Channel 4 - The Great Global Warming Swindle

Mário Barros

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Um documentário absolutamente excelente e extraordinário :w00t: :w00t: :w00t: devia ser exibido nos principais canais de todos os países...:D :D mas claro o Al Gore mal o visse dava logo em maluco porque a sua campanha politica ia pelo cano abaixo :lmao: :lmao: e levava mais uns tipos atrás por isso tem haver censura acima de tudo.
 

Seringador

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Boas,

Excelente documentário cientifico, até fala no Corbin e a sua previsão a longo prazo através de uma técnica solar, que eu tinha salientado aqui atrasado!
Claro que faltam algumas limalhas e dúvidas, mas não tantas nem tão propagandiado como a do Aquecimento Global, agora são uns dos maiores especialistas, não o Corbin (sem tirar demérito) mas quase todos os outros dois do MIT, Universidade de Londre, Virginia, Massachutess e em especial o Prf. John Christy até ambietalistas puros como o Peter Moore, passando pelo israelita Nir Shaviv e o espantoso Tim Ball da Univ. de Winnipeg (vale a pena consultar o site do dep. de climatologia desta universidade).:thumbsup:

Esta bem fundamentado, com alguns reparos agora eles culpam os media e uma organização mundial por de trás da questão
 

kimcarvalho

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Esta bem fundamentado, com alguns reparos agora eles culpam os media e uma organização mundial por de trás da questão

A que te referes Seringador? Não entendi

Quanto ao documentário, bem é excelente sem dúvida alguma! Já aqui o tenho guardado num DVD! Sem cair em extremismos a balança fica muito mais equilibrada com os pontos de vista de ambos os lados não acham!? ;) :D

Muito obrigado pela excelente dica Vince!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

Vince

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Como fui eu que coloquei aqui o link para o documentário, também vou ser eu a colocar aqui o contraditório.

Como se previa, o documentário, visto por 2,5 milhões de pessoas na TV em Inglaterra, gerou muita polémica, o que acho saudável para o debate.

No entanto, como tudo no aquecimento global, as mentiras e manipulações abundam dos dois lados envolvidos na "guerra".

Tal como tinha dito na minha opinião sobre o assunto (neste link), este documentário mais uma vez vem mostrar o cuidado extremo que é preciso ter com a informação que vem duns lados e de outros, pois andamos todos a pisar terreno minado.
Tal como se pode criticar o documentário do Al Gore por causa de mentiras, exageros e manipulações, também se tem que criticar este pelas mesmas razões.

A reacção mais violenta ao documentário foi feita pelo Carl Wunsch do MIT, um dos entrevistados no documentário, como podem ver na carta que enviou à produtora do documentário.

Mr. Steven Green
Head of Production
Wag TV
2D Leroy House
436 Essex Road
London N1 3QP

10 March 2007

Dear Mr. Green:

I am writing to record what I told you on the telephone yesterday about
your Channel 4 film "The Global Warming Swindle." Fundamentally,
I am the one who was swindled---please read the email below that
was sent to me (and re-sent by you). Based upon this email and
subsequent telephone conversations, and discussions with
the Director, Martin Durkin, I thought I was being asked
to appear in a film that would discuss in a balanced way
the complicated elements of understanding of climate change---
in the best traditions of British television. Is there any indication
in the email evident to an outsider that the product would be
so tendentious, so unbalanced?

I was approached, as explained to me on the telephone, because
I was known to have been unhappy with some of the more excitable
climate-change stories in the
British media, most conspicuously the notion that the Gulf
Stream could disappear, among others.
When a journalist approaches me suggesting a "critical approach" to a
technical subject, as the email states, my inference is that we
are to discuss which elements are contentious, why they are contentious,
and what the arguments are on all sides. To a scientist, "critical" does
not mean a hatchet job---it means a thorough-going examination of
the science. The scientific subjects described in the email,
and in the previous and subsequent telephone conversations, are complicated,
worthy of exploration, debate, and an educational effort with the
public. Hence my willingness to participate. Had the words "polemic", or
"swindle" appeared in these preliminary discussions, I would have
instantly declined to be involved.

I spent hours in the interview describing
many of the problems of understanding the ocean in climate change,
and the ways in which some of the more dramatic elements get
exaggerated in the media relative to more realistic, potentially
truly catastrophic issues, such as
the implications of the oncoming sea level rise. As I made clear, both in the
preliminary discussions, and in the interview itself, I believe that
global warming is a very serious threat that needs equally serious
discussion and no one seeing this film could possibly deduce that.

