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One in three GB News presenters cast doubt on climate science, study reveals

One in three GB News presenters cast doubt on climate science, study reveals

Almost a third of presenters on GB News have used their platform to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate breakdown, according to an analysis.

Ten of the broadcaster’s 31 presenters made statements on air in 2022 rejecting or challenging widely accepted scientific findings about how humans are affecting the climate, and the role the climate crisis plays in extreme weather events.

Sixteen presenters used their broadcasts to attack the UK’s climate policies, including claims that measures such as the legally binding net zero target will lead to deaths from poverty and starvation, and “the decline of the west”.

Responding to the findings, the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “Climate denial isn’t just factually inaccurate – it’s also deeply dangerous and puts at risk all our society-wide efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

“Now more than ever, people deserve trustworthy and accurate news from our media – this truly toxic misinformation on GB News is not it. Ofcom cannot allow these statements to go unchallenged and uninvestigated.”

Investigative journalists at the climate website DeSmog scoured hours of online footage of GB News broadcasts hosted on YouTube, inspecting comments made on air by presenters listed on the channel’s website. Six were excluded on the basis they were news anchors or reporters, and so unlikely to express opinions. Of the 31 remaining, 16 attacked climate action on air, while 10 challenged or rejected basic climate science.

Summer 2022 brought a record-breaking heatwave, with temperatures in the UK passing 40C (104F) for the first time. The Met Office, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Weather Attribution service all concluded climate breakdown made the heatwave more likely.

But when the Met Office warned high temperatures were linked to the climate crisis, the GB News presenter and sometime priest Calvin Robinson accused the official forecaster of “alarmism”. “Manmade climate change, I don’t buy it,” he said on 16 July. “Because how much of an impact do we really make if we’re talking about carbon levels?”

On 21 July, the host Bev Turner called heatwave warnings “fearmongering” in order to “facilitate state control over your life”. “Green issue propaganda” was, she claimed, “part of a plan to register us all to a biometric ID and a social credit score system that’ll tell you when you can and can’t leave the house for the sake of the planet”.

The UK’s target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 was met with similarly extreme criticism. On 5 November, Neil Oliver, whose monologues have become popular on social media, used his show to attack “net zero [and] the green agenda”, which he claimed was part of “a hellish potpourri of policies guaranteed to condemn hundreds of millions to death by poverty, death by starvation”.

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Mark Dolan, in a 22 September episode of Mark Dolan Tonight, said: “Blindly pursuing net zero threatens to hasten the decline of the west, and therefore poses an existential threat to the free world.” And in July, star signing Nigel Farage – who has a long record of opposing climate action – used a broadcast to launch a campaign for a Brexit-style referendum on net zero.

A GB News spokesperson said DeSmog’s research contained “numerous inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and a good dose of misinformation”, and argued its methodology was flawed. “You have failed to include nuance and context, or the fact that GB News embraces a wide range of voices on all major issues such as climate change and policy,” the spokesperson said.

“In short, you looked for only one view, but in doing so you have excluded all the other hosts, guests, politicians and commentators on GB News who have robustly and resoundingly argued different views on climate policy and science. GB News is proud to ask difficult questions and to embrace all voices on controversial issues. We believe it’s what good journalism is all about.”

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