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Complaint To The BBC About “Arctic Live”

November 25, 2016

By Paul Homewood




Readers will recall that I complained to the BBC following the first episode of their Arctic Live programme earlier this month.

In particular, I took exception to their claim that “In Churchill, every year polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the big freeze, and every year they’re waiting longer” , as the facts showed nothing of the sort.

This set the scene for effectively the whole of that segment of the programme, which attempted to convince viewers how endangered polar bears were becoming.

I have now had their reply:


Thank you for contacting us about ‘Arctic Live’ that broadcast on 2nd November 2016.

I understand you felt the information given about polar bears was inaccurate.

I contacted the programme makers who explained that during the series they said that polar bears are waiting longer each year for the freeze. This is backed up by extensive scientific studies including data from the Canadian Ice Service (CIS). In the annual summary for last year the CIS stated that "Ice break-up was generally 1-2 weeks earlier than climatology (1981-2010) over the area, except locally 4-5 weeks early over north-western Hudson Bay”.

You may also find this this paper by David Barber et al of interest it also looks at the long term negative trend since the 1970s. Environment Canada did a 43-year analysis of the CIS statistics from 1968 to 2010. This too showed a decrease in summer coverage for total sea ice in Hudson Bay over that period ( This is just a selection of papers from various sources and there are many more like this.

Climate change is unpredictable and some years can be warm, others cold. Scientists measure the overall trend to define climate and in Hudson Bay (as indeed, across the whole Arctic), that trend has been negative i.e. a reduction in sea ice over the past decades. The ice free period is generally longer. Therefore, we feel it is fair to say the bears are waiting longer.

On the issue of polar bears being endangered due to the melting of the sea ice, we consulted many scientists in the making of this series and featured some of these specialists on screen; for example: Dr Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta. In Hudson Bay scientists who study these bears agree that this particular polar bear population is on the decline. It is down from around 1200 to around 800 (these are estimates based on the work of Environment Canada). This paper expands further on this subject. The trend for the long term future is worrying.

As we stated in the series, polar bears rely on sea ice and sea ice is reducing. Prevailing scientific opinion on climate change is clear. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2013/2014 report states that warming in the climate is unequivocal. The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature has increased by 0.85 degrees Celsius over the period 1880 to 2012. The melt and the freeze are naturally part of the Arctic seasonal cycle but sea ice has declined in every season and every successive decade since 1979. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

In the series we also spoke to local people on the ground, and to scientists. Where there are uncertainties we reflected this. As the BBC our aim is to provide information. We wanted to give people a balanced picture of the Arctic and the story of the bears so they can better understand this extraordinary region of our planet.

I hope this has helped to allay your concerns, and thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind regards

Ciaran Hanna

BBC Complaints Team


Needless to say, they have provided no evidence at all to support the original claim. In particular:


1) This is backed up by extensive scientific studies including data from the Canadian Ice Service (CIS). In the annual summary for last year the CIS stated that "Ice break-up was generally 1-2 weeks earlier than climatology (1981-2010) over the area, except locally 4-5 weeks early over north-western Hudson Bay”.

Ice break up in spring and early summer has nothing to do with re-freeze in November.



2) You may also find this this paper by David Barber et al of interest it also looks at the long term negative trend since the 1970s. Environment Canada did a 43-year analysis of the CIS statistics from 1968 to 2010. This too showed a decrease in summer coverage for total sea ice in Hudson Bay over that period ( This is just a selection of papers from various sources and there are many more like this.


This Barber paper addresses ice extent in July to September. Again, this has no relevance to re-freeze, particularly as the Hudson Bay is ice free in October.


The rest of the reply is, for want of a better word, piffle. They might just as well have said “Don’t you know all the ice is melting and the polar bears are all going to die, you stupid denier”.

I will be resubmitting my complaint. 

  1. Alex Emodi permalink
    November 25, 2016 4:24 pm

    Please do resubmit your questions. The general hysteria and inaccurate waffle needs to be contested.

