Features Australia

Yes, we have a truth emergency

23 November 2019

9:00 AM

23 November 2019

9:00 AM

Last Monday the Australian described ABC journos organising a ‘solutions journalism’ approach to what they call the ‘climate crisis’. This bureau of propaganda, or in their words, ‘brains trust’, would be a management/staff overlay putting special hype on ABC climate coverage.

Melbourne producer/presenter Barbara Heggen bulk-emailed for support and got plenty: ‘A fabulous idea’, ‘I’m keen’, ‘Great idea’. Management response is awaited but the email says it all about ABC journos’ mindset and contempt for their chartered impartiality.

Monday was also the tenth anniversary of Climategate, the bulk leaking of emails among IPCC-leading climate scientists confessing how they were exaggerating global warming. The University of East Anglia’s climate guru Phil Jones casually wrote that the now-ballyhooed 2 degree Celsius tipping point on warming had been ‘plucked out of thin air’. Today’s ABC would censor such revelations.

ABC policy already censors views contrary to the orthodoxy that by 2050 or 2100 humanity will be broiled by fossil fuel emissions. The last nod to objectivity was by ABC chair Jim Spigelman in 2013. He’s a former NSW chief justice and if you ask me, a bit of a sceptic. Suspicious of his reporters’ gullibility, he whistled up a quality audit of ABC science coverage, saying: ‘What I believe needs most work, is to develop our capacity to appropriately challenge scientists, not least those whose work is distributed by press release from organisations with a vested interest in favorable publicity. I would hope we can further develop the scientific literacy of our news and current affairs staff. In this… we must go beyond PR handouts, or what has been called “churnalism”.’

He felt the need to add that he was ‘not a climate sceptic’ which in ABC-land is a bit like insisting, ‘I am not a cannibal’. Sadly the science audit was neither independent nor public. It was chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley – she was the lead signatory to the greenies’ ‘Monster Climate Petition’ of 2014, which began with ‘My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams, what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the earth was unravelling?’. Another science audit panelist (I’m not making this up) was Media Watch’s Jonathan Holmes. This secret report, according to management, found that the ABC’s science coverage was terrific and the ABC was fulfilling its charter obligations of impartiality very well, thank you for asking.


Concurrently, managing director Mark Scott told Senate Estimates that the ABC should ‘follow the weight of evidence’ or ‘consensus’. If sceptics were to be broadcast, ‘they should be robustly questioned, just as the climate scientists are robustly questioned’.

Has anyone ever seen a warmist ‘robustly questioned’ on the ABC? About that time, ABC guru Robyn Williams had Harvard fabulist Naomi Oreskes on his Science Show. She wanted to frighten climate-apathetic families with her forecasts that global warming would kill their pet pups and kittens in 2023. Williams, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, agreed: ‘Yes, not only because it’s an animal but it’s local. You see, one criticism of the scientists is they’re always talking about global things… And so if you are looking at your village, your animals, your fields, your park, your kids, and the scientists are talking about a small world that you know, than it makes a greater impact, doesn’t it?’ Oreskes: ‘Well, exactly. It was about bringing it literally home, literally into your home, your family, your pet, the dog or cat that you love who is your faithful and trusted companion.’

Over at the BBC, climate guidelines derive from ‘28-gate’, a pure fraud. The BBC Trust adopted recommendations from an outside panel of what it called ‘28 best scientific experts’. Because the science was settled, dissent should be suppressed, they said. The BBC complied by infusing green lines into BBC output everywhere from science to comedy. When a pensioner in Wales FOI’d for names of the 28, two pricey BBC barristers and four lawyers fought disclosure for years. Sure enough, the 28 experts included only two climate scientists (and only one other scientist) amid a majority of green activists (two from Greenpeace), vested-interest business people and even an odd bod from the US embassy.

A year ago the BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth further emailed staff, ‘To achieve impartiality you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.’ (Amusingly, Manchester won on Sunday, not Saturday).

Warming advocacy and censorship by the media is now on steroids.

More than 250 news outlets worldwide have signed on to Covering Climate Now, ‘a project to improve coverage of the emergency’. They dedicated a week last September to hyping warming in synchrony with a UN climate confab.

The Guardian and a rabble of other media have switched to using the terms ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’. Guardian editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner ruled to her troops, ‘The phrase “climate change” sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.’

Misha Ketchell, editor of the university and taxpayer-funded Conversation announced in September a ban on all sceptic comments and sceptics themselves: ‘Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.’ This was on a site mast-headed, ‘We believe in the free flow of information.’ The same day he ran a Tim Flannery piece libeling sceptics as child predators.

Dr Andy Pitman, Director of UNSW Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, last June denied any link between drought and climate change, which prima facie makes things wetter. ‘Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers,’ he warned, in a weird outbreak of candour. He thus scuttled the illogic that climate change is fuelling the bushfires. Paul Barry’s effort on Media Watch to spin away Pitman’s view was in line with staff’s ‘solutions journalism.’

We do have a truth emergency. The truth’s dull reading but here goes. The warming trend in the monthly HadCRUT4 global temperature series from January 2000 to last April was 0.0156 degrees Celsius per year or a mere 1.56 degree C per century. Exclude the freak 2015-16 el Nino and the trend drops to 1.32 degree C per century. Spin that away, ABC colleagues!

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