Video: Reporting Climate Change - Richard Black

Thursday 3 November 2011, 13:41

David Hayward David Hayward of Hayward Black Media is a writer, journalist and consultant for local TV. Twitter: @david_hbm

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If you want a ten-minute guide to reporting climate change and impartiality, this is it.
Richard Black, the BBC's environment correspondent, gave this excellent presentation at a BBC College of Journalism briefing; dispelling the myths and exploring the scientific facts of global warming.

He was speaking in the wake of a review by Professor Steve Jones into impartiality and the accuracy of the BBC's coverage of science, ahead of COP 17 - the UN climate change conference in Durban at the end of the month.

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    Comment number 1.

    I would suggest his presentation is factually unsound, and the data presented is incorrect.

    In the spirit of imparitality, which you cherish, how about a follow up session where a prominent sceptic such as Andrew Montford give a presentation on the other side of what is still an open debate.

    I refer you to your charter:

    44. Accuracy and impartiality

    (1) The BBC must do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due
    accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.

    (3) The UK Public Services must not contain any output which expresses the opinion of the
    BBC or of its Trust or Executive Board on current affairs or matters of public policy...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Talk of cherry picking, yet there has been a warming trend since 1700. There has been a cooling trend for the last 10000 years. The facts are that todays temperature change is not unusual in rate or extent, thus you cannot state that CO2 is the cause.

    As for the science, do not forget that the expected increase due to CO2 doubling is a little over a degree C. There is almost no concensus in the effect of feedbacks, feedbacks that do not appear in the last 100 years when we have added 40% more CO2.

    Without feedbacks CO2 at best will only add 1 degree C, and that, and the benefit of aditional CO2 will be a boon for the planet.

    Let us NOT legislate on CO2, lets us research the cliamte as we have always done, but let us not embark on a process that will damage lives. Both our own, and those in the third world, who desperately need the additional frop yields CO2 will give to lift them rom poverty.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    Re Comment #1.
    "I would suggest his presentation is factually unsound, and the data presented is incorrect."

    In what way? Looks OK to me.

    Re Comment #2.
    "The facts are that todays temperature change is not unusual in rate or extent, thus you cannot state that CO2 is the cause."

    That's not why CO2 is fingered as a cause.

    "As for the science, do not forget that the expected increase due to CO2 doubling is a little over a degree C. There is almost no concensus in the effect of feedbacks, feedbacks that do not appear in the last 100 years when we have added 40% more CO2."

    Even 1 degree C is a large amount of warming. It's greater than all the warming of the 20th century for example. It's greater than the estimated difference between the medieval warm period and little ice age.

    Feedbacks are not a binary issue. Evidence leans towards positive feedback in climate, which means greater than 1C per doubling. And we are likely to more than double CO2.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Re Comment #3.
    "I would suggest his presentation is factually unsound, and the data presented is incorrect."

    In what way? Looks OK to me."

    So, Quake, for starters I assume you're happy with the fact that the first two enquiries Richard talks about happened before climategate?

    I presume the certainty with which the release of emails is referred to as 'hacking' is backed up by some evidence, if so then one would imagine that the Norfolk Constabulary would be interested, as they have yet to demonstrate any outside interference, despite having the CRU servers for almost two years now.

    Or how about the claim that the various enquiries found the science to be sound, when none of them, by their own admission, actually looked at the science?

    You can have that as your starter for ten, when you've cleared that up we can move on to Richard's scientific and statistical claims.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    This is an appalling incompetent presentation. It is disturbing how the presenter is trying to hide the last 13 years of no statistically significant warming at all. Given increasing CO2 levels over the last decade, the lack of warming is a stark contradiction of what the climate models predict. It throws into question the entire premise that man-made global warming is a significant factor. The presenter is selling a load of porkies to the executives at the BBC.

 

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