German Scientists Aghast At BBC Censorship: “Fear Of A Serious Factual Discussion”…”An Egregious Step”

Geologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Professor of Chemistry Fritz Vahrenholt also posted today on the BBC’s lapse away from democratic principles: the right to free and open debate on important issues.

Fear of a serious factual discussion: Climate alarmists pressure BBC to censorship of the public climate debate

By Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning
(German passages translated by P Gosselin)

In February 2014 Lord Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher, took part in a climate debate on BBC Radio. In it he represented climate-realistic positions while his discussion partner Sir Brian Hoskins defended the climate alarmist direction. The debate was moderated by Justin Webb of the BBC. What follows is an excerpt (via GWPF):

Lord Lawson: No measured warming, exactly. Well that measurement is not unimportant. But even if there is some problem, it is not going to affect any of the dangers except marginally. What we want to do is focus with the problems there are with climate – drought, floods and so on. These have happened in the past – they’re not new. As for emissions, this country is responsible for less than 2% of global emissions. Even if we cut our emissions to 0 – which would put us back to the pre-industrial revolution and the poverty that that gave – even if we did that, it would be outweighed by China’s increase in emissions in a single year. So it is absolutely crazy this policy. It cannot make sense at all.

Sir Brian Hoskins: I think we have to learn two lessons from this. The first one is that by increasing the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide, to levels not seen for millions of years on this planet, we are performing a very risky experiment. We’re pretty confident that that means if we go on like we are the temperatures are going to rise somewhere between 3-5 degrees by the end of this Century, sea levels up to half to 1 metre rise.

Justin Webb: Lord Lawson was saying there that there had been a pause – which you hear a lot about – a pause of 10 / 15 years in measured rising of temperature. That is the case isn’t it?

Sir Brian Hoskins: It hasn’t risen very much over the last 10-15 years. If you measure the climate from the globally averaged surface temperature, during that time the excess energy has still been absorbed by the climate system and is being absorbed by the oceans.

Justin Webb: So it’s there somewhere?

Sir Brian Hoskins: Oh yes, it’s there in the oceans.

Lord Lawson: That is pure speculation.

Sir Brian Hoskins: No, it’s a measurement.

Lord Lawson: No, it’s not. It’s speculation.”

As a consequence, some BBC listeners complained that a climate realist should have never been invited on the show. Supposedly people became afraid when they noticed Lawson’s arguments came across as far more convincing than those from Hoskins. In a look back at the event in the Daily Mail, Lawson commented on am 9 July 2014:

The BBC was overwhelmed by a well-organised deluge of complaints — many of them, inevitably, from those with a commercial interest in renewable energy, as well as from the Green Party — arguing that, since I was not myself a scientist, I should never have been allowed to appear.”

Over the following months the complaints were reviewed by the BBC Complaints Office. In June 2014 an egregious step was taken: The complaints were upheld by the BBC. They claimed in short that Lawson had made false arguments. In reality a faulty accusation, as Lawson explains in his Daily Mail piece:

In fact, there was nothing I said in the entire Today programme discussion that was incorrect, nor, indeed, did Sir Brian Hoskins suggest otherwise. This can be confirmed by reading the full transcript, still available on my foundation’s website at, and possibly also on the BBC’s website, if they have not removed it out of embarrassment. The only untruth came from the unreliable Mr Chong of the Green Party who accused me of claiming on the programme that climate change ‘was all a conspiracy’. Needless to say, I said nothing of the sort, as the transcript makes clear.”

It appears the BBC will no longer be providing the climate realistic side any broadcast time. Already one can hear cheers from the climate-alarmists: Finally no more annoying discussions! Enough with democratic wastes of time, long live the IPCC dictatorship! Lawson explained in a piece in the Daily Mail:

The head of the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, a Mr Fraser Steel, whose qualifications for the job are unclear and whose knowledge of the complex climate change issue is virtually non-existent, has written to a little-known but active Green Party politician called Chit Chong to apologise for the fact I was allowed to appear on the programme and to make clear this will not happen again. Among the reasons given in Mr Steel’s letter for upholding Mr Chong’s complaint and over-ruling the BBC’s head of news programmes is the mind-boggling statement that: ‘As you have pointed out, Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by the evidence from computer modelling.’ Evidence? However useful computer models may be, the one thing they cannot be is evidence. Computer climate models are simply conjectures, expressed in the form of mathematical equations (the language of computers), which lead to forecasts of future global temperatures, which can then be compared with the evidence on the ground.”

The director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Benny Peiser, criticized the decision by the BBC in an interview in the iai news (excerpt):

IAI: So do you think that, when it comes to the media, it is a one-sided kind of alarmist perception of risk that comes into question?

PEISER: Of course, because they are well-known for pointing out everything that is alarming and being silent on reports that show it is not as alarming. So you have a bias in favour of alarm, and a kind of ignoring any evidence that suggests that it might not be that alarming.