What we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which
there is not even a gesture toward balance or explanation of why
many of the extended inferences drawn in the film are not widely
accepted by the scientific community. There are so many examples,
it's hard to know where to begin, so I will cite only one:
a speaker asserts, as is true, that carbon dioxide is only
a small fraction of the atmospheric mass. The viewer is left to
infer that means it couldn't really matter. But even a beginning
meteorology student could tell you that the relative masses of gases
are irrelevant to their effects on radiative balance. A director
not intending to produce pure propaganda would have tried to eliminate that
piece of disinformation.

An example where my own discussion was grossly distorted by context:
I am shown explaining that a warming ocean could expel more
carbon dioxide than it absorbs -- thus exacerbating the greenhouse
gas buildup in the atmosphere and hence worrisome. It
was used in the film, through its context, to imply
that CO2 is all natural, coming from the ocean, and that
therefore the human element is irrelevant. This use of my remarks, which
are literally what I said, comes close to fraud.


I have some experience in dealing with TV and print reporters
and do understand something of the ways in which one can be
misquoted, quoted out of context, or otherwise misinterpreted. Some
of that is inevitable in the press of time or space or in discussions of
complicated issues. Never before, however, have I had
an experience like this one. My appearance in the "Global Warming
Swindle" is deeply embarrasing, and my professional reputation
has been damaged
. I was duped---an uncomfortable position in which to be.

At a minimum, I ask that the film should never be seen again publicly
with my participation included. Channel 4 surely owes an apology to
its viewers, and perhaps WAGTV owes something to Channel 4. I will be
taking advice as to whether I should proceed to make some more formal protest.

Sincerely,

Carl Wunsch
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of
Physical Oceanography
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A opinião do Carl Wunsch sobre o aquecimento global é afinal bastante diferente daquela que o documentário tentou mostrar.

I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component. But I have tried to stay out of the `climate wars' because all nuance tends to be lost, and the distinction between what we know firmly, as scientists, and what we suspect is happening, is so difficult to maintain in the presence of rhetorical excess. In the long run, our credibility as scientists rests on being very careful of, and protective of, our authority and expertise.

The science of climate change remains incomplete. Some elements are so firmly based on well-understood principles, or for which the observational record is so clear, that most scientists would agree that they are almost surely true (adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous; sea level will continue to rise,...). Other elements remain more uncertain, but we as scientists in our roles as informed citizens believe society should be deeply concerned about their possibility: failure of US midwestern precipitation in 100 years in a mega-drought; melting of a large part of the Greenland ice sheet, among many other examples.

I am on record in a number of places complaining about the over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts. Thus the notion that the Gulf Stream would or could "shut off" or that with global warming Britain would go into a "new ice age" are either scientifically impossible or so unlikely as to threaten our credibility as a scientific discipline if we proclaim their reality [i.e. see this previous RC post]. They also are huge distractions from more immediate and realistic threats. I've paid more attention to the extreme claims in the literature warning of coming catastrophe, both because I regard the scientists there as more serious, and because I am very sympathetic to the goals of my colleagues who sometimes seem, however, to be confusing their specific scientific knowledge with their worries about the future.

When approached by WAGTV, on behalf of Channel 4, known to me as one of the main UK independent broadcasters, I was led to believe that I would be given an opportunity to explain why I, like some others, find the statements at both extremes of the global change debate distasteful. I am, after all a teacher, and this seemed like a good opportunity to explain why, for example, I thought more attention should be paid to sea level rise, which is ongoing and unstoppable and carries a real threat of acceleration, than to the unsupportable claims that the ocean circulation was undergoing shutdown (Nature, December 2005).

I wanted to explain why observing the ocean was so difficult, and why it is so tricky to predict with any degree of confidence such important climate elements as its heat and carbon storage and transports in 10 or 100 years. I am distrustful of prediction scenarios for details of the ocean circulation that rely on extremely complicated coupled models that run out for decades to thousands of years. The science is not sufficiently mature to say which of the many complex elements of such forecasts are skillful. Nonetheless, and contrary to the impression given in the film, I firmly believe there is a great deal to be learned from models. With effort, all of this is explicable in terms the public can understand.

In the part of the "Swindle" film where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous---because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important --- diametrically opposite to the point I was making --- which is that global warming is both real and threatening in many different ways, some unexpected.

Many of us feel an obligation to talk to the media---it's part of our role as scientists, citizens, and educators. The subjects are complicated, and it is easy to be misquoted or quoted out context. My experience in the past is that these things do happen, but usually inadvertently --- most reporters really do want to get it right.

Channel 4 now says they were making a film in a series of "polemics". There is nothing in the communication we had (much of it on the telephone or with the film crew on the day they were in Boston) that suggested they were making a film that was one-sided, anti-educational, and misleading. I took them at face value---clearly a great error. I knew I had no control over the actual content, but it never occurred to me that I was dealing with people who already had a reputation for distortion and exaggeration.

