Friday, December 16, 2011

Lord Monckton to sool the law onto climate fraudsters

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley in London

Now that six policemen from the Norfolk and Metropolitan forces have invaded the home and “borrowed” the computers of “Tallbloke”, the first blogger in the UK to reveal the existence of the 5000 Climategate 2.0 emails, you may ask why the British police seem so much more interested in tracking down and punishing the whistle-blower/“thief” than in dealing with the many crimes by crooked IPCC “scientists” that the emails expose.

There is a good reason why the police have gone after the whistle-blower and yet have not moved against those whose far more serious crimes the emails he released expose. Though the University of East Anglia has complained to the police about the “thief”, no one has complained about the climate crooks whose crimes the University seems so zealous to conceal.

Until now, those of us who have dared to question how much “global warming” a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration this century may cause have been altogether too nice to lodge a criminal complaint with our local police precinct. That must now change. This note proposes a way forward.

What offenses have been committed? Serious frauds, that's what. Some of the most prominent Climategate emailers appear, on the face of the evidence in the emails, to be engaged with each other and with others in an elaborate series of connected deceptions calculated to enrich themselves and their associates, impoverish everyone else and destroy key industries and national economies wholesale by systematically and often greatly exaggerating the supposed threat and costs of anthropogenic “global warming”, the certainty of the science that underlies the IPCC's claims, and the effectiveness of the various methods proposed for the attempted mitigation of anthropogenic “global warming”, while correspondingly understating the benefits of that warming and the costs of its attempted mitigation.

So, why don't the police go and feel their collars rather than picking on the blameless “Tallbloke”? Not least because the police are by no means as expert in understanding the ins and outs of climate physics and economics as we are. They simply don't get the significance of the emails because no one has ever explained it to them.

The true significance of “hide the decline”, for instance, is not at all evident on a superficial reading of the emails. The police will not, therefore, read the emails with our eyes, unless we help them to understand their shocking significance.

If we explain to the police how the various frauds evident in the Climategate emails work, and how they are connected to each other and to additional frauds designed artificially and dishonestly to magnify the supposed threat of “global warming” in the IPCC's documents and to minimize the egregiously disproportionate cost of trying to make “global warming” go away, they will understand and – more importantly – they will act, for that is what the law requires them to do.

In many jurisdictions, fraud is a common-law offense: that of obtaining a pecuniary advantage for oneself, or inflicting a pecuniary disadvantage upon another, by deception. The twin tests are money gain or loss, and deception.

In the United Kingdom, the Fraud Act 2006 has given fraud a very detailed, statutory definition, which may be summarized as the obtaining of a temporary or permanent gain (whether by keeping what one has or by getting what one does not have) or the infliction upon another of a temporary or permanent loss (whether by not getting what one might get or by parting with what one has), the gain or loss being in money or other real or personal property (including things in action or other intangible property), with the intent either of obtaining a gain for the offender or for another or of causing loss to another or of exposing another to a risk of loss, whether by dishonestly making an untrue or misleading express or implied representation that the offender knows is or may be untrue or misleading; or by dishonestly failing to disclose to another person information which the offender is under a legal duty to disclose; or by dishonestly (by act or omission) abusing a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interest of another person.

In some jurisdictions, “serious fraud” is defined as a fraud that either involves offenders in a position of public trust or very substantial sums of money or both. The connected frauds revealed in the Climategate emails involve both.

The test for money gain or loss is automatically passed by all of the connected frauds that have led to the exaggerated claims of the IPCC and its supporters: for the massive loss to taxpayers and to users of gasoline and electricity, to name but many, is already well documented.

Each fraud that we allege, therefore, must be a clear, demonstrable instance of a specific deception by an identifiable person that contributes to the overall deception. Some examples –

Suppose, for instance, that a particular graph appearing thrice in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report uses a bogus statistical technique so as falsely to demonstrate that the Earth is warming ever faster and that we are to blame. That may be a mistake.

