Unfortunately, some misuse science. Some of their intentions, are far from benevolent. They see science as a mechanism for political power and control. There is great danger from those who would use science for political control over us.

How do they do this? They instill, and then continuously magnify, fear. Fear is the most effective instrument of totalitarian control.

Chet Richards, physicist,


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The BBC - just another brick in the wall of trace gas alarmism

On the Bishop Hill blog today, Don Kieller provides this powerful indictment of the BBC's complicity in climate campaigning in a letter he has just sent to his MP and to the BBC Trust:
 [I have added all the text enlargement, the italics and the emboldening for presentation purposes here]:

I am writing to you about a serious concern regarding the BBC’s reporting of climate change science and associated issues

From the detail emerging in the aftermath of Mr. Tony Newbery’s F.O.I case (EA/2009/0118) it is absolutely clear that the BBC is in breach of its Charter, which requires it to be impartial.  Furthermore it knowingly and wilfully breached its Charter in this regard and has since tried to hide this fact from the Public and license fee payers, at the Publics’ expense.

In June, 2007, the BBC Trust published a report entitled “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st Century”. That report, which is fully endorsed by the BBC Trust, contains the following statement (page 40):

“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."

This statement forms the basis for the BBC’s decision to breach its Charter and abandon impartiality on the subject of climate change and instead provide a highly biased and alarmist presentation of the science of climate change, without any attempt at counterbalancing argument, let alone “equal space”.  Since then attempts have been made, via FOI requests, to find out the identities of the so-called “best scientific experts” who attended the “high level seminar” which thereby provided the justification for the BBC to abandon its principle of impartiality in this area. To my best knowledge, the BBC has not abandoned its impartiality in this way, even in wartime.

Tony Newbery, a pensioner, clearly felt the same way and has gone through a long series of FOI requests and processes, culminating, earlier this month, in a tribunal at the Central London Civil Justice Centre (case no. EA/2009/0118). The FOI request was for the identities of the “best scientific experts” who attended the seminar. In order to conceal this information, the BBC fielded a team of 6 lawyers, including barristers, at an estimated cost of £40,000 per day, to prevent the list of names from being published. Whilst they were successful, it was a pyrric victory, as it transpires that this information, that the BBC had tried so hard to conceal, had been in the Public domain for some time.

So who were these “best scientific experts”?

It turns out to be a motley collection of climate alarmists, activists, environmental advocates and those with vested financial interests:

Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia.

Not one of these could be described as “scientific”, let alone an expert.

The remainder:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

are scientists, but were misleadingly described in court by Helen Boaden (of Jimmy Saville infamy), as “scientists with contrasting views”. In fact all are unashamedly alarmist. Pointedly, not one of these scientists deals with attribution science, or the atmospheric physics of global warming. 

So where are the real experts? Scientists from the Met Office, or the Hadley Centre, one of the foremost climate research centres in the world? Where are the names of Dr.Chris Landsea, World expert on hurricanes, or Dr. Nils‐Axel Mörner, World authority on sea level rises? Or Professors Richard Lindzen, or Murry Salby, World experts on atmospheric physics? Why are there no experts from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia?

It now crystal clear why the BBC went to such great lengths and expense to withhold the names of those attending. They are not the “best scientific experts” but rather a group overwhelmingly comprised of environmental activists and NGO’s, with no scientific training, whatsoever, or those with a vested interest, often financial, in keeping climate change alarmism firmly in the Public eye.

In conclusion I put it to the BBC Trust that:

1. The BBC and, by endorsing the report, the BBC Trust, have lied to the public that they organised and/or attended a seminar at BBC Television Centre involving the “best scientific experts” on climate change.
2. That its change of policy to no longer be impartial on the subject of climate change was not based on scientific evidence, or the views of the “best scientific experts”, but in fact was as a result of listening to the views, advice and lobbying from inappropriate and biased individuals, groups and organisations including Greenpeace, Tearfund, US Embassy, BP, IIED, IBT, AsRia, E3G etc.
3. That the BBC and the BBC Trust are in breach of the charter and acting unlawfully. The following quotations are taken from the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-editorial-values-editorial-values/ :

1.2.1 Trust
Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy
We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output. Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth. Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We will strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.
1.2.3 Impartiality
Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences. We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented. We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts.

1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence
The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests. 

Each and every one of these guidelines has been knowingly breached.

This is a scandal that is, in its own way, more disturbing than the one over the Jimmy Savile affair, as it has implications for the whole population. Interestingly the key players in this scandal, George Entwistle, Helen Boaden, Peter Rippon and Steve Mitchell, are also key players in the Savile affair. However whilst the Savile scandal is being looked into by a series of inquiries, this has been ignored.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course on this matter. Please also be advised that I have sent a copy of this letter to the Director of the BBC Trust.
Nov 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller 

The BBC produces a lot of educational materials, and may even have deliberately injected climate perspectives into children's etnertainment programmes, and may well be seen as an authoritative source, along with such as the Royal Society and the IPCC, on matters to do with climate change.  Teachers should be on their guard about the outputs of each and every one of them on climate.

