The great global warming swindle?

Channel 4 I fear: here is there prog page. I'm not going to see it (lacking a tv). It says (you can practically write this stuff in your sleep): The film brings together the arguments of leading scientists who disagree with the prevailing consensus that a 'greenhouse effect' of carbon dioxide released by human activity is the cause of rising global temperatures. Instead the documentary highlights recent research that the effect of the sun's radiation on the atmosphere may be a better explanation for the regular swings of climate from ice ages to warm interglacial periods and back again.

So this is presumably Svensmark and Calder with a book to promote, I'm guessing.

It is rather funny that their sidebar on GR links to Global warming is arguably the most pressing issue we face today. For the first time in our history the whole human species is under threat from the alarmingly powerful forces of climate change. Will we be able to make the changes needed to save future generations from the ruinous chaos of a shifting climate?. So C4 don't believe their own prog, which is sensible of them.

What else? The film argues that the earth's climate is always changing, and that rapid warmings and coolings took place long before the burning of fossil fuels. Well yes, the climate changes, what is unusual about this one is the rapidity and likely future size. There have been rapid changes before, but those were before human civilisation, so its not clear they were relevant. What next: The earths crust was once molten, so clearly anything less that 3000K is quite safe?

The film features an impressive roll-call of experts. Aha! Argument from authority. Excellent: then IPCC clearly wins, as it has far more than the 9 experts these people claim. Who are these experts? Tim Ball - hardly impressive as a start. Next, John Christy - now Christy is a genuine expert, albeit one who has made some mistakes. But what does he have to say? 'I've often heard it said that there is a consensus of thousands of scientists on the global warming issue, that humans are causing a catastrophic change to the climate system,' says John Christy, Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center, NSSTC University of Alabama. 'Well I am one scientist, and there are many, that simply think that is not true.' Disappointing - the old "catastrophe" strawman. Does Christy not engage with the causes, which is nominally what this prog is about. Most likely, though, they will just go for scattershotting stuff in the hope of confusing. Then Eigil Friis-Christensen, fair enough, though hardly a world-leader. Clouds and cosmic rays, of course, and we'll neglect the lack of an 11-y solar cycle on any recent increase in solar. And finally Ian Clark, Professor of Isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology at the Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa explains: Solar activity over the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years, correlates very nicely, on a decadal basis, with temperature. Well no it doesn't; and of course we don't have solar records anyway; but never mind. So that seems to be it from the experts, unless they are waiting to spring out others as a surprise on the night.

Oh, I missed the experts in the film argue that increased CO2 levels are actually a result of temperature rises - gosh, are they really dumb enough to argue that CO2 isn't anthropogenic. Maybe they are - who knows. [Or maybe they mean this? -W]

[Some discussion, not exciting in the Indie. Oh, and more at: here]

[While we're on cosmic rays, Nexus6 has a nice link to Arguments against a physical long-term trend in global ISCCP cloud amounts; Amato T. Evan et al, suggesting that trends in ISCCP cloud are an artefact of satellite changes -W]

More like this

"I wish that climate scientists would stick to science"
They do, so why don't you look at the scientific evidence instead of swallowing what non-scientists tell you?

It's obvious (to anyone who bothers to think about it anyway) that in the past, CO2 levels couldn't have moved first, because there were no influences that could possibly have caused it to do so (there were no factories 55 million years ago). So it is correct that CO2 did not trigger the warmings, but it certainly contributed to them - and greenhouse gas forcing was the dominant factor in the magnitude of the *ultimate* change. If you have any genuine interest in the science rather than just politics, see here:

Two of the most extreme extinction events in the earth's history were almost certainly driven to a large extent by CO2 emissions. In both cases, the warming was initially triggered by something else, but that caused greenhouse gas levels to increase, which caused more warming, which caused more greenhouse gas increases, and so on, in a process analogous to the way a nuclear bomb works. These were the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago( and the Permian-Triassic extinction event 251 million years ago (


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Martin Durkin

In 1997 television producer Martin Durkin from the TV company Kugelblitz made a series for Channel 4 called Against Nature, which targeted environmentalists, presenting them as 'the new enemy of science' and as comparable to the Nazis. They were responsible, the series argued, for the deprivation and death of millions in the Third World. (Crimes against Nature , The Revolution Has Been Televised )

Channel Four had to broadcast a prime-time apology after Against Nature drew the wrath of the Independent Television Commission which ruled, 'Comparison of the unedited and edited transcripts confirmed that the editing of the interviews with [the environmentalists who contributed] had indeed distorted or misrepresented their known views. It was also found that the production company had misled them... as to the format, subject matter and purpose of these programs.' (See CHANNEL 4 SAVAGED BY TELEVISION WATCHDOG )

Having seen the programes in advance, the Guardian's Environment correspondent, John Vidal, sought to identify the perspective from which the programmes had been made, 'I only know of one broad group which consistently uses this sort of argument about "environmentalism''. The Far Right. In the US, the Wise Use Movement is linked to the militias and its members beat up environmentalists who they call ''commies''. In South America and Asia, corporations and landowners spend millions killing them and bribing or influencing politicians against their arguments. Against Nature appears to peddle their line, yet C4 either can't see it or approves.'


leading scientists who disagree with the prevailing consensus

...isn't... there a bit of an oxymoron in here?

Is this the British Channel 4? Isn't that owned by the same guy who owns Fox News in the states, or am I just confused?

Coin, no C4's not owned by Murdoch.

One preview I read somewhere was that people like Philip Stott & Piers Corbyn will be on it. If that's the case, then their argument's even weaker then it initially seems.

