livingissues: untangling some tough issues of the 20th century

home our project our people links
our themes » Stories

“The Great Global Warming Swindle” swindle

Posted by Richard D North in Global Warming / Green / Media / Truth & Trust on 16 April 2007

Why we posted this: It’s a bad bit of work by a brilliant journalist.

The original story:
The Great Global Warming Swindle
Directed by Martin Durkin
Channel 4
8 March, 2007

In 1997 Durkin directed a Channel 4 series, ‘Against Nature’, which was a powerful and controversial account of green activism and its misanthropy. His The Rise and Fall of GM was broadcast on March 20 2000. It was the first sustained popular defence of genetically modified crops as socially valuable and ecologically viable.

Summary of the story:
The 2007 film was the first sustained television account of the “denial” case on climate change. It also argued that the “alarmist” case was an industry in its own right, and that the green movement supported alarmism because it was anti-development. It provoked an immediate storm.

Here are the headlines that open the film: “The ice is melting. The sea is rising. Hurricanes are blowing. And it’s all your fault. Scared? Don’t be. It’s not true.”

The movie in a little more detail:
1) The scientific case:
The film argued that there are several respected scientists who argue that global warming is not man-made and that the UN’s IPCC model-based assumptions are deeply flawed. The IPCC policy summaries make a false case which underplays better research suggesting the sun is the main cause of historical and modern temperature changes on earth.

The scientists in the film contributed to a case which builds up as follows:
The world has warmed less than half a degree Celsius since the mid-19thC.
The warming is normal by Earth’s standards.
The warming has not “tracked” man’s emissions of carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide (even now) is a small and mostly natural climate “player”.
Multi-millennia records show CO2 concentrations lag temperature changes.
So carbon dioxide concentrations are effects of temperature change, not causes of it.
New research shows earth’s temperature tracking the sun’s electrical activity changes.
There is now a plausible cause-and-effect hypothesis to explain that process.
Recent weather changes are not as great or unusual as the “alarmists” say.

2) The political case
The film argued that there are many scientists, commentators and politicians who argue that the IPCC process is a politically-inspired abuse of science which has been seized on by green campaigners who use it to castigate consumerism and stifle Third World development.

The film makes this case in various parts:
Since 1988 governments and the UN have insisted on an alarmist consensus.
IPCC was set up and funded to deliver it.
Mrs Thatcher started the whole process to support nuclear power.
There is now an industry of computer modellers dependent on alarmism.
Many IPCC authors do not agree with its alarmist policy summaries.
The IPCC “consensus” suits the green prejudices of our times.
Campaigners promote expensive and inadequate “renewables”.
The Third World’s fragile economic growth cannot afford “renewables”.

livingissues comment:
Martin Durkin’s work has been very important, but this piece was over the top. Of course it was extravagant: that’s Durkin’s way. The difficulty was that it didn’t report the issue with any flavour of where the debate had got to. Durkin’s deniers and sceptics were making cases which had already been seriously and usefully challenged by the “orthodox” “consensus” of the UN-IPCC mainstream.

Useful link:
The Royal Society, Britain’s premier science body, on many of these issues.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment