Monday, March 12, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle: The Fightback

Since our original post on this blog previewing the "Global Warming Swindle" television programme on channel 4 last week HERE we have had many interesting comments with each side taking predictable positions.

Aside from the general sniping some good points were raised. On a academic level we held an Academic Workshop on Friday called

"The Economics of the Stern Review"

that included speakers involved in the writing of the report (directly and indirectly) Dimitri Zenghelis (HM Treasury) and Dennis Anderson (Imperial College London) as well as some of it critics, Richard Tol (Economic and Social Research Institute Dublin) and David Maddison (University of Birmingham). The middle ground was covered by Cameron Hepburn (University of Oxford) who gave an excellent talk on discounting as well as expertly bridging both sides of the argument.

Liks to the presentations will be available on this blog soon.

Returning to the "Great Global Warming Swindle" it was clear that an agenda was being followed although some of the issues were covered in Friday's workshop.

It is interesting however, that the press backlash has started. The Independent on Sunday ran the following article:

Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4

This expert in oceanography quoted in last week's debunking of the Gore green theory says he was 'seriously misrepresented'

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 11 March 2007

It was the television programme that set out to show that most of the world's climate scientists are misleading us when they say humanity is heating up the Earth by emitting carbon dioxide. And The Great Global Warming Swindle, screened by Channel 4 on Thursday night, convinced many viewers that it is indeed untrue that the gas is to blame for global warming.

But now the programme - and the channel - is facing a serious challenge to its own credibility after one of the most distinguished scientists that it featured said his views had been "grossly distorted" by the film, and made it clear that he believed human pollution did warm the climate.

Professor Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said he had been "completely misrepresented" by the programme, and "totally misled" on its content. He added that he is considering making a formal complaint.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "The film was a polemic that drew together the well-documented views of a number of respected scientists to reach the same conclusions. This is a controversial film but we feel that it is important that all sides of the debate are aired. If one of the contributors has concerns about his contribution we will look into that."

Any complaint would provoke a crisis at Channel 4, now recovering from the Jade Goody Big Brother storm. It had to make a rare public apology after the Independent Television Commission convicted previous programmes on environmental issues by the same film-maker, Martin Durkin, of similar offences - and is already facing questions on why it accepted another programme from him.

The commission found that the editing of interviews with four contributors to a series called Against Nature had "distorted or misrepresented their known views".

Professor Wunsch said: "I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about. I was told about six months ago that this was to be a programme about how complicated it is to understand what is going on. If they had told me even the title of the programme, I would have absolutely refused to be on it. I am the one who has been swindled."

When told what the commission had found, he said: "That is what happened to me." He said he believes it is "an almost inescapable conclusion" that "if man adds excess CO2 to the atmosphere, the climate will warm".

He went on: "The movie was terrible propaganda. It is characteristic of propaganda that you take an area where there is legitimate dispute and you claim straight out that people who disagree with you are swindlers. That is what the film does in any area where some things are subject to argument."

Mr Durkin last night said that Professor Wunsch was "most certainly not duped into appearing into the programme" and that it "had not in any way misrepresented what he said".

Before the programme was shown, the IoS asked Channel 4 why it had commissioned another film from Mr Durkin and, further, whether it was making any special checks on its accuracy.

A spokesman said the programme made by Mr Durkin for which it had had to apologise was a decade old, adding: "We treat Martin as any other film-maker."


Anonymous said...

What's more, the swindle is getting all high marks on youtube and is posted at least once as a BBC documentary.

Anonymous said...

The GW Swindle program has backfired, and very quickly. It shows how desperate the bad guys are. Anyone duped by the program was likely already a dupe. Thoughtful people will look into it and not be swayed by it. People on the fence will learn something new about propaganda techniques. It is this latter point that makes the program valuable, so I, too, give it high marks, but for that reason only, not as a measure of its truth value.

Anonymous said...

It is exceptional that every critical voice to GW are met by accusation of ties to Big Oil and other irrelevant arguments. Instead of going after the specific mistakes in the documentary, you guys attack Durkins credibility. If one scientist regrets that what his statements explains other scientist views, is just a laugh. Either he should change his view on GB to match his explanation, or he better start to formulate him self better.