Uncle Eli directs curious rabbits to nexus 6:
Which is hardly an objective commentary, but does raise an important issue for the main thrust of the programme - Friis-Christensen is top of the list of the 'debunkers', so it's going to be cosmic rays. The chief rabett's previous commentary on the recent Svensmark update is also entlightening. Strangely, this subject has also come up on CS in the past day or two.

By Fergus Brown (not verified) on 04 Mar 2007 #permalink

C4 is state-owned, and has a charter that obliges it to provide an "alternative" service to the BBC and commercial TV.

Yes, it is cosmic rays they are on about. Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson gave them an op-ed blow job in his column in the Independent last week. I gave it a fisking.

This link explains who owns channel 4 and it's remit:

It explains for example that the source their programs from independent producers, and as such are not pushing an agenda. This is why they may - shock horror - provide two conflicting statements.

Really, you don't make yourself look good with such inattention to detail and straw man derision.

"I'm not going to see it (lacking a tv)."

One of the very few that don't have a TV but do have a PC.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

Has the Svensmark and Calder paper been peer reviewed, and if so, would I be right in saying that the paper itself didn't attempt to challenge AGW, and that that was a spin the authors put on it only after it was published, in subsequent non-peer-reviewed press releases, articles and interviews?

[Not a book, a paper. Calder doesn't write papers... -W]

William, when you write "the old "catastrophe" strawman", do you mean that they have found someone who is accepts AGW but not the worst case predictions, and are misrepresenting him as being a global warming sceptic when he actually isn't?

[Christy is using the old "few scientists predict catastrophe" trick, which is a strawman because people predict, say. +3 oC/2100 - whether thats a catastrophe or not depends on lots of other things. Christy is predicting neither - he really isn't saying anything, but just trying to sound skeptical -W]

Does anyone know the difference between the Independent Television Commission and Ofcom; and is Channel 4 regulated by both or only the ITC? Are the relevant rules for whichever body it is that one can raise a complaint under on the web (equivalent to the PCCs Press Code of Practice at

What about Channel 4's public service remit? At it states that under the 2003 Communications Act, the public service remit includes making "makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value". Seems to me that C4 have broken the law in that this programme far from setting out to educate, sets out to mislead. Who does one complain to about that aspect (breaking of the Communications Act) - Ofcom, ITC, or someone else?


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

One more question: anyone know whether Svensmark and Calder have any links to the oil industry, or any other background on their likely motives? From the realclimate article at… it seems that they are bending the science to fit an agenda even more brazenly than most of the other contrarians, hence my question.

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

Hi William

Okay have I got this right now:

1) Svensmark et al publish peer reviewed paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society journal. Paper interesting and fine as far as it goes, which isn't very far. Paper does not attempt to cast any doubt on AGW.

2) Subsequently Svensmark issues a press release claiming that paper casts doubt on AGW, though without giving any evidence for this spin. Press release gets lots of publicity (do I detect help from fossil fuel lobby in publicising press release?)

3) Subsequent to that Svensmark and Calder publish a book purporting to show that peer reviewed paper casts doubt on AGW, although it doesn't. Calder gets article in Times, lots of publicity follows and then C4 takes it up.

Is that how it happened?


[As far as I know, 1 is correct. 2 too. Whats in the book I don't know - presumably rather more than just one paper or it would be a thin book! -W]

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

What is the total flux of CO2 in/out of the oceans of the world on an annual basis? Is this even known?

Are there any articles that you could direct me to that explain this business of co2 absorbing IR, but only in the mesophere? Has this part of the AGW theory been confirmed by experiment?

Thank you.

[I don't know the annual CO2 flux into the oceans... but why do you care? Wha matters is the rise of CO2 into the atmosphere. And I hope you're not off on co2-isn't-anthropogenic.

Where does the " co2 absorbing IR, but only in the mesophere?" come from? Its wrong -W]

By Keith Rogstad (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

Hey William

RE: the following

"Solar activity over the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years, correlates very nicely, on a decadal basis, with temperature. Well no it doesn't; and of course we don't have solar records anyway; but never mind."

Can you expand on the "No it doesn't"? Don't Scafetta and West (2006) say that it does? Sort of.

Scafetta, N. and B. J. West (2006). "Phenomenological solar signature in 400 years of reconstructed Northern Hemisphere temperature record." Geophysical Research Letters 33: L17718, doi:10.1029/2006GL027142.


[Ah that. See-also… I guess it depends on how much you scale, shift and smooth your data. Even S+W admit that it doesn't work recently (unless you do a pile of fudging which they discuss). "decadal"? nowhere in that article can I find out what smoothing they have applied! -W]

By Mark Hadfield (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink

Motl: "historically the CO2 increases - in the graphs from the last 650,000 years - gas concentrations were results of temperature increases that came first"

and the resulting CO2 increases then caused further temperature increases which caused further CO2 increases and so on. This concept is called a positive feedback loop. Even clever people need to learn concepts.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 06 Mar 2007 #permalink

William, (in response to the comment in Dave Rado's post) I think that Svensmark et al's book will be quite thick, to give it weight. I have read some pseudo scientific histories for entertainment (THink von Daniken or Lomas et al) and can predict that the first few chapters of the book will provide a detailed but patchy history of climate change. The middle section will explain S et al's evidence, in laymans terms, and will include a fair number of impressive looking footnotes. The last third will dismiss all naysayers, and extrapolate wildly from the slender amount of actual evidence presented in the middle third.
Finally it will be rounded off by a postscript which will probably mention galileo or some other persecuted scientist.

