A BBC Panorama documentary about global warming had a number of inaccurate claims, BBC’s Executive Complaint Unit has ruled.
Titled “Wild Weather”, the programme, which was broadcast on BBC One in November with Justin Rowlatt as a presenter, raised two complaints concerning its content.
A viewer complained that in the introduction of the show, the presenter incorrectly suggested the death toll from extreme weather-related events was rising and expected to rise further.
ECU said the wording which stated “the death toll is rising around the world and the forecast is that worse is to come” risked giving the impression the rate of deaths from extreme weather-related events was increasing.
In its report, the body which is tasked with considering complaints impartially had a reference to the World Meteorological Organization, which had previously found that the number of deaths caused by weather-related disasters has fallen due to improved early warnings and disaster management systems.
BBC News accepted the wording in the programme was not as clear as it should have been and a public acknowledgement was put on the BBC’s Corrections and Clarifications website before the complaint reached the ECU.
The second complainant raised concerns that the programme inaccurately claimed that Madagascar was on the brink of the first famine caused by climate change.
The ECU noted the statement that Madagascar was on the brink of the world’s first climate-induced famine “was presented without qualification”.
It said there was evidence available before the broadcast that suggested there were additional factors that made a significant contribution to the shortage of food.