Spot the Hockey Stick #14: The BBC

Of all news outlets across the world, the supposedly unbiased BBC has been one of the greatest cheerleaders of global warming alarmism in general, and the Hockey Stick in particular. My encounters with the journalists who write on the BBC website have been brusque and condescending. As a mere taxpayer and license fee payer, I have no right to give askance to the BBC, because the BBC is not simply a television company and a news agency, but a British institution, like the Queen.

Institutions in the UK cannot be completely wrong. Therefore anyone who points out that the BBC is wrong once is a nuisance, twice an irritant, three times or more a lunatic. So usually they’ll answer nicely (to show you the error of your ways) the first time, then brusque the second time, then dismissive after that.

Thus, despite belatedly finding that their favorite climate reconstruction is a little controversial, the BBC blithely uses that reconstruction alone to exaggerate the very slight change in climate of the 20th Century into a monster.

Here’s a typical article about the Hockey Stick and the dismissal of criticism by skeptics is plain for all to see. The usual tactic is to get responses from the Hockey Team (usually Phil Jones) and allow no rebuttal or reply.

All of this came into sharp focus when the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme interviewed Michael Mann about his work and the criticism of it. Despite repeated calls and e-mails no-one from the Today programme would immediately call either Ross McKitrick or Steve McIntyre or explain why not.

To this day, no-one from the BBC can be bothered. Why? Because the BBC is right and you’re a lunatic for suggesting otherwise (you have a bee in your bonnet about it – clear signs of obsessive and irrational behavior).

Skeptics are given extremely short shrift. Take the "Apocalypse NO!" conference organized by the Scientific Alliance. The article was posted mid-way through the morning of the conference itself (to prevent anyone who might be interested in going from being unnecessarily forewarned) and only sometime later was a link to the Scientific Alliance put on the article ( I had to google for it at the time). Note the title "Science sceptics meet on climate" as though anyone who disagrees with global warming must disbelieve science itself (ie they’re lunatics). The conference a few days later organized by the Uk Met Office got the full trailer of scare stories before, during and after.

There are those on the blogosphere (like John Brignell of Numberwatch fame) who regard the BBC Science department as an environmenalist propaganda unit in all but name. Certainly the bias is obvious and there are no checks and balances to ensure fair journalism. After all, who can possibly be opposed to people trying to save the planet?

If the BBC is not biased, why has no-one contacted either Steve or Ross in regard to the Hockey Stick? There must be a reason why Michael Mann, an American, chose the BBC for an exclusive interview – he was practically guaranteed that no nasty skeptics would be there to rebut what he said. After all the BBC doesn’t want to confuse the licence payers unnecessarily, do they?

Update: Ross McKitrick has pointed out that the article published by the BBC quotes him directly, so there was some communication. There was the usual content-free rebuttals from Schmidt and Jones which did not address the question of Mann’s methodology nor why his work is still trumpeted as proof of dramatic climate change in the 20th Century. Ross also pointed out that someone from the BBC has been in contact since, and has indicated interest in pursuing the story further.


54 Comments

  1. Michael Ballantine
    Posted Apr 20, 2005 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    DOOM and GLOOM = GOOD RATINGS
    All is well. Nothing to see. = POOR RATINGS
    Nothing else matters and that is the sorry state of almost all traditional journalistic outlets. Thank the gods\fates\geeks and nerds for the blogosphere. Lots of crap but at least the truth is in there to be found.

  2. Posted Apr 20, 2005 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I’m new to this debate. I’ve always been skeptical of the doomsayers, but your hockey stick story has really got me interested in looking into the research in more detail. I really think the story behind the debunking of MBH will go down as one of the great achievements in the global warming debate. Anyway, thanks and keep up the good work!

  3. John Finn
    Posted Apr 21, 2005 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    John

    Who do you contact at the BBC. It still might be worth keeping on at them. Eventually something might just get through – particularly if a few of us keep badgering them. I do suspect, though, that their failure to provide any semblance of balance is due to bias rather than ignorance.

