The BBC Gets It Completely Wrong Once Again

Hat Tip : George Marshall, ClimateDenial.org

In my humble opinion, Andrew Neil is completely beyond redemption. He has recently invited Global Warming sceptic Nigel Lawson onto the Daily Politics show. Nigel Lawson is no scientist, apparently, and so cannot really be expected to have a learned view on Climate Change, so why was he asked to “debate” with Professor Bob Watson, a proper scientist ? A certain lack of equality in the value of their views, there, I think. Why give equal weight to both, Andrew Neil ?

Back in Febriary, Andrew Neil invited arch-sceptic Fred Singer onto the Daily Politics show. Doesn’t Andrew Neil know anything at all about the history of this man’s involvement in anti-science lobbying in the United States of America ?

It is reported that Fred Singer “bullied” a researcher, Justin Lancaster with “unwarranted” lawsuits :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/04/nobody_should_trust_s_fred_sin.php

http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-promotes-singers-sleazy-attack-on-al-gores-mentor

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Fred_Singer

Plus, Fred Singer has been documented by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway as having taken part in long-term anti-science communications with the public :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/10/merchants-of-doubt-distorting-science-while-invoking-science/

James Hoggan’s “Climate Cover-Up” book makes other aspects of the tale clear :-

http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review

Is this Fred Singer’s main mode of public activitiy – lawsuits and denial ? Doesn’t he do any actual science any more ? Or is he just a widely-travelled after-dinner speaker funded by various industrial special interests ? It’s “plausible”, a word he himself uses in denying the last 30 years of Global Warming. So why is Andrew Neil inviting him onto his TV show as an authoritative voice ? It’s ludicrous !

So back to the recent past and the introductory film for the Daily Politics show featuring the “debate” between Professor Bob Watson and Global Warming sceptic Nigel Lawson. To my mind at any rate, the BBC film was appalling. Narrated by the young Adam Fleming, it was dripping with Climate Change sceptic thought. Here’s what I wrote to the Crisis Forum :-

“Dear Crisis Forum, This is a really appalling re-write of recent history from the BBC :- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11574503 “Doubts over scientists’ climate change debate claims” : I counted at least 10 inaccuracies in a piece of film shorter than an ad break. Surely some of you have some energy left to complain ? http://www.joabbess.com/2010/10/19/bbc-licence-to-manipulate/…”

Here’s what Bob Ward wrote in response :-

“20 October 2010 : I think this was broadcast on The Daily Politics yesterday and was followed by a “balanced” discussion, chaired by Andrew Neil, between Bob Watson and Nigel Lawson – it is worse than the introductory report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11576013. While I have high regard for the BBC’s coverage of climate change, The Daily Politics frequently exercises double standards by uncritically promoting the views of ‘sceptics’ while being fiercely critical of mainstream researchers. This approach appears to reflect Andrew Neil’s own views on the subject, as can be seen through his blog (eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/2010/01/the_dam_is_cracking.html). I think it is worth drawing attention to the coverage of climate change by The Daily Politics for Professor Steve Jones’s review of the impartiality of the BBC’s science coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/news/press_releases/march/science_impartiality.shtml : Bob Ward, Policy and Communications Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science ”

Here’s what George Marshall, of ClimateDenial.org, had to say in reply :-

“21 October 2010 : On youtube there is ANOTHER dreadful interview on the Politics Show with Bob Watson and Fred Singer. The whole preamble and Andrew Neil’s handling is from a sceptic perspective :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF2hley0SGA
. So I have a few questions. One is why Bob Watson keeps agreeing to go on this show? I realise that he wants to represent the science, but, to be honest, he does not do so well enough and seems to be poorly prepared and briefed to go against these people. In any case, by appearing he is accepting and condoning the phoney debate. It does make me wonder whether there are grounds for a specific approach to The Politics Show but (as we’ve discussed Bob). Certainly I am all in favour of people ringing them up and complaining. Overall though, I think it is better to have an overall strategy for dealing with this than launch into a single skirmish – but don’t want to discourage Jo or anyone who is seeing red. George”

So my appeal is this : Adam Fleming, young reporter for the BBC – what do you actually think about Climate Change ? I know you had to narrate an appallingly inaccurate script over the Daily Politics show film, but what do you personally think of the issue ? Tell us that you’re sane, and have read something about this. Recant from the sceptic BBC position. “Come out of her my people”, and be redeemed into scientific sanctuary.

Harold Lewis : Flipping Out

Professor Emeritus Harold Warren Lewis of University of California Santa Barbara’s Institute of Theoretical Physics has apparently decided to resign from the American Physical Society, because it appears he thinks the Science of Global Warming is a “scam” :-

http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/11/hal-lewis-resigns-from-the-american-physical-society/

By the way, this gentleman is not the same as the other theoretical physicist, also called Harold W. Lewis, of Duke University, who died in the year 2000, just before you ask :-

http://www.phy.duke.edu/history/DistinguishedFaculty/HaroldLewis/

I have three questions :-

1. Why now ?

Why has Professor Lewis decided to break with the American Physical Society at this moment precisely ? Or was the timing of this “resignation” carefully chosen ?

