like many others, on what seems to be a rather rude website, you feel comfortable using childish variations on name-calling. Is that because you don't have much actual science to back you up?

You certainly know who I am, as I post under the same name. What name do your post under on the DM messageboard then?

Incidentally, the thread where you discuss rigging the voting and instruct others to do it can be viewed here:

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/6/12/gongs-for-greens.html

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Idiot. I don't think I'll bother to reply, and I'll not post here again until the playpen's cleansed, or the troll gets bored.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNatsman

When making comments about this program, you should remember it is an opinion piece and not meant to be fair handed - he says that in his introductions. The program itself is kind of mixed up. On the one hand he makes out he has wanted to include the uncertainty into his reporting - not something that has been said before as various BBC journos stand by sea walls with their hands up to their necks saying that sea levels will be 'that high'.

But then he kind of doesn't. He misses the target he sets for himself and instead drops into only setting out the pro arguments again. However he is quite happy to have a go at anyone who suggests the IPCC is not all that it is made out to be. He also has a go at non-scientists as some kind of junket in the US like these are typical skeptics ? I'm not a libertarian at all, quite the opposite. But I'm still a skeptic - its nothing to do with politics.

The interesting bit about Steve McIntyre's comment is that he was commenting on decision making by politicians based on risk, he wasn't actually saying anything about whether the pro or against argument was stronger or weather global warming is something we need to worry about or not. That part needs to be listened to quite carefully.

I wonder what MM's reaction to his being quoted like this would be ? Perhaps your Bishness could ask ?

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Roger Harrabin's Al Gore moment - October 2007

Roger:
"...but when I first watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth I felt a flutter of unease. "

Roger:
"And after the interview he (Al Gore) and his assistant stood over me shouting that my questions had been scurrilous, and implying that I was some sort of climate-sceptic traitor.
It is miserable when such a vastly important debate is reduced to this."

BBC: - The heat and light in global warming
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7040370.stm

Bishop Hill does seem to have been the focuss of extra 'criticism' of late -
Ie The Guardian allowed Bob to attack 'The Hockey Stick Illusion' just before Newsnight.

JO ABBESS has been rather indiscreet, publishing a chain of emails, from Bob Ward, and a group of climate activists, (googling their names produces various lobby groups.)

some extracts below..

http://www.joabbess.com/2010/09/05/daily-express-complain-to-the-pcc/

Bob Ward: (Grantham Institute)
------------------------------------------------------
from: Bob Ward
sent: 31 August 2010
subject: Express Denial

If you want to have a good chortle, have a look at this ‘Debate’ just launched on the website of the ‘The Daily Express’:
-------------------------------------------------------
On of the emails says: (Jo has just published, what he asked not to be published, ie the complaint made to the press complaints, see link)
------------------------------------------------
James Pavitt ( Transition Towns)
"I should point out that the Press Complaints Commission has now written to me to confirm receipt of my complaint and to suggest that they may be inviting input by the IPCC in their investigations.

They have asked my not to forward their communications with me to others."
---------------------------------------------------

George Marshall: (Climate Outreach and information networ, and others)
subject: re Express denial and IPCC?
from: George Marshall
date: 1 September 2010

Dear all

For your interest, this is what Marc Morano makes of the IPCC reports. Morano, former Inhofe staffer and smug self promoter is astute generator of media angles and headlines…if you can stand it, it is worth being on his mailing list for a summary of current denial campaigns
--------------------------------------------------------

I had a re-listen to 'Uncertain Climate " pt 1.
Very good on the early history of it all, and no doubt there was a big oil denial funded machine 20 years ago. Fast forward to today, and I think that this no longer exist amongst sceptics. Ie Even Fred Pearce (in his The Climate Files) and Judith Curry recognised.

Yet John Houghton clearly believes, this and tobbaco funding, as he told me in June, as do most of the activist groups. He personally warned me against the motives of Christopher Booker, Lord Lawson, mentioning tobacco funded pr firms and fossil fule pr machinary.

Exxon has been castigated more than most, and this month they have just bought all the Green business' off John Deere in the USA (smart money bailing out?)