  4. John A.
    Posted Apr 21, 2005 at 3:52 AM | Permalink

    Re: #3 The last person I contacted was Alex Kirby. Alex Kirby has regularly stepped over the line of journalistic independence. Just search the website or google his name. I don’t imagine for a moment that Kirby is for a moment, ignorant of his bias.

  5. Robert Duke
    Posted Apr 21, 2005 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

    I became a skeptic on global warming thanks to a BBC report on the imminent demise of the island state of Tuvalu. The report showed sea water breaking into a womans garden but it neglecte to mention the rate or magnitude of sea level rise. Out of curiousity I checked these ommissions and realised the report was more propaganda than objective journalism. The BBC is a news service with a first rate reputation but provides a third rate service. I am now suspicious of all forms of BBC journalism.

  6. peroxisome
    Posted Apr 21, 2005 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    Hi John
    I think you seriously mis-represent the interview of Mann. I listened to it, and in all faith, I think the interviewer asked Mann tough questions.

    I think that the difficulty is that mann used similar rhetoric and claims as he did on realclimate. If mann says that M&M papers are “deeply flawed” or “fully discredited”, it isn’t really for the journalist to argue the detail to show that this is wrong. I don’t think it matters much anyway. If you believe that M&M’s work is good science, then their arguments will be shown to be good. Mann’s comments will come home to roost.

    yours
    per

  7. Eleanor
    Posted Apr 26, 2005 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    People!
    Yes, the BBC is biased against the skeptics of climate change.
    But ‘lefty’? Loony fringe? Let’s get a grip and look at how our world works

    The BBC(like NBC and CBS and ABC and Fox and all of ‘em) ISN’T the mouthpiece of the lefties, or the righties, or the greenies or Gay Pride or any minority group anywhere, and for one good reason: loony fringes don’t have money and power, they don’t make or break individual careers, or give grants or set licence fees, or offer knighthoods or seats on boards; and they don’t have the pwer to ostracise or punish either.

    This kind of power belongs to the governments and the rich corporate elite that service them. And this is why the BBC and every other media outlet has pretty much always been the mouthpiece of the governments and rich and said what the governments want it to say. This is just a fact of life. It’s always been a fact of life everywhere since news media first got made.

    And this is nowhere more true than in the UK with the BBC. The miner’s strike of the 1980s? – the BBC sided with the government and told lies. The war in Iraq? – the BBC sides with the government and presents coverage so biased it has been estimated by an independent assessor to be second only to the notorious Fox news in its lies and its slavish following of government policy.

    For BBC read ‘Blair’s Broadcasting Corporation’

    So, if the BBC is sidelining you climate-change guys it’s for one reason – the government and the establishment want it to; not the socialists, or the mad greenies, or gay pride, or the militia men, beause none of them have the power to influence policy – unless the government gets behind them for some reason.

    So, why is the government getting behind the greenies and the lie of the hockey stick? Because it’s all tree-huggy and flowery and soft? Well, given it’s using depleted uranium in Iraq I am thinking — no.

    So, why? Maybe the answer was in this weekend’s Independent – Blair is using ‘climate change’ as an excuse to bring nuclear power back on the agenda.

    The government wants a resurgance of nuclear power for some reason, and they know ‘global warming’ is a neat way of achieving this. So they talk up the scare and suckee the pathetic greens into siding with them and shut up guys like Steve here who are trying to get at the truth.
    Make sense?

    Just remember as a rule of thumb guys; something wrong and fake is being promulgated in all the media outlets – follow the money. Figure who has the power and cash to do this and who also stands to make more solid cash or power as a result and you’ll usually find the reason.

    Second rule of thumb: loony fringes don’t make policies, the rich and powerful make policies, and if they are paying lip service to a loony fringe it’s because it’s expedient for them to do so.

    You guys have truth on your side it seems, but you seem quite politically naive in some ways. Take a quick course on how power systems work and you will be far better prepared to deal with what is going on here.