It is not problem whether increase in CO2 concentrations is man-made or not, but how one can know that such incready will lead to considerably higher temperatures. It is firmly confirmed than in the past temperature changes precedeed increases in CO2 concentrations for centuries, so alegged causation CO2 increase - temeprature increase is flawed. According to IPCC, present concentration of CO2 is highest in last 650 000 years. But at least in Holocen optimum temperatures were much higher than the present (not to speak about MWP and RWP, that are "abolished" by Mr Connolley and his fellow high stickers from Hockey team). In Ordovik, a 440 millions of years ago CO2 concentrations were 18 times higher than now but majority of all continents were under glaciers.

So, if previous record shows that higher temepratures nmany times were not necessary acossiated with higher Co2 concntrations, why today will be (for whatever reasons high concentration occur? Simply, high stickers and mainstream politisized scince overturned causal relation upside-down to "prove" man-made global warming.

[This is all familiar and wrong. See for the CO2/T in ice cores. Moreover... in this case we *know* we have CO2 leading, because we know we're emitting it. Unless some magic has abolished physics, T will increase - by how much? Ask the IPCC. As for the Holocene "optimum": no, T was *not* much warmer than now. We don't have good global records, but see -W]

Ups, high stickers just have abolished Holocene optimum too. Madre mia. From the big-bang until XX Century we had "stable or slightly cooling" climate, and than Haliburton and Exxon Mobile start to "polute" and...

It is not correct that CO2 jump strictly speaking leaded warming. The wast portion of that warming occured before 1945 when CO2 emission was very modest. In the period of monotoncaly rising Co2 emission between 1945-1975 planet has cooled 0.3 degrees? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

In the past, T preceeded CO2 (and just the oposite is needed as necessary but not sufficient condition to prove that CO2 is to blame for modest XXth century warming). If positive feedback loop really function in the way you decribed here, than we cannot explain how it was possible for planet once starting to warm in the past to cool subsequently. If, yet, it was possible in the past, why it wouldn't be possible in the future? But, I have forgoten, planet has not been really warming never in the past until Haliburton and...

People, your reasoning is often Orvelian: Only future is always certain, just past is constatnly changing.

Thank you Prof. Rabett,
"Carbon Cycle" does indeed produce a wealth of articles mostly devoid of sermonizing.
I am learning that GW is a more complicated subject than it is usually given credit for being. Have vowed to keep mouth shut. Hope scientific community is soon able to explain all.

By Keith Rogstad (not verified) on 06 Mar 2007 #permalink

In the past, T preceeded CO2 (and just the oposite is needed as necessary but not sufficient condition to prove that CO2 is to blame for modest XXth century warming). If positive feedback loop really function in the way you decribed here, than we cannot explain how it was possible for planet once starting to warm in the past to cool subsequently. If, yet, it was possible in the past, why it wouldn't be possible in the future? But, I have forgoten, planet has not been really warming never in the past until Haliburton and...

People, your reasoning is often Orvelian: Only future is always certain, just past is constatnly changing.

You seem to be obsessed with Haliburton. No?

You also seem to be (conveniently) ignoring other factors of cooling and warming - like orbit and axial tilt - and are myopically focused on CO2 levels.

By wildlifer (not verified) on 06 Mar 2007 #permalink

I think alarmists are obsessed with Haliburton, not people like me. They rutinelly describe everyone critisizing them as fossil fuel industry stooge. But here you can find out that automobile and fossil fuel industry, as well as other corporate sectors finance alarmist and green organization much more than "sceptical" ones.

Also, alarmists, not me, ignore other sources of cooling and warming, not only orbit and axial tillt, but also sun.

[Its fun flinging allegations of stooge-ism around, and sometimes it helps; bbut its better to concentrate on the science (it would be nice to think that it all comes down to the science in the end, eh?). And who knows what the "alarmists" say, because after all who would admit to being one?

But no: the IPCC does not ignore other warmings or coolings. For example, ar4 spm fig 2 shows the best current assessment of various forcings since 1750. Solar is small, by that measure (everyone admits that: but Svensmark et al think you can amplify it via clouds. Others disagree). Orbital changes don't matter much on century timescales -W]

Nope, I've not seen any alarmists obsessing over Haliburton. I've seen plenty of people concerned about their work in Iraq though.

Moreover, Giovani, do you make the distinction between actual science and alarmists? You do realise that the latter are a small minority with big voices, as compared to the much larger number of sober scientists saying we have a problem?

There's more on Christy's take on it at

"The earth has warmed some in the past century and part of that is due to human effects," he said Monday in a telephone interview. "There is a warming, but not as dramatic as would cause you to be too alarmed.

"Christy's views, and others, are to be broadcast Thursday in a documentary titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle" to be broadcast on British Channel 4. The documentary argues that the theory of man-made global warming is so powerful politically that other climate change explanations are not properly aired. [lol!]

"Christy, who helped create a satellite global temperature tracking system, said temperatures today in Alabama are slightly cooler than in the late 19th century despite slight overall global-warming.

"The temperature of the planet is always rising or falling," he said. "If you had to choose, you want it warmer."

Sounds pretty much of a contrarian to me ...


[Christy is clearly a contrarian, not so much because of what he says (pretty well all of it is defenisble as technically true) but becaus eof what he doesn't. eg he chooses to say "how much is anthro? I don't know". Which may be true - he doesn't know. But he carefully avoids mentioning the IPCC view on it -W]

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

Giovanni wrote:

"Also, alarmists, not me, ignore other sources of cooling and warming, not only orbit and axial tillt, but also sun."

