Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Simon's Caribbean climate capers | Main | In which a BBC presenter reveals what balance means »

An unbalanced panel

I'm in Bath at the moment, appearing on BBC The Big Questions. The show was broadcast live at 10am here, but we are asked not to mention our involvement ahead of time. It should be on iPlayer in due course.

The subject is:

Are we right to impose environmental costs on future generations?

The show's panel also features Tony Juniper, Ben Harris-Quinney of the Bow Group and Hannah Martin of Christian Climate Action. This is what Helen Czerski would refer to as an "unbalanced" panel, no doubt.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (123)

I did catch a few minutes of it and saw a handsome young man putting the skeptic view over. Pity it was a shouting match with more heat than light.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

I caught the very end of the debate, and have to say that the odds were Stacked against Andrew in this debate. Honesty, from the warmists was the first casualty of the debate, with the young man with the spikey hair inventing what skeptics think about climate change. It demonstrated the laziness of the alarmists, thier unwillingness to engage honestly or even inquire into the thoughts of skeptics and why they hold these views. It was an unwinnable debate because the alarmists on the panel had closed unthinking minds or were, like tony juniper, compromised by economic motives to keep the scare going. Andrew did okay given the conditions the debate was held.

As for that vile woman - if the poor will suffer most under climate change, I think someone should inform her what the economics of wind power leads to - the transfer on money from poor British people to rich landowners and green hedge fund managers (and his investors and propoganda funded 'research units').

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterAbc

I saw this-what an absolute disgrace!! Completely packed lefty/green audience except for the Tax Payers Alliance chap, and the level of shouty debate was quite appalling. I thought the Bishop did really well in the circumstances, largely giving facts which were then ignored. Juniper and the man from the Big Issue who shouted everyone down and interrupted, there was no way that anyone was prepared to listen to or be persuaded by what a sceptic had to say, even when he gave them chapter and verse, and that goes for the spiky haired apparition who invented what he thought the Bishop thought - and was well squashed by Andrew. As he said, so much wrong with what was said (shouted), who can possibly know where to start the criticisms. Call that a debate- I think not.

No doubt the secrecy required beforehand is to stop Andrew getting lynched - I hope he has a security escort on the way home.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I heard His Grace refute errors of fact with statements by the IPCC itself and from a UN rapporteur, only to have these corrections run like water from a duck's back. I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of "engaging" with warmists.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkeptical Chymist

Tony Juniper should be certified. The man's rant just before AM spoke was simply insane.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Being unbalanced herself, Helen C is well qualified to assess unbalanced panels.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

I think 'balance', 'false balance' etc, will soon come to be linked with 'tipping point' when it comes to the downhill slide of global warming credibility. Big Oil will be accused of moving the fulcrum, which will give the goalposts a rest, for a change.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

They should invite the birds to provide their opinion and have them explain why the bird-chop-o-matics are painless ways to kill birds.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

That was almost unwatchable. I stopped and then made myself go back into the breach. (Andrew, how you managed to remain calm in that environment is beyond me.) Juniper, that Christian women, Spikey-Haired Thing, the 'balance' obviously demonstrable in the audience; all absolutely bonkers.

So two thoughts spring to mind.

Firstly the BBC is promoting more 'discussion' on climate change now than for a long time. This is clearly preparing the ground for Paris. Their MO is also becoming clear: appear reasonable, fair, balanced even, via nice presenters and giving sceptics a say...then CRUSH them with the weight of 'evidence' and audience / presenter consensus. AM had NO chance whatsoever against those speakers and that totally partisan audience.

Secondly, Cook's 97% paper might be rubbish but by God it's working for them. Every commentator, politician, activist and green whack-job rolls it out and it's almost impossible to refute with brevity. (97% of scientists agree v a long parable that no one can either agree or disagree with? Sorry, no contest.) The same will happen with 'divestment', and the 'it must stay in the ground' sales pitch.

To finish, go back to Juniper's Horsemen of the Apocalypse speech at the beginning. 4C of warming by 2060 when we've had nothing worth a fig for the most recent 25 years? Not challenged for a second by Nicky Campbell. Completely and utterly insane.

Mar 29, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

cheshirered, if taxpayer funds were 'divested' from global warming scaremongers, the imaginary problem, would, as if by magic, disappear.

Mar 29, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Tony Juniper thinks the world is about to end for our children if we don't do anything. The Victorians didn't care about their children (us) as they effectively destroyed their environment and yet we are thriving. I think Tony is totally and utterly wrong. He is just a Malthusian wanting to scare people into following his "religion" of green.