    Eleanor – and old campaigner of no fixed belief who’s seen it all a few times over.

  8. John A
    Posted Apr 26, 2005 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

    Eleanor,

    I do not make the case that the BBC is "lefty" or "righty" or "liberal" or "conservative" because I think that the BBC is at times all of the above. What the BBC is, is a fashion victim, the current fad being environmentalism of an extreme kind.

    It is also, in my view, authoritarian and unresponsive to criticism, rather like the state that nurtures it. It also demonstrates that a relatively small number of journalists can have a disproportionate impact on the presentation of scientific evidence. That there are vested interests in this, is also beyond doubt.

    I maintain that the current environmental crisis is just like all the others, and just like all the others, the BBC is in the vanguard of its promotion.

    I appreciate your insights. Thanks for writing.

  9. Posted Oct 8, 2005 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    Todays De Volkskrant, without error bars…

  10. John A
    Posted Oct 8, 2005 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Re #10

    Thanks for depressing me, Hans.

  11. TCO
    Posted Oct 8, 2005 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    I love how they stick the instrument to the proxy instead of showing total proxy. Great debate style…lousy logic.

  12. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    re 10:
    Todays De volkskrant (29 october 2005, section “kennis”, page 1)

    An interview with Michael Mann by Martijn van Calmthout.
    Mann is happy about new submitted papers to GRL one by Huybers and one by Wahl and Amman.

    I quote from van Calmthout:

    “They [Wahl and Amman] looked how sensitive Mann’s results are for omission or inclusion of regional datasets. Their conclusion: Mann’s conclusion that the amount and speed of warming in the 20th century is unique for at least sixhunderd years and probably for thousand years is without question robust. Even stronger: a new reconstruction with completely different statistical techniques in the same paper does yield a hockeystick and no warm medieval period”.

    It is ironic that van Calmthout – who accused Crok for not interviewing Mann- hasn’t gone to Steve for a response.

  13. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 29, 2005 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    And of course the hockeystick graph was in the “De Volkskrant” article.

  14. A. Morrow
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Notable is that Mann has become a figurehead…

    “Skeptics” (by which I mean contrarians) attack Mann, but say nothing of the fact that there are hundreds upon hundreds of other scientific studies with much less questionable methodologies which all produce the same conclusion:

    The 20th century is demonstrating anomalously high degress of average global warming (not necessarily regional; there are variances, but as a whole, the planet is warmer), and the only major change in input involves human behavior.

    So let us assume Mann’s study is intellectually bankrupt and his results are useless. The vast majority of the scientific community is also saying the exact same thing Mann was, often in more sophisticated ways.

    So what does this change?

  15. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    The quick and dirty answer (and it’s already been given here many times for newbies like you who come on without reading very much that’s here), is that the other proxy climate reconstructions are just as bad as Mann; Steve’s been picking them apart steadily, but just hasn’t gotten everything he’s found into journal articles yet.

    There are also unanswered questions about the actual temperature record for the 20th century, but that’s another whole story.

    Finally the reason “hundreds of other scientific studies” reach the same conclusions is most easily explained as “follow the leader”. People want their work published so they mold their findings to match what is expected whether the actual data fits or not. In any case very few of them are climate reconstructions among them.

  16. TCO
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Are you agreeing that Mann’s study is bankrupt?

  17. John A
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    They’re playing our song again:

    “Skeptics” (by which I mean contrarians) attack Mann, but say nothing of the fact that there are hundreds upon hundreds of other scientific studies with much less questionable methodologies which all produce the same conclusion:

    Climate warming alarmists (by which I mean credophiles) have been ignoring that Mann’s study is fatally flawed and that “hundreds and hundreds” of studies claimed which are supposed to support MBH do not actually exist.

    In any case, it will not do to say that other studies “support” Mann. If Mann’s study is wrong, then it bodes ill for other studies to support an erroneous conclusion.

    As has already been published the whole paradigm of multiproxy studies may be false or extremely exaggerated.

