BBC misleads the public again

OK, yes, I know, how is this news? If the BBC said something accurate and reasonable about climate change, that might be worth commenting on…

Today the IPCC issued another report, Climate Change and Land.

The BBC’s Roger Harrabin wrote an article about it, before the report was released (he was also burbling about it on the radio this morning, and probably has been all day).

The BBC Headline is

“Plant-based diet can fight climate change – UN”

and the following statements are:

“Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change, UN experts have said.”

“A major report on land use and climate change says the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.”

“They said that more people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat.”

Now I haven’t read the entire report, but I have read the Summary for Policymakers and the Headline Statements, neither of which seem to provide much if any support for Harrabin’s claims.

Harrabin’s article seems to be based on his own pre-conceived opinions and those of a couple of people he talked to.

Professional climate spin doctor Roz Pidcock, who used to work for the IPCC, makes this comment, with a direct quote of the relevant section from the IPCC SPM:

The IPCC seems to be recommending a balanced diet including animal-sourced food.  Pidcock doesn’t explicitly mention any names, but may well be referring to the BBC’s claims here when she says “more nuanced than headlines suggest”. Since she uses the word ‘urge’, she might be thinking of similar fake claims from Ben Webster in the Times: Eat less meat to save the Earth, urges UN.

In fact there is very little in the report about dietary choices. The one chapter related to food is on food security, and that only briefly mentions meat consumption.

For a more accurate summary of what the report is actually about, see this detailed article at Carbon Brief.

Unlike Harrabin, George Moonbat seems to have actually read what the report says. He is very disappointed that it doesn’t push his agenda strongly enough, and describes it as “pathetic”.

The BBC’s lies continued into the evening, with the 6pm Radio 4 newsreader saying half-way though the programme:

“The main news so far: UN scientists say people must reduce their reliance on meat and switch to more plant-based diets if they want to help reduce global warming.”





  1. The CO2 cult claims to cure all ills, if one will just believe, obey, and pay.


  2. One game the eco gang play is water use for weight of protein…the trick is..if you follow the references which they normally hide, they are counting on animals been fed in feed lots their entire lives which requires grain which requires loads of water.The second pea under the thimble is, they appear that magical energy is behind grain production.The opposite is the case.Huge amounts of fuel to build the machinery for harvesting..then using the planting machine..then the harvesting machine..then the sorting machinery..then the transport of grain…and the fossil fuels needed to mine the fertilisers..and on and on..


  3. Thunberg Lettuce, Overcooked Netzero Factoids. LOL. Inspired!

    Militant vegans were bound to jump on this report and exploit its message for their own ends. The report makes the point that 33% of global emissions of methane are from livestock. Methane is a very powerful GHG, 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over 100 years. But it has a short half-life in the atmosphere, probably less than a decade, so degrades very rapidly. It’s also far less abundant even than CO2 – 1.8ppm vs 410ppm, so its contribution to net global radiative forcing is very limited in comparison to CO2 and negligible in comparison to water vapour, which all the projections of ‘catastrophic’ global warming rely upon as a positive feedback to enhance the lukewarm effect of carbon dioxide. But don’t expect scientific facts to get in the way of ‘cow fart hysteria’ and Horrobin ‘go vegan to save the planet’ propaganda.

    I’m more concerned about the false narrative of increasing ‘desertification’ being propagated by the IPCC and its proposed false attribution to climate change. That will be an increasing feature of UN alarmist propaganda I feel.


  4. On methane, one thing I hadn’t realised until I looked at the report and the Carbon Brief article is that rice fields are a major contributor.

    See the dark red areas in China on this map. There is a similar image in ch 5 of the report, currently greyed out.


  5. I had to switch off the World at One yesterday as the opening was just hysterical – “horsemen of the apocalypse” etc.. I wondered then what the report actually said as the BBC etc. have form in hyping up bland parts of reports to suit their stance. Looks like I was right.


  6. 1.4 billion meat eating, rice-munching, fossil fuel guzzling people in China alone, but the ‘problem’ is the high animal protein diet of Westerners, in the UK in particular, the fondness for full English breakfasts, hamburgers, Sunday roasts, buttered toast and milk on cornflakes – according to Moonbat and Horrorbin.


  7. What I want to know is what fertilises the land that all these crops are grown on.
    I compost all my vegetable waste and use it on my veg patch, but the only time I get noticeable improvements in yield is when I take a trip to my local stable and help myself to well composted manure and urine soaked horse bedding.
    The commercial alternatives – bonemeal, blood fish and bone and chicken manure are dependent on animals, and artificial nitrate fertilisers are not green.
    And using green crops for fertilising takes land out of food production.
    Without animal fertilisers these yields will decline over the long term and mass starvation will ensue.
    But of course increased CO2 will also do wonders for crop yields.
    These people simply don’t think things through in their pursuit of more funding for “essential” “research”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And can I add, Thunberg lettuce – wet, limp and entirely without substance.


  9. PP,

    “And can I add, Thunberg lettuce – wet, limp and entirely without substance.”

    That’s probably because it is transported by sustainable wind-powered yachts which take weeks to reach their destination. Which also explains why it’s a sickly shade of green when it arrives, rather than fresh, crisp, bright green. 🙂


  10. So those 18th century hunters that killed 50 million bison caused globally cooling ?

    The US now has 93m cows
    Bison are bigger and a bit less methane intensive, but for pound of meat yielded I think it’s about the same.


  11. The Moan-bot can complain all he likes, but greenhouse gas theory will still be a dud. Unless or until he understands that he is wasting his time writing his Guardian climate rants.