    • Adrian permalink
      November 25, 2016 5:25 pm

      Are YOU still paying their ‘tax’?

      Give it up, then you’ll find that you feel quite a lot better, like not paying for crap meal in a restaurant.

      How many here who are moaning are still ‘subbing’ them I wonder?

      • BLACK PEARL permalink
        November 25, 2016 7:09 pm

        Me I’m afraid to say
        What happens when you stop paying ?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 26, 2016 12:48 pm

        Not a lot really. Most people incriminate themselves by having the TV on when they come to visit or the TV is visible from outside. I walk past one house where the TV is so large I can watch it nicely from the other side of the road – not exactly subtle. But with catch-up services now and smart TVs with players built in they have got a problem. They are petrified of the subscription model as it would end their easy cash.

    • wert permalink
      November 25, 2016 5:43 pm

      There is no point submitting anything. The process is not there to fix mistakes, just to pretend.

      Why these people pretend, is another question. I think some of them pretend proper, and some are just incapable of comparing their mental pictures (polar bears drown, eek) and the actual lines of poetry, like “In Churchill, every year polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the big freeze, and every year they’re waiting longer”.

      It’s not lying because they do Frankfurt’s bullshit.

    • miket permalink
      November 25, 2016 6:37 pm

      Yes do – if you have the stamina (speaking from experience). See whether you can get them to actually address the content of your complaint. I never could.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 25, 2016 4:36 pm

    I’m sure Susan Crockford will enjoy picking over the bones of their reply. Interesting exercise in semantics as to whether bears have to wait longer for Hudson Bay to freeze due to it melting earlier, or if only the date of ice formation is relevant. I suspect most people’s interpretation will be formed by their views on cagw.

  3. November 25, 2016 4:40 pm

    Responding to refreeze with iceout papers just shows the depths of BBC’s intellectual inadequacy/corruption. You exposed it. You cannot fix it.

  4. Stonyground permalink
    November 25, 2016 4:40 pm

    This part seemed to jump out at me:

    “The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature has increased by 0.85 degrees Celsius over the period 1880 to 2012.”

    They are citing global warming of less than one degree Celsius over a period of 132 years. Oh noes, oh noes we’re doomed.

    • November 25, 2016 5:56 pm

      Don’t mention the Little Ice Age 😉

      ‘We learn that the recovery from the LIA has proceeded continuously, roughly in a linear manner, from 1800-1850 to the present. The rate of the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming.’

      132/100 x 0.5 = 0.66°C
      Not much left for ‘man-made warming’ to try and claim.

  5. Ian Magness permalink
    November 25, 2016 4:41 pm

    Quite right too (re resubmitting).
    What I love is the PR spin about how the BBC is there to provide information and a “balanced” view. That statement, at least with regard to AGW (I refuse to use the term “Climate Change”) is an absolute lie. The programme, just like the risible “Polar Bear Family and Me” was designed primarily to promote the religion of AGW, regardless of the facts. Here’s a fact – not one AGW sceptic, not even relevant experts like Judith Curry – was allowed near the viewers.
    Pure taxpayer-funded propaganda.

  6. November 25, 2016 4:50 pm

    Recently, I gave up on a YouTube video of what was supposedly the best documentary of 2016 (either PBS or National Geographic–no difference). I am not kidding when I say that within the first 2 minutes, “CO2” had been mentioned 25-30 times. At that point, I turned it off. You just cannot get away from this crap.

    Yesterday afternoon, while eating my Thanksgiving dinner, I managed to find and watch another version of “The Queen’s Garden”. Absolutely a wonderful through the year look at the gardens of Buckingham Palace. This was 2-part and had more information than the original PBS version. AND no CO2 in sight nor hearing.

  7. Richard permalink
    November 25, 2016 5:00 pm

    Quote the recent discovery of Robert Falcon Scott & Ernest Shackleton logs that show Antarctic ice is the same now as it was 100 years ago, Why should Arctic ice be different?

