The BBC must air the views of climate change sceptics even though they are in the minority, the editor of Radio 4’s Today programme has said after he was criticised for allowing Nigel Lawson to feature in a debate.
Lord Lawson said the ‘quasi-Stalinist’ BBC had banned him from the Today programme Photo: Andrew Crowley
Lord Lawson, the former chancellor, now heads a think tank casting doubt on the science of global warming.
Appearing on the programme in February, Lord Lawson questioned whether extreme weather events – including flooding in the UK – had any link to climate change. Some listeners complained, and the BBC’s editorial complaints unit ruled that his views had been given undue prominence in the debate.
Lord Lawson claims the “quasi-Stalinist” BBC has now banned him from appearing on the programme because his views clash with the corporation’s “own party line”.
But Jamie Angus, editor of Today, said Lord Lawson deserved to be heard despite holding a minority view.
“The BBC can’t say, ‘We aren’t going to put that point of view on air because scientists tell us it’s not right’,” Angus said.
“People always raise flat earth at this point, but if you go into a pub on Oxford Street you won’t find anyone who says the earth is flat, but you will probably find a couple of people who are unconvinced by the science of climate change.
“Clearly the BBC has to reflect what is a relatively settled view of the majority of scientists… but absolutely should not squeeze out alternative points of view, and we haven’t.”
A BBC spokesman insisted Lord Lawson had not been banned, but said implying that his views were on “the same footing” as those of the climate scientist who featured in the debate had created “a false balance”.