As a society, we need to take out insurance against catastrophe in the same way we take out homeowner's protection against fire. I buy fire insurance, but I also take the precaution of having the wiring in the house checked, keeping the heating system up to date, etc., all the while hoping that I won't need the insurance. Will any of these precautions work? Unexpected things still happen (lightning strike? plumber's torch igniting the woodwork?). How large a fire insurance premium is it worth paying? How much is it worth paying for rewiring the house? $10,000 but perhaps not $100,000? There are no simple answers even at this mundane level.

How much is it worth to society to restrain CO2 emissions --- will that guarantee protection against global warming? Is it sensible to subsidize insurance for people who wish to build in regions strongly susceptible to coastal flooding? These and others are truly complicated questions where often the science is not mature enough give definitive answers, much as we would like to be able to provide them. Scientifically, we can recognize the reality of the threat, and much of what society needs to insure against. Statements of concern do not need to imply that we have all the answers. Channel 4 had an opportunity to elucidate some of this. The outcome is sad.

Outro dado importante é a reputação do autor do documentário, Martin Durkin, que aqui há anos também esteve envolvido numa imensa polémica por causa de outros documentários, desde os alimentos genéticamente modificados até aos supostos benefícios para a saúde das mulheres por causa dos implantes mamários de silicone.
Sobre este documentário do aquecimento global, e na consequente polémica nalguns jornais onde cientistas britânicos contradizem alguma da informação revelada no documentário, o autor trocou emails violentos e de extrema má educação :eek:

C4’s debate on global warming boils over

Two eminent British scientists who questioned the accuracy of a Channel 4 programme that claimed global warming was an unfounded conspiracy theory have received an expletive-filled tirade from the programme maker.

In an e-mail exchange leaked to The Times, Martin Durkin, the executive producer of The Great Global Warming Swindle, responded to the concerns of Dr Armand Leroi, from Imperial College, and Simon Singh, the respected scientific author, by telling them to “go and f*** yourself”.

The tirade has caused Dr Leroi to withdraw his cooperation from another Channel 4 project with Mr Durkin on race, The Times has learnt.

The programme, broadcast by Channel 4 last Thursday, featured a number of scientists who disputed the consensus on the causes of global warming.

Dr Leroi was particularly concerned about a segment that featured a correlation between solar activity and global temperatures, which was based on a 1991 paper in the journal Science by Eigil Friis-Chris-tensen. He was surprised that the programme failed to mention that while these findings look convincing superficially, they have been revealed as flawed by subsequent research by Peter Laut.

Dr Leroi e-mailed Mr Durkin about his use of data, concluding: “To put this bluntly: the data that you showed in your programme were . . . wrong in several different ways.” He copied Mr Singh into the exchange.

Mr Durkin replied to both later that morning, saying: “You’re a big daft cock.” Less than an hour later, Mr Singh, who has worked for the BBC, intervened to urge Mr Durkin to engage in serious debate. He wrote: “I suspect that you will have upset many people (if Armand is right), so it would be great if you could engage in the debate rather than just resorting to one-line replies. That way we could figure out what went wrong/ right and how do things better/ even better in the future.” Mr Durkin replied nine minutes later: “The BBC is now a force for bigotry and intolerance . . . Since 1940 we have had four decades of cooling, three of warming, and the last decade when temperature has been doing nothing.

“Why have we not heard this in the hours and hours of shit programming on global warming shoved down our throats by the BBC?

“Never mind an irresponsible bit of film-making. Go and f*** yourself.”

Last night Dr Leroi said that he was amazed at the rudeness of Mr Durkin’s reply.

“It was rather a shocking response,” Dr Leroi said. “It was my intention to make a film with Martin Durkin and [the production company] Wag, but that is something I am seriously reconsidering now. I am no climate scientist, but I was very concerned at the way that flaws in these data were brushed over.”

He said that the global warming film had glossed over flaws in data that it used to make its case, and that it was critical that a documentary about a subject as controversial as race and biology did not make similar mistakes.

“As the subject of our proposed film was race, it is such a sensitive topic that it requires great care and great balance. That he has shown so little respect for scientific consensus and such little nuance is a cause for great concern. I cannot imagine it will go ahead now.”

The film would have addressed Dr Leroi’s thesis that race is a biologically meaning-ful and medically valuable concept, a view that is highly controversial among scientists.

Last night Mr Durkin apologised for his langauge. “As far as I was concerned these were private e-mails. They arrived when I was quite tired having just finished the programme in time for transmission,” he said.

