Maurizio – Omnologos

Where no subject is left unturned

Why is the BBC Biased Against Climate Change Sceptics?

with 4 comments

Letter sent to Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Dear Richard

I am not sure what you’ve set yourself up to show regarding “climate sceptics“, in the week “ahead of the launch of the IPCC’s synthesis report for 2007“.

First you treat the “sceptics community” as if it were some kind of monolith, or a political party (“Unravelling the sceptics“, Nov 12).

May I respectfully remind you that it is the Anthropogenic Global Warming proponents that need demonstrate their proposition, not the other way around.

In science, there’s usually only one way to agree, but lots of ways to disagree with something.

So what is “in the fringe” is as varied as it gets: outside the mainstream you will find those honestly doubting the Accepted Truth, alongside people with dodgy goals, and of course plenty of nutters.

It is not for the honest sceptics to answer for the dishonest ones, or for the fools.

And even among those sincerely disbelieving the IPCC’s claims, there will be quite a large range of opinions. That’s because they are not mainstream.


Today (Nov 14) you have published another baffling article “Climate science: Sceptical about bias”  where you argue almost nobody provided you with evidence backing the accusations the “science itself is against” climate sceptics.

First of all it is a rather naive accusation you’ve decided to argue against. How can “science itself” be against scepticism of any sort?

At most, it would be the scientific Establishment that will show reluctance in admitting being wrong.

Anyway, in that article you proceed lamenting the dearth of evidence, only then to dismiss the biggest of it all, Nature’s rejection of Stephen McIntyre’s and Ross McKitrick’s rebuttal of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick.

Please do make up your mind: either you are looking for evidence, or you are not looking for evidence.

The fact that you were looking for small stuff should not prevent you from seeing the big “elephant in the room”.

Also if you decide to mention something only to state that it “has been so well documented elsewhere” can you please insert at least a link of where that “elsewhere” is. It’s full of links on all BBC news pages, you know, so there must be a chance for you to help your readers investigate further, at least your own claims.

By the way, are you aware that the BBC and the IPCC have themselves pretty much rejected the Hockey Stick?

Look at this graph from one of the “In Depth” pages

That graph resembles no Hockey Stick anybody will ever want to play with. Looks more like a wide-bodied, irregular golf club…


And finally since you like challenges, how about this one: can you please point me to a page on the BBC new website showing present evidence for climate change?

I do not want to see one of the many lists of things that may, could, perhaps will happen.

All I can find is “Climate change: The evidence” that speaks of tiny raises in temperature, centimeters of melting ice and millimeters of rising seas.

You must admit it does not look like the clearest of cases.


Richard Black has responded. Here my reply to his private message. All text below is of course mine.

(about lack of evidence for anti-sceptic bias)
You’re missing something very important there. Let me try to convey the message with a made-up report:

“Women are not much at risk of domestic violence”, journalist Mr Red reported today. “I have sent a questionnaire to many of them but few bothered to respond. There is little evidence to support that claim”.

(about what “warmers” are finding out in the “real world”)
The real-world stuff is what I am studying at the moment.

In the AR4-WG2 documente there is a map repeated several times (eg fig 1.9, p 116) with numbers and percentages for observed physical and biological changes.

Now, there is an extremely large majority of “data samples” coming from biological changes in Europe (28,115 out of a total of 29,373). Furthermore: of those 28,115 “biological European data sets”, 89% are “consistent with warming”. In other words, 3,093 “biological European” changes (11%) are “NOT consistent with warming”. That is almost three times more than the total 1,177 number of observed changes outside of “biological European” and “consistent with warming”.

I still think the “warmers” need to demonstrate their case better than that.

(about the lack of skeptical articles in mainstream scientific publications)
Aren’t you arguing ad autoritatem there…

And don’t you know, when people publish for example on “Energy&Environment”, we are told that it’s not good enough.


Written by omnologos

2007/Nov/14 at 22:44:32

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. yes I have just scanned the report
    it’s a hatchett job on skeptism. They have made a false dichotomy in their world there are IPCC believers and cranky skeptics, nothing else.
    So The BBC has been only supporting the IPCC line for a while now. So they are getting some stick for it.

    Richard Black’s answer seems to be to do a shallow and as you say generalising piece ,saying “skeptics.. there aren’t nmany of them they’ll all nuts, so see we are right to just report IPCC line”

    No mention of the Dr Vincent Gray the IPCC scientists and his vehrment critism of the IPCC

    nor the bad info we get like the BBC reporting this week the NW Passage opening for the first time , when it has the same headline in 2000

    In quoting Lovelock and Lindzen he failed to show any awareness of Lovelocks recent work “Reducing emissions could speed global warming” as reported in the Telegraph

    As I said BBC can say “yeh, we’ve dealt with skeptics” now back to churning out the scare stories

    Stew Green

    2007/Nov/16 at 13:48:51

  2. […] China and the BBC Warming Bias 31 01 2008 (here some more thoughts on the all-too-apparent bias at the BBC towards global warming) […]

  3. […] is not immune from that same reporting bias, in matters of climate change (Mr Black knows very well my thoughts on the BBC warming bias); in the process, Freeborn John exposes a curious stealth-editing BBC […]

  4. I just read another bogus report by Mr. Black, ” Natural lab shows sea’s acid path”.

    In this “article” Mr. Black states that the ocean’s pH is naturally 8.1, and around some of the vents bubbling CO2, it is as low as 7.4.

    Maybe Mr. Black needs to retyurn to his Highschool Chemistry class for a refresher. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of chemistry should be aware that neutral pH is 7.0, so even around these vents, we see water that is base and not at all acidic.

    It is also important to note that as the sea warms, it is expelling CO2, which will raise the pH even higher.

    I suppose that when you have an agenda, the facts are simply a nuisance.

    Charles Sifers

    2008/Jun/08 at 19:18:37

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: