BBC: Peddling lies about power stations, by Matt McGrath

Posted: October 31, 2013 by tallbloke in alarmism, Clouds, Energy, Idiots, Incompetence, propaganda

H/T  to Tim Churchill for this latest LIE from the BBC. Whenever the BBC shows a coal fired power station in a climate contextualised story, they use a photo taken with the sun at a low angle which makes the steam coming from the cooling towers appear dark and smoky. It’s a propagandist LIE from propagandist LIARS. These people are not fit to run a news service, the sooner the license fee is abolished, the better. bbc-steam-smoke

Matt McGrath should be ashamed of himself for allowing his name to be associated with this sort of blatant propagandising. Here’s what a pair of cooling towers doing their job actually looks in full daylight.

like: Susquehanna_steam_electric_station

Pay attention Matt McGrath, that’s not ‘white smoke’ coming out of those structures. Power stations are not continually electing popes, you dope. That’s WATER VAPOUR from the turbine hall steam. A man made cloud which cools the planet’s surface with it’s shadow and upward transport of latent heat. Friendly advice: You really ought to stop associating yourself with this type of CLIMATE ALARMIST PROPAGANDA, before your reputation goes down the shitter.

  1. grumpydenier says:

    He works for the BBC, ergo his reputation is already in the shitter

  2. Scute says:

    Well said!…

    but no link to the story.

  3. oldbrew says:

    This ploy is used a lot in the climate alarmist sections of the media. If challenged they usually hide behind the excuse that the picture was taken at twilight or some such dodge.

    When you have such a weak case any prop will do. They also claim in the article that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 100 years, as though it were a fact, whereas a recent science paper put the figure at 5.4 years i.e. nearly 20 times less.

  4. tallbloke says:


    OB: You need to differentiate between residence time – around 5 years as you said, and e-folding time, which is the time taken for the system to renormalise after a pulse injection of gas. The IPCC has tried to claim more than 100 years in the past. No-one knows exactly but it’s a lot closer to 15-20 years than 100 in our estimation.

  5. oldbrew says:

    TB: If the IPCC and its apologists would stop making blatantly misleading statements like ‘Since CO2 lives for 100 years in the atmosphere, we will still not be able to cope with a 2C target for 2050’, that would be a small bit of progress. Unfortunately in a (propaganda) war no ground is given up willingly.

  6. Roger Andrews says:


    The white vapor coming out of those cooling towers is actually dihydrogen monoxide, which is a potent greenhouse gas, a major constituent of acid rain and usually fatal if inhaled. At the Cancun Conference a lot of greens in fact signed a petition to ban it.


  7. A similar lying image from Australia’s ABC was included on a post headed “Climate Scare is an abuse of Science” –

  8. Joe Public says:

    I have formally complained to the Beeb about them using images showing back-lit water vapour to illustrate environmental stories, on a number of occasions in the past.

    By the time they’ve changed the image, the propaganda damage has been done.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Joe P: Exactly. The lying conniving scumbags know every trick in the propagandists book. And how to cover up their malfeasance afterwards.

  10. tallbloke says:

    I won’t discourage anyone from complaining, it only takes a few minutes. But what they really need is a good kick in the bollox financially speaking. Then they’ll start to take note of the changed mood in this country.

  11. Joe Public says:

    The Beeb actually scores two-in-a-row today.

    Also in their ‘Environment’ section, is the begrudging admission that a UK agency says ‘Low health risk’ from fracking.

    To accompany that good news, another carefully selected image shows dark, threatening clouds.

    The inevitable scaremongering quotes a US example:-

    “One quoted study – from the Barnett Shale in Texas in 2010 – found 70 individual volatile organic compounds including ethane, propane, butane and pentanes close to shale gas activity ….”

    Gosh, C2H6, C3H8, C4H10 & C5H12 is found associated with CH4. Whoda thunkit.

