Sunday, May 18, 2008

Orwellian Influence at the BBC

Don't get me wrong. I'm no Holocaust Denier. I am, however, just old-fashioned enough to think that skepticism is the root of science rather than a threat to it, and according to some that puts me in the same camp. I don't even deny the central premise, that global temperatures have risen and that human activity has some connection to that. What needs further study is 1) the strength of that connection and 2) real analysis of the costs and benefits of a warmer world. And I'm with Bjørn Lomborg; we need to think rationally about whether our money and efforts are better used trying to forestall a global phenomenon or simply adapting to it. Meanwhile the tactics of those who ominously insist "the time for debate is over" just get spookier. Jennifer Marohasy's Politics and Environment blog posts an e-mail exchange between a BBC Environment reporter Roger Harrabin and "climate-change" activist Jo Abbess. (HT: Pajamas Media). It seems the reporter's original story on decreasing global temperature, while factually correct according to the World Meteorological Organization, would supply dangerous material to "skeptics" and thus should be edited to fit the activist-established reality. Or, as Abbess puts it, "emerging truth". When Abbess writes demanding he change his reporting, Harrabin initially takes a very reasonable line:
If the [secretary-general] of the WMO tells me that global temperatures will decrease, that's what we will report.
Abbess, however, persists in chilling terms:
Personally, I think it is highly irresponsible to play into the hands of the sceptics/skeptics [for someone otherwise so sure of herself, what's with the indecision?] who continually promote the idea that "global warming finished in 1998", when that is so patently not true.

It is hard to tell exactly what will happen based on historical science. However, the broad sweep is : added GHG means added warming. Please do not do a disservice to your readership by leaving the door open to doubt about that.
The next correspondence only gets more Orwellian:

Your word "debate". This is not an issue of "debate". This is an issue of emerging truth. I don't think you should worry about whether people feel they are countering some kind of conspiracy, or suspicious that the full extent of the truth is being withheld from them. Every day more information is added to the stack showing the desperate plight of the planet.

It would be better if you did not quote the sceptics. Their voice is heard everywhere, on every channel. They are deliberately obstructing the emergence of the truth.

And it wouldn't be a clear-cut case of intellectually thuggery without a credible threat:

Otherwise, I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated. And that would make you an unreliable reporter.

I am about to send your comments to others for their contribution, unless you request I do not. They are likely to want to post your comments on forums/fora, so please indicate if you do not want this to happen. You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the sceptics.

In other news, I'm currently reading a book that traces the historical relationship between real, historical fascism (as opposed to the more-common definition" "an idea so bad I don't have to engage it intellectually") and progressive politics. Go figure.

1 comment:

Big Doofus (Roger) said...

Wow. This is very interesting. I'm sure that 2008 has been a bad year for Global Warming "Chicken Littles." As a result, their biggest achievement for the year has been changing the term to "Climate Change."