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HomeBBC WatchEven the BBC has to admit: Gummer talks nonsense on climate change

Even the BBC has to admit: Gummer talks nonsense on climate change


Unable to cover up the nonsensical claims of arch-climate change alarmist Lord Deben any longer, the BBC have finally upheld a complaint from the Global Warming Policy Foundation and acknowledged that his statement about onshore wind farms ‘does not appear to be supported by the evidence’.

Readers of The Conservative Woman may remember when I first highlighted the former John Selwyn Gummer’s unchallenged and misleading testimony on the Today programme.  Unfortunately, it took three months, and for the Executive Complaints Unit to overrule Today’s editors, before some basic truths about energy policy in this country were recognised by the BBC.

It was on 28 June that Lord Deben, chairman of the influential Committee on Climate Change (CCC), was interviewed by John Humphrys in advance of a report the committee were launching in Parliament later that day. During the segment, Gummer claimed that the government was not allowing communities that wanted to build onshore wind farms to do so.

He said: ‘What on earth is the government doing, saying that even where a community wants to have an onshore wind farm, it can’t have it? This is sheer dogma.’

Yet the opposite is true: the Government has devolved the decision to approve onshore wind turbines to local councils.

Deben was trying to conceal the fact that local people do not want wind turbines, and that they are utterly unsustainable without subsidy, by pretending there was some sort of ban in place.

In its ruling, Dominic Groves, Deputy Head of the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit, said:

‘Lord Deben was presented as someone with a significant degree of expertise and knowledge in this area . . . I think he should have been challenged on this point to ensure listeners were not left with a materially misleading impression.’ The ruling upheld the first part of the GWPF’s complaint.

Lord Deben also claimed that onshore wind power was the ‘cheapest form of producing electricity today’. This is also false: there is a significant cost involved in managing an energy source that is both inherently unreliable and far less energy dense than conventional forms of electricity generation. To produce the same amount of energy as a single 2GW coal power station, for example, wind turbines would have to cover an area of 220 square miles, or one and half Isle of Wights, and all these turbines need connecting to the National Grid. But Deben selectively ignores the higher system costs of renewables to promote onshore wind.

Unfortunately, the BBC would not admit the true cost of onshore wind either, refusing to uphold the second part of the complaint, which referred to the cost of electricity generation. The GWPF is therefore planning to refer this issue to the media watchdog Ofcom.

With their totalitarian new guidance on climate change, the BBC are refusing even to hear the sceptical side of the debate, while allowing alarmists to spew untruths unchallenged. This is but one small victory against a tidal wave of misinformation.

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Harry Wilkinson
Harry Wilkinson
Harry Wilkinson is Researcher to the Global Warming Policy Forum

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