Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The "great global warming swindle" swindle

The brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant Ben Goldacre reports on a fantastic article from the Indie on the (increasingly laughable) Channel 4 doc "the Great Global Warming Swindle" (GGWS).

To whet your appetite, here are Connor's graphs:

Martin Durkin, the writer and director of the GGWS, has form in this area. The ITC ruled that his 1997 documentary "Against Nature" (also for Channel 4)

"The programmes breached the Programme Code in respect of the failure to make the four interviewees adequately aware of the nature of the programmes, and the way their contributions were edited. The Commission directed Channel 4 to issue an on-screen apology to the individuals concerned."

Durkin's editorial fastidiousness is apparent for all to see in the Connor article:

[C]rucially, the axis along the bottom of the [Global Temperature] graph has been distorted in the C4 version of the graph, which made it look like the information was up-to-date when in fact the data ended in the early 1980s.

Mr Durkin admitted that his graphics team had extended the time axis along the bottom of the graph to the year 2000. "There was a fluff there," he said.

If Mr Durkin had gone directly to the Nasa website he could have got the most up-to-date data. This would have demonstrated that the amount of global warming since 1975, as monitored by terrestrial weather stations around the world, has been greater than that between 1900 and 1940 - although that would have undermined his argument.

"The original Nasa data was very wiggly-lined and we wanted the simplest line we could find," Mr Durkin said.

Very "wiggly-lined"? And Channel 4 pay this man to make science documentaries? They'll be paying Jade Goody to make documentaries on race relations next.


Martin Sewell said...

Looking at Wikimedia's graphs of global temperature, true temp and solar activity and the 1,000 year temp record I'd award the top graph to The Independent, but the other two are harder to call.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Channel 4 are up to their old, shock and awe tricks again with another programme, this time in the guise of Dispatches, trying to discredit carbon off-setting and green energy tariff schemes…. I’ve found the following summary of the programme. Will be interesting to see which ‘experts’ they have consulted and whether they’ll be more scientific and balanced in their treatment of the subject this time.

Channel 4 News Science Correspondent Tom Clarke dissects the many 'solutions' to global warming being marketed to consumers, from tree planting and carbon offsetting to green energy tariffs.

Great Green Smokescreen

Days after Live Earth partied for the planet, Dispatches reveals how attempts to buy our way out of climate crisis may not be delivering. Channel 4 News' Science Correspondent Tom Clarke dissects the many 'solutions' to global warming - from carbon off-setting to green energy tariffs.

Jetting off on holidays and mini-breaks - we're increasingly turning to off-setting to alleviate our environmental guilt. It's a boom industry, with dozens of new companies springing up each year to offset everything from weddings to babies' nappies.

The UK's biggest players have a collective turn-over in excess of £2m. And now big business is in on the act with Barclays, HSBC and Sky off-setting themselves and Dell and BP selling offsets to their customers.

But are offsets really the answer in the fight against global warming? Clarke investigates a number of projects - from tree-planting in the UK to pig manure in Mexico - all of which are supposed to cancel out our carbon footprint. But do these projects stand up to scrutiny?

So what else should consumers consider? Green energy tariffs look appealing, but research commissioned for Dispatches shows they often don't make a watt of difference.

Carbon labelling is being talked up a storm, but scientists tell Dispatches that labelling may not be a credible reality for some time to come.

One way of making a difference, Clark discovers, might be to take direct personal action to lower our own carbon emissions. But given the small amount of savings each of us can make as individuals, is that any more than a token gesture?

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