Green party and TV physicist Brian Cox gang up on BBC over 'climate dinosaur' Lord Lawson

Posted On: 
10th August 2017

The Green party has railed against the BBC after Conservative peer and climate-change denier Lord Lawson made a number of controversial claims on live radio.

Lord Lawson said the concerns about climate change featured in a new film by US ex-vice president Al Gore were “clap trap”
PA Images

Co-leader Jonathan Bartley blasted the broadcaster for giving "almost unchallenged airtime to climate-dinosaurs like Lord Lawson".

Professor of physics and TV personality Brian Cox accused the BBC of being "irresponsible and highly misleading," while one of the corporation’s own presenters also weighed in with a strongly-worded complaint.

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Appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme Lord Lawson said the concerns about climate change featured in a new film by US ex-vice president Al Gore were "clap trap".

He said of Mr Gore, who had appeared earlier on in the programme to make his argument: "He's the sort of bloke who goes around saying the end of the world is nigh. 

"We should be concentrating on real problems like North Korea and disease. To divert resources and energy to non-problems is really ridiculous."

The former chancellor argued there was no evidence that global temperatures were rising or that the Government subsidises fossil fuels.

But a furious Mr Bartley hit back in a strongly worded letter to the broadcaster, insisting both claims by the "discredited and compromised" peer were false.

"It’s unbelievable that the BBC is giving almost unchallenged airtime to climate-dinosaurs like Lord Lawson," he said.

"It’s the modern day equivalent of giving the smoking lobby a platform to deny that lighting up has any link to cancer.

"Climate change is an immediate threat and the BBC has a responsibility to provide a proper balance of opinions, not hand the airwaves over to someone with fringe views."

Research by the Met Office and Nasa showed 2016 was the hottest year on record - setting a new high for the third year in a row.

Meanwhile files accidentally sent to Private Eye magazine this year allegedly showed fossil fuel firms had received billions of pounds in financial support from the Government for overseas work.

Mr Cox - who often appears on the BBC - hit out at the broadcaster on Twitter after Lord Lawson’s appearance.

And Jim Al-Khalili - a physicist who presents Radio 4 show ‘The Life Scientific’ - suggested inviting Lord Lawson on the show gave a false sense of balance and said the broadcaster should be ashamed.

But a BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC’s role is to hear different views so listeners are informed about all sides of debate and we are required to ensure controversial subjects are treated with due impartiality.

"This split segment started with an interview with Al Gore, at 7.10am and at twice the length of Lord Lawson’s interview, and concluded with Fisher Stevens responding after Lawson, who as chairman of Global Warming Policy Foundation had set out their position on the economics of subsidising green energy.

"It was introduced by our Environment Analyst who will be examining some of the claims further ontomorrow’s programme."