    The 20th century is demonstrating anomalously high degress of average global warming (not necessarily regional; there are variances, but as a whole, the planet is warmer), and the only major change in input involves human behavior.

    The Sun has increased its output over the course of the 20th Century, but of course in the wild and wacky world of climate alarmism, the Sun is not a “major change” in input. Funnily enough other planets in the solar system have also warmed in the last 25 years, but that’s just pure coincidence.

    This comes around to the question of whether if a study like MBH is “not important” then why all the bluster? Like other apocalyptic belief systems, no evidence is too strong to refute a belief in doomsday, and no concoction of flakey half-truths too weak to justify further belief.

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #15: I started by wondering how people purported to know to such a high degree of confidence that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium and 1990s the warmest decade, as reported to Canadians by the Government of Canada relying on the IPCC. It may or may not be – however, none of the multiproxy studies are sufficient to demonstrate this in my opinion. At present, I do not have personal views on whether the impact of 2xCO2 will be 0.6 deg C, 3.5 deg C or 5.6 deg C. In one sense, I hope that studies in other areas are better than in the multiproxy area, where existing processes of disclosure and due diligence seem to have been insufficient to prevent the IPCC prominently featuring Mann’s flawed study; in another sense, I hope that they are worse.

    The one policy that I strongly object to – and I wish that more people concerned with potential AGW would share my concern – is that climate scientists should scrupulously archive their data and methods, so that their work can be checked by any interested party without long drawn out battles for data.

  19. Jack
    Posted Dec 21, 2005 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    The one policy that I strongly object to – and I wish that more people concerned with potential AGW would share my concern – is that climate scientists should scrupulously archive their data and methods, so that their work can be checked by any interested party without long drawn out battles for data.

    I share your concern, and as I mentioned to you a short while ago, it’s because I want to know with reasonable certainty what actually happened to the global climate over the past 1000 years.

  20. JEM
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

    Funnily enough other planets in the solar system have also warmed in the last 25 years, but that’s just pure coincidence.

    I’m new around here and I may have missed more on this. And I know this comment by John A I’m responding to here is now two months old.

    But…

    It occured to me some coniderable time back that if we could show conclusively that other planets — and especially our atmosphere-free, distance-to-sun-sharing moon — was indeed warming, the case for AGW is killed stone dead overnight.

    So is John A right?

    Do we really have this evidence? (I’ve looked on the net without success a few times in the past.) If we do, is it robust?

    If we don’t have this data, why is it not being gathered? After all it woudn’t be so very difficult, at least in the case of the moon.

  21. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/dec/HQ_03415_ice_age.html

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_ice-age_031208.html

    http://www.iee.org/OnComms/Circuit/benefits/Editorials/Features/mars_iceage.cfm

    For the moon the lack of atmosphere gives drastic changes making any changes like we’ve seen (less than a degre) far lost in the noise.

  22. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #21, JEM, firstly, you need to decide (as John and others do) if you think it (the lower part of the atmosphere that we live in) is warming but it’s due to the sun not AGW (or UHI’s), or you think it is warming but it is due UHI’s, or it’s not warming much becuase you like the look of the S&C sat record V 5.1, or other measuring errors (the ‘there is no such thing as average temperature’ argument), or you boot it into the long grass with a ‘we need X thousand years data to know’, or some other varient.

    Then, and please let us know your choice, I suggest you try this http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=192 (and links) and before someone say’s it NO, he’s not a member of the ‘team’ as far as I can see.

    Me? I think it’s warming. That the sun has caused some of this, that human produced ghg’s have also contributed and will so more and more as atmospheric concentrations of said increase and lagging warming kicks in.

  23. John A
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    Jem,

    Not only is Mars warming but so is Pluto, even though its in part of its orbit where it’s moving away from the Sun.

    Obviously these things are coincidences.

  24. Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    Jem,

    And so is Triton warming up.