Mar 29, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

The fact that this was a religious programme says it all really. The woman from the Christian pressure group explains how churches are empty these days. On the whole I thought Nicky Campbell gave the bish a fair hearing, and even asked him to accept the sound bites of Juniper in order to progress the debate. The way AM handled the nasty spiky haired loon, was exemplary.

Mar 29, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon
Mar 29, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSara Chan

All I can say Andrew is "RESPECT"!!
The way you managed to stay so calm was amazing.

Mar 29, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

Just imagine if these loonies had been around 200 yrs ago.

Would they have stopped the Industrial Revolution, and where would we be now if they had?

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

It's like I've always said, Deny, Deny, Deny. To do other is to give in to the other side and will not further our cause.
People's ears tend to prick up when something truly contrarian is spoken. It pulls them up fast and challenges their received belief system which, let's face it, is primitive.

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

From what I have read in the above comments, I'm pleased I was late tuning in to this programmes. I did watch a little of the religious debate that ended the discussion and the spiky haired individual seemed to have plenty to say on this matter. Who was he? He clearly seems to have been representing some sort of pressure group.

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Very well done Bish, you came across extremely well.

The Big Questions is not a debate programme - it's entertainment really. It's designed to be confrontational and to give the views of the more excitable contributors some rope to hang themselves. What's important is not what is said, how it's balanced out etc, but what impression is left with viewers afterwards. The shouty ones proclaiming doom and disaster will be seen by those at home doing the ironing or cooking lunch as great watching, but no more 'real' than the soaps. All in all, I think you will have sown some useful seeds there.

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

"Are we right to impose environmental costs on future generations?"

That's like the Scottish referendum question. To aswer it one way seems negative. Other ways of posing the question could be "Would we write a blank cheque to spend on tiny reductions in the environmental costs to future generations, assuming there are any?"

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Nick Campbell asked Andrew a stupid question that amounted to 'give us your views but assume that man made climate change is real'. Would he invite a bishop on the program and ask his views assuming God doesn't exist. I think not.

Cambell interrupted AM at every point when his comments went against the bbc warmist agenda. Disgusting.

Campbell's introduction said 97% of ALL scientist agree. Not even 97% of climate scientist agree. Let alone 97% of a small secret group of IPCC scientists.

Mar 29, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolytropic


This is what Helen Czerski would refer to as an "unbalanced" panel, no doubt.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting your fixation with Helen Czerski's tweet, but you seem to be self-identifying with the term "skeptic" and that seems a little odd. The inverted commas really do mean that she was probably referring to someone who may think they're a skeptic, but really isn't. Someone who hasn't carried out a thorough and objective analysis of the evidence. Someone who is either insufficiently informed to actually hold a strong view, has some kind of bias that is influencing their view, or some combination of the two. Why would you self-identify with that kind of position? Of course, I may be mis-interpreting your position, but then I'm confused as to why you would have any particular issue with what Helen Czerski was suggesting. Okay, I guess you could be in favour of a public broadcaster hosting ill-informed people when discussing complex topics, but that too would seem a little odd if you do.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@TinyCO2, it's like the loaded question "Have you stopped beating your partner". Not a question that can be answered. Instead you have to throw a question back at them. In the beating question, you ask the questioner if they had evidence that you had been beating your partner why they didn't go to the police. With the environment question, you ask if its right to deny future generations progress as we desperately try to stop the climate changing like King Canute.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

ATTP still waiting for you to tell us why warmists won't unilaterally cut CO2. It's a simple question.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The inverted commas really do mean that she was probably referring to someone who may think they're a skeptic, but really isn't. ….
Mar 29, 2015 at 2:01 PM | ...and Then There's Physics

You really are full of crap Ken.

Every one of us who has ever put in an appearance at your own echo-chamber is routinely denounced as a "fake sceptic" - to rapturous applause from your fellow cult members.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose


It's a simple question.

No, it's a particularly stupid question.


Every one of us who has ever put in an appearance at your own echo-chamber is routinely denounced as a "fake sceptic" - to rapturous applause from your fellow cult members.

Not sure this is strictly true, but even if it was that's no reason why you should self-identify with the term. That would appear to suggest that you accept the label.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

ATTP: lots of useful little phrases come to mind when I see you repeating yourself ad nauseum on every thread.

Stop flogging a dead horse.
When you are in hole, stop digging.
Stuck record.

