- Dame Andrea Jenkyns hit out at the BBC for sending a reporter around the globe
The BBC has raised eyebrows over its green credentials after a Panorama programme on fossil fuels saw its presenter fly to to Europe, the Middle East and the US, prompting a senior MP to accuse it of ‘rank hypocrisy’.
UK-based reporter Richard Bilton worked on the broadcaster’s BBC One episode, Why Are We Still Searching for Fossil Fuels?, as he questioned why ‘the world is saying one thing and doing another’ on climate change.
The programme, meant to highlight the climate crisis and that the world is still using ‘more fossil fuels than ever before’, has been somewhat overshadowed by the row after analysis showed he could have covered more than 20,000 air miles.
Mr Bilton flew to Dubai, Germany, California and Alaska for the show, which aired on November 13.
According to research by the Telegraph, this could have produced at least 5.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide, more than the average a person produces in a year, which is 4.7 tonnes.
Mr Bilton flew to Dubai , Germany , California and Alaska for the show, which aired on November 13
The programme, meant to highlight the climate crisis and that the world is still using ‘more fossil fuels than ever before’, has been somewhat overshadowed by the row after analysis showed he could have covered more than 20,000 air miles
Critics have accused the BBC of ‘rank hypocrisy’ after the show told viewers data showed a ‘pretty grim picture of the world’ in terms of its dependence on coal, oil and gas.
Dame Andrea Jenkyns, the Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, told the Sunday Times: ‘If the BBC feels it necessary to lecture the public about fossil fuels, they should practise what they preach first.
‘BBC Panorama ought to do an episode on itself, namely how its reporter is globe-trotting on flights at the licence-fee-payers’ expense.
‘To add to the rank hypocrisy, the BBC could easily have used its local teams of reporters in each country rather than sending one man on a jolly.’
Mr Bilton did acknowledge during the programme that he took ‘several’ flights in order to make it, adding it is ‘hard’ to fight climate change while continuing to use fossil fuels to travel and heat homes.
It is unknown if crew for the presenter also flew around the world, or if local BBC teams were used.
The UN has warned that the world is not on track to keep to the agreed target to limit global warming to 1.5C, with thousands of species of plants and animals at risk of extinction as a result.
A report published just this week showed that the levels of greenhouse gases recorded by UN scientists reached record highs again in 2022, and continue to increase in 2023.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘As a flagship current affairs programme, on occasion, some international travel is required to further investigate important stories and provide audiences with additional insight and analysis which may not be possible without on-the-ground reporting.
‘We take our sustainability commitments seriously and careful consideration is made when travel is necessary for a story.’