Thursday, August 25, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Great Reef Hysteria Exposed?

In Memoriam Sir Antony Jay (1930 - 2016)

In this newsletter:

1) Great Reef Hysteria Exposed? Tourism Operators Find Less Than 5% Of Coral Dead Due To ‘Extreme’ Bleaching
The Courier-Mail. 23 August 2016

2) “Yes, Minister” Creator Sir Antony Jay Has Died Aged 86
The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2016

3) “Yes, Prime Minister” And Global Warming
Excerpts from Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn: "Yes, Prime Minister"

4) In Memoriam Sir Antony Jay: “It’s Time To Drastically Slim Down Bias-Ridden BBC’
Global Warming Policy Foundation, December 2011

Full details:

1) Great Reef Hysteria Exposed? Tourism Operators Find Less Than 5% Of Coral Dead Due To ‘Extreme’ Bleaching
The Courier-Mail, 23 August 2016
Peter Michael

REEF tourism operators have found less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by scientists — under “extreme” mass coral bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Latest findings exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail show coral mortality in the outer shelf reefs north of Lizard Island was between one and five per cent with “spectacular” fish life and coral coverage.

Teams of divers in a joint two-week expedition sponsored by Mike Ball Dive and Spirit of Freedom surveyed 28 sites on 24 outer shelf reefs along a 300km section of the hardest-hit part of the reef from Bathurst Head to Raine Island.

Spirit of Freedom owner Chris Eade said reports of 93 per cent bleaching on the 2300km long Great Barrier Reef had made global headlines and damaged the reputation of the $5 billion reef tourism industry.

“Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out,’’ Mr Eade said.

“We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery.

“It shows the resilience of the reef.’’

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.

“It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached,’’ Mr Stephen said.

“The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs.

“There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry.”

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York under the world’s biggest-ever mass coral bleaching event.

Scientists with the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned “the final death toll” on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.

In April, aerial and underwater surveys of 522 reefs in the northern sector showed 81 per cent had been severely bleached and one per cent not bleached.

Full story

See also Jo Nova: Great Barrier Reef bleaching 5% bleached, not 93% says new report “discrepancy phenomenal”

2) “Yes, Minister” Creator Sir Antony Jay Has Died Aged 86
The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2016

Sir Antony Jay, co-creator of political comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, has died at the age of 86.

Antony Jay is 2011

A representative said: "Sir Antony Jay CVO CBE died peacefully on Sunday evening after a long illness. He was surrounded by his wife and family."

Jay began his career in the BBC's current affairs department and was a founding member of the Tonight team, later becoming editor of the programme in 1962.

His career included scripting documentaries Royal Family and Elizabeth R: A Year In the Life of a Queen, for which he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for personal services to the Royal Family.

Whitehall farce: Derek Fowlds, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington in 'Yes Minister'  

But it was with Yes Minster and Yes, Prime Minister, which he wrote with Jonathan Lynn, that Jay will be best remembered. Starring Paul Eddington, Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds, the former ran from 1980-1984; the even more rapturously received Yes, Prime Minister lasted from 1986 to 1987.

Finely crafted satires of Westminster that highlighted the undue influence wielded by civil servants in the corridors of power, both series proved a hit among politicians, most notably the then PM Margaret Thatcher.

Jay authored several management books and founded management and sales training film company Video Arts alongside John Cleese and two colleagues in 1972.

He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1988.

Full story

3) “Yes, Prime Minister” And Global Warming
Excerpts from Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn: "Yes, Prime Minister"

“Computer models are no different from fashion models: seductive, unreliable, easily corrupted, and they lead sensible people to make fools of themselves.” –Jim Hacker, Yes, Prime Minister

To watch video clip click on image

Dramatis personae:

Sir Humphrey Appleby
Cabinet Secretary

Bernard Woolley
Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister

Jim Hacker
Prime Minister

Claire Sutton
Special Policy Adviser

Simon Chester
BBC presenter

Later in Act One, Scene Two

The phone rings. They all look at it.

Claire Hello? It’s the BBC again. I see. Thanks. (She hangs up.) Piling on the agony. A big new story about global warming has just broken, they’re adding that to the Sunday programme too. Global warming computer models have been proved wrong.

Humphrey How shocking!

Claire The new models show that it’s even worse than previously thought. Much more severe. And happening faster.

Jim Is that supposed to be my fault too?

Claire Everything is at the moment. They want to know why the government is dragging its feet on CO2 emission controls.

Jim (losing it) Do we have to deal with that tonight? As well as …(much has gone wrong for Jim earlier in the play)… Is there anything else, anything else we can pile on me tonight? Oh yes! Global bloody warming, thank you very much!

Claire It’s just that they’re going to add it to the catalogue of your failures. (He gives her a look.) Alleged failures, I mean.

Humphrey Meanwhile, may I suggest that you don’t worry too much about global warming?

Jim Right. I can’t do anything about that tonight, can I?

