If the BBC thinks that non-mainstream or non-expert views need to be flagged as such, will Lord Stern's future appearances on the airwaves be so caveated? Will his funding by the Mr Grantham warrant a mention?
Somehow I think not.
Some wags in the Conservative party have presented a private members bill to abolish DECC.
Mr Peter Bone, supported by Mr Christopher Chope, Mr Philip Hollobone, David T. C. Davies, Mr Graham Brady, Mr Aidan Burley, Mr Stewart Jackson and Philip Davies, presented a Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and for its functions to be absorbed into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
It's fun, but of course it's more a case of shuffling the deckchairs than anything else. Ed Davey would still be a madman if he worked out of BIS.
Every profession has its bad apples, but most try to discipline them. The Royal Society purports to oversee British science, but where is it when its members clearly cross the boundary between dispassionate research and commercial interest? The truth is that the one disease to which there is no known antidote is panic. It is a disease that politicians and professionals (including journalists) have a vested interest in propagating.
Simon Jenkins considers alarmism in science
I'm off on my travels today, so blogging will be light for a few weeks. I may be able to check in once or twice and Josh and Messenger are going to mind the fort in my absence and post links to topical stories if they get the chance.
In the meantime you could do much worse than taking a look at Richard North's must-read review of the EU's recent publication of grants to outside organisations.
The database is a goldmine of information, telling us, for instance, that the EU paid the BBC €6,100,987 last year, Friends of the Earth (in all its incarnations) €4,188,230, WWF €5,344,641 and the RSPB €3,802,544. What is also of very great interest is that the EU subsidised UN institutions to the tune of nearly €140 million.
There are those on the internet who take me to task from time to time for having the temerity to mention James Delingpole in approving tones. I should not ever discuss James it seems, because that makes me a bad person.
Being someone of broadly classical liberal views I am used to being considered a bad person by those of a more authoritarian worldview - socialists, environmentalists, BBC interviewers and the like - so I can't say this bothers me very much. That being the case, here is the latest illicit mention of the great man.
James sent me The Little Green Book of Ecofascism many months ago and I promised that I would write a review of it. After an unforgiveably long delay I have finally managed to take a read and it's great fun. Perfect to take to the beach in fact.
It's a sort of a devil's dictionary of the green movement, covering everything from the spotted owl (if it didn't exist the evironmental movement would have had to invent it) to Sir David King (whose qualifications apparently make him no more expert on climate science than if he'd read media studies) to clean energy (for which we should read "expensive, environmentally destructive, heavily taxpayer subsidised, and fuel poverty generating"). You get the drift.
It's knockabout stuff of course, but James rarely gets credit for the research he puts into his work and underneath all the entertainment and banter there is much to inform and educate too. This is perhaps unsurprising because, as James is happy to inform us, his qualifications in climate science are the equal of those sported by Prince Charles, David Attenborough and Paul Nurse. So we can appreciate little digressions into statistics, radiative physics, economics and the like, and the clever way James educates as well as informs.
The reverberations of the BBC's recent announcements on how to deal with the climate change issue continue unabated. Radio 4's Feedback programme recently considered two separate instances related to the corporation's coverage of climate change (audio below). The first of these a "tidal wave" of complaints they had received in relation to Bob Carter's appearance at the time of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report. Interestingly these complaints seem to have been rejected, except in that Carter's funding arrangements were not made sufficiently clear.
Then there was the Lawson/Hoskins event and, as for the previous case, we had some vox pops to illustrate the complaint. Firstly we had someone called Liz Mandeville from Lewes, who turns out to be part of the Transition Towns movement and a director of a community renewables company. Then there was Neil Spencer from Ashreigney in Devon, who turns out to be a former director of a company called Renewable Futures Ltd. Amusingly, the show featured an interview with Alison Hasting, the chairman of the BBC Trust editorial standards committee, who reckoned that:
Updated on Jul 7, 2014 by Bishop Hill
Updated on Jul 7, 2014 by Bishop Hill
The BBC has announced a series of measures to make it more difficult to challenge green narratives on the BBC, and this is obviously going to lead to new waves of ecodrivel on the national broadcaster's output. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the Guardian's Catherine Bennett is exuding a certain cheeriness and general satisfaction with this state of affairs.
Following successful complaints, we should soon be hearing much less – on the BBC at least – from the climate change hobbyist Lord Lawson. An edition of the Today programme that treated the former chancellor's outlandish hunches to the same sober consideration as the evidence-based conclusions of Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, of Imperial College London, has led to an apology – and a further reconsideration of editorial balance. Having assessed the Lawson v the Academic Mainstream dialogue, in which the former remarked that 2013 had been "unusually quiet" for tropical storms, the head of the BBC's Complaints Unit said: "Minority opinions and sceptical views should not be treated as if it were on an equal footing with the scientific consensus."
Matt Ridley takes a look at the BBC's recent surrender to the greens in the Times.
The BBC’s behaviour grows ever more bizarre. Committed by charter to balanced reporting, it has now decided formally that it was wrong to allow balance in a debate between rival guesses about the future. In rebuking itself for having had the gall to interview Nigel Lawson on the Today programme about climate change earlier this year, it issued a statement containing this gem: “Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling and scientific research.”
The evidence from computer modelling? The phrase is an oxymoron. A model cannot, by definition, provide evidence: it can provide a prediction to test against real evidence. In the debate in question, Lord Lawson said two things: it was not possible to attribute last winter’s heavy rain to climate change with any certainty, and the global surface temperature has not warmed in the past 15 to 17 years. He was right about both, as his debate opponent, Sir Brian Hoskins, confirmed.
The GWPF has the rest.
There are a great collection of stories in the Mail on Sunday this morning, with a story and leader on the idiocy of smart meters and a story on Antarctic Sea ice from David Rose. The latter is accompanied by a comment piece by someone called "Andrew Mountford". I think they got it right in the print edition.
The last time the BBC Trust discussed a seminar of leading scientists that had informed their editorial policy they were infamously not telling the truth and, after many years of requests for information and fruitless internet searches, it was finally determined that the people involved were in fact almost without exception green activists or green scientivists.
It's therefore interesting to note this little snippet from the BBC Trust report discussed earlier today:
There was an in depth briefing for key editors and correspondents organised by the College of Journalism ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change, which was published in September. This consisted of a briefing from senior members of the IPCC, a panel discussion involving three climate change scientists representing a range of views and an internal discussion about the editorial implications for our output. We think this made a substantial contribution to balanced and proportionate coverage of the IPCC report.
Joanna Haigh is going to be speaking on the physics of climate change tonight as part of the Royal Society's summer science season.
Earth’s climate is the result of interactions between multiple physical systems, such as the circulation of the oceans, winds and weather patterns, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or the amount of sunlight we receive. In order to understand how the climate is behaving, and how it might behave in the future, we have to understand the fundamental laws controlling these interactions: we have to understand the physics. Join Joanna Haigh as she explains the integral role of physics in climate science and how its use has transformed our ability to model and predict climate change.
Details: 6:30 pm — 7:30 pm on Friday 04 July 2014 at The Royal Society. No ticket required
Philip Foster writes with an important scheduling change for Richard Tol's appearance at the House of Commons.
We have had a last minute problem with a meeting planned with Richard Tol in Westminster.
Our MP (Sammy Wilson) was told yesterday that the committee room booked was now not available.
The new schedule has to be as follows:
Palace of Westminster
Wednesday 9th July 2014
Committee Room 20
12noon - 2pm