The documentary was called The Great Global Warming Swindle, and it caused just as much of a storm as Channel 4 intended, though probably not quite in the way its editors had hoped. Shown in March last year, the programme had a central thesis that made it the subject of controversy long before it was shown. This was that the increase in global temperatures observed in recent decades was not caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, but by other, less controllable, factors.
In so arguing, the film cast doubt on what might be called – though you might detect a prejudgement here – the whole global-warming industry. For if the rise in global temperatures is not mainly a consequence of burning fossil fuels, then there is little point in anyone trying to cut such emissions, either nationally or globally. The Americans can continue running their gas-guzzlers; the Chinese and Indians can cheerfully carry on building power stations, and we British can go back to our slovenly habit of leaving the lights on. The only price any of us will pay for such profligacy will be financial, as scarcity and speculation drive the prices higher. We will not be condemning the planet to drought or famine, still less to premature extinction.
Comments and reports about global warming are getting silly and even ridiculous. Al Gore says we have ten years left. We’re told cooling is due to warming. More rain and flooding and less rain and drought are both due to warming. More hurricanes are predicted while fewer occur. Global temperatures declined as much in the first few months of 2008 as they increased in the previous 100 plus years due to warming. Recently we were told global warming is causing an increase in kidney stones in a travesty of geographic correlation assuming cause and effect. One blogger who began recording, with tongue in cheek, all the events attributed to global warming was John Brignell.
Actually, ridiculous statements and definitive claims of doom are a good sign. Good because they are a sign of desperation as evidence accumulates that human CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. Good because people and governments are changing their positions faced with the evidence and the costs already incurred by wrong policies and actions. Good because governments are coming to their senses and getting their priorities right. India putting development to feed starving citizens ahead of unsubstantiated threats of climate change is a great advance. It also provides an argument that transcends and regains the moral high ground environmentalists claim.
The ever wise (and droll) Philip Stott says it all here about the eye-opening media spinning of the Ofcom ruling on the Channel Four documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle. As Philip notes, the only thing that matters is that Ofcom ruled the programme did ‘not materially mislead viewers so as to cause harm or offence’ in claiming that man-made global warming was the biggest scam of modern times. And haven’t the truth-deniers gone just nuts over this, complaining that the programme got off on a ‘technicality’ – some technicality! – inflating the relatively minor issues on which Ofcom did find against it out of all proportion (given the huge number of heavy-weight complaints it received which it rejected), and claiming that Ofcom’s criteria were inadequate (not a complaint one would have heard from them had the ruling gone the other way).
Desperate stuff from desperate people – because the game is up for them, and they know it. The fabled ‘scientific consensus’ (not) is melting faster than Arctic ice. The latest scientist to acknowledge his error in having previously swallowed the scam is Dr David Evans, a former consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office, who says he wrote the carbon accounting model that helps measure Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Now, however, he has written in The Australian:
But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming...There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:
As the former chair of the IPCC, I welcome Ofcom's ruling today, which states that The Great Global Warming Swindle was unfair in its treatment of the IPCC and leading scientists such as Sir David King and Professor Carl Wunsch, and that it was in breach of due impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy.
However, I am very disappointed that Ofcom did not find that the programme materially misled the audience as to cause harm or offence.
In my opinion, The Great Global Warming Swindle did a major disservice to the public at large and tried to undermine the scientific basis which governments and the private sector are using to address cost effectively one of the greatest challenges the human race has ever faced. I believe it inaccurately portrayed the scientific evidence, was not impartial – which, in my view, a documentary should be – and was unbalanced and totally misrepresented the scientific consensus on the role of human activities in causing global warming. Therefore the program should have emphasized far more than it did that it was portraying a minority opinion.
Work of Fiction?
A former global warming alarmist and creator of the model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol says that while global warming is real, there is no evidence that the main cause is carbon emissions. David Evans says that C02 emissions play — at most — a minor role.
Evans writes in The Australian newspaper that if global warming was caused by C02, scientists would have found hot spots about six miles up in the earth's atmosphere over the Tropics. Evans describes those hot spots as the signature of the greenhouse effect. He says scientists have been trying to locate them for years using thermometers attached to weather balloons.
But he says years of research "show no hot spot — whatsoever" adding that "an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming."