Trafigura gags the BBC

Richard Wilson writes:

Late last week the BBC chose to delete from its website a damning Newsnight investigation into the Trafigura scandal, following legal threats from the company and its controversial lawyers, Carter-Ruck.

Previously, other media outlets including the Times and the Independent, had withdrawn stories about the case, amid concerns that the UK press is choosing to engage in self-censorship, rather than risk a confrontation with such a powerful company in the UK’s archaic and one-sided libel courts.

The BBC is a dominant player within the UK media, and its independence – supposedly guaranteed by the millions it receives from licence-payers each year – is vital both to its public service function and its global reputation.

Freedom of speech means very little without an effective and independent media – if it’s true that the BBC’s independence can so easily be compromised by legal threats, then this sets a very dangerous precedent for the future.

The mainstream UK media has so far assiduously avoided reporting on the BBC’s climbdown. Yet it’s an issue that raises serious questions about the state of press freedom in Britain, at a time of unprecedented attacks on the media.

To help subvert this latest attempt to muzzle the press, please embed this video on your blog, and link to this PDF of the original story.

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On the Russian IEA’s analysis of temperatures

I reported earlier on the Russian claims that the CRU had cherry picked the data from Russian weather stations. Deltoid points out that the analysis concerned actually confirms the recent warming from 1950 onwards:

The red and blue curves agree very well in the period after 1950, thus confirming the CRU temperatures. Well done, IEA!

The red and blue curves do diverge in the 19th century, but the one that provides more support for anthropogenic global warming is the blue hockey stick. The red curve shows warming in the 19th century before there were significant CO2 emissions, so it weakens the case that global warming is man-made. If CRU (not HAdley as claimed in the Russian news story) have “tampered” with the data, it would seem that they must have been trying to make a case against AGW.

The IEA analysis is, in any case, misguided. CRU has not released all the station data they use, so the red curve is not the CRU temperature trend for Russia at all. If you want that, all you have to do is download the gridded data and average all the grid cells in Russia. You have to wonder why the IEA did not do this.

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