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« The shonky cost of carbon | Main | SMH - the voice of the hidden vested interest »

Another unthinking BBC correspondent

Helen Briggs, the BBC's latest environmentalist recruit has decided to throw herself - and the thus the corporation's considerable weight - behind the greens' divestment campaign. Her advertorial today appears to have been written for her by someone in Greenpeace or the Guardian, without even the pretence of having any news value.

The "pros and cons" section has to be seen to be believed. If you can credit it, the BBC has an employee who doesn't seem to realise that people in Africa are dying in their hundreds of thousands for lack of access to fossil fuels. Does Ms Briggs think that dead Africans are not a "con" of her campaign?

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Reader Comments (41)

This is the media we get when the media live in the 'bubble'. Everyone they know thinks like them, and the only contrary opinions are, "You aren't a true enough believer."

Comrade Lysenko announced record grain harvests, and that rumours of famine in the Ukraine are the work of evil genetics-deniers funded by Western governments.

Apr 27, 2015 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Full of greenalist rhetoric, & very little else. They live in a fantasy world, but a very dangerous fantasy world. They truly are mad!

Apr 27, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Surely no matter what the issue, when a reporter collects some viewpoints their job is to challenge them on as a kind of consumer-help service on behalf of the public. Like if one expert opinion calls for change one would seek out to see if another expert opinion disagreed.
The fact that this article shows no indication of looking for alternative view points makes it negligent.
Surely a breach of charter ..but BBC management consistently show they don't give a 'flying' about it's charter obligations.

Apr 27, 2015 at 9:44 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

She wrote a paper for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism called "The badgers moved the goalposts – reporting science in the British media"

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Scientific studies show that existing fossil fuel reserves are several times greater than can be burned if the world's governments are to fulfil their pledge to keep global warming below the limit of 2C regarded as the threshold of dangerous climate change.
Maybe it is me, but what on Earth is she trying to say in this single-sentence paragraph? (As an aside, what is so hard about inserting the “°” symbol when talking of such units? All it requires is setting up a hot-key, or simply press Alt+248! Sheesh… if I can work that out, why can those who are paid to type not do so?)

Whatever it is, she is still stuck in the groove that it is CO2, and only CO2 – or, more specifically, human-produced CO2 (Shock! Horror!) – that is the cause of “climate change”. It is difficult to believe that so many people, many of whom are purported to be extremely intelligent, cannot see the dissonance between their beliefs and reality; surely, there has to be some other motivation behind their strict adherence to such a barmy mantra?

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Thoughtless eugenics/Malthusian/CO2 obsessed spewing from a self-declared progressive.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"barmy mantra"

It's a manifestation of the Great Loyalty Oath. Where is a Major —— de Coverley when we need one?

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

We all remember the Kremlin, at the peak of the Cold War, when the leaders of the USSR lied through their teeth. We knew they were lying, and they knew, we knew they were lying: but it mattered not. Now we have the green blob doing exactly the same. They know the earth has not warmed significantly for years, but the still insist on saying that it is, they also know that we know they are telling porkies. But it does not matter to them.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Truthful environmental journalism seems incompatible with the BBC. Their unwavering zealotry for CAGW seems unbelievably stupid - but that is the publically funded BBC for you!

Who needs 3 billion pounds when we can waste it on highly baised programming.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Unusually for a BBC science correspondent, she may actaully know some science.

She holds a Master of Philosophy (medical faculty) and Bachelor of Science degree (Biochemistry and Genetics) from Newcastle University.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Fine: I'm buying.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

'Her advertorial today appears to have been written for her by someone in Greenpeace or the Guardian, without even the pretence of having any news value.'

So normal pratice for the BBC then ?

environmental journalism , the process of lying with green mouth.

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

A brave new world of endarkenment.

The BBC/Grauniad, are putting a lot of energy into this. I wonder where they get it from?

Apr 27, 2015 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Being extremely intelligent is no bar to being extremely thick.
The other half of the adage "There are none so blind as those who will not see" is (in Yorkshire anyway) "... and none so thick as them as wants to be."
Thankyou for Alt248. I don't know how I missed that one; I've cracked most of the others. Alt0176 - ° - works as well as does Alt1 for ☺!

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"NGOs are already upping their rhetoric"

She's right about that, at least.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

BBC Pension Fund:

Top 20 investments
(so goodbye to Sjhell, BP, Rio Tino - and goodness gracious, TOBACCO companies

Baidu 41.5
Royal Dutch Shell 40.8
Illumina 39.4
Amazon 39.1
Tencent Holdings 37.8
Imperial Tobacco 31.7
Google 29.1
FaceBook 27.9
Novartis 24.0
AstraZeneca 23.6
Vodafone Group 21.5
Industria De Diseno Textil 21.3
Intuitive Surgical 20.0
Tesla Motors 19.6
BP 19.0
Sanofi 18.4
Barclays 18.0
Lloyds Banking Group 17.4
Rio Tinto 16.9

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I'd rather they faffed around with this than something more effective.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The sooner the Telly Tax is abolished, the better. Let users who want to buy their propaganda, pay for it themselves; and those who don't, can cease subsidising it.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

MJ: the result of procrastination while writing yet another report. One of my common “What happens if…?” moments; I had tried Ctrl+others, Fn+others, reached the Alt key and spent the afternoon going through all 250 combos. Forgot the Alt+1, though ☺. (Expect more!)

