Blogger Tony Newbery of Harmless Sky tried to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the BBC to reveal who were the people present at a certain seminar whose advice led the BBC to decide to adopt a pro-AGW stance. The BBC described this decisive seminar as being graced by ‘some of the best scientific experts’. Newbery had a suspicion that there were many fewer experts and many more activists than the BBC made out. One out of the few – and I think that means one out of the one – people present at the seminar with views outside the consensus, Richard D North, said as much. Presumably North either had kept no record of the exact attendance list or had an obligation to keep it confidential.
The BBC really did not want to say. Representing himself, up against the BBC’s six lawyers, Newbery, not surprisingly, lost his case at the Information Tribunal. The fact that one of the lay judges had strong views against “deniers” probably didn’t help.
They’re all there; Greenpeace, the New Economics Foundation, the Gaian branch of the Church of England, someone from Greenpeace China, bods from Stop Climate Chaos and Tearfund, Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy…
What? Head of Comedy? Yes. One of the aims of this series of seminars was to “take this coverage [international affairs, including climate change] out of the box of news and current affairs, so that the lives of people in the rest of the world, and the issues which affect them, become a regular feature of a much wider range of BBC programmes, for example dramas and features.”
Note that even some of the sciency sounding names and job titles listed are not exactly the hardest of the hard. According to the comments at Bishop Hill among the list there is a Senior Lecturer from the OU focussing on environmentalism and politics, a Geography PhD with an interest in conservation and human rights and a lucky undergraduate from Harvard specialising in documentary film making.
Fun fact: all the four big-name resignations from the BBC over the last few days (Peter Rippon, Steve Mitchell, Helen Boaden and George Enwistle) were present. Someone somewhere (I’ve lost the link, I’m afraid) mentioned the Private Eye occasional feature “Curse of Gnome”.