BBC allows a sceptic on every year or two, complains Chairman Leo


Al Jazeera has a news story on The curious persistence of climate scepticism.

The text says

Climate scepticism is fringe and unscientific. So why is it that sceptics still manage, in certain countries, to get airtime denying the effects of global warming?

Sceptics theories in the news media, such as carbon dioxide doesn’t cause a greenhouse effect, are largely confined to what is known as the Anglosphere: the likes of the US, the UK, Australia.

Elsewhere, including the most populous, polluting countries like China and India, such scepticism is hard to find.

The Listening Post investigates the curious existence and persistence of climate scepticism in the news media.

Leo Hickman, director, Carbon Brief
Maxwell Boykoff, associate professor, University of Colorado-Boulder
Anu Jogesh, India policy and governance lead, Acclimatise
James Painter, research associate, The Reuters Institute
Hepeng Jia, director, China Science Media Centre

In the video (fast forward to 13 minutes into it) it is claimed that climate sceptics appear in the media “with striking frequency”, and that it is “surprising” that they “get so much exposure”.  James Painter talks about his paper that says there is much more scepticism in the media in the US and UK than in France, China, Brazil or India. There is a bit of the usual Murdoch-bashing, and of course the oil companies and Koch brothers get a mention.

Then they say that the BBC has “come under fire for how often they present fringe views on climate change”.  There’s a brief clip of Nigel Lawson, who was allowed onto the Today Programme for a few seconds back in February 2014 (incorrectly labelled as December in the video).

Then Carbon Brief’s Chairman Leo Hickman comes on and claims that the “BBC has had a particular problem with false balance for a number of years”. What does he mean by this? Well, he goes on:

“every year or two they’ll have another car-crash moment where they invite a climate sceptic on.”

There is then another short clip of Lawson from 2017 when he was briefly allowed on the radio again to rebut Al Gore’s “claptrap” about extreme events.  Of course, the biased activists of Al Jazeera and Hickman pick out the one incorrect thing Lawson said, and don’t appear to be at all concerned about the falsehoods promoted by Al Gore at the same time or Peter Stott the next day.

Then the story takes a rather more sinister turn. China is held up as an example.

“One place you won’t find climate sceptic lobby groups is China. Chinese industry, just like the media, tends to move in step with communist party policy. As far as the party is concerned, the debate around the causes of global warming has long been settled.”







  1. Scratch a green, find a censor. It’s amazing that AJ has put this on, given that the combined length of the offending denialism broadcast over the last decade is shorter than the piece itself. It reminds me of Dana N’s endless volumes of articles about how irrelevant deniers are, and how nobody should pay them any attention.

    Painter, to the unacquainted, married into the Tickell climate dynasty, patriarch of which is Crispin, who is credited with having brought the issue to Thatcher’s attention, he seeking a new role for British diplomats. There isn’t a Tickell (or Tickell-Painter) who does not seem to be a climate entrepreneur of some kind, basking in the shadow of the eco-fascist grandaddy (yes, I used the word advisedly, for that is precisely what he is) and his long list of contacts.

    Hickman (who is too dim to be considered an ideologue) has long concerned himself with the ethics of a free press. A controlled, censored and agenda-driven form of journalism simply uses so much less carbon. Which may be one reason why he left the Guardian, to work for an organisation which should be more famous for shooting extremely poor black people from helicopters than for saving pandas. But they’re not, because climate change deniers are so much more evil. His time at the WWF was short, perhaps because he is so remarkably thick in the head. Or perhaps because the opportunity arose for him to take over at the entirely European Climate Foundation-funded Carbon Brief blog.

    What doesn’t occur to these individuals is that they create the opportunity for sceptics. And their own uniquely overbearing, obtuse and intransigent tendency makes it hard for them to find time on UK network TV. Instead, they are limited to ranting about how unfair it all is on the TV station which is entirely owned and run by Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani – a member of the Qatari ruling (i.e. dictating) family who clearly have no questions so answer about oil money.

    What f***ing weird people climate warriors are, eh?

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Is climate change denial a symptom of the Anglosphere? I thought Pew used to do global polls of such things but I can’t find any so here, instead, are some fragmented findings from other polls.

