My concern in this article is once again with regard to the worrying trends in reporting all things climate-related. Nothing that follows is new to Cliscep readers, having already appeared by way of comments on other articles or at Open Mic. In many ways it is simply a follow-up to “Losing the Plot”i. However, I thought it would be useful to draw together some threads, rather than leave them scattered about the website in an unconnected way. I mentioned in one comment that when giving evidence in Court, the oath taken by witnesses obliges them to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What follows are a couple of examples of Guardian and BBC stories which tell the truth, but which omit details that I think are interesting, salient, or vitally important, and which thereby, in my opinion, create a misleading impression.

Why is life on Earth still taking second place to fossil fuel companies?

This is the title of an articleii written by George Monbiot, and which appeared on the Guardian website on 19th August 2021. In the article Mr Monbiot expresses a number of opinions in terms which read as facts. I try hard to make it clear when something I write is opinion rather than fact, though I may not always succeed, so that is not really the essence of my issue with the article. The article also uses the tactic of embedded links in support of claims made, which creates the impression that something substantial backs up the claim. Yet frequently they are simply links to another Guardian story. I see that as being like a climate scientist who cites his own work time and time again, without citing the work of anyone else in support of his/her claims. That, however, is another minor quibble. Again, my problem is that the article makes statements which are, strictly, true, but which nevertheless omit qualifying details – we are given the truth, but not the whole truth, and the result is that a more strident picture is presented to readers than I think is justified by the facts. For instance, we are told:

Astonishingly, it is still government policy to “maximise economic recovery” of oil and gas from the UK’s continental shelf.

A link is offered up in support of this claim, and this time it is not to another Guardian article, but to the Oil & Gas Authority Strategy documentiii, an unimpeachable source, especially as it is dated 2021 and was “[p]resented to Parliament pursuant to Section 9G of the Petroleum Act 1998”.

It also says, just as George tells us, that a central obligation is that:

Relevant persons must, in the exercise of their relevant activities, take the steps necessary to secure that the maximum value of economically recoverable petroleum is recovered from the strata beneath relevant UK waters.

So, what’s my problem? It is that the central obligation doesn’t stop there. It goes on to say that in doing so, relevant persons must

take appropriate steps to assist the Secretary of State in meeting the net zero target, including by reducing as far as reasonable in the circumstances greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as flaring and venting and power generation, and supporting carbon capture and storage projects.

It is my contention that the additional words which form an integral part of the central obligation are directly relevant to the words which were quoted in the Guardian article, and that they massively qualify the words quoted. One can argue about the extent of the difference the qualifying words make, but that they do make a significant difference is, in my mind, unarguable. So why were they omitted from the Guardian article? By providing a quote from a paper with a link, it is clear that Mr Monbiot has read the document. My guess is that if they were included, and the whole truth was made known to Guardian readers, rather than merely a partial truth, then the article would have been much less punchy – more than that, the central tenet that

as our house burns, the government sends in the tanker trucks to spray petrol on the flames

is more than a little harder to sustain if the whole quote is before the readers of the article.

The article also tells us:

An analysis by conservation charity WWF suggests that, while the last UK budget allocated £145m for environmental measures, it dedicated £40bn to policies that will increase emissions.

Again a link is offered, but this time it’s to another Guardian articleiv. I searched in vain for a link in either article to a report or analysis by the WWF that would back up the claim. The other article, linked to in George’s piece, does, however, say this:

A spokesperson for the Treasury said the government rejected the WWF analysis. “These misleading claims fail to recognise the £12bn we already pledged to spend in support of our 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. The budget built on that with further funding allocations and ambitious plans on green finance, and the UK Infrastructure Bank, which will help finance green projects across the UK.”

One can argue about whether the Treasury’s claims are more accurate than those made by WWF. In the interests of balance, however, George might have mentioned them.

‘Why I am giving up my home to climate activists’

This was the title to an articlev written by the BBC’s Scotland Climate Change reporter, Harriet Bradshaw, and which appeared on the BBC’s website on 21st August 2021. It struck me as not being in any way “news”, but simply propaganda ahead of COP 26. However, that’s my personal opinion only, and others may well legitimately disagree. What troubled me about the article was that it opened by referring to pressure on accommodation in Glasgow for those attending COP 26, then said:

But climate activists are having to look to a network of city residents to help them out.

Tami Pein is charging just £5 a night for the use of a spare room in her flat in the south of Glasgow….Tami, who describes herself as a “passionate community organiser and climate activist”, says she feels like COP26 is the most important negotiation of her lifetime.