If you try a proper argument here at BH, without being patronising and supported by evidence not propaganda, you might be surprised at the level of engagement. The contributor here called Entropic Man was able to put quite a lot of interesting points forward for debate and people engaged with them. Why can't you do the same? Instead you keep bleating that no-one listens. No-one is listening to you because YOU don't engage, you heckle. The audience here is broad, often well educated and certainly well informed. Its stimulating to argue here, but we don't suffer fools lightly and we have very, very, very good bullshit filters.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist


Arguably the BBC hosted a debate on The Big Discussion this morning with a number of ill informed people invited to share their views - on the alarmist side! Evidence, one spikey haired young man inventing how skeptics think, and one young women not knowing any of Richard Tol's research or understanding the economics of renewable energy like wind power. These individuals get free passes though. I really do believe it is seen as a moral issue at the BBC as they clearly have little true understanding of the nuances of the science or economics of the policy responses.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAbc

Fake sceptic is aTTP's preferred term to counter 'in inverted commas' the 'failed physics' that he supports, that can't explain the lack of global warming, so perfectly predicted by very expensive computer models.

The threat of redundancies in climate science, may be worse than the science's top experts thought possible

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

...and Then There's Physics, clearly English is not your first language.
Here is the definition of "sceptic" from the Oxford Dictionaries.

1 A person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.
1.1 A person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions; an atheist.
2 Philosophy An ancient or modern philosopher who denies the possibility of knowledge, or even rational belief, in some sphere.

It's clear from the context of the Twitter stream that she was using "sceptic" in the form 1.1.

Not as someone who is uninformed (which is not a definition of sceptic).
But as someone who lacks faith that the unexplained pause will go away.

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:31 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

who was the spikey haired chap - that called Andrew an extremist!!! (sitting next to Juniper, Foe?)

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

You're right, I would be surprised.

Yes, I know the definition of skeptic. I'm trying to explain what people mean when they use the term "skeptic".

Mar 29, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

aTTP: I'm grateful for your interpretation of Ms Czerski's intent, because that wasn't at all obvious to me. Her definition of "skeptic" is

The inverted commas really do mean that she was probably referring to someone who may think they're a skeptic, but really isn't. Someone who hasn't carried out a thorough and objective analysis of the evidence. Someone who is either insufficiently informed to actually hold a strong view, has some kind of bias that is influencing their view, or some combination of the two.

Under that definition, who would be included? I'm not thinking of the denizens here, but of those whom the BBC might invite as an alternative view. For example, (in alphabetical order) Curry, Lawson, Lewis, Lindzen, Monckton, Montford, Paterson, Pielke (Jr or Sr), Tol. Please indicate which of your two criteria qualifies them for the category. Feel free to add further examples.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

To be clear, it's my interpretation of her intent, and may not actually be her intent. It is, however, what I would mean if I used "skeptic" and is how I interpret it if someone else does. I'm not sure I get the relevance of the rest of your comment, though. I was simply pointing out that I fail to see why people who regard themselves as genuine skeptics, would somehow self-identify with a term intended to refer to those who are not genuines skeptics.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

What needs to be said here with that kind of debate question is that their perceived future is based upon supposedly knowing that there are model outcomes that show you what the future will be like,mandnthat future needs amending. Utter nonsense. Its never worked in the past that such future certainty exists and so why should it now?
In fact with the climate models being so abyssmally wrong you can safely say there are no future scenarios from just 15-20 years ago that have prove true today so why waste everyone's time and money and why economically challenge current generations whinging on about future protection.
Its hubris of the most hurtful and lunatic variety.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

...and Then There's Physics , Words mean what you want them to mean when you want them to mean it? Convenient.

But it's easier and more rational to assume words mean their definition.

Especially when, as in this case, the literal definition makes sense. Censoring someone because you don't think they know enough is folly - you can't find out what they do actually know. That can't be the meaning of the word as intended in this case. And as it isn't a known meaning of the word "sceptic" anyway, why should anyone expect it to be?

Censoring someone because they are a heretic and offend your religion ? Yes, that makes sense.

If you want to invent new meanings for words you need to find some sort of justification. The case you put at the moment is illogical

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Quite so, that's your interpretation of Ms Czerski's intent. Whether it was or not, is of course unknown to both of us. However, you've defined a class, and in applying it to Ms Czerski's tweet, you are presuming that some members of that class would, if invited by the BBC, create a "false balance". The relevance of the rest of my comment is to identify by name, some "skeptics" (in inverted commas). Do none of those suggested qualify? If the class is well-defined, there should be no problem with identifying examples.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:19 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

ATTP It's not a stupid question, it's a question with an inconvenient answer. You're either too cowardly to aswer it or too dumb to work it out.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Please look up the word "sophistry"

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGordon

attp: I suspect we all agree that you are "confused."

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterOtter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

...and Then There's Physics 'genuines skeptics.' would this is the 1984 style of sceptics where the 'choice ' is between good , double plus good , with bad not only never a option but an idea that should not even exist ?
When you seek to define how the other side can behave you show how very weak your own sides arguments really are.