For more background.
A recent newspaper article on this topic has been published in the Daily Telegraph by Christopher Booker, and Andrew Orlowski has written a detailed overview in The Register.

Note added 3 December 2012: Further analysis of the supine behaviour of the BBC on climate, with chapter and verse on how they surrendered their souls to a handful of eco-activists:  http://biased-bbc.com/2012/12/carbon-footprints-and-dr-joe-smiths-fingerprints.html

Note added 7 December 2012.  An updated essay around this BBC seminar called 'The Propaganda Bureau' is available at Bishop Hill .  A few posts earlier, Don Keiller shares some correspondence with his MP on the topic of the BBC breaching its charter over climate matters.

Friday, 16 November 2012

A 28Gate Climate Crusader Coaching Children for The Cause.

One of the many somewhat curious choices of participant in the infamous climate-alarm lobbying seminar held by the BBC in January 2006 is 'Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University'.  She has since helped launch a programme aimed at turning children into political activists, driven presumably at least in part by her being seized with fear about the future thanks to rising CO2 levels. 

I had noticed that an executive from Children’s BBC was amongst those revealed by 28Gate  (Anne Gilchrist, Executive Editor Indies & Events, CBBC), and I wondered if she had been taken in by the crusaders.  I don’t know if she was or not – a study of the subsequent programmes would be required.  I hoped that someone might have the resources to do that one day soon, and gave the list no more thought.

But then my attention was drawn yesterday (hat-tip M) to some further research by Maurizio Morabito which led him to this extract from a Linked-In entry by Andreadis :

  • Member of the Board SANI SA January 2008 – Present (4 years 11 months)
  • Founder/Director Planet Agents January 2008 – Present (4 years 11 months)
  • Harvard University Masters in Public Policy, Environmental Policy, Government Strategy, Media 2004 – 2006
  • University of Bath BSc in Management, Business 1996 – 2000”

SANI is a company which owns or at least runs a luxury hotel resort, and very impressive it looks to be.  Too expensive for me I suspect, but it sure looks like they are doing a grand job there, and that it would be a very pleasant place to visit.

PlanetAgents, however, is another kettle of fish altogether.

In a comment on Maurizio’s recent post linked to above, ‘geoffchambers’ (who has his own blog here) notes that:

Planet Agents’ site is in Greek, but there’s a PDF in English with a Mission Statement:

To empower children aged 7-12 to take action on environmental issues.
To revolutionize the role children play in the environmental movement, empowering
them to become a real force for change in their home, school and community.
To achieve this by…
• By enabling children to harness their power in bringing about positive environmental action.
By making saving the planet a game and social activity, offering kids the chance to take on the role of Planet Agents and undertake fun “Top Secret Missions” to green their home, school and wider community.
• By getting kids to educate and motivate their parents to change their behavior on ten key planet environmental threats.”
[I have added the bold and italics]
Planet Agents http://www.planetagents.org/
I have looked at the Planet Agents site using machine translations by Google .

It is all wrapped up in the honey of protecting the planet, and doing congenial things like having a vegetable garden, with talk of ‘freshness and humor’ in their approach.  But it is all so politicised.  The children are to take on the adults via 'missions' and to organise themselves to ‘get changes in their immediate environment’, e.g.

'Each individual mission supported by appropriate educational material to propose practical solutions to environmental management issues, such as a vegetable garden at the school, eliminating plastic in the school canteen or composting at home, where children enrich and apply. Apart from its training, each mission encourages children to take their future into their own hands, to propose their own solutions, as well as to communicate what they have learned to the rest of the school.'

Please leave them alone, Elena.  They have a childhood to enjoy and do not need to share your fears of the future, nor your ambitions to manipulate their parents.  Adults have done a pretty impressive job of improving living standards, improving health, improving the environment, and making use of cost-effective ways of mass-producing electricity.  They will continue to do so, and looking out for the wellbeing of their own and other people’s children will be an important part of it.  Perhaps if people like Elena, no doubt as well-intentioned as anyone could be in wanting to 'protect the planet', would engage more with adults and try to persuade them directly of her concerns it would be better than trying to do so via their children.

Why do they do it?
A pyschotherapist speculated  last year about reasons why people might target children in this way:
'But the deeper question is – why are adults so keen to focus on children? Why concentrate on the weakest, least influential members of society and ask them to act? The answer I think lies in the process psychoanalysis calls projection where unwanted feelings or parts of the self are split off and attributed to somebody else. “I’m not angry/selfish/mean/neglectful – you are/he is/she is/they are.”