“Needless, to say, I regret the use of intemperate language. It is so unlike me. I am very eager to have all the science properly debated with scientists qualified in the right areas and have asked Channel 4 if they will stage a live debate on this subject.”

Where Channel 4 got it wrong over climate change

Claim: Ice core data shows that carbon dioxide levels rise after temperatures go up, not before

Fact: This is correct, but climate scientists have a good explanation. There is a substantial feedback effect – initial small rises in temperature lead to substantial release of carbon dioxide from natural reservoirs in the oceans, which then produce much steeper warming later on

Claim: Temperatures in the troposphere, the lower part of the atmosphere, have not risen as predicted by the models

Fact: This was once the case, but it has been resolved now that initial measurement errors have been corrected

Claim: Temperatures rose for the first part of the century, then cooled for three decades before warming again. There is no link to carbon dioxide

Fact: Temperatures did follow this pattern, but again there is a good explanation. The mid-century effect fall came about chiefly because of sulphate aerosols – particles that have a cooling effect on the atmosphere. These are no longer produced so heavily by industry because of environmental regulations to combat other problems, such as acid rain
 

dj_alex

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:lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

Upps.....Grande barraca.....Parece que não é a corrente do aquecimento global que anda a enganar a malta...

Agora quem engana quem????:lol: :lol:
 

Seringador

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:lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

Upps.....Grande barraca.....Parece que não é a corrente do aquecimento global que anda a enganar a malta...

Agora quem engana quem????:lol: :lol:


Não depreendi que o documentário desmentia o aquecimento global ou mudanças climáticas:huh:
O que este documentário mostra é o facto de que o aquecimento é provocado mais por outros factores do que propriamente o CO2 e aliás como ele próprio representa quem for contra (e existirão sempre outro do contra, ainda bem?:D )

Atenção que não é totalmente científico (os reparos que tinha mencionado) mas antes um é melhor pensarem antes de ir na onda pq se pode mudar ou moldar as mentalidades através dos media...;)
 

Minho

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Também não fiquei com a ideia que o programa negava o aquecimento global.... O que o programa desmascarou foram as causas do aquecimento global, dando mais importância à actividade Solar do que ao CO2....

O único que não gostei no programa foi o facto de tentar procurar em grupos e causas políticas esta paranóia do AG. Ao abordarem este tema tornou o próprio programa político. Deviam ter-se cingido à parte científica e deixarem de parte as críticas aos anti-globalização....

Quanto aos participantes do programa que se sentiram ofendidos entendo-os perfeitamente pois, as suas opiniões foram inseridas no contexto que nega o CO2 como causa do AG. Na sociedade de pensamento único (na qual as Universidades e Institutos de investigação são o expoente máximo) a perseguição de quem pensa diferente é implacável. Todo bom investigador deve seguir as linhas de pensamento tradicional senão as bolsas ou as cátedras vão para o maneta!
 

Vince

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Continua a saga do "The Great Global Warming Swindle"...

Agora temos um novo video, em que Chris Merchant do Institute of Atmospheric & Environmental Science, University of Edinburgh, comenta o filme e tenta rebater ponto a ponto o que se vai afirmando no documentário.

Link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1656640542976216573

Vale a pena ver, aprende-se sempre qualquer coisa ao ver os argumentos de uns e outros nesta polémica discussão do aquecimento global.
 
Editado por um moderador:

rossby

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Continua a saga do "The Great Global Warming Swindle"...

Agora temos um novo video, em que Chris Merchant do Institute of Atmospheric & Environmental Science, University of Edinburgh, comenta o filme e tenta rebater ponto a ponto o que se vai afirmando no documentário.

Link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1656640542976216573

Vale a pena ver, aprende-se sempre qualquer coisa ao ver os argumentos de uns e outros nesta polémica discussão do aquecimento global.

Não consegui ver o video todo:sad: Mas o que vi pareceu-me bem explicado, embora seria desejável que fundamentasse melhor o contraditório com outras referências diferentes das do IPCC, pois o documentário da BBC pretendia criticar precisamente as conclusões deste.
 

José M. Sousa

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Distortions, Falsehoods, Fabrications

The Great Global Warming Swindle is just one example of Channel 4’s war against the greens

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 22nd July 2008.