    Special Eurobarometer 459…

    …found in March 2017 that only 10% of Brits agreed that climate change was ‘Not a serious problem’ (Table QC2R). For comparison: Germany 9%, Poland 9%, Austria 10%, Croatia 11%, Czechia 12%, Latvia 15%, Estonia 18%, all other EU states 3-8% except Portugal, which was on 1%. (Cos of recent forest fires attributed by the press to climate change rather than badly managed and bigly EU-subsidized eucalypt plantations?)

    The Beeb’s 2012 Climate Asia surveys…

    …found that 58% of India’s population thought that climate change was happening. So far so good. But it also found that only 21% of that 58% thought that anthropogenic GHGs were a main cause of that happening. ‘Human activity’ (‘…leading to the emission of gases called green house [sic] gases’ – see the questionnaire PDF) was beaten into fourth place by tree loss (71%), population growth (60%) and ‘Forces of nature’ (33%).

    So only 12% of Indians thought anthropogenic GHGs were to blame for climate change. (The same proportion as in Pakistan, as it happens, though God, not tree loss, was the main cause there – 65%.)

    Effing Murdoch, eh?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Shub it reads like a bunch of people trying to convince themselves that it’s an abomination that someone with a different opinion is allowed on a radio show.

    It’s as odd as Leo Hickman, who can only only point to one instance every one or two years being an ‘acute problem’.

    I had to look it up, just to check…

    (of an unpleasant or unwelcome situation or phenomenon) present or experienced to a severe or intense degree.

    Literally — and barely — minutes of programming causes this reaction.

    What greens lack fundamentally is a sense of proportion. It’s as if the remaining 525,599 minutes per year across at least half a dozen channels — so let’s call it 3 million minutes — do not count. Nor does it seem to count when the excessively alarmist position is uttered.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m coming to the conclusion that 97% of commentators on climate science and sceptics of ‘dangerous global warming’ haven’t got the foggiest clue about climate science, atmospheric physics or meteorology and haven’t got a clue about how science works either. They really are completely ignorant of what constitutes ‘reasonable doubt’ in science.

    They live in an imaginary Certainty Zone where scientists are God kings and the general populace are unquestioning believers in their almighty authority; where there exist, skulking around the perimeter, a rag-tag bunch of rebels who seek to gain the keys to the kingdom by questioning the unshakeable Truth which keeps the God Kings in power.

    I’ve been arguing fruitlessly with someone on Twitter who just cannot conceive that man-made global warming might be in doubt in any way whatsoever, that there might exist science outside of The Science which challenges aspects of received AGW wisdom. It’s quite shocking really. How did a fairly shoddy scientific theory which has barely progressed in essence over nearly 40 years despite sucking up billions in research grants and generating millions of research papers come to exert such an extraordinary grip upon the minds of so many people?

    They say the Chinese are not sceptics. They are actually; it’s just that Chinese scepticism of global warming science tends to be expressed through the proper channel – the peer-reviewed scientific literature, a channel which has been restricted to Western scientists via peer-pressure, academic censorship and bullying. In the Anglosphere it has never been easy to get research published which implicitly questions AGW dogma, unless it contained an explicit endorsement of AGW; much harder to get work published which explicitly questioned the consensus position on climate change. Perhaps that’s why scepticism of consensus climate change thrives in the US/Aus/GB.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Jaime: The Chinese situation and the way it’s viewed by Hickman are I agree two different things. He gets the totalitarian aspect and wishes it applied here, to silence groups of sceptics in the public arena. He doesn’t want the relative academic freedom they have to question CAGW, because he prefers that we are worse off in that regard. And he doesn’t seem to care about their vast expansion of fossil fuel power, including their new colonialism in Africa and elsewhere. The virtue signalling never extends to anything difficult, like the oil-fuelled Qatari dictatorship either. Ugly whichever way one looks


  6. Jaime. Perhaps the credibility of science has been punctured by repeated prediction failures as illustrated by this snippet by the ever reliable Saveedmilliband.

