Peter Sissons has just made himself my favourite Beeboid by venting his frustration at several aspects of the BBC. He is retiring shortly, and has given an interview to the 'Sunday Mail'.
Particularly interesting are his comments about the BBC's treatment of the issue of Anthropocentic Global Warming (AGW). That's the idea that it's us wot did it.
Like the majority of the UK public (according to opinion polls), I'm not convinced by AGW. I hear a thousand birds twittering that it is true (very many of them on the BBC), but in my heart of hearts I remain unpersuaded. I hear a few wise owls on the Internet & 'mavericks' like Christopher Booker and Richard A. North in the 'Telegraph' saying that I'm right to be unconvinced & that global warming is very largely the result of natural causes. I suspect Booker and co. to be closer to the truth, but I don't know. Who am I to believe? I need help.
I want and need a debate, an ongoing debate. The BBC, our state broadcaster, would be the ideal platform to stage this debate, with proponents from all sides speaking their minds and providing their proofs for us to hear and judge. The BBC would inform us, without taking sides.
That is how things should be. It's not how it is.
Here is the relevant excerpt from the 'Mail':
"In a wide-ranging attack, he also claims it is now 'effectively BBC policy' to stifle critics of the consensys view on global warming. He says: 'I believe I am one of a tiny number of BBC interviewers who have so much as raised the possibility that there is another side to the debate on climate change.
'The Corportation's most famous interrogators invariably begin by accepting that "the science is settled", when there are countless reputable scientists and climatologists producing work that says it isn't.
'But it is effectively BBC policy...that those views should not be heard.'"
As an example of the BBC's treatment of AGW scepticism consider the BBC Website's 'Climate Change' page (on 'Weather Home')'. This site, if you look through it, is almost completely in hoc to Man-Made Global Warming theory. The tiny exception can be found below.
If you go to that page you will need to click on 'Evidence', then look to the left-hand list (in small print) and click on 'Sceptics'. Here you will find a short article & a small list of links, introduced with this:
"If you would like to find out more about the arguments presented by the Climate Sceptics, the following links provide access to information on the wide and diverse opinions surrounding the subject."
"At last, other voices!", you might think. Yes, the BBC may not interview global warming sceptics or ask questions in interviews from a sceptical position (even if only as devil's advocate), but surely here is proof (if very small proof) that the BBC is not wholly opposed to debate over climate change.
Well, there are five links:
- BBC News
- Institute for Climate Impact Research
- The Scientific Alliance
- Science and Environmental Policy Project
- George C. Marshall Institute.
All sceptical voices?
Well, following the BBC's chosen order, click on 'BBC News' and it carries you to an article by BBC environment correspondent, Richard Black. Not only is he not a sceptic, his whole article is concerned with rubbishing sceptical claims.
Not a good start. Worse is to come.
Click on 'Institute for Climate Impact Research' and you are taken to the home page of Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. It will take you only a few seconds to realise that this is not a sceptical site either. In fact, he was one of the lead authors of the famous IPCC report, and not only a leading advocate for AGW, but one of its most extreme.
Next click on the 'The Scientific Alliance' and you will find, yes, at last, a truly sceptical site. Feast on it, for elsewhere on the BBC you will (with one more exception) find only famine. Its drawback is its dry style.
Click on the 'Science and Environmental Policy Project' and you will come to a page about Professor Reid Bryson. You will then wonder what to do next. Keep on clicking and you will not get much further. You will then give up. What an odd link. Why did the BBC choose it?
Checking Wikipedia, you will find that Prof Bryson was a sceptic, believing global warming to be part of natural global cycles. (The same link is given by 'Wikipedia', so you won't get much further there, nor from its other link - which doesn't work!). Maybe you will need to buy his books!
Finally comes the George C. Marshall Institute. This is the other sceptical site, though it is not easy to negotiate and its articles (such as I can find) are tough and pretty unrewarding.
So, after guiding its readers to two anti-sceptic, highly readable sites, the BBC then moves them on to three highly off-putting sceptical sites. I doubt many explorers will find gold there. Surely they could have pointed their readers to better sceptical websites. There must be many out there.
So buried away in a corner of the BBC's Climate Change site, is a short section on Climate Change sceptics. This provides good links to pro-AGW sites and poor ones to anti-AGW sites. From this I can only conclude that the BBC is trying to bury Climate Change scepticism.
Peter Sissons is right.