BBC’s “Best Scientific Experts”

There is an unusual story developing as a result of an ongoing FOI request from Tony Newbery, some excellent detective work by Maurizio Morabito – see discussion at Bishop Hill here. Also see context from Andrew Orlowski here.

Several years ago, the BBC stated in a report:

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 [on anthropogenic climate change].

Tony Newbery (see Harmless Sky blog) was curious as to the identity of these “scientific experts”, and filed a Freedom of Information Act request. Rather than simply complying with the request, the BBC refused the request. Tony appealed to the ICO and lost. The ICO agreed that the BBC was a “public authority” but held that the information was held “for journalistic purposes” and exempt:

The Commissioner is satisfied that in view of the fact that the purpose of the seminar was to influence the BBC’s creative output, the details requested about its organisation, contents, terms of reference and the degree to which it impacted upon changes to Editorial Standards by BBC News constitute information held by the BBC to a significant extent for the purposes of art, literature or journalism. Information about the content of the seminar was used to shape editorial policy and inform editorial decisions about the BBC’s coverage and creative output. The details about the arrangements for the seminar are held to facilitate the delivery of the event and to ensure that the appropriate people were in attendance.

Tony appealed to the Information Tribunal. The BBC appeared with six lawyers. BBC official Helen Boaden argued that the meetings had been held under Chatham House rules and that the identity of the participants was therefore secret. Tony was again given short shrift, with the members of the Tribunal being surprisingly partisan, as reported by Orlowski.

Out of left field, Maurizio located the information on the Wayback machine here. Rather than the participants being the “best scientific experts” as claimed, they were almost entirely NGO activists. And rather than the meetings being held under Chatham House rules as Boaden had told the tribunal, seminar co-sponsor IBT had published the names of attendees of the meeting, describing the purpose of the meetings as follows:

The BBC has agreed to hold a series of seminars with IBT, which are being organized jointly with the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme, to
discuss some of these issues.

The document located by Maurizio includes names from other meetings as well. The names are presently being fisked at Bishop Hill and Omnologos.

For the record, I do not share the visceral disdain for the BBC coverage of most commentators at Bishop Hill. I am not exposed to BBC regular programming and my own experience with the BBC (mostly arising from Climategate) has been constructive. I thought that their recent reprise on Climategate was as balanced as one could expect. I also think that their original coverage of Climategate was fair under the circumstances. While Roger Harrabin approached Climategate from a green perspective (something that does not trouble me – indeed, on a personal level, I like most green reporters), in my opinion, he treated his obligations as a reporter as foremost in his Climategate coverage, and, as a result, his coverage of Climategate was balanced. Indeed, I think that one of the reasons that he was particularly troubled by the Climategate conduct and dissatisfied by the “inquiries” may well have been the inconsistency between the Climategate attitudes in private and the public posture of green organizations in the seminars that were the subject of Newbery’s FOI.

Update: Ironically, Harrabin is not listed as an attendee at the Jan 2006 conference on climate change that was the subject of the OI request (though he attended other conferences and was involved in starting the seminar program.) Further update – however, other information indicates that he was at this conference and that the list is in error on this point.

Update: The non-NGO “experts” were Robert May (a population biologist and former Royal Society president), Mike Hulme of East Anglia, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark (an ice core specialist), Michael Bravo of Cambridge (a specialist in the history of Antarctic exploration and public policy), Joe Smith of the Open University (active in BBC science progamming), Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University, who was then doing a PhD in theories of social and environmental justice and Eleni Andreadis of the Harvard Kennedy School (public policy). Virtual no representation from climate science.

Harvard-Kennedy School Class of 2006: One of BBC’s scientific experts at the 2006 meeting was Eleni Andreadis, then studying at the Harvard Kennedy School. She made a short film of interviews with HKS graduates (see here here).

Another member of the Harvard-Kennedy class of 2006 is very much in the news today: Paula Broadwell was also a student at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2006, where she met David Petraeus after a lecture.


  1. Neil McEvoy
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    “I do not share the visceral disdain for the BBC coverage of most commentators at Bishop Hill”
    Most of them have to pay for it though. 😉

  2. TerryS
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    £145.50 or $231 annually. Which is about £145 or $229.40 to much.

  3. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    I thought what he did on Climategate was OK too. He emerges pretty well in Hiding the Decline.

    The BBC seminar was very, very bad though.

  4. sean2829
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Morabito and others in the current US news cycle have again shown that there are no secrets in electronic media and the age of the internet. No wonder the UN wants to regulate it.

  5. Craig Loehle
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    The problem is not any particular issue but the capture of media by elites, both Government and NGOs (and also business). It is so much less work for the journalists if they are chummy with politicians, who then give them access. A confrontational reporter will get shut out (not get to go on the campaign bus, for example). Investigative reporting is hard work whereas just printing the press release from an NGO or other activist group is easy. With constant downsizing of reporting staff, the easy way wins. The big danger for the BBC (about which I have almost no opinion per se) is that they are a quasi-monopoly and risk becoming a government propaganda mouthpiece.

    • Speed
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

      Journalistic Capture.

    • Mark T
      Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

      Not a risk… already a reality. That is the inevitable outcome of state-run media: an agenda that furthers the state. I’m one of the few that posts over at BH that is NOT surprised at all this.


  6. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Turning Tide at Bishop Hill’s blog summed it up very nicely with this post:

    “Is anybody going to hold the BBC to account for spending licence payers’ money on lawyers to keep secret something that was in the public domain after all?”

    I suppose one can defend the grand old BBC just as those in the US can defend their counterparts of the NYT and Washington Post because they best represent the views of the current crop of intelligentsia, but the truly thinking person knows that what these esteemed journalistic organizations produce may well have counterpoints that have been missed or ignored.

    • RB
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

      Actually Kenneth I think that’s the main issue here today. Spending money on this when the details were already in the public domain and where its difficult to imagine the BBC did not know this.

      A still overriding issue is that the BBC’s position on climate science has always been in breach of its charter. Additionally it routinely puts out opinion that goes way beyond the IPCC reports in its alarmism. In reality the BBC’s output is an extreme view. 28gate is just one more manifestation of that problem. THese problems remain unaddressed.

      Neither do I think, on reflection, that outrage about the BBC’s FOI stance in this case on the list of the 28 is pointing to anything new or worse than the norm. A quick search of UK FOI decisions shows that the BBC routinely uses this defence to almost any enquiry about its affairs or information it holds, and usually wins. It is no surprise then that they depoly it as a matter of routine. The journalistic exemption appears to have almost universal application to BBC and FOI/EIR. Perhaps that is one more issue to address.

  7. Harry Trent
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I’m with you on most things, but on the BBC I have to disagree. You don’t have to watch on a daily basis (as we do in the UK) the bias demonstrated on the BBC – not just about climate change, but also about politics, the EU, Israel, you name it. The subtle pernicious bias even extends into the content of their drama output, all too often. Adding insult to injury, we have to PAY, by law, for this nonsense, whether we watch the BBC or not, simply because we own a television set.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

      Harry, I’m not sure that we “disagree”: my comment was limited to my direct experience i.e. Climategate; I’m not exposed to regular BBC programming.

      • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

        “I’m not exposed to regular BBC programming.”

        You’d change your mind on them were you!

      • Martin A
        Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

        I post on Bishop Hill and I confess to having a visceral dislike of the BBC.

        Some years back, I regularly received unpleasant hectoring letters demanding that I explain why I had no television licence. [Although I had no working TV, I had once made the mistake of telling a Licence Inspector who once came to my door that I have a collection of 1950’s era black-and-white 405-line TV’s (incapable of receiving modern transmissions).]

        I continued to get increasingly threatening letter. Eventually I phoned them and explained why I did not have a licence. I was told “no problem – you won’t be bothered any more”.

        A few weeks later there was a loud knock on my door. Two large and ugly looking men were there with a policeman and a warrant to search my house.

        No question – my dislike of the BBC is definitely visceral.

        • Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

          I find that helpful background. For what it’s worth, although you may have come across as angrier than me about the BBC, your comments on BH on the subject have always struck me, like those on other subjects, as content-rich. In other words, here is normally something to learn from or chew on, even if, like any intelligent reader, I would allow for perceived bias in the writer and factor that into what I take from the words.

          What Steve has been extremely good at on CA is weeding out content-lite ‘piling on’, as he sometimes calls it. But it’s good for someone to have the self-awareness to write this. Thanks.

        • DaveS
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

          For many years I made do with an black & white portable TV and hence paid only £20 or so a year instead of £100 or whatever it was then for a colour licence. A couple of times a year I would receive a letter from the TV Licence people suggesting that two reasons I might be buying a black & white licence were 1) I was senile or 2) I was a crook. With each letter was a return slip on which was printed ‘I only require a black & white TV Licence because:’ followed by an empty box. It was quite amusing at first – I would just cross out the ‘because’ and send it back – but after a few years it started to get annoying. No knocks on the door, though, fortunately.

        • Posted Nov 23, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

          That would have made a great Monty Python sketch.
          It’s a shame that “Great” Britain has come to that.

          Although in America, I would hope that there would be a tremendous revolution if we ever had to pay for a license for each television we had. People here don’t seem to mind voting for people that give us 10% unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, onerous EPA regulations that stifle economic growth, but get freaked out if their bank charges them for ATM withdrawals.

    • Luther Bl't
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      It is a misconception, insinuated by the endless blustering letters from the TV license collection agency to residences on its database without a license, that ownership of a television set in the UK requires a license. It does not. A license entitles one to receive TV signals as they are being broadcast, i.e, real-time reception, irrespective of the device (TV, computer, VCR, etc).

    • Joe Public
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 6:37 PM | Permalink


      Aunty anticipated your criticisms, that’s why one of the attendees was Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy.

    • seanbrady
      Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

      I have never owned a TV. For the few years I lived in the UK, I used to get increasingly threatening letters, saying that I had a TV, they were going to send inspectors, and I was going to be fined (I think it was 1,000 GBP).

      Then I moved to a building that was originally designed to have 6 apartments, but as built it only had 5. Occasionally, mail would arrive for apartment 6, usually from junk mail outfits that, I suppose, found the address in some government database.

      I had to laugh when apartment 6, despite not existing, started getting threatening letters from the BBC, which was going to fine the non-existant occupants for watching their non-existent TV.

      I don’t know if the inspectors ever came.

  8. John, UK
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    ” The ICO agreed that the BBC was a “pubic authority” but held that the information was held “four journalistic purposes” and exempt:”

    Well there’s quite a lot of sex on show from time to time but all the same calling then a “pubic authority” is going a bit far!

  9. harmlesssky
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Permalink


    Like you, and the late, great, Steven Sugar who put so much time and effort into trying to break down the BBC’s wall of silence in face of FOIA requests, I too have great affection for the BBC. That makes what I have discovered over the last few years so shocking.

    So far as Roger Harrabin is concerned, he was one of the organisers of this seminar.

    Steve: many more people at BBC seem to have been involved in the IBT seminars than we originally thought. I understand that Harrabin was an organizer of a seminar in 2006 – which now appears to be one of a series organized by BBC and IBT. Harrabin does not appear to have been involved in the first seminars, from which I conclude that he was not the originator of the program. We should not exclude the possibility that he was assigned by BBC to organize the 2006 seminar.

    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

      I’ve always assumed Roger was assigned to this. The secrecy he insisted on with Andrew Montford if he was to tell him the whole story in 2010 shows how these things are used to divide people who were on the way to becoming pretty close. But I doubt the secrecy was Roger’s idea. I share Steve’s view of the man, from past (now quite distant) experience.

    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

      The seminar series was a joint private project between Harrabin and Joe Smith. It was their idea from the beginning. Many of our early FOIs relating to the seminars were rejected on the grounds that they were private activity. The BBC’s role was to provide funding and to use the output.

      • Jean S
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

        Re: bishophill (Nov 13 11:22),

        The BBC’s role was to provide funding and to use the output.

        If they paid for the bills, I suppose someone in a higher hierarchical level had approved these seminars. Who?

      • Neil Fisher
        Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

        ” The BBC’s role was to provide funding and to use the output.”

        Hmm, they paid for it, and got the benefit of the results – how is this “private”?

    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

      From Harrabin’s witness statement in my own Info Tribunal appeal.

      “Following a sabbatical from Cambridge University from September 1995 – December 1995, during which I developed a critique of BBC News output, including its challenges in adequately reporting slow-moving issues such as environmenal change and world developement, I began to co-organise seminars for BBC News managers and editors to discuss BBC coverage of important slow-moving stories. These seminars were orgnised by myself and Dr Smith of Cambridge University through and adhoc partnership known as the Cambridge Media and Enviornmental Programme…”

      • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

        Point taken, Harrabin was there at the inception of CMEP. But was the hardline approach of Helen Boaden to complete secrecy about the January 2006 meeting in 2012, until run over by the Wayback Machine, driven by Harrabin? I doubt that very much. Roger’s openness during the aftermath of Climategate doesn’t sit well with the inner core theory. I still think the secrecy he demanded of you in 2010 was a key moment. Why on earth did he do that?

        • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

          Yes, I got the impression that RH got a call from the BBC FOI people saying the barristers were on board and would he like to come and explain it all. I’m not sure he even knew about the FOI until then. I would imagine the FOI department try to fend everyone off and only involve the principals if it goes to appeal.

    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

      the seminars were organised by IBT and CMEP and ran for a number of years.

      CMEP consisted of Roger Harrabin and Joe Smith – Joe was there on that particular day.
      CMEP was funded by, in part the Tyndall Centre.