Humphrey Tell me, how do they know we’re all going to drown in years when the weather forecast was so wrong last Friday?

Jim Because all the scientists agree.

Humphrey So they say. So do the computer models. I know. But why should global warming computer models be any more accurate than financial ones?

Jim Um…

Humphrey Wall Street computer models were designed to prove sub­prime mortgage derivatives were low risk. These computer models are designed to show global warming is getting worse.

Jim Come off it, Humphrey.

Humphrey Remember mad cow disease? Computer models for that proved that we’d be dying in our hundreds of thousands by now. The only thing is, virtually nobody died, did they? Same with the salmonella-in-eggs computer models. Same with swine flu.

Jim You’re suggesting … what, exactly?

Humphrey Global-Warming models leave out nearly all the other possible causes except CO2. And then they say ‘Look, CO2 has caused all this climate change.’

Jim What other causes are there?

Humphrey If the earth were actually getting warmer, one might start by looking at the sun. Solar activity, water vapour, cosmic rays, sunspots, underwater volcanoes –

Jim If? The world is getting hotter, the science is overwhelming, everyone knows that.

Humphrey There’s been no rise in temperature since 1998.

Jim Really? But it was rising, wasn’t it?

Humphrey From 1975 to 1998, yes, absolutely.

Jim That’s what I mean.

Humphrey But it fell from 1940 to 1975. Even though that was a heavily industrialised period, when CO2 shot up. And overall the temperature isn’t rising at all: the hottest year in the twentieth century was 1934.

Jim I read that two thousand five hundred top climate scientists contributed to the last IPCC survey and they all agreed that man­made global warming is a proven fact and trapped greenhouse gases are the cause.

Humphrey Nearly fifty of them agreed. The others didn’t, actually. But their views were left out of the summaries given to the press.

Claire Haven’t you seen that film of the melting icebergs in the Antarctic?

Humphrey Yes. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Claire That’s caused by CO2.

Humphrey No, that’s caused by warm water masses from the Pacific.

Claire Why are the polar bears becoming extinct?

Humphrey Are they?

Claire The computer models say they are.

Humphrey But the people who actually go and count them have found more than there were thirty years ago.

Jim For heaven’s sake, Humphrey! If it’s all such nonsense why does everyone believe it?

Humphrey (amused) Hard to understand, I agree. But some scientists believe it, lots of others want the billions of pounds you can get for research that seems to show that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases, and most of the scientists who disagree can’t get published. Journalists love shock-­horror stories, governments want to look virtuous to the voters, lefties want a way to rubbish big oil, and it makes the tree-huggers, whale-savers, anti-capitalists and everyone at the BBC feel holier than thou and warm and fuzzy inside. What’s not to like?

Jim Why hasn’t anyone else said all this?

Humphrey They have. No one wants to hear it.

Jim So wind farms don’t make sense?

Humphrey (chuckles) They certainly do, for all the businessmen who are getting enormous government grants for them. But there isn’t enough wind to be practical. The total output of all the UK wind turbines put together is one-fifth of one decent sized coal-fired power station.

Claire You don’t believe in global warming?

Humphrey My job is not to believe or disbelieve. My job is to weigh up arguments and produce answers. That’s what the Civil Service is for.

Jim I really think you must be misinformed somewhere. Al Gore got the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global Warming.

Humphrey So did Dr Kissinger for his work on the Vietnam War.
Jim has no answer to that.

Jim You think it’s all a scam? I can’t get my head around this.

Humphrey For some people it’s a scam. For most, it’s just the greatest outbreak of collective hysteria since the witchcraft trials in the seventeenth century.

4) In Memoriam Sir Antony Jay: “It’s Time To Drastically Slim Down Bias-Ridden BBC’
Global Warming Policy Foundation, December 2011

Sir Antony Jay’s foreword to Christopher Booker’s GWPF report The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal

booker bbc
GWPF press conference, 8 December 2011
From left to right: David Henderson, Sir Antony Jay, Benny Peiser, Christopher Booker, Lord Lawson

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a duty of impartiality, as we all know. But what exactly does ‘impartiality’ mean? If it simply means giving equal time to Labour and Conservative politicians on matters of party contention, the BBC fulfils its duty fairly well. But if it means not having, or at least never revealing, any views of its own on any subject of public debate, well, that is quite another matter.

Anyone familiar with large organisations knows that over the years they develop and perpetuate their own ethos, their own value system, their own corporate beliefs and standards. The police, the Army, the National Health Service, the Civil Service – they all subscribe to their own central orthodoxy, even if not every member accepts every item of it. Connoisseurs of Whitehall are aware that different Ministries have different and even conflicting attitudes – the conservatism of the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Trade and Industry contrasts with the liberalism of the Departments of Education, Health and Social Services and the Department of Environment, though they are united in their belief in a large and well remunerated Civil Service. Those at the top of the tree are the custodians of corporate orthodoxy; they recruit applicants in their own image, and the applicants are steadily indoctrinated with the organisation’s principles and practices. Heretics tend to leave fairly early in their careers.

