More Biased reporting on the BBC?’ Date 03/10/10


Whilst I didn’t expect the BBC to take much notice of my requests to provide airtime in proportion to the evidence behind different scientific views, it still came as a surprise when climate Denier Richard Lindzen was the sole interviewee on the latest instalment of the BBC world service environmental programme 'One Planet'. .


Lindzen employed the usual evasive techniques of confusing & complex wordplay along with misleading statements to confuse the issue of climate change. He called the IPCC politically biased due to choosing participants based on a wide geographical area rather than ability.  Of course we could avoid governmental influence altogether and purely focus on the opinions of the top scientists.  However, this is far more likely to make the IPCC predictions far more extreme than the outdated and conservative views expressed in their 4th assessment report.


In another part of this interview Lindzen is questioned about the precautionary principle. He counters that we should be precautionary about taking precautions, referring to a fictitious case were insurance premiums are 10 times more expensive than the potential payout!


Whilst it is true we can’t live in complete safety, and the costs and benefits of any policy needs to be considered, surely in the case of climate change there is a strong case in favour of taking out insurance by employing mitigation measures early enough. This is because the probabilities and costs of the worst case scenarios also need to be taken into account, and added to the more likely possibilities and costs in the overall cost benefit equation.  For example if there is only a 1% chance of our coastal cities or equatorial regions being rendered uninhabitable within the next few hundred years, this would justify substantial expenditure.


Another weakness of Lindzen’s argument is the immense difficulty in placing a cost on habitat and species extinctions and the ‘priceless’ architectural treasures by the sea which can’t be moved. Human suffering is another factor which is difficult to cost.


At the very minimum I would have preferred there to be at least one climate scientist or economist on the programme to counter Lindzen's  views.  The direction the BBC is taking with climate change issues is becoming increasingly worrying.


If you wish to comment on this programme to the BBC, their website is here!



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