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BBC Climate Bias? Tell Me Something New!

December 29, 2019

By Paul Homewood


Talking of BBC climate bias, what turned out to be Christopher Booker’s last climate column just under a year ago summed up perfectly everything that is wrong with the BBC:



How ironic it was last week to hear the BBC leading its news on that Commons report claiming that our “democracy is being destroyed” by the flood of “fake news” spread by social media. In fact, thanks to the relentless bias of its own coverage of so many issues, there is no more influential source of “fake news” than the BBC itself. Here are two glaring, but far from untypical, recent examples.

The first began earlier in February with puffs on the BBC News website and Radio 4’s Today programme by Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s “environment analyst”, for a report by a body called the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), warning of “multiple crises” that threaten to “destabilise” the world’s entire environmental system. Particularly striking was a repeated claim that, since 2005, thanks to climate change, there has been a 15-fold increase in floods across the world and a 20-fold increase in “extreme temperature events”.

This seemed so startling that it prompted Paul Homewood, the diligent statistical analyst, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog to track down the evidence for these claims. It turned out that they originated from a database of natural disasters, EM-DAT. According to Homewood, this showed that the chief reason for these rocketing increases was a very significant change in the way such “disasters” were being recorded, to include thousands of more recent events that would previously have been far too small to register in the global figures (the IPPR itself warned that these figures should, therefore, be treated with “caution”).

But then Homewood found that the IPPR version was taken from something cited as the “GMO White Paper”, which might have sounded scientific. In fact, the “GMO” stands for Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo, the asset management firm run by Jeremy Grantham, who also funds the Grantham Institute on Climate Change at two London universities, Imperial College and the LSE (similar figures have been quoted by Lord Stern, the chair of the LSE branch).

Even the BBC realised that it had come rather a cropper on these claims. Subsequently, it allowed for at least a partial correction, aided by Mark Lynas, the climate campaigner, and the authors of that disaster database to which Grantham attributed his figures. But the impact of this was infinitely less than that of the coverage by Harrabin.

It was he who, back in 2006, was the organiser of that “secret seminar” between top BBC executives and green activists, which led to the BBC policy that – despite its statutory obligation to report only with “impartiality” – because the science on climate change was now settled, there was no need to give “equal space” to views that questioned it (with results so much in evidence ever since).


First of all, the BBC love to rely on “Scientists Say”, or Harrabin’s new found favourite “Environmentalists Say” (as if a bunch of bearded wierdos have a hotline to the divine truth).

This of course allows them to broadcast blatant junk science and absurdly unfactual claims  without comeback from complainers, because they are just reporting on what “Scientists said”. In this instance, it was the easily debunked paper from the far left IPPR.

Secondly, the BBC failed to carry out even the most basic journalism to check the verity of the claims, which should have set the alarm bells ringing even with somebody with only a degree in English as a qualification, like our friend Roger Harrabin.

Thirdly, they fail to invite opinions from other experts in the field, who would have told them straightaway that their story was poppycock.

Sadly we have no Booker around anymore to point out the inconvenient truth, that the Emperor has no clothes.

  1. December 29, 2019 10:41 pm

    But, but, you can trust the BBC…

    …it says so on its website ~(:-))

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      December 30, 2019 12:23 am

      Ever since it made that claim it has proved to be false. Indeed, the need to make the claim showed it was no longer trusted – and no longer worthy of trust.

  2. Dick Goodwin permalink
    December 30, 2019 12:17 am

    Christopher Booker, a very sad loss, taken far too early. RIP Christopher.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      December 30, 2019 10:50 am

      Yep. We needed Chris. Maybe someone of similar steel and intellect will emerge?

  3. December 30, 2019 6:44 am

    There is one programme on the BBC which debunks a lot of the nonsense put out on the BBC. That programme is ‘More or Less’, presented by Tim Harford and it looks in detail at statistics (or the numbers in the news), particularly claims by politicians. However, as one might have guessed, the one subject it is never allowed to look is climate change. It did, in the latest edition, inform us about one of Harrabin’s latest BBC articles about meat which he had reported on without (of course) examining the facts. It was obvious to me (and should have been obvious to such an esteemed “analyst” as Harrabin) that it was totally wrong. See: starting at about 6 minutes.

    Incidentally, that superb “analyst” Harrabin (who has never analysed anything) reports on that other well-known climate scientist and Bank of England chief, Mark Carney: “The world will face irreversible heating unless firms shift their priorities soon, the outgoing head of the Bank of England has told the BBC.” Perhaps this ties in with the fact that climate expert Mark Carney will next year start his new role as United Nations special envoy for climate action and finance.

