By Ian Angus
Last month’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the science is absolutely clear. Climate change is real and human activity is the primary cause. That ended the debate, right? Wrong.
Anyone who expects rational behaviour from the most vehement defenders of the badly-misnamed “free enterprise system” will be sadly disappointed. Despite mountains of scientific evidence, despite the fact that every counter-argument has been examined and proved inadequate, the climate change denial industry is continuing with business as usual.
And it isn’t just the lunatic fringe, the climate equivalents of the Flat Earth Society. The denial lobby is strong and well-financed. They no longer expect to win outright, but they are keeping the doubt-machine running, in a continuing effort to ensure that the rights of big industry to pollute are not unduly limited.
Here in Canada, the editorial page of the influential Financial Post provides a regular platform for the denial crowd. Scarcely a day goes by without a Post article or editorial “exposing” climate change as a socialist hoax. The paper regularly features one-time environmentalist Lawrence Solomon’s profiles of climate change deniers, all of whom have been unfairly ignored by the group-think conformity-loving tree-hugging climate change fanatics.
But the biggest post-IPCC propaganda effort to date by the Denial Industry is The Great Global Warming Swindle, a made-for-TV documentary that was shown on the UK’s Channel 4 on March 8.
According to Channel 4’s publicists:
“The film brings together the arguments of leading scientists who disagree with the prevailing consensus that carbon dioxide released by human industrial activity is the cause of rising global temperatures today.”
That was the promise — the reality was much less impressive. For 90 minutes, the film retailed the views of the usual handful of climate change deniers. Nothing they said was new, and everything they said has been thoroughly refuted by actual scientists many times over.
The only credible scientist they included, Carl Wunsch of MIT, has dissociated himself from the film and charged that the producers misled him about the project. “Fundamentally,” he says, “I was the one who was swindled.”
“As I made clear, both in the preliminary discussions, and in the interview itself, I believe that global warming is a very serious threat that needs equally serious discussion and no one seeing this film could possibly deduce that. What we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance or explanation of why many of the extended inferences drawn in the film are not widely accepted by the scientific community.” (http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/responseto_channel4.htm)
But The Great Climate Change Swindle wasn’t about science and it wasn’t addressed to the scientific community. This was politics, pure and simple. As George Monbiot wrote:
“Just as the government launches its climate change bill and Gordon Brown and David Cameron start jostling to establish their green credentials, thousands have been misled into believing there is no problem to address.” (The Guardian, March 13)
So far as I’m aware, The Great Climate Change Swindle has only been broadcast in the UK. Perhaps the rapid and widespread exposure of its blatant falsification of data and misrepresentation of science will keep this particular piece of crap on the shelf — but don’t bet on that. The climate change denial industry has never allowed truth to stand in its way.
That isn’t rational — but neither is the economic system they’re defending.
Some critiques of The Great Climate Change Swindle:
- RealClimate (March 9, 2007)
- Ross Gelbspan (March 13, 2007)
Stuff and Nonscience
- George Monbiot (Guardian, March 13)
Don’t let truth stand in the way of a red-hot debunking of climate change
- Climate Change Denial (March 9, 2007)
The Great Channel 4 Swindle
- Indymedia Ireland (March 9, 2007)
Climate Change: Answering the Sceptics (and Channel 4)
- Campaign Against Climate Change (March 9 2007)
Channel 4: Great Global Warming Swindle
- The Observer (March 4 2007)
Why Channel 4 has got it wrong over climate change