However, if a report by a competent statistician demonstrates that the technique is indeed bogus, and if, say, a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report is asked to have the error corrected but refuses to do so and instead writes attempting to justify the false graph on deceptive and erroneous grounds, then that lead author may be guilty of fraud.

It is then open to any citizen of his or her nation to go to the police and make a complaint. The deception lies in the willingness of the lead author to leave the erroneous graph uncorrected, knowing that it conveys incorrect information calculated falsely to exaggerate the influence of Man on the climate. The perpetrator's omission to act as a reasonable lead author would act is fraud.

Suppose that the lead author of an IPCC chapter admits that he allowed a flagrantly incorrect value to appear in the Fourth Assessment Report because “I wanted to influence governments”, and suppose that notwithstanding the objections of the “reviewers” the erroneous value was printed, and suppose that for several months the IPCC, at the highest levels, tried to conceal the deception. That is fraud.

Suppose that a politician has gotten rich by preaching about “global warming” in an unduly alarmist way. Suppose that in a widely-publicized presentation he shows details of an experiment that was not conducted in the purported fashion and did not, therefore, confirm the official story-line to the degree he was suggesting. That is plainly a deception. It is fraud.

Suppose that a senior official of an international meteorological organization is filmed saying that global mean surface temperature trends should be taken over 30 years, and that his interlocutor politely points out that those 30 years largely coincided with the warming phase of the great ocean oscillations and that, therefore, the trends should be taken over 60 years so as to remove the exaggeration by including the cooling phase as well.

Suppose that the official then tells his interlocutor that he does not wish to be lectured, and then makes a false complaint to the UNFCCC secretariat that he has been harassed. In isolation the episode is insignificant. But in the context of the wider series of connected frauds by this and other organizations, the official has furthered or attempted to further the deception by initially attempting to conceal the fact that the 30 years in question fell largely in the warming phase of a natural ocean oscillation and then, upon being challenged, by making a false allegation against his interlocutor. The official's misconduct – in the wider context – is not merely gross unprofessionalism. It is fraud.

Suppose the keeper of a global temperature record, on receiving requests to supply the data and methods underlying the compilation of that record, refuses to comply, corresponds with other “scientists” about how to avoid complying with freedom-of-information requests, and thereby succeeds in concealing for many years several fundamental defects in the keeping and processing of the data. In isolation the episode may be put down to mere incompetence combined with an understandable desire to avoid a deserved professional humiliation. However, in the context of the wider series of connected frauds, a jury might well find such an episode to constitute fraud, in that a false air of reliability and respectability has been created so as to give the IPCC process a specious air of scientific integrity.

Notice how each such episode – in isolation – might well provoke little more than a shrug of the shoulders from the prosecuting authorities, because they do not realize how the fraud fits into the grander scheme of those who are by a multitude of related artifices and deceptions driving the climate scare beyond all scientific justification. However, look at the frauds I have described, but this time look at them not in isolation but together. It is only then that the sheer, breathtaking, arrogant enormity of the overall scheme of deception becomes visible to those who have not observed it before.

Next steps: I have begun drafting a memorandum for the prosecuting authorities, together with all evidence necessary to establish not only the existence of numerous specific instances of scientific or economic fraud in relation to the official “global warming” storyline but also the connections between these instances, and the overall scheme of deception that the individual artifices appear calculated to reinforce. In each instance, the perpetrators of the fraud will be named and their roles described.

Once the report has been completed, it will be reviewed carefully by experienced criminal lawyers in each of the national jurisdictions in which the perpetrators reside. The report will then be submitted to the prosecuting authorities in each jurisdiction, with a complaint lodged by lawyers acting for citizens of that jurisdiction against perpetrators there. No complaints can be lodged against the IPCC or the UNFCCC, for they are beyond any national jurisdiction. However, individual “scientists” can be brought to book in the countries where they normally reside.

Here is how you can help. If you consider any specific aspect of “global warming” science to contain an element of fraud as defined and illustrated here, then please – in strictest confidence – get in touch and let me have as much detail as possible. Be specific. Name names. Give details. If you can, supply or point me to backup evidence.

