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« 1984 and all that | Main | Another petition »
Friday
Dec072012

Huppert on 28gate

Don Keiller has sent me copies of his correspondence with his MP, the Liberal Democrat Dr Julian Huppert. Huppert is one of the few ex-scientists in the House of Commons. He is also, incidentally, the son of Herbert Huppert, one of the scientists on the Oxburgh panel.

Dear Dr. Huppert,

I am writing to you about a serious concern regarding the BBC’s reporting of climate change science and associated issues.

From the detail emerging in the aftermath of Mr. Tony Newbery’s F.O.I case (EA/2009/0118) it is absolutely clear that the BBC is in breach of its Charter, which requires it to be impartial.

Furthermore it knowingly and wilfully breached its Charter in this regard and has since tried to hide this fact from the Public and license fee payers, at the public's expense.

In June, 2007, the BBC Trust published a report entitled “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st Century”. That report, which is fully endorsed by the BBC Trust, contains the following statement (page 40):

The BBC has held a highlevel 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."

This statement forms the basis for the BBC’s decision to breach its Charter and abandon impartiality on the subject of climate change and instead provide a highly biased and alarmist presentation of the science of climate change, without any attempt at counterbalancing argument, let alone “equal space”.

Since then attempts have been made, via FOI requests, to find out the identities of the so-called “best scientific experts” who attended the “high level seminar” which thereby provided the justification for the BBC to abandon its principle of impartiality in this area. To my best knowledge, the BBC has not abandoned its impartiality in this way, even in wartime.

Tony Newbery, a pensioner, clearly felt the same way and has gone through a long series of FOI requests and processes, culminating, earlier this month, in a tribunal at the Central London Civil Justice Centre (case no. EA/2009/0118). The FOI request was for the identities of the “best scientific experts” who attended the seminar. In order to conceal this information, the BBC fielded a team of 6 lawyers, including barristers, at an estimated cost of £40,000 per day, to prevent the list of names from being published. Whilst they were successful, it was a pyrric victory, as it transpires that this information, that the BBC had tried so hard to conceal, had been in the Public domain for some time.

So who were these “best scientific experts”? 

It turns out to be a motley collection of climate alarmists, activists, environmental advocates and those with vested financial interests:

  • Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
  • Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
  • Trevor Evans, US Embassy
  • Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
  • Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
  • Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
  • Claire Foster, Church of England
  • Saleemul Huq, IIED
  • Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
  • Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
  • Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
  • Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
  • Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
  • Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
  • Matthew Farrow, CBI
  • Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
  • Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
  • Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
  • Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
  • Joe Smith, The Open University
  • Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
  • Anita Neville, E3G
  • Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
  • Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
  • Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia.

Not one of these could be described as “scientific”, let alone an expert.

The remainder:

  • Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
  • Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
  • Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
  • Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

are scientists, but were misleadingly described in court by Helen Boaden (of Jimmy Saville infamy), as “scientists with contrasting views”. In fact all are unashamedly alarmist. Pointedly, not one of these scientists deals with attribution science, or the atmospheric physics of global warming.

So where are the real experts? Scientists from the Met Office, or the Hadley Centre, one of the foremost climate research centres in the world? Where are the names of Dr.

Chris Landsea, World expert on hurricanes, or Dr. Nils‐Axel Mörner, World authority on sea level rises? Or Professors Richard Lindzen, or Murry Salby, World experts on atmospheric physics? Why are there no experts from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia?

It now crystal clear why the BBC went to such great lengths and expense to withhold the names of those attending. They are not the “best scientific experts” but rather a group overwhelmingly comprised of environmental activists and NGO’s, with no scientific training, whatsoever, or those with a vested interest, often financial, in keeping climate change alarmism firmly in the Public eye.

In conclusion I put it to the BBC Trust that:

1. The BBC and, by endorsing the report, the BBC Trust, have lied to the public that they organised and/or attended a seminar at BBC Television Centre involving the “best scientific experts” on climate change.

2. That its change of policy to no longer be impartial on the subject of climate change was not based on scientific evidence, or the views of the “best scientific experts”, but in fact was as a result of listening to the views, advice and lobbying from inappropriate and biased individuals, groups and organisations including Greenpeace, Tearfund, US Embassy, BP, IIED, IBT, AsRia, E3G etc.