So here we go again. For the second time, Channel 4 has been fiercely criticised by the broadcasting regulator for a programme attacking environmental science. For the second time the director was Martin Durkin. Ten years ago, his series Against Nature was found to have misled his interviewees about “the content and purpose of the programmes” and distorted their views “through selective editing”(1). Now Ofcom has ruled that the programme he made last year – The Great Global Warming Swindle – treated two scientists and an organisation (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) unfairly(2). For the second time, Channel 4 will have to make an embarrassing primetime statement.
But while the new ruling exposes some of the channel’s practices, it also exposes the limitations of the regulator. The programme was peppered with distortions and misleading claims. But despite being presented with a vast dossier of evidence by climate scientists, Ofcom decided that it could not rule on the matter of accuracy. While news programmes are expected to be accurate, other factual programmes are not, and Ofcom “only regulates misleading material where that material is likely to cause harm or offence.” It decided that The Great Global Warming Swindle hadn’t caused actual harm to members of the public and would not rule on whether or not the programme had misled them. In fact, it is precisely because “the discussion about the causes of global warming was to a very great extent settled by the date of broadcast”, meaning that climate change was no longer a matter of political controversy, that a programme claiming it is all a pack of lies could slip past the partiality rules. The greater a programme’s defiance of scientific fact, the less likely Ofcom is to rule against it. This paradoxical judgement allows Channel 4 to keep getting away with it.
The Great Global Warming Swindle is part of a long-standing pattern. Channel 4 upsets all sorts of people, and it has every right to do so. On all other issues it appears to do so in a random fashion, sometimes attacking people on one side of the debate, sometimes on the other. But one polemical position has kept recurring over the past 18 years: a fierce antagonism towards environmentalism. Some of these programmes have used misrepresentation, distortion or fabrication to sustain claims that environmental concerns are the fantasies of self-serving scientists. It is arguable that no organisation in the United Kingdom has done more to damage the effort to protect the environment.
For the first eight years of the channel’s life, its coverage of environmental issues was broad, diverse and often stimulating. It broadcast 20 programmes a year in its Fragile Earth slot. But two years after Michael Grade became chief executive, its programming began to change. The trend continued after he left.
In 1990 Channel 4 screened a documentary called The Greenhouse Conspiracy, directed by Hilary Lawson at the company TVF. It maintained that “there is no evidence at all” for dangerous climate change. There is a conspiracy among scientists, it said, to talk up the dangers in order to win funding(3). No reasonable person would dispute that Channel 4 should show countervailing views, or would claim that it has an obligation to take an environmentalist line. But there were three problems with this programme, which appear to characterise several of the channel’s films about the environment.




The first is that it was billed as a science documentary, rather than a one-sided polemic. It had an anonymous and authoritative voiceover, rather than the onscreen presenter you would expect to see in a polemical film. It presented as hard fact statements that were extremely contentious and often plain wrong. The second is that contributors’ commercial interests were not mentioned. The third problem is that though the majority of scientific opinion was at odds with the line the programme took, the opposing point of view was scarcely represented. The contribution of a very eminent climate scientist was edited to make him seem like an inconsistent crank, while maverick outsiders were presented as the voices of scientific orthodoxy.
But this film became a template for the channel’s environmental coverage over much of the following 17 years. Its most prominent films about the environment screened in this period took the same line as The Greenhouse Conspiracy, which created the impression that environmental problems do not exist and that environmental scientists are mendacious fanatics.
In 1997 Channel 4 broadcast a series across three hours of prime time on Sunday evenings, called Against Nature. Made by Martin Durkin, then working for the production company RDF, it claimed that the greens are modern-day Nazis who have been “needlessly consigning millions of people in the Third World to poverty and early death”. The programme’s publicity stated that it “highlights the absence of scientific rigour behind notions like the greenhouse effect and global warming”, yet the series made the most elementary scientific blunders, describing sulphur dioxide as a greenhouse gas and the oceans as the major net source of carbon dioxide.
Like The Greenhouse Conspiracy, Against Nature was billed as a science programme, rather than a polemic. It had no onscreen presenter. It amplified the credentials of some of its contributors and failed to reveal that some were funded by fossil fuel industries. The programme makers duped and misrepresented the environmentalists they featured. This series was subject to one of the most damning verdicts that Ofcom’s predecessor, the Independent Television Commission, has ever handed down.
None of this, or subsequent distortions, stopped the channel from continuing to pay Martin Durkin to pursue what looks like a personal crusade against science. In 1998, he hired a research biochemist and TV researcher called Najma Kazi to help him with a film for Equinox called Storm in a D-Cup claiming that breast implants are completely safe. After two weeks she walked out. “It’s not a joke to walk away from four or five month’s work,” she told me, “but my research was being ignored. The published research had been construed to give an impression that’s not the case. I don’t know how that programme got passed.”(4) In 2000, he made another film - a 90-minute special - for Equinox about genetic engineering. He interviewed the environmentalist Dr Mae-Wan Ho. “I feel completely betrayed and misled”, she said. “They did not tell me it was going to be an attack on my position.”(5) Neither of these programmes, however, was criticised by the regulators.
During this period, Channel 4 broadcast several environmental programmes which were vicious and grossly unbalanced denunciations of environmental science. But, as independent film makers I have spoken to testify, proposals for programmes which expressed concern about the environment were rejected out of hand. When I went to speak to the man who was then the director of programmes, Tim Gardam, to ask why the channel seemed so hostile to the environment, he told me something that shocked me more than any defensive statement. “I don’t know what’s important any more”.