Since the information you will be supplying to me is in contemplation of criminal proceedings, it is privileged and no libel suit would succeed even in the unlikely event that the perpetrators discovered you had contacted me. Your details will be kept confidential, and will not appear in the report or be passed to any authorities.

Don't be coy. It is all too easy to fall for the line now being ever-more-anxiously peddled by some of the more notorious fraudsters – that science cannot thrive in an atmosphere where scientists who publish honest research in good faith can find themselves having to answer charges in a criminal court.

Let one thing be quite clear: the test for the felony that is fraud is a high one. The lawyers who will be reading the memorandum when it is complete will not allow any element of the fraud to go forward as a complaint to the prosecuting authorities unless there is a clear, prima-facie case that wilful deception has occurred. Honest science is not under attack here: only dishonest science. And a dishonest scientist can no more claim immunity from prosecution than anyone else.

Don't hang back. This is your chance to make the police state work not for Them but you, and to bring this costly scare to an end.


The Contrarians Have Better Data

Lord Christopher Monckton had the following letter published in the WSJ

Prof. Michael E. Mann writes ("Climate Contrarians Ignore Overwhelming Evidence," Letters, Dec. 5) that his 1999 "hockey stick" graph "showed that average temperatures today are higher than they have been for at least the past 1,000 years."

But Mr. Mann's paper only covered the northern hemisphere. It included the questionable use of annual bristlecone-pine tree rings for temperature reconstruction. Even then, it replaced some tree-ring data with estimates. Tree-ring series that showed a 20th-century uptick were given 390 times the weighting of other series, according to a 2005 study by Ross McKitrick, an environmental economist at the University of Guelph. Mr. Mann and his fellow Climategate emailers used what they called "Mann's Nature trick" to "hide" the mismatch between late-20th-century warming and the cooling the tree-rings showed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mann has often refused to supply programs and data to researchers wishing to verify his work. The 2006 Wegman report for the U.S. House of Representatives showed that many of the papers supporting Mr. Mann's results, which appeared shortly after Mr. McKitrick and his colleague Stephen McIntyre published their exposé of his graph, were written largely by Mr. Mann's associates and co-authors.

The National Academy of Sciences did not, as Mr. Mann says, "affirm" his conclusions, for the data were insufficient. Papers by scientists from all over the world show the medieval warm period that Mr. Mann's work appeared to abolish was real, global and warmer than today.

Mr. Mann's questionable result casts doubt on the scientific standards of the Climategate scientists and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Carbon price hits all-time low

EU carbon prices fell to their lowest ever level on Wednesday as the euro currency and equities slid on renewed fears over the bloc’s debt crisis and oil prices tanked after producers promised to maintain high output.

The ICE ECX December 2011 EUA contract fell 73 cents to an all-time low of 6.30 euros, down 10.4 percent on Tuesday’s 7.03-euro settlement.

By 16.30 GMT, the contract had recovered slightly to 6.41 euros on healthy turnover of around 15 million units.

The drop sends the contract into unchartered territory, falling well below its previous low of 6.77 euros on December 6 as market traders saw few signs of respite in the EU economy to boost demand for emission permits.

“I still don’t see any bottom to this market,” said one carbon trader, who said any positive sentiment from this weekend’s landmark U.N. climate summit in Durban was purely psychological as it brought no increase in demand for permits.

“It’s clear that Durban didn’t help, and Canada’s announcement of its Kyoto Protocol withdrawal tells you what little countries think about international agreements,” he added. ["Little country"?? Canada is the second-largest country on earth]


What’s Going on Behind the Curtain? Climategate 2.0 and Scientific Integrity

Climategate, both 1 and 2, are textbook cases of gross lapses in professional ethics and scientific malfeasance. To understand why, one must first understand what science is and how it is supposed to operate.

Science is the noble pursuit of knowledge through observation, testing and experimentation. Scientists attempt to explain, describe and/or predict the implications of phenomena through the use of the scientific method.