3. That the BBC and the BBC Trust are in breach of the charter and acting unlawfully. The following quotations are taken from the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-editorial-values-editorial-values/

1.2.1 Trust

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.  We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences. 

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy

We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output.  Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth.  Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language.  We will strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.

1.2.3 Impartiality

Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences.  We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.  We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts. 

1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence

The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity.  Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests. 

Each and every one of these guidelines has been knowingly breached.

This is a scandal that is, in its own way, more disturbing than the one over the Jimmy Savile affair, as it has implications for the whole population. Interestingly the key players in this scandal, George Entwistle, Helen Boaden, Peter Rippon and Steve Mitchell, are also key players in the Savile affair. However whilst the Savile scandal is being looked into by a series of inquiries, this has been ignored.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course on this matter. Please also be advised that I have sent a copy of this letter to the Director of the BBC Trust.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. D. Keiller (M.A., PhD., Cantab)

And here is Huppert's response

Dear Don,

Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about the BBC Trust and the BBC’s reporting of climate change science.

I do appreciate your concerns that the attendees of the BBC’s ‘high-level seminar’, where it was decided that there was enough evidence about climate change to justify not giving equal space to “the opponents of the consensus”, were originally withheld from the public. I would have like to have seen a greater amount of transparency on this point. However, it remains the case that the FOI request made by Mr Tony Newbery to reveal the names of the attendees was denied.

Because the BBC has not published the list of attendees we can only speculate as to whether the list you have provided is indeed accurate. To my mind the list – whether it is correct or not – is impressive in that it suggests a wide range of views would have been represented, including a number of experts in the field.

I appreciate that you are likely to disagree with my interpretation of whether those mentioned on the list are experts or not. However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists.

Furthermore, although the seminar was significant as it was on this occasion that the decision to accept climate change as a fact was made by the Trust, the BBC have engaged with a huge range of scientific experts to discuss this issue since then. In your letter you have asked why scientist from the Met Office and other experts in various fields of research were not included in the seminar’s attendees list. I would like to point out that on numerous occasions the BBC has collaborated extensively with the Open University, Met Office and academics from a number of distinguished institutions to produce broadcasts and news articles concerning climate change and I am afraid that I do not share your concerns about the BBC Trust having breached its charter in the ways which you have suggested.

As a former scientist I know all too well the need to work from a solid evidence base. Indeed, this is a principle which I apply to politics as well. I am proud that the Lib Dems are a party which believe in evidence-based policy making and if I thought that an institution as important and as influential as the BBC has developed its policy towards climate change on anything but the most reliable and compelling evidence then I would raise my concerns with the Government in the strongest possible terms and without hesitation.

Although I do not share your views I would like to thank you for taking the time to make me aware of your concerns. I hope that you receive a helpful response from the Director of the BBC Trust.

Yours sincerely,

 

Julian Huppert

Member of Parliament for Cambridge

I'm speechless.

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Reader Comments (128)

Dec 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM | steveta says,


John,

"while this may seem like a travesty of science to AGW sceptics, I would guess that to the vast majority of the participants, this is no different from the total lack of dialog regarding creationism that you'd find at a biology/genetics conference.

They aren't going to discuss the problems with CAGW because they don't believe in the existence of such problems."

Good analogy, except I believe it's 180 degrees out of phase, it's really akin to creationists refusing to debate with biologists/geneticists at a creationist conference.

Dec 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

What a perfect place to recall the script from Dr Strangelove, in the USA War Room, as the world faces its end.

General Turgidson: The duty officer asked General Ripper to confirm the fact the he had issued the go code and he said, "Yes gentlemen, they are on their way in and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them, otherwise we will be totally destroyed by red retaliation. My boys will give you the best kind of start, fourteen hundred megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now. So let's get going. There's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all." Then he hung up. We're still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.

President Muffley: There's nothing to figure out General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.

Turgidson: Well, I'd like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

Muffley: (anger rising) General Turgidson, when you instituted the human reliability tests, you assured me there was no possibility of such a thing ever occurring.

