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« A pickle | Main | Killing the carbon targets »

He's off

Long time BH sparring partner Leo Hickman has announced that he's leaving the Guardian and heading for pastures new. He is to take up the role of chief climate change advisor to WWF. I'm sure we all wish him well.

Obviously the Guardian is in pretty dire financial straits, so shedding of staff is no great surprise, but it may also be symptomatic of the continued demise of the environmental journalist, a profession that should never have existed in the first place.

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Reader Comments (67)

The Panda lot, or the wrestlers?

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Scuse me from being cynical but considering what Leo has been writing for the Guardian the transition to WWF-UK should be seamless.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucy

I would have thought that the WWF would have wanted a scientist for the role of chief climate change advisor rather than an activist / journalist - I guess that this reduces their credibility even further.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Definitely the Panda lot.........he hasn't got the build for the wrestlers.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

I think I could do a better job for the WWF at a lot less. How do I apply?

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil McEvoy

No Leo is perfect. Look at how long he's denied the temperature standstill or the science behind tracking. And we'll be able to say to him when he's speaking on behalf of the WWF-UK, "you are not a scientist are you," just like we do for Bob Ward. Leo is such a known quantity that the WWF have effectively neutered themselves as we know what he will say before he says it.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucy

Nothing intrinsically wrong with the notion of a journalist specialising on environment matters. But they're always environmentalists first, not journalists.

(By the way, I see a broad blue band today just above the post text, in Firefox and IE10.)

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Neither does the WWF need a climate change advisor. Concentrate on saving the tiger for gawds sake! Man has a much more directly negative effect on wildlife than via our emissions. they've lost my donations anyway; clearly it all goes straight to pointless admin/lobbying jobs.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

(By the way, I see a broad blue band today just above the post text, in Firefox and IE10.)
Me too. Appeared in the last hour.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Oh! what a shame as I always found Leo to be objective and rational. His posts were never moderated when alternative views to his were posted. His in depth analysis of the climategate emails were second to none.

An all round good egg with excellant scientific training well suited to his knew role as climate change adviser.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

It will comforting to know that the £3 a month your children/grandchildren extort from you to 'Save the Snow Leopard' will now go towards paying Leo's salary.
Surely the relatively moderate 'environmentalism' of Hickman has been overtaken by the extreme alarmism of Nuccitelli.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

I gave up on the WWF when it stopped being the Worldwide Wildlife Fund. Leo will fit in perfectly (and if I could think of a worse insult, I would).

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Things have certainly changed when a bunch of bunny-huggers are much richer than a media organisation.

I can't imagine the Women's Christian Temperance Union taking staff from William Randolph Hearst.

But then again, both of those were privately funded, not from the public teat.

Aug 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Tells you everything you need to know about The Guardian's coverage of climate issues.

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Both The Guardian and WWF will be the better off for Leo's change of location.

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

An opening for the newly unemployed Ed Davey in 2015?

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

For WWF sakes you have to hope he does not copy his 'trick ' of full on support for 10:10 splatter feast video. Although these days repeating the ‘fact‘ its was Leo pushing it for all he was wroth , is certainly not ‘sacred fact’’ on CIF given it will result in your post being deleted.

Different place same job , pimping ‘the cause ‘ to the public no matter what the facts.

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

He's off to spend more time in the environment?

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

I wouldn't call him a "sparring partner"; more a "punchbag".

Aug 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The header box now spreads down into the text .... OK, tried turning off ad block, and I see the header has been extended to include the banner ad.

Please remember that a lot (most?) people visiting this site will be using some form of ad blocker. The site really needs to be usable by them too.

Aug 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPJP

His last article is just as wrong as every other article written by him that I’ve read. Sceptics haven’t changed their position at all. It’s just that some of the warmists (Hickman himself maybe?) have stopped screaming “Denier!, Denier!, Denier!” just about long enough to actually hear a little of what we were saying. But, judging by the reaction on Twitter so far, something like this will become the new meme: “Sceptics have seen their attacks on the science become untenable because the science was always right and they’ve therefore dishonestly shifted their position to that of “policy sceptics” instead“. So it won’t be warmists having to face up to the fact that they might have the “science” wrong at all. Nope, it’s us sceptics having to accept that the “science” was always right. They’ll convince themselves of this in hours. Mark my words.

Aug 28, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Maybe he is off to the wrestlers. If they are mud-wrestlers, they'll need his vast scientific knowledge to predict heavier rain to make good mud.

If it's the other lot, well, I haven't supported them for years anyway because of their ridiculous stance. Another one off to feed in the trough along with Black, Yeo, Deben. Have we got a list of them all?

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

For the record I do not wish him well. He advocates policies that are detrimental to me, my family, my friends and every human being on the planet. Why the f*ck should I wish him well!

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRealityChecker

Says more about the WWF than the grauniad.

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

"Not quite as bad as the rest of them" would be my epitaph for his career. Glad to see him gone to where he can do less harm.

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Sorry BH. As far as I'm concerned Hickman is responsible for his fair share of the excess winter deaths in the UK, so as he is relieved of the strain of pretending to be a journalist, it isn't well I wish him.

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

I'm glad BH is still campaigning hard, when your up against the likes of so many other groups.

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDai

RealityChecker, I think a touch of sarcasm was being used, but I target my wrath at those who actually ENACT law and policy based on Hickman et al's verbiage, i.e. the politicians. I don't mind how much Hickman blathers on (as the more he does, the more foolish he makes himself), but I DO mind that politicians enact regulation and taxes that are wholly unjustified and designed to enrich the 'favoured few' at the expense of the many, especially those dying of cold because they can't afford their energy bills.