Climate change makes most adults working on it feel powerless. We compare the actions we are capable of with the scale of the problem and feel weak. We look at the extent of our influence and feel helpless. We struggle to combat our contrary desires to consume and feel shame. We feel like children. Children – who are actually socially and politically powerless – are an ideal receptacle for the projection of these uncomfortable and unacceptable feelings.

By focusing on the weakest members of society and influencing them, the not-very-powerful adults make themselves feel better at the expense of the absolutely-not-powerful children. By making them act, we prove that we are not as powerless as we feel

Alternative explanations include 'noble cause corruption', or just the plain self-righteousness and arrogance of the zealotMore research into this area of climate alarmism would be very welcome. 

Some other posts relevant to this:
(1) Creating 'little climate activists' in UK schools
(2) Something similar in Canada

(3) Why do they pick on children?  Some thoughts here:  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Climate campaigning corruptions to exclude from the classroom: greenhouses and '97%'

Misleading ideas and interpretations of published results are well-suited to the promotion of CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) in the classroom.

The very term 'greenhouse effect' is an example.  It has been established for more than 100 years that greenhouses do not heat up by 'trapping' infra-red, they heat up because their enclosed structure dramatically reduces mixing with cooler outside air.  But what a godsend the phrase is for alarming anyone who has ever been in a hot greenhouse.

Another example is the use of some variant of the phrase '97% of climate scientists believe in CAGW'.  This is a shoddy statistic.  It was derived from a poorly formulated, poorly conducted, and poorly analysed survey by an MSc student for her thesis, and, were it not for the obvious propaganda value, it would normally never have seen the light of day outside of her department.

The So-Called Greenhouse Effect

In 1909, a distingushed American physicist called R W Wood reported (Phil. Mag. vol 17, p319-320) on his experiments which showed that 'trapping' of infra-red by greenhouse glass was of no consequence as a cause of warming in the greenhouse.  He speculated that infra-red radiation was likely to be of little consequence in heating the atmosphere as well.

The work of Wood has been made widely known through a paper on the history of the greenhouse effect by Jones and Henderson-Sellers (1990).  From their abstract:

'One such misconception is that greenhouse research is a recent phenomenon; another is that glasshouses are warmed by the same mechanism as lies at the heart of the greenhouse effect.'

For a recent confirmation of Woods 1909 experiment see Nahle (2011).  He concludes:

'The greenhouse effect inside greenhouses is due to the blockage of convective heat transfer with the environment and it is not related, neither obeys, to any kind of “trapped” radiation. Therefore, the greenhouse effect does not exist as it is described in many didactic books and articles.

The experiment performed by Prof. Robert W. Wood in 1909 is absolutely valid and systematically repeatable.'

Nevertheless, as revealed for example by 'Tallbloke' very recently, experiments with shining lamps on to upturned glass jars containing thermometers are promoted for classroom demonstrations to convince pupils of the reality of an atmospheric 'greenhouse effect'.  The title of this blogpost by Dr Roy Spencer sums it up nicely:  http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/10/hey-school-teachers-those-greenhouse-effect-experiments-are-junk/

The So-Called 97% 

The complete absence of convincing evidence of a suitably dramatic effect of man-made CO2 on the climate system has forced propagandists to look elsewhere.  Notably by 'appealing to authority'.  

One device is to pretend that the output of computer models provides that evidence.  They of course merely provide illustrations of the ideas and methods of the programmers, and they do not even model CO2 directly - including it instead by its presumed impact as a 'forcing'. 

Another is to declare that many thousands of scientists producing IPCC reports believe in it, when in fact almost all of them are focused on, and qualified to study, the effects of climate change rather than the causes.  Since climate always changes, such studies could be undertaken for any era in earth's history.  

A third is to assert that '97% of climate scientists' believe in it.   Let me quote from an informative blog post on this published two days ago by Tom Harris, with my bolding and italicising:

' It’s a “fact” asserted by political leaders, media and activists worldwide. Important public policy and corporate decisions are based on it. Researchers and public opinion survey coordinators take it as a given. School children and college and university students are assured it is true.
It is the idea that scientists agree that we are causing climate catastrophe. It is perhaps best summed up by the following statement, one heard often over the past three years:
“97% of climate experts agree that humanity is causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change because of our greenhouse gas emissions.”
No poll of experts has actually shown this. There has never been a reputable worldwide survey of climate scientists that has even asked the question. In fact, it has never even been demonstrated that there is any “global scientific consensus about the climate crisis”, as Al Gore continually assures us that there is.'