Turgidson: Well I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip up sir.

Dec 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Dung
I'm afraid to expect a Lib-Dem (of all people) to break ranks on this (of all subjects) is naive. And to expect a relative newcomer to parliament to reply to a constituent in a way that suggests he knows better than his party is also naive.
Huppert was not dishonest or unethical. For all we know he may have consulted widely (albeit not widely enough!) on this and come to the conclusion that the BBC's approach is the correct one.
Look at it from his point of view. The BBC has looked at this and reached a conclusion broadly in line with the science as they understand it (and as the majority of those qualified to do so also understand it). John Doe doesn't like that and complains to you that the BBC is in breach of its Charter.
Have you read the general thrust of the comments underneath every article on the DT website (and others) where comments are allowed? 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' has nothing on that lot!
That is what we are up against. For every Don Keiller that knows what he is talking about there are a dozen and more assorted out and out nutters whose main pre-occupation is being able to boast,"see me; I wrote that crap; aren't I the clever one". Ask Fenbeagle some time; he pops in to Delingpole's blog fairly often.
Huppert et al have absolutely no reason to assume that a letter from an unknown constituent blathering on (sorry, Don!) about some subject about which they probably know nothing — because, let's face it, the MP probably knows nothing about it either and is just going by what he is told by the "experts" — is worth any more than the polite brush-off.
Sorry, Dung, but that's the fact of the matter. The general public has been well and truly painted into a corner by the eco-activists.Wherever the truth on climate change lies the received wisdom is now what the eco-activists want it to be and they have enough "useful idiots" (we have a couple that pop up here regularly) happy to act as Little Sir Echo to ensure that rational argument is not allowed a look-in.
And how do we get round that? When I find the answer to that I'll let you know. After I've patented it!

Dec 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@Mike Jackson: Thank you for that excellent post, my point exactly.

@Dung said to me "I assume then that for you words like tranparency and openness are also naive because of course us plebs do not understand the way of the world. In your world things are best left to the cognoscenti to discuss behind closed doors."

Just for the record, I wrote a letter to the BBC Trust and copied it to my MP. I stated this online at BH. Don Keiller was motivated to do something similar and asked to see my letter. BH posted a link to it. Don (and maybe others) have used whatever they thought appropriate and combined it with their own words and sent it under their own name to the BBC Trust, MP etc. I have stated my reasons for not posting my responses now, but I have said I may do so when some kind of conclusion is reached. I do not think that your critical statements above are at all reasonable given my statements and actions.

There is a follow on point too. This issue is about the BBC being unbiased, not about climate change itself, it is about ensuring all views on climate change are given equal weight. It is often stated by the BBC and politicians that "the debate is over". It is on the BBC, but what I object most strongly to is the lie that the debate ever happened at all, because it didn't. The debate has been closed out in the MSM (but clearly is alive and well on the internet).

I am very sceptical of climate change, but that doesn't mean I am right. As a scientist I also have to consider that I could have got this very wrong and as a consequence I try and read to improve my understanding, and ask questions, for example of Tamsin and Richard. Much of the climate debate is driven by uneducated bigotry, the least I can do is try and understand the science. All I want is for the debate to be honest, rigorous and adhere to scientific principles. That's why I have written to the BBC Trust.

Dec 8, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

@Mike Jackson. You have it in a nutshell.

My own position is much as TS, except I'm not "... very sceptical of climate change." and I doubt that he/she is. I could, of course be wrong and there is catastrophe looming in the not too distant future, but even if I am wrong, I'm not wrong when I say we have no way of stopping the forthcoming disaster in the near term. Humans will continue to increase their use of fossil fuels in China, India, Brazil, etc. because many, or indeed most, of their people are living lives far worse than those described as our future in the IPCC reports. "When you ain't got nothing, you've got nothing to lose." h/t Bob Dylan

Dec 8, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

@Geronimo, you are quite correct to doubt that I am "very sceptical of climate change" and I have therefore to say my choice of words was very poor: I am not very sceptical of climate change, climate change is normal and natural. I also believe that humans, by their activities, affect weather and climate, but probably only locally and in minor ways. I am very sceptical of the long term view of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, which is what I really should have said.

