Leadership — one person being in charge, trusting his or her own judgment, taking a decision and telling others what to do— was shied away from in favour of endless meetings of a dozen or more people trying to arrive at some sort of consensus. At the newsroom level it became impossible to discipline someone for basic journalistic mistakes — wrong dates, times and numbers, inaccurate on-screen captions and basic political or geographical facts — for fear of giving offence. You’d never see anyone, to use a technical term, get a b*****king. There’d be whispers about them. They might even get a black mark at the annual appraisal with their line manager. Sometimes, they might even be promoted to a position in which they could do less harm. But what really concerned me was when the culture of political correctness began to influence what appeared on the screen. Soon after I started on News 24 in 2003, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal returned from the Gulf to a traditional welcome from families and friends at Portsmouth. TV reporters closed in to interview crew members, the vast majority of whom were men. Of the five vox-pops that featured in the BBC News, four were with women sailors. During my stint of presenting that day I complained about this and asked if we could have some more balanced interviews, but in vain. I have always been in two minds about the value of vox-pops. They can give texture and interest to a story, but unless they are selected with scrupulous impartiality by a conscientious producer, they are worse than a waste of time — the viewer is deceived, as they were that day. For me, though, the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998). From the beginning I was unhappy at how one-sided the BBC’s coverage of the issue was, and how much more complicated the climate system was than the over-simplified two-minute reports that were the stock-in-trade of the BBC’s environment correspondents. These, without exception, accepted the UN’s assurance that ‘the science is settled’ and that human emissions of carbon dioxide threatened the world with catastrophic climate change. Environmental pressure groups could be guaranteed that their press releases, usually beginning with the words ‘scientists say . . . ’ would get on air unchallenged.
On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid.
On one occasion, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as president in 2009, the science correspondent of Newsnight actually informed viewers ‘scientists calculate that he has just four years to save the world’. What she didn’t tell viewers was that only one alarmist scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, had said that. My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda. The BBC’s editorial policy on climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’. The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus. But the Trust continued its pretence that climate change dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’ In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero. Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public. There is one brief account of the proceedings, written by a conservative commentator who was there. He wrote subsequently that he was far from impressed with the 30 key BBC staff who attended. None of them, he said, showed ‘even a modicum of professional journalistic curiosity on the subject’. None appeared to read anything on the subject other than the Guardian. This attitude was underlined a year later in another statement: ‘BBC News currently takes the view that their reporting needs to be calibrated to take into account the scientific consensus that global warming is man-made.’ Those scientists outside the ‘consensus’ waited in vain for the phone to ring. It’s the lack of simple curiosity about one of the great issues of our time that I find so puzzling about the BBC. When the topic first came to prominence, the first thing I did was trawl the internet to find out as much as possible about it. Anyone who does this with a mind not closed by religious fervour will find a mass of material by respectable scientists who question the orthodoxy. Admittedly, they are in the minority, but scepticism should be the natural instinct of scientists — and the default setting of journalists. Yet the cream of the BBC’s inquisitors during my time there never laid a glove on those who repeated the mantra that ‘the science is settled’. On one occasion, an MP used BBC airtime to link climate change doubters with perverts and holocaust deniers, and his famous interviewer didn’t bat an eyelid. Meanwhile, Al Gore, the former U.S. Vice-President and climate change campaigner, entertained the BBC’s editorial elite in his suite at the Dorchester and was given a free run to make his case to an admiring internal audience at Television Centre. His views were never subjected to journalistic scrutiny, even when a British High Court judge ruled that his film, An Inconvenient Truth, contained at least nine scientific errors, and that ministers must send new guidance to teachers before it was screened in schools. From the BBC’s standpoint, the judgment was the real inconvenience, and its environment correspondents downplayed its significance. At the end of November 2007 I was on duty on News 24 when the UN panel on climate change produced a report which later turned out to contain significant inaccuracies, many stemming from its reliance on non-peer reviewed sources and best-guesses by environmental activists. But the way the BBC’s reporter treated the story was as if it was beyond a vestige of doubt, the last word on the catastrophe awaiting mankind. The most challenging questions addressed to a succession of UN employees and climate activists were ‘How urgent is it?’ and ‘How much danger are we in?’ Back in the studio I suggested that we line up one or two sceptics to react to the report, but received a totally negative response, as if I was some kind of lunatic. I went home and wrote a note to myself: ‘What happened to the journalism? The BBC has completely lost it.’ A damaging episode illustrating the BBC’s supine attitude came in 2008, when the BBC’s ‘environment analyst’, Roger Harrabin, wrote a piece on the BBC website reporting some work by the World Meteorological Organization that questioned whether global warming was going to continue at the rate projected by the UN panel. A green activist, Jo Abbess, emailed him to complain. Harrabin at first resisted. Then she berated him: ‘It would be better if you did not quote the sceptics’ — something Harrabin had not actually done — ‘Please reserve the main BBC online channel for emerging truth. Otherwise I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated.’ Did Harrabin tell her to get lost? He tweaked the story — albeit not as radically as she demanded — and emailed back: ‘Have a look and tell me you are happier.’ This exchange went round the world in no time, spread by a jubilant Abbess. Later, Harrabin defended himself, saying they were only minor changes — but the sense of the changes, as specifically sought by Ms Abbess, was plainly to harden the piece against the sceptics. Many people wouldn’t call that minor, but Harrabin’s BBC bosses accepted his explanation. The sense of entitlement with which green groups regard the BBC was brought home to me when what was billed as a major climate change rally was held in London on a miserable, wintry, wet day. I was on duty on News 24 and it had been arranged for me to interview the leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas. She clearly expected, as do most environmental activists, what I call a ‘free hit’ — to be allowed to say her piece without challenge. I began, good naturedly, by observing that the climate didn’t seem to be playing ball at the moment, and that we were having a particularly cold winter while carbon emissions were powering ahead. Miss Lucas reacted as if I’d physically molested her. She was outraged. It was no job of the BBC — the BBC! — to ask questions like that. Didn’t I realise that there could be no argument over the science? I persisted with a few simple observations of fact, such as there appeared to have been no warming for ten years, in contradiction of all the alarmist computer models. A listener from one of the sceptical climate-change websites noted that ‘Lucas was virtually apoplectic and demanding to know how the BBC could be making such comments. Sissons came back that his role as a journalist was always to review all sides. Lucas finished with a veiled warning, to which Sissons replied with an “Ooh!”’ A week after this interview, I went into work and picked up my mail from my pigeon hole. Among the envelopes was a small Jiffy Bag, which I opened. It contained a substantial amount of faeces wrapped in several sheets of toilet paper. At the time no other interviewers on the BBC — or indeed on ITV News or Channel Four News — had asked questions about climate change which didn’t start from the assumption that the science was settled… Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1350206/BBC-propaganda-machine-climate-change-says-Peter-Sissons.html#ixzz1CEdHjymX
This week, some of the world’s most prominent business and political leaders will join top academics, artists, NGO chiefs, and religious leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting–a whirlwind of Big Idea conferences, glitzy dinners, backroom deals, and informal networking. Last year, commentators wondered whether the elite extravaganza had lost some of its cachet in light of the economic crisis. This year, commentators are probing the very purpose of the event, now in its 41st year:
- What Impact Does Davos Have? wonders Jack Ewing at The New York Times. Last year, he explains, “for all the talk of crisis prevention, participants at the forum missed what proved to be the big economic story of 2010–Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.” Ewing notes that organizers are addressing the criticism that Davos “is more talk and partying than action” by steering this year’s agenda more toward identifying concrete solutions to “global threats like scarce credit or chronic disease or, better still, preventing them in the first place.”
- It’s a CEO ‘Self-Help’ Group, suggests Gillian Tett at The Financial Times. Tett quotes an investment banker and Davos attendee who believes the summit is “where CEOs trade information and feel solidarity in a hostile world.” The world’s CEOs, Tett says, are insecure about mounting hostility toward elites, shifts in world power, and global systems that are at once interconnected and fragmented, making the world feel “like an increasingly murky, complex and unpredictable place, where shocks keep emerging in areas ranging from credit markets to oil technology to Tunisia.”