      Mike Hulme (Tyndall Centre) wrote this Climategate 2 email:

      “Did anyone hear Stott vs. Houghton on Today, radio 4 this morning? Woeful stuff really.
      This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media/Environment Programme [CMEP]to starve this type of reporting at source.” (email 2496)

      This was Prof Phillip Stott, who had made Sir John houghton look foolish: more here:

      Mike Hulme also invited BBC’s Roger Harrabin (and Greenpeace’s Bill Hare)onto the Tyndall advisory board, whilst funding CMEP seminars
      Roger was on the Tyndall board, from 2003 until at least November 2005.(website change after this)
      We do not know(yet) when Roger stepped down from the Tyndall Advisory board and may have still beenon it at the time of that seminar, definetly onthe time of earlier CMEP seminars.

      So whilst CMEP had been operating seminars at the BBC, they were funded by Tyndal (and also had been by WWF)

      Dr Joe Smith’s and Roger Harrbins thoughts about those seminars:(url above)

      “The seminars have been publicly credited with catalysing significant changes in the tone and content of BBC outputs across platforms and with leading directly to specific and major innovations in programming,” – Dr Joe Smith

      “It has had a major impact on the willingness of the BBC to raise these issues for discussion. Joe Smith and I are now wondering whether we can help other journalists to perform a similar role in countries round the world” – Roger Harrabin

  10. Solomon Green
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Almost all BBC reporters are honest journalists, as certainly is Harrabin, but the Corporation has gone astray because it has forgotten that its duty to be impartial and it has aspired to be a propagandist for the causes in which it wishes the prols to believe.

    Commenting on the most recent scandal, Trevor Kavanagh, a leading UK journalist and editor, said today on Today

    Steve: snip – sorry, but we’re not going to litigate all complaints against the BBC, particularly when political parties come into play.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

      “Almost all BBC reporters are honest journalists, as certainly is Harrabin, but the Corporation has gone astray because it has forgotten that its duty to be impartial and it has aspired to be a propagandist for the causes in which it wishes the prols to believe.”

      I find this comment applicable to a lot of journalism I see today and to the workings of the IPCC, for that matter, and that is that you do not see dishonesty in these organizations discourse but rather a failure to present the complete picture.

      I, like SteveM, and probably for different reasons, like some of the Green reporting because they on occasion point refreshingly to government actions that make little or no sense, i.e. the US subsidizing ethanol production for use in fuel. I do this with the caveat that the same reporter very likely advocates for other government actions that make no sense to me.

      Lessons learned here are that the thinking person must be willing to dig, find and analyze the background facts for themselves and not depend on the grand old ladies of the BBC and NYT to spoon feed it to them.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    One of BBC’s scientific experts at the 2006 meeting was Eleni Andreadis, then studying at the Harvard Kennedy School. She made a short film of interviews with HKS graduates (see here here).

    Another member of the Harvard-Kennedy class of 2006 is very much in the news today: Paula Broadwell was also a student at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2006, where she met David Petraeus after a lecture.

    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

      Amazing coincidence. And yes, it is a coincidence. OTOH Eleni as a student was hardly the best expert in any field. If I wrote for a gossipy magazine I’d extrapolate on the junior Greek blonde and the seminar organizer she went on to co-write a paper with 🙂

      Ps I do not dislike “the BBC”. I dislike any organization which betrays its chartert, abuses of public money and most of all bullies the ‘little people’. The Greek 🙂 gods knew how to deal with such behavior and would have been happy today too.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

        As Maurizio observes, blonde HKS student Eleni Andreadis coauthored an article on media coverage of climate skeptics here with Joe Smith, Smith presumably acting as a sort of “mentor”. Photos of Eleni are here here.

        • Chad Jessup
          Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

          “As ours and other research has shown, these sceptics currently number fewer than than a dozen, and with only one exception (Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT), have no track-record of peer-reviewed science in the field.”

          That is a quote from that “British Journalism Review” article that Steve provided a link to. One cannot accuse her of in-depth investigative reporting.

        • RB
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

          Yes, Chad. That statement is an epic fail of “investigative” or indeed any type of journalism – more so since it is preceded by the words “As ours and other research has shown………”.

        • rogerknights
          Posted Nov 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

          Chad Jessup quoted Eleni Andreadis in the British Journalism Review (that “these sceptics currently number fewer than than a dozen, and with only one exception . . . , have no track-record of peer-reviewed science in the field”) and commented that “One cannot accuse her of in-depth investigative reporting.” One cannot even accuse her of checking Wikipedia:

          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

          List of [35] scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

          The text beneath that heading adds the qualification that the list contains only “notable” scientists–presumably many more non-notable scientists qualify.

          Further, Wikipedia adds, “To be included on this list it is not enough for a scientist to be merely included on a petition, survey, or list. Instead, the scientist must make their own statement.” That must have cut down on the entries.

          I bet twice as many notable names could be added (e.g., R.G. Brown at Duke), mostly from outside the anglosphere. I suggest that Steve start a “Notable Scientific Skeptics Nomination Project” thread with the aim of adding them to WP’s list. WP will require a citation to their published or posted skeptical statements, but someone other than the nominator could track it down.

          Probably many names could be added by contacting notable scientists who have signed petitions or made online comments but not gone more formally on the record with their own quotations. They could be asked to make a post to Steve’s thread stating their position in their own words.

        • Posted Nov 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

          Feynman would have been skeptical. That’s good enough for me.

  12. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    So, there seem to be 30 non-BBC names there, and 28 BBC names, of whom two, George Entwhistle (resigned) and Helen Boaden (stepped/pushed aside) have very recently gone down the pan. Were these the numbers that Tony Newbery expected?

    Anyway, what now? Great, we have these names, but what to do with them?

    I’m pleased to see that the BBC Head of Comedy was there – what a laugh 🙂


    • harmlesssky
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

      The numbers aren’t a problem, fortunately.

      The beginning of an answer to your very reasonable ‘What now?’ question is here:

      And steps are already in hand to make sure that the questions that need asking are put in the hands of people who the BBC will have difficultly not answering.

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

      And the reason they were let go…Saville,

      Hansen is right. we need to think about the grandchildren.

      Protecting them from C02 seems the second order of business.
      the first order of business would be protecting them from present danger. That includes protecting them from predators and the institutions that protect predators.

      • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

        It’s good to laugh, despite the serious nature of this, and the second paragraph got me, Steve, thanks.

        Note that when the Saville story broke on 3rd October the whole chain of command of four people from the Newsnight editor up to the Director General had been to this seminar in January 2006. That has to be an incredible fluke. And by this Monday, because there’s widespread suspicion that Newsnight canned a story they were doing on Saville in late 2011 because of ‘pressure from above’, and because of rank dishonesty in the explanations given since, every single person in that chain is now either resigned or suspended. That is quite a record. As I say, it’s a fluke – but if one was trying to devise something symbolic to say

        Don’t touch the little children, then think the normal corporate deceits will do

        it would be hard to better this. And it makes a striking link between the two stories.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

          My comment was much longer before, but I thought better of it and those who know me can probably extrapolate to where I would take it.

        • Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 2:41 AM | Permalink

          I’m sure Lincoln could have said the same about the Gettysburg Address.

    • JohnH
      Posted Nov 16, 2012 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

      I’m pleased to see that the BBC Head of Comedy was there – what a laugh

      Sadly the head of comedy was their and the children’s channel reps so that they could weave in the Global warming message into comedy shows and children’s programs.

      How close is that to 1984, and what other themes are treated in the same way and the policy that puts them in place are covered by FOI exemptions.

  13. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    The problem with consensus is that it is not usually clear what the consensus is about. If, as the BBC implies, the consensus is that anthropogenic generated greenhouse gases contributed to climate change over the past century, that is an entirely different matter than a supposed consensus that climate models correctly predict disaster for humankind if we continue to generate greenhouse gases, and furthermore, we can technically and economically do away with fossil fuels.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

      I believe this post by Donald Rapp puts the seemingly urgent task of the BBC to find a rationale for limiting counterpoints to the “consensus” on AGW in their communications with their viewership in proper perspective and probably goes to motivation. A logical approach to what the BBC would have to do in this quest would be to define in detail what the consensus entails. In fact, I would judge that most thinking people would agree that defining that consensus would be worth a lot of bandwidth at the BBC and a worthy pursuit for informing their viewers. Most climate scientists would protest most emphatically (and have) if someone declared that the science was settled – and thus why would the BBC be in such a big hurry to declare it.

      The very act of what the BBC was doing with climate science reinforces what I see in US journalism and that tends to be, consciously or not, to give their viewers and readers a predigested view of things and often with conclusions already in hand. I am probably harping a bit much on this issue but I do think it is pertinent to the discussion of climate science. I recently wrote a letter of protest to the Chicago Tribune, which continues to endorse political candidates, with this terrible image I have of the uninformed voter taking that list into a voting booth.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    BTW one of the curiosities of the list is that Harrabin didn’t attend the January 2006 conference.

    • See - owe to Rich
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

      Ah, was Harrabin the dog that didn’t bark??


    • Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

      The list is just the invitees. Harrabin was there as organiser I think.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

        but he’s named as an attendee at other sessions.

        • harmlesssky
          Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

          Both Richard D North’s account of the event and Helen Boaden’s witness statement for the Tribunal hearing show that Harrabin was present as does an article that Harbin wrote for the BBC’s house journal Ariel:

          See reference to a ‘senior scientist’ about half way through.

          Steve: I agree that this indicates that he was probably at the 2006 seminar and that the list is incorrect on this point.

        • Carrick
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

          Normally you’d expect conference lists to include organizers, meaning I can understand confusion over him not being included, but this appears to be an omission and nothing more.

          Steve: agreed.

    • Dr Slop
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

      Perhaps an even greater curiosity is the complete absence of front man Richard Black from the seminar series. He seemed to be a key part of the strategy for keeping BBC staff on message.

  15. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    There has been some puzzlement concerning the list of those who were included in the secret “seminar”. One such puzzlement is the inclusion of the BP person Ian Wright, manager of the BP CO2 project “Carbon Capture and Storage Technology”. There was a reason for his inclusion: big profits- in this case billions, because CO2 means big money for BP. It works like this: CO2 injection is the best means of secondary recovery when an oil field is depleted through primary production methods. CO2 is injected into the depleted field and flushes out the residual oil most efficiently. The problem is finding CO2. BP (and others) have huge fields in the North Sea which are at or nearing the secondary stage of production and they hope to ride the wave of cAGW panic to hook some subsidy for their “Carbon Capture and Storage” scheme. Secondary recovery will add billions of barrels more production from these fields and CO2 is the key to the most efficient recovery. So why was BP was in the loop with BBC? Add it up- the myth that big oil seeks to suppress cAGW viewpoints has been exploded by this revelation. In fact, the opposite is true- they foster the AGW movement and scheme to profit from it, as in this instance of BP’s posturing as ever so clean and green with their “Carbon Capture and Storage Technology”. Here is proof that BBC and BP are bedfellows in this business of panic-mongering over the airways. I, for one, am not surprised. Money is the universal grease.

  16. harmlesssky
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    There seems to be some misunderstanding on this thread about the role that Roger Harrabin and his Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMEP) have played in BBC coverage of AGW over the last decade. Carefully researched and referenced context can be found in the following two documents:

    Submission to the BBC Review of Science Coverage

    Submission to the Leveson Inquiry

    Only the latter part of this document concerns the BBC, and although it has been published as evidence by the Inquiry their IT people seem unable to make all the links work. I have therefore used a better version on my own website.

    If a bomb has now gone off in the BBC’s face, they have had plenty of warning that it was ticking.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

      You have to be careful about going a bridge too far. In the climategate affair, the Climategaters’ best tactic was to rebut over-zealous and exaggerated charges while ignoring more nuanced but still important criticisms.

      For example, consider the following statement that originates the present criticism:

      The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts,

      If they had to defend this statement, they will probably not argue that Eleni Andreadis or her ilk were the “best scientific experts”, but that Robert May, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and perhaps Mike Hulme were. Robert May was then president of the Royal Society and, from a BBC perspective, had impeccable credentials. I agree that they were overselling, but it won’t be as easy to pin down as some may think.

      If the seminar was held under Chatham House Rules (I haven’t seen any contemporary evidence to establish this, but for the sake of argument), I can see their argument for keeping the attendance confidential. It seems highly inappropriate to base a policy on a seminar held under Chatham House Rules, but I’m not sure where that goes.

      Nor in my opinion does the policy necessarily depend on the exchange at the 2006 conference. Even if they had never held the 2006 seminar, I think that they could have reached that particular conclusion from the public record.

      If BBC representatives gave untrue evidence in resisting the FOI request, I think that this should be resolutely pursued. however, I haven’t seen the evidence thus far.

      • harmlesssky
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

        Had the BBC intended to defend that statement in the report then they would no doubt have done so in the Jones Report, or in any of their four very lengthy written submissions to the Tribunal over the last three years, or in their oral submissions at the hearing, or in Helen Boaden’s witness statement. The latter very wisely, and very cautiously, describes the ‘external attendees’ at the seminar as:

        “representatives from business, campaigners, NGOs, communications experts,
        people from the ‘front line’, scientists with contrasting views and academics”

        Note that they have avoided even a reference to ‘climate’ scientists, and that since the seminar Lord May’s overblown claims about climate science on the Royal Society website have been overturned in a revolt by 43 fellows. There is no question of going a ‘bridge too far’ in this respect.

        So far as the Chatham House Rule is concerned, Ms Boaden informed the Tribunal that her participants list had been distributed to her ‘direct reports’ the next morning to be ‘cascaded down’ through the BBC. She was Head of News at that time and this is a very large organization. That seems like a highly idiosyncratic application of the CHR as I understated it.