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

Stepping aside to make way for Dana?

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

"He is to take up the role of chief climate change advisor to WWTF."

Aug 28, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The average IQ of both organisations will increase markedly

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Bish said "I'm sure we all wish him well"

I'm sure we do.. :-)

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Lert's hope he can achieve for WWF what he has obviously achieved for his previous employer.

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Martin A: Ha for the second time in a few minutes.

Hickman's parting shot is lamentable:

The real world is leaving behind those who flatly reject the science underpinning the notion that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet. Campaigners (outside the US, at least) don't really need to expend their energy targeting this breed of "denier" any more.

What we are now seeing more of, though, are climate policy sceptics. Yes, some of these are the same characters as before, but who have subtly, artful repositioned themselves over recent years. So rather than claiming that climate science is a hoax, a fraud or fundamentally flawed, they now say the proposed climate policies will have little, if any, impact on the planet's temperature gauge and are therefore a waste of time and money.

But we've always been policy sceptics, first and foremost. Look at the most dedicated delver into the finer points of IPCC WG1 (if such a thing were possible), such as Nic Lewis. Whatever one's position on the science as a sceptic the punchline has always been "with this as a foundation, they want to spend trillions doing stuff that may well make no difference?" Every single sceptic I've met has been a policy sceptic. Richard Lindzen broke loose from Al Gore's crude oversight in 1988 precisely because of Al's policies - policies that he knew were in no way justified by the science.

Hickman could not have written a final article that more comprehensively showed his ignorance.

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:39 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

More proof that if you do a good job for the cause, one of the well financed greenie "charities" will have a nice job for you.

But we're the ones in the pay of Big Oil, of course.

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW


Well at least he didn't get a Knighthood.

Aug 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The WWF and the Guardian are connected.

The apparent Job description:

Incidentally about connections, Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian Media Group, has been the director of programmes at Channel 4 Television, managing director of BBC Network Radio and a Guardian journalist.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commenter52

Leo off to join the WWF

"Tomorrow belongs to me"

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterFay Tuncay

It's good Linda McMahon did not spend all her money on her candidacy and could afford hiring Leo.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterColorado Wellington

Like John Page, I don't have a fundamental objection to the concept of an Environmental Journalist, but too many of them have a surfeit of confidence over competence. Giving the impression that they think they hold the moral high ground doesn't come over too well either.

That well meaning charities like Oxfam and WWF are galloping down climate avenue without a saddle is a sad indication that they have lost their way.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

More evidence that the drinks at their Last Chance Saloon are going to depend on their deflecting attention away from the science and on to policy questions. Given the relentless shredding, sometimes within hours, of the sort of sloppy papers that once slipped through to serve their goal-driven purpose, what else can the alarmed ones do? Shredding of policy has been proceeding apace as well, so these are desperate times for the desperados of scaremongering for funds and for power.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Curious that the Australia equivalent of the Guardian, to wit Fairfax Press is also declining rapidly. It was a major operation in the 1990's.

The 3 major titles The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review and The Age (a.k. the Flinders St. Soviet) have been as one-sided and biased on AGW as our dearly beloved (sarc. off) ABC, and have been shedding circulation and staff at a rapid rate.

Their major competitor is Rupert Murdoch's papers, which have always had a far more neutral position, and lately a far more questioning attitude, and are gaining circulation.

It would seem that a lot less than 97% of the australian public are convinced about global warming.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Well meaning charities! WWF I think not.

The days of Chi Chi ended 20 plus years ago when ching ching took over.

Don't forget its the World Wide Fund.

Aug 28, 2013 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Maybe we should get a survey done on all Environmental Correspondents in the press, and other media, and find out what NGO's they have membership of; Greenpeace, FoE, WWF, etc
It would be interesting as an assessment of bias over the years, especially as they had the excuse to avoid criticism from other journalists because only they are qualified to have an opinion.

Aug 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCICERO

Fay Tuncay

I much prefer this version Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Aug 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Anyone doubting Leo Hickman's qualifications to opine on climate change will be delighted to hear that his original degree in Art History from the School of English and American Studies at the University of Sussex has recently been afforced by an honorary DLitt from the University of Exeter.

Aug 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones


Yes, a much better version. It's a Green anthem, which suits the WWF and its political ambitions. The words are here:

Tomorrow belongs to me

The sun on the meadow is summery warm
The stag in the forest runs free
But gathered together to greet the storm
Tomorrow belongs to me

The branch on the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea (Gold to the sea)
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come
When the world is mine
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
But soon says the whisper, arise, arise
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

Aug 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterFay Tuncay

Many of them have always been quite happy when struggling to explain some of the issues with their "science" to throw the whole thing aside and go for the "what if it turned out to be wrong and we'd made the world a better place anyway" thing which sounds fine on the surface until you look into what they mean by "a better place".

Aug 28, 2013 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Charities have come a long way from the days when they administered alms to the 'decayed and destitute' of the parish.
Now they create them.

Aug 28, 2013 at 8:55 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Tomorrow belongs to me
Aug 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM Fay Tuncay

Yes - that song (and the political overtones) came to mind when Steve Lewandowsky modestly named his blog "Shaping Tomorrow's World".

I doodled an extra verse:-


Your children are desperate to see

Strike down the dissenters who try to deny

Tomorrow belongs to ... Steve

Aug 28, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

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