Accuracy is one the fundamental requirements imposed on the BBC by its Charter. For years, however, it has been sorely lacking in its handling of climate related matters.
Most of the time, the BBC gets away with it, simply because people don’t realise it, or if they do don’t complain, or if they do are fobbed off all too easily.
However in recent months, it has been forced to retract three totally fallacious claims, which could and should have been avoided with a few simple checks.
1) The first concerned a report on the World at One last march, which discussed rising sea levels around Florida:
The BBC correspondent, Nick Bryant made the following comment:
Sea levels at Miami are rising at ten times the global rate
When I complained, the BBC’s first response, as usual, was to prevaricate and ignore the specifics of my complaint completely.
Only after I pursued matters to the Executive Complaints Unit were they finally forced to retract their claim, which was so utterly ridiculous that it should have set alarm bells ringing at the outset.
2) Then in October 2017, the BBC broadcast an episode of “Russia with Simon Reeve”.
The programme made certain claims about reindeer in northern Russia, as Lord Lawson of GWPF noted in his letter of complaint to the BBC:
Lord Lawson pointed out that on the contrary reindeer populations were stable, and in some cases increasing.
Again the BBC were forced to issue a retraction, as the GWPF reported in January this year:
The alarming claim that reindeer populations across Northern Russia were “in steep decline because of climate change”, was made during the first episode of the recent BBC 2 series: Russia with Simon Reeve.
Writing to the BBC Complaints department, Lord Lawson pointed out that according to a 2016 study, 17 out of 19 sub-populations of Eurasian Reindeer were now either increasing in number, or had a stable population trend.
The BBC have now accepted this evidence, and have published a correction which reads: “This programme suggested that many reindeer populations are in steep decline because of climate change. It would have been more accurate to say that many reindeer populations are threatened by it.”