Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The debate is over, is it?

The climate change debate has always been beyond me. I see too little of the world to be able to make meaningful comparisons about shifts in the weather. I am not a believer in anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Nor am I sceptic or a denier – I simply don't know. But when I hear the words 'the debate is over', this inclines me to the view that it most certainly isn't over and possibly hasn't been allowed to start.

It's what the US Surgeon General's (2006) report said about the dangers of passive smoking.

It's also over for the BBC, says James Delingpole, launching an attack with this interesting paragraph:

When the history of the greatest pseudoscience fraud in history  -aka “Climate Change” – comes to be written, no media organisation, not even the Guardian or the New York Times, will deserve greater censure than the steaming cess pit of ecofascist bias that is the BBC. That’s because, of all the numerous  MSM outlets which have been acting as the green movement’s useful idiots, the BBC is the only one which is taxpayer funded and which is required by its charter to adopt an ideologically neutral position.
You don't need to believe that this is the biggest pseudoscience fraud in history to realise that the BBC has a big credibility problem here, and Delingpole seeks to show that the BBC deliberately dropped its impartiality on the climate change debate, in what looks like an exercise in social marketing

How this was achieved is recounted in the report Submission to the Review of Impartiality and Accuracy of the BBC’s Coverage of Science, by Andrew Montford and Tony Newbery. Their report centres on a seminar held by the BBC in January 2006, under the title 'Climate Change – the Challenge to Broadcasting'. A report published by the BBC Trust the following year opined: 
The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. [emphasis added]
To cut a long story short, there is little evidence of any 'scientific expert' at the conference at all, and two observers were appalled at the level of research that BBC personnel appeared to have done on the issue of climate change. The BBC also refused to reveal the identities of those attending the seminar under a Freedom of Information request, and legal clarification has been sought on the exemptions relied on by the BBC. It is quite unacceptable that a publicly funded body should seek to conceal the identity of participants in such a key seminar. 

The report's conclusions recommend (to the Review of Impartiality and Accuracy of the BBC's coverage of science) that due attention is paid to the BBC's commitment to impartiality and any necessary corrections are made to public records, and to why the participants of the seminar, many of whom were attached to environmental NGOs, were allowed to formulate BBC policy on climate change.

The Review is to be chaired by Professor Steve Jones and will report next Spring. I hope its report is thorough. 


Eddie Douthwaite said...

Social Marketing, here are a few examples:-

"We need effective social marketing campaigns which link into local initiatives on the dangers of smoking in the home and in vehicles."


"We need evidence-based social marketing campaigns which tie in to local work, to highlight the dangers of taking up smoking at any age and the benefits of quitting."


"Audits of Smoking Cessation Support in Secondary Care and in Pregnancy (2007)
(Commissioned by NHS Health Scotland)

The Institute for Social Marketing recently undertook separate studies to audit smoking cessation support activities in two key target settings in Scotland; namely secondary care and pregnancy. The work was conducted in collaboration with the University of Bath and University of Glasgow. In addition to mapping service provision, there was a particular interest in the interface with local primary care-based smoking cessation services and referral processes (especially secondary care) and in perspectives of a range of professionals about services (pregnancy). The studies explored examples of best practice in these settings in Scotland and elsewhere and the findings facilitated considerations in relation to Scottish Guidelines and the forthcoming NICE guidelines."


Dick Puddlecote said...

Great piece, Belinda. The only good thing anti-smoking nutters have done for the world is show us how we are being lied to on a regular basis.

Once you recognise the method, it's easily recognisable in many different areas. They can't lie for ever, though. ;)

Unknown said...

Yes the anti smoking nutters vlew the gaffe on their masters methods alright.
Then some people probably enough ,started to learn how to turn stones over and look underneath.
A nasty pile of "creepy crawlies" emerge.