- Economic Crisis Magnified Its Value, asserts CNN’s David Buik: “It has taken world problems such as food, the failure of World Trade Organization members to reach a global trade agreement, climate change and a financial crisis in 2008, to take this event out of the jamboree category and transform it into a preeminent event for all politicians, CEOs, finance directors and economists to be supportive of.”
- Davos Is the Future of Diplomacy, declares Parag Khanna at The Wall Street Journal. Davos, in stressing authority over sovereignty and mobilizing the world’s diffuse power centers, “reflects the true parameters of global diplomacy today better than the United Nations,” Khanna charges:
We have entered a new Middle Ages: an era that most resembles the pre-Westphalian era of nearly 1,000 years ago. That was the period of history when the East was as powerful (if not more so) than the West, cities mattered more than nations, powerful dynasties and trading companies were engines of growth and innovation, private mercenaries fought in all wars, religious crusades shaped inter-cultural relations, and new trade routes over land and sea forged the world’s first (nearly) global economy.
(it could land you in prison)Come Jan 1st, those innocent “climate quips” could just land you in a cold cell. The video comedy sketch above is actually hitting very close to home. Our latest and somewhat controversial article on global warming has prompted some readers and Facebook members to say that “They (21st Century Wire) should not be allowed to write (our critical essays and news challenging the UN’s global warming orthodoxy)”, and that “They should confine themselves to blogs or talking loudly at bars, where they can safely be ignored”. In other words, the UN’s science summary is holy law, to challenge or question it is akin to heresy. It’s worth pointing out here that the global warming church will always cry in chorus “climate change!” anytime there is a heat spell, a hurricane, an earthquake or a sandstorm, but will condemn and excommunicate heretic ‘deniers’ like us who are simply putting across a collection factual research and nonpolitical opinion that challenges the UN’s controlled party line. If there is an iron maiden in the basement of the UN building in New York, surely our writers here at 21st Century will have advanced booking privileges. Actor Danny Glover made such a statement after the Haiti Earthquake disaster- blaming the disaster on climate change, which means that 21st Century Wire would be well within its bounds to decree that he should not be allowed to act as a result. Would we? Of course not, we like Lethal Weapons 1 & 2… a lot, but Danny will end up paying the price in ‘street cred’ (he’s been docked a few) if he goes and says anything outrageously absurd on global TV. Proof that there is a warming bias right in front of our eyes… “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” -Dr David Viner, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, March 20, 2000 “Why did the Met Office forecast a “mild winter?” –Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, The Daily Telegraph, December 20, 2010 FYI note for the Climate Taliban, please can you make my hair shirt a medium, thanks, and with a 16.5″ neck. It’s almost comical, yet it’s enough to make you nearly cry. Readers you still have the choice: keep taking your blue pills, or wake up and deprogram. Patrick Henningsen Editor 21st Century Wire –
By Patrick Henningsen
Aug 28th 2010
21st Century Wire
Plagued by a free fall in carbon emissions prices and the perennial failure of Washington to pass any binding Cap and Trade Bill, it seems that the Chicago Climate Exchange is on its last leg, announcing that it will be scaling back its operations.
Chicago Climate Exchange or CCX, is North America’s sole voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas trading and carbon “offset” projects in North America and Brazil. Rueters reported on Aug 11th that Intercontinental Exchange Inc, the operating body who purchased the struggling CCX in May this year, will be scaling back major operations this month, a move that includes massive layoffs. This is likely due to the complete market free-fall of their only product… carbon emissions.
