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BBC Attenborough Complaint Escalated To Executive Complaint Unit

October 14, 2019

By Paul Homewood




You may recall that the GWPF submitted a formal complaint to the BBC back in April about factual inaccuracies in Attenborough’s “Climate Change  – The Facts”.

The complaint, which I helped to draw up, particularly focussed on claims that storms, floods and wildfires were becoming worse because of climate change.

The BBC attempted to fob us off at the first stage with a handful of cherry picked studies which failed to answer our complaint, or justify the programme’s outlandish claims.

The GWPF subsequently re-submitted its complaint, including detailed evidence from IPCC and other authoritative sources, which clearly showed the programme’s claims were fake.

The BBC’s response at this second stage effectively ignored this evidence, and merely stated “ we note you do not accept the findings of the research and references we provided in our previous response, we believe that the reply fully addressed the concerns you raised…” 

GWPF have now escalated the complaint to the Executive Complaints Unit, which is where my regular complaints usually end up.

The BBC’s rather feeble responses so far are a strong indication that they have nothing else up their sleeve.

Watch this space!

  1. October 14, 2019 6:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. Malcolm Bell permalink
    October 14, 2019 6:16 pm

    Please Sir David, say after me:-

    “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

    • john cheshire permalink
      October 14, 2019 7:41 pm

      I think his real name is Boaty Mcboatface.

    • Henning Nielsen permalink
      October 15, 2019 7:21 am

      “No, my son, you’ve got it wrong. The correct text is “Money, all the money, and nothing but the money.””

  3. markl permalink
    October 14, 2019 6:17 pm

    Keep the pressure on and demand retraction equivalent to the misstatements.

  4. Paul Reynolds permalink
    October 14, 2019 6:22 pm

    It would be so much more effective if the British Biased Corporation were obliged to apologise and retract the claims on air at the beginning of each of the daily TV and radio news broadcasts.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 14, 2019 7:14 pm

      Hello, good evening and welcome to another edition of ‘I am sorry we lied to you’

      • October 15, 2019 2:41 pm

        James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas” just came out with a whiz-bang expose of CNN with Zucker telling them it is “Trump impeachment” only and all the time. How’s that for “unbiased reporting?” Their “whistle-blower” was from inside CNN who just could not take it anymore and dropped a dime to O’Keefe..

      • chaswarnertoo permalink
        October 15, 2019 3:49 pm

        Would be a constant apology, for the constant lies.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    October 14, 2019 6:25 pm

    I find this be little different than trying to get a “skeptical” scientific paper published in high-profile journals where the editors are not inclined to buck the “consensus, nor are the referees to whom the manuscripts are sent for peer-review. The same seems true for many news media. The science is settled!

  6. October 14, 2019 7:24 pm

    I wonder what big lies will be on this week’s BBC Panorama programme at 8.30 this evening – it’s all about what we can do about climate change.

  7. October 14, 2019 7:40 pm

    Thank you for the good fight.

  8. john cooknell permalink
    October 14, 2019 8:01 pm

    The BBC frequently use third party “Media” journalistic organisations, my understanding is they pay licence fee money for the stories, like this:-

    The story is just made up alarmist nonsense, with some non peer reviewed scientific lipstick to lend a hand, but it made its way on to headline on the 6pm TV News.

    The BBC appear to be part of the ORB Media “network”, whatever that means.

    The BBC editors rules around how these 3rd party reports can be used, and the checks that have to be made on the 3rd party reports veracity, seem not to be as onerous as if the BBC had done the journalistic investigations themselves.

    So in my view they are outsourcing the good old journalistic trick of “if there isn’t a story then make one up,” don’t let the truth get in the way.

    • HotScot permalink
      October 16, 2019 11:52 am

      john cooknell

      Jobbing, freelance journalists and establishment media organisations scrabbling to survive in a digital age is much of the problem. They will write and publish anything to get a few more sales.

      Journalistic integrity, as practised by the late Christopher Booker, is a rare commodity these days.

  9. Jason permalink
    October 14, 2019 9:36 pm

    Fantadtic work.

    Is it not possible to get some kind of legal review of the BBC’s adoption of a stance on climate and instruction to journalists to bar from the airwaves anyone who dares to disagree. Surely that must contravene its charter?

  10. Stephen Burchell permalink
    October 14, 2019 9:46 pm

    Bloody well done. These arrogant, ill informed bastards need to be called to account.

