First, we know how these signed “petitions” by THOUSANDS of scientists go as reported by the BBC et al. Did deep and you’ll find a overwhelming list of left wing partisan advocates and non-“scientists”. This BBC article is no different. You get your usual suspects in this article. The BBC just carries the water whenever they put out a PR.
US scientists reject interference
The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy…..[and the Bush bashing begins]
One of the main article sources, the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security is a San Francisco area left wing “green” advocacy group represented by the BBC as a “Non Partisan” organization. Well, as usual, the reporter simply didn’t look at the board of directors or it’s advisory board. Look for yourself
The other source The Union of Concerned Scientists, again, is a green advocacy organization. Check it out. http://www.ucsusa.org.
I don’t see this blog as having any particular collective opinion on whether and whither climate change. But we are getting quite a few emails saying, as these do, that the BBC is very much of one opinion when presenting the issue.
UPDATE: Ian Hart, the communications director of the Pacific Institute, comments
First, the Pacific Institute is a think tank or a research institute, not a “‘green’ advocacy group.” While we may advocate certain policies, it is not our primary goal or tool. If you look at our staff you will not find lawyers or lobbyists, but mostly scientists.
Second, the Pacific Institute is a non partisan organization and Jonathan Amos was correct in noting that in his article. When we work with governments, we’ve worked with Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. We’ve also worked in numerous countries where those parties mean nothing. So we are indeed non partisan.
Looking at its website, it is true that the Pacific Institute is non-partisan in the sense that it is not connected to any political party. The Advisory Board contains both Nancy Ramsey, the Legislative Director for Senator John Kerry (D) and the Hon. Claudine Schneider, a former Republican Representative for Rhode Island.
Nonetheless, the Pacific institute is not apolitical. Sample quotes: “Social justice has long been the missing element from the debate over environmental pollution and economic development.” “Globalization and privatisation of the world’s resources are leading to controversy, dispute and even violence.” It favours mildly statist solutions.
I am more sympathetic to Ian Hart’s defence of his own organisation than I am to the BBC’s description of it. The phrase “non-partisan” will be taken to mean “non-political” by most readers of the website, and I rather think the BBC knows this and exploits it – in many cases, not just this one. In particular I think that the BBC gently exploits the fact that in the US, because of campaign finance restrictions and the fact that political donations from individuals are made public there, the fact that an organisation can be non-partisan and yet have a political agenda is widely understood, whereas over here the two terms “non political” and “non partisan” are practically interchangeable. A think tank as right wing as the Pacific Institute is left wing would almost always be described as “right wing” on the BBC.