I don't think it is giving much away to say that I am a he. Might save you and others from a bit of extra typing in future.

Dec 8, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

to the he that is ThinkingScientist

'All I want is for the debate to be honest, rigorous and adhere to scientific principles.'

100% agreed. If it had been from the start the world would be a better place.

I would add that we have to accept that the reality is that if an MP receives a complaint about science from a scientist then the MP is likely to give it more credence than if it comes from a Joe Sixpack. That's just the way it is. Authority rules. Noting that as regards the BBC the issue is as much about its legal obligations to impartiality as it is about the science.

Dec 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Discretion is not what the blogosphere is best for but it's highly called-for at certain moments in the battle, for instance to influence our MPs to take a more rational stance on policy or to restore proper balance to reporting of the science and policy issues at the BBC. I support everything ThinkingScientist is doing and saying - or indeed not saying.

I also support Don and the Bish publishing the exchange here. Although understandable from a party political perspective Huppert's response remains nonsense. If we see a consensus of nonsense we have a duty to change it. Ridicule is a totally fair weapon, if that's the way Don chooses to go.

Dec 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Seems we have a friend in high places

From the Telegraph today - interview with Owen Paterson

"He has entered the debate about wind farms and shale gas with an enthusiasm that has delighted Tory MPs and terrified environmental campaigners in equal measure.
Given that wind energy is central to the Coalition’s energy policy, his contempt is striking. “These turbines are being built because of subsidy and it is causing huge public consternation. They are inappropriate technology which matured in the Middle Ages, they are inappropriate for many areas of inland Britain and they are doing real damage.” He speaks of those who have had their lives blighted, and says residents should have the power to veto proposed wind farms.
Likewise, he is evangelical about the potential of shale gas, demonstrated in the United States. Mr Paterson believes Britain’s reserves of shale gas could have a similar positive effect here, if only we would let the private sector get on with exploration and extraction.
Mr Paterson argues that the investment in shale gas would revive struggling rural communities. “It could be absolute huge,” he says. “It is totally unlike windfarms. It depends on no public subsidy. It runs in tune with the economy, and it provides an energy source which is reliable.” To encourage development he has set up an office in Defra to speed up the licensing application process."

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9731057/Owen-Paterson-We-want-our-country-back-from-Europe.html for the full story

Dec 8, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

@Jockdownsouth

Feel free.

Dr. Huppert has probably already circulated my letter according to the following statement (which I did not originally publish).


"While Julian Huppert will treat as confidential any personal information which you pass on, he will normally allow staff and authorised volunteers to see it if this is needed to help advise you. The MP may pass on all or some of this information to agencies such as the DWP, HMRC or the local Council if this is necessary."

Dec 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Dec 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM | steveta says,

Dec 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM | geronimo

- - - - - -

steveta & geronimo,

The AGU meeting showed a scientific association whose new leadership wants a 'new AGU' heavily engaged in activism focused on the premise of warming from anthropogenic CO2. In the Atmospheric Science and Global Environment areas that activism for IPCC endorsed research was vocal and little skepticism was presented in the sessions I attended.

It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some explicit skepticism, it's virtual absence has got me thinking about whether scientific self-correction has been manipulated / censored.

Note: I do not think your ideas concerning relevance of biology and creationism bring light to the AGU meeting discussion, though your ideas are interesting separately from AGU discussion.