Alarmists might but *no* climatologists do. Why don't you read what the climatologists are actually writing instead of reading what other people wrongly claim they are writing? You could start with, and follow the links at There are many other in-depth discussions fo the effect of solar forcing on climate at

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

Hi William

"There is a warming, but not as dramatic as would cause you to be too alarmed" and his reference to the last century's warming as "slight" (in climatic terms is hasn't been slight) seem hard to defend as technically true to me.


[Both are essentially meaningless/undefined terms, so its impossible to complain too much. This is the "scientifically respectable" contrarianism - you say very little but imply things -W]

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

Something went wrong with my copy and paste for the last url I posted. My post should have read:

Also Giovani I would recommend you to read the following peer reviewed paper cover to cover (PDF):

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink


Also, alarmists, not me, ignore other sources of cooling and warming, not only orbit and axial tillt, but also sun.

No, actually in your dissertation above on current and past CO2 levels, you were doing exactly that.

And in your mind, is everyone who accepts AGW as "very likely," an alarmist?

By wildlifer (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

I wonder when we will see C4 or the BBC issuing an apology for not having fully reported the sceptical case over the last 15 years. When Stern was reported John Snow announced that they wouild be "reporting all sides" on this & immediately did a discussion between 3 catatstophists. Doubtless if the implication in your piece about C4 apologising, is that the programme had been found to be biased then you will be able to point to when Snow apologised for his lapse - after all the only alternative would be to accept that C$'s statement merely proves they are biased towards the warming story.

PS George Moonbat attacked Durkin previously for a programme saying the the previous breast implant scare was rubbish - it has since been proved it was but neither Moonbat nor the Grauniad has apologised.

Neil, would you also like them to apologise for not giving as much coverage to those who think there is no link between smoking and lung cancer as they give to those who do?

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

Ahh, good to see Neil venturing off the Scotsman. Been back to Tamino's place yet?

Sorry to keep asking about Christy but I still don't feel I have a handle on him, because according to Stephen Schneider at Christy has consistently maintained scientifically untenable positions on the rate of warming and on the satellite troposphere data, and has use mass email to attack the peer reviewed refutations of his position on that.

[Does S say that C has maintanined untenable positions? Asserting that most of the variability is natural, in 1997, was probably wrong but not untenable. He has strongly defended his own work on the T record, and has been found to be wrong, but its not too unreasonable to expect him to prefer his own. Its not exactly idealised scientist behaviour, but thats too much to hope for -W]


"In a 1997 hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Christy reemphasized his view that most of the rise in temperature that has occurred since the 19th century is not anthropogenic, but a result of natural variability, which he stated twice during a discussion at the hearing."

Aand a Cato Institute speech of his is quoted in which he states:

"I don't see danger, I see in some cases adaptation, and in others something like restrained glee at the thought of longer growing seasons, warmer winters and a more fertile atmosphere."

Which seems like a strong misrepresentation of the science to me.

[Well, danger, not for me to say -W]


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 07 Mar 2007 #permalink

No Dave but I would like them to do so for not giving coverage to those who say the passive smoking is not a serious health risk - something on which the evidence is unclear.

If you are saying that the evidence that by 2100 "the only habitable continent will be Antarctica" (Sir David King) is, or indeed can be prior to 2100, proven to the level lung cancer is, then you are entirely & completely wrong.

David King has never said any such thing!! And in any case he is not a climatologist. For a detailed summary what the peer-reviewed climatoligists actually project, read the 2001 IPCC report at instead of misquoting people.

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 08 Mar 2007 #permalink

Just watched was bad. Luckily I made notes, otherwise I would have spent my time shouting at the screen.

Same old suspects, saying the same old things. Most of the warming was before 1940. Temperatures decreased between 1940 and 1975, even when CO2 increased (absolutely no mention of sulphate aerosols, and Nigel Calder saying that the cooling hasn't been explained). Satellites and weather balloons show less warming in the mid-troposphere than the surface. Bigging up the 800 year lag between CO2 and T in the ice cores. Most of the sources of CO2 is natural, without mentioning that the increase is purely anthropogenic.

Interestingly, they interviewed Carl Wunsch, mostly saying sensible stuff, in support. I wonder if he knows what kind of programme he was contributing to?

It went on. The Sun drives global warming, citing Piers Corbyn. Bigging up the Friss-Christensen work from 1991, without mentioning the counter-arguments, and mysteriously stopping the graph around 1980. Nir Shaviv and the cosmic ray and cloud stuff. Solar is better correlated with the Artic temperatures than CO2 (what about global temperatures?) Piers Corbyn- the Sun drives climate change, and CO2 is irrelevant.

All about Nigel Calder and his Weather Machine programme in the 1970s. Most of the scientists were predicting global cooling. He included Bert Bolin with his theory that "CO2 might warm the world, but he wasn't sure". Apparently Calder got a lot of grief from "top experts" for including him. No mention of Arrehenius, CaLLendar, Keeling etc. Apparently Bert Bolin made it up all by himself. Helped by Maggie Thatcher to screw the miners (don't ask).

Maggie formed the IPCC, which predicted climatic disaster and totally disregarded all climate science up to that point, including the role of the Sun. Climate scientists are all in it for the money. Tim Ball claims that the Sun and water vapour are ignored, using an analogy of a car.

