A senior BBC journalist accepted £15,000 in grants from the university at the heart of the ‘Climategate’ scandal – and later went on to cover the story without declaring an interest to viewers.
Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s ‘environment analyst’, used the money from the University of East Anglia’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to fund an ‘ad hoc’ partnership he ran with a friend.
Mr Harrabin, an influential figure who both broadcasts and advises other BBC journalists, later reported extensively about Climategate. The scandal erupted two years ago when emails were leaked from the Tyndall Centre’s sister department, the Climatic Research Unit at the same university
The leaks left the scientific community in dis-array after claims that key data was manipulated in the run-up to a major climate change summit.
An official inquiry later found that although there had been no scientific fraud, there was ‘a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA’.
In none of Mr Harrabin’s reports on the subject were the grants that he and his friend Dr Joe Smith had received from UEA ever mentioned. However, BBC insiders claim that the use to which the money was put – annual Real World seminars for top BBC executives on issues including climate change – had a significant impact on the Corporation’s output.
‘The seminars organised by Roger and his friend were part of a process which has effectively stifled all debate within the BBC about man-made global warming,’ said one senior journalist. ‘As far as the high-ups are concerned, the science is settled.’