The scientific method consists in gaining knowledge or explanatory power through a process. Progress is made in science by proposing a hypothesis, and developing a theory to explain or understand certain phenomena, and then testing the hypothesis against reality. A particular hypothesis is considered superior to others when, through testing, it is shown to have more explanatory power than competing theories or hypotheses and when other scientists running the same testing regime can reproduce the results of the original test.

Every theory or hypothesis must be disconfirmable in principle, which means that, if the theory predicts that "A" will occur under certain conditions, but instead, "B" and sometimes "C" result, then the theory has problems. The more a hypothesis's predictions prove inconsistent with or are diametrically opposed to the results that occur during testing, the less likely the hypothesis is to be correct.

Which brings us to Climategate. Climategate parts one and two are a series of leaked e-mails from arguably the most prominent researchers promoting the idea that humans are causing catastrophic global warming. The e-mails show the scientists involved to be violating their professional ethics with the result that climate science in particular and science as an institution more generally is brought into question.

The first group of e-mails released in 2009 showed scientists attempting to suppress or alter inconvenient data, destroying raw data so that others would be unable to analyze it, using tricks to change reported outcomes, conspiring to avoid legally required disclosure of taxpayer-funded data, and trying to suppress dissent by undermining the peer review process. On the latter point the researchers involved threatened to boycott and get editors fired at journals publishing findings questioning the urgency of the climate crisis.

Climategate 2 is a second release of e-mails, in November 2011, from the same cabal of scientists exposed in Climategate 1. There is little new to the revelations—just more hiding data, trying to figure out how to downplay dissent or have papers that would seem to undermine one part or another of anthropogenic global warming theory ignored or discredited.

To be clear, these e-mails do not disprove that humans are causing potentially catastrophic global warming. Whether or not humans are or are not, in fact, causing or contributing to dangerous climate change, the only thing clear that emerges from the Climategate e-mails is that the scientists claiming that “the science is settled” and that there is “consensus” among scientists that humankind are acting as planet killers, can’t be trusted, nor can their research be pointed to as solid proof of anthropogenic global warming.

Some examples of the Climategate 2 e-mails will serve to make the point [“< >” show the number of the e-mail and the name of the researcher]:

The following three e-mails show dissent in the climate ranks -- some researchers are concerned that in portraying the current state of climate science in journals, to the press, to politicians and to the general public, lead climate researchers are not being honest and are downplaying significant uncertainty. The concerned researchers note the risk to such a strategy:

<1939> Thorne/MetO

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary [...]

<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<2884> Wigley:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [...]

The next couple of e-mails show researchers putting their political goals before scientific integrity in part by cherry-picking which data to focus on:

<4755> Overpeck:

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.

<0170> Jones:

Kevin, Seems that this potential Nature paper may be worth citing, if it does say that GW [global warming] is having an effect on TC [tropical cyclone] activity.

The next bunch of e-mails discuss specific instances wherein global warming has been claimed to be causing a particular climactic change, but in which the data either don’t support human activities as the cause of the change or where the change does not fit the predictions.

<5111> Pollack:

But it will be very difficult to make the MWP [medieval warm period] go away in Greenland.

<1682> Wils:

[2007] What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably [...]

<5315> Jenkins/MetO:

would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?

<2292> Jones:

[tropical glaciers] There is a small problem though with their retreat. They have retreated a lot in the last 20 years yet the MSU2LT data would suggest that temperatures haven’t increased at these levels.

The next few e-mails are interesting because they indicate that critical research, findings that were the cornerstone of the last two IPCC reports, while being defended against critics in public, were, in fact, considered to be unsupportable, indicative of shoddy work, in private.

<4693> Crowley:

I am not convinced that the “truth” is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships

I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

<4369> Cook:

I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly cannot be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.

<0850> Barnett:

[IPCC AR5 models] clearly, some tuning or very good luck involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer

<4443> Jones:

Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds.

Finally, some e-mails detailing leading climate scientists’ efforts to prevent the release of their raw data and/or methodologies for critical review.

