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likely to make the IPCC predictions far more extreme than the outdated and conservative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
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
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! firstname.lastname@example.org