For her, it is important that people from around the world who are affected by climate change can afford to be represented in Glasgow. …

…Tami does not yet know who will be staying in her room but she will be using the Homestay Network, set up by the COP26 Coalition campaigners, which will allow her to chat with people who might need her spare room.

“I completely understand the concerns about welcoming in a stranger into your home but, for me, we have bigger fish to fry,” she says. “We’ve got climate change to tackle here.”

So far so good. But who is Tami Pein? So far as the BBC report is concerned, we’re simplytold that she is a city resident and that she “describes herself as a “passionate community organiser and climate activist”.” No further information is supplied. This, to my mind, is an example of the BBC telling us the truth, but not the whole truth. For the whole truth is that although Tami is indeed a Glasgow city resident and a passionate community organiser and climate activist, she is also more than that. It was the work of a few seconds on the internet to discover that Tami is a COP Events and Venues Officer who has worked for Stop Climate Chaos Scotlandvi for more than a year now:

Tami joined Stop Climate Chaos Scotland in April 2020 to work on coordinating events and managing the Climate Hub for the COP26. She has a degree in Environment and Business Sustainability from Leeds University. Since graduating she has worked as a climate change educator, chess and DJ teacher. Tami is an events enthusiast and has organised Leeds’ largest activist gathering, a 200 person food waste banquet and sustainable arts festival.

Does it matter? Perhaps not, but I think it does. The BBC article creates the impression that Tami is a resident of Glasgow who is sufficiently concerned about climate change to be an organiser and activist and who therefore is willing to let out a room to a complete stranger attending COP 26 out of the goodness of her heart for a mere £5 per night. However, the reality is that her job is co-ordinating events and managing the Climate Hub for COP 26. She is heavily invested (in more ways than one) in the success of COP 26. In order for readers to reach an informed view about this part of the story, I think they should have been told what Tami’s job is. I think it’s inconceivable that Harriet Bradshaw was unaware of this highly relevant background. So why didn’t she mention it?

The article then moves on to talk about another Glasgow city resident who is opening his home up to climate activists attending COP 26:

Martin Johnstone gave me a virtual tour around his third-floor tenement flat and the twin room that has been snapped up by two German activists – whose purse strings, like many younger people, are tighter than most. [Not so tight that they can’t afford to travel to Glasgow from Germany, however].

“It is vital that those who come from the poorest countries [Germany? Poor?] in the world and those who represent the youngest people on our planet have a voice,” he says.

“They couldn’t afford to be here unless people were actually willing to open their homes to them.”

“The cost of accommodation in the city for those two weeks of COP is astronomical if you are going to hotels or guest houses.,” he says.

And that is all we’re told about Martin. A few seconds on the internet, however, led me to another websitevii, where I found this:

A Church of Scotland minister has been appointed by Glasgow Churches Together – the ecumenical forum for churches in Glasgow – as their ambassador to the UN climate change conference CoP26, which comes to the city in November.

The Rev Dr Martin Johnstone will work with member churches, ecumenical organisations, civil society groups and the Scottish and UK governments to seek transformational outcomes from the high profile summit.

Dr Johnstone, who also served in a number of high-profile roles at the Church’s administrative offices in Edinburgh, said he was ‘humbled’ to take on the role.

He added: “Our churches, alongside many others, have a vital role to play in ensuring that those who will make planet-defining decisions in Glasgow this November know that they must be bold and courageous. As well as calling for change, as followers of Jesus we must demonstrate that change both in what we do in the months leading up to COP26 and in the decades following it.”

Happily, both websites include pictures of Martin, and I’m pretty confident that they are one and the same person. So Martin isn’t simply a concerned Glasgow resident – he too is heavily invested in COP 26. Funny Harriet didn’t mention it. Did it slip her mind?

