The BBC should give less airtime to sceptics of man-made global warming, and any government minister who questions climate change orthodoxy should “shut up or leave”, according to a committee of MPs.
A report by the Commons Science and Technology says that too much airtime is given to climate change sceptics, and calls for them to be either silenced or given “health warnings” when they appear on shows.
It says that the BBC should treat climate sceptics the same way as it would treat politicians. The committee say: “For example, any proposal to invite politicians to contribute to non-political output must be referred to the Chief Adviser Politics. The BBC could benefit from applying a similarly stringent approach when interviewing non-experts on controversial scientific topics such as climate change.”
The report also says that the government is “failing to clearly and effectively communicate climate science to the public,” and concludes: “All Ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change and then they, and their Departments, should reflect the Government approach in person, in media interviews and online by a presenting a clear and consistent message.”
Speaking to the Times, committee chairman, the Labour MP Andrew Miller, likened climate sceptics to the Monster Raving Loony Party, and said that the BBC should give the same amount of coverage to them as it would to fringe political parties.
He said that when Lord Lawson, a prominent climate change sceptic, appeared on the BBC to debate climate policy, the BBC should have made clear that the think-tank he chairs, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, holds views not accepted by the majority of scientists.
“At the very least, put a caption at the bottom of the screen: ‘the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s views are not accepted by 97 per cent of scientists’,” he said.
Mr Miller also singled out Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for criticism, saying he had deviated from the government line on climate change.
He said: “There are dissenting voices inside the Government machine . . . Frankly, the role of a minister is either to accept collective responsibility or shut up or leave. Climate change is such a hugely important public policy issue and therefore to have inconsistency from within Government is extremely dangerous territory.”
It is not acceptable, he said, to have “ministers who are not prepared to line up beside No 10 and say ‘yes, I accept climate change is real, we must do something about it’. Paterson is one example — he is ducking and diving on this.”
Owen Paterson is reported to have told a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting last year: “People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.”
Responding to the comments, Lord Lawson told the Times: “I think it is appalling that a member of the House of Commons should want to shut down debate on this issue.”
Dr Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation told Breitbart London: “The call for media censorship for critics of the conventional wisdom looks like political desperation as the British public is becoming increasingly sceptical about climate hysteria.
“The interested public will be shaking their heads at this Orwellian attack on free speech by a handful of MPs.”