Polar ice caps are always contracting and expanding, which the programme illustrates with an animation which looks suspiciously like it includes the seasonal cycle. Scientists, again, are all in it for the money, but the skeptics are as pure as the driven snow. Pat Michaels was demonised for getting a bit of money from the coal industry.

Environmentalists are really evil for wanting to hold back development in the 3rd world. Some shots of poor African people burning dung and using delapidated solar panels. No mention that the Kyoto protocol does not impose limits on the developing country, and this is used as an argument (esp. in the US) against Kyoto.

Voices against GW are "effectively silenced". Surprising how often I hear that.

[Ha! See if your notes agree with mine - see latest post -W]

Well the one thing Monbiot does say about Martin Durkin's programme that I can find is that the claim that breast silicone implants have medical benefits was untrue and there was no attempt to prove it scientifically. I actually remember Martin Durkin replying to Monbiot on the programme Right to Reply in the late 90s..I remember him barking 'Shut Up! Shut up!' in a quite demented fashion. The old RWP were a very interesting group. Communists for capitalism! Yeah!

By Philip Martin (not verified) on 08 Mar 2007 #permalink

I'm typing up a complete transcipt of the programme. I won't put it on the web for general circulation, because that would only give contrarians something to link to; but I'm planning to use it as part of my evidence in a complaint I'm planning to write to Ofocm about such an intentionally misleading programme being shown by a public service broadcaster. (There's nothing wrong with a PSB airing minority points of view, but this wasn't simply airing a point of view, it was intentionally misleading; and also, for the *narrator* of a documentary documentary making statements like "you are being told lies" is outside the remit of PSB. An interviewee legitimately can say that sort of thing, but a narrator can't.

Anyway, is there anyone who'd be willing to help me with this project (not the typing up of the transcript, but the detailed rebutting of it)? If so, I could ask W if he could put us in touch with each other.


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 08 Mar 2007 #permalink

Dave Rado,

I would be happy to help, if I can.

Having watched the programme again I think the most hilarious part is its "statement of fact" that every single climatologist who subscribes to anthropogenic global warming, including those in the US, mainland Europe and the developing world, presumably, does so in order to please Margaret Thatcher. We're in "Israel blew up the world trade centre" territory here, methinks. :-)

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 08 Mar 2007 #permalink

"for the *narrator* of a documentary documentary making statements like "you are being told lies" is outside the remit of PSB"

Sounds like a good candidate for a Monckton-style line of scientific argument. They've opened themselves up for being sued by over a thousand potential litigants. Though it might be better to ignore it as I bet the programme will be forgotten pretty soon.


For some reason they covered Nir Shaviv instead of Svensmark, although the latter has had all the recent publicity - I wonder why? Nir Shaviv is such a "leading scientist" that Wikipedia doesn't have a page on him! Yet his "reserach" formed the central plank on which the rest of the programme rested. Anyone know whether any of his papers on GCRs and climate have been peer reviewed?


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 09 Mar 2007 #permalink

Yes,they have been rumbled,our respective governments selling the public a lie,they remind me of snake oil sellers,come on buy our elixir of life,it will put hairs on your chest and you will live to be 100,then they wheel out the person on crutches,stragegically placed in the audience,who takes a drink and suddenly throws away his crutches and the does a carl lewis round the auditorium,Bull Shit,the government is giving their scientists millions of pounds to come up with the proof of man made global warming,then,and here's the rub,they slam Billions of pounds worth of taxes onto the public,making it possible to fund the government scientists,and have a lot left over to fund there war on the so called islamic fascists,whilst giving credence to the eco fascists worldwide,is there no depths that our so called leaders will not trawl to manipulate public opinion,i hate them.

By Brian Clark (not verified) on 09 Mar 2007 #permalink

The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming COULD in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.

Could is not good enough you dont know do you..
Who is paying you

I've just received the following email from Carl Wunsch, whcih confirms that Martin Durkin has been true to type:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Wunsch"
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 2:31 PM
Subject: Re: Just wanted to check something

I've not seen it and the context was not at all what we
had agreed on. Was billed as a balanced discussion of the
threat of global warming As I began to see ads for the program, I realized I'd been duped. I'm wondering if there's some way I can get to see it. If you do register some kind of complaint, can you let me know what it says?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Rado"
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 4:05 AM
Subject: Just wanted to check something

Hi Carl

I've just been watching the Channel 4 documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" in which an extract from an interview with you was played. I just wanted to check whether you were aware of the context in which you were being interviewed, and that you would be made to appear to support the programme's thesis that AGW is a huge worldwide conspiracy and a fraud designed to con the public? I'm working on a complaint to the broadcasting regulator that governs Channel 4, hence my question.


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 09 Mar 2007 #permalink

"The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming COULD in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data."
Apparently this statement shows the level of proof required by the AGW alarmist community.

[Noooo... this is just the general idea. If you want the details, you'll have to read the appropriate papers. Oddly, I don't see you asking for details from the other side. Or perhaps their arguements are so obviously correct that no evidence or arguments are required? -W]

I wish that climate scientists would stick to science, and stay out of political economy, a field for which they are completely lacking in education or practical experience, having lived on public funds their entire lives.

[Errmm... why exactly are you bringing this up? -W]

By Crab Apple (not verified) on 09 Mar 2007 #permalink


I just wondered if it was worth asking John Christy (or even Lindzen) for any reaction to the programme as broadcast. It was demonstrably so far away from the truth that there's a chance Christy might disown it - interesting if Lindzen has any comments ?

