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BBC’s climate change ‘facts’ are fiction

September 30, 2018

By Paul Homewood



In order to avoid giving ‘false balance’ to the climate alarmists at the BBC, I thought it would be a good idea to fact-check their new internal guidance on climate change. This is their totalitarian memorandum aimed at stamping out free scientific discourse, on the basis that certain facts are established beyond dispute.

The problem is that these ones aren’t, and the BBC is guilty of repeatedly failing to describe accurately the nuances of climate science and the degree to which certain claims are disputed.

The crucial paragraph reads:

‘Most climate scientists regard a rise of 2 degrees C as the point when global warming could become irreversible and the effects dangerous. At current rates, we are on track for a rise of more than 3-4 degrees C by the end of the century.’

There are so many things wrong with this short statement.

That global warming can be somehow ‘irreversible’ is pure propaganda; the climate has always been changing and it always will. The briefing later describes the idea of catastrophic tipping points as a ‘common misconception’, so they have comically failed their own test right at the start.

A temperature rise of more than two degrees is not inherently dangerous either. The majority of economic impact studies put the cost of climate change by the end of the century at between 1.5% and 3% of world GDP, but these studies often make the inaccurate assumption that either no or little adaptation will take place.

In contrast, even the IPCC has admitted (p.15) that the cost of reducing emissions (‘mitigation’) to meet the 2oC target may be up to 4% of world GDP in 2030, 6% in 2050 and 11% in 2100.

These numbers do not incorporate the benefits of reducing our emissions, which are primarily the avoided costs of climate change. But given that a certain amount of warming is already ‘baked in’, it looks almost certain that this ‘mitigation’ will actually be far more expensive than not doing anything. If warming actually turns out to have a positive effect, the gamble will have failed even more spectacularly.

The IPCC has openly admitted that its cost forecasts come with incredibly optimistic assumptions that immediate mitigation takes place in all countries, that there is a single global carbon price, and that there are ‘no additional limitations on technology relative to the models’ default technology assumptions’. With no carbon capture and storage (CCS), they predict the total mitigation cost rises by a staggering 138%. The bad news is that CCS is currently failing to deliver, and few now expect it to play a significant role in reducing emissions.

Given the record of economic forecasts, all these predictions should be taken with a pinch of salt, but on the available evidence it appears we are sleepwalking into spending trillions of pounds to achieve only a negligible reduction in global temperatures.

The father of the two-degree target, veteran climate alarmist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, has admitted the number is entirely fabricated: ‘Two degrees is not a magical limit; it’s clearly a political goal’.  He nonetheless celebrates its cynical effectiveness at motivating international political action.

Other prominent climate scientists, such as Hans von Storch, have been much more critical of this approach. Storch reflects on how scientists have become political sermonisers in a way which damages science as a whole: ‘Unfortunately, some of my colleagues behave like pastors . . . it’s certainly no coincidence that all the mistakes that became public always tended in the direction of exaggeration and alarmism.’

The statement that we are on track for ‘more than 3-4 degrees’ is an even more blatant distortion of the scientific evidence. Earlier this year, Peter Cox of the University of Exeter announced the results of his latest study which ruled out higher levels of warming. He concluded that ‘climate sensitivity’ would be in the narrower range of 2.2-3.4oC, thus ruling out warming of 4 or 5 degrees by 2100. His voice adds to a growing consensus that climate sensitivity will be lower than previously estimated. Does the BBC now consider him a climate denier too?

Quite surreally, the document also describes the statement that ‘climate change has happened before’ as a ‘common misconception’. How much longer before the BBC renames itself The Ministry of Truth?

Estimating the current and future impacts of climate change is a complex and contested enterprise, but the BBC would rather you didn’t know. ‘The science is settled’ they say, so move on. This climate memorandum is nothing less than propaganda presented as fact by controller Fran. There is a critical debate to be had, so inquisitive people had better look elsewhere.

  1. September 30, 2018 4:45 pm

    In an early report, either the 3rd or 4th, from the IPCC, the statement was made that the Earth’s climate is too chaotic to enable predictions to be made with any accuracy. I have paid no attention to any predictions since reading that statement. The IPCC itself has said that such predictions are useless–guesses at best.

    • September 30, 2018 7:54 pm

      That would be this: a quote from WG1 Section 14.2.2 of the Third Assessment Report of 2001:

      “The climate system is particularly challenging since it is known that components in the system are inherently chaotic; there are feedbacks that could potentially switch sign, and there are central processes that affect the system in a complicated, non-linear manner. These complex, chaotic, non-linear dynamics are an inherent aspect of the climate system.”

