Thursday, September 06, 2007

'Absolutely not the BBC's job'

Cancelling Planet Relief, a BBC spokesperson has said that the Corporation "will focus [its] energies on a range of factual programmes on the important and complex subject of climate change".

If they remain faithful to this pledge and accept the results of the scientific method, then perhaps an immediate "expletive deleted!" reaction among those who think there is a strong case for drastic action to reduce emissions is unnecessary, because the facts support their case.

But if the BBC management lend credence to unfounded conspiracy theories, then they are likely to be complicit in the destruction of much life.

[P.S. 7 Sept: see Row over climate change TV from Nature's Climate Feedback blog.]

1 comment:

Douglas Coker said...

Caspar, this is very serious. While I’m not a huge fan of “Relief” type programmes – I guess they are aimed at youngsters – for the BBC to back away from any climate change programme is troubling. I’ve heard it said – by insiders - that climate change is a “difficult issue” for the BBC. I think this indicates a malaise, maybe even a culture of fear, in the BBC. They were seriously duffed up by Blair and Campbell over the WMD issue. Brown shows no sign of seriously addressing climate change. The interview with Humphrys the other morning was yet more confirmation of this. In an extended interview Brown at no time mentioned global warming, climate change or the environment - disgraceful. Nor did Humphrys pull him up on this. (I complained.) Is the Today programme back pedalling on climate change coverage?

It’s not as if the BBC lacks decent journalists. They have Watts, Harrabin, Shukman and others providing reports on the seriousness of climate change. For BBC managers and producers to hide behind the “impartiality” argument is a joke. There is a consensus! If they’ve been intimidated by denialists like Durkin then shame on them. Durkin and Mykura are malign forces who should be sidelined.

I think there is a very strong case not only to advocate the pursuit of public service broadcasting but also to ask that all individuals reconsider what they understand by responsible citizenship in the light of this planetary emergency.

The debate we should be having is how to best present the information and arguments on climate change. Yes the science should be explained clearly but other approaches are needed. I still struggle with the social marketing approach but the latest from Chris Rose is well worth reading here and Chris Mooney pointed at this the other day.

Douglas Coker