The list of environmental programmes Channel 4 has sent me shows a sharp reduction in output during the years 1992 to 2006(6). But in mid-2006 I was told by an executive that the channel had realised it had been misled by people who were sponsored by the fossil fuel industry. It seemed as if the dam had broken. Channel 4’s new commissions suggested that it was at last beginning to wake up to the fact that environmental issues were not just the crazy fantasy of a group of green fascists. That was until March 2007, when The Great Global Warming Swindle was broadcast, backed by a massive promotional campaign. The director, yet again, was Martin Durkin, and once more he was given 90 minutes of prime time.
The first thing I noticed about the Great Global Warming Swindle is how similar it is to The Greenhouse Conspiracy, broadcast 17 years before. The two programmes made the same claims, using some of the same contributors. They were now a little greyer and fatter, but they repeated their line almost verbatim. A vast accumulation of evidence in the intervening years, contradicting the programme’s thesis, was ignored - it appeared that very little had changed since 1990. Indeed much of the distortion in the programme involved the freezing of timelines at points convenient to his argument, producing a misleading impression of current evidence.
Some of the graphs Martin Durkin used in the programme, for example, seem to have been altered, changing the historical record. A graph of 20th Century temperatures was attributed in the programme to NASA. In reality it was first published by an Exxon-funded lobby group and creates the false impression that most of the rise in temperature occurred before 1940, after which there was a sharp fall(7). The data it used ended in the mid-1980s. On Durkin’s version however, the timeline was extended to 2005 - the change of dates on the graph appeared to support his argument. Following complaints, the dates were corrected when the programme was rebroadcast.
He used a graph of temperatures over the past millennium to make the claim that they were higher during the 12th Century than they are today. But again the timescale was altered. An arrow marked “Now” points to data which in fact end at 1975. A third graph had been mislabelled in the same way: the arrow marked “Now” points to the global temperature 108 years ago, in 1900. On a fourth graph, the film-makers altered part of a curve, thereby creating the impression that temperature has precisely tracked changes in sunspot cycles. The author of the original graph complained that the film had presented “fabricated data … as genuine” to make its case(8). In response Durkin said it was a mistake.
It would require a book to catalogue all the distortions and fabrications The Great Global Warming Swindle is alleged to have included. A complaint by a team of senior scientists – the first peer-reviewed submission ever made to Ofcom - runs to 188 pages(9). Not only did the film inflate credentials of some of the contributors; some of them appear to have been made up altogether. The climate sceptic Tim Ball, for example, was said to be a professor at the Department of Climatology in the University of Winnipeg. There is no such department and he has not held a professorship since he retired in 1996. Philip Stott, the programme claimed, is a professor at the Department of Biogeography, University of London. While he was once a Professor of Biogeography, there was no such department, and Stott retired some time ago, becoming professor emeritus. Piers Corbyn was given a doctorate he does not possess and described as a “climate forecaster”. He is in fact a weather forecaster – a very different matter – and has published no peer-reviewed papers on either topic since 1986(10). Fred Singer is said to have been the director of the US National Weather Service. In reality he was Director of the US National Weather Satellite Center.



