Which was the worst lie in the BBC’s climate propaganda programme? There is a lot of competition, but my vote goes to Michael Mann’s claim, just a minute in, that
“All of this is happening far faster than
anymany of us thought possible.”
There is so much wrong with this statement and the way the BBC presented it that it deserves its own blog post.
To start with, the BBC programme makers have taken this out of context so we don’t what the “this” Mann is referring to, which is a pretty dishonest tactic.
But it immediately follows a false claim by Mark Maslin’s about greater storms and floods, another strong contender for the award. We know that the IPCC says
- “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century” and
- “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”.
So the claim is that something that isn’t happening at all is happening faster than anyone expected.
Maybe Mann wasn’t talking about storms and floods. Maybe that dishonest juxtaposition was down to the BBC programme makers, the director Serena Davies or the scientific consultant Chris Rapley.
Perhaps Mann was talking about the rate of global warming? Well, if so, that would still be a lie. Recall Kevin ‘Travesty’ Trenberth’s comments: “Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? … The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” There is also the awkward (for Mann) fact that the IPCC acknowledged the pause/hiatus/slowdown in warming.
Maslin’s comment is also a soundbite taken out of context, so we don’t know exactly what his full statement was (it’s possible that he might not have been lying – he might have been referring to model predictions of what could happen in the future). But his comment is preceded by Richard Lazarus saying it’s ‘right now’, accompanied by relentless imagery of storms, lightning, and crashing vehicles. It is the juxtaposition by the BBC of these three statements that forms a disgustingly dishonest lie:
Richard Lazarus: What we’re doing right now is we’re so rapidly changing the climate, for the first time in the world’s history people can see the impact of climate change.
Mark Maslin: Greater storms, greater floods, greater heatwaves, extreme sea-level rise.
Michael Mann: All of this is happening far faster than
anymany of us thought possible.
Edit Aug 2019: listening again, it seems that Mann said “many” rather than “any”.