John

Dec 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

I am used to playing Devil's Advocate which is why I might sound marginally more sympathetic to Huppert and the BBC then I am in reality. It does sometimes help to ground an argument somewhere close to the realms of reality though it is not always a safe or comfortable place to be.
I don't think we get anywhere if we lose sight of where we are and, as I pointed out earlier, we (which effectively means about 90% of the population) have been very effectively out-manoeuvred by the eco-activists on a range of issues stretching from climate change by way of nuclear power and GM crops to organic farming and recycling.
And before anyone leaps in and says, "ah, but such-and-such is different", I would ask you to stop and ask yourself, "why?" and "who says so?" The eco-activist approach to every one of those subjects, and others, represents an attack on our modern way of life and potentially on our (or in the case of GM crops, the world's poor) standard of living.
Any of them might be arguable in their own right, but that is not the reason the activists have taken the stand they have.
So we are where we are. The BBC's position is a complex one as far as I understand it, compounded of an intrinsic "soft left" bias which has been there for decades, a preponderance of arts graduates among its managers and therefore an ethos that is suspicious of anything "sort of scientific" because they don't understand science at all — look at the pervasive wide-eyed approach which has also characterised science coverage for as long as I can remember — which makes the whole organisation ripe for the "stands to reason" factor when somebody they trust (like an environmentalist because "caring for the environment" is a "Good Thing", isn't it?) and who also claims to understand the science comes along and tells them that global warming is a "Bad Thing" and that the people who challenge "the science" are "Bad People" probably in the pay of Capitalists and deserve the same credence as flat-earthers/creationists/holocaust deniers. Pick the most effective sales pitch according to the victim.
(Sorry if this is going on a bit!)
You can call it "noble cause corruption" if you want to attach a name to it. You can also call it the instinct for self-preservation. There is nothing to be gained by being the first to stick your head above the parapet which explains one further reason why MPs are reluctant to break ranks and the BBC has simply parked itself on what it firmly believes to be neutral territory. This is not a matter for debate; the science is settled; we wouldn't give equal time to someone disputing the law of gravity ...
There is one flaw in this argument but I've got writer's cramp! Can anyone spot it?

Dec 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

ThinkingScientist

What I objected to was that you accused Don of being naive because he wrote to his MP and expected a reasonable response. In your defence you spoke of all the nutters who must write to their MPs for all the wrong reasons but they didnt all sign their letters

Dr. D. Keiller (M.A., PhD., Cantab)
.
Owen Patterson's interview in today's DT is the kind of honesty we need to expect from our MPs. When we do not get a reasonable reponse we need to persist not just sit back and say "well what did I expect?".
If we accept that MPs and others like the BBC are not going to listen then why dont we all pack up and go home?

Dec 8, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung
It wasn't thinkingscientist who "defended" Huppert, it was me, and I'm standing by what I said.
It doesn't matter who the letter is from and the letters MA, PhD (Cantab) do not make a difference. MSc just might have caused Huppert to wonder whether the writer might know what he was talking about but in the absence of serious evidence I am prepared to bet that he would have gone down the route he did and for the reasons I have already given.
I'm simply arguing for an understanding of where we are in this "battle". There is no reason why a brush-off should send us homeward-bound (other than tae think again, as Don has proved more than once) but if we don't understand both that in the present climate the majority of MPs and the BBC are going to give us that brush off, and why, then we are in for a lot of frustration and disappointment.

Dec 8, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Dec 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Don Keiller - "Jockdownsouth feel free".

Thanks Don.

Have you any thoughts on the reply from Andrew Lansley to his constituent being identically worded to that from Francis Maude to me? Somebody is co-ordinating responses across several Departments so we must assume that there were a large number of complaints. Is it to protect the BBC or to protect the coalition's green tax policies? I might ask Mr Maude in my response to him. It seems that Winston Smith may still be beavering away in the Ministry of Truth.

Still on Winston Smith and the Ministry of Truth I see that Sourcewatch accuse you of mendacity. Is that a badge of honour in this case, as presumably you've well and truly got under their collective skin? :-)

Dec 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

Mike

I know the situation as well as you do ^.^ but I think most people on BH write lots of letters to MPs and others and I dont think that being unhappy with the kind of responses we get deserves the description "naive".

Dec 8, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Registered CommenterDung

@Mike Jackson. Dr. Huppert is (was) a Cambridge trained scientist.
As such he will be aware that a degree from Cambridge, is a BA/MA, regardless of subject.
As it happens my first degree was in the Natural Sciences:-)

Dec 8, 2012 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

@Jockdownsouth.

"Sourcewatch" has got it wrong- as usual.

The only people who are "mendacious" are climate change activists and alarmists.
After all it is they who continue to use cherry-picked data and knowingly repeat falsehoods.

