'BBC's biased climate science reporting isn't biased enough' claims report

Before commenting on the BBC Trust’s report into the BBC’s science coverage, I thought I’d take the trouble of reading the actual document rather than the press previews. I’m very glad I waited because the finished product is an absolute corker. Let me take you through some of my favourite moments.

The report, as you may be aware, was written by my fellow Telegraph columnist Steve Jones. Besides being a fine and engaging writer, Dr Jones is a geneticist of distinction and I would certainly never dream of questioning his judgement in his fields of expertise (notably Drosophila and snails). Fortunately, as becomes quite clear reading the report, climate science isn’t one of them.

Dr Jones sets out his ideological position fairly early on when he strives to bracket global warming…

(to read more, click here)

13 thoughts on “'BBC's biased climate science reporting isn't biased enough' claims report”

  1. “Professor Steve Jones, the author of a report on behalf of the BBC Trust, says the Corporation should not go out of its way to challenge ‘consensus’ views among the elite. That is a dangerous argument … the BBCTrust is exactly wrong. Good journalism should be about testing and scrutinising elites, not uncritically peddling their propaganda to the masses.”

    – Daily Express editorial, 21 July 2011, p12.

    This climate change “debate” and bogus “science has settled” consensus is partly the fault of the critics for not winning the debate hands down, but flunking repeatedly with different quick-fix arguments like speculation about sunspot variations causing global warming, which act as strawmen for the mainstream to attack.

    Note that Professor Steve Jones likes courting controversy in his own subject area, genetics: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1392217/Muslim-outrage-professor-Steve-Jones-warns-inbreeding-risks.html

    Unsurprisingly, the BBC pick-and-mix politically correct “ethics” censors led them to ignore Professor Steve Jones’ informed and qualified genetics advice on inbreeding risks among first cousin marriages in outraged ethnic communities, while listening to his advice on global warming, a physical sciences subject he is unqualified in. 🙂

  2. The so-called “evidence” for the causal link between CO2 and temperature is a huge pile of pick-and-mix indirect proxy observations: tree growth rings and satellite “clear sky” area temperature proxies that ignore the rise of atmospheric cloud cover causing negative feedback, by ignoring the tree ring data after 1960 which indicate increased cloud cover, and also ignoring the fact that satellite surface temperature data is restricted to cloud-free areas, not the increasing areas under cloud cover which are precisely the areas where the cloud cover negative-feedback is occurring!

    If they had any solid evidence, they could state the evidence, rather than merely stating they have formed a dogmatic consensus like a political party; in science the numbers of brainwashed followers are irrelevant, the facts are relevant instead. In politics, consensus vote size is what counts. This is politics. The only reliable evidence is the CO2 rise, and it’s trivial compared to evidence for natural CO2 variations in the past, as shown by GEOCARB models. All the temperature data was fiddled for the politically correct hockey stick curve by using tree-ring proxies to suppress temperature variability up to 1960 (tree rings are insensitive since hotter ocean increases evaporation and cloud cover, thus trees get less sunlight and this offsets the growth effect from natural air temperature variations).

    From 1960-80 they rely on weather stations, affected by local hot air emissions from growing cities and industry. After 1980 they rely on satellite data, which implicitly ignores negative feedback because you can’t measure Planck spectrum surface temperature through cloud cover, so you’re measuring surface temperatures for cloud free areas, which is another way of saying that you’re biased against negative feedback from increased cloud cover. Microwave temperature determinations of air temperature by satellites don’t discriminate the altitude of the air whose temperature is being measured, and you’re then biased in favour of measuring contributions from warmed air above clouds, not surface air temperatures under clouds which is affected by negative feedback from increased cloud cover.

  3. Delingpole, let me help you understand why Global Warming is man made. During the winter it is cold and people turn on their boilers and drive around in cars more. All this extra use of fossil fuels causes more CO2 to be produced, which the consensus knows causes temperatures to rise at any concentration. And what happens after a few months of this increased output? It gets warmer. Even you, surely cannot deny that it is not warmer today than on January 22nd. It is idiotic also, to believe that the Sun goes around the Earth; I mean what would it look like if it did? Evidence leads to consensus. The consensus is never wrong, because a group of people deciding on something are bound to be more right than one or two people. The Catholic church for instance and Galileo. You think one person challenges a long held consensus belief and it is changed, just because this one man proves he is right? No, ideas always come from large groups of people coming to the same conclusion at the same time.

