BBC Bitesize, the corporation’s online study support resource, has come under fire for publishing a revision slide weighing up the “positive and negative impacts of climate change”.
The page – as well as listing impacts of global warming, like rising sea levels and extreme weather – lists the emergence of “new shipping routes” and “more resources, such as oil becoming available in places such as Alaska and Siberia when the ice melts” as possible benefits of the climate crisis.
George Monbiot, the environmental campaigner, described the page as “an absolute disgrace” which “could have been written by Exxon”, the oil giant – while many accused the BBC of trying to “both sides” climate change.
Bitesize lists the following of “positive impacts of a warmer global climate”:
- warmer temperatures and increased CO2 levels, leading to more vigorous plant growth
- some animals and plants could benefit and flourish in a changing climate
- new shipping routes, such as the Northwest passage, would become available
- more resources, such as oil, becoming available in places such as Alaska and Siberia when the ice melts
- energy consumption decreasing due to a warmer climate
- longer growing season leading to a higher yields in current farming areas
- frozen regions, such as Canada and Siberia, could be able to grow crops
- new tourist destinations becoming available
It also listed a number of “positive impacts from a warmer UK climate”:
- higher year-round temperatures and longer growing seasons could mean that new crops such as oranges, grapes and peaches flourish in the UK
- higher yields of many outdoor crops such as cereals, potatoes and sugar beet due to a longer growing season and higher temperatures
- warmer temperatures would reduce winter heating costs
- accidents on the roads in winter could be less likely to occur
- 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 altitudes
- growth in the UK tourist industry, particularly seaside resorts, with warmer, drier summers
Monbiot hit out at the BBC’s “long and disgraceful history of both-sidesing the greatest threat to life on Earth. Every so often, it puts out a memo claiming it has got its act together. Then it fails again. People who make this content believe “neutrality” = impartiality. It’s the opposite.”
This is what @bbcbitesize is teaching our children about climate breakdown. I’m sorry, but it’s an absolute disgrace. You could come away thinking: “on balance, it sounds pretty good”. It could have been written by Exxon.— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) July 1, 2021
A BBC spokesperson suggested that his complaints have been passed to “the relevant team”, which would be “assessing the guides”.
It comes as a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist has been caught on camera detailing how the oil giant is wielding its influence to dilute climate legislation in the US.
Explosive footage was obtained by Unearthed, Greenpeace UK’s investigate team, who posed as head-hunters to get one of the fossil fuel firm’s most senior Washington lobbyists to talk.
The recordings show how ExxonMobil publicly supports the fight against climate change, while covertly battling against legislative attempts to address it.
Meanwhile hundreds of deaths have likely been caused by the heatwave moving across Canada and the US Northwest, authorities say.
The chief coroner of the Canadian province British Columbia said her office received reports of at least 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” between Friday and Wednesday afternoon.
Lisa Lapointe said about 165 people normally would die in the province over a five-day period, adding that many of the most recent deaths could be heat related.
Health officials said more than 60 deaths in Oregon in the US have been tied to the heat, and at least 20 in Washington state.
The heatwave was caused by what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the Northwest and worsened by human-caused climate change, which is making such extreme weather events more likely and more extreme.