Regrettably our brain-dead media and politicians are doing their level best to prove Goebbel's
theory correct:
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Dec 8, 2012 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Don
Damn! I had forgot!!
It's these posh universities doing it other just to catch us plebs off-balance. :-(

Dung
I never said being disappointed was naive; I said expecting anything better from a Lib-Dem MP in the present climate could be called naive. But since I would never want to accuse a Cantab MA of naiveté, perhaps now would be a good time to stop digging!

Dec 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

John Whitman, perhaps your sentence "It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some explicit skepticism, it's virtual absence has got me thinking about whether" should have finished with "I am wrong to think there is any reason to doubt that AGW is happening"?

Dec 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLouise

@Dung says "What I objected to was that you accused Don of being naive because he wrote to his MP and expected a reasonable response."

My comment about naivety was intended for all those picking over the reply and exclaiming horror! surprise! at the reply from a LibDem MP. It is the reaction of the audience, not the sending of the letter by Don, that is naive. That probably was not clear from my post and I can see how that might be misinterpreted, apologies for being ambiguous. I fully support Don sending a letter to his MP and one to the BBC Trust, why wouldn't I? It is what I have done. The response may be disappointing (my late father wrote several times to his LibDem MP on the subject of climate change, but only ever received replies along the party line) but please do not think that therefore I think writing to one's MP is naive, because I don't. If people don't write and make a statement, then they cannot subsequently claim about their voice not being heard. As fun as it is here on BH, very few MP's will take notice unless we write to them. It is only worth writing either (a) to your MP or (b) one who holds the ministerial position relating to your subject matter. No other MP's are going to pay any attention.

Your further sentence "In your defence you spoke of all the nutters who must write to their MPs for all the wrong reasons but they didnt all sign their letters" does not appear to relate to anything I said. I think Mike Jackson has already noted this referred to something he said. I actually agree with Mike on this point too, but I never said it.

If you check the letter I drafted which BH posted a link to (I forgot which 28gate thread it was), you will note that I said name...letters after name etc for a signature. I actually included a short resume in mine. I think the more reasonable and argued the letter and the more you can demonstrate quickly to a complete stranger that you are perhaps not just a zealot or a bigot and that you have thought about the subject before writing, the more chance you have that they might actually read what you have written. Letters after your name? Clearly an appeal to authority, but it still works sometimes in getting (some) people's attention.

Dec 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Rather than Julian Huppert's scientific background the key is his father. Huppert's father is an FRS and acknowledged authority on rock fluid mechanics with an extensive biblio. His bio is here

http://www.itg.cam.ac.uk/people/heh/

That also lists his latest grant awards, which are substantial, and (surprise surprise) concern 'climate change,' specifically carbon sequestration studies.

I don't have the broadband speed to view this 1 1/2 hour video presentation, but struggled through the first six buffering minutes enough to give me a fair idea of how he regards us.

http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1269002

Dec 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

@Pharos. That is stunning.
So here we have two more vampire squids, in this case father and son, jamming their blood funnels into the corrupt body that is climate change.

Dec 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Pharos’s link to the talk by M.P. Julian Huppert’s dad is most interesting.
A few minutes into the talk Huppert senior mentions Charles Keeling’s work at Mauna Loa and says how nice it is that his son took over...

Dec 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

John Whitman, perhaps your sentence "It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some explicit skepticism, it's virtual absence has got me thinking about whether" should have finished with "I am wrong to think there is any reason to doubt that AGW is happening"?

Dec 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM | Louise

- - - - - - -

Louise,

Thanks for your thoughts on revising a paragraph of mine in my comment at Dec 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM | John Whitman.

I think I will revise that paragraph.

Here is my newly revised paragraph:

It was my first AGU meeting. I was expecting some explicit skepticism (AS & CG sections) in proportion to the amount of formally published scientifically skeptical climate research, it's virtual absence at the AGU meeting in those section has got me thinking about whether scientific self-correction has been manipulated / censored. The '28gate' censorship actions of the BBC (particularly Roger Harribin's contribution to it) show that skeptical censorship campaigns are being pursued in the media. Is there that kind of activity in the AGU leadership that would effectively nullify the traditional role of scientific self-correction? It seems an interesting avenue to investigate further, n'est ce pas?


John


John

Dec 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

It has to be said....

