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BBC Editor Wants To “Help People To Take Collective Action On Climate Change”

April 13, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


h/t Stewgreen




The BBC Academy, which according to Wikipedia is an educational arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation which trains current and prospective broadcasting employees in the skills of the Broadcasting industry, in addition to training the corporation’s own staff and prospects, has this post up:


For this year’s #EditorsLab Final at the Global Editors Network conference in Barcelona, the teams were set the challenge of coming up with new ways to report on the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Our BBC team was made up of a journalist (me), designer Tom Nurse and developer Sam French. We were asked to build a prototype to engage audiences and innovate coverage on the issues.

The hackathon officially began on Wednesday morning. On the fourth floor of the conference centre, away from all distractions, we kicked around ideas – most of which were rejected as being too complex to achieve in two days, or because we couldn’t find sufficient data to back them up.

We wanted to look at goal number 13, which is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The idea we settled on was to look at using the News website’s real-time analytics data to show readers the potential impact of collective action.

The UK government wants to reduce C02 emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Consumers will have to make some radical changes to their behaviour if we are to reach that goal.

The News website has a contract with a company called Chartbeat which provides data on how many people are reading the site at any one time, and how they behave on pages and indexes – showing, for instance, how long they spend reading a piece and where they click to next.

Most people understand the climate problems and are concerned about them, but they feel helpless as individuals. We wanted to show in a dynamic way that together our audience could have an impact: “If you were one of 300,000 people on the website now and you all changed your behaviour, what would that mean? How much C02 could you save?”

Tom created a design for the front page with a prominent teaser promo featuring dynamically generated numbers based on our live user data. If you clicked through, you end up on a bespoke page which showed in numbers the cumulative impact on C02 emissions of a small behaviour change – in the case of the demo we made, the impact on carbon emissions of swapping a paper cup for a mug while at work.

The page featured a graphic of national carbon emissions numbers and the 2050 target.

Underneath, we explained why this small behaviour change was important, and we surfaced other existing related content on the BBC website that is tagged with the climate change topic.

Our feature allowed for social sharing to build a community of readers who are trying to make a difference.

Our site would then live on as a dynamic promo on the existing climate change index page, on the science and environment index, and on all pages tagged with climate change. It could be adapted for different countries/regions, and for different ‘together’ events or issues.

We called it BBC Together and see it potentially as an umbrella brand with other journalistic possibilities.

We finished the prototype on Thursday evening. We pitched it to the judges, along with the projects from 13 other teams. Ours didn’t win, but we had a good time putting it together, and, who knows, maybe one day it’ll even lead to the saving of some CO2.


I am sure there is nothing wrong with the idea of a Global Editors Network, where journalists can get together and knock a few ideas around. One starts to get a bit worried, though, when they get the idea that they need to find new ways to report on the UN’s sustainable development goals, (presumably because the old ways are having little effect).

But by what right does Sarah Shenker, a front page editor for BBC News, along with her cronies, think it is her job to help people take collective action on climate change?

Or to develop social sharing to build a community of readers who are trying to make a difference?

Or, heaven help us, to adapt the feature for different ‘together’ events or issues.


It is not even as if she is just some dippy little tea girl.

It is not within the remit of the BBC to campaign on any issue. But with Comrade Harrabin leading the way, don’t expect the likes of dippy little Sarah to understand that.

  1. April 13, 2016 1:14 pm

    if the “action” consists of reducing fossil fuel emissions they should know that there is no empirical evidence that relates warming to fossil fuel emissions

  2. spetzer86 permalink
    April 13, 2016 1:18 pm

    I bet nobody suggested having these meetings via Skype instead of attending them in person.

  3. martinbrumby permalink
    April 13, 2016 1:25 pm

    Absolutely infuriating. Especially when you consider we are paying not only for this puerile drivel but from the consequences that arise.
    Send her to Port Talbot to talk to the workforce!

    • April 13, 2016 1:50 pm

      Happy to say I have not paid for this puerile drivel for 4 or 5 years now and never will again. When the BBC close the iplayer catch up loophole, I will just abandon watching the very few TV programs I do bother with. No way are they having my money to promote their left wing, politically correct, Green agenda.