  12. Joe Public says:

    Apologies for the apparent daisy-chain of postings. However , Mr McGrath’s own words …………

    On 6 Jun 2013, at 15:12, Matt McGrath wrote:

    Hi XXX – the issue you raise about the pictures is a good one. We have a rule about being careful with power stations smokestacks – but sometimes a reporter will write a piece and someone else will add in the pictures without being aware of the rule. However I will pass on your thoughts. Cheers. Matt.

  13. tallbloke says:

    Thanks again Joe. So McGrath is a multiple victim of editors who don’t know the rules? Are we going to buy that one?

  14. tchannon says:

    Correction Rog. “That’s water vapour from the turbine hall steam.”

    No although this is not critical to the basic meaning. It is water evaporated by the cooling loop water stream falling through the base of the tower and being convected aloft. The shape is rather fun, has to work well mechanically too.

    There is a heat exchanger between the treated and clean water used by the turbine loop.

    See this

    And much larger article where it is used with a lot of other information

    A nuclear plant may use a 3rd heat exchanger loop to further separate irradiated water from the outside.

    Other designs exist.

    One place I contracted used a wet cooling tower for truck engine test cells but was being replaced by a large air to air set of fan assisted, work much less well. Fear over water contamination and being sued.

    A problem with power stations, why CHP is not very attractive is the need for very cold water. Recall the universal N%, thermal efficiency of a heat engine which critically relies on the largest possible difference between T_hot and T_cold. Raising T_cold by extracting usefully hot water hurts the power generation efficiency too much.
    (I can think of novel ways to use the low grade heat though, just not economic, also not helped by power stations _not_ running absolutely always)

  15. Anything is possible says:

    Sorry to go O/T, but this piece of hypocrisy from the Met Office is priceless :

  16. Anything is possible says:

    Unless, of course, they’re going to stop issuing forecasts for the 2060’s…….

  17. Stephen Richards says:

    For the first time that I have noted his ertwhile fellow clown, harrabin, has written an article on Thorium. A small article, bnut it’s there, on the BBC site.

  18. Joe Public says:

    The BBC’s deceit is nailed.

    Someone’s deliberately manipulated the original Getty image to make the emissions rising from the chimney/flue distinguishable from the emissions rising from cooling towers. The two emissions are basically the same; so in a backlit photograph, are indistinguishable from afar.

    Here’s the original photo:-

  19. timspence10 says:

    “We have a rule about being careful with power stations smokestacks”


    Since when were cooling towers ‘smokestacks’?

  20. “It’s a propagandist LIE from propagandist LIARS. These people are not fit to run a news service, the sooner the license fee is abolished, the better.”

    Yes, it would be much better if all news reporting was left to the likes of Murdoch, Rothermere and the Barclay twins.

  21. hunter says:

    Skeptics generally don’t get it. AGW believers do not worry about using deceptive imagery, bad data, or even shady data to make their points and defend their positions. Look at how Peter Gleick has been treated by way of example. He was rewarded for being an admitted crook. Look at Climategate emails. Governments and academic orgnaizations bent over backwards to find ways to either largely ignore or explain away- in shallow, non-credible obvious ways- things that would damn most people and causes. Look at how our favorite Bishop has documented games playing by AGW promoters. Read Donna Laframboise’s extensive work. Look at Lewadowsky’s pathetic work. yet the issues demonstrated or documented are either celebrated or the problems ignored by the AGW believers.
    And you think the BBC will give a hoot about imaging steam so that to the casual observer it is some sort of pollution?
    dream on.

  22. Stephen Richards says:

    Anything is possible says:

    November 1, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Sorry to go O/T, but this piece of hypocrisy from the Met Office is priceless

    Careful here; Powell is a serial bull shtter. Vantage is his latest reincarnation after weather solutions and some other company. He is a publicity seeker with little proven forecasting skill.

  23. oldbrew says:

    @ Paul Matthews

    The Telegraph has been guilty before too – the old twilight trick…

    Something wrong with this Guardian photo as well…

    Pathetic. And these are the same outlets that like to get on their high horse about ‘sceptics’ (that’s the mild version as we know).

