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28gate hits the MSM

David Rose has a big spread in the Mail on Sunday in which he gives the 28gate story a good going over. (If you haven't read it before, get yourself a copy of my pamphlet on how Tony Newbery and I uncovered the story.)


The BBC has spent tens of thousands of pounds over six years trying to keep secret an extraordinary ‘eco’ conference which has shaped its coverage of global warming,  The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The controversial seminar was run by a body set up by the BBC’s own environment analyst Roger Harrabin and funded via a £67,000 grant from the then Labour government, which hoped to see its ‘line’ on climate change and other Third World issues promoted in BBC reporting.


The new attention on the 28gate seminar has been prompted by disclosure of documents showing how the Department for International Development responded to a funding request for funding from the International Broadcasting Trust a body that lobbies broadcasters on behalf of green NGOs. What we have, in essence, appears to be government paying for subversion of the state broadcaster.
Which is pretty appalling when you think about it.

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Reader Comments (112)

I wonder how much of this is sour grapes at not receiving an invitation.An open question would be who the BBC should have invited from the sceptical side.

That Bishop Hill feels the need to import a witness to Parliament at your expense rather indicates that there's nobody in the UK qualified as an expert witness on the sceptic climate change position.

It is also an open question what the sceptic position actually is.There's no common message. Should the BBC have invited a lukewarmer accountant, a sceptical retired politician or gone looking for a sky dragon slayer from PSI?

Jan 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I wrote to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee as suggested by Tony Newberry and have had a reply as follows:

"Thank you for your email. Your comments will be brought to the attention of the Committee. As you will have noticed, the Committee is conducting an inquiry into the Future of the BBC ahead of its 2016 Charter Review. Should you wish to submit evidence to the enquiry, please use the attached link.

Kevin Candy
Inquiry Manager"

The comments in the third sentence about the Inquiry into the Future of the BBC prior to the Charter Review in 2016 are interesting. I intend taking the Committee up on their offer.

Jan 13, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnbuk


The invitations are at the discretion of the committee, not anyone here. "Importing" is in your mind.

Jan 13, 2014 at 9:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Entropic man

best you can do?

You've obviously not bothered to look at the list of attendees :-)

A sceptic in that lot would be like getting Richard Dawkins to officiate at Bath City Church

Why did the BBC wriggle so much to get out of disclosure if their deliberations were transparently well evidenced, certain and unequivocally for the public good? Surely it would be in the organisation's interest to be seen to be doing due diligence ?

Jan 13, 2014 at 9:46 PM | Registered Commentertomo


I understand that Bridcut cannot recall where he got the idea that the seminar was composed of scientific experts.

Jan 13, 2014 at 9:47 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

No EM, the BBC should have invited a balanced spectrum of climate scientists, atmospheric physicists and so forth. Perhaps we might have expected lindzen, or landsea, jones even, morner etc. Instead the bbc organised 28 people, of whom only 4 have a scientific background (but not in climate science), the other 24 attendees were activists including greenpeace and many other cronies. Using a staggeringly biased group and flouting its own rules for neutrality the bbc decided that balanced reporting was no longer required. It made sure its program makers were there too, to adopt the new policy.

The bbc claimed the meeting did not take place (I have an email stating that). The bbc claimed the decision to no longer have balance was based on a meeting of the "best scientific experts". That was false too, but it refused to release the list of attendees so anyone could check. When an foi request was made it fought back with barristers costing, I estimate, 10's of thousands of pounds. Meanwhile, the list of attendees was on the internet anyway.

The bbc has lied publicly, in writing, at least three times that I know of in order to defend the indefensible: namely thats it editorial decision to no longer provide balance on climate change was based on a meeting of environmental activists, not scientists.

The bbc should be ashamed. It is acting unlawfully in direct contravention of its charter and the bbc trust thinks it can just fob us all off. Shame on them all. For me this is the moment when free speech did at the bbc.

As for you EM, you are either spectacularly uninformed on this matter, or simply trolling. Pathetic. The bbc actions are utterly indefensible to any reasonable person.

