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« Stuff their mouths with gold | Main | Alarmism in a Huff - Josh 351 »
Wednesday
Nov182015

BBC: "To hell with your charter obligations"

This morning the Today programme welcomed Professor Paul Ekins onto the airwaves to discuss what he saw as the problems with government energy policy (audio below). Professor Ekins came over as a highly media-trained green activist, which is perhaps entirely unsurprising because that is what he is - as a former co-chair of the UK green party and the author of tomes such as "A New World Order: Grassroots Movements for Global Change", he has been in the forefront of green politics for 20 years.

It's just that the Today programme didn't want you to know that, and Professor Ekins was presented as just some disinterested academic brought in to provide some rigour to proceedings. Coming so soon after the episode in which the Today programme accidentally forgot to mention Jeremy Leggett's financial interests this is starting to look like policy rather than oversight.

And when you also take into account the decision of presenter Sarah Montague to let Ekins expound at length, with barely a word of challenge, the impression you got was that this was simply the BBC trying once again to fight battles on behalf of the green movement.

The message from the Corporation is, once again, "To hell with your charter obligations, we're on a mission from Gaia".

Ekins Today

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Reader Comments (33)

All is explained when we look at the Good Professors CV. It looks like he is highly qualified to speak on the subject until you look at his phd, which was in economics.

https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=PEKIN72

tonyb

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commentertonyb

The BBC is a disgrace.

As I said on unthreaded: "Ekins is another BBC useful idiot - wheeled out to spout BBC garbage. He is an economist who should be sent home to read David MacKay's book 'Sustainable energy - without the hot air' and then he should be sent out from his ivory tower into the real world and then explain to us how you can run a stable grid without synchronous baseload and despatchable load-follow plants forming the massive majority of the generation. I expect anything technological is beyond his understanding"

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:08 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Ekins was a disgrace. As you say he came across as a biased, deliberately misleading green activist. Sarah Montague did at least point out that renewables don't work when the wind isn't blowing and the sun is shining, which Ekins himself showed no sign of mentioning himself.

At one point he says:
"We could easily have been looking at a renewables industry in this county that was subsidy-free after 2020. That now is thrown very much in doubt by the removal of what were actually really modest subsidies on onshore wind and the consultation that we've had now on solar."

This is complete drivel. If the subsidies were so modest, how come their reduction throws the whole thing in doubt?
And how does keeping artificially high subsidies help the industry become subsidy-free?

He also claimed that jobs will be lost in the renewables industry. At the risk of stating the mind-bogglingly obvious, there will be a lot of jobs in these new gas-powered stations.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:27 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

BBC oversight, mistake easily made...... and even easier to check........

Paul has been Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, of which he is also Director, since 2011, having previously held similar positions at UCL Energy Institute and King's College London; and before that he was Head of the Environment Group at the Policy Studies Institute and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster.

He was a member of the UK Government's Sustainable Energy Policy Advisory Board from 2003-2007. He was also a specialist adviser to the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons (1997-2005), a specialist adviser to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Climate Change Bill in 2007, and a Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (2002-2008). His academic work focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy.

In addition to the literature about sustainable energy and energy policy, Paul has made contributions in many areas relating to sustainable development and environmental policy more broadly, including the conceptualisation and measurement of environmental sustainability, the adjustment of the national accounts to take account of environmental impacts, environmental taxes and ecological tax reform, and environment and trade. He also has had extensive experience consulting for business, government and international organisations.

He is the author of numerous papers, book-chapters and articles, and has written or edited twelve books, two of the most recent of which are Energy 2050: the Transition to a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy System for the UK (Earthscan, London, 2011) and Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014 forthcoming). In 1994 Paul Ekins received a Global 500 Award 'for outstanding environmental achievement' from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Paul has a PhD in economics from the University of London.

http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/paul-ekins.html

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Looks like the Greens can't even spell ' Assembly' or punctuate correctly either.

Illiterate as well as innumerate...

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

That was a piece where the end of coal power was given the date 2025; 2 years after the nuclear plants. At that point all we'll have is gas, wind, solar, interconnectors plus one nuclear white elephant. Egan didn't want gas because he correctly argued that we won't meet our legal commitments for CO2 reduction. That the targets are ludicrously optimistic clearly isn't allowed to be discussed on the Today show. Alas even halfway to those targets will set us back 100 years unless we develop viable CCS. With no restraint to this unremitting lunacy on our airwaves and no common sense energy policy even at the starting blocks, our masters are actively ensuring a real disaster happens in order to head off an imaginary one.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

These people are really quite ruthless, as well as being grossly irresponsible when it comes to our common, albeit informal and vague, obligations to society - which include paying due respect to reliable information and avoiding facile scaremongering involving flaky long-term projections.

