In scaling back many Net Zero policies Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the most radical climate policy decision a UK government has made in years. It dominated the evening news and if you watched the reports, as I did, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone speaking up to support the government.
What might be surprising to some is that the best of the night’s efforts was, I thought, from the BBC, principally because they excluded its climate editor Justin Rowlatt, whose barely suppressed anger the previous evening made a mockery of balanced reporting. One good point in the BBC’s six o’clock news and BBC News at Ten was the inclusion of Jacob Rees-Mogg as the lone voice supporting the changes in policy.
ITV’s news at 18.30 had Robert Peston who casually linked global warming with weather extremes, thereby showing he didn’t know the science of global warming or the difference between weather and climate. Never mind, others did the same.
The subsequent report on News at Ten brought in the business backlash at the start. It only mentioned the comments made by the Ford motor company who were critical of the changes, but failed to mention supportive statements by Toyota and Jaguar-Land Rover who said they were in favour and Vauxhall who said the changes would make no difference to them. Again no one was included who spoke-up for the new proposals. Curiously, there was an interview with Gill Nowell who was described as being an electric vehicle owner. No mention was made that she is a green campaigner.
But the hostility of Channel 4 News was beyond the pale. It had a backdrop that read, “Emergency on Planet Earth,” which told you all you needed to know about the report. After critical comments by Ford, it was the turn of Emily Shuckburgh the Director of Cambridge Zero, the University of Cambridge’s climate change initiative, to attack Rishi Sunak. Sir Simon Clarke MP followed with his criticism and then Sharon Lane of Tees Components (also against Sunak). Then the report moved to a motor leasing conference from which it included Tony Poston of the British Vehicle Retail and Licensing Association (against Sunak) and Marc Palmer of Autotrader magazine (also against Sunak.)
So far the Channel 4 News coverage was quite evidently partisan, an impression confirmed by an interview with Chris Skidmore MP (strongly against Sunak) who was handed soft questions by Krishnan Guru-Murthy. By this time I was thinking that surely someone would be brought on who actually supported Sunak’s reforms.
Enter George Eustace MP who did but he was harangued by Guru-Murthy and given a much tougher time than Skidmore. Guru-Murthy made a serious blunder by confusing suggestions made by the Climate Change Committee which Sunak rejected with adopted government policies that would now be cancelled.
At the end of the interview George Eustace said Sunak still wanted to get to Net Zero but what he had done was a refinement of the course. At this Guru-Murthy laughed in a mocking way and turned back to the camera with a smile leaving viewers with no doubt how ridiculous he thought that answer was.
Next against a backdrop of flames, Guru-Murthy turned to reporter Alex Thompson who said he would look at the physics of the announcement. This was accompanied by his description of a series of catastrophic images on the screen being with the floods in Libya and the smoke in Manhattan from Canadian bush fires. The recent flood in Libya has nothing to do with climate change and was all to do with a lack of maintenance of the now burst dams. The same goes for the Canadian fires whose cause can be laid at poor forrest maintenance policies and arson. He also mentioned Zack Goldsmith (against Sunak), Sir Alok Sharma MP (against Sunak) and Lord Deben (you can guess his position). Nobody was in favour of the new proposals.
All things considered it was a classic night of one-sided and hyped up climate reporting. The prize for most biased climate bias goes to Channel 4 News, with a special commendation for Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s mocking laughter.