    “Observations obtained by the Hubble telescope and ground-based instruments reveal that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, seems to have heated up significantly since the Voyager spacecraft visited it in 1989.”

    Hummm. Wonder why all the planets and their moons are warming? Could it be the sun?

  25. Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    JEM, firstly, you need to decide (as John and others do) if you think it (the lower part of the atmosphere that we live in) is warming but it’s due to the sun not AGW (or UHI’s), or you think it is warming but it is due UHI’s, or it’s not warming much becuase you like the look of the S&C sat record V 5.1, or other measuring errors (the “there is no such thing as average temperature’ argument), or you boot it into the long grass with a “we need X thousand years data to know’, or some other varient.

    I don’t agree.

    As I see it, I don’t know the answer, but seek an objective way of arriving at one (or two).

    In general, there seems to me to to be two fundamental questions that need answering.

    One is, is global warming happening?

    The other is, is humanity causing it?

    My proposal for taking the temperature of the moon (say) is that it is an objective way of at least possibly answering both:

    Suppose the moon has not been warming up over the last (say) 40 or 50 years? That tells us that solar flux is not the reason for any global warming here on earth, if indeed there is any. Thus, we still don’t know for sure how much earth may or may not have warmed, but at least we have ruled out a solar mechanism. We’re not much farther forward, but we’re not really any farther back.

    On the other hand, if the moon has indeed warmed up over that time, then depending upon the extent, we have a ‘smoking gun’ for either part or all of the earth’s global warming.

    Just suppose it turns out the lunar temeprature increase is as great as the global warming clergy claim for earth over the last half century? What does that tell us?

    Well, clearly it would mean that that rise was 100% natural. And — this is the crux of the matter here — if there is a natural-only rise, it means that despite all the vast efforts of all the ‘wicked’ CO2 ‘polluters’ and the rest over hundreds of year, it had clearly not made a blind bit of difference to the world’s climate. And if that is so, there is absolutely nothing the human race can do to to stop it.

    Kyoto or any other alternative scheme to prevent global warming, would be proved a total waste of time money and effort.

    Yes, I know that’s true of Kyoto anyway, but in the scenario I describe, there is no Kyoto subsitute that could, even in principle, do any better.

    Or to put it into the words of Steven Jay Gould when he talked of his skepticism about AGW, “We should be so powerful?”

    —-

    I looked at the link to realclimate Peter recommended. Here I read someone called Lynn Vincentnathan state:

    My thinking is that even if part of the warming on Earth has been caused by increasing solar output, that simply means we must redouble our efforts to do what we can to reduce GHGs, esp. since we have no control over the sun & its increased output could spell big trouble.)

    Sounds like Lynn is living in Cloud-Cuckoo Land…

    —-

    As for ET SidViscous’s links to reports that Mars has been emerging from an Ice Age. Yes. I know. So has earth. No-one on either side of this debate disputes any of that, but it is irrelevant. We are not concerned with geological processes here but short-term changes over decades or a few centuries at most.

    —-

    And John A, regarding Pluto: two points — (1) we have not yet observed a full orbit of Pluto and (2) we are still not even quite sure how big it is or what its albedo is. Nothing we think we know about Pluto would (to coin a phrase) stand up in court.

  26. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Re #26, err, I think your prejudices are showing through :) “Just suppose it turns out the lunar temeprature increase is as great as the global warming clergy claim for earth over the last half century?”, you’ve made your mind up. Don’t pretend to be objective whan you say things like that!

    One question, how do you propose to construct the temperature history for the moon?

  27. Paul
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    RE#27 – Tree ring proxies.

  28. Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    you’ve made your mind up.

    No I’ve not. That’s exactly why I ask the question. Since when is it pretending to be objective to seek the objective facts?

    One question, how do you propose to construct the temperature history for the moon?

    I don’t. I’m trying to discover if the data already exists somewhere.

    Are you always this silly? :-)

  29. Spence_UK
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #28

    Good idea.