But perhaps more and more people are seeing them for what they are - intolerant, blinkered, zealots for dramatic societal revolution (that old dream of the left, clung-to despite the hideous suffering and setbacks it so readily brings about). Here is a new post on Biased BBC, showing someone there has the measure of another of these people, Roger Harrabin of the BBC: http://biasedbbc.org/blog/2015/11/17/manufacturing-consensus-2/.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Ekins not Egan sorry.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Lots gnashing of teeth over the loss of renewables subsidies but not much on-going focus on the fact that regardless of subsidies or even long-term price competitiveness renewables will always need back-up. It's fundamental. Wind and sun are intermittent and therefore renewables are unreliable and - on their own, not fit for purpose.

These people are absolutely integral to the green scam because if you were a minister making a decision the fact is you would most likely act on 'best advice' given to you by 'experts'. I detest these biased green activists with a passion.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

JamesG: I think you meant "2 years after the coal plants". By 2025 we will still have Sizewell B, which will then be 30 years old (ie halfway through its life). The white elephant that would be Hinkley C is unlikely to be operating by 2025 (if ever, I hope).

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The BBC feels free to completely ignore its charter obligations in reporting climate matters. You may remember the BBC Trust nonsense with the Jones report on BBC bias when reporting on scientific matters. The Trust is as biased as the BBC.

Unfortunately, a government up to its neck in green c**p is never going to attack the BBC on green bias.

The climate con will not last forever and the BBC role in it will hopefully be recognised as a major issue.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The irony is that if we suffer blackouts it would kill AGW dead with the public. They'd achieve the opposite of what they intend. The Mail and the Telegraph are partially awake to the problem but the headlines are always a long way down the list. Almost everyone is mesmerised by the idea that renewables can power the country, even when they ably demonstrate their unreliability. What part of having no power do these loonies not understand? Smart meters are supposed to solve the problem by reducing demand at peak by charging us more. As the writer points out, people have to use electricity at peak time because they have meals to prepare for kids. Everyone wants to use their TVs etc at that time too. Even if the public comply, they're not going to use no electricity for a week if we're becalmed. It's a scandal that the BBC didn't question Ekins when he said we don't need as many gas fired power stations as are planned (or have already got). He even questioned the need for nuclear.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-3322658/The-great-smart-meter-rip-UK-energy-giants-use-devices-DOUBLE-cost-power-need-most.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3323050/Britain-face-major-shortage-electricity-New-Year-following-decades-government-mismanagement-report-warns-today.html

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

When Rudd was asked, "What about carbon emissions ?" it would be so refreshing if she had replied: ''What about them? What harm will they cause?" I guess that's when I woke up.

Nov 18, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I thought the good professor got himself a bit confused. On the one hand he complained that this dash for gas was going to block our achievement of our renewables objectives (it won't) but on the other he claimed that because we have very good renewables in this country, the new gas plants will only run for a few weeks of the year and so there will be little incentive for investment; well, if they only run for a few weeks they'll not have much emissions impact, will they?

And this guy is a prof?

And as a reminder, from my wind assessment paper:
Wind power is below 20 % of available power for 3,448 hours (20 weeks)
Wind power is below 10 % of available power for 1,519 hours (9 weeks)
so Professor Ekins few weeks turns out to be amount 20.

and on the solar front (paper in draft) I have:
Solar power is below 20 % of available power for 6,623 hours (39 weeks) per annum
Solar power is below 10 % of available power for 5,785 hours (34 weeks) per annum
Solar power is unavailable for 5,074 hours (30 weeks) per annum.

As for the later claim that cutting the subsidies will cut jobs in the wind and solar industries, well, it needs to be remembered that wind and solar subsidies have clearly been cutting jobs in the gas generation sector, and those are the people who will keep the lights on.

Nov 18, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Thanks Capell for reminding us of those figures.

Nov 18, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I feel and empathize, indeed I echo your anger Mr. A. W. Montford!

Truly do I write to al beeb saying the same but my letters are wasted and I know it.