    • chaswarnertoo permalink
      October 15, 2019 3:51 pm

      Ignorant fools who believe themselves to be wise men. Dunning Kruger and groupthink in action.

  11. Joe Public permalink
    October 14, 2019 10:22 pm

    It’s almost as though the Beeb is creating a script for its popular long-running series on the radio, that from its title could/should be devoted solely to Climate Change?

    Sir David A would be a shoo-in panellist for it.

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    October 14, 2019 11:31 pm

    They the beeb know full well that, attenberg’s, disney-esque climastrology production was utter loony tunes.

    We know it – too, that they haven’t a leg to stand on.

  13. October 15, 2019 1:32 am

    Why the science is not settled –

    “What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled”

    View at

  14. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 15, 2019 1:48 am

    I’m running a complaint about the BBC’s reporting on the recent electricity generation CFD round 3 auction. Having been honoured with a supposed reply to my points by Harrabin himself, I have thrown it back at them while pointing out that his reply answers none of my points. I have already told them I am minded to take the complaint to OFCOM if I can’t get no satisfaction.

    Meanwhile, I am having a go via a more devious route. The E3C committee invited comment on their interim report on the August blackout. I have commented to them about the generally poor standard of reporting of the event by the media – and in particular, by the BBC, noting that there appears to be no-one capable of understanding the basics of how a blackout occurs, or why the information they were relying on in their reporting was wrong and misleading, and suggesting that they need to hire a proper specialist reporter on energy. I hope to persuade them to publish some criticism of poor media standards and mendacious information released from various parties in the industry.

  15. Rupert Wyndham permalink
    October 15, 2019 6:36 am

    The complaints procedure is standard – deny, waste as much time as possible in the hope of exhausting the complainant and, in the final analysis, apologise but in relation to some trivial technicality which makes no attempt to address issues of substance.

  16. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    October 15, 2019 7:59 am

    “GWPF have now escalated the complaint to the Executive Complaints Unit” aka the Circumlocution Office, “… it being one of the principles of the Circumlocution Office never, on any account whatever to give a straightforward answer …” (Little Dorrit).

  17. Luc Ozade permalink
    October 15, 2019 8:27 am

    I’ve been waiting for some news about the complaint made by the GWPF for weeks. I’m glad that now there is. I complain regularly to the Beeb and to ITV News about their scare-mongering. I doubt it has much effect apart from making me feel a little better. But I feel that if enough of us were to continually complain, that if they received millions of complaints, it just might have some effect – at least they would realise they weren’t deluding everyone with their lies.

    • HotScot permalink
      October 16, 2019 11:56 am

      It also makes the rest of us feel better that you are diligent enough to do something. I don’t watch TV so never see these distortions to complain about them.

      Keep up the good work sir.