    “Of course, friends, we must not confuse Weather with Climate, which is a typical neoliberal Denier trick! It’s the same sort of trick, in fact, that other Deniers have used in the past, when in the 1970s, they made the absurd claim – against all the expert advice of the time – that oil would not run out in 30 years’ time! More recently, Deniers claimed – against all the Scientific evidence of the time – that the Millennium Bug wouldn’t lead to total chaos as the Year 2000 dawned, and that there would not be widespread epidemics of BSE, SARS, bird-flu, swine-flu etc. etc., wiping out of most of the human race in the process. And yet, friends, despite such a track record of total denial, they still expect us to take them seriously!”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not every day I get to defend a feudal monarchy, but here goes. The feudal monarchy of Qatar is under a trade embargo by the feudal monarchies of Saudi Arabia and its allies – an act of war. One of the demands of the warmongers is that Qatar close al Jazeera, a TV channel where English speaking journalist get to say things that they couldn’t say on state TV channels in Britain, the US or Australia. And the female journalists don’t have to wear headscarves.

    That may not sound like much, but there’s only two ways to change a feudal culture, the Qatari way or the Yemen way.

    Their environmental reporting is rubbish though.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No doubt, Geoff. Best not to take sides with media organisations at all. There’s the Russian organ, RT. And there’s the BBC. And there’s those US-based media monoliths. And the Murdochs.

    The point was, the oil money doesn’t occur to Leo — in spite of his sensitivity to “acute problems” and that the global dominance of the news media by extremely monied [*]crats doesn’t occur to Painter – unless it’s the Murdoch empire, which, paradoxically was not long ago hailing its green zero-carbon credentials, even if the Fox network gives voice to the climate-sceptic right. (We will see why Painter turns a blind eye, shortly).

    RT and AJ do give voices to domestic critics of British establishment politics that simply are not invited on to UK TV. Just as CNN and the BBC have broadcast the Western angle into other parts of the world. What’s interesting here is that the perspective Painter and Hickman want to project isn’t in short supply on British TV, in spite of their oversensitivity.

    Here’s an article on that OFCOM case you asked about that Hickman says is pending…

    The BBC has admitted the item broke its guidelines and said Lord Lawson should have been challenged “more robustly”.

    It followed a 2014 interview with Lord Lawson that also breached BBC rules.

    After that appearance, the BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld complaints from three listeners that Today had given undue weight to his views and had conveyed a misleading impression of the scientific evidence.

    The three complaints are, presumably, the “flood of complaints” that Hickman referred to. It would not surprise me if they were from Painter, Hickman and Bob Ward.

    Thank God for foreign news agencies, owned by tyrannical regimes! They may yet save journalism from three disgusted-of-40-Bermondsey-St censors, aka dead American oil billionaires, for it is they who are behind that outfit.

    Painter, it should be remembered is installed at the Reuters institute for journalism at Oxford. Yet another billionaire vanity project / lobbying outfit thinly disguised as a ‘research’ organisation. There’s also the Al Gore connection to Al Jazeera. Gore made $70m out of his sale of Current TV. So perhaps those editorial connections remained — Painter’s story is very old ‘news’.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Recalling Painter’s analysis being old news. It was from around 2011. I went to the launch of his analysis, “poles apart”, and managed to have a shouting match with Bob Ward, and attempted to explain to Fiona Harvey how she had deceived herself into believing that she “only reports facts”. I think she may have been pissed. There was free wine. On the panel discussion, Harvey had blamed NGOs for the failure of Copenhagen — including Oxfam, where several in the audience were from, and had raised questions. Tom Clarke of Ch4 News had admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about — not that that has ever stopped him broadcasting.

    I asked Painter at the end of the event, if he had considered the possibility that climate scepticism might be appear to be particular to the Anglosphere, because climate change might be a uniquely Anglo-Saxon phenomenon. He admitted that hadn’t considered it. Clearly, it’s not something he has considered much since. Yet it should be considered.

    First, there is something particular to the British democratic tradition (such as it is), which does not (or did not) confine itself to technocratic debates in parliaments. It is perhaps different as the difference between English and Roman law. That doesn’t mean that there is no emphasis on climate in other countries — there surely, are. But it does mean that policies — and the possibilities of policies — are negotiated, experienced and mediated differently.