Having been bitten by the hockey-stick (a graph which really put the wind up me) and having subsequently found that the data behind it was questionable in parts, I'm a bit wary of graphs relating to climate change. So I looked carefully at the solar/climate link on the C4 programme and noticed a curiously early cut-off at 1980. Manipulated graphs may make good PR, but they are bad science.

CO2/temp lag/lead: I don't know about you, but if the CO2 problem now will only cause real trouble in 2807AD then I'll probably not sell the gas guzzler. (A joke, a joke: it's an Ibiza that does 55 mpg, 60 on a good day)

One question: I keep seeing the simple assertion that 'we know it's anthropogenic CO2.' How do we know? The CO2 turnover is hundreds of gigatonnes and the residuum in the atmosphere is 2 Gt per year. Why is that 2 Gt, that less than one percent, ours? A simple couple of sentences should make it clear. Have we measured everything else and it's the left over term? Are we assuming that everything was in balance before so it must be us?


Hi Dave,
I would be more than happy to help out with the formal complain to Ofcom (I made this offer at the RC discussion board as well). It was me who wrote the deconstruction of the documentary at our Imperial College PhD blog, In the Green, here.

Having been bitten by the hockey-stick (a graph which really put the wind up me) and having subsequently found that the data behind it was questionable in parts,

It's been revised a bit, but that's all; and many subseqauent peer reviewed studies, all using different proxies and calibration methods, have confirmed its basic findings, that each record reveals that the 20th century is the warmest of the entire record, and that warming was most dramatic after 1920, even if they go up and down a lot more. See….

See also:…


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 10 Mar 2007 #permalink

Re. the first link in my previous post, if you click on it, it includes the full stop after the url in the web adress it tries to go to, so you have to delete that full stop in your address bar before it'll go to the right page. Sorry about that.

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 10 Mar 2007 #permalink

After seeing Gores film, I did my own research and many of the arguments in the great global warming swindle were the same as what I personally found. One compelling argument that I found not mentioned in the film is that every planet and moon with an atmosphere in the solar system is also showing signs of global warming. I have never seen this issue raised in the argument. A coincidence? or is it because the one common element is the sun? there's some very clear bias going on here, personal attacks and ignorance. Don't be fooled, although it is apparent you already have been.

[Um, curious to know what reliable sources yoy got this info from. But just for a starter... what is the evidence for Venus warming? -W]

Hi Jason

If you're setting out to do research about climate science, why don't you read what the climatologists (that is, the scientists who study the earth's climate) are writing, instead of reading propaganda and myths written by people who are not climatologists and who have an axe to grind? Or can you quote any peer reviewed scientific paper to back up your statement?

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 10 Mar 2007 #permalink

"CO2/temp lag/lead: I don't know about you, but if the CO2 problem now will only cause real trouble in 2807AD then I'll probably not sell the gas guzzler."

The interesting thing is, if the above was really the way things happened in the past (i.e. CO2 rose first and temperature started rising 800 years later, the opposite of reality), then that would actually be evidence that CO2 rise doesn't cause warming.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 11 Mar 2007 #permalink

Hi Dave
Your making assumptions regarding my sources, as for my claims all you have to do is google global warming on mars, global warming on jupiter, global warming on saturn, global warming on Triton and global warming on pluto. you'll find many legitimate scientific sources. I'm happy to have a look into any explanation you may have for this.

Sorry, that was the wrong URL. Ben Goldacre has the full version of the article he co-wrote on his blog:

Apparently the published version got cut for space.

Hi there,

While I agree that the swindle-tv program is mostly hyperbole, I'm still a bit pondering about the T vs co2 level correlation. Both sides seem to assume that's correct. Now, I understand that you claim it shouldn't be misinterpreted, and that the other 4200 years or so could well be due to CO2 still comes out weak.

I mean, the whole point of the *current* debate is that, due to our augmenting CO2 levels, we're going to have a global warmer climate. And well, that conclusion can't be made from the ice cores correlation, can it?

[Precisely correct. And it *isn't* made from that correlation. Take a look at, for example, -W]

So, the evidence from that source at most says "the cause is unknown, but CO2 might have contributed after the first 800 years". But that's something enterily different then what is claimed now, namely that due to industrialisation, the CO2 levels are rising, and temperature will augment (an ice will melt, and sea-level will rise, and what not).

So, unless there are other sources which clearly indicate CO2 is the source for global warming, it's rather unfounded to conclude the current global warming is due to human-created CO2, based on the correlations found in ice-cores between T and CO2 levels, correct?

Anyway, 'an inconvenient truth' did make a good impression on me, and I don't see why it would hurt to reduce CO2 where possible. On that note, I've read a few pages as criticism to the film (and global warming as a whole) in a popular (dutch) scientific magazine called Eos. I would rather be curious as to your rebutal of the criticism raised there. If you're interested, I could send a scanned page of it (or an english synopsis of it)?

As far as I am aware, all the ice cores are used for is to say "look, CO2 is important in the climate".

With regards to the current situation, we have many lines of inquiry dating back over 100 years to show that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere increased temperature, and that most of the warming in the past 50 years is our fault.

If you are interested there is a good book available online of the history of all this:

Ball does have a PhD dealing will studies climate, it appears, unlike most of the "hockey team" at realclimate. Does this not say so?

Are you guys not aware of Dr Mann and the "social network" of peer reviewers, per Dr. Wegman et al? It would seem Dr Mann had a hand in all the "recent" work concerning GW. Now they are trying to write off the Holocene period by first starting the summers were a little warmer. Nest the winters will be much colder and when you average out the whole period?? I notice the rise in CO2 right now coincides nicely with the 800-1000 yr lag from the MWP, just like the 600K+ ice cores said they would.