        Ms Boaden’s witness statement also stresses, in terms and repeatedly, that the seminar ‘informed’ subsequent output. In fact most of her evidence is taken up with making that point without which a claim that the information that I requested was held for the purpose of journalism would have been unconvincing.

        Steve: if people were supposedly there in a “private” capacity and Boaden distributed the list within the BBC, then it seems to me that these after-distributions would not be subject to Chatham House Rules.

        • harmlesssky
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

          I think it’s ‘supposedly’ that should be in quotes, and not ‘private’. Do you really think the folk on that list took a Thursday off work, and sacrificed a day’s holiday?

      • Cassio
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

        A pedantic point perhaps, but according to Chatham House’s own website there is only one Chatham House Rule:

        “The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

        When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

        The world-famous Chatham House Rule may be invoked at meetings to encourage openness and the sharing of information.”

      • Cassio
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

        The Chatham House Rule was apparently agreed by the organisers before the seminar in January 2006. In a 2005 paper, just unearthed by Tallbloke, Dr Joe Smith (one of the organisers) writes:

        “The seminars were held under Chatham House rules; hence none of the reported comments or quotations in the text are attributable. See section 2 of

        Click to access mediaclimatechange.pdf

        However this did not prevent the IBT, which perhaps did not read the Rule, from publishing the lists of participants in this and the other seminars in the Real World Brainstorm series; indeed the IBT Home page – – still offers a link to such lists



        For more information and background about the brainstorms to date, and a list of all delegates … ”

        … but the link is broken ….

        (and that is perhaps the point at which Maurizio Morabito began to dig into the Wayback Machine).

        • James Evans
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          I’m confused by all this talk of the Chatham House rule. Isn’t it a total irrelevance? Surely it’s just an informal idea used to encourage open dialogue. I find it hard to believe that it has any standing in law.

          If a bunch of bank robbers met to discuss their next caper, could they claim in court that the discussion was beyond the reach of the law because they met under the Chatham House rule?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

      Andrew Orlowski has a new article

      Harrabin later explained that the BBC’s head of news in the 1990s, Tony Hall, had invited him “to devise meetings with politicians, business people, think tanks, academics from many universities and specialisms (science, technology, economic and social sciences, and history), and policy experts and field workers from NGOs – particularly from the developing world”.

      The third parent of the seminar was the BBC.

      Normally such a talking-shop would have no great significance. The 2006 seminar, however, subsequently became very important indeed. The following year a thoughtful BBC Trust report on impartiality cited the discussion there and said it had settled the argument – as far as the BBC was concerned – on climate change.

      A blogger, Tony Newbery, was struck by the difference between contemporary evidence that the seminar was educational and composed largely of activists – as confirmed by Harrabin – and the trust’s insistence that it was a sober scientific presentation that could justify a historic policy change. (The BBC Trust has done nothing to disown or qualify Bridcut’s description of the event.)

      The decision to have these seminars seems to arise from Tony Hall and as Orlowski observes “normally such a talking-shop would have no great significance.”

  17. Paul Matthews
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    “I do not share the visceral disdain for the BBC coverage…”
    Indeed the recent climategate programme was good.
    But as with the Jones v Jones FOI case, and to some extent with climategate (as you yourself said in that programme) the issue is now more one of principle – honesty, openness, accountability, and the subsequent attempted cover-up.

  18. Gary
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    I thought that their recent reprise on Climategate was as balanced as one could expect. I also think that their original coverage of Climategate was fair under the circumstances.

    You’re much too generous. We should expect truthfulness and honorable behavior in all circumstances. Anything less is journalistic malpractice so cutting them any slack except for naivete or inexperience is wrong and a mistake. They claim to be trustworthy, yet time and again prove not to be so. Being polite is one thing; excusing misbehavior quite another.

  19. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Omnishambles named word of the year by Oxford English Dictionary.

    Yes, this wonderful word coined by Armando Ianucci’s “In The Thick Of It” pretty much sums up the current state of the BBC. What a shame that Chris Patten wasn’t also at that seminar = that would have made my day…


    • tetris
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Permalink


      “Omnishambles” is the very British version of “clusterf…” 🙂

      • Ian Blanchard
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

        And the postponement of the planned badger cull was apparently an omnivoreshambles 🙂

  20. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t knowingly presenting false testimony to the ICO tribunal, ie “Chatham House Rules” and actionable offense?

    Steve: I haven’t seen the transcript of the testimony. Do we know that they presented false testimony to the ICO? (Not that there’s any reason to believe that the ICO would care very much anyway.)

    • harmlesssky
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

      Evidence at an Information Tribunal is not normally given on oath, but it can be if he Tribunal wishes. In this case no oath was taken.

      Steve: No transcript is made of Tribunal proceedings and as the case is still active (28 days for appeal) I don’t intend to publish the testimonies at this stage. The ICO was not represented at the hearing.

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

        ya I just saw that in the rules for tribunals. were there filings?

        • harmlesssky
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

          Of course.

        • Steven Mosher
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

          I could find no process to request the filings.
          I will take your short answer to indicate that you are on top of the matter.

        • harmlesssky
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

          See my previous comment. The case is still in the appeal period and I will not be publishing any court papers meantime.

  21. tetris
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:15 PM | Permalink


    N.B.: in 2006 the BBC delegated four management representatives to the meetings with the 28 “advisers”: Peter Rippon, Helen Boaden, Steve Mitchell and George Enwistle.

    These are the very four [now senior] management who resigned this week over the sex/political scandals. Interesting, how things go.

    Steve: snip – overeditorializing. I’ve asked readers not to complain about everything at the BBC.

    • tetris
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Permalink


      Your full right to snip, of course, but keep in mind that the BBC has an unfortunate track record of institutionalized [strongly left wing] bias: -snip

      Steve: there are many venues at which you can complain about BBC bias. I’m not challenging your views on this; it’s just that I’m not interested in hosting a whole lot of generalized complaining – a long standing editorial policy here, though I’m sometimes inefficient in enforcing it.

      • tetris
        Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM | Permalink


  22. Don Keiller
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Steve: I haven’t seen the transcript of the testimony.

    Steve, as you know, I have gone through one of these FOI tribunals. There is no verbatim transcript, rather a narrative and summing up by the Judge.

    However since “Chathan House Rules” played a key role in informing the decision, I would expect a clear contextual statement about them to be made.

    I, for one, will be looking at this with interest.

    • harmlesssky
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM | Permalink


      You might find ICO Decision Notice FS50312407 interesting. According to one of the BBC barristers at the hearing (Yep! I did say ‘one of’) this has not been challenged and the information was released.

      • Don Keiller
        Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

        Indeed I do.
        I cannot think of anything that “would be more in the Public Interest” than a real shining of light in that dark place that is the BBC and its propaganda role in promoting
        climate alarmism.