      “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible”

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        September 30, 2018 9:46 pm

        The $64 million dollar question, Phillip, is why the scam still has legs if the organisation charged with “ policing” it admits in words of one syllable, so to speak, that we do not and can not know what is happening, if anything, and therefore what we should be doing about it. If anything!

        Why has the IPCC not disbanded itself or been disbanded since it is inherently incapable of carrying out the purpose it was set up for?

      • dave permalink
        October 1, 2018 4:47 am


        There is a subtle point here. The IPCC in that earlier report was not saying that climate response is completely unpredictable, but that the new method – computer modelling of simple equations with recursive updating – should come with a ‘toxic waste’ warning. But, instead, that new method is the one now used automatically and ignorantly as the “Shut-up!!!” for any scientist who disagrees with the cult.

        As to why the scam goes on, well there is still $3 billion of Paris money to be spent…As with all wild parties, the uninvited spongers will disappear as soon as the free booze ends.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 1, 2018 1:45 pm

      The rule is that you only read the summary of the IPCC reports that are written by politicians, don’t summarise the report accurately, and most telling are released 3 months before the reports so you can’t crosscheck, and by then the legacy media have moved on.

  2. matelot 69 permalink
    September 30, 2018 5:04 pm

    Strange how the BBC in continuing its “umans dun it” approach, have failed to mention Icelands Ketla Volcano, currently emitting between 12 and 14 KILOTONNES of CO2 every day….thats going to need some Carbon Capture equipment!

    • Terbreugghen permalink
      September 30, 2018 9:46 pm

      That’s lots of CO2, but not much in the global total. Say the volcano is emitting 20,000 tonnes CO2 per day. that’s 200,000 tonnes in 10 days, and 2,000,000 tonnes in 100 days. That’s 7,200,000 tonnes per year. The global CO2 output is about 700 BILLION tonnes/year. So this volcano, IF its output stays the same over the next year will contribute one one thousandth of one percent of the global output. Human activity over that year will contribute about 36 BILLION tonnes per year. That volcano will put out 2 one hundreths of one percent of Human output.

      Perspective is a good thing. Volcanism does not compare to modern industrial human CO2 output.

      • tom0mason permalink
        October 1, 2018 1:26 am

        And how many other volcanoes are there pumping out CO2?
        Well we don’t know and we’re not likely to know because no one is counting them.
        “If it ain’t being counted, it doesn’t count” Right?

      • Mack permalink
        October 1, 2018 4:16 pm

        Yes, Terbreugghen, perspective is a wonderful thing. By your maths, human emitted Co2 contributes only 5% of the total emitted each year. The remaining 95% presumably being of natural origin? Apparently, Co2 comprises only 0.04% of the atmosphere. Some would have us believe that our measly 5% annual contribution to that measly 0.04% acts as the control knob for the earth’s entire climate system. And they call it ‘settled science’. I’m still trying to get a sense of perspective over that idiocy!

  3. September 30, 2018 5:33 pm

    Fran Unsworth may not be a racist; but she is certainly a climist, being someone who considers a sceptic on climate matters to be scientifically inferior and therefore needing to be silenced.
    Climists rarely check their facts and rely primarily on the principle that consensus belief is truth and should therefore be defended.
    Her Editorial Policy crib sheet is grossly offensive to those of us who wish for open debate; particularly so as the BBC itself has been rigorous in generating the consensus in the past creating a circular escalation of evidence based denial; as seen in this document.

    The other aspect revealed in this document is that she does not appear to know what the debate is about which is upon the level influence that CO2 has in the control of global temperature and particularly upon whether humanity is primarily responsible. It has nothing to do with observed changes in the climate.
    Climists believe, I understand, that anthropological CO2 is the prime driver of current global temperature. Sceptics do not and thus question the lack of evidence in support of this contention.
    Perhaps Fran should care to debate this point?

    • Broadlands permalink
      October 1, 2018 2:50 am

      “…the debate is about which is upon the level influence that CO2 has in the control of global temperature and particularly upon whether humanity is primarily responsible.”

      There is no debate about the fact that humanity is responsible for the added CO2. This was clearly shown 30 years ago by Newell and Marcus in their paper: “Carbon Dioxide and People”. However, If one calculates the AVERAGE year-to-year RATE of increase of the GISS global annual temperature anomalies from 1970 through 2015 it is an almost imperceptible 0.017°C per year….after a total 45% increase in CO2 since pre-industrial time.

