BBC lists children’s study guide on ‘positive’ climate change impacts


The BBC logo on a building.

Photo: Frank Augstein (PA)

The BBC is getting a lot of criticism for creating a study guide for teens that includes arguments on how climate change could make our world a better place, in fact.

Thursday, climate writer George Monbiot tweeted a link to a webpage which lists the “positive impacts” of climate change hosted on the BBC Bite size. According to the site, it exists to provide “easy-to-follow lessons and videos for students aged 4-14.” The copy in question was part of a study guide on climate change, which was included in a section of study guides for the GSCE exam, tests in different areas that British teens take to qualify for the ‘university.

The BBC has since edited the copy, but you can see a version here, courtesy of The Wayback Machine. The section is titled “Positive and Negative Impacts of Climate Change” and lists the possibilities of what will happen as fossil fuels continue to warp our planet. Much is familiar to anyone following the eco-apocalypse, including rising seas, extreme weather, desertification, and widespread disease. But these familiar catastrophic scenarios are accompanied by neat bulleted lists of “positives” that appear to have been removed from the Heartland Institute website. Here’s a bulleted list of the joys of climate change, according to the BBC:

  • warmer temperatures and increased CO2 levels, leading to more vigorous plant growth
  • some animals and plants could benefit and thrive in a changing climate
  • new sea routes, such as the Northwest Passage, would become available
  • more resources, like oil, become available in places like Alaska and Siberia when the ice melts
  • energy consumption decreases due to a warmer climate
  • longer growing season leading to higher yields in current agricultural areas
  • frozen regions, such as Canada and Siberia, might be able to grow crops
  • new tourist destinations become available

For the UK, the BBC writes that the “positive” impacts could be:

  • higher temperatures all year round and longer growing seasons could mean new crops such as oranges, grapes and peaches are blooming in the UK
  • higher yields of many outdoor crops such as grains, potatoes and sugar beets due to a longer growing season and higher temperatures
  • warmer temperatures would reduce heating costs in winter
  • road accidents in winter might be less likely to happen
  • warmer temperatures could lead to healthier outdoor lifestyles
  • some plant and animal species would thrive and be able to grow and survive further north and at higher elevations
  • growth of the UK tourism industry, especially seaside resorts, with hotter and drier summers

Grapes and peaches?? UK??? It really seems to be worth all that other stuff. Sign me up.

In response to Monbiot’s tweet, the official Bitesize account mentionned that he “transmitted this to the team concerned and assesses the guides against the latest educational specifications of the examination boards concerned”. Thursday the BBC mentionned he had “reviewed the page and [is] modify the content to conform to current programs.

This isn’t the first time Beeb has rubbed shoulders with getting too comfortable with climate denial. The broadcast network has been criticized in the past for giving airtime to climate deniers, particularly Lord Nigel Lawson, Conservative Party member who served as Energy Secretary of State to Margarate Thatcher. The network had on several times, and Lawson falsely claimed that global temperatures have dropped over the past 10 years. In a journal, the network admitted it hadn’t challenged him about his views enough in a 2017 interview.

In 2018, the BBC sent advice to journalists on how to write about climate change, including what senior officials said was the news agency’s “editorial policy” and “position” on the issue. question. Copies of the documents were obtained and posted by Carbon Brief.

“Climate change has been a difficult subject for the BBC, and too often we get bad coverage of it,” the editorial policy begins, adding that journalists “don’t need a ‘penny’ to balance the debate” . However, this does not entirely exclude their inclusion: “There are occasions when opponents and skeptics should be included in debates about climate change and sustainability,” the editors write. “It could be, for example, debating the speed and intensity of what will happen in the future, or what policies the government should adopt. “

The overwhelming body of literature shows that the world’s current delay policies put it on a collision course with disaster. We have already seen the horrors of climate change through events such as the Pacific Northwest heatwave this week, and these impacts will only get worse the more we delay the action.

Tthe forces behind climate denial are not stagnating; they are evolving and changing course as more and more people realize the reality we need to end the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel-funded organizations and the oil and gas companies themselves have change of tactics in recent years, swiveling flat refusal of more insidious forms. Including creating false equivalences such as the very The BBC’s Bitesize page now has taken down. I would like to think that a 15 or 16 year old reading this list would be able to recognize that growing new crops in their city is not exactly worth the cost of melting our planet. Bbut you can never be too careful.


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