Next January will see the 10th anniversary of one of the most curious episodes in the history of the BBC. At a “secret seminar”, many of its most senior executives met with a roomful of invited outsiders to agree on a new policy that was in flagrant breach of its Charter. They agreed that, when it came to climate change, the BBC’s coverage should now be quite deliberately one-sided, in direct contravention of its statutory obligation that “controversial subjects” must be “treated with due accuracy and impartiality”. Anything that contradicted the party line, from climate science to wind farms, could be ignored.
The BBC Trust later reported that the seminar had taken this momentous decision on the advice of “the best scientific experts” present. Only years later, after the BBC had spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to suppress the identities of its “scientific experts”, did it emerge that they had been nothing of the kind. The room had been full of rabid climate activists, from pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Stop Climate Chaos.
In 2011, I wrote a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation charting in detail how this had led to hundreds of programmes that were blatantly biased.
Last week, as the wave of propaganda mounts in advance of that bid to get a new global climate treaty agreed next December, the BBC was at it again, in a 75-minute documentary called Climate Change By Numbers. Using a well-tried formula, the programme purported to be taking a fresh, objective look at the issue, this time employing three mathematicians to subject the basic science on global warming to rigorous mathematical analysis.
As usual, supported by an array of gimmicky graphics, irrelevant anecdotes and film clips from all over the world, what these presenters omitted to say was even more important than what they did. We began with a young lady mathematician explaining how we know that, since 1880, the world has unmistakably warmed. Although she cleverly skated round the increasingly controversial methods by which computers have been used to “adjust”, “infill” or “homogenise” temperature data, few people would disagree with her conclusion that the world has indeed warmed, by around 0.85 degrees. What she left out was that there has been nothing unprecedented about our recent warming. As the world has generally warmed since emerging from the Little Ice Age 200 years ago, two earlier warming phases from natural causes, between 1860 and 1880 and from 1910 to 1940, were just as great as that of the last 30 years ‚Äì before CO2 levels rose as they have done recently.
But the computer models relied on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been programmed to predict that, as CO2 rises, so global temperatures must follow. So the second segment showed us a professor using his passion for Spurs football team to assure us that those computer models are reliable. What he omitted to explain was that, in the past 17 years, the IPCC’s computer model predictions have turned out to be comprehensively wrong.
In the final segment, another professor used a long sequence about Formula One motor-racing to tell us that pouring increasing amounts of man-made CO2 into the atmosphere has already led us to ever more “extreme weather events”, floods, storms, droughts, hurricanes etc. In years to come, unless we totally change our lifestyle, these will only get even worse and more dangerous. What he failed to tell us was that, as even the IPCC concedes, such events have not become more frequent or intense at all. There have been no more floods, droughts and hurricanes than there were before the global warming scare was invented.
It was telling last week that, in answer to criticism of another even more ludicrously biased programme on another of its favourite subjects, the EU, a BBC spokesman should have insisted “impartiality is paramount for the BBC”. The fact is that they know they have a legal obligation to be impartial. They know that they are breaking the law. But they also know they can get away with it, because no one in authority will ever call them to account for doing so.