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Preparing the ground

Ahead of tomorrow's publication of the Science and Technology Committee's report into the communication of climate science, certain sections of the chatterati are, shall we say, preparing the ground.

The Guardian notes SciTech chairman Andrew Miller bemoaning the appearance of dissenting voices in certain media outlets:

Andrew Miller MP, the committee's chair said: “All of the serious news outlets we spoke to were unanimous in accepting the scientific evidence that human activity is causing climate change. This came as a surprise to us because some papers regularly give a platform to lobby groups or indeed conspiracy theorists – many not even qualified scientists – who pooh-pooh the evidence and attack UK climate scientists."

It's astonishing that the chairman of the committee still hasn't managed to grasp what the climate change debate is about, despite all the years he has occupied the role and despite all the support and advice he gets.

Meanwhile, Fiona Fox is having a go at the BBC for...wait for it...false balance. As one would expect, she is much exercised by the witterings of an integrity-free snail geneticist on the subject and with that pedigree it is hardly a surprise to see her go on to a meaningless rant about sceptic appearances on the airwaves, referring to "the now notorious Nigel Lawson and Bob Carter interviews". Readers may like to refer to the transcript of the Lawson/Hoskins discussion and see if they can work out what could possibly be construed as "notorious" about it. There are things that upholders of the climate consensus might dispute, but nothing that could be construed as outlandish. And if you look for meaningful criticisms of the Lawson appearance there is little of substance. The notoriety, such as it is, simply reflects the outrage superannuated Marxist revolutionaries like Ms Fox feel that someone they disagree with should appear on the BBC.

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Reader Comments (24)

Displacement, text book. Ms Fox 's unconscious but real insecurity about her claims (lacking substantive grounding in evidence) is assuaged by demonising and dehumanizing those who question her adopted views. She must be right because those of differing opinion are all "notorious" cranks. This from a former leading member of the "Revolutionary Communist Party". Watermelon, par excellence.

Apr 1, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLondon Calling

It's astonishing that the chairman of the committee still hasn't managed to grasp what the climate change debate is about, despite all the years he has occupied the role and despite all the support and advice he gets.

Astonishing - or deliberate deception of the public he's paid to serve. And/or the same by his advisers. It doesn't make any sense that these people don't understand. They know that if the debate is framed the way it should be they'll lose.

Apr 1, 2014 at 8:27 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Perhaps "... the communication of climate science...." is best left to the experts - such as those eminent, well-qualified climatologists at the RSPB who obviously have gained the ear of Aunty to publicise their prognostications.

Apr 1, 2014 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

"Andrew Miller MP, the committee's chair said: “All of the serious news outlets we spoke to were unanimous in accepting the scientific evidence that human activity is CAUSING climate change"

Even the IPCC only says that we are contributing to climate change.
It would appear that the media are ahead of the science; even though THEY, are not scientists.

Apr 1, 2014 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Who are the people who who pooh-pooh the evidence? Are they the people who ignore the standstill in global temperatures?

Who are the people who "attack UK climate scientists?" Are they the people who have noticed that snow in Britain is not "a thing of the past" or that we didn't have a "barbecue summer" when Met Office scientists forecast it? Why on earth shouldn't bogus models and duff predictions be criticised?

Apr 1, 2014 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

I came to an amusing conclusion the other day.

We sceptics scratch our heads whenever there's a survey of the public and they conclude that a serious number of scientists don't believe in global warming. Since the message doesn't come from us, I realised that it was people like Fox who are generating the false view. When they bang on about us believing CO2 has no effect at all, the public hears it and thinks 'no smoke without fire'. The more warmists protest against the mighty forces ranged against them, the more significant the public think we are.

You can't pay for this level of PR.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I'm not so sure Fiona's article is supporting closing down the debate, more the opposite. Sure, she thinks the sun always shines from a scientists north and south, and has her fixed opinions on global warming, but does admit to being partial to a heated debate.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:07 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

No probably worse than that, she thinks anyone who disagrees with her should be sent for re education.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterc777

That will be the same Andrew Miller MP who claimed for a £549 widescreen LCD television, and a £843 replacement carpet. Also claimed more than £1,100 for repairs, plumbing and decorating, as well as a £199 water softener.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

That Guardian article is quite funny, with a headline

"Telegraph and Mail concede on climate change."