Nice try, hockey team. I hope your funding for bogus science starts to dry up now. Keep forcing those sulfate aerosols for 1940 to 1980 in the models, and oh, btw, tell Barron the Industrial revolution didn't start in 1800.

By Scientific skeptic (not verified) on 13 Mar 2007 #permalink

I tried to watch the whole thing, but got really cross. Apart from anything else, I felt it was quite poorly made, I'm personally really tired of watching sensationalist reporting of this kind, from either side of the argument. I found An Inconvenient Truth a bit tedious for the same reason.

My one lasting impression of TGGWS is that they spent a disproportionate amount of time persuading us that Russians can get malaria. The whole "tropical disease spreading north" argument was never one that I felt underpinned the whole argument for AGW, nor can it seriously be described as that serious a problem in relative terms, yet a great deal of time was spent on the subject.

I also liked the financial-benefits-of-peddling-agw argument. All those fatcat scientists raking in millions, please!

"it's rather unfounded to conclude the current global warming is due to human-created CO2, based on the correlations found in ice-cores between T and CO2 levels, correct?"

The expectation is that the variation in CO2 in the ice-cores is probably responsible for a variation of about 1.9 degrees C (i.e. the warming associated with an increase from 180ppm to 280ppm). The other 6 degrees C of warming from the last glacial maximum was caused by other factors, most importantly reduction in ice area. (There was another post on this subject recently.) As William pointed out, this is not the evidence for AGW. A conclusion from the ice-cores is that warming (including warming caused by anthropogenic CO2) is likely to liberate more CO2 into the atmospere, although hopefully, judging by the ice-cores, this will take hundreds of years.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Mar 2007 #permalink

The social network thing is interesting. It is what his grad student Said was doing at Hopkins. Of course, the only reason she got involved in the Wegman thing was a social network, which kind of leads to an infinite regression...

But if you really want to see social networks, take a look at

I've now got to the bottom of the David King quote. The Independent article twisted what he said and took it out of context. What he actually said, and it's context, is at:…

He was *not* predicting that we'd all have to move to Antarctica; what he actually said, not to the press but to a House of Commons select committee, was: "Fifty-five million years ago was a time when there was no ice on the earth; the Antarctic was the most habitable place for mammals, because it was the coolest place, and the rest of the earth was rather inhabitable because it was so hot. It is estimated that it was roughly 1,000 parts per million then, and the important thing is that if we carry on business as usual we will hit 1,000 parts per million around the end of this century."

Now, even this includes hyperbole; and it fails to mention that Antarctica was not located over the South Pole back then - see
so comparing Antarctica then and now is like comparing apples and oranges but it is still very different indeed from the quote in the Independent and the even more lurid quotes that have been extrapolated from that article such as in the Swindle programme when it claimed King had said "humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic".

I still deplore this sort of hyperbole, even if it isn't nearly as serious as the Independent article made it sound. But even more I deplore people twisting what people say and taking it out of context as has happened with this quote.

In any case, *climatologists* are not using hyperbole and never have. What they are saying is, we have a problem, it will be very serious if we don't act, but much less serious if we do act. That's based on hard science, not hyperbole.


By Dave Rado (not verified) on 14 Mar 2007 #permalink

Whoever is right in the end can only benefit from movies like this, as well as movies like Al Gore's. At least they're turning the discussion into a debate about science, rather than a discussion about religion with religious fundamentalists.

k2keeffe, I don't see how most people would benefit from being intentionally misinformed - misinforming people isn't legitimate debate. Legitimate debate is about putting forward a sincerely held point of view, it is not about mendacity. Given the importance of the issue, simply lying to people in a very slick programme is the hight of irresponsibility, in my opinion.

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 14 Mar 2007 #permalink

If anyone else encounters that David king misquote in other blogs, you can link to this debunking of it if you like.

By Dave Rado (not verified) on 17 Mar 2007 #permalink

Some comments specifically on the part of the show that addressed climate charge and the Third World: This portrayed an extreme environmentalist view point on climate change and inaccurately applied it to developing nations. It poorly addressed how the reducing the impact of climate change practically pertains to developing countries and completely ignored the effects - current and potential - of climate change on people there... Or maybe they were just being tongue-in-cheek; I never really understood British humour, smiley faces are as sophisticated as I get :)

But anyways, as someone working in renewable energy in Nigeria, I found many of the assertions and arguments to ring particularly false to the reality on the ground. These four points in particular:

- "The polices being pushed to prevent global warming are having a disastrous effect on the world poorest people." The only part of the Kyoto Protocol's climate change policy that directly affects developing countries is the opportunity for partial sponsorship of clean energy projects in developing nations through carbon trading schemes such as the Clean Development Mechanism. CDM has been estimated to free up around $10 billion for clean energy projects in developing nations. The issue with CDM is that Africa is currently getting a meager share as governments like China and India's were more able to organize to access this funding. I don't think that's quite the "disastrous effect" Paul Driessen alleges. Since there are no proposed policies that I'm aware of requiring Africans to limit their CO2 emissions, I'm not quite clear what policy he's referring to...