  23. tetris
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    I wasn’t suggesting that the four mentioned previously were the only ones attending [just that they happen to be the four who resigned this week].

    When you consider that among those attending we also find e.g. Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Television, Sasha Baveystock, Exective Producer, Science, Liz Molyneux, Editorial Executive, Factual Commissioning[sic] and Sue English, Head of Political Programmes, it becomes clear that we are dealing with a concerted effort to spread the message these “advisers” had to sell as broadly as possible within the organization, that can not be misunderstood.

    • Joe Public
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

      Not forgetting Jon Plowman, then Head of Comedy.

      Insidiously burying the message in plain sight, is the most effective means of spreading propaganda.

  24. KnR
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Far more of interest my be who decide the people to invite and what was the reason . Its a standard ‘trick’ to select the people for the meeting based on the pre-defined results you want from such a meeting and then to claim these ‘independent’ experts have validated your ideas . The questions is who made that choice . And here I think we need to look at Harrabin with ‘advice’ form Mike Hulme. the pinky and perky of climate selling land .

  25. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Roger Harrabin (- mispelt Horobin – whilst on the advisory board, and also CMEP) wanted a MORE pro-active approach to counter sceptics than the scientists!

    extract from email 2974.txt

    Subject: Re: FW: Anti Global Warming Petition Project

    Hi Stefan

    Many thanks for your very helpful comments. Essentially I agree on all counts, and indeed the “sceptics ask, scientists answer” web-page that you have set up is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind as a possible minimal response that we (Tyndall et al, and even maybe the Royal Society if it wants to get involved) might undrertake. Wherever possible this could/should refer to other reputable sites (incl IPCC, Hadley Centre, the ones you mention, etc etc) rather than duplicating the material. I would envisage that such a site could be maintained by a consortium of the willing, in this case involving (say) Tyndall, Hadley & PIK. We could then asked the RS (et al) to mention it and link to it on some sort of “sound science” page on their own web-site(s) (Rachel, do you think that this might fly ?).

    We had an interesting debate on this at the Tyndall Advisory Board last week, and the consensus was very much in line with your views, except for the journalist present (Roger Horobin), who wanted something more pro-active. I am more sympathetic to his view than most of you, I think, but the question is what more would be useful, effective, and not too burdensome ? So far I don’t think I have identified anything, but I do think that the sort of web-page mentioned above would be a start, and so I am copying this to Asher Minns, for him to consider and discuss with John & Mike at Tyndall Central.

  26. Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    CMEP were trying to influence BBC, etc for years..

    date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 12:37:59 +010 ???
    from: ???
    subject: Rio+10 ???and the media
    to: ???

    Dear Mike

    We are writing to some alumni of the University of Cambridge Media and
    Environment seminars gathering ideas for the BBC’s coverage of the Rio+1 ???
    Earth Summit in a year’s time. Before the Rio summit, the BBC held the One
    World festival, which included some memorable broadcasting – particularly a
    feature drama on refugees. Some broadcasting is already in the pipeline that
    will relate to the themes of Rio+ 10, but this is an open opportunity for
    you to put forward ideas that will be collated and circulated amongst
    relevant BBC decision-makers.

    * What should the BBC be doing this time in terms of news, current
    affairs, drama, documentaries, game shows, music etc?
    * How can the BBC convey the theme of sustainable development to
    viewers and listeners who have probably seen all the issues raised before?
    * Is there any scope for a global broadcasting initiative?
    * What are the strongest themes and specific issues that should appear
    in the media in the months and years following the conference?

    If you have thoughts, please send your reply both to this email and copy to
    ??? We will also draw on the information gathered in planning
    a new three year programme of media seminars.

    Best wishes

    Joe and Roger

    Joe Smith and Roger Harrabin
    University of Cambridge Media and Environment Programme

    • RB
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

      Its just a request for some input. I dont see anything sinister about it or that it is seeking to influence the BBC. By all means we can highlight that such requests were not made to “non-consensus” folk (if that is actually possible), but the email of itself is not evidence of bias, conspiracy, or anything of the sort.

      • James Evans
        Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

        “* What should the BBC be doing this time in terms of news, current
        affairs, drama, documentaries, game shows, music etc?”

        You don’t see anything sinister about this? Roger Harrabin (of the BBC) is asking for ideas as to how to influence BBC drama, game shows and music. This from an environment correspondent. That doesn’t strike you as being a tad odd?

        • RB
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

          We dont know who else he might have sent those questions to. Yes in the context of what we know it might well be sinister and I understand that. But we dont know the full context and shouldnt make assumptions.

        • James Evans
          Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

          Yes, perhaps he also asked Richard Lindzen for some input on this. 🙂

      • Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

        Lets not forget,the irony of Mike Hulme inviting Harrabin (BBC & CMEP) and Greenpeace legend – Bill Hare onto the Tyndall Advisory board, at the same time as Tyndall fund CMEP to keep th elikes of Prof Philip Stott off the airwaves 😦

        “1. We invite three more members to our AB:

        Roger Harrabin (media; Radio BBC) – reserve Paul Brown (The Guardian)
        Bill Hare (NGO; Greenpeace) – reserves Mike Harley (English Nature); Derek”


        Mike Hulme (Tyndall) knows what he was dealing with, an earlier email from Doug Parr (Greenpeace ‘Cheif Scientific Advisor’ !), to Hulme

        “Otherwise hope all’s well. Bill Hare should be continuing to give sme comentary on the ‘dangerous climate change’ proposals. I’d like to find a way of keeping involved without being swamped!

        Dr. Douglas Parr
        Chief Scientific Adviser


  27. MarkB
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Putting aside the obvious reason why the BBC would want to hide this list, I think it’s more interesting to consider how they could justify the secrecy. There are times when politicians/leaders/bureaucrats want to get unvarnished advice, and so want to keep such advice from the public eye. There is a perfectly good logic to this justification. The question is, how does this argument apply in the current case? Could they argue that the participants wouldn’t feel free to speak openly and honestly if their opinions were made public? Why would they want to make arguments in private on this matter that they wouldn’t stand beside in public? Was there no one they could invite who would speak publicly? What was said that couldn’t be said in the open? Makes no sense. Simply saying ‘the meeting was held under XYZ rules’ is no answer.

    Of course, we know why they were ashamed to even allow the participants to be named, much less publish transcripts. That’s another matter.

  28. Adrian
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    “For the record, I do not share the visceral disdain for the BBC coverage of most commentators at Bishop Hill.”

    Not being British you don’t get the continual references in popular programming into what is the latest mob fabs – whether it is left or right.

    The BBC is equally disliked by the main political party’s radical fringes.

    The news/documentary programming is usually better because the journalists still have standards, but the comment/editorial/magazine/main programming don’t have the same constraints.


    “Update: The non-NGO “experts” were … Mike Hulme of East Anglia, … Virtual no representation from climate science.”