    • Bertie permalink
      December 30, 2019 6:57 am

      This quote was, alas, repeated on the news on Radio 3 this morning.

    • December 30, 2019 7:45 am

      And Carney is also warning us (BBC Greta’s Today programme) in the Telegraph that our pension funds could become “worthless” because climate change.

      Is there no end to the BBC’s scares and propaganda?

      • December 30, 2019 8:58 am

        In a word – no.

      • Stonyground permalink
        December 30, 2019 3:29 pm

        If my pension fund becoming worthless is being predicted by climate change alarmists then I’m going to be quids in.

      • Kneetoe permalink
        December 30, 2019 3:37 pm

        Can’t we engage the Prime Minister as he’s ultimately the BBC’s boss? He should make a statement by letting a few people at the BBC go.
        He himself should be worried about the BBC Bias. It’s clear to us at least, that he wasn’t given his fair share of coverage or vocal support from the BBC ‘experts’

  4. Crowcatcher permalink
    December 30, 2019 7:27 am

    One interesting point is that Ian Stewart in the third episode of his “Men of Rock” series about Scottish geologists completely debunked ‘global warming’ by highlighting how we are heading, inexorably into the next glaciation – pity Hororbin and his like didn’t watch it!
    And on More or Less there was proof that XR’s claim of billions of dead was totally wrong – but then that was from a real statistition!!!

    • Eoin Mc permalink
      December 30, 2019 12:30 pm

      Crowcatcher. Hi. Just for the record: the geologist “Ian (sic) Stewart” who you uncritically namechecked, and who fronted the Men Of Rock Tv documentary series, has been mainstream in his climate alarmism for a considerable period of years now. I seriously doubt whether the one and the same Iain Stewart “completely debunked” the notion of ‘global warming’, as you suggest, insofar as since the broadcasting of the three-part 2010 Men of Rock documentary series Prof Stewart has blatantly promulgated the most extreme form of anti-carbon bias in follow-up BBC documentaries on how the Earth’s climate systems are (supposedly) being overwhelmed by human carbon emissions. Any chance I get I will bring up the subject of so-called climate change in Dublin so as to guage how the hype is being digested. In the dozens of middle-aged people I have engaged on the topic only one knew about basic issues, such as glacial periods, but even he was convinced that Earth was going to burn up naturally within the next few centuries.

      • C Lynch permalink
        December 31, 2019 11:43 am

        Fighting a similar lonely battle here in Limerick Eoin. Unfortunately I think people’s lives are so busy nowadays that it is easier to adopt intellectual positions rather than think them out – particularly if the position you are adopting has the added attribute of virtue signalling. The advent of technology and social media has facilitated this kind of intellectual laziness.
        Keep up the good work!

  5. tonyb permalink
    December 30, 2019 8:52 am

    According to greta just now on the 3 hour long climate emergency promo known as the ‘Today’ programme there is little awareness of the climate problem. She is right of course, until she came along I had never heard anyone talk about the climate so its good she has raised awareness.

    • December 30, 2019 9:11 am

      You are correct. It is obviously a figment of everybody’s imagination that the UK Government passed the Climate Change Act in 2008 and that £billions have subsequently been wasted on wind and solar farms to solve the climate emergency. The BBC has clearly not mentioned the climate on any of its ‘flagship’ programmes.

  6. December 30, 2019 9:04 am

    More FUD from the notorious BBC reporter, sorry… ‘analyst’:
    Mark Carney said the financial sector had begun to curb investment in fossil fuels – but far too slowly.

    He said leading pension fund analysis “is that if you add up the policies of all of companies out there, they are consistent with warming of 3.7-3.8C”.

    Mr Carney made the comments in a pre-recorded BBC Radio 4 Today interview.

    Where is this amount of warming supposed to come from, apart from the heads of blatant propagandists? Nothing in the real stats to back it up.

    • December 30, 2019 9:16 am

      I also wonder if Mr Carney can tell us where all our energy (and everything else derived from fossil fuels) is going to come from once there is no more investment in fossil fuels.

      Mr Carney (leading light of Project Fear) showed us how completely ignorant he is of science, engineering and economics; the only thing he is good at is making himself rich at the expense of others.

