Green Ink : BBC Reporting Fails Climate Science

We all know the feeling. We’re listening to the radio or reading a newspaper, and suddenly we are overcome by heated righteous ire. An edited version of our thoughts could be something along the lines of : “They can’t possibly say that and get away with it! This is just plain wrong! That’s misleading!”

One CEL member has just made a sizzling complaint to the BBC, and it would be good to hear from anyone who felt similarly minded to voice concern about doubts on Climate Change Science expressed by public media broadcasters. If you forward us your letters, we would like your permission to post them here.

Dear CEL,

I just wrote this to the BBC. Thanks to Mike for the email address to write to.

Anyone else heard this new report mentioned anywhere?


From: Barbara
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 6:03 PM
Subject: Climate Change report from Royal Society and American Academy of Sciences

Dear BBC

On the Today programme this morning I heard a brief snippet by Roger Harrabin on the newly-published summary of what is known about climate change from two prestigious organisations: The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences.

Roger Harrabin ended his report by saying that not everyone would believe what these two bodies were saying. His last sentence undermined the rest of his brief item which explained that the Climate Change report was intended to make clear what is well-understood and what is still being investigated. This is not a matter for belief. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, not to their own science. I quote the conclusion to the report below:

‘This document explains that there are well-understood physical mechanisms by which changes in the amounts of greenhouse gases cause climate changes. It discusses the evidence that the concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere have increased and are still increasing rapidly, that climate change is occurring, and that most of the recent change is almost certainly due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Further climate change is inevitable; if emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated, future changes will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far. There remains a range of estimates of the magnitude and regional expression of future change, but increases in the extremes of climate that can adversely affect natural ecosystems and human activities and infrastructure are expected. ‘’

Of even more concern to me is that there is nothing currently on the BBC News website on this report. There was nothing in the Radio 4 World at One. Why not? Why does the BBC not consider it important to report on what two extremely prestigious bodies are saying about our changing climate? Have you already forgotten the ‘extremes of climate that can adversely affect natural ecosystems and human activities and infrastructure’ recently experienced in the UK. And please do not reply that we cannot attribute one particular event to climate change. Neither can we attribute lung cancer to one particular cigarette we smoked, but we do know that smoking is a major contributory cause of the illness.





Author: | Date: 28 February, 2014 | Category: Climate Change News | Comments: 2

Comments on "Green Ink : BBC Reporting Fails Climate Science"

Gwen Prince:

March 10, 2014

I also was incensed by Roger Harrabin's final comment which undermined the whole report. I had heard the report broadcast on each bulletin of the BBC World Service News in a fair and neutral way as an item of world news of interest to all. The next morning I switched on Radio 4 at 7am expecting to hear the same coverage. There was nothing! Then at 8am news of the report was followed by Roger Harrabin's dismissive comment. Why the difference in the angle of reporting this news? One can only conclude that there is a deliberate policy on Radio 4 to undermine climate change reporting. Why?


March 1, 2014

I watched the webcast of the launch of the report on Thursday. This includes a Q & A Session. The Royal Society website indicates that the recording will be available there from Monday 3 March. It is worth encouraging people to watch. A quick read of the report indicates that they have done quite a good job of achieving their objective of explaining things in ordinary language. They stick to the science and quite correctly make it clear that turning science into policy needs to involve a wider constituency than just the scientific community. So the onus is now on us to make the report as widely known as we can and challenge policy makers to take it on board. The report is broadly WG1 stuff in IPCC terms - the academies were challenged from the floor to do something similar in relation to WGs2 & 3 so it will be interesting to see if they rise to the challenge.

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