  18. October 15, 2019 8:50 am

    I complained to BBC about climate change the facts and my complaint was escalated Executive complaints unit. But was rejected The usual the science is settled plus Of com agrees the science is settled. I had linked to Paul’s page detailing the errors but apparently they can not be expected to read and it was all to general Full reply below.
    British Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast Centre, BC2 B4, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TP
    Telephone: 020 8743 8000 Email:
    Executive Complaints Unit
    Mr B Sides
    Ref: CT/1900307
    21 June 2019
    Dear Mr Sides
    Climate Change: The Facts, BBC One, 18 April 2019
    I am writing to let you know the outcome of the Executive Complaints Unit’s
    investigation into your recent complaint. I have read all the previous correspondence,
    watched the programme in question and considered the concerns you have raised in
    light of the BBC’s editorial standards, as set out in its Editorial Guidelines.
    I have understood you to say “the program did not follow the BBC charter of impartiality
    regarding controversial subjects” and so I think it is appropriate to begin by setting out
    the BBC’s approach to the reporting of climate change and by setting out the position
    adopted by the Corporation’s independent regulator, Ofcom.
    The BBC’s position is that there is general agreement the scientific evidence shows the
    global climate is changing and the change is predominantly man-made. It seeks to
    reflect this scientific consensus, rather than broadcasting a balance of views which
    would give the false impression the argument is evenly divided. The scientific theory
    of anthropogenic global warming is not, therefore, regarded as a controversial subject
    as defined by the Editorial Guidelines.
    This is a view shared by the regulator, Ofcom. In 2008, it published the results of an
    investigation into a Channel 4 programme (The Great Global Warming Swindle) in
    which it said:
    …there comes a time when an issue that was once a matter of controversy becomes
    broadly settled, and an overwhelming consensus is formed both – domestically and
    internationally. For example, while the link between HIV and AIDS was once
    questioned and could have been considered a matter of political controversy or
    relating to current public policy, the link is now generally accepted and in most
    circles is no longer a matter of debate that could be regarded as a matter of
    political or industrial controversy. In Ofcom’s view the link between human activity
    and global warming also became similarly settled before March 2007…
    …Therefore, in this case, Ofcom considers that the subject matter of Parts One to
    Four of the programme (i.e. the scientific theory of man-made global warming) was
    not a matter political or industrial controversy or a matter relating to current public
    policy. Having reached this view, it follows that the rules relating to the
    preservation of due impartiality did not apply to these parts. It is important to note
    that by simple virtue of the fact that one small group of people may disagree with a
    strongly prevailing consensus on an issue does not automatically make that issue a
    matter of controversy as defined in legislation and the Code and therefore a matter
    requiring due impartiality to be preserved.
    I can therefore confirm the Editorial Guidelines on controversial subjects (Section
    4.4.5) do not apply to this programme and there was no requirement to provide the
    kind of “balance” to which you referred, for example, in your email of 19 April in which
    you wrote “The brief clips of President Trump and Nigel Lawson, Do not balance David
    Attenborough repeating that these are facts and we are certain about them” (sic).
    You also raised a number of more specific concerns in the course of making your
    complaint and so I hope I can address each of these in turn.
    In your email of 19 April you stated four “Facts”. You are, of course, correct when you
    state there are many things which affect the Earth’s climate, including the Sun.
    However, this programme set out to examine the causes and consequences of manmade climate change. The nature and subject matter of the programme was
    established at the beginning:
    Sir David Attenborough: Right now we are facing our greatest threat in thousands of
    years – climate change.
    Professor Naomi Oreskes: For a long time climate change was something scientists
    were predicting would happen in the future. But that is no longer the case.
    Professor Richard Lazarus: What we’re doing right now is we’re so rapidly changing
    the climate. For the first time in the world’s history people can see the impact of
    climate change.
    Professor Mark Maslin: Greater storms, greater floods, greater heatwaves, extreme
    sea level rise.
    Professor Michael E Mann: All of this is happening far faster than many of us
    thought possible.
    Sir David Attenborough: Scientists across the globe are in no doubt that at the
    current rate of warming we risk a devastating future.
    The points you have mentioned are not, therefore, directly relevant to the particular
    subject and nature of this programme and there was, therefore, no requirement to
    explore their impact on the Earth’s climate in order to achieve the necessary due
    In your follow-up complaint of 28 April you referred to a critique of the programme
    published online. I have read this but since you haven’t specified which particular
    parts of the programme you consider were inaccurate or lacking in due impartiality, I
    hope you can understand why I am unable to respond here to concerns raised by a
    third party. For the sake of clarity, I should explain the BBC’s approach to handling
    complaints about a specific item broadcast or published by the BBC is set out in
    Section 2 of the Complaints Framework and Procedures; this makes clear
    complainants should set out “clearly and concisely” the points they wish the Executive
    Complaints Unit to consider. It would, in my view, be impractical and inappropriate to
    expect the Unit to examine in detail examples of factual inaccuracy which have been
    raised by an unrelated third-party and which were not specified in your complaint.
    You also referred to a book which shares the same title as the BBC programme. I am,
    however, unclear how this is relevant. As I explained above, the BBC’s position (which
    is shared by Ofcom) is that the vast majority of international and national bodies
    involved in the study and analysis of climate change agree the scientific evidence
    shows the global climate is changing and the change is predominantly man-made.
    There was no requirement to refer to the content of the book or to consider the points
    made by its various contributors.
    I hope I have been able to explain why I do not believe there are grounds to uphold
    your complaint. There is no provision for further appeal against this decision within
    the BBC but please let me know if you want to comment on this finding. I would be
    grateful if you could let me have any such comments by 5 July. Alternatively, if you do
    wish to pursue the matter further, it is open to you to ask the broadcasting regulator,
    Ofcom, to consider your complaint. You can find details of how to contact Ofcom and
    the procedures it will apply at the following website: You can also write to Ofcom at
    Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA, or telephone either
    0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040.
    Yours sincerely
    Colin Tregear
    Complaints Director

    • October 15, 2019 9:29 am

      The scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming is not, therefore, regarded as a controversial subject

      What planet are these goons on?