    Second, there’s the possibility that climate change is differently integrated into broader green perspectives in different countries. I would say that on the broadest conception of ‘green’, about 3/4or so of UK climate sceptics are ‘green’, to the extent that they tend to value the natural world and its flora and fauna. They have a different understanding of ‘green’ however, including the fundamentals of conservation and pollution to, for instance, WWF or Greenpeace. Whereas the ‘greenness’ of many in the UK is immediate, the understanding of the environment proffered by green NGOs and that ilk is entirely abstract, and organised around strategic organisation (It doesn’t matter if the visual amenity is destroyed and the birds are minced, carbon has been reduced).

    A more practical demonstration of this… Consider the claim that there are no climate sceptics in Germany (or at least on German media)… Really?

    It should be obvious to anyone that the climate debate in Germany isn’t the only expression of environmentalism in its politics. Germany has not cut its coal use. It has put abolishing nuclear power ahead of abolishing coal. This is interesting in many ways, as the observations of Rupert Darwall have shed light on in his recent book, which identifies two significant factors in the development of European (tyrannical) environmentalism as i) Sweden social democrat’s PR drive towards nuclear power, and ii) Germany’s inability to reconcile modern industrial society with some kind of natural romanticism (my paraphrasing) in a broader Weltanschauung.

    Further afield, and cliamte change being an elite preoccupation, in most of Asia, Africa, and central/south America, I imagine that claims about climate change being ‘the biggest problem facing mankind’ are likely to provoke laughter, if not lynching. These are topics for events at the UN, not the town hall, except in places like the UK, and even then, much more in places like Oxford, Brighton, Bristol, than in post-industrial regions.

    Here’s a French perspective, though I’m sure Geoff could give us a broader view of how climatism and climate scepticism plays out in the French media, and more importantly, why it does or does not matter if there is more or less coverage of either side of the debate.

    It seems to me that one of the main characteristics of debates in the Anglosphere is that the climate debate proper is about the dirigiste nature of climate policy-making. That is to say that one reason why it may play out in the English-speaking world’s media much more than elsewhere, is that this is offensive to those whose political sentiments have always been to err on the side of Pragmatism ideologically. Alarmists argue, no doubt, that this is an ideological objection to climate ‘science’. Though it seems obvious (to me, anyhow) that the dirigisme objected to is itself ideological, as is the understanding of ‘the science’, as is, moreover, the production of that knowledge. That is likely why both the putative ‘champions’ of climate change — the tired establishment’s insufferable pricks like John Gummer, and its new upstart hacks like the no less prickish Leo Hickman — and their critics tend to hail from these wealthy economies.

    All Painter witnesses, then, is the world through Angocentric eyes. It tells us more about him than the world, or climate scepticism.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ben: excellent and convincing, thanks. You forgot to mention Mr Corbyn and Press TV! This part:

    …in most of Asia, Africa, and central/south America, I imagine that claims about climate change being ‘the biggest problem facing mankind’ are likely to provoke laughter, if not lynching.

    couldn’t help but remind me of this:

    People surveyed in rural Africa about what they would like to buy listed a bed net as only the sixth product on their wish list. The first three were a bicycle, a radio and, most heartbreakingly, a plastic bucket.

    Climate mitigation sadly wasn’t on the list. Things have, thank God, come on a bit since 2004 when that was penned in the New York Times. With the smartphone revolution and malaria on a major downturn the respondents might even have a bit more energy (and info) for a lynching, if anyone dared to propound such a proposition today. Meanwhile I’m sure our environment secretary (and surprise Tory leadership comeback merchant) will be concerned about that desire for plastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alan Kendall,
    Your post quoting that comment regarding the skeptical track record is worth building on. It is brilliant!


  12. Hunter.
    Yes I find the logic tangle quite delicious.
    Why not tell saveedmiliband himself?
    There is much more at his blog.


  13. Lewandowsky on Brexit.. maybe we are lucky he only things sceptics are ‘conspiracy nuts’

    “Brexit attacks on civil service ‘are worthy of 1930s Germany’ “: They are not worthy of anything but contempt–but yes, the parallels cannot be ignored. Judges are enemies of the people, opponents are saboteurs… and now this. All fascist playbook.