    Just select a few million tree ring histories, find one that correlates with the temperature of the moon, then use PCA/RegEM to extract the signal. Jobs a good ‘un.

    Of course the final selection of those proxies should be made behind closed doors, by visual inspection. Don’t forget that step, it won’t work otherwise.

  30. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #29, because going on about ‘global warming clergy’ (in other words the old ‘you’re religious not scientific’ jibe) is not what this place is about – http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=534#comments (posts #46 and #49)

  31. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    When I read other BBC scientific reporting (non global warming issues) I find that they do a good job of presenting both sides of the argument. They present the new finding along with comments from other scientists who disagree. They do this without trying to discredit the contrarian views.

    In the case of global warming, they almost never present opposing views unless it is to bash them. After reading a particularly one sided article called Talks renew vigour to tackle warming , I attempted to contact the author, Roger Harrabin. I wondered why he had labeled a section “Scientific Consensus” when his article mentioned nothing about a scientific consensus. I received an email from a BBC science reporter with a canned reply from Harrabin. Harrabin never saw fit to reply directly.

    A recent unprecedented joint statement from the leading science academies of the G8 plus China, India, Brazil and South Africa concluded that climate change was occurring and being driven in part by man. That is the consensus to which I refer. The same conclusion is reached by the 2,000 experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change.

    There is also a scientific consensus on evolution. That, too, is doubted by some.

    Debate about the climate consensus has dominated climate discussions in the media for two decades, often to the detriment of debate about policy. Now the G8 leaders have determined that climate change is a major threat it is important that the media, while continuing to report uncertainties about the science, moves towards reporting the politics.

    Roger Harrabin

    I responded, pointing out Harrabin’s use of the “straw man” logical fallacy and the lack of any consensus on the degree to which global warming is antropogenic. I never received a reply.

    The interview with Mann is interesting from the standpoint that he accuses his critics of using the tactics which he employs against them. By doing this, Mann is projecting his behavoir on others. The BBC interviewer failed to ask Mann for any examples.

    Mann also claimed that all his data and methodologies were archieved, but he failed to mention that this was only after pressure from Steve, Ross and a Congressional Committee.

    Mann’s distortions of the M&M papers went unchallenged by the interviewer, which leads me to believe that she never read them.

  32. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Re: 30
    Spence, don’t forget the final step:
    Never archieve your data, your methodologies, or state your selections in any publically accessible site until you are embarrassed into doing so by a Congressional Committee.

  33. Posted Feb 20, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Re #31, I think Peter is having difficulty understanding the difference between a scientific theory — in this case, AGW — which is subject to all the normal testing of the scientific process, is falsifiable, and thus no religion, and the high priests or clergy or what-have-you of the movement (Political? Religious? Or what? But certainly not scientific.) that is loosely based upon this theory.

    It seems pretty self-evident that, aided by the scientific illiteracy of the media, politicians and the general public, they have taken and perverted the AGW theory in such a way as to make it unfalsifiable, at least in their own eyes, and the questioning of it a heresy: THAT is what is tantamount to a religion. It is certainly not science.

    What I seek to do is find an objective test of AGW. I may not succeed. Or a test may turn up that proves the ‘priests’ are right.

    Unlike them, I don’t ‘know’ but I’d genuinely like to find out.

    And whatever the answer, I’ll accept it, if it is honestly and openly and correctly arrived at.

    If that is being prejudiced, then I’m prejudiced.

  34. Louis Nettles
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    Now this from Sir Richard Attenborough

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article570935.ece

    But I’m no longer sceptical. Now I do not have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate. The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years.

  35. Louis Nettles
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Now this from Sir Richard Attenborough

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article570935.ece

    But I’m no longer sceptical. Now I do not have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate. The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years.

  36. kim
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    Another Katrina victim.
    =============

  37. John Lish
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    Sir David can also be heard here on national radio for the next few days. Just click on listen again and it is 2hrs 18mins into the show.

  38. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation.