Because, al beeb - this organization is a Brussels bedaubed, manufactured engine, upholstered and bodywork and it repeats and reiterates the Brussels mantras and propaganda. Sarah Montague would be replaced if she had not allowed GREEN BLOB SPOKESPERSON Ekins to mouth his prejudiced ugly spiel.

That's what the BBC is, a mouthpiece for Camoron's [or whosoever is Brit PM at the time] Westminster/ Brussels proxies of Juncker, the International Socialists and the new world order.

Nov 18, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

CheshireRed

The reason we have renewables is because of how they look. Big shiny whirly space age stuff.

Power plants: ugly fat choky 1900s dinosaurs.

That about covers it.

Nov 18, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterMicky H Corbett

@Lord Beaverbrook No that CV you quote contains no mention of Green Party nor activism so a junior BBC producer would not spot he's an activist, nor would they need to cos Ekins has been on the BBC many times before since 1999, he's a BBC trusted source.

Ekins is a green nutcase, but not in the way Bish says he is, he's the man behind the widely reported keep FOSSIL FUELS in the ground report.
" former co-chair of the UK green party ..forefront of green politics for 20 years"
em that was in 1987, he's not at the forefront of Green politics, but rather a deep green agent embedded as bona fide academic consulted many times by the BBC and government.

End of a long interview on BBCNaked Scientists

Paul – … It is my firm conviction that if we were to bite the bullet of low emission, energy systems and agriculture, by the time we got there and looked back, we wound wonder why we had thought it was going to be so painful. Because many of these technologies already exist, we can invest in them. A lot of them are not much more expensive than the technologies they’re going to be replacing. So, my dream scenario is that both in the UK and globally, governments recognise the urgency of this issue and they start to do things like pricing carbon which will send investment in a quite different direction so that these low-carbon technologies become much more widely installed, emissions start to fall and publics become much more confident about the kind of trajectory that is possible.
He thinks we only need a small capacity margin to keep the lights on, cos running a bigger one keeps bills up (BBC TV interview Oct 2014) he sounds reasonable there.

In his book video he explains we already failed catastrophic climate change is enevitable ..we missed the window.

@Capell is right ..If listeners were awake they heard Ekins contradict himself .If they are a solar/winy they liked him. I wonder what the normal people thought. He pooh pooh gov policy but didn't properly answer the minimal challenging.

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Ekins did his GreenBlob job..he was there to spoil the appearance of minister Amber Rudd who was on 30 minutes later.. and that's what he did . Filling the listeners ears full of BS before they got to hear the minister.

NEGLIGENCE : Again BBC management broke their own rules
It would be just that a large amount be removed from their BBC pension fund to punish this rule breaking

4.4.7 When dealing with 'controversial subjects', we must ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight and prominence, particularly when the controversy is active. Opinion should be clearly distinguished from fact.
He's got a perfect right to have extreme green views, he's got a perfect right to be on the BBC, there's no need to mention his ancient green affiliations. It's just that BBC management break their own rules about how you handle experts on "controversial topics".. They put him on air with a reporter who was not up to the job of CHALLENGING him properly. Had they had a counter expert on at the same time the public would have got a better deal of the truth.

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Tiny

"people have to use electricity at peak time"

I wonder how long it will take the Beeb to realise that lights going out also means no television audience? Perhaps if it were rephrased as "TV going off" they might stop sleepwalking...

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Greens are allowed to say whatever they like on the Beeb, no matter how untrue.

http://www.cityam.com/228973/green-party-left-red-faced-after-accusing-oil-firm-of-buying-from-isis

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveB

It's just occurred to me that if the Beeb's transmitters run out of diesel during a power outage, the radio signal will stop and the Navy will assume the onset of WWIII. Will Tridents rain down on W1A..?

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

stew

"Had they had a counter expert on at the same time"

Which they claim to do, and usually manage, except when the subject is climate or energy, when their resident 'expert' is usually Doug Parr of Greenpeace.

Balance? Ha!

Nov 18, 2015 at 12:34 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Time to name and shame.

Who at the BBC has responsibility for a) booking someone like Ekins to speak, b) editing his credentials, c) glossing over allegations of bias, d) eroding the public's trust in the BBC ?

