Another Nail in the Coffin of Balanced BBC Reporting

Yesterday the BBC published an article about global warming from their coverage of meetings currently taking place in Tokyo.  Part of the article contained this map showing the impact of global warming on crop yields.


However the graphic is at best totally specious and at worst a deliberate and flagrant attempt at scaremongering.   There are three key points to note that anyone can spot;

  1. The graphic purports to indicate the impact of a 3°C temperature rise over the next 35 years. Where on earth does this level of temperature increase come from?  In the IPCC’s fifth assessment report final draft, the 30-year projection was stated as 0.3 – 0.7°C and noted that warming was more likely to be at the lower end of the range.  The so called ‘impact’ indicated in the graphic is therefore based on the ridiculous assumption of a 6-times greater increase in global warming than that predicted by IPCC – it’s totally fictitious.
  2. The colour scheme shows increasingly darker shades of red for negative impact and increasingly darker shades of green for positive.  But if you notice, the ‘no change’ value (the middle one of the 11 colour gradients) is shaded pink to give the impression that the impact is bad when it is not – why was the 0% level not left white, or some other clearly identifiable colour? Well, obviously, so that the impact could be deliberately portrayed as being worse than it is.  Italy, Portugal, Spain and France for example are all at no change.
  3. Look at the scale at the top. The very worst performance, darkest red, is 50% lower than current levels. But the darkest green figure is 100% better.  This again has the deliberately misleading effect of reducing the amount of darker green on the map to indicate that things are worse than they seem.  If you plotted the map with equal scales and shaded dark green everywhere that was 50% better off or greater there would be a significantly more dark green.

This sort of data manipulation, and the BBC support of it, is utterly shameful.

In my opinion, anyone who goes to such deliberate lengths to distort the truth and to make facts fit their argument must have a very weak argument indeed.




5 responses to “Another Nail in the Coffin of Balanced BBC Reporting

  1. Many of the dark red areas are virtually desert and are not currently food producing regions.
    Sahara, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Western Australia.


  2. You’re absolutely right – it makes no reference to where crops are grown. Many of the green areas are crop growing regions so would benefit significantly from the change.


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