Conclusion

Those who write about climate change in the Guardian and at the BBC website are well-informed individuals. They are pushing an agenda in which they obviously sincerely believe. They might even be right (though obviously I don’t think they are). However, they are very good at writing articles that reveal only a partial truth, and in so doing create an impression which an objective person might think is misleading. If their case is so strong, why do they omit relevant details that detract from it?

i https://cliscep.com/2021/07/08/losing-the-plot/

ii https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/19/life-earth-second-place-fossil-fuel-climate-breakdown

iii https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/media/7105/the-oga-strategy.pdf

iv https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/12/uk-spending-far-more-on-polluting-policies-than-green-ones-wwf

v https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-58279470

vi https://www.stopclimatechaos.scot/our-team/

vii https://www.lifeandwork.org/news/news/post/1468-church-of-scotland-minister-appointed-to-top-cop26-role

25 Comments

  1. Well said, Mark. And may I add that just about every mainstream report on forest fires employs the same economy. For example, the Algerian soldiers killed in this year’s fires can more easily be portrayed as climate change martyrs when one omits to report upon the suspicion that the Algerian army is the biggest culprit the country has for starting forest fires.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good article . I applaud your patience in unravelling this duplicity. It takes such a lot of time when you could be doing something interesting, though. But in terms of doing something useful, I hope it bears fruit

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  3. MIAB, thank you. It seemed like a good use of a wet and miserable day, when sadly I didn’t have anything much more interesting to do! I don’t suppose it will serve much purpose in the short term, but in the long run, if and when there is an outcry against “net zero”, the damage to our way of life, and the complicity of the media, then at least we’ve recorded what we’ve noticed and can say “we told you so”.

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  4. Does it matter? I am divided upon this. In the case of the supposed National provider of news and opinion – the BBC I would be in favour of more critical evaluation and commentary about news: news of all types, not just about climate change. But the BBC is a reporter of the news and it cannot be denied that the majority of the news today supports action upon climate change and comes from sources that support such beliefs and/or favour actions that might prevent it. News organisations like the BBC report the news that they judge their audience wants to hear and see. Like many other organisations we pay for (not least our governments, big and small) they have biases.

    As for the Guardian, you don’t have to read it. As a newspaper it is failing. I am still a subscriber because it provides some things that I still value. Presumably it provides a service in news gathering that its patrons value. In my case it used to provide a window upon what the climate-obsessed were doing and thinking. I used to buy my Guardian at the UEA’s newsagent, but not infrequently they had sold out (Telegraphs were always available). The Guardian was providing a service that students valued.

    Mark, it’s almost as if you are torturing yourself reading what the Guardian provides, searching for inaccuracies or, in this case, deliberately hiding truths that if included might shed a different light on the story. In one of the cases you detail you argue that the absence of information that individuals providing shelter during the forthcoming COPathon should have been identified as officials of COP and is somehow nefarious. But a different Guardian editor might have insisted on this missing information being present in the story and even highlighted to tell a story that everyone in Glasgow related to the conference is making sacrifices to make it a success. But then you might object to that spin.

    I find it’s so difficult to tell a political story without bias or spin and If you think you might find it within a Guardian column you are delusional. But they make me think and commonly there are scattered threads of truth.

    [ Doubt if I’ll accrue many likes for this]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alan

    Of course your comment should be liked, and I am doing so. I agree with what you write, in part, but only in part.

    Like you, I read the Guardian in order to see what the climate-obsessed are thinking. In my article, I thought about drawing a distinction between the Guardian and the BBC, since the BBC is funded by most of us without much choice, and in return is supposed to be, and is regarded by many (despite the abundant evidence to the contrary) as utterly reliable when it comes to objective reporting of news. The Guardian, by contrast, is free to have an agenda (and boy does it make the most of that freedom).

    However, there are still problems. The Guardian and the BBC are two peas in a pod. They often have similar stories (with similar biases) appearing at the same time. Many BBC journalists have strong links to the Guardian. And despite its apparent commercial failure the Guardian does remain very influential, with friends in high places. As you point out, it also a favoured newspaper of students (as it was when I was a student – I was one such student who read it avidly). So, it plays a highly relevant part in the ongoing brainwashing of our youth.

    The COP story was in the BBC, not the Guardian, by the way. That was why I was particularly upset by it. That and the fact that the BBC has appointed a Scotland Climate Change reporter, who wrote it. What additional climate-related news (strictu sensu) is there in Scotland that is in addition to such news in the UK? None, I suspect. Hence she writes PR puff pieces like the one about COP26, is my guess. As you can tell, I’m not happy.

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  6. Mark. Apologies for the error regarding the Glasgow lodging story. Please substitute BBC Editor for the Guardian Editor.