Far from revealing its contributors’ financial interests, the film created the impression that they have taken no money from the coal or oil industry. In truth 10 of its protagonists have either been funded directly by fossil fuel companies, or have received paid employment from lobby groups funded by these companies, which campaign against taking action on climate change(11). Tim Ball claimed in the programme that “I’ve never received a nickel from the oil and gas companies.” But he has received fees from two groups which lobby against taking action on climate change – Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project - both of which receive major funding from energy companies(12). The Great Global Warming Swindle looks like free, undisclosed propaganda for coal and oil firms. Channel 4 forcefully denied this. Ofcom decided that it is “unable to assess or adjudicate on the relative merits of these strongly disputed allegations.”
The film invoked an extraordinary conspiracy theory to explain why governments have tried to tackle climate change. It began, the Swindle claimed, with the British coal miners’ strike. “The miners had brought down Ted Heath’s conservative government. Mrs Thatcher was determined the same would not happen to her. She set out to break their power … At the request of Mrs Thatcher, the UK Met Office set up a Climate Modelling Unit, which provided the basis for a new international committee called The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.” In reality, Mrs Thatcher did not make a public statement on climate change until 1988, three years after the miners’ strike ended in their defeat. The IPCC was established in the same year – not by the UK Met Office but by the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN(13) - and the Climate Modelling Unit (the Hadley Centre) did not open until two years afterwards, in 1990(14).
Here too were inaccuracies of the same stamp as those which appeared in Against Nature. The Great Global Warming Swindle claimed that volcanoes produce more CO2 each year than all sources of man-made carbon dioxide put together. In truth they produce less than 1%. It maintained that “the biggest source of CO2 by far is the oceans” (they remain a net carbon sink). Sea level changes have “nothing to do with melting ice” (melting ice is in fact responsible for about 40% of the rise) and so on and so forth. One of the contributors to the Great Global Warming Swindle, Carl Wunsch, says that he was duped into appearing in the documentary and his words were “grossly distorted by context”(15). Ofcom found that Professor Wunsch had been treated unfairly in the way in which his edited interview had been presented but that his comments about CO2 in the ocean were not unfairly edited.
Perhaps the cruellest distortion perpetrated in Durkin’s programme was the claim, also carried in Against Nature, that environmentalists are condemning the poor to live without electricity and to cook their meals on smoky fires, causing millions of premature deaths from respiratory disease. The film interviewed a Kenyan official at a rural clinic, whose solar panels did not produce enough power to run both the fridge and the lights. This was apparently the fault of Western environmentalists, who had somehow obliged the clinic to use solar power, which is “at least 3 times more expensive than conventional forms of electrical generation.”
In reality, it is much cheaper to install solar panels in parts of rural Africa which do not have transmission lines than to build a new grid connection, which is probably why the clinic was using them. If they are providing insufficient power, the cheapest solution is to install more panels and batteries. The solar fridge, developed by the British environmentalist and engineer Guy Watson, has saved countless lives, as it permits vaccines and blood which would otherwise be degraded by heat to survive in even the remotest locations. Environmentalists have been amongst the most outspoken campaigners against cooking on smoky fires, partly because of the health effects, partly because they use huge amounts of wood and partly because the black carbon they produce is a cause of global warming. This was the only partiality issue on which Ofcom was prepared to rule, because it regards the treatment of the poor, by contrast to climate change, to be a “matter of major political controversy”. It decided that in this respect the programme breached its rules.

