March 8, 2007 Channel 4 screens “The Great Global Warming Swindle”

On this day 8 years ago, British television viewers got a dose of this –

“The Great Global Warming Swindle is a polemical[1] documentary film that suggests that the scientific opinion on climate change is influenced by funding and political factors, and questions whether scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming exists. The program was formally criticised by Ofcom, the UK broadcasting regulatory agency, which upheld complaints of misrepresentation made by David King.”

The context- environmentalists were agitating for a domestic climate change act (duly passed the following year), and Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth”, along with the Stern Review and the release of the fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, had created political pressure for some sort of action on climate change.

My favourite bit about it all was the response to criticism –

Leroi copied the e-mail to other parties including The Guardian journalist and Bad Science columnist Ben Goldacre and science writer and mathematics expert Simon Singh. Durkin replied to all with the single sentence: “You’re a big daft cock”. Singh then sent an email to Durkin that said: “I have not paid the same attention to your programme as Armand has done, but from what I did see it is an irresponsible piece of film-making. If you can send me a copy of the programme then I will examine it in more detail and give you a more considered response…it would be great if you could engage in the debate rather just resorting to one line replies”.

Durkin responded: “The IPCC’s own figures show the hottest year in the past ten was 1998, and the temp has been flat-lining now for five years. If it’s greenhouse gas causing the warming the rate of warming should be higher in the troposphere than on the surface. The opposite is the case. The ice core data shows that temperature change causes the level of atmospheric CO2 to change — not the other way round. Why have we not heard this in the hours and hours of shit programming on global warming shoved down our throats by the BBC?”, and concluded with, “Never mind a bit of irresponsible film-making. Go and fuck yourself”

 

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