BBC ‘wrong’ not to challenge climate change sceptic during interview

The former Chancellor claimed average world temperatures had "slightly declined" on the Today programme

Nigel Lawson, former U.K. chancellor of the exchequer (Getty, BA)

The BBC should have challenged climate change sceptic Lord Nigel Lawson’s claims on Radio 4’s Today programme, according to the broadcaster’s complaints unit.

Advertisement

In an interview with Radio 4’s Today, the ex-Chancellor claimed that “official figures” showed average world temperatures had “slightly declined”, a view which was shown to be false by the Met office – the last three years have seen successive global heat records broken.

Interviewer Justin Webb failed to challenge the claim, provoking criticism from professor Brian Cox, amongst others.

Despite initially defending the programme’s handling of the issue, the BBC has now admitted that it breached its “guidelines on accuracy and impartiality”.

According to BBC News, the broadcaster’s complaints unit accepted that these statements “were, at the least, contestable and should have been challenged”.

It wasn’t the first time the BBC found themselves in hot water over an interview with Lord Lawson. In 2014, the Today programme was judged to have given “undue weight to Lord Lawson’s views, and had conveyed a misleading impression of the scientific evidence on the matter”.

Advertisement

This time around, the show invited the Met office’s Dr Peter Stott to offer a competing view the following afternoon, and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a group chaired by Lawson, later admitted that the former Chancellor’s statements had been “erroneous”.