Opinion: BBC beaten by the anti-green lobby

There is meant to be a political consensus in this country. Global warming is taking place, and humans contribute to that. There is also a scientific consensus that this is the case as well, so since we are all agreed, it is surely the case that the BBC can go ahead to what is now the important next step; try to encourage the population of this country to do something about it?

In the same way the BBC encourages us not to commit crime, it is important for our future safety and wellbeing, indeed our survival, that we do not destroy the environment in which we live.

It appears we are not there yet. There is still a powerful anti-green movement in this country. When the BBC announced it was dropping an awareness-raising programme on climate change, only Chris Huhne had the courage to speak out against the decision:

“The consensus about global warming in the science community is now overwhelming, so accusing the BBC of campaigning on such an undisputed threat is like suggesting it should be even-handed between criminals and their victims.”

Why was that? What do Brown and Cameron think? If they both publicly agreed with Huhne, then surely the BBC would have to change its mind?

The anti-Green movement includes the bestselling newspapers, the car lobby, the Taxpayers Alliance (see Chris Huhne), extreme modernists such as the Institute of Ideas, Free Market think tanks (ASI, IEA) and libertarians (notably Jeremy Clarkson), the CBI who want a massive road building program, and the airlines in particular (see Ryanair’s aggressive campaign against airline taxes), and the NFU.

They still have a powerful reach, and thankfully we stand up to them.

It could be argued that because there is an anti-green movement then there is not a consensus and the BBC is right to be ‘impartial’. I wonder if the same argument would hold over the debate between those who believe in the theory of evolution and those who believe in creationism? Should the BBC invite astrologers to talk about the future of the economy? Generally I believe the BBC should be impartial, but how far can you realistically go with this, particularly considering what is at stake?

I recommend that the Liberal Democrats go on the attack. We should attack the BBC and the other two parties for their cowardice, and we should attack the anti-green movement for being reckless and irresponsible.

This is an opportunity for Ming Campbell to say something interesting and controversial at our conference next week. Will he take the opportunity during his leader’s speech at the end of conference? I hope so.

* Geoffrey Payne is the secretary of Hackney Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Something the climate change sceptics have done very successfully is target (manipulate) anti-elite conspiracy theorists – many of whom will tell you that climax change is a hoax concocted by elites to impoverish and enslave us.

    Yes, you heard that right. Those who go to such lengths to proclaim their loathing of Cheney, Bush and the US military-industrial-petro-chemical complex are actually acting as advocates for said forces.

    A topsy-turvy world, isn’t it?

    (I had a falling out the other day with a guy who runs a conspiracy website, because he was telling parents not to vaccinate their children. Measles, mumps and rubella are “harmless”, he informs us.)

    To the list of media climate change sceptics you can add Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips, both authoritarian conservatives. Need one say more?

  • This is a scientific affair, so I would think it is important to get the science right first, then we can make sure the language we use is also correct (contrast with the divisive, but essentially correct use of ‘sexed-up’ which got the BBC into hot water over WMD) – in order not incite prejudicial sentiment.

    There are lots of premature and speculative conclusions that have already been drawn by those who recognise an opportunity to support their pet political agenda, but winning an audience isn’t the same thing as having won an argument.

    But I also refuse, however, be pasted into the anti-environmental camp.

    It should be noted that the climate is a dynamic system which is constantly changing, so direct correllations with simplistic predictions of globalised warming should be avoided – that is not to say the dynamic isn’t being affected by our behaviour.

    There remains an amount of openness on the way weather will be affected, but there is a wide consensus on the ways in which we can sensibly moderate the wastefulness of our damaging behaviour to limit the potentially harmful impact of those changes.

    Using serious issues to score points is a cheap tactic, we should avoid it and stand instead for the principles of the matter.

    And so should the BBC.

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