    However, I am completely unrepentant regarding the BBC and, as previously, regard the additional jeopardy with which you and other critics hold the BBC to be spurious. I continue to regard this as a monstrous lie instigated and perpetuated by successive British Governments. Yes an arm of the BBC does collect the licence fees (and goes after those using their TVs without a licence), but first) the Government insists the BBC do this, 2) the funds do not finance BBC activities directly but go into general Government coffers, 3) BBC activities cost more than the licence fee generates, and 4) the BBC is funded directly by the Government. Other countries either have no advertisement-free BBC equivalent (USA) or also fund their organisation directly without the jiggery-pokery that our Government uses. I believe the extra responsibility that people like yourself hold the BBC to extra account to be mistaken.

    The Canadian CBC is close to the BBC but is known to be funded by the Government or, in the case of the TV channel, partly by advertisements. If you wish to experience bias, try the CBC of the 1970s-1980s. Quebec and Ontario politics, culture, in fact everything dominated leaving little space for Maritime or Western voices. Once a dangerous snow storm affected Ontario but from the CBC radio coverage, even in far away Alberta, you would have surmised it affected the whole of Canada. We had nice sunny weather.

    I still hold the BBC in high regard (especially because it’s news output on climate change constitutes such a small part of it’s total output and because I recognise this caters for a receptive audience) because of 17 years away from it during my time in North America. I think that if you no longer have access to it, you miss it and come to value it that much more.

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  7. Hi Alan

    “News organisations like the BBC report the news that they judge their audience wants to hear and see. Like many other organisations we pay for (not least our governments, big and small) they have biases.”

    The objection to the BBC’s situation is that Telly-Tax payers are forced to pay their propagandists’ wages, in order to be permitted to view alternative broadcast sources.

    Imagine being forced to take out a subscription to the Torygraph in order to be permitted to read the Grauniad!

    Imagine Monbiot’s reaction?

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  8. I must admit that my views upon climate change have changed or moderated over the past months. I have never denied the existence of climate change nor that human activities probably contribute in some way. After all I have seen carbon dioxide act as a greenhouse gas in a laboratory experiment. What I have always denied, as a geologist with knowledge of past atmospheric conditions, is the ability of human atmospheric alterations to cause serious harm. Carbon dioxide at levels hugely greater than those dreamed of in an activist’s worst nightmare occurred during Earth’s past, even during an ice-age if memory doesn’t fail me. The worst catastrophic nightmares envisaged by scary climate stories are clearly so very wrong. But with news story after news story, organisation after organisation, academy after academy, “expert” after “expert” (some with whom I have discussed climate and others whom I have taught alongside and respect) all pushing the hazardous climate change story, it is increasingly difficult to argue that they are all wrong and that I and a few others here are possessors of climate truth. I recognise that this is largely an effect of the heightened and biased MSM coverage prior to an international meeting, where it is argued that “all hangs in the balance”, but this still doesn’t mitigate my insecurity. Perhaps I’m just naturally insecure in areas that I just dabble and I should just stick to areas where I am (or was) an expert, but then very few would listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Joe P, please read the second paragraph of my 11.08 am post where I explain that it is not an hypothecated tax and the BBC resembles many other national broadcasters in being funded by general funds. Our governments insist upon state sponsorship being hidden under the guise of a licence fee. I don’t recall ever having to pay to watch other broadcasters before the likes of Sky and Netflix. Ostensibly the tax is the right to watch television – to benefit from a state owned and administered resource – part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Also I can watch the BBC app whenever and wherever I want, and listen to a huge variety of radio programmes all without paying a dime,

    Would you argue that the BBC, by pushing the climate change message is not catering for the bias and views of an overwhelming majority of its audience?

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  10. Alan:

    Would you argue that the BBC, by pushing the climate change message is not catering for the bias and views of an overwhelming majority of its audience?

    I’d argue it’s not:

    You recently took part in our Green Britain survey. More than 4,000 votes were cast and the results are now in.

    A staggering 83% of respondents say they wouldn’t be happy to invest £10,000 into greener energy over the next 20 years, in order to give their grandchildren a better chance at climate survival.

    It’s worth noting that some voters may not be able to afford to invest such a hefty sum.

    When it came to personal choices, 73% of voters said they won’t buy an electric car instead of a petrol or diesel car, even after considering on average that they sell at the same price. 16% said they would purchase an electric car, while 2% of those who voted already own one.

    A whopping 72% refused to cute down on their meat consumption per meat – while 20% of respondents said they will down by at least 25%. 7% of those who voted already have meat-free diets. Here, scientists say cutting out meat won’t solve climate change.

    When it came to clothing, 69% of Express.co.uk readers said they do not purchase anyt fast fashion – while a fair 13% said they will reduce the amount they buy.