This film was presented as a dispassionate science documentary. We were not told whose opinions the anonymous narrator represented. Outrageous claims were stated as bald fact. Ofcom has decided that there is “no …requirement” to disclose the personal views of the presenter “in relation to factual programmes”. The Great Global Warming Swindle, like Against Nature, had a huge impact, persuading many people that manmade climate change is not taking place. I attended a presentation by a pollster from Ipsos Mori who showed that there had been a decline last year in the number of people who believed that global warming was a real phenomenon - primarily, she said, as a result of Durkin’s film(16). This is hardly surprising. No one unfamiliar with the channel’s record on this issue could have imagined that a public service broadcaster would have transmitted a programme containing so many distortions.
This became a personal issue when the man who commissioned The Great Global Warming Swindle, Hamish Mykura, appeared on the Today programme to defend the film. It was, he said, part of “a season of opinionated polemical films about global warming”, and was balanced by a film I had made, broadcast in the same week, for Dispatches(17). I was flabbergasted. Neither I, nor the audience, nor anyone on the production team had been told that my programme was part of “a season of opinionated polemical films about global warming”, or that it would be linked to The Great Global Warming Swindle. Had I known this, I would have pulled out. When I asked Mykura for evidence - some memos or publicity material about this “season”, for example – he was unable to provide any(18).
My film was subjected to such a rigorous process of fact-checking that it was, in effect, edited by Channel 4’s lawyers. While this made it rather dull, it also meant that it was robust and unchallengeable: any claim which would not stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny was excluded. Despite this, it was billed as a controversial polemic and my own personal view (I was the onscreen presenter). Durkin’s film, by contrast, appears to have been exempted from such rigorous fact-checking and was not presented as his opinion. Why did such radically different standards apply? And in what sense did my film “balance” Durkin’s? Mine was about policies seeking to address climate change: I was not asked to demonstrate that manmade global warming was taking place. Even if that had been my aim, Channel 4 misunderstands its public service obligations if it believes it has to strike a balance between truth and falsehood. I was glad to see that Ofcom found that the other programmes in the channel’s schedule “were not sufficiently timely or linked” to the Swindle to balance it.
The channel appears until now to have shrugged off criticism of these programmes: even, in fact, to have enjoyed it. They create “noise”, which is considered by some executives to be the thing that counts. Hamish Mykura, the man who commissioned The Great Global Warming Swindle, has since been promoted. Channel 4’s spokesman tells me “It would be wrong to suggest that Channel 4 has an agenda regarding environmental programmes. The vast majority of Channel 4’s programmes on environmental issues over the last 20 years have reflected the opinion of the majority of scientists on man-made global warming. … to the best of our knowledge, since 1990 there has been 5 ½ hours of programming giving voice to the minority of scientists who question man’s role in global warming.” This, it says, “is against the background of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] stating that there is a 90% certainty that the causes of global warming are man-made, it follows that there is a 10% uncertainty. Yet this 10% uncertainty receives a disproportionately small amount of airtime.”
I find this argument extraordinary. A 90% level of confidence doesn’t mean that 10% of the evidence suggests that an effect is not occurring – in fact there is no reliable evidence showing that manmade global warming is not taking place. It is expressed in this way because there is no absolute certainty in science. The “very high confidence” the IPCC expresses in the global warming thesis is the strongest statement any reputable scientist would make about his area of study. It is legitimate and right to stress that there can be no absolute certainty about global warming. But this is not what Channel 4 has done. The five and half hours of programmes which attack the thesis (and there have been many more which savage other aspects of environmentalism) express absolute certainty that manmade global warming isn’t happening.
So why does Channel 4 seem to be waging a war against the greens? I am not sure, but it seems to me that much of its programming - whether it concerns property, celebrities or contestants seeking fame and money - is aspirational. Environmentalism is counter-aspirational. It suggests that the carefree world Channel 4 has created, the celebration of the self, cannot be sustained.
It is against my interests to publish this article. I would like to continue making programmes for Channel 4. I recognise that what I have written may jeopardise this work. But these matters are far more consequential than my own employment. By broadcasting programmes that appear to manipulate and even fabricate evidence, it has impeded efforts to forestall the 21st Century’s greatest threat. For how much longer will this be allowed to continue? And for how much longer will Ofcom forbid itself to state that a programme is misleading?
George Monbiot’s book Bring on the Apocalypse: Six Arguments for Global Justice, is published by Guardian Books, at £10.99.
www.monbiot.com
References:
1. Independent Television Commission, 1st April 1998. Channel Four to Apologise to Four Interviewees in “Against Nature” Series. Press Release.
2. Ofcom, 21st July 2008. Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 114. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/prog_cb/obb114/issue114.pdf
3. You can read the transcript here: http://www.angelfire.com/dc/gaudcert/globwarm3.htm
4. Najma Kazi, pers comm.
5. Mae-Wan Ho, pers comm.
6. Channel 4, by email.
7. You can read the account of where this graph came from and much more at http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/
8. Nathan Rive and Eigil Friis-Christensen, 27th April 2007. Regarding: “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on March 8, 2007. http://folk.uio.no/nathan/web/statement.html
9. See http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/
10. Piers Corbyn has sent me the list of his publications.
11. See http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/
12. Tim Ball, pers comm.
13. http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm
14. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/history/
15. http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/channel4response
16. Dr Lucy Arnot, 18th October 2007. Communicate 07 conference, Bristol.
17. Hamish Mykura, 16th March 2007. The Today programme.
18. http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/04/01/correspondence-with-hamish-mykura/
 

José M. Sousa

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J.S.

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Olha, ve isto em setemebro 2007...e calro que o senhor Durkin não gosto falar sobre ciencia. E mais nada. Ha muitas coisas que foram mentiras, portanto esta documentaria mostra que a ciencia sobre o global warming esta muito forte. Senão, as mentiras não foram necessita nesta documentario...

Thus: lies, half lies and half truths...and appealing ot what the audience thinks is credible. That seems to be what they where aiming for. the problem for science is that all in all these things, like non scientific things in journals and even poplar scientific magazines linger as they are repeated time and time again. While lacking any firm scientific basis. We should not get frustrated though, it is just the way it works.

Last sunday, at the gym, a lady started talking to me about just such an article in De Telegraaf (rightwing Dutch newspaper, have nothing against rightwingers in general but debunking climate research has become a rightwing domain I think). What I thought about it. She believed things were uncertain. I gave her some facts that are simple to understand. I won't repeat the conversation here: the point is that if you put things simple and understandable, you will get yout message over. If scientist have a goal beyond just working on science, but want to get this message across the general population I think it is necessary to keep things as simple as possible, while sticking to the facts. the interviewer of Mr. Durkin did a very good job, also from that perspective.
 

José M. Sousa

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If scientist have a goal beyond just working on science, but want to get this message across the general population I think it is necessary to keep things as simple as possible, while sticking to the facts. the interviewer of Mr. Durkin did a very good job, also from that perspective.

Concordo inteiramente. I absolutely agree!