  4. markl permalink
    September 30, 2018 5:37 pm

    It’s not about climate but all about demonizing Capitalism and promoting Socialism. They needed an artificial bogeyman to transfer the wealth from successful industrialized economies to the UN who ostensibly distributes it to failed economies. That is until there’s nothing left to distribute which is the obvious outcome of their plan.

    • October 1, 2018 12:41 pm

      And, no lesser an individual than Christiana Figueres, of the UN who wrote the Paris Climate Accord admitted it was about ridding the world of capitalism in favor of socialism.

      Saturday, I was privileged and delighted to be a volunteer working the Trump Rally in Wheeling, WV, ca. 1 hour and 16 mins. from my home in Morgantown. President Trump came to support our AG Patrick Morrisey who is running to unseat Senator Joe Manchin.

      The Wesbanco Arena is along the Ohio River. As volunteers were there early, we were able to see traffic on the river. At one point, there was an absolutely enormous fleet of loaded coal barges being pushed down the river. It went on forever.

      By the time the Presidential Seal was affixed to the podium, I don’t think you could have gotten a sardine into that arena. We volunteers who were getting people seated as they streamed in staked out our seats early and we had great ones. Except for a corridor through the middle on the floor area, everything was filled both seated and standing areas.

      During his talk, President Trump addressed the fact that the Democrat Party was becoming increasingly socialist and vowing to take this country down that route. Then he said, as an aside, “Venezuela.”

  5. September 30, 2018 10:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  6. paul weldon permalink
    October 1, 2018 8:17 am

    ‘’Most climate scientists regard a rise of 2C as the point when global warming could become irreversible and the effects dangerous’’

    But they do state later that:

    ‘’While tipping points are genuine scientific possibilities they are hard to predict with any certainty’’

    Clear as mud……

    Enjoy your holiday, Paul!

    • dave permalink
      October 1, 2018 2:59 pm

      “…global warming could become irreversible…”

      This is great steaming-turd lie number 3 in this clap-trap, humbug, religion. It will never be irreversible, so long as the surface is open to outer space (and to the ocean depths) as heat sinks. Warm things cool off, in the nature of things!

      The difficulty would be for accumulation of heat energy to CONTINUE, since the radiation from Earth to outer space rises as the FOURTH POWER of absolute temperature. If the surface sliver of the Earth warms uniformly by 2 C, the extra power of the planet as a heater for outer-space will increase by an average 6 watts per square meter – which is enormous.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 1, 2018 9:17 am

    The whole thing fails the basic tests of logic.

    How does the BBC decide what is “settled science” and what is not? It is not qualified to make that judgement, and can only claim it is settled by taking as authority the side that says it is. But that is utterly circular!

    And the BBC documents moves from”settled science” to “best available as science” in one sentence. They are not the same thing.

    In science, as with every issue it covers, the BBC should take a view on the arguments being made, not whether there should be any argument. If someone can put forward a good set of reasons why orthodox science may be wrong, then give them airtime.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 1, 2018 1:43 pm

      It said a lot that once the 28gate attendance list was published it showed that the head of comedy had been there.

  8. October 1, 2018 10:32 am

    The 2C figures comes from the Stern report. And it is either the point at which the predicted costs outweigh the predicted benefits or the point where the marginal increased costs outweigh the marginal increased benefits.

    In other words, anything up to 2C warming is BENEFICIAL.

    But as we all know, no one is allowed to know that warming is beneficial, so they’ve tried to repackage that “limit” as something catastrophic.

    • dennisambler permalink
      October 2, 2018 11:24 am

      “The 2C figures comes from the Stern report”

      Whilst Stern used it it, it goes back to 1975, CAN WE CONTROL CARBON DIOXIDE? William D. Nordhaus, economist, June 1975

      “If there were global temperatures more than 2 or 3°C. above the current average temperature, this would take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years.

      Within a stable climatic regime, the range of variation of ± l °C is the normal variation: thus in the last 100 years a range of mean temperature has been 0.7°C.”

      In 1977, Nordhaus was at it again, “Strategies for the Control of Carbon Dioxide”

      He repeated much of his earlier paper, but increased his range of variation within a stable climatic regime “such as the current interglacial”, from l°C, to 2°C and said that in the last 100 years a range of mean temperature had been 0.6°C, rather than his earlier 0.7.

      In 1990, the UN AGGG (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases), was asking for no more than a 1 degree rise in global temperature. That then morphed into 1.5 degrees and again into 2 degrees. After Paris, 1.5 degrees is the new mantra for the activists.