Anthony Watts from the climate watchdog website Watts Up With That posts a graph from the CCX which shows carbon prices dropping like a stone, bottoming out this week at the embarrassingly low figure of 10 cents per tonne. Compare this to trading prices during its brief hay day in May and June 2008 where market highs reached $5.85 and $7.40 respectively, and you can say that most investors will be evaluating carbon as one of today’s more worthless commodities.What a difference a year makes. It’s been nine months since the world watched the bottom drop out of a much-hyped UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen back in Dec 2009, with its neo-colonial and UN Global Government taxation agenda exposed within the first days of the summit. One of the keystones of the Climate Change alarmist movement was its audacious attempt to create a functioning market by monetizing the atmospheric trace gas known as CO2. Since last year, a number of scandals like Climategate have penetrated mainstream conversation, putting a rather awkward limp in the once nimble Man-Made Global Warming movement. Hence, apocalyptic frenzies and fears have dissipated and carbon prices around the world have continued to be pummelled by the market.
A Financial ‘Boondoggle’
Unlike most real markets, the carbon market was created by banks and governments so that new investment opportunities could seamlessly dovetail with specific government policies. It’s a fantasy casino based on a doctrine of pure science fiction. Certainly, gaming the system has always been at the top on the agenda of the new green eco-trader. Most people, investors included, might innocently ask the fundamental question, “what’s the point of having a CO2 commodities market?” The answer to that question should be obvious by now, and you can certainly look to the initial stakeholders in the various international climate trading bodies for a ‘Who’s Who’ list of individuals that have actively been pushing the global warming concept from its inception.
As American’s own CCX nears total collapse, climate alarmists and their vested partners are pinning their hopes on Europe and Climate Exchange Plc. With most European countries happily singing from the same EU song sheet, institutional investment in the carbon market has seen a slightly more sustained existence. Europe’s socialized historical habit of subsidizing anything and everything means that it has been a better safe haven for something as radical as a carbon market. Many financial analysts would say that carbon requires a relatively steady price of around €40 a tonne in order to spur industrial investment in cleaner technologies, but unfortunately, Copenhagen failed and the announcements of emissions cuts are not coming as expected. Perhaps the reality gap is beginning to set in between governments’ political capital in climate change and the peoples’ ability to believe in global warming. Either way, the market will not be able to deliver such lofty figures, which is why real investors are getting out of the carbon market in 2010.
The front end of this game of ‘supply and demand’ is heavily reliant on governments making lofty announcements about future emissions targets. The logic here is that cutting emissions increases demand for carbon allowances. In the absence of such a restriction of the market, it was expected that the price would fall, and naturally that’s exactly what happened. In 2008, it cost European traders €31 to pump out a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, but today it will set you back about half that at €15. You will be hard pressed to find any financial wizard/pundit giving a sermon on a bullish carbon market in the near future- it’s just not happening anymore. On the back end of the game, things are a bit shadier to say the least- some might call it a recipe for corruption. The industrial monopoly power giants and other green businesses who are ‘well connected’ are of course, being allocated free EU Carbon Allowances until 2012, but from 2013 some sectors will have to pay for 20% of their allowances (those with weaker political influence in Brussels), rising each year to 60% in 2020. Many government/power company ‘green initiatives’ will automatically result in high energy price to consumers, which naturally means guaranteed profit increases for those same corporations (see Enron).
Carbon trading is underpinned by an equally dodgy product called ‘carbon off-sets”, most of which are taken on face value by the buyer. Not based on an actual ton of carbon emitted, rather governing agencies are issuing certificates for a fictional commodity of emissions not emitted. A rather wild concept. Worse than this however, it is near impossible to verify which of these thousands of so-called off-set projects in the developing world are actually legitimate. In the coming years, we will no doubt see or read a number exposes detailing the depths of this fantastic green scam.