Yet, the green, climate change movement stiill believe, it has become part of their self-image fighting big oil denial. From the mails above, one of the activists signs off with:
-----------------------------------------
from: P Mac
date: 3 September 2010

Good work. Denialism and attacks on IPCC are financed by fossil-fuel industry.

Regards.
-------------------------------------------------------
The activists 'believe' they are still 'fighting'big oil, even though big oil clearly turned into 'big energy' starting a decade ago..

Business will always follow the money/political will.. Scientists/activists wedded to an idea cannot make this change, as it defines them.

Maybe a follow up to Uncertain Climate, could use these lyrics/song to highlight a previous scare, with the ice age coming. Nature 1971, had global cooling due to pollutants, including CO2. When the natural climate change was undergoing a thirty year period of cooling. Had became part of the popular culture along with nuclear destruction.

The Clash: London Calling (1979)

"The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stopp running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning and I live bythe river"

(meltdown - refering to Three Mile Island)

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

ZDB

"I take it you only like scepticism applied to climate science, but prefer not to have a light shone on you then Phillip?"

I am a scientist and am sceptical by nature, as should be all scientists. Having a questioning attitude was drilled into us at work. The RS motto translates as "Take nobody's word for it". In other words, be sceptical and ask questions.

I have no problem with the light shining on me, otherwise I wouldn't use my real name.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Could everyone please lay off the egg-throwing. The subject is Harrabin.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

You now have a particularly annoying wasp at your picnic. I came here to hear your informed commenters' views on Harrabin, but not only do we get the 'Z' thing's comments, but he's also allowed to repeat his detractor's words verbatim and then comment.He's added nothing to this debate so I have to agree with Phillip. There are not enough hours in the day to read blogs inflated by folk who just want to destroy them.

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

On the subject of Harrabin, he mentioned that 'his editor' didn't want him to go into 'the science'. So how much of this was Harrabin and how much was the editorial team concerned with maitaining the integrity of where their pension funds are invested ?

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Sep 6, 2010 at 3:50 PM | toad

If you want to find out before starting to read a blog if ZDB has put in an appearance, just do "Ctrl F", then type "zeds" in the box and it will tell you if there are any hits.

At least you will be prepared.

Sep 6, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

toad

I thought it was only the climate models that the editor didn't want discussing. But no doubt editorial influence affected (infected) all the content. One wonders how much editorial influence Harrabin has? Who pulls the strings; or how long a leash is Harrabin allowed by those in charge?

Sep 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Our Harrabin's narrative reads
"Phil Jones told me we were yet uncertain whether the medieval age was as warm as today, but McIntyre, the darling of the skeptics tells me we should let governments raises taxes anyway, therefore my life's work is not wasted, governments can indeed continue on with their tax-based cooling plans."

I am skeptical of climate change, no one is my darling. It is unfair and completely unnecessary, expect for those who find it convenient (like Harrabin), to make McIntyre into a focal point and lynchpin for skepticism. Indeed all scientists interviewed by Harrabin, spoke remarkably resonating with what skeptics have said, throughout

Indeed if anyone ought to attain "darling status", it is Delingpole, for his incisiveness and clarity; and so it was that Bast pointed this very thing out to Harrabin, who appears to have needled him to get the desired quotes.

Curiously enough, the scientists and the skeptics say the same thing - there are uncertainties and we need to know that there are, in significant areas, and in ample quantities. That raises the question indeed, of the advocates and the communicators who serve as a barrier between the two, hiding their similarities in viewpoint and thinking, from one another, and controlling the narrative thereby.

Good luck to Harrabin with that. :)

Sep 6, 2010 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

Amusing to hear Roger repeat the comments of the establishment scientist - that skeptics are 'optimistic alpha males' (and therefore should not be believed). Strange that a scientist would have even thought about the demographics of the issue, let alone venture them as 'reasoning' to a journalist, and that a science journalist would be in the least bit interested in repeating this drivel.