  4. EyeSee: the objections against Galileo included his rudeness:

    “Volo, mi Keplere, ut rideamus insignem vulgi stultitiam. Quid dices de primariis huius Gimnasii philosophis, qui, aspidis pertinacia repleti, nunquam, licet me ultro dedita opera millies offerente, nec Planetas, nec , nec perspicillum, videre voluerunt? Verum ut ille aures, sic isti oculos, contra veritatis lucem obturarunt.”

    – Letter from Galileo to Kepler, 19 August 1610; http://moro.imss.fi.it/lettura/LetturaWEB.DLL?MODO=PAGINA&VOLPAG=10-423

    (“I want, my Kepler, that we laugh at the enormous stupidity of people. What do you say about the main philosophers of this Gymnasium, who, full of the obstinacy of the serpent, never wanted to see the Planets, the Moon, the telescope, although I was offering facts, expressly for them, for a thousand times. Really, they closed their eyes against the truth in the same way as that one closed his ears.”)

    “Oh, my dear Kepler, how I wish that we could have one hearty laugh together! Here, at Padua, is the principal professor of philosophy whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and planets through my glass, which he pertinaciously refuses to do. Why are you not here? What shouts of laughter we should have at this glorious folly! And to hear the professor of philosophy at Pisa laboring before the Grand Duke with logical arguments, as if with magical incantations, to charm the new planets out of the sky.”

    – Galileo’s letter to Kepler, quoted by Sir Oliver Lodge, Pioneers of Science, page 106.

  5. It’s about time that some one had the courage to say the obvious ; that the king is wearing no clothes and that GW is an obvious hysterical fraud …it is the return of LYSENKOISM ;science corrupted by politics and is all part of the Leftist political agenda
    hmmm….have you noticed how many of the GW promoters happen to be ”gay” ?

    This hysteria over GW , like any other fadd or fashion ,has it’s own momentum and shelf life and has clearly ”peaked” in the UK…the mainsteam public has become skeptical and tired of the hysteria and bogus predictions of the ECO-TWITS…we can expect these drama queens to become increasing shrill and deranged as they become sidelined and ignored…rather like an aging french actress who cannot accept that she’s not wanted anymore
    HA HA …the Bridget Bardot of climate change !

  6. Pathetic isn’t it James
    As you say how could the BBC be any more biased, and it wants to get even more biased?!!!
    In the past 5 years I’ve never heard a single News report or staged cackle of invited crones on the BBC ever report a sceptic view. Think the first I saw was in Jan this year ob BBC World News (what a pile of propagandised crap that ‘service’ is!)
    In stark contrast i remember being livid just watching the BBC Sat morning shows which ran no less than 4 news articles on pushing the hysterics agenda
    Dr Jones Report should have detailed in fact how the State and EC funded monopolist broadcaster, with 70% of the media market, despite over a decade of its pumping hysteria and crony science across the airwaves 25/7 has been such a remarkable failure in convincing the public of its message
    Clearly the BBC is failing miserably in its own agenda to convince people to think like it
    Group-think BBC.
    Maybe if the BBC was 100% bias rather than 99.9999% bias it’ll really swing that more than half the British public to the hysterical science agenda? Shit, they were only 0.0001% away from us all finding the truth!
    The ‘public service’ broadcaster is not a public service, more a corrupt tired zombie State monopoly with an agenda to grind and as Dr Jones reveals unconcsciously mighty disappointed at its own crap results
    Boo hoo ;”'((

  7. Colin Powis: “hmmm….have you noticed how many of the GW promoters happen to be ”gay” ?”

    Fantastic level of debate. The true colours of the deniers show through in all its illiterate glory. On a par with the Nazi’s conviction that Einstein must be wrong because he’s Jewish. Why don’t you campaign to have pink triangles stamped on scientific papers written by gay scientists? That way you know you can ignore them.

  8. The FACT is that many , if not most folk who are ”gay” tend to be on the Left ; and GW is classic Leftist ideology

    I don’t want to sideline this debate from GW into a hysterical diatribe on ”gay rights” with some drama queens

  9. Then why bring it up? And the large number of gays among Tory politicians is a simple matter of fact. Who cares? This says nothing about the veracity of the science either way, and one certainly doesn’t need to be a queen, a Queen, a lefty or a drama anything to point this out.

  10. Oh yeah, and if you’re going to go for that argument, the vast majority of Young Earth Creationists – those who believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old – are right wingers.

