Three Disinformation Strikes For Rowlatt, the BBC’s Climate Activist-in-Residence

The BBC’s green activist-in-residence Justin Rowlatt has had two complaints upheld against him, following the broadcast last November of his absurd “Wild Weather” Panorama programme. The latest upheld complaints followed a similar rebuke last year, after Rowlatt described offshore wind as “virtually subsidy-free”.

The Panorama programme was an hour long, emotion-charged rant that tried to show human-caused climate change was behind a series of recent bad weather events. It featured a man with vascular dementia being helped into a boat from his flooded home. Improbable stories of 6°C rises in temperature were illuminated with a Met Office globe turning deep red. Not a scintilla of scientific proof was supplied to back up most of the improbable claims.

The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit found that the wording of the introduction, which stated “the death toll is rising around the world and the forecast is that worse is to come”, risked giving the impression the rate of deaths from extreme weather-related events was increasing.

“Risked” is an interesting turn of phrase. The BBC said the wording “was not as clear as it should have been”, and accepted the obvious fact that deaths have actually been falling for many years

The ECU also upheld a complaint about a Rowlatt statement that Madagascar was on the brink of the world’s first climate-induced famine. The report about the drought  in the south of the country was presented “without qualification”, but other evidence “prior to broadcast” was said to suggest there were additional factors that made a significant contribution to the shortage of food.

In fact, drought in southern Madagascar was not unknown in the past. A group of scientists and observers working for World Weather Attribution recently published their findings. As can be seen, a drought in 1992 was actually worse. Recent rains have marginally improved the current situation.

Moreover, the paper noted the finding of the sixth IPCC Assessment Report that classified the region as exhibiting “low confidence” of observed human influence on drought, “due to limited evidence”.

The core problem affecting the coverage of climate science at the BBC, and most of the mainstream media, is the ludicrous proposition that it is somehow settled and beyond debate. As the Daily Sceptic has noted on numerous occasions, nobody can put a provable figure on the actual warming that will occur if carbon dioxide, from whatever source, is doubled in the atmosphere. This is a subject of intense, ongoing debate within scientific circles. Rather than artificially divide scientists into those who say humans cause climate change and those who don’t, a more nuanced stance would be to look at their views on a scale from one to ten – one being no effect from humans, and ten suggesting humans cause all warming. Currently, you will find views spread across the entire spectrum.

But debate has long been closed down by politically inspired activists, driven seemingly to do what it takes to ‘save the planet’ and secure the Net Zero agenda. Improbable suggestions that temperatures will rise by 6°C, guessed by always-wrong computer models, are broadcast for maximum emotional impact. Attempts to debate the science are often met with the slur of denier, suggesting the denial of the World War Two Jewish Holocaust.

Consider this extraordinary photo and caption published recently on the main BBC’s climate page.

The story concerned an Eastern European group called the Creative Society that was said to have tricked a number of scientists, politicians and campaigners into participating in events promoting “climate change denial”. It was written by two BBC “climate disinformation” reporters, Marco Silva and Merlyn Thomas. The above picture was used to promote the story, alone on a separate page, but was not attributed to the Creative Society in the full article. It does not seem to appear on any of the main pages of the Society’s web site.

In the absence of clear attribution, the long nose, the pig snout and the loaded use of the term ‘deniers’, might unfortunately suggest that anyone dissenting from the settled science view is a lying pig akin to an antisemitic Holocaust denier.

The actual story is a non event. Even if the Society is promoting ‘climate denial’, whatever that is  – so what? The BBC says the Society has hundreds of thousands of followers across all major social media platforms, and through them “bad information about global warming is being spread”. Not on Twitter it’s not – the Society has fewer than 4,000 followers.

On its website, the Society says a creative forum can “provide for a future without wars, conflicts, violence and hunger”. A recent tweet sought understanding for immigration, noting that the United States was founded by refugees. Climate change is often attributed to cosmic cycles. The Society seems to combine an idealistic view of society with a dash of eastern Christian mysticism and a scattering of ‘end is nigh’ warnings. Climate, it states, is the “enemy of the entire humanity”. It claims that climate cataclysms are occurring at record breaking speed. “Why are the world media silent about the scale of threats,” it asks.

It appears that the Creative Society has an idealistic message that everyone is entitled to be happy, combined with a dash of neo-mysticism and warnings of imminent climate Armageddon. In fact, in many ways, it seems remarkably similar in outlook to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor

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December 2022
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