It will soon become more difficult for climate change skeptics to disagree with the consensus view on programs aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The BBC Trust, which is the BBC’s governing body, published a new report on Thursday that says that Britain’s largest news organization has been giving “undue attention to marginal opinion” on certain controversial scientific issues, including man-made climate change.
To combat what it calls a “false balance” on the issue, the trust’s report called for more BBC staffers to attend courses and seminars to help them learn how to bring their programming in line with what the BBC Trust accepts as the consensus view.
According to the report, 200 senior BBC staffers have already attended the programming workshops, and it hopes to send more.
The report re-affirms another published in 2012 in which genetics professor Steve Jones criticized the organization’s “‘over-rigid’ application of the Editorial Guidelines on impartiality in relation to science coverage.”
The coverage “fails to take into account what [Jones] regards as the ‘non-contentious’ nature of some stories and the need to avoid giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion,’” read the 2012 report, which noted that Jones cited man-made climate change as an example.
“This is a matter of training and ongoing shared editorial judgement,” reads Thursday’s report.
In one of its previous seminars, used to improve coverage of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the trust held a panel discussion involving three climate change scientists. It also allowed senior members of the IPCC, whose report the BBC would be covering, to brief the seminar attendees.
But the IPCC, which operates under the control of the United Nations, has met its own criticism. Richard Tol, a Dutch scientist, withdrew from a team of scientists in charge of writing the IPCC’s most recent report on climate change because it was too “alarmist.”