      • Luc Ozade permalink
        October 15, 2019 10:15 am

        They only read The Guardian!

      • chaswarnertoo permalink
        October 15, 2019 4:04 pm

        Clown world. Hypothesis at best, being falsified as I post through radiosonde readings.

    • October 15, 2019 9:56 pm

      It’s fine for them to push one view as long as it is balanced by a skeptic view, this is where they are failing in their charter.

  19. M E permalink
    October 15, 2019 9:54 am

    They played David Attenborough’s programme on TV in New Zealand about a week ago I think. I’m not sure how many people watch TV programmes on Saturdays or Sundays many preferring to watch sports events on their computer’s because these seem to be on pay TV (Sky) in the main.
    Most people I speak to say they don’t watch the news anymore,either. I wonder what the advertisers think ?

  20. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 15, 2019 10:28 am

    In my complaint to the BBC about this programme inter alia I said that the parading of Mikey Mann, ‘the most disgraced climate scientist on the planet’ noted by 100 world class scientists as ‘a disgrace to the profession’ (Steyn) was a gross insult to their taxpayers (a better word than ‘licence payers’ as it’s regressive). Had they forgotten Climategate?
    Actually I don’t think they have, but are anxious to elide it because of their investigative failure and disgraceful acceptance of the whitewashing. Reply was the usual boilerplate by one Deborah who said that as climate change was widely accepted da da da.

    • HotScot permalink
      October 16, 2019 12:10 pm

      Mann is not a climate scientist!

      He has an MS and an MPhil in physics, reading between the lines, he failed his objective of getting a PHd.

      [Mann] was enthused by PhD adviser Barry Saltzman about climate modelling and research. To try this out he spent the summer of 1991 assisting a postdoctoral researcher in simulating the period of peak Cretaceous warmth when carbon dioxide levels were high, but fossils indicated most warming at the poles, with little warming in the tropics..

      [Mann] obtained an MPhil in geology and geophysics in 1993.”

      “He was granted his PhD in geology and geophysics in 1998.” Wikipedia

  21. Steve Borodin permalink
    October 15, 2019 2:55 pm

    Have I Got Lies for You!

  22. Phillip Beckley permalink
    October 16, 2019 10:51 am

    The MSM seem to be largely following the same script about CO2 warming. The letter from Tom Hardy in the Telegraph on Saturday supporting Extinction Rebellion was followed by another letter on Tuesday which included this statement: “By the time the 3GW Hinckley C power station is built, Britain will have brought on line more than 10 times that in wind capacity and solar. This is in spite of having a tiny proportion of the investment and government support that fission (and fusion) nuclear power have had”. While I am a free speech advocate, surely the Telegraph could do some elementary fact checking before publishing claims about the level of support for renewables, especially wind, which are incorrect. There is another line in this letter which I found a bit puzzling: “It is also important to remember that nuclear power is a fossil fuel we have to import”… surely some mistake? This letter was from Blaise Kelly at the Graduate Energy Institute, Bristol. Even in a very welcome letter in a previous issue of the Telegraph, pointing out the drawback of renewables in favour of nuclear, there was this comment, referring to nuclear fusion: “… the first commercial plant will probably not be commissioned until 2050 or later, so cannot contribute to ameliorating global warming.”

  23. 2hmp permalink
    October 16, 2019 3:46 pm

    What is so irritating is that the BBC know they are wrong, knew they were wrong at the time, and now are hiding that they were wrong. It is time their duplicity was brought to book. I hope the GWPF action hits home.

  24. jack broughton permalink
    October 16, 2019 4:11 pm

    The press and controllers have created a new form of Catch 22: anyone complaining about the unfair coverage or massive errors in the “proven science” must be insane so cannot be taken seriously. The simple answer about consensus will do them.

    Sadly even science and engineering publications are following this law too. All the top positions in the media have been infiltrated by the enemies of the people.

  25. Mr Magnet permalink
    October 23, 2019 5:21 pm

    Hmm. Remind me not to help any of you conspiracy nutters when the crunch comes.

    • October 23, 2019 7:38 pm

      OK, but please explain why the claims on the Attbro programme were correct

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