    I personally thought from my sparse reading of the Climategate emails that Mike came across as a proper Skeptical scientist – despite some emails (probably ironic since he is English) that suggested otherwise, lol

  29. halfacow
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    “four journalistic purposes”

    Is your work always this sloppy? All these sceptics and none pointed out this obvious error? Says a lot about you and your audience…

    • Jason Hill
      Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

      Does it hurt?

    • Arthur Dent
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

      I suspect many people including myself saw this error and considered it to be too trivial to mention

    • Stephen Richards
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

      It obviously affects his ability to assimilate this import piece of information. Where all intelligent people would read past it he was just not able.

    • michael hart
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

      A comment above by John,UK does draw attention to it at 10:40 am. Perhaps you missed it?

    • Jeff Norman
      Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

      Sure the four should have been a for bfd. Let’s all haveacow.

    • seanbrady
      Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

      Actually he was referring to the four jounalistic purposes mentioned in the BBC journalism handbook:

      1. Obfuscate
      2. Bewilder
      3. Muddle
      4. Conceal

  30. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 13, 2012 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    Climategate 2779.txt 27 Sept 1999 raised my eyebrows first time because of a strange mixture of truth and compromise, generally called conniving. I repeat it here because it has a similar feel to the thread and it might name one of the faces behind the scenes. Unfortunately, one has to know somewhat more of the surrounding emails to fully appreciate the significance, one of which is the possible confirmation of M Hulme copied among redacted email addresses – presumably the Mike in the text.
    I think I read it correctly that the winner was already on the selection panel for the job of Director of the Tyndall centre! Note BP in there (again).
    Please keep this confidential. It is a note on a phone call last week with
    Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. In summary, he has offered to “champion” the UEA
    cause for a UEA bid for the Climate Change Centre.

    Hans Joachim called me last week, initially on ACACIA business, but then
    wanted to talk at some length about the Climate Change Centre. He said,
    without being asked, that he is a member of the Selection Committee. He
    asked about UEA’s bid and I emphasised its strength in breadth and depth, at
    some length (at his request). He felt it useful to know about this because
    he emphasised that he felt rather isolated as one of perhaps only two
    members of the selection committee who were familiar with the broad aspects
    of climate change analysis. At several points in the conversation, he
    volunteered to help us in as discrete as well as honest a way as possible.

    I suggested that the best way in which we both might help him is to let him
    have our thoughts concerning the underlying issues that might frame a
    successful bid (rather than simply describing the strength of our bid to
    him); i.e. identifying the key activities which we think are required in a
    new Centre, where the current gaps in activity are, where the potential
    overlaps are that need to be avoided, what links one might wish to see with
    other national and international centres, etc. He thought that this would
    help him fulfill an informed and useful role (again in an honest manner) on
    the selection board. It would also help us by, incidentally,
    informing him of the strong assumptions that underly the UEA bid.

    I asked Hans Joachim about the membership of the committee. These are as
    follows: Sir Crispin Tickell (Chairman); Danny Ellerman (Energy Programme
    MIT); Michael Gibbons (Deputy General Association of Commonwealth
    Universities; member of the ESRC Council); Charlotte Grezel (Manager of
    Climate Change Programme at BP); Geoff Randall (NERC Council); Steve Rayner
    (Battelle; led the recent programme on policy responses to climate change);
    Robert Channon (PEGASUS); Tim Swithinbank (Department of Chemical
    Engineering Sheffield University); Alan Thorpe (Hadley Centre). I asked if
    Sir John Houghton was on the committee and Hans Joachim said he was not; at
    least I thought so, until I checked this piece of information later with
    Trevor and Mike who indicate that there is clear evidence that Houghton IS on
    the committee. I could check that again with Hans Joachim if you wish.

    The upshot of this is, to repeat, that Schellnhuber is willing to champion
    our cause. The question is how best to do this in a proper manner. One
    way, I think, is to keep it at a personal and discrete level and for me to
    feed back to him not so much the obvious strengths of the UEA bid but more
    the sort of underlying arguments which we have rehearsed and which we think
    should properly underlie ANY strong bid (i.e. fleshing out the lack of
    information in the Research Councils’ description about what is really
    needed, its
    nature and its structure). I would be happy to be an informal conduit for
    this information, which might be preferable to a formal link between those
    more actively preparing the bid.
    Please let me know what you think.
    Martin Parry

  31. Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    Delingpole has an article on this at . The blogosphere often digs up significant material, and its good if the MSM brings it to a wider audience.

  32. Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

    The more I read about the Secret List and the BBC’s apparently perverse desire to suppress it – the odder this whole thing becomes.

    And when matched up with the Climategate emails – it begins to create a very similar pattern of behaviour to promote a chosen viewpoint who are allowed to speak, be listened to and to influence opinion across every aspect of our lives.

    Just a quick glance down the list of BBC attendees demonstrates that it was absolutely inculcated into programming as any BBC viewer knows. There are reams of TV shows where AGW popped up for no clear reason into plot or comedy lines or kid’s TV.

    Even our own government at the time was rebuked by the Advertising Standards Agency for frightening children with £6m campaign of cartoons of drowning pets. No doubt, ministers were influenced by what they saw on the BBC and felt such advertising was acceptable. The BBC has c70% of the home news and current affairs market TV and radio and their influence on debate in the UK cannot be overestimated – its enormous.

    4 national TV stations – plus 4 digital ones, 40+ local radio, a 24 news service and another 6 national radio outlets. And that’s without mentioning their website.

    The story isn’t the 28 or however many there were – its the influence of the BBC [who are supposedly by Charter meant to be impartial], why they decided to have a *policy* on this subject *at all* and chose who they did – I can’t think of another they have, and the implications of their decisions on life in the UK re climate change or not as the case may be.

    If people agreed to windfarms or politicians raised taxes because they were fed a diet of biased viewpoints by our State broadcaster – who appears to have a very similar agenda the those exposed by Climategate? Jeez.

  33. Mindert Eiting
    Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Please,FOIA, you still own 215.000 emails. Do some keyword search and give us a nice anniversary present.

  34. Craig Loehle
    Posted Nov 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    I think what everyone is missing here is that if you hold the “right” views and speak them with vigor, this makes you an “expert”, and gets you (most properly no doubt) invited to all the good parties…

  35. Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    Does anyone know the reason Judith Curry’s Blog Climate etc. was taken down by WordPress?

    Is there an campaign starting against “Climate Skeptic” blogs?

    “ is no longer available.
    This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.”

    How soon I wonder will we start to see more of this? Perhaps even here?

    • Duster
      Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: The Gray Monk (Nov 15 03:58),

      Judith Curries blog is still up. The URL you have is not correct though. See the “Blog Roll.”

