Mukul Devichand…try to remember this name (well, it helps if you’re Indian, Welsh, or both)…why? Because Mr Devichand’s “The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?” programme on Radio4 tonight has surely been the most shocking BBC documentary since Oct 18, 1922.
You see, Mukul “Scourge of Science” Devichand HAS QUESTIONED A COUPLE OF SCIENTISTS’ THEORY.
The shock! The horror!
Yes, you’ve read it correctly. Rather than recording the usual regurgitated press release in order to reaffirm how any scientist that happens to be near a microphone is always right and always will be, Mr Devichand has done his job, what should be the normal job for every self-respecting journalist at the BBC and elsewhere: he has put forward interesting, probing, challenging questions to the scientists at hand, making sure the listeners understood the limits of the proposed theory, and going as far as to suggest some of the criticisms could be warranted.
Have you ever heard of a more evil person? (yes, I have)
The programme had no qualms in discussing the policy implications of the proposed theory, and didn’t try to paint opponents as anti-Science people. Finally, there was an open admission that (esp. in matters of public policy) things will always be interpreted according to one’s “heart”.
Is this an example of things to come? I HEREBY EXPRESS MY SUPPORT FOR THE PROMOTION OF MR MUKUL DEVICHAND AS BBC CLIMATE NEWS SUPREMO.
Just think, how many Jos Abbesses are out there, lurking in wait of another chance to metaphorically beat a BBC employee to submission at the first sign of doubt…
For unfathomable (ahr ahr!) reasons, much is made of the association between two Fellows of the Royal Society and the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). One is left to wonder if the remaining 41 Fellows “who called for” the new Royal Society pronouncement, are just stooges of the GWPF. Who knows, perhaps Pallab Ghosh believes the whole Society including Lord Rees are zombies manipulated by Lord Lawson?
Actually, it’s not just a matter of opinion. Keep in mind that the article is titled “Royal Society launches new climate change guide“. Therefore one would expect it to be dedicated to the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Keep also in mind that journalists are painfully aware of the importance of dedicating the right number of words to the right topic.
Now, there are 419 words in Mr Ghosh’s piece. Of those, 83 are dedicated to Bob Ward’s likely slanderous innuendos against the GWPF, a topic that is removed as far as it gets from the Royal Society and its stance on climate change:
“…Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation […] campaigns against climate researchers and promotes inaccurate and misleading information about climate change“
That’s 83/419=19.81% of the total. Now add the words in the previous paragraph in the article, just as well irrelevant to what the article was supposed to be about, and you get 125/419=29.83%.
In other words, 30% of Mr Ghosh’s writing has little to do with the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Can anybody imagine what would happen at the BBC if, say, 30% of any political article were blatantly irrelevant?
Funny to see such a shameful behaviour in their “science” section of all places.
Are milder winters good for wildlife? Yes? No? Who knows? Certainly, nobody would know it were the BBC the main source of information…
Latest: Mar 19, 2010: “The harsh winter in Britain may have had a devastating impact on wildlife, particularly on birds like the kingfisher“. But on May 28, 2003: “increases in spring temperatures in temperate areas of Europe” mean “long-range migrant birds ‘in peril’“, even if “short-haul migrational birds could benefit“.
And if on Nov 3, 2005, “scientists showed that migration and breeding of the great tit, puffin, red admiral and other creatures are moving out of step with food supplies“, on May 8, 2008, as already reported here, “great tits cope well with warming“. Didn’t they know? On Dec 19, 2001, Alex Kirby had written “The populations of some common wild bird species in the UK are at their highest in more than a decade. Woodland birds and several rare species are also doing better than they have. […] Scientists say mild winter weather helped many species“.
On the other hand, wasn’t it on Aug 12, 2000 that we were told that “the hunters say the drop in grouse populations during the past two years was mainly due to an unusually wet summer in 1998 and a mild winter in 1999“?
The overall impression is of course that few at the BBC (or amongst the esteemed scientists and various interviewees for several years) understand about the topic they are writing about, so they end up contributing to an absolutely confused mess where too much uncritical reporting demonstrates everything and its opposite.
If one waits long enough, literally anything will appear on the BBC News website on matters of climate.
ps Nature presenter Bill Oddie is reported on March 25, 2005 as saying “When I was a lad we had ‘proper’ winters and spring started in April. Now that seems a thing of the past“. I guess Mr Oddie must be happy by now, alongside a Herefordshire farmer who warned on Nov 11, 2006 of “a shortage of blackcurrant squash and jam” linked to (of course!) mild winters.