      In 1995, John Schellnhuber, “retired” founding Director of the Potsdam Institute (and Climate Adviser to the Pope), promoted 2 degrees via the German Advisory Council on Global Climate Change. He has claimed 2°C as “his” ever since. It was essentially based on the simplistic logic of Nordhaus and in 1996, it was adopted by the EU.

  9. swan101 permalink
    October 1, 2018 10:47 am

    Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM.

  10. October 1, 2018 12:25 pm

    “Quite surreally, the document also describes the statement that ‘climate change has happened before’ as a ‘common misconception’.”

    This statement near the end of the piece, stopped me in my tracks. Climate change in the past is a “common misconception?” This attitude is borderline criminal. Will they arrest geology professors? Do paleobotanists and paleozoologists get a summons? Will the museum environment backgrounds for dinosaur exhibits be deemed unsuitable for children to see? Will we call the coal in Antarctica a conspiracy theory?

    Just when you think it cannot get any less “scientific,” here comes this statement. In the not too distant past, geologically speaking, these nut jobs would have been opining from beneath some half mile or more of ice.

    • dave permalink
      October 1, 2018 3:09 pm

      In a way it is, encouraging; the advocates are become so ridiculous that we know have won the intellectual – or simply factual – arguments. On the other hand it will do us no good, since the nut-jobs will stay in power for ever.

      Trump is on the way to reversing that gloomy prediction in the USA, but it will only work if he achieves a second term. Otherwise it will be back to the old rubbish.

      • October 1, 2018 3:52 pm

        Dave: I am optimistic on ridicule as a good strategy. Nobody likes to be ridiculed and everybody likes ridicule if they get to hear of it.; so I expect eventually the penny will drop amid the masses, particularly if motivated by the emptying of pockets.
        Meanwhile boring facts remain boring; but failed predictions which abound could provide rich pickings.

  11. Vanessa permalink
    October 1, 2018 1:59 pm

    Well, what a surprise !! Why on earth does anyone watch, read or listen to the BBC nowadays? Don’t pay don’t support.

  12. October 1, 2018 2:23 pm

    I’ve just noticed a new (to me) BBC angle on CC, via Matt McGrath on the BBC WS. Apparently, the only thing stopping the transition to low carbon nirvana is not the fact that the world is powered by combustion because there is no credible alternative, but simply because fossil fuel producer countries have nobbled the IPCC so as to maintain their economies.

    Hmm, so the likes of Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq and Russia are so popular with scientists that said scientists are willing to tone down their lifeblood alarmism. And, the UN is so keen on protecting the govts of these countries that the summary for policymakers will take care of them.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 1, 2018 2:53 pm

      On R4’s Today this morning, McGrath was saying that the the IPCC report (he called it the report from IPCC Scientists!) was supported by all but the ‘fossil-fuel supplier countries’ who wanted to keep their trade flowing. He didn’t name them. Suitably opaque.

      He also, as any reporter should, did not question the IPCC’s hair-brained schemes to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and whether or not there would be unintended consequences as a result.

      But then, McGrath is not a reporter, he’s propagandist’s gob on a stick.

  13. Chilli permalink
    October 1, 2018 3:00 pm

    It would be nice if this was just an academic discussion but EDF are trying to hike my energy bills by a full 30% this year (for a 12 month fix) to pay for all these daft schemes to ‘tackle’ the non-problem of climate change. It’s getting beyond a joke.

  14. tom0mason permalink
    October 1, 2018 6:28 pm

    From the BBC charter (–

    4. The BBC’s Object

    The BBC’s Object is the fulfilment of its Mission and the promotion of the Public Purposes.

    5. The BBC’s Mission
    The Mission of the BBC is to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.

    6. The Public Purposes

    The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows.

    (1) To provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them: the BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Its content should be provided to the highest editorial standards. It should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens.

    (2) To support learning for people of all ages: the BBC should help everyone learn about different subjects in ways they will find accessible, engaging, inspiring and challenging. The BBC should provide specialist educational content to help support learning for children and teenagers across the United Kingdom. It should encourage people to explore new subjects and participate in new activities through partnerships with educational, sporting and cultural institutions.

    (3) To show the most creative, highest quality and distinctive output and services:
    the BBC should provide high-quality output in many different genres and across a range of services and platforms which sets the standard in the United Kingdom and internationally. Its services should be distinctive from those provided elsewhere and should take creative risks, even if not all succeed, in order to develop fresh approaches and innovative content.