It is true that there is a difference between intelligent and clever. One is having the basic tools, even if kept safe and unsullied; the other is knowing how to put what you do have to the most effective use.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

When it comes to religion, being clever is no protection from being stupid. Just look at Ronald Knox or the Webbs.
Thus whether it be catholicism, socialism or environmentalism one so very often observes conduct that conforms to the adage The Brighter the Dimmer.

Apr 27, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen Maclean

If anyone has Helen Briggs' email address please send her this quote:

"We live in a world where one in six deaths are caused by easily curable infectious diseases; one in eight deaths stem from air pollution, mostly from cooking indoors with dung and twigs; and billions of people live in abject poverty, with no electricity and little food. We ought never to have entertained the notion that the world’s greatest challenge could be to reduce temperature rises in our generation by a fraction of a degree."

Or ask her to watch this enlightening (and very amusing) short talk by Prof ans Rosling - the Magic Washing Machine

Apr 27, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

That's a good link, Lapogus. I'll confess to being a person who enjoys watching washing machines doing work.

Apr 27, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The "dirty stuff" is a hugely pejorative and reprehensible description to begin any supposedly balanced discussion. As a result of this kind of language being bandied about, an acquaintance of mine has the impression that the vehicle tax for cars is based on their carbon dioxide emissions, because it is somehow more polluting than natural carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient of plant photosynthesis and food growth is never mentioned. It is not even considered that our food chain depends on that small, 0.04%, amount of carbon dioxide in the air. It is never mentioned that burning coal, oil and gas must undeniably promote global plant growth and food production, in addition to its invaluable benefit of providing safe cheap reliable energy on demand.

Apr 27, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterEForster

@BarryWoods yes that's not irrelevant, but I think in the past we established that the direct equity part is something like $4bn out of 50bn and that the bulk of BBC green investments are hidden inside other investment vehicles the BBC pension fund uses ..I have not seen a good deconstruction of it yet

Apr 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Oil is in an over-supply and hence soiled based company share prices are down. However, once the Saudis stop oversupplying in an attempt to punish Iran, it will make oil prices rise and of course so will thise share prices.
So her campaign support is ultimately going to hurt the pension fund "owners" by having them accept either a loss, or to forgo a price increase.
It seems at least they're entirely consistent with their campaigns - everyone suffers all the time. Should be their logo.

Apr 27, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

Alt 248 and the other suggestions for getting the degree thing up don't work for me. Never have. I've tried all sorts of suggestions, but can't make it happen. :(

Apr 27, 2015 at 3:34 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

One place to vent your disapproval

Apr 27, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

I thought BBC radio 5 live had redeemed itself this morning, with a theme of manufacturing, but the presenter burst my bubble when he said to a guest "the economy is now 80% services, so do we really need manufacturing?", kind of like asking "the atmosphere is 80% nitrogen, so do we really need oxygen?".

Apr 27, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Johanna, you can cut and paste it from elsewhere.

Apr 27, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I know, michael, but it's a PITA doing that every time. Until a workable shortcut appears, I'll stick to putting C or F after the number, even though it makes me look like a pleb on climate sites. :)

Apr 27, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Johanna -
Use K rather than °C. It's proper usage and avoids the special character. Too cumbersome to use when talking about (common) temperatures, but a lot of the time we're talking about temperature changes, e.g. ECS range of 1.5 to 4.5 K/doubling.

Apr 27, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"I thought BBC radio 5 live had redeemed itself this morning, with a theme of manufacturing, but the presenter burst my bubble when he said to a guest "the economy is now 80% services, so do we really need manufacturing?", kind of like asking "the atmosphere is 80% nitrogen, so do we really need oxygen?"

True, but even that doesn't adequately capture the stupidity of divestment, since the service sector of the economy is utterly reliant of fossil fuel power as well. This green stuff really does make me despair for the future of humanity.

Apr 27, 2015 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Apr 27, 2015 at 3:34 PM | johanna

Alt 248 and the other suggestions for getting the degree thing up don't work for me. Never have. I've tried all sorts of suggestions, but can't make it happen. :(

You have to be using Windows and the numbers have to be typed on the number pad.

Apr 27, 2015 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

'A brave new world of endarkenment.'

Golf Charlie,

That is a most apt word you have used there.


Apr 27, 2015 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Alt+248 on my ThinkPad after Shift+NmLk = ◘


Apr 28, 2015 at 1:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

As a public service to help people use their computers better (and hopefully last of this "off topic" topic), to input special characters like "degrees" symbol

For Apple OSX, use the Character Viewer. See

For Windows, use Character Map. See

Linux probably has something like this, but I'm not familiar.

But when using these special characters, you need to be aware that sometimes the place these figures go are not supported by the viewing program, web page, or program. Has to do with Character Sets and a lot of complexity. Use with care.

Apr 28, 2015 at 6:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterrms

On my linux box, ° is AltGr+Shift+0.

The html entity is °

Apr 28, 2015 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexB

I have used character map but it is slow. I have since discovered when using Word 2013 that keying on Insert then Symbol allows a quick insertion of these unusual characters.

Apr 28, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

clipe: that should force you to think outside the box.

(okay, okay... I'll go...)

Apr 28, 2015 at 10:22 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Helen Briggs is not a special ◘ character?

h/t Radical Rodent

Apr 29, 2015 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

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