    • Bloke down the pub permalink
      November 26, 2016 12:03 am

      Well the Antarctic is surrounded by ocean and the Arctic is surrounded by land, for one.

  8. November 25, 2016 5:11 pm

    CO2 has nothing to do with gardens, or plants, or life. CO2 is a pesky pollutant, a noxious gas. The only problem is that ALL LIFE IN THE PLANET depends on CO2… and we have only 0.04% left!

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 26, 2016 12:14 am

      Humm, 0.04%…

      That’s the equivalent to 4¢ in $100,
      or 4p in £100.

      Darn capitalists always thinking of money… 🙂

  9. AlecM permalink
    November 25, 2016 5:14 pm

    The BBC is obviously populated by retards.

    • wert permalink
      November 25, 2016 5:52 pm

      Journalists should not be described as retards, they are well capable of formulating a complex truism in the green orthodox thinking system. They have been properly educated in a school that gave them all those silly ideas. And they will be what they are until the next generation comes.

      FFS, please get some engineer-like minds in schools of journalism. And put those communists planning new iPhones. They might do some parts better.

      • AlecM permalink
        November 26, 2016 11:33 am

        As still the case for engineers, facts were sacrosanct to journalists. However, now such people are promoted for being retards, my case is proven.

        There; fixed it for you.

  10. November 25, 2016 5:20 pm

    Best of luck. But, as you and many others have discovered, the BBC is entirely shameless and, unless a way can be found to oblige them to justify their assertions in open forum, they will never come clean. One might add that The Royal Society is probably the same. One of its recent luminaries, I think Rees, has stated that, even if wrong, such an admission will not be made for at least fifty years.

  11. November 25, 2016 5:23 pm

    Hang in there Paul. They need to be brought to account and you are the man to do it!

  12. November 25, 2016 5:41 pm

    Good luck with pursuing your complaint, but I bet you never get them to admit they were wrong. According to the BBC, the BBC is always correct. Favourite BBC quotes: “The BBC understands” and “The BBC has learned”.

    • AlecM permalink
      November 25, 2016 5:47 pm

      The BBC is populated by truly ignorant retards, suffused with faux superiority borne of only having truly ignorant retards as colleagues.

      There: fixed it for you…..!

      • wert permalink
        November 27, 2016 9:46 am

        Retards could no way cause as much damage as intelligent know-all got-it-wrong anticapitalists can.

  13. November 25, 2016 5:47 pm

    Again, best of luck. I have made numerous complaints to the BBC, about their cilate change “coverage” and they have always fobbed me off – usually with arguments to “authority”.
    Basically they are saying “get stuffed you nasty, selfish stupid, denier”.
    Until the watermelons in the BBC are removed we might as well bang our haads against a brick wall.

  14. Broadlands permalink
    November 25, 2016 5:52 pm

    “The current scientific consensus [2012] places the worldwide polar bear population between 20,000 and 25,000 animals. Prior to the 1973 worldwide restriction on commercial polar bear hunting, that number was dramatically lower, so low that a meeting of polar bear specialists in 1965 concluded that extinction was a real possibility. Some reports even estimated the number of bears as low as 5,000 worldwide. Yet by 1990, Ian Stirling — at the time, the senior research scientist for the Canadian Wildlife Service and a professor of zoology at the University of Alberta; basically, one of the most respected polar bear scientists on the planet — felt comfortable answering the question as to whether polar bears are an endangered species by stating flatly: “They are not.” He went on to say that “the world population of polar bears is certainly greater than 20,000 and could be as high as 40,000 … I am inclined toward the upper end of that range.” Although old studies are sketchy, clearly more polar bears are alive today than there were 50 years ago, an essentially heartening fact that has not managed to pierce the public consciousness.” Clearly not at the BBC?

  15. November 25, 2016 6:30 pm

    Any chance you could fact-check the alarmist claims made by Attenborough in the short segment towards the end of the planet Earth episode on mountains that aired recently? I can’t remember the details but I recall thinking they were total BS – and blatenty dropped into an otherwise excellent programme for political purposes.