      • tonyb permalink
        December 30, 2019 9:36 am


        “I also wonder if Mr Carney can tell us where all our energy (and everything else derived from fossil fuels) is going to come from once there is no more investment in fossil fuels.”

        this is all a consequence of no one being aware of climate until Greta came along which means no one talked about it let alone took any action. Now it is all out in the open hopefully we can talk about the problems in a mature manner. Perhaps the BBC could start doing some programmes about climate?

  7. tom0mason permalink
    December 30, 2019 9:16 am

    The BBC’s rules to ensure that (in their opinion) they are the world’s greatest gift to broadcasting —
    1) The BBC broadcasts ‘world class’ (in-house verified) opinions.

    2) The BBC allows fair broadcasting of dissenting opinions. All are treated equally by ensuring all such voices pass the BBC’s circular reasoning validation tests, whether they dissenting about journalistic, artistic, scientific, legal, matters of fact, or silly popular perceptions of bias — all are treated equally. (subject to Rule 1)

    3) The BBC is funded by the UK public so it can maintain it’s ‘National Treasure’ status — see rules 1 & 2 for why this has always been correct.

  8. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 30, 2019 9:24 am

    I had to give up on R4’s love-in with GT this morning. But not before hearing the interview with her father, who claimed that finding a crusade for CC saved his daughter from the depths of the depression she was in.
    I’ve got news for him, his daughter and the fools who will follow her will put this (1st) World into a very deep state of depression if they get their way.

    And, why is it that qualified and experienced men like Lawson are virtually banned from R4 in favour of an unqualified, inexperienced teenager? (rhetorical).

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      December 30, 2019 10:27 am

      The answer to that, Harry, is that Lawson is in reality no more qualified than I am. His degree was in PPE and though he did become Secretary of State for Energy under Margaret Thatcher he has no scientific qualifications and thus does not carry any weight in the climate debate.

      I suspect that like a lot of us in the same boat he started out with the vague feeling that “this doesn’t smell right” and carried out research from there, learning from the relevant web sites and blogs — WUWT, Number Watch, latterly notalot … with forays into RealClimate where he will have discovered that disagreement simply provokes insult, never explanation — and common sense which tells us that if there was such a thing as a climate “tipping point” we would have passed it millions of years ago when CO2 levels were at least four or five times what they are today!

      But in the context of the BBC we ought, in an ironic way, be grateful to them and to the environmentalists because every day they demonstrate that there is no scientific basis for their beliefs and sooner or later this will become clear. Keep the faith and keep plodding on!!

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        December 30, 2019 10:53 am

        Yep. Give the warmists enough rope and they will hang themselves. 39,000 polar bears, latest estimate.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        December 30, 2019 2:25 pm

        TBF, Mike, I should have said, ‘qualified by experience’.
        I too have no ‘qualifications’ but I do have an above average IQ and 20 years of reading and blogging. like many here. I think anyone who has spent time at Steve McIntyre’s or with the Bish – not to mention here, at our host’s – will have received a good education. It certainly beats the education of a 16 year-old truant.

  9. mjr permalink
    December 30, 2019 11:05 am

    i also had to give up on this travesty after an hour .. i just couldnt take any more !!.. Even the puzzle of the day was based around dodgy figures. Looking forward to a full analysis and debunking of the programme. I am intrigued as to what the “guest editor” actually does. From what i can see, a pre-recorded (and so scripted?) interview with the Sainted pupper, Did she do anything else or was it then all planned by her handlers and associates (as we know she doesn’t have an independent or un-scripted and rehearsed thought in her head). We should be told!!!

  10. KEVIN OSULLIVAN permalink
    December 30, 2019 12:29 pm

    It would appear that the BBC Climate Change infection has spread to Sky News judging by their new series on climate change and “disappearing ice” in Antarctica. I have submitted a complaint, in the vain hope they might have second thoughts.Yeh! Some chance! See below:———————————————————————————————- Your item on Sky News this morning (09:20. 30/12/2019) relating to the perceived “threat” to penguins in the Antarctic was completely inaccurate and utterly misleading.

    Your correspondent and his guest contributor claimed that penguins NEEDED ice in order to breed. What utter balderdash. Penguins inhabit vast swaths of the southern hemisphere from north of the equator to Antarctica; from Australia to South Africa. Penguins are NOT restricted to the icy wilderness of Antarctica. In fact, of the 18 species of penguin, only four actually live in and around Antarctica, with only TWO species actually living on the continent of Antarctica, and they breed quite happily on LAND; not sea ice. In fact, Penguins walk miles inshore in order to breed and raise their young on terra firma, a very long way from ice floes. To suggest that a bird needs ice in order to breed is utterly ludicrous. The two species of penguin that inhabit this icy continent (Adélie and Emperor) do so not because it is cold and icy, but because it happens to be their home territory where they feel safe.        

