Is the BBC slowly waking up?

And perhaps smelling the coffee?  Is it just wishful thinking on my part?  Or are they starting, just occasionally, to make sense on the great issues of the day, and to abandon their knee-jerk, Guardianista soft-left (and not-so-soft-left) stance?
 
On Dec 27th, they ran a piece on the Today Programme that was actually critical of wind power.  They reported that during the recent cold snap, there had been significant periods when all the existing wind farms in the UK had between them been producing (so far as I recall) less than 2% of their rated capacity.  They pointed out that this was associated with an extensive high-pressure area and consequently little wind across the whole of the UK, and they reminded us that this occurred during extremely cold weather, when demand for power would have been high.
 
Now of course all of us seriously concerned in the debates on energy and climate change, including academics and industry insiders, have known this for years.  But the British Wind Energy association, and Chris Huhne, and the BBC, have been unwilling to admit it.  They respond with woolly assurances that “when the wind fails to blow in one place, it will blow somewhere else” (simply not true across the UK – it is by no means unusual to have very light winds across the whole country).
 
A digression for the sake of an anecdote: I attended a meeting recently with a senior IPCC guy – I think it was Yves De Boer – and facing this question about the unreliability of renewables, he said “But the Sun is always shining somewhere”.  To which I replied “Yes, but sometimes it’s in the Pacific”.
 
Yet all of a sudden, here is the BBC choosing to cover a story about the ineffectiveness of wind.  Do I sense a new balance, a new openness?
 
The wind farm story was not a solitary example.  Yesterday (Dec 28th) they ran a story under the headline “Is aid the answer?” which was, in parts, highly critical of both overseas aid and the aid agencies which handle large parts of it.  Admittedly this was on the initiative not of the BBC but of Today Guest Editor Colin Firth, but nonetheless the BBC ran it.  The piece suggested (rightly, in my view) that aid merely creates dependency and an unwillingness to work, and that it drives local inflation.
 
While the EU’s infamous Common Agricultural Policy was not mentioned by name (so far as I heard), there was criticism of “tariff and duty régimes in Europe and the USA which block imports of produce from poor countries and prevent them from trading their way out of poverty”.  There was an interview with a senior lady from OxFam, and she was given as near to a hard time as the BBC would ever give to someone from OxFam.  “You’ve been spending huge sums for decades in some of these countries, with no perceptible improvement”, they said.  I have been arguing for years that trade, not aid, is the solution to third-world poverty.  But to hear it on the BBC was a surreal moment.
 
So is the BBC waking up to reality?  Or just worried that a Conservative-led government will get serious about BBC bias?
 
Before we get too excited, old attitudes die hard.  Yesterday they ran a piece on the UN’s climate negotiating process, and the recent Cancun Conference (which I attended).  On the plus side, they cast doubt on whether this vast process could ever reach a consensus on taking forward climate policy, and strongly suggested that it could not.  They admitted that (despite the Chris Huhne hype) Cancun had clearly failed in its primary objective of reaching agreement on legally enforceable emissions commitments.
 
But again and again they spoke of “the essential need to cut CO2 emissions”.  No reference to “the need felt by some people to cut emissions”; no recognition of the fact that most voters no longer believe in man-made climate change.  There may be some green shoots of balance and rationality at the BBC, but it will be a Labour of Hercules to clean out the detritus of decades of bias from the hearts and minds of BBC staff.

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6 Responses to Is the BBC slowly waking up?

  1. Tapestry says:

    A sea change at the BBC after the public has wised up to the global warming con is not reassuring. They are running to catch up with public opinion which has left them stranded. With millions laughing every day at the media’s obsession with global warming, the BBC is probably feeling insecure for its position.

    Of course th troops move out when their bunker collapses. They will seek out a new bunker, and keep their position if we let them.

    Vince Cable tried to tackle the awfulness of media control of public debate recently and received no support. If we are to smash the media’s influence on every little detail of debate, we need to break the BBC and Murdoch’s stranglehold.

    Bring back Vince Cable.

  2. It looks as if you could right, Roger (as usual)! Then again, the massive misinformation and distorted portrayal of so-called “climate change” has already caused a great deal of problems (by misleading the public, damaging government policies and so on). To some extent, perhaps the efforts of some individual BBC journalists are helping to reduce the level of BBC bias? Sadly (so far), I have seen little evidence of less BBC bias regarding issues other than climate change and foreign aid.

  3. Russellw says:

    “Labour of Hercules” – the BBC’s World Service also carries a regular programe on the environment, which, to my mind, carries the AGW flag.

  4. Returning specifically to the issue of climate change, it has always only been possible to predict trends rather than alter climate patterns. Indeed, even future climate trends have never been (and never will be) predicted with complete accuracy – especially over long periods of time. And so, can we really accept that there is a specific field of study as “climate science”? Using a scientific approach to this issue, does not justify seperating it from meteorology (for example).

  5. GP says:

    I observed earlier today that, according to the bmreports web , the electricity generated by wind turbines in the previous 24 hours (now there is a good breeze to turn them and less ice to stop them) was just about equal to the amount of electricity being exported to France across the Channel Interconnect and to Ireland via the Moyle Interconnect. (If one looks at the ‘current (no pun intended) generation’ figures you won’t see it since the any exports are presented as zero. That is exaplained on one of the notes on the web pages – something to do with the information being related to internal trading raher than a measure of total outputs iirc.)

    I wonder what price they were getting? It may be possible to work it out I suppose from the information available.

  6. Vanessa says:

    There was an extremely good article in the Telegraph on 9th Jan by Andrew Cave which told about a young black girl called Dambisa Moyo who writes books on how aid is destroying Africa and the West should stop sending aid and start Trade.
    How right she is and when will our idiotic government wake up?

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