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 26, 2016 12:04 am

      Forgive Attenborough the old duffer, he does after all only recite whatever is presented to him in large print.
      It’s the PC writers of the dross that should be thrown off the mountain.

  16. Joe Public permalink
    November 25, 2016 6:44 pm

    Since your original post:

    “No correlation between freeze-up dates for Hudson Bay & total Arctic ice cover”

    “No correlation between freeze-up dates for WHB sea ice & Churchill temperatures”

  17. November 25, 2016 6:54 pm

    I can’t watch the stuff churned out by the British Bullshit Corporation. They pitch the scientific content of their programs at a level which would not challenge a bright 8 year old. They make glaring factual errors e.g. Confusing Meteors with meteorites. Cox is particularly bad. The editorial policy with him seems to be to place him in exotic locations and then get him to give some very simplistic facts while the viewers gaze at the exotic sunsets and scenery. Note to Producers — if you want to make a fucking travel program using him fine, but don’t pretend it is about science. If you want an exemplar dig out Bronowski’s the Ascent of Man. The licence fee payers have had nothing of that quality for decades. Interestingly, about the only BBC prog which did get into some hard, informative and somewhat challenging science. namely The Sky at Night has been nicely sabotaged in terms of format. The one developed by Patrick Moore was perfect. and is so irregularly shown that I always miss it .

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    November 25, 2016 7:07 pm

    They are part of the “Establishment”
    State sponsored information manipulation its always been so…
    Every country has to have such media outlets to tell you how you should be thinking
    The internet / social media is disrupting this.
    ‘Steering’ the content will be the next step

  19. Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
    November 25, 2016 7:32 pm

    Churchill is one of the southernmost places with polar bears. This part has allways been ice free in the summer time, so i believe the bears find it ok, or else they would have migrated north. Maybe they even like going on land in the summer time eating like other bears.
    Danish television also had a series, and in fact i saw no starving bears.
    They could have asked Susan Crockford, but that would not give basis for the alarm.

    • Broadlands permalink
      November 25, 2016 8:45 pm

      The 1971-2000 monthly temperature “normals” for Churchill are not statistically different from the decade 1931-1940 (World Weather Records).

  20. Bradley L. Curtis permalink
    November 25, 2016 7:59 pm

    Recommend that they interview the “starving” bears. the information would be just as “valid”.

  21. November 25, 2016 10:14 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  22. tom0mason permalink
    November 25, 2016 10:47 pm

    The ice freezing on time or not is not an essential for the bears’ survival. These animals are intelligent and gregarious, if they were not they wouldn’t have survived this long.

    P.S. Sell-off the BBC, only costs about £3.7billion/year to keep going — surely someone must want it.

    • November 25, 2016 11:32 pm

      Polar bears are also very good swimmers, so they don’t have to wait for the ice, they simply can swim north. That they don’t means that they prefer the garbage tips of Churchill for their food.

      • Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
        November 26, 2016 9:10 pm

        It happens yearly that polar bears appear in Iceland. They are brought down as fast as possible, but it shows that they are extremely good swimmers.
        That makes you wonder why they don’t swim up to the ice they need so much, or even follow the deminishing ice north as it melts.
        Could it be that they don’t need the ice as much as the scientists?
        In danish polar bears are called ice bears.

  23. Bernard Taylor permalink
    November 25, 2016 11:59 pm

    Did anyone notice a recent news report on radio 4. They described a 30 year satellite study which revealed that global land area had increased by about 14000 square Km. They mentioned that the result was not what some scientists expected (they neglected to say that the scientists in question were the climate ‘scientists’ who predicted that coastal areas would become inundated because of climate change). They then described the drying up of the Aral sea which is, of course, an environmental disaster but hardly news. This took up at least half of the report. Finally there was a single sentence stating that most of the increase in dry land took place in coastal areas.