  24. james griffin says:

    It is simple enough to understand….normally decent people started with a theory and turned it into an agenda…followed by believers. The theory has gone south…pure bunkum. Big problems if your reputation and job is on the line, so not too surprising that they will stop at nothing.

  25. malagabay says:

    Published by the piss poor propaganda puppets at the BBC:

    Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?
    The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?

    Some of the comments should give the BBC a clue as to where the problem lies.

    1507. k9ulf
    27th October 2013 – 18:52

    The collapse of WTC7 reported at 16.54 EST by the BBC, but it did collapse at 17.20 EST ???

    What kind of cock up is that supposed to be you super journalists of the BBC?

    Nice try anyway.

    However, Zero Hedge articulates the answer for the BBC:

    No, but a far better question is do conspiracy “theories”, at least until confirmed, simply provide the beholder with a far more skeptical view of a world than the one spoon fed by a complicit media, whose sole purpose is to perpetuate and multiply – hence enrich – the advertising dollars of the status quo? And is the long overdue questioning of everything that emanates from institutions of power a bad thing, or were people simply too lazy to think for themselves and let the government do it, at least until said “cognitive outsourcing” led to the second great depression of 2008?

    I gave up on the state propaganda machine [BBC] many years ago.

    Personally, I perceive the “BBC Licence Fee” as a direct attack on [global] democracy [remember the World (Spin) Service] because it forces the television watching public [in the UK] to fund the state’s propaganda machine.

    Not so much “Auntie BBC” more “Big Brother”.

  26. stewgreen says:

    Today useful idiot Matt McGrath made another mistake confusing 41% with 141%
    – Talking about CO2 increase from year 1750 levels of 280pp to todays 395ppm he wrote
    “Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, global average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by 141%.”
    .. that’s a product of the rule that only that only the “useful idiots” with no technical ability to challenge are SELECTED as the interface to the public on Global Warming
    ..strange that at the same time as as expecting the public to believe that 97% of scientists in the climate field are firmly in a “consensus” they can’t find many who can unblushingly explain climate science to the public so rely instead on this series of politicians/activists and useful idiots
    ( nowhere on the net can find Matt McGrath’s qualifications)

    [co-mod adds multiple comments to this one]
    here’s the link :

    he corrected it but instead of just simply changing 141% to 41%, he did a complete reword “Since 1750, global average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased to 141% of the pre-industrial concentration of 278 parts per million (ppm).”
    – guess his work has been subcontracted to the GranthamBigGreenHedgeFund PR dept

  27. tallbloke says:

    See tweets left. Thanks Stew.

  28. Roger Andrews says:

    And here I was thinking that my Social Security payment was only going to go up 2% next year. I feel so much better now that I know it’s really 102%. 🙂

  29. stewgreen says:

    BBCEnviro just dirty PR ClimateScarePorm ?
    Report suggests slowdown in CO2 emissions rise
    By Matt McGrath 31 October 2013

    Concentrations of warming gases break record
    By Matt McGrath 6 November 2013

    Seeker of truth prints 2 contradictory headlines within 1 week ?
    – so is Matt McGrath’s job anything other than to keep CO2 hype alive, and brainwash again with steam photoshopped to look black ?

  30. stewgreen says:

    Did you see what else our climate pornographer did last week ? 2 days after that in the Haiyan typhoon report he wrote “winds were 314 km/h (195 mph), with gusts up to 379 km/h (235 mph)” FFS don’t winds of 235mph sound so extraordinary, if climate was your field you’d know it’s unheard of so you’d really really double check. Apparently the Guardian had printed that Joint Typhoon Warning Center had said gusts were 235miles-per-hour, but the truth is no measurements exist, and PAGASA Philipinnes Nat weather services quoted 235Kmh for top wind (NASA’s radar guess is around the same) ( 275KMh for max gust). WUWT has a good taketown.