Saturday, March 10, 2007

Swindled: undermining the fragile consensus

Damaging setback? Channel 4's documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle’ has inflicted damage on what looked like the beginnings of a widespread consensus on climate change and upon our taking responsibility for it. This is sad because building such a consensus has taken years and many waverers will have been convinced by this programme's false polemics which appear to give a green light to our understandable desires to continue our energy-extravagant lifestyles.

A propaganda gift: George Marshall (COIN) writes: "this programme was a propaganda gift to the various vested interests who seek to undermine the fragile political and social will to take action on this global action. And it was sometimes very convincing, as strongly worded opinions often are when they are not subject to any verification or external challenge." In The Great Channel 4 Swindle, he looks in detail at what was claimed and who was saying it. Some of the names should be well known by now. They are the professional deniers who are skilled at misrepresenting climate science but, as Marshall says, you can "make up your own minds from their track records" which he presents.

Hornswoggled! RealClimate - 'climate science from climate scientists' - offers a detailed critique of the Channel 4 programme titled Swindled! In a post written by two climate modellers, one from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and the other from the British Antarctic Survey, they (tongue in cheek perhaps) say "We were hoping for important revelations and final proof that we have all been hornswoggled by the climate Illuminati, but it just repeated the usual specious claims we hear all the time. We feel swindled." As one of the many comments on this thorough analysis notes, "yet another tin of red herrings to rebut".

Red herrings and outrage: And if RealClimate isn't enough proof for you, try Campaign against Climate Change (you may need to scroll down the page to see the article). Here, the red herrings get their comeuppance with numerous links to the detailed science behind the issues. As someone asks, what is Channel 4's agenda? Finally, this useful site gives an example of letters of complaint to C4 and Ofcom if you were 'outraged that Channel 4 aired the programme with no caveats'.


Derek said...

I've got to say, I'd much rather we reached a point of general consensus about climate change after vigorous debate than otherwise.

Imagine if everyone initially believed it all, only to find the predictions were completely wrong. Science would be seen to have cried "Wolf!" and might not be believed again for a generation.

Now that would be damage.

Personally, I think the IPCC has been very conservative in what it has said, and that that's a good thing. If they start to scream, nobody will say "pull the other one!"

Ani said...

The experts seem to have trouble accurately predicting tomorrows weather. They then expect us to believe that they know what happened 650,000 years ago and what will happen in 20 years time.
The weather goes in cycles.We have only been record keeping the weather details for a short time.It has changed without any help from man, previously as in the Great Ice Age & it will continue to do so.I think mans impact is small to climate change.