There will be no change under this paradigm.

Only a popular uprising can give any hope of change.

Dec 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterfretslider

Ask Julian Huppert if he managed to catch Richard Lindzen's talk at the HoC last February. If not, the link's here

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02148/RSL-HouseOfCommons_2148505a.pdf

But better still by far, and a good antidote when depressed by threads like this, Lindzens 1 1/2 hour magisterial performance below, right through the questions as well. So many memorable pearls of wisdom, Churchillian almost.

http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/100210Lindzen/f.htm

Dec 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

"However, I am satisfied that the list is not compromised of merely alarmists and activists."
---

Many have already trod where I now follow, but I do feel the need to add my voice in agreement.

As somewhat of a veteran of the BBC Complaints > ECU > Trust Labyrinth (and forget Lord Patten, who has top greasy pole position nailed), it is clear the person who wrote this has been fully trained in the value of subjective personal 'belief' (or similar terms such as 'satisfaction', 'contentment', etc) as a means to conclude any debate when the objective facts are against them but they control stadium, ball and referee.

It is a classic 'we are right because we say we are right', straight out of H2G2's 'Beware of the Leopard' file, homaged already by another poster or two here.

Now this would be funny were it not so serious.

It is bad enough that the BBC has created such a vast and expensive facade for pretending it cares about accountability when all it seeks to do is cover up everything it gets caught doing, but they do so knowing that beyond the totally interest conflicted confines of their own internal, rigged Star Chamber, there is actually nowhere else to go. At least with power, or balls. And to get out of any involvement they will simply spin any attempt at breaking out back into the insanity loop (H/T: Einstein A.) that is the BBC 'system'.
---
"I wrote to Maria Miller at DCMS about the 28gate shenanigans, and this is what they said in reply...
I suggest you contact the BBC Trust directly with any concerns about the BBC, by writing to the BBC Trust Unit"
Dec 7, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Messenger
----

QED.

My MP appears to be addicted to the Daily Politics sofa as a path to career progression (he's being 'talked about' as the 'next big thing') and clearly knows where the buttered side of the bread is, and taking on a media monopoly force with such malign potential to said career is not one his principles appear ready to tackle. In washing his hands of any opinion, much less help with a case I am pursuing, he actually quoted a Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as describing the BBC as a 'huge national crown jewel'. That rather closed him off as a potential avenue of value right there.

He, also, pointed me back at the BBC complaints system, which given the reason I was contacting him was that they had banned me from further contact on the basis they had run out of excuses, smacked rather of cynically shrugging shoulders on a 'they are unique, what can we do?' basis. If something is wrong, it doesn't get less wrong by ignoring it, as any ostrich in the middle of a hyena pack's territory will eventually discover.

The establishment seems to have gone one better, and in being so incapable of dealing with the abuses and uniques the BBC has too long enjoyed, has decided to bend over and stick its collective head where the sun don't shine.

At least such MPs as those described can and will face the ballot box every few years, and possibly come to appreciate the power of democratic process.

It remains to be seen whether they may grasp the irony of the entity they seem moved to protect and defend, in such semantic, weaseling ways, being immune from such account holding, ever.

And flaunts that immunity, in face of all free-speaking, democratic process daily... simply because they have, are, and can.

Dec 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM | John Anderson raises an interesting possibility, and point. It is almost as if those in theory 'beyond' the BBC internal systems have been briefed on what to do, or write, given the cookie cutter nature of replies, if anything eventually gets as far as them out of Aunty's clutches.

Bear in mind they can all bat anything away if one hasn't run the full gamut of the BBC process, which can take years, hundreds of pages and megabytes of data (trust me, I know). It's the first thing they'll ask. But assuming you have, be it OFCOM, an MP, ICO or the DCMS, they do indeed appear to have many smokescreens and mirrors ready to ensure they don't have to provide any answers that will cause 'issues' to rock the cosy club the politico-media state establishment has set up and runs.

After NHS/Staffs. Savile/McAlpine, etc, as the latest Leveson farce plays out today, my faith in British public sector institutions, and its overpaid, mostly complicit or compromised guardians of public interest, could now hardly be lower.

Mar 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

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