    But I also voted #Leave


  14. That’s Lord Turnbull speaking – as you obviously realise Barry:

    Turnbull told the Observer that the attacks on Whitehall were reminiscent of the “stab-in-the-back” myth, which emerged in Germany after the first world war and was later taken up by the Nazis.

    I actually agree that we are having a mini-Weimar moment, in that divisions are running deep. But which side harbours the worse conspiracists is a very tendentious matter. Rees-Mogg is stirring things up in a completely justified way, in my view, backed up by Nigel Lawson and others outside the cabinet. This battle comes before the climate one, to my mind – and I’m sure to Gove, Johnson and co. We are not in the American situation anything like.


  15. the comments after the quote are Lewandowsky..

    “They are not worthy of anything but contempt–but yes, the parallels cannot be ignored. Judges are enemies of the people, opponents are saboteurs… and now this. All fascist playbook.”


  16. Aha, right. Thanks for pointing that out. But, however much Lewandowsky says the wrong and disgusting thing, it’s worth remembering what a small bit of change he is, except perhaps on the poisonous left.

    One of the things with Weimar in 20s-30s is that we forget how poisonous much of the left was, with Stalin worship in full throttle. Lenin critic Rosa Luxemburg had been murdered by some proto-Nazi paramilitaries in 1919 – they always seem to take the good ones. Twenty-five years on British and American troops uncovered the dregs of the Holocaust in places like Belsen. There were no corresponding TV cameras showing the world the worst of Kolyma, even when Khrushchev began to expose Stalin in 1955. This gives visceral power to the Lord Turnbull propaganda line. It’s not going to help the divisions already felt in the UK in 2018.


  17. How pathetic and ignorant Lewandowky is.
    Communists wage war on the the targeted country’s infrastructure by killing police, judges, political leaders who are not communist, etc.
    And we are watching ISIS and other sundry Islamic radicals doing the same and more.
    But all Lewandowsky, the reactionary king of circular tinfoil hat rationalization can come up with is references to fascists.


  18. Wow. What better indication of the fact that Lewandowsky is a political hack could there possibly be than his concern for the civil service and his attachment to the EU?

    He arrived in the UK in April 2013. Unlike British men his age at the time — 55 — Lew would not have any memory of the UK joining the European project in the 1970s. Much less would he remember what the UK was like in the ’70s. He would not have any memory of the arguments in currency through the 1980s, ’90s or 2000s. He would not remember Thatcher’s “No. No. No”. He would not recall the political fallout from Maastricht treaty. He wouldn’t remember the broken promises of referendums. He wouldn’t have noticed the hollowing out of British politics. He wouldn’t have noticed Blair’s (and Turnbull’s) recasting the Civil Service in Blair’s image. He wouldn’t have anything to say about the ancient civil, political and legal freedoms and rights rolled back by Blair. He wouldn’t understand how that hollowing out of politics led to a form of remote, managerial politics that most people are sick to the teeth of — even remainers. He wouldn’t have a clue why people voted as they did, with the expectation of an exit from the Union, and with the concomitant reformation of political institutions — including the Civil Service more than most — towards objectives decided democratically, not by remote pseudo-parliaments, not by technocratic panels, and not by blowhard hackademics.

    Just five years later, Lew is an expert on British constitutional affairs and political history! And climate change! And polar bears! It’s hard to imagine he had any time for psychology!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Apologies to Vinny, whose excellent comment, now second on this thread, got stuck in the wordpress spam filter.

    He shows that the main claim of the Al-Jazeera piece isn’t really true. In the “Eurobarometer” survey, the proportion of people in the UK who thought that climate was the most serious problem was 14%. The figure for France and Germany is exactly the same, while in many countries (Hungary Italy etc) it’s much lower. The proportion who think climate is not a serious problem is 10% in the UK, 9% in Germany, 10% in Austria (but only 3% in France).

    He also finds evidence of considerable scepticism in India, contrary to the claim made in the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Those are interesting stats, Paul & Vinny. However, Painter’s study is about — and the thing which most vexes Hickman — the expression of climate change scepticism in the press/media.