    That implies that when human population plateaus, which it’s widely expected to do in the middle portion of this century, then any heating will also plateau. Otherwise his admiration of the fit of the curves would be simple coincidence. Therefore, population control in the third world should be far more important that what happens in the developed world, which already fully industrialized anyway. Somehow I don’t see this as the present or future warmer strategy, however.

  39. Dennis Ambler
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Contacting BBC journalists:

    I initially got polite replies to e-mails pointing out bias in their reports,
    but now get silence. I still send them just to rattle their cage.
    One of the worst is David Shukman. Susan Watts as Science Editor of BBC Newsnight has a pedigree of New Scientist and The Independent and was a main witness in the Hutton enquiry into the Iraq dossier. She was a good girl as far as HMG was concerned.
    Their e-mail format is firstname.secondname.bbc.co.uk.

    The BBC has become noticeably a more government propaganda unit since Hutton.
    It is also reliant on the govt. for it’s licence fee, (ultimately Joe Public, but dispensed by politicians). It has been obvious for a long time that Blair no more believes in CAGW than anything else but it is the only way to push Nuclear and Waste incineration past the greens. Cameron follows the same tack for the same reasons.

  40. Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    That’s easy Dennis. If you persist in pointing out the bias, its because you’re a crank.

  41. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    RE: #40 – FT is horrendous. Nearly every day they have one or another alarmist article, op ed or other reference. Fiona Harvey is one of the main instigators. Probably knows Monbiat, Stern, and even our own Peter H! (LOL).

  42. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    What has happened to Peter H, BTW? Not that I miss him, but I haven’t seen a post by him for a while.

  43. bruce
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #40: I think that you mean that the e:mail format will be firstname.secondname@bbc.co.uk

  44. Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    A lot of the attention in these comments seem to be focused on 1 hockey stick analysis and the BBC. The BBC are not the only people reporting about climate change. For years the BBC has given voice to people like Michael Crichton’s “scientific” views on climate change.

    A couple of questions for you:

    What is the world’s largest global scientific study ever conducted?

    What is the array of corporate power aligned against changing the energy infrastructure?

    How much has been spent on funding the scientific studies against anthropogenic climate change?

    Where did this funding come from?

  45. MarkW
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

    Why does it matter who funded the study? If you can refute the results, do so.

  46. John A
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    A lot of the attention in these comments seem to be focused on 1 hockey stick analysis and the BBC. The BBC are not the only people reporting about climate change. For years the BBC has given voice to people like Michael Crichtons scientific views on climate change.

    And this means what, exactly? The “1 hockey stick analysis” has lead to ALL of the other hockey stick analyses being shown to be similarly flawed.

    I supposed you’re going to tell us that it doesn’t matter whether the method is flawed, the data is corrupt and the statistical analysis nonsensical, just so long as they get the right answer?

    A couple of questions for you:

    Then four questions follow.

    What is the worlds largest global scientific study ever conducted?

    Irrelevant. Size may matter for political purposes, but size for scientific studies means nothing. The question is whether it is correct.

    What is the array of corporate power aligned against changing the energy infrastructure?

    Irrelevant. If the energy infrastructure needs costly change then the reasons had better be more than “look at the size of my scientific study”

    How much has been spent on funding the scientific studies against anthropogenic climate change?

    Not nearly enough. If AGW had been funded in the same way as non-AGW then I’m sure we would have seen better science. As it is, the AGW side has been funded to the tune of billions of dollars.

    Where did this funding come from?

    Pretty much all of it came from scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    Perhaps one day soon, we start focussing on the science contained in these studies, for and against, rather than this Orwellian propaganda that whoever questions a scientific dogma like AGW must be in the pay of some dark Satanic capitalist conspiracy.

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    What is the world’s largest global scientific study ever conducted?

    What do you mean by a “scientific study? If you’re talking about a study in which original research is done, then IPCC AR4 does not qualify. IT is a literature review and carries out no research or even verification. So I don’t know the answer to your question but it’s not the one that you think.