Jan 13, 2014 at 11:08 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Foxgoose, Richard Drake, Mike Jackson,

Yes, I am surprised that there was nobody from the Met Office Hadley Centre at the seminar - and indeed that there were so few scientists present. I don't know whether anyone from the MOHC was invited or not, but I suspect not because I'd be surprised if such an invitation was turned down. However, I don't know for sure.

Having said that, Mike Hulme was a good choice in my view, as he has a very deep and well-informed view of the debate about climate change, and he can see it from different angles. I thoroughly recommend his books "Why we disagree about climate change" and the recently-published "Exploring Climate Change through Science and in Society" - which, incidentally, mentions this blog (in a positive way) in a chapter called "After Climategate … never the same".

Nevertheless, it is surprising that they didn't have more climate scientists, including someone from the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Richard Drake - thanks for challenging Stephen Richards's rudeness. I agree that this kind of thing is distracting and reduces the credibility of the discussion.

Gixxerboy - thanks for your supportive comment.

Ross Lea - thanks for your questions. I'm happy to answer them, but I think it's off-topic for this thread so I will try to post responses in a Discussion thread in the next few days or so.

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:24 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Bishop Hill, tomo

I come here to become informed about sceptic activity. Know your enemy :-)

Did the Parliamentary committee find UK sceptic scientists to invite, and if so, who?

Which experts would you have sent to the BBC seminar if opportunity permitted?

Jan 14, 2014 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Richard Betts: My impression is that Mike Hulme has changed his tune quite a bit since 2006, that he might not have been as balanced then as he would be today. I'd even suggest the same might be true for Dr Richard Betts - but perhaps not to the same degree. The secrecy of those days aided what many of us would consider extreme statements in close proximity to activists. Climategate was enough of a window to make a considerable difference.

Richard Drake - thanks for challenging Stephen Richards's rudeness. I agree that this kind of thing is distracting and reduces the credibility of the discussion.

Not just of the discussion, which it does, but of scepticism as a whole. You may not be as concerned about that as I am, for which I cannot blame you. We all have much to learn.

Jan 14, 2014 at 4:22 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Jan 13, 2014 at 9:47 PM | Bishop Hill

I understand that Bridcut cannot recall where he got the idea that the seminar was composed of scientific experts.

Yes, I remember this Bridcut fog disclaimer quite well.

IBT's primary focus, i.e. "coverage of the developing world" - was reinforced (and supported) by their Reports for the grant years at issue, in which mention of "climate change" is relatively minimal and peripheral.

It's perhaps also worth noting that IBT's "Environment and TV" report (which would seem to be the most relevant) was not published until Oct. 2013 - some seven years after this 2006 seminal seminar, at which IBT's Galloway was merely a participant.

I could be wrong (it has been known to happen!) but it seems to me that this particular series of released documents (and I've now read 'em all!) may be a diversion to take the pressure/attention off Harrabin and his CMEP connections.

It's also worth noting that 1 BBC disclosures.pdf has 30 "specialists" (including John <the U.K. Met Office is a jewel in the crown ... > Ashton) and 30 BBC-ers. Which would make this 30Gate, not 28Gate, would it not?!

Jan 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

12:58 AM Entropic man

an admission of sorts then - you see nothing wrong with the panel or the subsequent inept and toxic cover up....?

I think Richard Betts has answered the rest in a round about sort of a way.

There are indisputably wider issues with the BBC culture - not that they give a toot what us peons think - but to me it's a bureaucracy that warrants the moniker Byzantine - but disappointingly without the messy comeuppance bits.

Jan 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Registered Commentertomo

In terms of telly climate alarmists - having suffered through a few enforced exposures to US The Weather Channel's heavily hyped "Doom Lite" - I think I just heard a very satisfying "switch thrown" click noise ... maybe for the wrong reasons but a large proportion of my American acquaintances simply loathed those guys and must be celebrating. (WUWT)

Jan 14, 2014 at 9:38 PM | Registered Commentertomo

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