Sep 6, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

A couple of interesting interviews, Nigel Calder's and Christopher Booker's, by the London Book Review here. BBC bias mentioned in both

http://www.londonbookreview.com/

Scroll to bottom of page and click 'continued' to open

Sep 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

"it was only the climate models that the editor didn't want discussing"

That seemed to me to be a device. If the editor really hadn't wanted it, he/she would presumably have acted accordingly.

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Roger Harrabin - Tony Blair interview from ep 1 - Uncertain Climate"
Tony Blair: 'Heavy price' for climate inaction
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11181330

Roger:
"In the first part of the documentary, broadcast last week, Mr Blair said he did not agree with Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband who called climate sceptics "flat earthers" and "deniers". "

those statement were why I thought Gordon and Ed were not fit for public office.

The politicians are trapped of course, by the lobbyists and the scientifc advisors...

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Just listened to the second part of Roger's Climate Uncertainty Magnum Opus and thought it was far less interesting, and far more revealing than the first part.

Listen to the section at the Royal Society. One of the people Roger talked to (one is the chairman of the Royal Society; the other a mathematician) reveals an an example of the tortuous thought processes involved in being a Warmist. It's truly bizarre to listen to. But he can't hear it himself. He's all in favour of communicating doubt and uncertainty just as long as it doesn't give any ammunition to sceptics who are all anti-science. Nice. It chimes in perfectly with Phil Jones's response to Steve McIntyre: “why would I give you my data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it?”

Doh!

Unfortunately, Roger hasn't really changed. But the world around him has. To his credit, Roger is trying to find out why the world is changing. The problem is he just can't get it. He and the Warmists/alarmists are wedded to an emotional idea, not an intellectual one. Religion is the same; no amount of intellectual or scientific evidence will change someone's faith. Communism was the same. So no matter how intelligent they are (and some are geniuses) they cannot tear their hearts away from their vision of the Golden city on the hill.

This of course only applies to the Warmists who genuinely want to save the world. There are a very, very large number of people who are simply using Global Warming as a means to achieve their own personal ambitions e.g. politicians of all persuasions, scientists, academics, bureaucrats, financiers, the media.

It is these Global Warming apparatchiks who are the most dangerous since they seek and acquire power, but are also, conversely, the weak link. They will eventually be forced to change by a combination of evidence and peer pressure.

The true believers won't.

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Stuck-record - Phil Jones never said that to Steve McIntyre, he said it in an e-mail to Warwick Hughes.

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Lish

Sorry. My mistake. Thanks.

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Mr Harrabin seems to be in some turmoil these days. But this chap on Biased-BBC was not all impressed:

'I've listened to Roger Harrabin's second and final programme about climate change available here (due to be broadcast on R4 tonight). Obviously B-BBC readers will make up their own minds whether the programme could be regarded as balanced, but I have deliberately chosen this out-of-context phrase from Mr Harrabin because in my view his whole construct was deeply flawed. Yes he interviewed so-called sceptics, and yes, he conveyed elements of their perspective. But this was only a classic BBC lip-service ploy to convey fairness. The reality was that, on balance, he was snidely scathing about all those who disbelieve in the warmist fantasies, and at the same time, went out of his way to build credence for alarmists, both by allocating them more space and by talking of them reverentially as "mainstream" and "establishment" scientists. He gave his carefully chosen "sceptics" some space, but knocked them down by a combination of snide innuendo, highly selective editing, and by failing to put across their ideas in a way that showed them respect. The whole exercise reminded me of a Mafia chief saying he must be right because most those in his orbit agreed with him. All very unsurprising - it's what Mr Harrabin does, after all - but people I know were asking me at the weekend if these two programmes showed he might be having second thoughts about his warmist zeal. The answer is clearly a resounding 'no'. And he and the BBC are as committed to their green religion as they always have been. In future months the corporation will wheel Uncertain Climate out as an example of them giving "sceptics" airtime. But it was a charade.'