    (4) To reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities of all of the United Kingdom’s nations and regions and, in doing so, support the creative economy across the United Kingdom: the BBC should reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom both in its output and services. In doing so, the BBC should accurately and authentically represent and portray the lives of the people of the United Kingdom today, and raise awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up its society. It should ensure that it provides output and services that meet the needs of the United Kingdom’s nations, regions and communities. The BBC should bring people together for shared experiences and help contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom. In commissioning and delivering output the BBC should invest in the creative economies of each of the nations and contribute to their development.

    (5) To reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world: the BBC should provide high-quality news coverage to international audiences, firmly based on British values of accuracy, impartiality, and fairness. Its international services should put the United Kingdom in a world context, aiding understanding of the United Kingdom as a whole, including its nations and regions where appropriate. It should ensure that it produces output and services which will be enjoyed by people in the United Kingdom and globally.

    I contend that the BBC’s reporting on climate does not and has not being carrying out parts (4) or (5).
    Rational: Those who ‘deny human production of CO2 does not cause the climate to change’ are well supported by both a large minority of the public and many scientist, engineers, and meteorologists. We are not being represented by the BBC, we are being discriminated against by the BBC.
    This they do not obey the part (4) “To reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities of all of the United Kingdom’s nations and regions and, in doing so, support the creative economy across the United Kingdom: the BBC should reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom both in its output and services.
    They BBC is deliberately not allowing diverse views from people I agree with, the BBC is discriminating against people who think like me. People who have the good rational to understand that CO2 does not, could not, and from analyzing historical climate, has never controlled the climate.

    • Mack permalink
      October 1, 2018 7:29 pm

      Nicely put Tomo. Has the BBC officially declared its’ new ‘all skeptics are lepers’ policy or does it merely retain the status of an ‘in house’ directive, to be followed under pain of banishment for those broadcasters who should transgress against the alarmist gospel whilst keeping the great unwashed viewing public in the dark? Of course, if the narrative continues to be maintained and followed by our policy makers we’ll all be in the dark soon enough.

      • tom0mason permalink
        October 1, 2018 10:21 pm

        Yes the BBC gives minority groups a platform; pedophiles, terrorists, GreenPeace, Fiends ‘Friends’ of the Earth, and weird religious types including witches and satanists, all get to voice their rubbish, but no views from climate skeptics are to be tolerated.

  15. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 3, 2018 11:55 am

    An interesting fact. The 2C target for emissions is not a target to prevent average temperature rise of 2C based on ECS = 3.0C, but to get a >50% chance that average temperatures will not be exceed that temperature rise in 2100. I am sure that readers are well aware of IPCC AR5 WG3 Chap 6 Table 6.3 footnote 7 🙂

    Temperature change is reported for the year 2100, which is not directly comparable to the equilibrium warming reported in WGIII AR4 (see Table 3.5; see also Section 6.3.2). For the 2100 temperature estimates, the transient climate response (TCR) is the most relevant system property. The assumed 90% range of the TCR for MAGICC is 1.2–2.6 °C (median 1.8 °C). This compares to the 90% range of TCR between 1.2–2.4 °C for CMIP5 (WGI Section 9.7) and an assessed likely range of 1–2.5 °C from multiple lines of evidence reported in the WGI AR5 (Box 12.2 in Section 12.5).

    • manicbeancounter permalink
      October 3, 2018 12:19 pm

      I have not estimated from the figures if the warming estimates just use a TCR of 1.8C, or have in addition a highly lagged assumed movement to full ECS of 3.0C.

  16. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 3, 2018 12:15 pm

    Another little snippet I have found hidden away about achieving the 2C warming by 2100. Not only must emissions come down to zero, they must be negative for many years as well. See the UNEP Emission GAP Report 2014, especially table ES.1

    Click to access Emissions_Gap_Report_2014.pdf

    To get to this figure, the impact of other GHGs (methane etc.) are netted off against the cooling effect of aerosols. This is quite significant. In 2011 CO2 levels were 392 ppm, but the IPCC AR5 WG3 SPM states in the last sentence on page 8

    “the CO2-eq concentration in 2011 is estimated to be 430 ppm (uncertainty range 340 to 520 ppm)”

    If ECS = 3.00, a rise from 280 to 392 will give 1.43 and to 430 1.86. Assumptions are crucial to getting the right answer. Get ECS too low, and there is not a problem, too high and 2C is not theoretically possible.

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