  48. steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    “What is the array of corporate power aligned against changing the energy infrastructure? ”

    Well, Exxon predicts substantial growth in wind power between now and 2030.

    Therefore, since exxon says this, it cannot be true.

    The other day I met an Exxon executive. I asked her if 2+2=4. She said yes.
    I don’t believe her.

  49. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 8, 2007 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    RE: #45 – The array of corporate power I am part of (albeit as a public “go with the flow” and a private objector) is actually a massive force promoting climate change hysteria and increasingly draconian “Green” legislation. The main victims of such legislation will be small business owners and individual entrepreneurs, as well as tax payers and consumers in general. This is something the average person fails to comprehend. Draconian “Green” laws do nothing in the grand scheme of things to reduce business profits. Costs get passed along to consumers baked into selling price. Social churn like this presents new markets and product opportunities. Imagine GM for example. What they don’t want you to do is buy an H3 and keep it for 10 years. They want you to buy (or lease!) for 2 years then go get something new. As for “Big Oil” that is a misnomer. Firstly, Western energy companies are small by global standards. Secondly, they are just that, energy companies. Scratch the surface of most solar panel sellers and you will find either energy company or semiconductor company money. But hey, go ahead and believe your conspiracy theories, they are more fun than understanding reality.

  50. Posted Sep 1, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    Mann et al. (2008). Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia. PNAS September 9, 2008 vol. 105 no. 36 seems to be the citation according to this link

  51. Stefan
    Posted Sep 14, 2008 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    Spotted the stick:

    narration: “You still hear claims that the Earth was hotter during the MWP, but that’s not true.”

    image: graph of what looks like hockey stick 98, and similar reconstructions

    source:

    “Earth: The Climate Wars”
    Programme with Dr Iain Stewart, broadcast this evening, second in a series of three. BBC 2008.

  52. Richard111
    Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Re: #52 I watched some of the Dr Iain Stewart programs. Gave up when he demonstrated that CO2 can absorb ALL the IR from a candle.

  53. stephen richards
    Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    I saw Iain Stewart. Just pure propaganda. I have never seen such propaganda since WWII.

    BBC you disgust me.!!!!

    He made no attempt what so ever to clarify the difference between 100% CO² and 0.04% and worse still it is entirely possible that they knowingly and deliberately falsified or misrepresented the experiment by using a wide band IR camera. Disgusting.

  54. Posted Sep 15, 2008 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    I have spent my working life, unashamedly, in the business of persuasive communication, in advertising and marketing. Contact with science has been minimal. Discovery of your (and connected) blogs are a real revelation. So I’m grateful to you.

    The BBC’s “The Climate Years” is quite simply, frightening. It is clear that the general UK public now has no major medium it can trust.

    I watched parts one and two with notepad in hand and the trickery, clever juxta-positioning, character assinations, and bald unqualified non-factual statements were simply scary, and disturbing. These people know what they’re doing.

    I would have thought that no scientist worth his salt would be anything other than sceptic, yet the programme’s position is that there are “sceptics” and there are “scientist”. Meanwhile they had their geologist fellow up Albert Gore’s Hockey Stick Ladder!

    When he came down from it he said (of investigative work questioning the HS) “Look at that raw cynicism”.

    All this, accompanied by fast-editing visual trickery, and very clever word use. As a piece of selling it is extremely professional. As a piece of science it is a disgrace. As a piece of broadcasting from a supposedly independent medium it is very disturbing.

    I have no objection to using less energy; no objection to releasing less pollution of all kinds. But using this highly questionable AGW thesis as the reason for the utterly fatuous energy policies of most western nations is reprehensible. The only agenda that I can deduce it may serve is the perennial one of “the more you can scare the populace the more power you will have over it”. But precisely WHO is behind it?

    Mr. McIntyre et. al. We need you more than ever. Very well done indeed. Thank you. It now seems to me (and I’m 70 by the way) that there simply has to be some major international political agenda being played out here; my own big question is – what precisely is it?

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