  4. Derek Buxton permalink
    April 13, 2016 2:31 pm

    The BBC is not my thing, I despise them as the liars and hypocrites they are. They went by Aeroplane and I am sure they were on high expenses. Added to that the weekend saw some? coverage of the Masters, the first Major of the year. In the past they covered it to the end and we saw the Green Jacket awarded. Being a little elderly, I go to bed before midnight so after watching some of it I pressed the record button in mid stream. Usually the programme then runs until the end. It did not, it shut down with Speith on the 17 tee. The BBC are a disgrace to broadcasting, past time to sack the lot and start afresh. Very annoying, especially as the winner was from my hometown as was the 7th place man. But of course the usual suspects were all there in Augusta for the week or more with the gobby one taking up most of the time, go home Hazel.

  5. R2Dtoo permalink
    April 13, 2016 3:09 pm

    I wonder if they discussed the CO2 put into the atmosphere by the growing, harvesting, roasting and transportation of the precious coffee that sustains their meetings. Shouldn’t they lead by example and stop drinking coffee to save the planet. Then the paper/ceramic cup issue would be moot.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    April 13, 2016 3:12 pm

    “It is not within the remit of the BBC to campaign on any issue.”


    But I doubt I’m wrong in considering the objective was for Sarah Shenker & her cohorts to gain Brownie Points within the enviro-politically charged heirarchy that is Aunty, by being able to have on her cv the achievement that was an entry in EditorsLab the Final at the Global Editors Network conference.

  7. Jackington permalink
    April 13, 2016 3:53 pm

    An idea they could “kick around” at their “hackathon” would be that in order to achieve the CO2 reductions called for would require the complete shutdown of the UK economy. Hardly a “small behavior change”; more like a show stopper.

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 13, 2016 5:18 pm

      Jackington… It is not a REDUCTION in the CO2 called for. The reduction called for (courtesy of NASA’s Jim Hansen) is to REDUCE the atmospheric value by removing at least 50 ppm. Back to 350 ppm means going back to 1987 when there were two billion fewer “carbon feet”…and then doing so while seven billion of us do nothing to add more? Zero emissions? “Sequester” and store 50 ppm CO2 using solar and wind power? And do it all safely? Store it somewhere and forever?

      Talk about a show stopper? Are they, we? completely bonkers? Where is reality?

    • dave permalink
      April 14, 2016 9:26 am

      “…the complete shutdown of the UK economy…”

      Except for a special fuel-ration, allowed to the BBC for powering their transmitters.
      To hear them, we would need those clockwork-powered radios, of course!

      Had the misfortune to be sat next to a BBC producer at dinner once. What a self-loving bore!

  8. April 13, 2016 4:14 pm

    They proclaim that ‘Consumers will have to make some radical changes to their behaviour if we are to reach that goal.’

    Consumers? Voters more like. Does anyone remember voting in favour of these mysterious ‘radical changes’? Tell us what they are BBC.

  9. Andy DC permalink
    April 13, 2016 7:10 pm

    I don’t want a bunch of pointy headed pseudo intellectuals dictating to me how much I can drive or how much I can run my air conditioner. All based on a dubious, unrealistic, pie in the sky notion, that we should sacrifice our mobility and comfort so those living 50 or 100 years in the future might somehow get better weather.

    Like the weather of the 1930’s, when the US endured by far the worst heatwaves and droughts in history. Also some of the worst hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and cold waves in history.

    Or like the great storm of 1703, by far the worst storm in British history. Or the great storms in Holland during the 1300’s, when 10’s of thousands died. When man’s input of greenhouse gasses was negligible!

  10. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 13, 2016 8:29 pm

    These people dont live in the real world.
    They live in a make believe model which they surround themselves with.
    If she want to save CO2 become a nun & live humbly in a nunnery

    • April 14, 2016 6:43 am

      I am beginning to think that BBC (+ other progressive media corps) types just live in a different reality from us.
      Like the way city people think milk comes from factories not cows.