  12. It’s unfortunate that farmers in general accept the climate change narrative and are simply saying, “It’s not us Guv”

    Monbiot clearly seeks population culling using the technique of “re-wilding”. Bring back wolves and bears, sort out “overpopulation”.

    from the Monbiot link:
    “A famous paper in Science shows that a plant-based diet would release 76% of the land currently used for farming. This land could then be used for the mass restoration of ecosystems and wildlife”

    Land that isn’t grazed gets taken over by bracken, gorse, brambles and nettles. I suppose a diet of blackberries and nettle tea would keep a few people going.


  13. wonder what Roger Pielke Jr (who has pushed the land issue over the years & black balled for his efforts) would make of latest IPPC report “Climate Change and Land”


  14. should have linked to Roger A. Pielke Sr –
    Land use/land cover changes and climate: modeling analysis and observational evidence
    Roger A. Pielke Sr.
    , Andy Pitman
    , Dev Niyogi
    , Rezaul Mahmood
    , Clive McAlpine
    , Faisal Hossain
    , Kees Klein Goldewijk
    , Udaysankar Nair
    , Richard Betts
    , Souleymane Fall
    , … See all authors 
    First published: 28 October 2011|


  15. anybody watch BBC2 prog on the Italy – Genoa bridge collapse ?

    If I recall correctly the BBC report/first coverage implied a extreme weather (climate change is killing people) event for this disaster.
    best old link I found –
    quote –
    “What happened to the Morandi bridge?
    The bridge is a main road in and out of Genoa, linking it to the A10 motorway and the road to France.
    Shortly before noon on Tuesday, the section collapsed amid extremely heavy rainfall.
    The cause is still unclear. The bridge was having work done to shore up its foundations at the time”

    in the prog today – What happened to the Morandi bridge – bad design & upkeep, no mention of climate/extremely heavy rainfall.

    BBC misleads again with it’s initial reporting & 1 year later gives some real facts.


  16. I watched the Genoa bridge documentary. Rather harrowing, but fascinating. Bad maintenance was certainly a factor (probably caused by spending cuts), but I’m not sure it was bad design per se. After all, it did stay up well over 50 years. But it’s well known (at least, it is now) that reinforced concrete can fail if the steel reinforcing bars get corroded. The concrete is actually supposed to protect the steel, but once the concrete get cracks in it, water can come in, and then the problems start.

    There was a suggestion that in this case, there had been bad concrete pouring in the initial build, so some of the cables holding up the pylons were partially unprotected. Some of the pylons had been repaired, but the one that eventually failed was thought to be ok…

    There are some really interesting videos about concrete (yes, really) on the Practical Engineering Youtube channel.

    Anyway, the collapse of the bridge had nothing to do with climate change.


  17. “Anyway, the collapse of the bridge had nothing to do with climate change.”
    Oh, you fool. Where do you think the water came from to corrode the steel cables?
    The BBC doesn’t want to worry its viewers about the awful truth behind the climate emergency. It’s concealing the real truth and distracting us at the same time with the naval adventures of a sixteen year old. She looked real scared yesterday. But perhaps is relieved that she won’t have to cross any EU bridges for a time.


  18. Mike E, I’m far from being an engineer. but the problems you described with the Genoa bridge chime with what I hear on Rum this spring about Kinloch Castle there. It was built a little over 100 years ago, using a steel frame with stone blocks (specially shipped in from Arran) around it. Now it is in a bad state of disrepair and it seems it will cost an absolute fortune to reinstate (assuming they can work out how to do it). The problem seems largely to be the steel frame and damp penetration.


  19. @Alan – “The BBC doesn’t want to worry its viewers about the awful truth behind the climate emergency. It’s concealing the real truth and distracting us at the same time with the naval adventures of a sixteen year old”
    all the UK news channels are loving this Greta story.
    Latest from the Beeb is she’s taking 1yr of school to travel the America’s & Canada to see 1st hand the damage/devastation MMGW/Climate Change is wrecking on our planet.

    must admit I admire her guts!! for a 2wk Atlantic crossing with only a topside Poo Bucket to go in.

    if you have kids & want to save fresh water/the world, they may be happy to follow her example & use the garden/tower block roof area!!


  20. @JAIME JESSOP 09 Aug 19 at 7:44 am says:

    >The report makes the point that 33% of global emissions of methane are from livestock.

    Possibly, but largely irrelevant. A bit of biology might help here. Animals find it difficult to completely digest plant material that contains cellulose, and those that rely on a herbivorous diet utilise microorganisms to ferment partly digested food to extract nutrients from the cellulose. Cattle and sheep seem to have been picked out as the bad guys in this, but they are anatomically similar to other ruminants, such as deer, antelope, giraffes, gazelles, etc. Their notoriety is probably a result of cattle being a lot easier to experiment on than antelope. While the fermentation process leading to the production of methane is fairly obvious in ruminants, it is also found in all other animals that are largely herbivores, for instance; horses, rabbits, hamsters, elephants, pandas, gorillas, and humans.

    I wonder whether the BBC will ever admit how bad the soft flatulence a vegan high-fibre diet is for the planet.


  21. Quote: “I wonder whether the BBC will ever admit how bad the soft flatulence a vegan high-fibre diet is for the planet”:

    At least, with her no doubt macrobiotic compost-grown vegan diet, Able Seaperson Thunberg should produce a little extra wind to help her on her merry way.

    BTW, will she be doing her own cooking, washing, scrubbing-down the deck, navigating, and splicing the main-brace (or whatever modern sailors do)? And does the yacht have a diesel auxiliary engine? Or will there be a diesel-powered escort boat? And who is paying for this little jolly?

    (But I suppose I’d better be careful about what I write about our intrepid Swedish sailor, in case Caroline Lucas grasses me up to the Head).


  22. Encouraging to see that now a climate scientist, Steve Forden, is calling out Harrabin for his misleading articles


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