Mar 29, 2015 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr


When you seek to define how the other side can behave you show how very weak your own sides arguments really are.

What makes you think this is what I'm doing? I haven't said any such thing. Try reading my comments again. I was simply trying to understand why people would appear to self-identify with a term that is typically used to refer to people who aren't genuinely skeptical. If, for example, that doesn't decribe you, why would you care?

Why would my opinion about some individuals be all that relevant? Additionally, actually expressing my opinion about said individuals may not be a sensible thing for me to do, which - I assume - was why you are asking me to do so?

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

aTTP -
The reason I was asking you to list some "skeptics" is to shed some light on your definition. Because frankly, it's quite vague. Third time's the charm, perhaps.

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Once again commenters have allowed (and by doing so, encouraged?) ATTP to divert the main topic of the thread.

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

We will have to work hard to keep ATTP and others safe from public anger when the general public find out what should be apparent to all rational people.
Namely that CO2 induced significant Global Warming has no evidential support whatever.

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

"To be clear, it's my interpretation of her intent, and may not actually be her intent"

That's up there with 'truthiness' and other quite special attempts at semantics gracing the airwaves and blogosphere these days. I recall a BBC editor stoutly defending their (dodgy) interpretation of things recently as being as good as a fact you could expect from such a trusted, professional source as he believed himself and his employers to be.

It at least frames the value of the contribution now and in future well.

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

aTTP, I am sceptical about climate science, and all the supporting physics, because none of the predictions have come true.

Arguments about the radiative forcing of a pork pie are beyond me.

The only 'Forcing' of relevance, is the forcing of failed physics, and its adoption by the gullible. Trying to berate and belittle those who have been proved right, is hardly rational.

I did trust the 'science of global warming'. I was gullible. My trust was abused. My fault, obviously.

If you want some credibility, write a paper about what climate science got right, and 'balance' it with what climate science got wrong. Or are you frightened of being targetted and labeled a 'denier'?

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

eesh... just tried to watch it. Respect to Andrew for attending.

Pretty disingenuous to not list the invited participants on iPlayer - in fact *completely unacceptable*. That audience seemed pretty passive. They were clapping on cue rather well... was there a warm-up comedian?

The alarmists really are a bunch of braying wing-nuts and fantasists.

moral, ethical and religious debates eh? - so it's not about the science - 'cos that's (97%) settled.....

and yes.... - who was the spiky haired tw*t?

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:44 PM | Registered Commentertomo

To be fair to the producers I received an email invitation on the previous Thursday to attend to present the sceptical view but was away until late Friday and could not attend due to other comittments.

The producers are aware of my viewpoint from my contributions to the Climate Realists site and from my own site at:

They have previously asked me to make comments on local radio on two occasions and on one of those occasions Mark Lynas was in the other 'camp'.

Instead, I emailed as follows:

"Dear Edwina,

If you want a good ethical question for the panel to discuss then I have one
for you.

In view of the fact that the satellite measurements show no significant rise
in global temperature since 1998 despite a large increase in human emissions
could it be that the green lobby's obsession with CO2 leading to excessive
use of immature alternative technologies has led to worse environmental
degradation that would have occurred with continuing reliance on fossil

i) Wind farms kill birds by impact and bats by generation of subsonic sound
waves and solar panels focusing their reflections on a central tower fry
birds in flight. The reflections from solar panels attract birds who think
it is an area of water.

ii) Both technologies make excessive use of rare Earth materials which we
can ill afford to waste.

iii) Mountain and sea floor environments are being devastated by
construction works.

iv) Vast amounts of non recyclable materials are being created.

v) Subsidies are causing a huge transfer of wealth from the many to the few
and making it harder to counter global poverty by raising energy prices.

Will we, in future years, find that the current dash to so called renewable
energy was a misguided policy that was completely counter productive in
terms of the original intention ?


Watching the show I saw that the existence of significant man made climate change was taken as read so had I been there I could have sparked a more entertaining debate. However, the whole thing was a bit of a bear pit with little chance of getting nuanced viewpoints and complex science points across as Andrew saw for himself.

Mar 29, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Wilde

Stephen Wilde

I was going to say bear pit and invoke Jeremy Kyle....

It's time for some video productions by sceptics .... the MSM aren't about to allow dissent through the gates they control unless it's a spectacle of heretics being pelted with whatever comes to hand (or is supplied...) by the true believers :-)

Mar 29, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The young man with the spiky hair is Jonny Scaramanga:

Jonny Scaramanga is a PhD student at the Institute of Education, University of London, studying student experiences of Accelerated Christian Education.

Mar 29, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>