It seems likely that Professor Lewis was not altogether happy about the Science of Global Warming for some years. After all, he participated in the “TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: YOU ARE BEING DECEIVED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING” Open Letter to the Congress of the United States of America of 1st July 2009 :-

http://www.examiner.com/weather-in-baltimore/read-scientists-open-letter-to-congress-you-are-being-decieved-about-global-warming

(Note : co-signed by Professor S. Fred Singer).

Professor Lewis been a member of the American Physical Society for a number of decades. So why resign now ? And what for ? What possible reason can have arisen recently, or may be about to happen, that could have forced his hand ?

2. Why does Harold Lewis’ resignation letter read like it was written by somebody else ?

Hal Lewis’ normal style of speech can be read in a transcript of an interview with the American Institute of Physics on 6th July, 1986 :-

http://libserv.aip.org:81/ipac20/ipac.jsp?uri=full=3100001~!4742!0&profile=newcustom-icos

http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/4742.html

The style of the resignation letter just recently published with Harold Lewis’ name on it is very informal. Yet, for something seemingly written by Professor Lewis in a conversational style, it is chock-full of sarcastic, sardonic remarks, the kind of device that really isn’t found in the 1986 interview, where Hal remarks on his position as the chair of a top secret advisory group :-

“The important thing in running JASON is to have the respect of the members, because if they don’t respect you, you can really get into trouble.”

Throughout his career, which spanned the academic, commercial and political worlds, he would have needed to use extra-diplomatic language, something that this recent letter of resignation doesn’t demonstrate.

Simple textual analysis suggests he didn’t write this letter of resignation.

3. What is his health like ?

What is Professor Lewis’ current state of health ?

As it says in the AIP interview :-

Aaserud: “You were born in New York City on the 1st of October, 1923.”
Lewis: “That is correct.”

Which would put him currently in his late eighties. Is he perhaps unwell ? Has he seen this document that he is supposed to have written ? Does he even know this letter of resignation has been written, in his name, but quite probably not in his normal style ?

This looks surprisingly like political ghostwriting, of the kind that allegedly tripped up Roger Revelle :-

http://www.desmogblog.com/the-deniers-the-world-renowned-scientist-who-got-al-gore-started

See the comments by Justin Lancaster here :-

http://www.desmogblog.com/the-inconvenient-truth-about-robert-c-balling

Who is Justin Lancaster ? Somebody who tried to stand up for the views of Roger Revelle :-

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/04/if-richard-lindzen-shows-up-at-your.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Revelle

“…Justin Lancaster, Revelle’s graduate student, alleged that Revelle was “hoodwinked” by Singer into adding his name to the article and “he was intensely embarrassed that his name was associated” with it and charged that Singer’s actions were “unethical”. Under threat of lawsuit by Singer, Lancaster recanted his statement, but years later has reiterated his charges and withdrawn his retraction…”

In conclusion, the letter of resignation from Harold Lewis may show us the ideological DNA of Fred Singer. Or it may not. It might be a callous hoax by someone much younger and with far less finesse.

Something that James Delingpole would possibly find it hard to detect, despite his enormous skill with the English language :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/

Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises

Jaw-droppingly, the BBC have apologised for the contents of a Today Programme. Not the one that caused poor, deceased Dr David Kelly so much embarrassment, God rest his soul. No, the one that featured the breaking of the “Climategate” e-mail scandal :-

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/bbc_apologizes_to_university_o.php

The BBC picked the wrong scandal story to run with, it appears.

The real scandal of Climategate is how the scientists’ e-mails were “liberated” from the University of East Anglia, and then annotated to give heavily biased interpretation, then released to the general public via the Internet, and how the Media were taken in.

Certain people at the BBC chose to go with the fake scandal, it seems – the narrative fabricated and dictated to them by Climate Change deniers.

Anyway, now the BBC have made an apology, of sorts. Better late than never, but all the same, it would have been better earlier rather than later.

Thankfully, despite the late apologies, this particular alleged witch-hunt didn’t end with a suspected suicide. Although it did include reports that Professor Phil Jones had, in fact, contemplated suicide; the reporting of which just added to his completely groundless public humiliation at the hands of the Press. Which they should apologise for, in my humble opinion. Just as good (old) George Monbiot had the good grace to offer some regret for :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jul/07/russell-inquiry-i-was-wrong

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7180154/Climategate-Professor-Phil-Jones-considered-suicide-over-email-scandal.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/johnhumphrys

“BBC apologises to University of East Anglia for “incorrect” remark”

“The BBC has apologised for an “incorrect” remark made by John Humphrys that UEA researchers had “distorted the debate about global warming to make the threat seem even more serious than they believed it to be”.”

Continue reading Hell Freezes Over : BBC Apologises