It’s about people who think we are facing doomsday, and people who are thinking that the issue of climate change is exaggerated. And if you deny anyone sceptical of the apocalyptic doomsday prophecies, then you get in a position where the BBC is so biased that MPs are beginning to consider cutting the license fee, or abolishing the license fee altogether, because people are beginning to be upset by the BBC’s bias.

This is a self-defeating policy; the BBC is digging its own grave by annoying half of the population who are known to be sceptical about the alarmist claims which are not substantiated, which are not founded on any evidence. They are only based on on some kinds of computer modelling, which is not scientific evidence.

IAI: So scientific evidence, such as computer modelling and research, is being used as an instrument in the rhetoric?

PEISER: Well there is a big difference between observation, what you actually observe in reality – that’s what I would call evidence – and computer models that try to model the climate in 50 or 100 years time. I wouldn’t call that evidence. There is a difference between evidence and people saying, “if we don’t act now then in 50 or a 100 years time we will face mega catastrophe”. That’s not evidence, it is speculation.”

Read the complete interview at the iai news.


8 responses to “German Scientists Aghast At BBC Censorship: “Fear Of A Serious Factual Discussion”…”An Egregious Step””

  1. Paul Vaughan

    “commercial interest in renewable energy”

    As my awareness has increased and my naivety faded, I’ve come to realize that this group presents the type of obstacle to (sun-climate) truth that is actually quite formidable.

    Bloggers: Ever deepening sobriety — not ridicule — is the key to neutralizing such darkly potent force. When evil is sharp, you cannot successfully ridicule it.

  2. Jeremy Poynton

    Oddly, any news item on the radio about fracking is infested with activists wailing about it. None of them with any relevant qualifications whatsoever.

    How does that work, BBC?

    1. DirkH

      Exactly the same in German state media. The few times I had the displeasure of listening to it.
      It looks to me very much like all across the EU, the state media got the order to stop fracking at all costs.
      The reason is probably the high depletion rate of tight shales. Eurocrats know shale won’t help them for long. They know that they need Northstream, Southstream, the transadriatic pipeline; access to the gas of Russia and maybe Kurdistan/Iraq/Israel/Cyprus, whatever gets developed there.
      All these projects continue. The Eurocrats pay only lip service to American demands to cut their ties with Russia.
      That might all be even logical; I despise the state media nevertheless; they need to die.

  3. Steve C

    It’s good that Vahrenholt and Lüning (a) have noticed this and (b) have brought it out into wider circulation. Such MSM coverage as there has been in the UK has been generally in approval of keeping these dam’ sceptics off the air, perhaps unsurprisingly.

    The BBC has become shamelessly propagandistic since “that” briefing from their “experts” in 2006, and now “climate change” is levered into programmes on all channels willy-nilly. A couple of Christmases ago they put on a radio programme for kids, about fairies. Guess which Evil Fairy made her radio debut? (Hint: Her initials are C.C.. No, really.)

    They have changed the style of their science programming too, and not for the better. As a science-mad teen in the 1960s, I used to watch interesting, factual programmes which explored and explained the topic they were talking about well enough for me to understand it, at least in outline, with only school science. (It probably helped that a lot of what they were talking about at the time was the Apollo project, of course …)

    A typical modern programme will be at least 50-60% “fluff” about some individual’s poor upbringing, unfortunate marriage, how he died unknown in poverty or other such “attempts to paint a picture of the whole person” – frequently involving the presenter in some arduous globetrotting. Meanwhile the hard science the subject did will be left essentially unexplored, with perhaps a few shots of lab workers and some ” … is now the basis of the whole field of … ” commentary. Newton’s, er, “eccentricities” are so much more interesting than all that boring old mathematical gravity stuff. Maybe we’ll get to see the formula, floating past over an animated graphic of something. Bah!

    The BBC’s Reithian brief (1920s) was to “inform, educate and entertain”. Their unstated modern brief, along with other broadcasters, seems to lie somewhere between dumbing down and propaganda. I wish I could think otherwise, but I hear it on the radio every day, over and over. TV is the same, with wind turbines in the background.

  4. Curious George

    “evidence from computer modelling.” These days a Photoshop-ed evidence is OK.

  5. Loodt Pretorius

    The pension fund of the BBC is heavily invested in renewable energy companies. It is therefore in the interest of all staff members to protect their pension funds. When you analyse anything, it boils down to money and self-preservation in the end.

  6. Mervyn

    Everyone is aware of the greatest example of what happened in Europe when, a few decades ago, one group in society hijacked freedom and democracy to push its own one-sided agenda without discussion, without debate, but with determined blinkered authoritarian rule. That group triumphed for a few years before being defeated by the rest of the world.

    The same can easily happen again over the issue of human-caused dangerous global warming alarmism. Sceptics are supposed to keep quiet. No debate must be allowed. No discussion must be permitted. Inconvenient science must be ignored. Real world observational data must never be mentioned. Computer models must be treated as science. Perversion of the truth is justified for the cause.

    Or so these climate charlatans think!

    It is good to see,therefore, that many decent individuals and organisation are standing up to this tyranny.

  7. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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