They go on to quote the Mail

The Mail told the MPs that "there are very few serious scientists who deny the climate is changing." But it also said: "The climate is always changing and the vast majority of climate scientists believe there is a significant human impact on it although they disagree about the pace and effects. Climate scientists are unlikely to write papers saying climate change is not happening."

...Which is entirely consistent with the continuing absence of catastrophe or any indications that one may approaching. I can believe that, like Andrew Miller, they wouldn't change their tune even if the IPCC did and invited James Delingpole to be the new chair.

And when did the Guardian ever care much about reporting what the Mail or Telegraph print? Perhaps they are getting circulation-envy.

But the best bit is the picture of a banner (in Stockholm) proclaiming

"The debate is over"

They don't like that a serious debate might ever start. Even Bryony Worthington is now appearing to think it might be a good idea. Better late than never.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Pharos is right about the Fiona Fox piece. Dare I suggest, Bish, read it again. She is in fact arguing in favour of allowing both sides of the argument being presented.

On the committee report, we will have to wait and see what they come up with. But the signs are not encouraging and I suspect that those of us who went to the trouble of submitting evidence will be ignored. Given the Miller statement about all the media accepting Agw, it will be intereesting to see what excuse they come up with as to why the public isn't buying it.

Apr 1, 2014 at 9:50 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

If Andrew Miller thinks it is necessary to be a scientist to contribute to the climate debate then he should resign immediately from his job and leave the topic to proper scientists like Messrs Lilley and Stringer.

Apr 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Paul, Pharos

Perhaps. But she also says this:

"...scientists’ anger at false balance seems to be rising in inverse proportion to the scale of the problem. At the very time when journalists are becoming more reflective and dealing with it more intelligently the scientific community appear to be getting angrier. The BBC in particular had been debating the issue at a senior level for some years before the Jones report and the number of requests for a pro- and anti- are in decline in the SMC office (even if more slowly than we would like)."

This seems to suggest that she would like no sceptics on air?

Apr 1, 2014 at 10:11 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

If Andrew Miller thinks it is necessary to be a scientist to contribute to the climate debate then he should resign immediately from his job and leave the topic to proper scientists like Messrs Lilley and Stringer.

Doesn't lab technician at Portsmouth Poly Geology Department count?

Apr 1, 2014 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Thanks to the public disagreement between Pharos, Paul and the Bish I took the trouble to read the Fiona Fox article. (See what I did there: I took one of Fox's arguments and used it on itself. Clever eh? But also true. I would never normally have read the Science Media Centre blog. The dispute made me want to take a look.)

I see this article as a significant defection from the TRUE WAY of warmism. Of course it's not wholly in favour of everything we believe. But I think in the current 'crisis' Fiona Fox has been pushed too hard and she's had enough. This is her retaliation and for me it's significant. More robust debate please, with politics mixed up with science, as it has to be. Yes, Fiona.

Apr 1, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

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Apr 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterhandjive

Hey, you get a free plug on the front page of tomorrow's Independent in their coverage of the BBC so-called false balance story!!

Apr 1, 2014 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterItsAllLies

The Fiona conundrum

'The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?' Sigmund Freud

Apr 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Pharos, I agree that there's a hint of ambiguity there :)

Apr 1, 2014 at 11:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


There's been no warming so -W
and catastrophism has also been disproved now so -C
There's only the world taxpayer extortion system hinted at by AG

Apr 2, 2014 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

That is a good one, Handjive. Bookmarked it so that I can print out a few when I get access to a printer.

Apr 2, 2014 at 2:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I get flashbacks to Saddams propaganda minister? So utterly not in touch with reality?

Apr 2, 2014 at 7:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSanta Baby

I see from the link to Fiona Fox's article that she also boasts of demolishing the myth that dredging would have prevented or at least ameliorated the flooding at the Somerset Levels and rebutting the "blame game" against the Environment Agency. She produces three engineers for this - all with obvious environmental links and one actually at the EA. Perhaps she might like to ask the poor saps in Somerset for their views.

Apr 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle


If Ms Fox is a Marxist as you claim, it explains a lot. Marxists believe that they can perceive the true reality. People who reject the beliefs exhibit a false consiousness, often due to being corrupted by those who exist by exploiting others. The claims of climate "denial" have parallels to the older view.

Apr 2, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

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