Interesting to see Ben Goldacre (here and here) and then Paul Bradshaw (here) complain about the BBC’s “bizarre” policy of linking to “journal homepages, and university homepages” rather than to the actual article being discussed. Goldacre:
there are the many serious problems raised by linking to university homepages (eg glasgow.ac.uk) and journal homepages, instead of specific research. They leave it completely ambiguous as to what piece of research was being described, often there is insufficient information in the news article to identify it, often time has passed and it is unclear what issue of the journal someone should be looking in
One of Bradshaw’s points might sound very familiar with people interested to understand climate change beyond the catastrophical rubbish so often mentioned as “science”:
Authoritative, accurate and attractive coverage relies at least in part in allowing users to point out issues with scientific research or its reporting
It is very unlikely the BBC will change its attitude…the Corporation is not built to correct itself based on readers’ comments. Still, people can vote with their mouse, and follow the lead of award-winning science writer Ed Yong (@edyong209):
Just unfollowed the BBC Science pages. What’s the point? Bland, linkless coverage. Times, Wired, NYT, Nature all far better.
“And lo! On the twelfth day of the ninth tenth year of the third millennium, a strange phenomenon appeared on the website of the British (Climate Change) Broadcasting Corporation. In the ‘Science & Environment‘ pages, not even one news item was dedicated to climate change…”
Only “features” and “analysis” survive. For how long? Perhaps the Copenhagen disaster of a summit has claimed yet another victim.
Rejoice all ye faithful! Warmist Extraordinaire, BBC News environmental expert journalist Mr Richard Black has started to grasp all that is wrong with AGW messages such “the planet is burning”, “humanity is in peril”, “climate change is a bigger threat than nuclear war”.
Climate change is projected to become a major driver of biodiversity decline […] but at the moment, the major factor is habitat loss as the human footprint expands. When it comes to fisheries […] the single biggest driver is undoubtedly over-consumption […] And underlying it all is the growth in the human species
[…] if climate impacts are at present largely reversible but the loss of a species self-evidently isn’t, does that make biodiversity loss more important than climate change?
[…] if the fundamental drivers of all the trends are the swelling in the human population and our expanding thirst for raw materials, why aren’t these the things that politicians and environmental groups are shouting about and trying to change?
The blog in question is titled “Does climate cloud the bigger picture?“.
Mr Black goes as far as to admit that
some of the policies being considered as a response to climate change […] could exacerbate other environmental problems
Perhaps he (and some among my twelve readers) will now understand why I simply cannot bear the constant barrage of absurdist climate change claims (shrinking sheep included). AND the BBC’s own fixation with all things global warming.
IMNSHO, anybody that cares about the environment should be wary of overshooting remarks about any particular environmental issue: those will not help solve anything, and likely will make things worse overall.
As of Monday evening GMT, Richard Black’s “UK ‘must plan’ for warmer future” (Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 18:04 UK) is still visible under the “Environment” sub-section the of BBC Science & Environment home page.
Pallab Ghosh’s “Climate warnings’ error margins” (Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 12:58 UK) is nowhere else to be seen than via directly input of the URL. Remarkably, it cannot be found even under FEATURES AND ANALYSIS in the “standard” right-side column sub-section for climate-related pages. It is missing from the GREEN ROOM as well.
Richard Black’s article appears in that same right-side column under LATEST SCIENCE
I am a regular follower of the BBC Science & Environment site. Still, had it not been mentioned in today’s Benny Peiser’s CCNet mailing, Pallab Ghosh’s work would have disappeared without me noticing a thing.
And it is not a matter of when the article was last updated: there are two pages under Environment, one “Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 10:24 UK” and the other “Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 09:25 UK”. Both have been written/modified before Pallab Ghosh’s article.
There is one big difference though. Pallab Ghosh’s piece is much more critical of the Defra latest absurd claims on totally-unscientific climate projections over a 5-km grid.
Of course answers could range from “Not everything at the BBC is well planned” to “The Analysis list will be updated soon”, and more. But…if the BBC always and every time inadvertently and unwittingly errs on the side of the warmists, what ever will be left of the feeling that those errors are really inadvertent and unwitting?
Where are the BBC non-warmist inadvertent errors?
Please help me find any, as I have promised Richard Black via private e-mail I will refrain from criticising the BBC about AGW bias for a year, if he (or anybody else) can find anything.
And no, The Blog of Bloom doesn’t count. It would have had counted, had the BBC itself lent it any credibility in the past…