      It’s clear that neither she anyone involved, or anyone who read her blog post previously thought they have done anything wrong.
      They don’t see the difference between their own values and universally accepted public values like say reducing crime or helping public health.
      Similarly in Muslim dominated countries media people get carried away promoting islamic values and have to reminded that they should not be doing that cos large part of the country are not Muslim.
      So likewise the BBC managers should be aware of such lines. They should not be collecting FULL pension if they are negligent in enforcing them.

  11. Green Sand permalink
    April 13, 2016 9:02 pm

    Going to take some time, could be a generation, but eventually the ramifications of the BBC’s ‘Collective Action On Climate Change’ will become apparent to UK citizens. I do trust it is not too detrimental to their well being.

    However for the BBC, past history is littered with the demise of organisations preaching blind ideological faith. This does not bode well for Dear Old Auntie – DOA

  12. tom0mason permalink
    April 13, 2016 11:03 pm

    Hi Sarah Shenker,
    My project is to make biogas from feeding thousands of anaerobic digestion plants with millions of Western democracy’s paper banknotes — £, $, €, ¥, whatever!

    This sustainable technology will reduce CO2 emissions by supplying sustainable low carbon fuel directly to fuel cells, and so supply electricity to the smart-grid during those rare occasions when the sun does not shine on the solar cells while the wind fails to blow. This cost effective measure will also help breath a new sustainable focus to the collective consciousness, enhancing your audience’s engagement and sense of innovation while simultaneously giving all participants the self-righteous glow of virtual virtue.

    This project’s estimated cost is only 42million Bitcoins, or the equivalent deposited through any of the easy to use off-shore accounts in Panama, British Virgin Is., and Luxembourg.

    Greenpiss has advised me that you are the new go-to person for publicizing this worthy cause, so please jump to it because this is about saving the planet for all future generations, all polar bears, koalas, reefs, penguins, etc., wherever they may exist.


    Mr. W.W.F. Green-Blob

  13. April 14, 2016 6:53 am

    There is a similar event that reinforces Paul’s last line
    “It is not within the remit of the BBC to campaign on any issue. But with Comrade Harrabin leading the way,….”
    Delingpole in Breibart 12 Jun 2015 reminds us of Hara’s campaigning mentality

    Harrabin said:

    “We’re trying to change the entire global economy….”
    Then swiftly he corrected himself:

    “…or at least the UN’s trying to change the entire global economy.”

    Similarly R4Today’s Today’s Jim Naughtie interviewing a Labour minister said
    “If WE win the election does Gordon Brown remain Chancellor.”

  14. April 14, 2016 7:34 am

    Again I don’t blame her : BBC should have a staff corresponding to the wide variety of views of the public, so should have Green, non-Green, anti-Trump, pro-Trump etc.
    If BBC management were ensuring that diversity of staff you’d see that selected in their Tweets, it wouldn’t be just anti-Republican tweets etc.

    ‏@sarahshenker Mar 8
    ‘Hate is not an exaggeration’: A list of everyone who hates Ted Cruz:
    ‘Ted Cruz is so easy to hate that loathing him has become a form of political poetry’

    Also tweeted snipes against Trump about 6 time sthis year

    • April 14, 2016 7:35 am

      oops- I mean she also tweeted snipes against Trump about 6 time this year

  15. April 14, 2016 7:51 am

    Here’s another recent piece from the BBC which seems like ‘call to action propaganda’
    see how it begins : “Picture yourself on a beautiful beach, anywhere in the world. Your favourite beach, maybe. The waves are lapping on the shore, the Sun is sparkling over the water and there is a refreshing ocean breeze.
    Now imagine this beach has gone forever. Sea level has risen and the shoreline has moved inland by hundreds of metres, drowning stretch after stretch of former coastline in the process.” *

    ends : “The unpopular truth is that human-induced climate change, and the rise in sea level it is causing, is now changing our coastlines again. The impacts will be felt for generations to come.”

    (* what tosh, cos of course when your favourite beach hypothetically disappears, as actually happens over the millenia in the UK, a new beach will appear as the sea deposits sand)

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