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BBC Panorama on Climategate

The BBC risk ending up with yet more egg on its face after broadcasting a Panorama “investigation” with more errors than you can shake a pepper grinder at at :-

But it’s worse than merely embarrassing.

Entitled “How ‘climate-gate’ turned nasty”, it was a genuinely nasty piece of work in my view, showing images out of place, endorsing the work of non-experts, overlaying poor and inaccurate narration and editing interview comments inappropriately.

I feel that some of the mistakes made by the reporter, Tom Heap, were laughable.

I will mention just one thing here, out of all those that riled me. Several times during the programme, the “reporter” mentioned that Renewable Energy was expensive. At one point the film showed an offshore wind turbine and said that the electricity produced by wind power was three times more expensive than conventional sources.

He did not mention that the price of onshore wind power is comparable in price to fossil fuel generation but blocked by recalcitrant Planning authorities.

He didn’t mention that it is to be expected that Wind Power will be somewhat expensive at present – the investment phase in the new infrastructure is still ongoing.

He neglected to mention the high levels of return on investment, and solid asset base with continuing value, that a fully operational Wind Power network would provide, as outlined by the Offshore Valuation study :-

And he also neglected to mention that ongoing research and developing into Wind Power is dragging the prices down.

From this, I take it that the BBC can clearly not be trusted to provide accurate and complete information on the development of Renewable Energy.

As for the Science, I’ll probably get round to digging into this mess at some point, but one thing needs to be emphasised here : the views of John Christy and Bjoern Lomborg (a non-scientist) are at the very end of the spectrum.

Bjorn Lomborg’s work has been discredited, and he cannot be trusted in my view :-

John Christy has had to retract some of his scientific claims :-

They are in no way representative of the main caucus of Climate Change Science, and I feel it is extremely poor of the BBC to allow its viewers to be propagandised into believing that there is a serious debate about how significant and serious Climate Change is.

There isn’t. The governments of the world have invested public money in trying to find out the problems that could arise from Global Warming and the Climate Change it can cause, and the results are that we are at serious risk.

I think it is immoral and unethical to leave Panorama viewers with the idea that Climate Change might not be happening, or might not constitute a major threat to their way of life and the lives of those they care about.

In summary, I think the BBC cannot be trusted to relay Climate Change Science to us.

This bumbling attempt to cover all bases as if they were all relevant is going to confuse the public even more than they are already. The BBC is therefore complicit in mass deception, according to my analysis.

Oh, and Tom Heap, people breathing out Carbon Dioxide doesn’t add to the sum total of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere – it merely recycles it. On the other hand, digging up Fossil Fuels from the ground and burning them, they do increase the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the air. How little you know about the basic science. You are in my humble opinion entirely unqualified to broadcast on Climate Change.

Once again, the Media have failed to communicate the facts.

8 replies on “BBC Panorama on Climategate”

The strange thing about the certain, as in the post above, is that they don’t see that their minds are closed. The sentence “There isn’t” says it all. I’m not sure, so I have read a great deal on this issue and those who think that water vapour, sun spots, sun cycles or ocean currents are just as likely suspects are as convincing as all the other enthusists. It would be nice to have a definitive view and Panorama was hopeless. Still pushing the discredited hockey stick for one. Lots of other errors too, and no mention of any of the other possible causes listed below. I shall continue to read both camps but try to keep an open mind. It’s certainly going to be cheaper and easier to adapt rather than spends several fortunes to reduce carbon emissions just in time for the next ice age.


You rightly castigate Tom Heaps for being non-scientific about CO2 recycling but elsewhere on this website you are should perhaps be a little more scientific yourself.

Nuclear power does have measurable effects in reducing CO2 emissions. The emissions per capita in France which produces 80% of its electricity by nuclear power are some of the lowest in Europe:

Nuclear power, of course, has its problems, but maybe we just don’t have a viable alternative. James Hansen who has probably done more than anyone else to alert the World to the problem of human induced climate change is certainly of that opinion:

Mmmm who’s truth are we talking about here? As an engineer I thought the BBC understated the costs. The big trouble is that so far real world experience does not back up your contention about wind power costs. And I don’t see anything on the horizon that is going to improve this situation other than more hot air to attract funds.

Even if advances in aerodynamics and improvements in reliability and maintainability were delivered, they alone will come nowhere close to filling the gap between promise and reality. Wind is a dead loss I’m afraid.

Wind, and all the renewables combined, except hydro electricity, are more than a dead loss, they are actually a distraction from the main issue. A simple way for politicians to claim to have ‘done something’ on climate change.

Even being wildly optimistic about their potential, it is hard to see how they can ever contribute more than 20% to the total.

So what about the other 80%? The choice there, uncomfortable as it may seem, has to be made between fossil fuels and nuclear power. And it may as well be 95%, or even 100%, as 80%.


I was concerned that plasma screens cause problems at the power station but electric cars do not.

How is the CO2 we breath out recycled? I am sure it can be offset.

If the world is going to double its population every 100 years a lot more CO2 is going to be produced.

Dudley Baker,

CO2 produced by humans, and other animals too, is derived from the food they eat. A potato or source of grain or whatever. Plants take in CO2 from the atmosphere which is converted by the process of photosynthesis into sugars and starches.

Of course, additional CO2 is generated by agriculture in the production of fertilisers, driving farm machinery, and the transportation of the food, and as fossil fuels are burnt.

Electric cars are not perfect. They aren’t totally emission free, as you point out, especially if the CO2 during the car’s construction is taken into account. However, they produce significantly lower emissions, even when the electricity generated to power them is derived from fossil fuels. Of course, it’s much better to use either renewable sources of power or nuclear power.

The programme was not aimed at informing those that already care about more climate science, there are resources aplenty for that. It stated that many people do not understand climate change and that is not going to change if pedantic scientific info is crammed in at the expense of understanding among the audience. If you already care and understand climate science and renewable energy then great, but if that is the case then this programme was not aimed at you.

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