    Thanks to Paul Homewood for relaying the latest from the Daily Express. That’s not the BBC but I just read it and I doubt the percentages for all license-fee payers would be all that different.

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  11. Richard. I think there is a vast difference between the percentage of people who might worry about climate change in the abstract and the percentage of those who would offer more than just token support for climate action to the extent of changing their lifestyle in the slightest. That was my experience last year when I asked 20 households who lived along my street. You offered me data about the relatively few who might make sacrifices, my statement referred to those who might be receptive to an alarmist message from the BBC, but only offer verbal support.

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  12. Alan, I feel bad about joining in, as I suspect you’re in a minority of one, and I applaud your willingness to stick your head above the parapet and argue your case, even though I disagree with you (as you well know from many discussions between us over the years). You have, I think, along the way raised a number of issues:

    1. I don’t think you’re right about the way in which the BBC is funded. According to the BBC itself:

    “The BBC is primarily funded by the licence fee, supplemented by income from our commercial subsidiaries”

    https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/governance/licencefee

    “The BBC is established under a royal charter[9] and operates under its agreement with the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up. The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, and is used to fund the BBC’s radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has also funded the BBC World Service (launched in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service), which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic and Persian.

    Around a quarter of BBC’s revenue comes from its commercial subsidiary BBC Studios (formerly BBC Worldwide), which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and also distributes the BBC’s international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, and from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. ”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC

    “The licence fee as a method of funding the BBC dates back to 1923, when it was charged on the owners of radio sets. The standard TV licence now costs £154.50 a year and pays for the BBC’s TV, radio and online operations. Some of it helps fund the Welsh channel S4C, and in recent years the Conservatives have also loaded the costs of both funding the World Service (previously subsidised by the Foreign Office) and providing over-75s with free licences (previously paid by the Department for Work and Pensions) on to the corporation.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/dec/16/qa-how-the-bbc-is-funded-by-tv-licences

    2. I don’t think the BBC’s focus on climate change is a small part of its total output, at least not inasmuch as the BBC is absolutely obsessed with the subject and shoehorns it into programmes of an amazing variety on both radio and TV, where one might have though it was utterly irrelevant. It almost seems to have reached the point whereby in order to make a programme and see it on the BBC a genuflection in the direction of climate change will be needed. BBC TV is so awful these days that I’ve almost stopped watching. However, something I did watch earlier in the year was a re-run of Terry Abraham’s films about Blencathra and Scafell Pike, plus his new film about Helvellyn. My personal opinion was that the first two were so much better than the most recent one on Helvellyn, because the latter spent a lot of time addressing issues close to the BBC’s heart that really were utterly irrelevant to what was supposed to be a film celebration of the wonders of Helvellyn. Needless to say climate change was part of the agenda gratuitously shoe-horned into it.

    3. Like Richard, I’m not convinced that the BBC’s constant references to climate change are playing to a receptive audience. I suspect (though I don’t know) that most people are thoroughly bored by it, as they probably are by the sundry other issues that the BBC pushes at us. However, the BBC continues to be watched (and, almost incredibly, trusted) by millions, so its ability to brainwash with constant and unremitting propaganda is a concern.

    4. I get that coming home to the UK from Canada and the USA might make you more appreciative of the qualities of the BBC, but to say that it’s not as bad as some channels in other countries is really damning with faint praise. I’ve been to Canada and am interested enough to have just read a history of Canada. I get that the Quebec/Ontario predominance might well be annoying to those from the eastern maritime provinces, BC, the far north etc, but is it really so different to what northerners in the UK feel to be the London-based bias of the BBC?

    5. As I hope I showed in this article, the BBC is very good at pushing an agenda, and manipulating its audience by not telling them all the facts. The story about people letting out bedrooms cheap to “poor” attendees at COP 26 isn’t news, its propaganda, especially when we are fed a narrative that suggests that they’re just ordinary Glaswegians who are concerned about the planet. No they’re not – they’re activists heavily invested in COP26, and who are no doubt well-known to the BBC Climate Change reporter. The fact is that although the story didn’t tell any lies, and is well and carefully written so that any complaint about it would probably fail, it is nevertheless misleading, because of what it omitted.

    An example of misleading by omission is with regard to the recent Tesla battery fire in South Australia:

    “Fire breaks out in Tesla Megapack unit in Australia during testing”

    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/fire-breaks-out-tesla-australia-mega-battery-during-testing-2021-07-30/

    “A fire broke out in a Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Megapack battery unit in Australia on Friday during testing of one of the world’s biggest energy storage projects, run by France’s Neoen SA (NEOEN.PA), fire authorities said.