    There were no lies in the report as far as I know. But unless you listened carefully you would have heard just another ecological disaster story. We should have heard ‘Don’t worry everybody. They got it wrong. We’re not all going to drown after all’.

  24. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 26, 2016 12:19 am

    In particular, I took exception to their claim that “In Churchill, every year polar bears gather on the shores of Hudson Bay to wait for the big freeze, and every year they’re waiting longer” , as the facts showed nothing of the sort.

    Is there any evidence available to indicate at what time of the year the polar bears gather?
    In the BBC’s response to your complaint, they indicated that the bear’s wait is longer because the date the ice melts is now earlier in the year. But if the bears don’t gather in Churchill until after the ice has all melted, then that date is irrelevant and the date at which new season ice forms is the only determining factor in how long they have to wait. As the ice formation is no later than usual, the BBC’s claim can be shown to be false.

  25. tom0mason permalink
    November 26, 2016 1:03 am

    You may wish to point out there are no reports of polar bears actually dying of starvation in Canada (as far as I can find). There has been ONE alleged bear dying of starvation found in Norway. I can not find any reports to confirm what the bear really died from. It is normal for the bears to look undernourished just before their seasonal feeding begins.

    Polar Bears have a built in mechanism that allows them to go for several months without consuming food when it is scarce. This often takes place during the winter months when it can be hard to get through the layers of ice to the seals underneath. It is still not quite understood what triggers this because some Polar Bears have been known to starve to death while others life off their fat reserves.


    So, too much ice kills polar bears.
    I got by Google 678,560 hits in 3.8 seconds for ‘starving polar bears’. So by popular sheeple vote it must be a crock.

    • Bloke down the pub permalink
      November 26, 2016 2:34 pm

      Apart from old age,(all bears must die at some point) the most likely cause of starvation is an injury that restricts the bear’s ability to hunt.

  26. Tom Dowter permalink
    November 26, 2016 2:29 am

    Meanwhile, elsewhere on the BBC, we have been told that Antarctic sea ice is much the same as it was in the days of Scott and Shackleton!

    I notice that the warmists always retreat to the Arctic when they are in difficulty. The Arctic is about the only place on earth which more or less conforms to the standard AGW doctrine.

    For example, the pronounced slowing down in the rate of warming since about 1999 which is observable just about anywhere else, is not observed in the Arctic. Indeed, the rate has accelerated.

    Even then, of course, ice coverage has not decreased monotonically, albeit the trend is still downwards.

  27. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    November 26, 2016 9:31 am

    On the topic of BBC Programme Quality…well, some of the HD cameras are good. Dropped in on a Parliamentary select yesterday…BBC Monitoring for the Foreign Office and MoD. Amongst the general babble I detected that the cost for “monitoring” is sliding over to the BBC Licence. Think I’d be bothered about the BBC slouching about in my country if non Brit. On a lighter note:

    • CheshireRed permalink
      November 26, 2016 9:40 am

      Astounding. Gina McCarthy should’ve been fired on the spot for that failure. Both hilarious and desperate.

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 26, 2016 10:00 am

      What did you expect from a bureaucratic functionary with the AGW agenda to drive, science?
      It is funny though, what a dork.

  28. Keith permalink
    November 26, 2016 10:12 am

    The BBC is totally biased. For example I was amused by a post-Trump-win article by their New York correspondent. He claimed that people who voted Trump were either white supremacists, KKK members, confederate flag-wavers, or extreme right because they use Breitbart for news or comment.

    I wrote to the BBC wondering if their correspondent thought that the 53% of white women who voted for Trump were all white supremacists? If so were the 27% of hispanic women who voted for Trump hispanic supremacists, or associate members of the local white supremacy group?

    Similarly, two female authors highlighted that they had worked hard to promote inclusive societies, then went on to excoriate white women for voting Trump. Message: inclusive society is good provided you agree with me. It did not occur to either that they were being sexist, racist and ageist, when they complained about older white women.