<2440> Jones:

I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

<1577> Jones:

[FOI, temperature data]
Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data

While all of these e-mails paint a troubling betrayal of the scientific method, the last two are particularly troubling to me. The pursuit of knowledge through science can’t proceed if scientists refuse to share data and methods. In defense of their refusal to share data, suppress its release or even destroy it, climate scientists have claimed that because those asking for the data are skeptics, they will only use the data to try and undermine their results.

So what? Either the data and methods stand up to scrutiny and the results are robust or they are not. Either way, the skeptics have done the world a service. If the skeptics’ attempts to recreate the results end up confirming the results, then the findings are on more solid ground and the public can lend the work greater credence. If, on the other hand, skeptics do find flaws in the data, methods or results, then from the point of view of knowledge, the world is still better off. Rather than continuing down a blind path, or worse, making policy based on flawed research, scientists can reassess where the original research went wrong and determine if it can be corrected or if an entirely new hypothesis, or research methodology, is called for.

The term skeptic has historically been a badge of honor proudly worn by scientists as indicating their commitment to the idea that in the pursuit of truth, nothing is beyond question, every bit of knowledge is open to improvement and/or refutation as new evidence or better theories emerge. However, in the topsy-turvy field of climate science, “skeptic” is a term of opprobrium and to be labeled a skeptic is akin to being a heretic in the Middle Ages – you may not be literally burned at the stake, but your reputation will be put to flames.

The Climategate scientists continue to claim that the actions disclosed are not bad as they seem and that nothing contained in the e-mails is really important. But this is like the Wizard of Oz saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” when in fact the real action is going on behind the curtain.


German solar firms go from boom to bust

When Tino Blaesi joined the solar sector gold rush, he thought his career was made. Seven years later, he is looking for a job outside the industry after his company slashed more than a third of its workforce in one day.

Workers in Germany's once booming solar energy industry face a shakeout of major proportions following declines in the price of solar panels over the past year.

Cuts in subsidies for solar energy, weaker demand for panels and fierce competition from cheaper Asian rivals are eating into what was once the world's biggest hub for the production of solar cells, taking the shine off an industry that was effectively born in Germany.

A decision by the German government earlier this year to phase out nuclear energy has done little to reignite the sector. The resulting power gap is likely to be filled by coal and gas rather than solar and wind energy.

"I don't want to work in this sector anymore, I'm sick and tired of it," said 44-year old Blaesi, who worked for seven years at Vogt Group, a German support services firm that deals with the planning and logistics for solar plants.

Vogt had some 160 employees in its heyday in the mid 2000s, Blaesi said, but has shriveled as the young industry matured. It was forced to carry out a large round of lay-offs earlier this year after price declines and weaker demand dampened growth.

Subsidies, or so-called feed-in tariffs, through which operators of solar panels receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate, made Germany the world's largest solar market and had created 150,000 jobs by 2010.

But over the past two years, Germany has sharply reduced the tariffs, and a recent proposal to limit subsidies for new solar installations may seal the industry's fate.

Now, German solar companies are either laying off staff or putting them on reduced working hours. The contrast with the broader economy is stark. Overall, German unemployment has steadily declined in recent years as Europe's biggest economy outperforms its rivals in Europe.

Since the end of last year, roughly 5,000 companies involved in the solar business have shut up shop, shedding about 20,000 jobs, according to German solar industry group BSW.


Berlin-based Solon (SOOG.DE), Germany's first solar energy company to go public, said late on Tuesday it would file for insolvency, becoming Germany's biggest casualty so far.

SMA Solar (S92G.DE), Germany's top solar group, said last month it would lay off up to 1,000 temporary workers by the end of the year, citing weak demand for its inverters, a vital piece of equipment in solar systems.

"It's the worst year the industry has seen in its short history," Andreas Haenel, chief executive of German solar company Phoenix Solar (PS4G.DE) said.

The bloodletting is particularly bitter since most of the industry's jobs are located in the formerly communist eastern part of the country, a region that has suffered from an exodus of young, educated people for two decades.