  11. Ah, irony! How much better if I didn’t make a mistake! Of course I meant that you cannot deny that it is hotter now than on January 22nd. Still, it is valid I think to point out that ‘the crowd’ may observe the Sun moving across the sky and conclude that it circles the Earth because, look it clearly does. Hardly a strange belief, just not based on any proof of that belief. If of course, you could make money from saying the Sun circled the Earth then I guess we would still ‘believe’ that today.

  12. “Oh yeah, and if you’re going to go for that argument, the vast majority of Young Earth Creationists – those who believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old – are right wingers.”

    Newton was a “young earth creationist”, estimating from biblical chronology that the earth was created around 4000 BC. “All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.” – Newton (quoted in J. Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard, Refuge Books, 2003, p 241). In fact, of course, Newton’s “discoveries” were made up in answer to letters announcing discoveries from people like Hooke (inverse square law of gravitation) and Liebniz (calculus); Newton had the habit of publishing only after others had “rediscovered” the same thing. One exception is his isothermal “law” of sound speed, which is false and is defended with falsified data analysis. Sound waves are adiabatic, so they compress and heat the air as they go, increasing their speed beyond that of an isothermal gas. Newton lacked the ideal gas equation of state, so it’s hardly surprising his theory was wrong. What’s more interesting is that he fiddled his selection of experimental data to “fit” his false theory, just like the temperature record has been fiddled to fit the AGW positive cloud cover feedback falsehood today.

    What Delingpole should do soon is to investigate and publish the fiddling of the temperature record, ignoring and pressing past the mainstream superficial “we need more research before we can comment” stone-walling obfuscation.

    Tree ring proxies rely on correlating air temperature to photosynthesis rates. Sunshine variation effects on photosynthesis due to cloud cover variations are ignored completely. This is a fraud because an effect of the negative feedback from water evaporation is increased cloud cover, which reduces sunshine and hence photosynthesis. Hence, there is a factual mechanism at play which ensures that tree ring proxies will suppress large swings in estimated air temperatures. As the air temperature goes up, more water is evaporated and carried aloft to form clouds, which suppress sunshine. So the enhancement of tree ring growth from increased air temperature is offset by the increased cloud cover, giving a tree ring growth record which – analyzed using the false assumption of constant cloud cover – gives a misrepresentative air temperature record with smaller fluctuations.

    This is an obvious explanation of why tree ring growth records show smaller swings in apparent air temperature in the 1960s-present than direct temperature measurements, or satellite data.

    Next we have the systematic errors in weather station data, which are used for the period 1960-80. Industrial growth and growing cities in this period produced direct local warm air emissions which affected the data. This 2C “urban heat island” effect has been proved experimentally; cities are a warmer than the unpopulated areas at similar latitude and with similar average weather, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island It has nothing to do with alleged CO2 global warming, but it contaminates early direct temperature measurements, in cities or downwind of industrial factories, power stations, steel mills, etc.

    Then after 1980, we have satellite data. You can’t measure air temperature in space, because there’s no air. So it’s down to indirect sensors of temperature, which again introduce bias into the data. If you rely on microwave radiation by air molecules, the satellite is measuring an integrated average temperature of the entire vertical depth of the atmosphere, not the sea level air. This is biased against negative feedback, which only occurs in low level air below clouds. The air near the tops of clouds is warmed by sunlight, so the microwave air temperature data excludes negative the feedback from cloud cover. It gives a misrepresentative air temperature, excluding the effect of low altitude air cooling from increased cloud cover.

    Finally, Planck thermal spectral emission temperature data for the earth’s surface gives a reliable surface temperature reading by satellite, but only for surface areas not covered by clouds. So it is biased in favour of clear sky areas, precisely “greenhouse effect” with no negative feedback. It automatically excludes the surface temperature contributions from the 62% of earth’s surface which is under clouds, and it is this area which suffers negative feedback (cooling), not the clear sky areas. So all satellite temperature data implicitly excludes negative feedback effects on surface air temperature.

    To my mind, this systematic “temperature record” fiddling is the key problem in the AGW debate. Since cloud cover has been increasing as CO2 increased, the effects of the increasing shadowed surface area is excluded from estimates of temperature. When you include these effects, there the overall temperature rise as a function of CO2 emission falls by as much as a factor of ten; negative feedback from a small increase in cloud cover cancels out the CO2 “greenhouse effect”.

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