    The good news is that their political bias did not work for the US election. The BBC and most of the mainstream media are continuing with the same tactic. The left, rather than learning what voters want, continue with the same blinkers, which means they remain in the dark, ineffective in persuading a majority.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      November 26, 2016 10:48 am

      “inclusive” is one of those utterly meaningless words that people who want to show how virtuous they are use. It’s a word used mostly by white people who have never ventured outside white areas to actually meet minorities or white people who actually work in the real economy.

      An as you say, “inclusive” also actually usually means excluding anybody who has a different view. Orwell would be pleased.

  29. Wellers permalink
    November 26, 2016 10:18 am

    Re. Joan Gibson’s comments about the marvellous ITV documentary “The Queen’s Garden” narrated by Alan Titchmarsh: the most interesting fact was that spring in the grounds of Buckingham Palace gardens arrives 2-3 weeks ahead of the countryside outside London due to the Urban Heat Island effect. So in effect this part of London is already seeing ‘global warming’ at a local level, and it’s clear that the wildlife is not suffering in the least – quite the opposite in fact! The UHI is something that the warmists on the BBC continue to deny of course.

  30. Keith permalink
    November 26, 2016 10:25 am

    talking about inept people in power having no clue (as in Ms McCarthy above), here is the President of the Sierra Club displaying his ignorance is similar fashion

  31. November 26, 2016 11:05 am

    Planet Earth 2: Mountains. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, First shown 13 Nov 2016

    At 37 minutes, 40 seconds into the programme:

    [Queue mournful horn music]
    “But rocky peaks which, to us, seem a symbol of permanence, are more fragile than they appear. Today in the alps human encroachment is changing even highest summits. In the rockies rising temperatures are shortening winter hibernation and stifling the growth of valuable food plants.”

    [This sentence is spoken while showing a drone shot of bears marching across a barren snowy ridge – so he’s not talking about deserts here. He’s claiming that a shorter winter and warmer temperatures actually stifle the growth of plants! Complete BS.]

    “Even the Himalayas are now vulnerable…. Here temperatures are now rising faster than the global average, as the snow line retreats further and further up these peaks there is less and less room for wildlife.”

    [ Bizarre assertion that wildlife can only exist above the snowline]

    Par for the course for the BBC, but this section was particularly grating in an otherwise excellent documentary.

  32. dennisambler permalink
    November 26, 2016 11:46 am

    Derocher is the Peter Wadhams of the Polar Bear world.

    Susan Crockford is a breath of fresh air and is as well if not better qualified than Derocher, Amstrup and Stirling, the usual “go to guys” for the BBC and others.
    “I am a zoologist with more than 35 years experience, including published work on the Holocene history of Arctic animals. I am currently an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and work full time for a private consulting company I co-own with two colleagues, Pacific Identifications Inc.

    Like Ian Stirling, grand-daddy of all polar bear biologists, I earned my undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of British Columbia.”

  33. November 26, 2016 12:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  34. RAH permalink
    November 26, 2016 3:11 pm

    What can one say about an outlet which is “Fawns over Castro”

  35. Ian Magness permalink
    November 28, 2016 6:56 pm

    On a related issue, I am sure I was not alone in throwing items at the telly last night during the latest Planet Earth episode when David Attenborough sought twice in a few minutes to convey his deep concern about global warming and its effect on deserts.
    Apparently, in the same way that Arctic ice formation is later each year, every year now the temperatures in the world’s deserts rise and desertification (my use of the word, not his) continues apace. Oddly, no mention of the greening that even committed warmists are beginning to admit to but, hey, why spoil the narrative with a few facts?
    I am also, incidentally, heartily sick of all of the BBC’s increasingly relentless and emotive mention in nature programmes of incredibly fragile environments, all animals living on a knife-edge, if they can’t find food (or water) VERY SOON they will DIE (and so “climate change” will push them over the edge…)! Yes, animals in deserts and the Arctic to die in abnormal weather conditions but, equally, those same animals are very well adapted to such harsh environments. If they weren’t, they’d all have died out long before we were born. Less of this hysterical nonsense from the BBC please.

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