EU Referendum

Climate change: another of those interesting networks


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Despite the refusal of the BBC to reveal the details, the truth will out. We now have the list of members of the seminars organised jointly by the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT) and Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMES), aimed at changing BBC policy on climate change.

Already, via the Register, we know something of the CMES, established by activist Joe Smith and the BBC's Roger Harrabin. CMEP received funding from the hardline green organisation WWF and the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It later transpired that £15,000 was also received from the University of East Anglia - the institution at the heart of the Climategate scandal.

However, equal partner in the enterprise is the IBT, about which less is known. The accounts of this charity, though, show that in the five years ending 31 December 2011, it was paid no less that £397,691 by DFID.

Thus, we have an organisation which, by its own account, "lobbies Government, broadcasters and regulators to promote high quality broadcast and online coverage of the developing world, its people and the issues which affect them" – including major input on climate change – yet has been paid just short of £400,000 of taxpayers' money to do so.

Based at the CAN Mezzanine in Loman Street, SE1 – sharing, incidentally, the building with the likes of the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group - its Head of Campaigns is Sophie Chalk, the Chairthing of the Trust is Kate Phillips, of the Board is John Whittaker, the Secretary is Richard Sumray, and Mark Galloway is director.

As well as all that, in this "trust" we have yet another of those networks of influence. It represents a coalition of international charities, the members including: ActionAid, Amnesty International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care UK, Christian Aid, Comic Relief, Concern UK, Friends of the Earth, the Media Trust, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Practical Action, Progressio, RSPB, Save the Children, Sightsavers International, Skillshare International, Tearfund, UNA UK, UNICEF UK, VSO, the World Association for Christian Communication, World Vision and WWF.

However, apart from the "usual suspects" such as Friends of the Earth and WWF, there is a particularly interesting member of the IBT – a trust which, as one will remember, lobbies the BBC. That is the Media Trust. And the "corporate members" of this trust are … the BBC as well as Sky, ITV, News International and Google.

Neglecting the other delicious members, and focusing on the BBC, it seems we have a situation where the state broadcaster is a corporate member of the Media Trust which, in turn, is a member of the International Broadcasting Trust, which is paid by the Government (DFID) to lobby the … er … BBC about climate change. And so the circle closes.

Small wonder it is really that the BBC did not want too much of a spotlight focused on these seminars.