Get in early and then get out
The formula: create an investment vehicle, hype the new commodity, buy low, watch share prices rise, sell high. The result is money, lots of it. In some cases it’s been about driving up the share prices of companies Gore’s group has already invested in. The fact that the original shareholders of the CCX have already bailed out with their sale to Intercontinental Exchange Inc. for a modest $600 million earlier this year only reinforces the reality that its creators have already lost faith in their elaborate invention. Likewise, the self-styled leaders of the climate change crusade Maurice Strong and Al Gore have already cashed in carbon fortunes already, whilst other active politicians like US President Barrack Obama, and United Nations IPCC Chief Rajendra K. Pachauri (arguably the world’s wealthiest retired railway engineer) are engaged in similar play with their own financial interests in the Carbon Markets.Like all government rigged quasi-commercial schemes, the only real beneficiaries are the initial shareholders- a special inner circle who are naturally ahead of the curve knowing about legislation and policy before it comes into existence. They are sometimes called the great and the good, the in-crowd, or the smartest men in the room (again, see Enron). Of these, almost all have jumped ship out of the market while their preferred shares- or in the case of the larger energy and manufacturing monopolies, their gratis “carbon allowances” given to them free by their governments- are still worth something. If you’re on the inside, it’s simple: get in early, make money and then get out.
If you are in any doubt as to the level and expense of climate change propaganda, just watch this promo for Copenhagen.
Another well-craft propaganda piece that cynically employs a child actor to deliver the message of certain doom.
Climate change based on science fiction
Pointing out the obvious is always a painful thing in the world of human affairs. The real reason for the complete and total failure of the concept behind trading an atmospheric gas like CO2 is something few within the green block will dare to even mention now, and it’s the same reason why the whole movement will go down in history as one of the most flamboyant efforts in the history of economics. It’s not just hubris. The whole idea behind making CO2 a commodity was to make it expensive and thus reduce the amount produced, which would (they hoped) reduce the effect of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming, or ‘climate change’ as it’s now commonly referred to. There was only one massive problem with this equation – there has been no global warming since 1998. So despite the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions spent on research and computer models addressing this possibility, no scientist or body has been able to show that man’s CO2 contribution has had any effect on the global temperature. Another massive blind spot for climatists is their almost religious denial that the sun might have any effect on the earth’s climate (studies show that it does, of course) – a major sore spot in any debate on global warming.Placed in its proper historical context, we can see that the man-made global warming movement was a classic merger of radical Collectivist ideas and huge financial opportunities. Men like Maurice Strong looked for their moral positions to be anchored by a small group of hand-picked ‘scientific authorities’, a latter day technocracy if you will. On the opportunist side we also see those same scientists who have made their careers, many millions of dollars over the last decade alone, on grants to prove that global warming was somehow happening. Other financial opportunists will include Al Gore, scores of companies like Carbon Fund and a multitude of charities soliciting millions in donations to save the planet, all of whom were hoping to cash in on this non-event until its financial opportunities eventually die out.To date, the timeline of the planned green economy has moved at an impressive pace. If you step back and marvel at the timing and combination of the climate change movement and carbon trading business it’s enough to make you dizzy. Advanced positioning promised fortunes for those with inside knowledge before the global warming PR cycle went orbital in 2006. Never has the world seen a more stunning collusion between government (include the UN here) and big business, a tango that makes fascist enterprises like Mussolini’s Italy or Franco’s Spain look like mere student internships.
Still hoping for some silver lining in this otherwise cloud of failure, most diehard green activists are laying the blame on governments for giving away too many free carbon coupons in recent years. Certainly there is a valid economic point there, but greens were all too eager to get into bed with Wall Street and the Fabian Socialists in order to realize their dream of a new utopia. The current color-blind global financial system based on derivatives, futures and sub-prime gambling products will eventually take down the carbon market altogether, as speculators prey on untapped markets, selling more worthless paper to an ever decreasing naive minority. In the wake of the dot com boom and the housing boom, Wall Street certainly tried to make environmentalism sexy and trendy for investors, but we can see now that the results speak for themselves — CO2, a penny stock for kids. “Roll up, roll up. Anyone want a tonne of CO2 for 10 cents?”
In the end it’s just another age-old tale of big business, grovelling academics, power politics… and easy money(see also: slush fund). So it doesn’t require an expert to tell you that the carbon market was doomed to fail from the beginning. Let’s just hope it doesn’t require another Wall Street-style bailout.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO REPORTS FROM COPENHAGEN 2009
SHORT FILM: “HOPENHAGEN”
—-About the author: Patrick Henningsen is a writer, filmmaker, communications consultant and managing editor of 21st Century Wire.