The post goes on a little later to say:

'Two pieces of evidence are most often cited to support the 97%/consensus argument:
  1. A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) by Anderegg et al.
  2. A poll conducted in April 2008 by Professor Peter Doran and then-graduate student Margaret R. K. Zimmerman at University of Illinois at Chicago. The survey results were summarized in a paper published in January 2009 in the science journal EOS.
Contrary to popular belief, the Anderegg et al study did not poll any experts at all. Instead, the paper’s authors merely evaluated the publication record of scientists they chose to represent two sides in the global warming debate. This study has been roundly condemned as worse than useless by several authors and, because I was personally involved in assembling some of the lists of experts cited by the researchers and so understand the limitations of those lists, I will explain in a future FCPP blog posting why the Anderegg et al study is not a meaningful indicator of expert opinion about this topic.
The Doran/Zimmerman study, which did poll experts, has also been thoroughly debunked by many writers and so there is little point in repeating their criticisms in this blog posting. However, there are two problems with the study that have received little or no coverage to date. Both of these problems destroy the poll’s credibility as a reliable measure of the stance of climate scientists on the supposed climate crisis.'

Harris quotes some of the comments made by some of the scientists who were asked to complete the survey.  He points out how these raise so many problems with the questions deployed that it is obvious that the survey should have been re-designed.  It was not of course.  It was, after all, 'just' a student project.  One sadly destined to be shouted from the rooftops in support of alarmism.

Barry Woods also published more details of this shoddy piece of survey earlier this year.  He provides references to previously published criticisms:

'The Doran paper  has been criticised by many sceptics in the past, where a survey of 10,256 with 3146 respondents was whittled down to 75 out of 77 “expert” ’active climate researchers’ (ACR) to give the 97% figure, based on just two very simplistic (shallow) questions that even the majority of sceptics might agree with. Lawrence Soloman made one of many critiques of the Doran Paper here and offers a very good summary, some other reviews here, here and here.'

Woods also provides criticism and further references on deliberate deceptions using the  Anderegg et al. study. He relays this quote from Paul Matthews which sums that nicely in response to an egregious claim:

'Worse still, he misrepresents the claims of that paper (he implies the 97% believe CO2 will cause major climate change in the coming decades, while Anderegg et al say 97% agree that most of the warming of the 20th C was very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases – two very different statements).'

Let us hope these 'two very different statements' are not confounded in the minds of teachers across the world, nor may they contain the emotive notion that the earth is warming like a greenhouse.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Calming the Climate Curriculum - rejoinders and 'Did you know?'s

There is an organisation called the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow - CFACT.  It is actually optimistic about the possibilities for further progress without buying into the 'climate catastrophe due to man' cult.  How radical is that?  Imagine if that became the dominant leitmotif of curricula in schools!  Imagine the financial crisis facing fear-based fundraisers if cheerfulness and rationality broke out!

CFACT has just published (hat-tip NoTricksZone) a set of brief counter-arguments to some of the kinds of remarks that can trip off the tongues of those still convinced by the case for alarm over CO2.  Some examples:

'CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it has been rising steadily. How can you deny global warming?'

'Haven’t the past few years shown global warming to be worse than we thought?'

'How can you ignore thousands of scientists who say manmade global warming is a serious threat?'

'97% of scientists say manmade climate change is real. How can you go against them?'

'Don’t graphs show that current temperatures are the highest in 1,000 years?'
There are 8 pages in a pdf file of these questions and answers here: http://www.cfact.org/pdf/Climate-Change-Q&A-Truth-File-2012.pdf

When the exams are over, or if the mark schemes are tolerant of dissent, or if the pupils are otherwise not to be judged on their conformance to climate cult dogma, then this document could provide material for many displays for the classroom wall.  These could be used to encourage fact-checking and further investigations by pupils into these or any other remarks or assertions they may have encountered from those who want to scare them, and the rest of us, into thinking and doing what they want us to.

A promising initiative is also underway led by Anthony Watts at WUWT.  He has invited suggestions for 'Did you know X' tidbits that he could use in a forthcming presentations, as he explains:

'The concept is simple and revolves around the question “Did you know?” and climate science.
Here’s how it works.  
Every one of us has some little tidbit of information they learned about climate science that isn’t being told by the MSM and doesn’t fit the narrative. I’m looking for a series of “Did you know?” tidbits to use in an upcoming presentation.  For example:
Did you know?
The infrared response of Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is curved (logarithmic) rather than straight (linear) as is often portrayed in science stories?'

Several hundred suggestions have been made in the comments, and not all of them of course are sensible or plausible.  But presumably in due course, Watts will winnow the wheat from the chaff and may produce something of interest for use in the classroom.

Supplement added shortly after posting 
 A Cambridgeshire councillor has attracted a great deal of very informed support for his sceptical position on CO2 alarmism.  One commenter provided him with a very interesting list of quotes, comments, and apercus from scientists who share that view.  The details are on Nick Clarke's blog here: http://nickclarkeconservative.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/climate-some-comments-from-scientists/

(hat-tip: Climate Science)

These also look like a very rich resource for classroom use.