    The fire erupted during an initial trial of the high-profile energy project known as the Victorian Big Battery near Melbourne on Friday morning local time, authorities said, adding that nobody was injured and the facility was evacuated.

    “Neoen and Tesla are working closely with emergency services on site to manage the situation,” Neoen Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said in a statement.

    The site had been disconnected from the grid and “there will be no impact to the electricity supply”, added de Sambucy.

    The statement did not give the cause of the fire.”

    The story can readily be found on many news websites on the internet, but funnily enough not at the BBC. An online search for the words Tesla battery Australia fire and BBC will result in nothing relating to the fire. But it will bring up TWO separate articles on the BBC website bigging-up Tesla batteries in connection with Australian power:

    “Tesla mega-battery in Australia activated”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-42190358

    “Tesla finishes installing mega-battery in Australia”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42090991

    I find it truly dreadful that the BBC thinks the story of the battery is of sufficient interest that it reported on it twice in 2017, but it doesn’t think the story of the fire is worth reporting. Even the Guardian reported it:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/02/tesla-big-battery-fire-in-victoria-burns-into-day-three

    My contempt for the BBC grows by the day.

    Still, the joy of Cliscep is that we can disagree with each other on this subject so profoundly, and not fall out, and not be rude to each other about it. And remain friends, which is very important.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Also on this thread, Alan has expressed concerns regarding his insecurity as a climate sceptic, when it comes to the science, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming scientific consensus.

    My response is to say that doubts and introspection should be normal and are the marks of someone prepared to listen to reason. Indeed, they should also be the marks of a good scientist. I show the doubts from time to time. I’m not a scientist, and I share your acknowledgement that humankind is contributing to a changing climate. I have my doubts that it’s anything like as bad as the most alarmist statements would have us believe, and I also suspect that much of humankind’s influence is more by way of our activities in destroying forests, growing mega-cities etc than it is by releasing greenhouse gases. Still, I prefer to spend my time criticising what seem to me to be obviously stupid and naive policy choices, rather than criticising science which I am not qualified to critique.

    But I would say this about the experts. First of all, experts are often wrong, even scientific experts. Secondly, if they are so confident, why the need to damn sceptics as deniers? Why are they so willing to accept unsatisfactory locations, such as airports, as perfectly satisfactory locations for new record temperatures? Why are they so keen to announce new record temperatures on the basis that the old records (which were higher) can’t be trusted? Why the almost gleeful delight whenever there is a new record or disaster which can be attributed to climate change (whether accurately so or not)? Why the reluctance to accept that wildfires might be caused or worsened by anything other than climate change? Why the constant and unremitting propaganda? And so on. That smacks to me of insecurity on the part of the alarmists. So maybe, deep down, they have their doubts too.

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  14. “I think there is a vast difference between the percentage of people who might worry about climate change in the abstract and the percentage of those who would offer more than just token support for climate action…”

    Alan, the former are the blue trends, the latter are the orange trends. The blue trends are steeper for questions more emotive / personal re alignment to climate catastrophe. The orange trends drop in gradient and height on Y-axis as the constraint rises in strength, i.e. as more and more is asked of people about CC relative to other issues. Much weaker than the least gradient blue trend, or much weaker than the highest orange trend, and the linear series dissolve. But anyhow neither is in a majority in irreligious countries like the UK.

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  15. Mark, from Wikipedia
    “ Although the money is raised for its own use and collected by the BBC itself, the BBC does not directly use the collected fees. The money received is first paid into the government’s Consolidated Fund. It is subsequently included in the ‘vote’ for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in that year’s Appropriation Act, and passed back to the BBC for the running of the BBC’s own services (free from commercial advertisements). “.
    This has always meant that the BBC is always under the Governmental heel. Originally it wasn’t so and it was not the BBC that collected the fee. By insisting upon this, any animosity about having to pay a licence fee is directed against the BBC and not the Government of the day.

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  16. Here goes the Guardian being economical with the truth again:

    “How can Britain commit to net zero and still drill for millions more barrels of oil?
    Greg Muttitt
    Hypocrisy rules as we prepare to host Cop26 and Boris Johnson prepares to approve a new oilfield off Shetland”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/23/britain-commit-net-zero-drill-oil-cop26-boris-johnson-shetland

    “The UK was the first country to adopt a net zero emissions commitment. But buried in the small print of Britain’s statute books is a clause that explains the proposed Cambo development and explodes our climate credentials: “maximising economic recovery” – a legal obligation for the UK government to maximise the extraction of its offshore oil and gas. As we allegedly lead the charge towards a cleaner, greener future, UK policy remains legally bound to drill every last economically viable drop from the North Sea.”