Nov 18, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Yep @Charlie .. management and their pensions should be held accountable. It's no use just moaning about Harrabin etc. it's the management who are negligent in failing to enforce the rules
"Our editors today were Louisa Lewis and Laura Cooper"
Controller of BBC Radio 4 is Gwyneth Williams salary about £191K
Head of Editorial Standards, Radio Paul Smith salary about £120K
Director of RadioHelen Boaden Salary: about £350K
Half competent interviewer : Sarah Montague

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit

Nov 18, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

'The reason we have renewables is because of how they look. Big shiny whirly space age stuff.'

I disagree. The financially ignorant are enamored of the idea that wind/solar is FREE!

Nov 18, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

So who is responsible for these vastly optimistic CO2 reduction promises ?
Guess who talked up how easy it is for UK to cut CO2 and then complains when we fail to meet targets ?
..Paul Ekins & the BBC
March 2000 : \\Dr Paul Ekins, of Keele University, said: "Our research demonstrates that the UK could reduce its greenhouse emissions by 60% by 2040 without great economic disruption.//
2007 "It is clear that new policies that give incentives to the development of non-carbon renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, are needed."
Sept 2011 UK 'set to miss' climate targets
"The unmistakable lesson from the effect of emissions reduction policies 1997-2010 is that policies tend to have a lower impact than forecast, and therefore their strength needs to be increased if targets are to be achieved," said Paul Ekins

Nov 18, 2015 at 3:19 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Some quotes in a new BBC text/video story @JamesG just mentioned

It has slashed solar subsidies and will cut those for onshore wind next year.
Professor Paul Ekins, an expert on resources and environmental policy at University College London, said the government had "abandoned" the cheapest forms of power - onshore wind and solar energy.

He said: "We need some gas fired stations, but in tandem with investment in renewables and nuclear. It is the investment in renewables that is being cut back to an enormous extent."
He said the government kept changing course on its energy policy and this was discouraging investment.

He might not be aware we had an election and the gov has changed from a Con/Lib to Con ..so that is perhaps why policy has changed ..cos no one voted for mad Davey.

The report does quote a broader range of experts including

Tony Lodge, who has published a report on the UK's energy needs for the free-market think tank Centre for Policy Studies, said Britain was on the verge of an "energy crisis" with electricity demand set to outstrip available supply in the near future.
..Beeb helpfully adds "However, National Grid and many experts have dismissed these concerns"

But look how they choose to end

Environmentalists say nuclear and gas power are not the cheapest form of energy in the long run. Not only are renewable energies cleaner, they say, but because there are no fuel costs - the sun and the wind are free (so is local coal/oil/gas) - then ultimately these technologies offer better value for money.
The UK cannot rely on renewables alone yet, however, as they are variable, so improvements in energy storage technologies are needed.
"Environmentalists" Why do they get the final say ?
what flaming Environmentalists ?....... Aren't we all Environmentalists ?
Actually ir's probly their codde-word for "Mr Harrabin says"

Nov 18, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen, thank you, very useful info.

I have just heard Ekins being interviewed on Radio 2, so the BBC are really going for it.

Ekins described how new gas fired power stations may become stranded assets, unused in the future. Stranded assets is obviously one of the current 'non-buzz word phrases', like a buzz-word phrase, but they don't work, or buzz.

I wonder if we should all describe static windmills as stranded assets, by way of a comparison, that is so easily verifiable, for most of the time already.

Nov 18, 2015 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not a squeak from the usual suspects, Russell and ATTP.
They are just bright enough to know when they are on a loser.

Nov 18, 2015 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I wonder if we should all describe static windmills as stranded assets, by way of a comparison, that is so easily verifiable, for most of the time already.

Nov 18, 2015 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stranded they may be, GC. But assets? Well, they were built and funded by a set of asses.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

michael hart, I don't think the technology that has gone into wind turbines has much scrap value. If it proves too much to demolish them, could they have some bird boxes screwed to them? All sorts of different sizes, at different levels might help to reintroduce some of the species and numbers that the RSPB has so carefully avoided noticing.

Nov 18, 2015 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Just for the record, and in relation to the BBC's Harrabin's travesty linked to by me earlier as a further illustration of deviousness, David Whitehouse has done a useful and succinct analysis of the latest offending programme here: BBC: INFORM, EDUCATE AND CONFUSE

Final two sentences:

Overall the broadcast was an intellectual shambles. It is a rewriting of history worthy of the reporting of the war between Oceania and Eurasia.

Nov 19, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

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