    Hacks like Painter and Hickman wouldn’t care a jot if the public’s interest in climate change was 97% the other way, as long as sceptics got no column inches or broadcast seconds. This is partly because they believe that people believe what they are exposed to (which is true only in the sense of needing to know about an argument to hold with an argument), and that the news media more directly influences the political sphere. Public opinion doesn’t really count until it is a proxy for the political establishment. I.e., the terms of climate policy have never been contested politically, or democratically, so what the public thinks matters very little unless public opinion is given the opportunity of expression. Hence the blob’s outrage about literally a seconds of broadcasting in a year, and Hickman’s “acute problem”.

    Here’s a Nature Climate Change special on the same topic as the AJ feature from 2015. It shows exactly the same stories…

    Focus: IPCC and media coverage of climate reports
    An emerging body of literature is exploring the role of the media in reporting climate change science and the recent IPCC efforts to reach out to policymakers and the public. In this focus, Nature Climate Change presents an Article examining media coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report – in broadcast, print and social media – and a series of opinion pieces looking at the effectiveness of the IPCC communication strategy and the ways experts study media power in the context of climate change.

    The articles in the special are:

    Editorial: The IPCC news circuit

    No more summaries for wonks – Richard Black
    IPCC assessments present an unparalleled opportunity for climate science to speak directly to power. Re-thinking the summaries written for policymakers would enable scientists to communicate far more effectively with political leaders and the public.

    NB: note Black’s conflation of ‘the public’ and ‘political leaders’.

    Media power and climate change – Julia B. Corbett
    Fingers are often pointed directly at the news media for their powerful influence and ineffective reporting of climate change. But is that the best place to point? And are there more effective ways to conceptualize the power of the media and to consider whom they serve?

    Taking a bet on risk – James Painter
    In the light of its potential benefits, some scientists have been using the concept of risk to frame their discussions of climate change. At the moment, the media hardly pick up on risk language, so can anything be done to encourage them?

    The IPCC in an age of social media – Leo Hickman
    How should the IPCC communicate its findings, not just to policymakers, but to a wider audience? In today’s online environment, readers demand an open and transparent interaction, but the responses must be both rapid and authoritative. As the IPCC debates its future, it must be bold in engaging with social media.

    There is also Dominant frames in legacy and social media coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report by Saffron O’Neill et al., but the link is broken.

    What should be obvious is that it’s Painter and Hickman again. And Richard Black. And the journal’s editor at the time was one Mat Hope, formerly on the Carbon Brief staff.

    Just as with Geoff’s recent article noting Roz Pidcock’s move from Carbon Brief to the IPCC, it’s not hard to see the same movement from ECF-funded organisations to this journal.

    And if you think I’m stretching it, here’s what appears on page 4 of Painter’s report:

    The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is very grateful to the
    following organisations for funding this study:
    The British Council
    The European Climate Foundation
    The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the
    Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science

    It is not true that “An emerging body of literature is exploring the role of the media in reporting climate change science and the recent IPCC efforts to reach out to policymakers and the public” of its own accord. A growing body of literature is being produced by beneficiaries of the European Climate Foundation, to effect policy change, an increasingly seeking policy change far beyond the scope of climate legislation: it wants to regulate the press at least as much as it wants to regulate the composition of the atmosphere.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Ben,
    Your list is disturbing in its length as well as its conclusions.
    It is increasingly clear to me that what is meant when the climate consensus communicators talk about “effective communication” ( which they are obsessed with), what they really mean is something that used to be called “lying”.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. and as for the China comment –

    “One place you won’t find climate sceptic lobby groups is China. Chinese industry, just like the media, tends to move in step with communist party policy. As far as the party is concerned, the debate around the causes of global warming has long been settled.”

    bit O/T – this neglects to mention the real problems China faces & now seems to be acting on –

    from the book – Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade Hardcover – by Adam Minter

    “When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment.

    Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money-and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty.

    With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America’s recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don’t. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.”

    the statement – “As far as the party is concerned, the debate around the causes of global warming has long been settled” needs put into context, if it ever was made.


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