More here

Frozen con

Melanie Phillips

As regular readers of this site will know, I have long been troubled by the systemic political and cultural bias at the BBC. It is not just that I am so concerned about the effects of this distorted world view, refracted through such a uniquely influential lens upon the world, upon public discourse. It is also because such an abdication from the founding principles of the BBC, one of the pillars of British society and the erstwhile crucible of some of its noblest ideals of the public good, seems to me to strike at the very heart of not just the Beeb itself but of all that I most loved and admired about Britain. As with the BBC, so it is with the country.

Throughout the relentless escalation of such concerns, however, there were a few oases in the Beeb’s output in which those otherwise rapidly diminishing ideals seemed to continue to flower. One such was its natural history programmes, which became ever more glorious, astounding and mesmeric, and their iconic presenter, Sir David Attenborough, widely considered to be one of Britain’s national treasures, largely because of his wonderful voice and magisterial presence.

Some may have winced at the anthropomorphism of these programmes and the grating implicit message that the animal world was far superior to the human race. But the real draw was of course the footage of the animals in their habitats, filmed by the most incredible photography which produced images of outstanding beauty.

Well, now we know some of this photography seemed incredible because it was just that -- incredible. It was not what it made itself out to be at all. It was a fake, a fix, a fraud. It emerged last week that shots of newborn polar bear cubs, which viewers were led to believe had been shot in the Arctic like the rest of the programme, had actually been filmed at a wildlife centre in the Netherlands – interspersed with actual pictures of the Arctic. The programme did not tell viewers that the cubs were born to a polar bear in a zoo. This was only revealed in a video among 14 other clips accompanying this programme on the BBC website.

The BBC claimed that Sir David’s narration was carefully worded so that it did not mislead audiences. Yet as the camera followed a female polar bear in the Arctic, he said: ‘“She starts to dig a shallow nest... once the snow here is deep enough, she'll dig down to make a den. She’ll then lie waiting for her cubs to be born as winter sets in...On these side slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.”’

The viewers were thus led to believe that this was the bear which gave birth to these cubs. Much of the wonder and attraction of such footage derives from the impression that viewers are actually watching these events in their spectacular natural habitat – that they are watching nature in the frozen wild. For this particular sequence, viewers were therefore grossly misled.

That in itself was shocking enough. What was far worse, however, was the reaction to this revelation. For many seemed not to care in the slightest. The BBC justified it with an apparently uncomprehending insouciance which totally missed the point. Sir David’s own response, when he was asked about the fake footage, was quite jaw-dropping.

‘“During the middle of this scene, when you're trying to paint what it's like in the middle of winter in the Pole, do you say, ‘Oh, by the way, this is filmed in a zoo? It would completely ruin the atmosphere and destroy the pleasure of the viewers. It’s not a falsehood. How far do you take this? This is a penguin but actually it’s a different penguin colony than we did for that one’ – come on. We’re making movies.”' Making movies?

He said also: ‘“If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman.”’ --a response echoed by Lord Patten, chairman of the Beeb’s own regulatory body, the BBC Trust, who said: “The alternative was either been dead bears or dead people.”

Well maybe so; but what kind of an excuse is that? What if, during last summer’s riots, broadcasters had arrived in an area after the looting had finished -- and had then got some young people to put on hoodies and smash a few more windows so they could film them?

What if it footage of, say, a war reporter pictured running the gauntlet of roadside bombs in Afghanistan had actually been filmed in a mocked-up sandpit in Shepherd’s Bush? What would be the reaction if the producer had then justified this on the grounds that actually filming in Afghanistan would have got the film crew killed, but that telling viewers it was filmed in Shepherd’s Bush would have ruined the atmosphere because after all – come on! -- they were making movies?

The vacuity of these responses was excelled only by the BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson, who had the gall to suggest to a Commons committee that this was a non-story that newspapers had whipped up in revenge for the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking—and that BBC surveys showed that viewers didn’t want programmes interrupted by disclaimers.