    This time the link is to s41 of the Infrastructure Act 2015. Again, however, it makes no reference to the obligation to “take appropriate steps to assist the Secretary of State in meeting the net zero target, including by reducing as far as reasonable in the circumstances greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as flaring and venting and power generation, and supporting carbon capture and storage projects.”

    How hard can it be to tell the whole story?

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  17. Alan

    Apologies for being late to respond to your comment yesterday evening. I concede the point! I’m not sure that it changes anything regarding the BBC’s behaviour, however.

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  18. Given the sensitive nature of the story, and the fact that it’s on Russia Today’s website, I hesitated before posting this story and link, but on balance I think it’s worth putting here, as it is another example of the BBC’s highly selective reporting. Of course, it can be defended on the basis that it is important to avoid inflaming Islamophobia and there is an argument that it would be irresponsible to report in a way that risks doing that. It’s an argument, and not a bad one. But when reads the whole RT story, one might be left with doubts:

    “BBC accused of ‘omitting facts’ about Muslim culprit seen in video of shocking anti-Semitic attack in London”

    https://www.rt.com/uk/532821-bbc-muslim-attack-jewish-london/

    “The BBC has once-again drawn the ire of the British public after it reported a shocking assault that left a man in “Orthodox Jewish dress” unconscious, but failed to describe his attacker’s Islamic clothing.

    However, the BBC’s reporting of the anti-Semitic assault hasn’t been well received, as the national broadcaster strangely elected to describe the Jewish attire of the victim but not the Muslim dress of the perpetrator.

    The BBC simply labelled the attacker, who wore a white kaftan under his jacket, a kufi, and sported a sizeable beard, as “another man” while they described the victim as “a man in Orthodox Jewish dress.” The attacker’s attire can be seen more clearly in other images shared online.

    Over the weekend, reports emerged of a horrific and unprovoked attack on a 64-year-old Jewish man as he walked down a street in Stamford Hill, London, last Wednesday. Videos show the moment he was knocked unconscious by his attacker. He was also left with a broken ankle.”

    I imagine this is the BBC report that RT complains of:

    “Stamford Hill attack: Man punched in alleged anti-Semitic incident”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-58282075

    “Police are investigating an alleged racist attack after a Jewish man was assaulted in an apparent unprovoked attack, in north London.

    The 64-year-old victim was attacked on Stamford Hill at about 20.30 BST on Wednesday, police said.

    Shomrim, a local neighbourhood watch, said the man was knocked unconscious and left with a broken ankle.

    Footage shared by the group on social media shows a man in Orthodox Jewish dress being punched by another man.

    The Met Police said: “Officers have spoken with the 64 year-old victim and inquiries remain ongoing.”

    No arrests have been made.”

    This is difficult territory, but while a defence of the BBC’s actions can be made along the lines I suggest above, there is a counter-argument to the effect that by reporting it in the way they did, the BBC leave open the interpretation (which it seems would be entirely inaccurate) that it was an attack by right-wing racist thugs. Admittedly they don’t say that, but they do it was an alleged racist attack, not an an alleged anti-Semitic attack, nor do they say it appears to be a religiously-motivated attack.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this, save to say that I’m not the only one who’s noticed that the BBC can often be sparing with what it reports and chooses not to report, that there is a perception that such partial reporting can be misleading, and it isn’t just on the subject of climate change.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mark. I do not understand. You wrote earlier “…the BBC is funded by most of us without much choice, and in return is supposed to be, and is regarded by many …. as utterly reliable when it comes to objective reporting of news.”. And it is this that you use to hold the BBC to a higher account.
    I gave you information implying the licence fee is not a hypothecated tax and that funding of the BBC is at the discretion, and potentially under the control, of the government. In recent years the BBC has had to jump hoops in order to maintain itself, and sometimes has lost – as in the matter of who funds the licence fee for the over 75s.
    But now you argue that this funding issue is not important. So why hold the BBC to a higher standard than other broadcasters. Why not go after Channel 4? IMHO it can be much worse than the BBC on climate matters, in particular because it tends to use more time on a given item.
    I have less information on the news programs of ITV and Channel 5 because I rarely watch them. I doubt that they are much different because if they were, then even the slightest hint of climate apostolatry would bring down the wrath of the Guardian.