      • Skiphil
        Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

        Judith Curry’s blog just came back an hour ago, but it was down for at least 8 hours that I saw. Others were getting a WordPress page saying the blog had been taken down for a violation of terms of service. I also got a

        “DNS error — server cannot be found”

        When I was trying to go there around 4:45 am EST (just mentioning in case anyone is helping her troubleshoot). Her comment almost an hour ago said she did not yet know what had happened and had no response from WordPress before the blog suddenly re-appeared:

        • seanbrady
          Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          Speaking of wordpress. Am I the only one with the following problem? Whenever I go to ClimateAudit, the font keeps changing and the page format keeps adjusting for a minute or two before it settles down. In the meantime my browser is frozen.

  36. Mongoose
    Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 4:23 AM | Permalink

    In 2009, Rajendra Pachauri (IPCC) said at the International Conference on Broadcast Media and Climate Change (Session 1, 01:05:00), that ‘Earlier speakers have referred to the importance of bringing about behavioural changes – and may I submit that these behavioural changes would essentially be in the nature of changes in lifestyles. There are several things that we can do in our individual lives and I think the broadcasting community perhaps needs to go out and tell people – and create a grass-roots movement….’

    Ihis is what climate alarmism, its science and its media is all about – not science, but the promotion of an ideology that demands ‘lifestyle changes’ (Malthusian style) and political control in order to impose it.

    • braddles
      Posted Nov 17, 2012 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

      Pachauri is a guy who flew first-class from US to India so he could join a practice session for a club-level cricket match. He returned to the US for some IPCC business, and then flew to India again a few days later to play the match.

      Some lifestyle.

  37. RayG
    Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    It is fascinating that the U.S. and U.K. MSM are giving fairly broad coverage to the Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpine fiascoes but I have yet to see one column inch of coverage given to the BBC/IBT perversion. I did enjoy the spectacle of 4 of the participants in the BBC/IBT “conference” who rose to high positions of influence at the BBC being forced to walk the plank. It is proof, if any were needed that the spirit of another Canadian, Laurence J. Peter, lives on within the hallowed walls of the BBC.

  38. John Archer
    Posted Nov 15, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    I have that horrible feeling of prescient déjà vu.

    Trueman bowls. Batsman is trapped plumb LBW. Trueman appeals. Not out.

    Next ball. Trueman ever-so-slightly irritated. Trueman bowls. Audible snick, ball deflects and sails upward, caught behind. Trueman appeals. Not out.

    Third ball. Trueman a little more irritated now. Trueman bowls. Through the gate, stumps spread-eagled, middle stump uprooted and cartwheeling. Trueman turns to the umpire and says, “We nearly had him that time, didn’t we?”

    That umpire expanded his business and went on to much greater things. For one thing, the demand for his services from the ‘review body community’ shot through the roof a few years ago and is now well on its way to going interstellar with the help of his newly acquired complete-monopoly thrusters.

    I’d like to think high-energy cosmic rays are not our only hope but sometimes I wonder.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Nov 16, 2012 at 2:46 AM | Permalink

      The Brits are easily the best in the world at satire and irony

      I’ve often thought that’s because they have so much to practise on

  39. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Nov 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Steve, saw you on WUWT-TV (well most of it) – great job.


  40. Phaaz Spaas
    Posted Nov 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Thought that some of you here may be interested in this class. 🙂

  41. tetris
    Posted Nov 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM | Permalink


    For background purposes only: have a look at the front page [!] article in today’s NYT which openly questions Mark Thompson’s [former BBC DG and NYT’s new CEO] integrity and version of what he knew [about the Saville scandal] during his 2004-2012 watch at the BBC.

  42. Tomcat
    Posted Nov 18, 2012 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    Chatham House Rules

    So the idea is that as long as it is decided beforehand they are going to act behind the paying public’s backs, that is sufficient cause to reject FOI ?

  43. Posted Nov 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Upon further Wayback research, I discovered there is more to Eleni Andreadis, and she was more qualified than others to attend the Seminar.

    • Posted Nov 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

      Hmm… A talk-show host for Green TV and “consultant” for what must be AIT. What’s not to like?

      Another good catch, Maurizio!

      • Posted Nov 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

        She knew about broadcasting, she knew about green stuff, she was studying at a prestigious institution…I don’t think Eleni was there for her good looks, so to speak.

        Mysteriously though, in 2010 she moved precipitously to Greece to get back in the family luxury-restort business, then proceeded to remove all non-Wayback traces of her life in the TV spotlights. Who knows.

  44. john robertson
    Posted Nov 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Each peek inside the established media curtain, reveals its seedier than I could have imagined. What the CRU emails revealed was embarrassing, the establishment reaction however, was damning. Now this BBC fiasco shows orchestrated propaganda. Our CBC has a similar slant, their reporting in 2009 & 2011 on the emails was revealing, I predict their silence on this (BBC organized bias revelation) will continue into the new year.I emailed Rex Murphy at cross country check up, CBC has run many BBC sourced climate alarm shows over the last 7 years, I expect they will not run an, oops source exposed as suspect correction. Instead more Dr Suzuki drivel. While PM Harper appears to be backing away for this UN sourced mess, I will believe it when they nominate you, Steven McIntyre for Order of Canada. I have read quite a few texts on state propaganda, and see little difference between BBC and CBC. What I am unclear on, is who is the state in this case? How have Britons and Canadians benefited from having this pseudo scientific story-line on our publicly funded media? Which brings me to the observation that you, Mr McIntyre are a far better man than me, congratulations on your composure and forbearance. Keep up the good work.

  45. MarkR
    Posted Nov 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Hiding behind Chatham House rules is a trick used but the Common Purpose organisation. CPUK. Initials strangely redolent of the party with the red flag and hammer and sickle.

  46. Paul Matthews
    Posted Nov 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    The man who apparently first proposed these seminars, Tony Hall, has now been appointed as the new Director General of the BBC.

    • Posted Nov 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

      Yes, there were many demanding that George Entwistle should resign, after a few weeks in the post, when he could have had precious little influence on things either way. I was always suspicious of those voices. This news, if true, hardly reassures.

  47. lurker passing through, laughing
    Posted Nov 23, 2012 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

    Sadly this is the emerging operating procedure in many areas of discussion:
    One side continues to dig and and identify problems with the consensus, which at one time was a respected activity.
    Those interested in defending the consensus simply ignore the critiques and move forward.
    The BBC is not doing anything the American, Canada and Australian media have done for many years.
    They are working to make certain no other voices are heard on the topic of climate than that of the consensus.

  48. paul
    Posted Nov 23, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    I know this is completely off topic but I am in need of some expert help relating to obtaining some old emails from a government dept here in New Zealand. They say they cannot find them but I am sure they are evading our request and I need some help. Anyone?

  49. sue
    Posted Nov 28, 2012 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

    Wasn’t sure where to post this… Very surprised you have not commented on the recent Mann/Wilson discussions… I remember you saying you weren’t feeling well recently but I hope you are just traveling and/or busy. Does anyone know?

  50. Posted Nov 28, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    Back to basics with Karl Popper:

4 Trackbacks

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