Among the media, various commentators too sprang to the BBC’s defence with some even more astonishing arguments. One declared it was mean and how ludicrous to charge Sir David with falsehood -- even though she went on to describe how she herself had been with him on a previous occasion when he went to film birds in the rainforest , but when the birds failed to materialise for the benefit of the cameras other birds were filmed in a cave elsewhere and spliced into the rainforest sequence.

Another expressed fury – not with Frozen Planet but with those in the press who had attacked: ‘...a completely standard and legitimate technique, openly explained on the BBC website, of filming in zoos, or the studio, images that cannot conceivably be recorded in the wild... No one who has admired these programmes can take the accusations seriously... The sheer abundance of rare and unprecedented images in these programmes dwarfs the supposed flaws their critics fixate on. For me it raises a horrible question. Is newspaper journalism a destructive enterprise?’

Exposing a deceit is a destructive exercise, eh? Of course, because this deceit was exposed by the Daily Mirror – and since the tabloids are held to be the incarnation of evil, any truths they report must be damned as an attack upon the righteous, and any lies they expose must be defended at all costs.

Even more dismaying still was the huge number of comments by readers on newspaper websites stating that indeed they didn’t care if the footage was faked because the films were so gorgeous and so who cared whether the Arctic was in fact a Dutch zoo and Sir David was a national treasure and how dare anyone attack him. Yet there are others still who have been appalled by these revelations:

'Tory MP Therese Coffey said she was one of those that ‘did believe that the extraordinary coverage of the polar bears was genuine’. She said the BBC had ‘spoilt’ the ‘fantastic’ programme, adding: "For me I will probably never look at a BBC nature programme in the same way, [but instead] to see, was it trick cameras."'

There is more than shock in such a reaction. There is deep disappointment and even sadness. For the BBC is more than just a venerable British institution. It is an emblem of the nation. As it is with the BBC, so it is with the country. The dismissal and even defence of the BBC’s polar deceit is an emblem of a culture that no longer understands the distinction between fact and fakery. I think that for those who have understood the significance of this deception for both the BBC and for Britain, their hearts are simply broken.


The New Zealand approach on emissions

Luke Malpass

This week’s climate fiasco in Durban should serve as a reminder of the flaws inherent in international climate policy. Hailed as a success by backers and a failure by critics, Durban’s outcome was simply to agree to another meeting. Importantly, however, it raised questions about the international treaty vehicle in the future. This is significant for New Zealand, one of the few countries with an emissions trading scheme.

New Zealand’s announcement that it is unsure whether it will use the Kyoto vehicle for future negotiations or make different arrangements with its trading partners is significant. Tim Groser, Minister for Trade, stressed that New Zealand wasn’t withdrawing in the same manner as Canada, but that, as this is the real world, New Zealand was going to act in its best interests.

The crux of the issue is that Europe is committed to Kyoto, while developing nations – New Zealand’s major and emerging trading partners – are not to the same extent. It is this painfully obvious barrier that stops any meaningful deal: smug and unimportant European nations lecturing emerging nations on their environmentally unfriendly developmental ambitions.

Given this impasse, and its own emissions trading scheme experience, New Zealand is rightly siding with the developing nations. The Kiwi carbon trading market is on the verge of collapse – the price of carbon has dropped by more than half in six months – as a result of the combination of European credits being offloaded to ease companies, debt and dodgy quality permits being sold in New Zealand. It is close to a national embarrassment, and will surely be scrapped if Australia rescinds the carbon tax after the next election.

In preparation for this possibility, the Key government has also stopped including new sectors such as agriculture, which accounts for half of all emissions, into the scheme.

Betting on the long odds of an international agreement, New Zealand now seems to be approaching climate policy as an issue of trade: working on the implications with its trading partners.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 16 dec. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why should it be a surprise that a nature program mocked up footage? It's been a standard practice since the very first ones which would fence in animals into a small area so they could film them "interacting" even though those same animals would have actively avoided each other given enough space.

Still it would be far better if each nature program disclosed as a part of the program which scenes they mocked up and of course why they mocked them up. The practice now is to make shorts about how much effort they went to to get some shots so it shouldn't be such a stretch to also explain the mock footage.