Source: http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/09/harrabin-i-am-guilty.html

Sep 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Just played it through a few more times. It's been very subtly edited. McIntyre is described as 'lugubrious' (hardly a compliment) reference to his pension (the man's past it). We are told of the 'experts' at the UEA whence the 'climategate' emails 'were not nearly as bad as they seemed' and '3 enquiries have cleared them'. He says 'global warming is clearly a tax-raising scam' but it in a silly voice so that we know only a fool would say it.
Delingpole is described as a 'humourist' (he'd have liked to say 'comedian') and is 'right wing' and of course 'Heartlands' could be dismissed as it was a conference of climate sceptics that used to be funded by Oil firms.No scientist would go there because they did not see it as 'reputable scientific conference'.
What good thing that the great scientist Tony Blair was available to comment.
Whether Harrabin himself would have liked a balanced programme we shall never know !

Sep 6, 2010 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Yeap, Toad. the silly voice bit is a dead give-away, isn't it.

And 'right-wing' is interchangeable with 'witch' in Beeb-speak.

Sep 6, 2010 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

I'm prepared to cut Harrabin some slack. Although I remain highly irritated by his anti-sceptic derogatory intellectual insinuations and smug innuendo. Lets face it. The whole Establishment apparatus has been hijacked by political agendas. Education, from primary school level through to University Chair appointment is now dictated and tightly managed in terms of political policy directives and targeted financial support. You dont get where you are by rocking the boat. And the BBC has lost its independence too. Essentially, swim against the tide, you're out. On your own. Most of his ilk continue to just regurgitate press release fodder and would not dream of questioning whether their past assumptions were unsound. At least he is going out there and enquiring, even though superciliously holding his nose. I think he is savvy enough to recognise when to start laying his bets off.

Sep 6, 2010 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I heard the first few minutes of his first installment, but having suffered his first two guests he then introduced Peter Mandelson of all people, and I switched off in disgust. (It was either that or throw the iron I had in my hand at the wireless). The second seemed a little more promising "I want to talk about the science..." but I, like others, soon realised that the spin was still there. My passenger in the car (1st and Masters in Physics from UCL) was not 'au fait' with the climate discussions but commented that the presentation seemed very partial and 'selected'. As we journeyed into deepest Cumbria we lost the signal soon after he'd (rather insultingly I thought) introduced Steve M. Neither of us were particularly bothered by then to hear the rest,

My impression was that he has had something of a rethink with all that's gone on since climategate, but since he basically doesn't understand the science enough to read the arguments in detail himself, and still deep down 'believes', he can't bring himself to distrust the blighters that have been feeding him partisan material for 20years, so he keeps listening to them, toning down the hype now, since the overhype is so obviously damaging, and delivering their message for them. I think he's sincere as far as he goes, he just doesn't know any better.

Sep 6, 2010 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Slightly OT but a little insight into the workings of the BBC.

The following letter was published in the DT a few days ago:-

BBC recruitment

SIR – Andrew Gilligan (Comment, September 3) claims: “I don’t think the BBC’s bias was ever exactly 'Left-wing’… any bias is towards the official, the conventional and the established.”

The BBC refused to give me any figures for spending on advertising for staff recruitment, but I obtained them for 2004 under the Freedom of Information Act. In the Guardian, the BBC spent £231,944; in the Telegraph, £32,535; in the Times £6,159.

Eric Hester
Bolton, Lancashire

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/7980754/Professor-Hawkings-latest-theories-should-be-welcomed-by-believers-in-God.html

Sep 6, 2010 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

I believe we should welcome any chink in the establishment view that extreme anthopogenic warming is on the way and only drastic action will save the planet. A truth of which is fortified by cajoling lots of scientists & groups to dogmatically support the argument and denigrating anyone who dares to claim the orthodoxy.

The argument by sceptics needs to be made better put. A starting point might be to ask people to compare and contrast the reactions (and the comments by the blog authors) to the Hockey Stick Illusion.

http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/repost-of-tamino-and-the-magic-flute/
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/

Then ask which side pursues understanding and furthering our knowledge - and which jumps to conclusions.

It is worth adding a rider - the two reviews that RealClimate have posted as a header have since have been rebutted on this blog.

Sep 6, 2010 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

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