- The implication that all renewable energy, particularly solar, is too expensive and inadequate. (via one improperly sized photovoltaic system!) The claim that renewable energy is three times more expensive than conventional grossly oversimplifies energy costs in Africa - where cost per unit energy can be many times that of North America. For instance, the convention in Nigeria is that anyone who can afford it buys a generator as a backup power source since the grid is only up about a third of the time. The office I'm working estimates they spent the equivalent of 10 bucks a day on fuel alone or about $50/week. Since we installed a $6000 solar system 2 months ago, we've only had to use the gen once (when the grid was off for a week straight). So our PV system will pay for itself in a little more than two years while most of the components (excluding the batteries) are supposed to last for 15-20 years. However, the majority of people don't have that much cash to put up at the onset and interest rates are 18-30% here... assuming one could get a (very scarce) loan approved for something as uncommon as a PV system. So solar is too expensive much the same way buying a house is too expensive compare to renting - it actually can be cheaper in the long term but only if people can access loans. Granted, there are quite a few other issues with solar, but it's deceptive to claim nobody in Africa can afford it.

- Africa is being told by climate change activists "Don't touch your resources" Well yes, they're right that Africa has oil. But no one, not even environmentalists, would or could argue that Africa shouldn't benefit from it. Let's just be practical about who is currently benefiting from those resources. In Nigeria, only one thousandth of the oil produced here is used by Nigerians. And the profits from the exports mainly go to the international oil companies and very rich politicians. The current climate change movement is not playing an even incremental role in keeping Africans from benefiting from their resources, especially compare to the (incredibly complex) economic and political systems that have evolved over the past two centuries. Please, let's be realistic - if this is seriously a concern then climate change is the wrong scapegoat.

- Energy infrastructure in developing nations is being [though I'm assuming they meant 'should be' ] restricted to wind and solar as part of the global warming campaign. No one is actually advocating this. There are certainly people encouraging alternative energies to be included in a diverse energy mix and for very good reasons: Africa is still expanding its energy infrastructure which making both grid connected and decentralized alternative energy option cost-competitive in some situations. However, since these technologies aren't as well-established they may not otherwise be considered. Diversification of non-fossil fuel energy also makes nations less vulnerable to fossil fuels' unpredictable costs. Most developed nations planned their infrastructure in an era when fossil fuels were assumed to be endless and benign. Now they have a host of issues because of it. Shouldn't developing countries learn from this and use it as an opportunity to develop better than the West? Due to the vastly different situations pertaining to North American and African electricity development the 'We're slow at adopting alternative energies and it's even more difficult for them to' line doesn't necessarily hold. But that's not to say that renewables, especially solar, don't have some major challenges in order to be effectively utilized. (Detailed post on that here: ) Some of those challenges do require large scale action, but not one simple solution (that would make the topic too easy and uninteresting :)

1. I applaud most folks here for sticking to a debate about theories and empirical data.

2. As a skeptic of AGW, what I don't get is how the proponents can make a clear connection between the marginal change in C02 due to people and a future dangerous climate change when there is not a good theory of global climate dynamics.

3. As for ice-core data. All they show relevant to the present is that C02 is a statistically relevant factor in explaining those data. Umm. That's pretty much it. Because climate is such a dynamic and interwoven system, it's just ... well ... goofy to pick out a single parameter like human C02 production and use a kind of causal language with it. Nobody actually has the slightest clue as to what equilibrium state the climate will be in in 50 years.

4. Models: I'm a modeler. These models do NOT represent nature in any way. That's a simple misunderstanding of the nature of computer modeling. If one use's realistic physics in a computer game, then, yes, some aspects of nature are represented. But climate science has nothing like the laws of dynamics and kinetics. But even a model with equations from science coded into it require a hundred assumptions and shortcuts.

5. I'd be much less skeptical if climate scientists could list all the first order factors relevant not just to temperature data changing, but to other keep climate phenomena. But they cant. Because there's no unified theory of the planet's climate. Also, in a dynamic an chaotic system the interdependencies between parameters can be really hard to model and interpret.

6. I'm an environmentalist and believe strongly in transitioning away from a fossil fuel civilization. But this has nothing to do with the temperature rise since 1890 being 0.6c (+/- 0.2). All the money going to climate scientists for global warming research should be going into research into new kinds of energy technologies/ideas.

cheers to all sides

By chris Fitzmartin (not verified) on 21 Mar 2007 #permalink

Taking your point 2, Chris, I really don't think anyone is talking about human CO2 production showing up in ice cores. They know all about the correlation, or lack of, so I fail to see what point you are making.

Also, can you define a climatic equilibrium?

As for models, I am pretty sure that the climate modellers do actually use real life physics and dynamics in their models. That's why they have been fairly accurate so far.
Claiming that the models dont represent nature in any way seems to me to be an out and out lie.

"what I don't get is how the proponents can make a clear connection between the marginal change in C02 due to people and a future dangerous climate change when there is not a good theory of global climate dynamics"

I know very little about the theory of air convection dynamics in my house but I think I can rely on the basic laws of heat flow to tell me that putting more insulation on my house will make it warmer with the same heating.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 23 Mar 2007 #permalink

Things that are going to affect climate to first order, in order of current importance

1. Greenhouse gas concentrations (growing like topsy, effect lasts for centuries for CO2, for ~5-10 years for CH4, forever for CxFy))
2. Solar insolation (been very constant lately, effect is short term)
3. Aerosols (less than a year, but we keep on pumpin em out
4. Major vertical volcanic eruption (Krakatoa, Pinatubo, not Mt. St. Helen's blew out sideways, last for 1-2 years)
5. Land use (some + some - on balance neutral except for associated emissions of greenhouse gases)

See the SPM. Your ignorance is your problem.

Spam alert at #79.

[Should be gone now -W]

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 27 Aug 2011 #permalink

Kind of appropriate that those latest comments were posted to a thread about ... swindles.

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