It would be astonishing if the BBC did not have its own orthodoxy. It has been around for 85 years, recruiting bright graduates, mostly with arts degrees, and deeply involved in current affairs issues and news reporting. And of course for all that time it has been supported by public money. One result of this has been an implicit belief in government funding and government regulation. Another is a remarkable lack of interest in industry and a deep hostility to business and commerce.

At this point I have to declare an interest, or at least admit to previous. I joined BBC television, my first job after university and National Service, in 1955, six months before the start of commercial television, and stayed for nine years as trainee, producer, editor and finally head of a production department. I absorbed and expressed all the accepted BBC attitudes: hostility to, or at least suspicion of, America, monarchy, government, capitalism, empire, banking and the defence establishment, and in favour of the Health Service, state welfare, the social sciences, the environment and state education. But perhaps our most powerful antagonism was directed at advertising. This is not surprising; commercial television was the biggest threat the BBC had ever had to face. The idea that television should be financed by businessmen promoting their products for profit created in us an almost spiritual revulsion.

And when our colleagues, who we had thought were good BBC men, left to join commercial broadcasters, they became pariahs. We could hardly bring ourselves to speak to them again. They had not just gone to join a rival company; they had sinned against the true faith, they were traitors, deserters, heretics.

This deep hostility to people and organisations who made and sold things was not of course exclusive to the BBC. It permeated a lot of upper middle class English society (and has not vanished yet). But it was wider and deeper in the BBC than anywhere else, and it is still very much a part of the BBC ethos. Very few of the BBC producers and executives have any real experience of the business world, and as so often happens, this ignorance, far from giving rise to doubt, increases their certainty.

We were masters of the techniques of promoting our point of view under the cloak of impartiality. The simplest was to hold a discussion between a fluent and persuasive proponent of the view you favoured, and a humourless bigot representing the other side. With a big story, like shale gas for example, you would choose the aspect where your case was strongest: the dangers of subsidence and water pollution, say, rather than the transformation of Britain’s energy supplies and the abandonment of wind farms and nuclear power stations. And you could have a ‘balanced’ summary with the view you favoured coming last: not “the opposition claim that this will just make the rich richer, but the government point out that it will create 10,000 new jobs” but “the government claim it will create 10,000 new jobs, but the opposition point out that it will just make the rich richer.” It is the last thought that stays in the mind. It is curiously satisfying to find all these techniques still being regularly used forty seven years after I left the BBC.

The issue of man-made global warming could have been designed for the BBC. On the one side are the industrialists, the businessmen, the giant corporations and the bankers (or at least those who are not receiving generous grants, subsidies and contracts from their government for climate-related projects such as wind farms or electric cars), on the other the environmentalists, the opponents of commercial expansion and industrial growth. Guessing which side the BBC will be on is a no-brainer, but no one has documented it in such meticulous detail as Christopher Booker. His case is unanswerable. The costs to Britain of trying to combat global warming are horrifying, and the BBC’s role in promoting the alarmist cause is, quite simply, shameful.

So what do we do about the BBC? One course of action that would be doomed from the start is to try and change its ethos, its social attitudes and its political slant. They have been unchanged for over half a century and just about all the influential and creative people involved in political programme commissioning and production are thoroughly indoctrinated. So do we abolish the BBC? After all, we do not have any newspapers or magazines that are subsidised with nearly four billion pounds of taxpayers’ money; why should broadcasting be different? If broadcasting were to start now, with all the benefits of cable and satellite technology, I cannot see anyone suggesting a system devised for the era of restricted wavelengths in which the BBC was born in the 1920s.

Of course no government would actually face up to the problem of privatising the BBC. And there are strong arguments for keeping it: some of its production units are among the best in the world. There is also a case for leaving its news and current affairs operation alone; it may have a built-in liberal/statist bias, but there are lots of other news channels which are commercially funded, so there is no great damage done if one of them is run by the middle class liberal elite.

No, what really needs changing is the size of the BBC. All we need from it is one television channel and one speech radio station – Radio 4, in effect. All its other mass of activities – publishing, websites, orchestras, digital channels, music and local radio stations – could be disposed of without any noticeable loss to the cultural life of the country, and the licence fee could probably be cut by two-thirds.

Could it happen? As the economic squeeze tightens, the case for a drastic slimming down of the BBC gets stronger every day. Cash-strapped households might be glad of the extra £100 a year, even at the expense of repeats, movies, imported programmes, quiz show and panel games – not to mention the sporting events we would see on other channels if the BBC hadn’t outbid them – that the BBC currently uses to fill out its schedules. But in some ways, the strongest case of all is made by Christopher Booker: if the BBC is to be paid to propagate the opinions of a liberal elite minority, it should not be allowed to dominate the national airwaves as it does today. Its voice should be heard, but it should not be allowed to drown out the others.

Sir Antony Jay
December 2011

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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