    Whenever I consider matters climatique and whether things should change regarding coverage of scepticism, I remind myself of who voted in the British Parliament for and against the Climate Act. Not in my lifetime I suspect.

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  20. Alan

    Thank you for your response (and indeed dfhunter, too). The main reason I struggle with the nature of the BBC’s reporting isn’t because of any objection I have to paying the licence fee (at a little over £3 per week it’s good value, IMO, though I’m not sure it’s right to force people to pay it if they only wish to watch ITV), but because of the extensive coverage enjoyed by the BBC and the position of trust it enjoys in British society and, to an extent, around the world.

    According to this:

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/290866/bbc-news-viewers-reached-quarterly-uk/

    the number of BBC viewers is in significant decline – between 2012 and 2019 viewing figures declined from 25m to 18m, but that’s still a significant number, as is the larger number for people who go to the BBC for news:

    “According to a 2019 survey, a quarter of adults in England use the BBC News channel for news. However, it’s not the most commonly used news source. BBC One was used by 58 percent of respondents”. Channel 4 doesn’t rate in the top 3 (in fact isn’t even mentioned in that report, other than to say that Channel 4 has the highest positivity rating).

    Worldwide the BBC has huge reach (though it doesn’t seem to be consistent in its claims in this regard):

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2019/bbc-international-audience-record-high

    “BBC international audience soars to record high of 426m”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/aboutbbcnews/hi/this_is_bbc_news/default.stm

    “BBC News is also a global news provider reaching more than 260 million viewers through the international TV news channel BBC World and more than 150 million listeners via BBC World Service.”

    Whatever the viewing (and listening, and website watching) figure are, there is no doubt that:

    1. BBC has a huge reach, nationally and internationally;
    2. Even today, it is largely trusted to report in an objective and accurate manner; and
    3. Its Charter obliges it to report in an objective and accurate manner.

    That’s why my main ire is aimed at the BBC – in my opinion it abuses its position of dominance and trust by regularly pushing various agendas and often reporting in a misleading or selective way. I regard that as unacceptable.

    However, you are absolutely right to ask why I don’t have a similar problem with Channel 4. I should bang on about them more, and I hereby resolve to spend more time checking out Channel 4’s website. They are, after all, funded at least in part from the “BBC’s” licence fee.

    As for the UK Parliament voting for the Climate Change Act (I’m not sure where we’re going with this), it was a Parliament (or at least a House of Commons – I have very strong views on an unelected House of Lords) that was indeed elected by the British public, but what choice did the British public have? What choice do they continue to have, with all of the mainstream parties and most of the fringe ones supporting “net zero”? The fact that “net zero”-supporting politicians get elected, doesn’t mean that the British public supports the policy. It simply means that they are given no choice or say in the matter. The politicians and the pressure groups know this – that’s why there’s an attempt to “greenwash” the whole process with carefully orchestrated and manipulated “Citizens’ Assemblies” and the like.

    Finally, yes a Muslim man can be a right-wing racist thug, but not of the sort that the BBC probably wants you to think. He’s not a skin-head in bother-boots, he’s not a white supremacist; he’s probably a religious extremist. Both types present very significant problems to British society, but they are different (though strangely related) issues. Accuracy of reporting in this very sensitive area is important, IMO. Again, the BBC fails the test.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Regarding the power of the BBC’s position, the Guardian rather give the game away when reporting the news that Fran Unsworth is stepping down:

    “Unsworth departure opens up battle over future of BBC News
    Exit likely to set off competitive and politicised recruitment process to find replacement at corporation”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/sep/07/fran-unsworth-bbc-director-of-news-to-leave-corporation

    “Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, has announced she will leave the corporation early next year, creating a vacancy for one of the most powerful jobs in British media.

    Her departure, first reported by the Guardian, is likely to set off a competitive and politicised recruitment process to find her replacement, at a time when government relations with the BBC are at a low and ministers are negotiating over the future of the licence fee.

    Leading internal candidates for the top job, which gives unrivalled ability to shape the national news agenda….”

    So there we have it – “unrivalled ability to shape the national news agenda”.

    Listening to the report this evening on the 6pn news on BBC Radio 4 about the first day of the public inquiry into the proposed Cumbrian coal mine, I felt they were taking full advantage of the opportunity they have to do just that.

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