The central part of BBC reporting of climate change is an unquestioning acceptance of the tenets of the green religion. Here David Shukman – enlarging his size nine BBC carbon footprint with a nice trip to Texas in advance of Cancun – admiringly tells us that there are more wind turbines in the southern state than almost anywhere else. Breathlessly, too, he trots out their output as if, without a doubt, these monstrosities are going to be a replacement for the nasty coal and oil and gas. True, he talks to a few of those who oppose both the turbines and the concept of climate change; but his condescending tone implies strongly that these are right-wing Republican nutters.

I note, too, that Mr Shukman omits key issues which I would have regarded as important in a longer-form background story of this kind. He has not a scintilla of curiosity about whether wind farms are actually efficient, or whether they are – as T.Bone Pickens clearly believes – “green”. Matt Ridley (writer of the book The Rational Optimist) posted on this very issue yesterday, and Mr Shukman, had he been at all objective, could have dug it out. What he says is devastating:

Every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2.5 tonnes of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up to spoil my view in Northumberland. The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty (involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product), that only one country does it: China. This year it flexed its trade muscles and briefly stopped exporting neodymium from its inner Mongolian mines. How’s that for dangerous reliance on a volatile foreign supply?

Besides, wind does nothing to reduce carbon emissions. As Robert Bryce shows in his book Power Hungry, even Denmark, which can switch off imported Norwegian hydro power when the wind spins its many turbines, has failed to save any significant net carbon emissions through wind. The intermittent nature of the wind means that fossil-fuel power stations have to be kept going, or inefficiently powered up and down. Besides, the total power produced from even the biggest wind farms is so small that, as a strategy for reducing carbon emissions significantly, wind power is a failure


This lack of inclusion of such key facts is deliberate bias by omission and shows this story up for what it really is – yet another part of the BBC’s endless no-expense-spared green crusade.


The BBC Sydney correspondent Nick Bryant – a chap who clearly just adores OZ PM Kevin Rudd’s climate lunacy – reports here on the news that islands like Tuvalu are not, after all, in any danger of being flooded by global warming; in fact, according to the latest research, the reverse is true, the islands are actually growing. But this doesn’t deter our Nick from pursuing his alarmist agenda:

But although these islands might not be submerged under the waves in the short-term, it does not mean they will be inhabitable in the long-term, and the scientists believe further rises in sea levels pose a significant danger to the livelihoods of people living in Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Never let the facts get in the way is clearly his motto. He also quotes the locals as saying that despite the facts, they still are going to drown (and, by the way, they need milllions of pounds of aid from the west).

This die-hard approach is hardly surprising, really. The BBC has been at the forefront of reporting that half the world (and Tuvalu in particular) is going to drown for at least a decade; the intro to this piece from David Shukman (in 2008) is typical:

The fragile strips of green that make up the small islands of Tuvalu are incredibly beautiful but also incredibly vulnerable.The group of nine tiny islands in the South Pacific only just break the surface of the ocean – but for how much longer?

How long will it be before eco-activists such as Bryant and Shukman acknowledge that whenever claims about climate change are subjected to scientific analysis, they disintegrate? Don’t hold your breath.

Book of Revelation

BBC environment correspondent David Shukman has a book out in April: “Reporting Live From the End of the World“. A suitably alarmist double meaning in the title there, but I guess it’s more catchy than “Reporting Live From a Temporarily Low Reservoir (Rain Sure To Follow)”.

In his tips to schoolchildren on how best to report on the environment Shukman offers this advice: “If it’s about rubbish, get yourself right in the middle of it.” Like this:

At least he knows exactly what will happen to all the unsold copies of his book.