    If this is the sort of inaccurate reporting and blatant lies you find necessary in order to scare your viewers with respect to the current bout of climate change, then God help us. I find it quite unsettling that Sky has decided to jump on the Extinction Rebellion bandwagon rather than check out the science for yourselves. If you did, you’ll find that this period of climate change is absolutely nothing new. In fact, this is the third period of climate change since….. well, since Sir David Attenborough was born: 1) Global warming from 1915 to 1940.Average temp’ increase: 0.77°C.

    2) Global coolingfrom 1941 to 1976. Average temp’ decrease:0.83°C.

    3) Global warming from mid-1970’s to thepresent. Average temp’ increase: 0.84°C,with a 15-year hiatus from 1998 to 2013. (Data from NASA–GISS & WMO).

    And, if you wish to see real climate data, not speculation about our ever-changing climate, then you should peruse the ice core graph below which shows that our climate has still NOT recovered back to temperatures last seen during the Medieval Warming.

    10,000 years of climate change. Journal of QuarternaryScience Reviews. No. 19:213-226. PLEASE STOP THIS SCAREMONGERING NONSENSE. Stick with the science, or risk losing all credibility. Kevin.

  11. Sheri permalink
    December 30, 2019 2:10 pm

    Everything these people say is projection. If they accuse others, they are MOST CERTAINLY GUILTY of the behavior and this should be pointed out constantly. Better yet, use an endless loop with projection and the impossibility to prove who is guilty in a world with flexible physics, no truth or lies, etc. You can become the best nihilist out there and make heads explode. It’s actually kind of fun. Depressing, too, that people are this stupid.

  12. leitmotif permalink
    December 30, 2019 6:02 pm

    The BBC has officially banned climate change “deniers” from tv and radio. But look at Sky. It’s exactly the same but I am not aware of any official ban that is in place. Only this morning Sky News ran a long article on Extinction Rebellion without any input from climate change sceptics.

    In fact I don’t remember seeing a climate change sceptic on Sky News ever since the BBC installed its ban.

  13. Jackington permalink
    December 30, 2019 6:38 pm

    I listened to the Today Programme this mng from 7.00 to 9.00 and learned absolutely nothing new on Global Warming; I had to break off occasionally in order to come up for air so I might have missed something interesting but I doubt it. Really, to have St Greta, Attenborough and Carney all on one show without challenge is biased – I even heard a piece by Tony Juniper mentioned. It was nauseating and should be prefaced by a health warning.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 30, 2019 7:19 pm

      Plus one! Juniper was over-egging it- and a bad egg at that.

  14. Broadlands permalink
    December 30, 2019 7:51 pm

    “In fact, the “GMO” stands for Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo, the asset management firm run by Jeremy Grantham, who also funds the Grantham Institute on Climate Change at two London universities…”

    And also helps fund the AAAS in Washington DC?

    “We’d like to thank the following people and organizations for providing financial support for the AAAS “What We Know” initiative: Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment — The Grantham Foundation seeks to raise awareness of urgent environmental issues and supports individuals and organizations working to find solutions.”

    The What We Know initiative is all about climate change…propaganda?

  15. December 30, 2019 8:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  16. Crowcatcher permalink
    December 31, 2019 5:41 am

    Eion Mc – believe me, I am no admirer of Ian Stewart, and as a retired BBC employee I loathe it as much as anyone posting here.
    In the 1970s I had a particularly astute boss who coined two phrases I’ve never forgotten – “The trouble with the BBC is that it’s been taken over by bl***y journalists” and “Know bugger all about anything, become a (BBC) journalist”
    The best science series the BBC ever did was “Earth Story” (the geological history of our planet) presented by Prof. Aubry Manning, (far better than any Attenborough series) his conclusion at the end of “The Big Freeze” episode was “One thing that we hvee learnt is that the Earth’s climate will never stop changing”.
    Funny that the BBC has never repeated it – too many scientific truths!

  17. NeverReady permalink
    December 31, 2019 11:06 am

    Talking about climate bias…just found a link to this…apparently tomorrow will see the UK plunged in to a never ending climate change driven Greta Thunberging Siberian winter…

  18. January 2, 2020 6:30 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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