Monckton fails to censor BBC documentary with injunction

  • 31 Jan 2011, 17:19
  • Luke


Lord Monckton has failed in his attempt to stop the BBC broadcasting tonight's 10pm documentary Meet the Climate Sceptics. He made the challenge to the High Court on the basis of breach of contract because the programme will apparently not include a three- minute speech that he had prepared. The documentary followed Monckton around America as he criticised climate science.

According the Press Association, a lawyer for the BBC and Fresh One production company told the courrt that "the October 2010 contract provided for absolute editorial control by Fresh One and the BBC, there had been advance publicity for the broadcast and it would be problematic to show it at another time. He said that an injunction should not be granted as, though "dressed up" as a claim in contract, the real complaint was one of defamation."

James Delingpole, who also features in the documentary, has leapt to his associate's defence. But Monckton's scientific record has been often challenged. Skeptical Science have published a series of critiques, presented here as a handy one-stop-shop.

Read Monckton's profile here.

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Snow impact on climate change beliefs

  • 31 Jan 2011, 17:13
  • The Carbon Brief

Today's poll by the Guardian / ICM shows 83 percent of people in Britain believe climate change is now or soon will be a threat to the planet with 68 percent convinced its caused by humans.

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BBC4 meets the climate sceptics – 10pm tonight

  • 31 Jan 2011, 12:49
  • Robin

Following last week's Horizon, the BBC is going on a "journey into the heart of climate scepticism" in a 60 minute film on BBC4 tonight.

"Meet the climate sceptics" looks to be modelled on a Louis Theroux style examination of who the sceptics are and what they believe - featuring amongst others Lord Christopher Monckton and James Delingpole.

Skeptics from PTV Productions on Vimeo.

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Peter Sissons attacks the BBC's climate 'propaganda'

  • 27 Jan 2011, 14:01
  • The Carbon Brief

The news presenter Peter Sissons yesterday criticised the BBC for its "political correctness" and reporting of global warming in the pages of the Daily Mail. His article is headlined "the BBC became a propaganda machine for climate change zealots… and I was treated as a lunatic for daring to dissent".

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'Time to move on': government committee on email hack enquiries reports

  • 25 Jan 2011, 16:36
  • The Carbon Brief

A new metadata repository is being created at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia to make global temperature statistics available to the public in the wake of the "Climategate" controversy.

Members of staff are now being hired to place more than 20 years of collected data available in one place to support UEA's drive to better respond to freedom of information requests relating to its work on climate change.

The repository was a key recommendation following the "Climategate" controversy and has been supported by the House of Commons Science and Technology which today published its report, "The Reviews into the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit's E-mails."

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Horizon trips up James Delingpole but gives Fred Singer a free ride

  • 25 Jan 2011, 16:27
  • Christian

James Delingpole on Horizon - "It's not my job to sit down and read peer reviewed papers"

Last night Horizon dealt with the climate sceptics. By and large, the programme was encouragingly in-depth and thoughtful. It appears to have been a project of Sir Paul Nurse, incoming head of the Royal Society, and this bodes well for the RS - Nurse is personable, clear and engaging, and obviously has an appetite to go out and quietly and politely fight his corner.

Pre-show controversy had centred on UK sceptic blogger James Delingpole, who allegedly complained he was 'intellectual raped' by Nurse and the BBC. But while Nurse's own views on climate sceptics came over pretty clearly in the programme, Delingpole doesn't appear to have been set up. He manages to make himself look bad without any help from Horizon.

The thing that tripped him up was a fairly straightforward and relaxed line of questioning from Nurse about whether Delingpole - who had just been decrying the use of consensus in science - would submit to a consensus scientific opinion if he needed treating for cancer.

Delingpole's failure to address the question - "Um, shall we talk about, shall we talk about climategate?" was not just a terrible interview answer, it was also pretty mystifying. You'd think a sceptic commentator who spends so much time producing vitriolic rants against the scientific consensus would have considered this line of argument, but apparently not. He also didn't do himself any favours with "It is not my job to sit down and read peer-reviewed [scientific] papers, because I simply haven't got the time…" This is pretty damning self-indictment for someone who claims to be a commentator on climate science.

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Bjorn Lomborg on 10 O'Clock Live

  • 24 Jan 2011, 16:51
  • Christian


Bjorn Lomborg, statistician and "skeptical environmentalist", appeared last Thursday on Channel 4's new show, 10 O'Clock Live. The controversial professor was interviewed by Jimmy Carr, who introduced him as a "maverick", joking "I've heard it said you put the mental in environmentalist".

Such cutting-edge humour aside, Lomborg is a prominent public intellectual, a formidable self-publicist and a former but no longer climate sceptic. He's also quite a controversial figure - his books are highly regarded in some circles but he has been criticised by many scientists for his " cost-benefit economics" analysis of climate change and " cherry-picking" of data.

Controversial, 'mental' and guaranteed to inspire strong feelings, Lomborg was a safe choice for the opener of 10 O'Clock Live.

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(Astro)Turf Wars: How corporate America is faking a grassroots revolution in the name of freedom

  • 24 Jan 2011, 10:53
  • The Carbon Brief

Tea party activists get training in 'guerrilla online campaigning'.

(Astro)Turf Wars is an investigative documentary examining the murky world behind the 'grassroots' groups that have previously sprung up to oppose things like environmental legislation and healthcare reform, and how they tie into the 'Tea Party' movement which is making its bid for wider political power.


An 'astroturf' campaign is a fake grassroots movement founded, funded and organised by lobbying firms, PR companies, or interest groups. The term came to prominence following an upsurge of citizens groups opposing climate legislation in the USA that turned out to be funded and in some cases organised by industry lobby groups.

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What can be said about the recent extreme weather and climate change?

  • 21 Jan 2011, 17:10
  • Luke


Flooding in Brisbane. CC Jono Haysom - flickr

Over the last month, the world has seen extremes of weather with the coldest December on record in the UK, and widespread destruction caused by flooding in Australia and Brazil. Sceptic commentators have been quick to claim the US/EU cold snap as proof that AGW is a myth, while arguments have sparked up about what, if anything, can be said about the links between extreme weather events like cold spells, flash-flooding and climate change.

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Hansen: “we are on the verge of setting off irreversible changes.”

  • 18 Jan 2011, 15:11
  • Robin

The beginning of 2011 marks five years since James Hansen announced to the world that we have " at most ten years" to tackle rising growth rates of carbon dioxide. Later in 2006 he wrote that we have

"not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions."

Five years later, there are few signs that the world is prepared to respond. Global emissions reached an all-time high in 2008, falling only marginally in 2009 as a result of the economic crisis.

So how optimistic is Hansen now? Contacted by Carbon Brief, Hansen sticks by his statement, labelling his choice of decade as "prescient". His more recent research shows that

"…if emissions continue going up another 10 years, from now, there is no way to avoid calamities, except perhaps via extreme geo-engineering actions which [are] implausible and highly undesirable."

Hansen's 2006 prediction was largely based on the need to avoid a tipping point where loss of Arctic sea ice becomes unstoppable.

His argument is that the most effective way to predict the future is to look to past periods in the earth's history. The last time the earth was five degrees warmer (fifty million years ago), global sea level was eighty feet higher; when global temperatures were two degrees higher, sea level was up to sixteen feet higher.That's not to say that these are inevitable or immediate consequences of shifting temperatures, but it does show us how sensitive our planet has been to temperature shifts in the past.

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