06 Mar 2007

British Documentary -‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ – To Air Thursday

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Britain’s Channel 4:

In a polemical and thought-provoking documentary, film-maker Martin Durkin argues that the theory of man-made global warming has become such a powerful political force that other explanations for climate change are not being properly aired.

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.

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. It argues that the present single-minded focus on reducing carbon emissions not only may have little impact on climate change, it may also have the unintended consequence of stifling development in the third world, prolonging endemic poverty and disease.

The film features an impressive roll-call of experts, including nine professors — experts in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, environmental science, biogeography and paleoclimatology — from such reputable institutions as MIT, NASA, the International Arctic Research Centre, the Institut Pasteur, the Danish National Space Center and the Universities of London, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Winnipeg, Alabama and Virginia.

The film hears from scientists who dispute the link between carbon dioxide levels and global temperatures.

‘The ice core record goes to the very heart of the problem we have’ says a respected climatology expert in the documentary. ‘They said if CO2 increases in the atmosphere, as a greenhouse gas, then the temperature will go up’.

In fact, the experts in the film argue that increased CO2 levels are actually a result of temperature rises, not their cause, and that this alternate view is rarely heard. ‘So the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans, is shown to be wrong.’

‘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 an emminent earth science expert. ‘Well I am one scientist, and there are many, that simply think that is not true.’

21 Feedbacks on "British Documentary -‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ – To Air Thursday"

Nick Brooks

Readers might be interested to know that the people behind this documentary are ex members of the UK Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), who used to publish the magazine LM, once “Living Marxism”, the official newsletter of the RCP. They continue to push the agenda they promoted within the RCP through the Institute of Ideas and the online magazine spiked. If anyone wants to check them out, try a Google search of “Martin Durkin Against Nature” (the title of another anti-environment documentary by this programme’s director from the 1980s), or “LM group revolutionary communist party”.

I’ll declare my interest – I’m a climate scientist, and in my view (based on a decade of work in this area) this programme has completely misrepresented the science, and the positions of the scientists they accuse of being behind this “conspiracy”. But hey, dig around on the web and see what the Revolutionary Communists behind this stuff are up to, and make you own mind up about their legitimacy.


Nick Brooks

Laurence Roberts

Interesting comment there (must confess having just watched it it left a strange taste in my mouth ).
However i am interested in the sunspot theories and yourself being an climate scientist can you not elaborate more for us lay people


Thanks for the Head-up, Nick. I’d never have guessed that Nigel Lawson (Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher) was an ex member of the UK Revolutionary Communist Party.

Chris Betterton

Twenty years of believing in man made global warming and the associated guilt completely wasted. Great!

If Durkin is still an anti-scientist communist, why did the documentary clearly acknowledge that the green movement saw an influx of communists and radicals after the collapse of communism, and that that influx helped to politicise the green movement as anti capitalist?

Sean Galbally

Having been trained as an engineer, I am analytical by nature. I am always sceptical when presented with conclusions from non technical people supposedly based on scientific data. The data used is usually selected to suit the required outcome. I have tried to analyse the information on global warming currently in the public domain. There have always been a number of conflicts with the conclusions not always following the data. It was therefore extremely gratifying to be able to watch a film that appeared to cover the arguments for and against man’s contribution to global warming in a clear and logical manner. Hopefully the conclusions will be made public enough to correct the one sided and dangerous situation currently being peddled to a gullible public by vested interests throughout the world.

kenny williams

great documentary , there is only one thing that effects climate on earth and its called the sun.

Dave Winters

Fantastic program. It really opened my eyes to some alternative ideas and arguments. I did a small bit of research on it and have found out that one of the claims made by the makers seem to be a lie however;

“Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities.
Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1999, 1992). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts. Emissions of CO2 by human activities, including fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring, amount to about 22 billion tonnes per year (24 billion tons) [ ( Marland, et al., 1998) – The reference gives the amount of released carbon (C), rather than CO2.]. Human activities release more than 150 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes–the equivalent of nearly 17,000 additional volcanoes like Kilauea (Kilauea emits about 13.2 million tonnes/year)!”


One lie doesn’t mean the whole argument is flase, but if they lied about that, what else did they lie about??? Shoddy journalism to say the least…

M Pearce

Thank god some one ha the guts to come out with this show, I thought it was brilliant. I think the fact that a mere 20-30 years ago people were worried about a ice age says it all! The greenies can pack their bags and their anti-co2 flags& go home -finally the general public has been exposed to the truth.


Ref : Nick Brooks
It is noticeable that despite your decade of experience in climnate science, you did not even try to dispute a single scientific point. Instead, you went straight for the ad hominem attack. So it is hard to take you very seriously.

Ref : Sean Galbally
If you are serious about wanting to take an anaytical approach to this stuff, you need to visit the site

I think you will like what you find.

Sunil Vanmullem

This program confirmed that the case of man made global warming was based on bad science. I’ve always wondered how CO2 could be considered to be a pollutant when most living creatures (except tube worms possibly) produce it. I was captivated and thrilled that someone had the guts to state the obvious.

Where the program lost me was the conspiracy theory regarding economics which contained little scientific rigor that they themselves demand from others.

The debunking of global warming, isn’t however a ticket to live an unsustainable, polluting life as regardless of whether the planet survives mankind we have a responsibility to protect resources for future generations.

As for comments on this forum about people being communists – whats that got to do with the price of fish?

Sunil Vanmullem
Bracknell, England

John McKeown

A critique by Sir John Houghton of Channel4’s “Great Global Warming Swindle” is online at http://www.jri.org.uk



At least one scientists was mislead by the makers of “Global Warming Swindle” and is embarrassed that his name is associated with it.

john greenacre

to Nick Brookes

Interestingly and as predicted, those who seek to defend accepted theories on global warming immediately choose to attack the messanger of any contrary theory. You did a very good job of this and gave us no data or facts to counter the arguments given in the programme – well done.


Nick Brooks,

No, you are not a scientist.

Scientists use facts to disprove an hypothesis and don’t try to prove their pet hypothesis by employing ad hominem attacks such as “Readers might be interested to know that the people behind this documentary are ex members of the UK Revolutionary Communist Party”.

Was does their party affiliation has to do with the evidence supporting or contrary to your hypothesis?

Therefore, readers might be interested to know that ad hominem attacks are only used if the facts are not convincing.

Andrew Lane

Um … actually guys, I think maybe hold yer horses on this one …

I first heard about The Great Global Warming Swindle in the Barley Mow the other night (which is near Channel 4) and a couple of blokes were talking about it, and one was banging on about how he was going to take the mick out of his girlfriend for driving a green hybrid car, but the other one was like “No, no, look, I can’t tell you anything till after but look at *the title* when you get home. It’ll all become clear …” Then he clammed up with a big smug grin on his face. His mate went a bit thoughtful after that.

Thinking about it, it all makes sense:

1) Channel 4 are the guys who brought us that Chris Morris news spoof thing, Space Cadets (where the experiment was to see if they could get gullible people to believe they were in space), and that thing with Dom Joly (can’t remember the name) …

2) They’ve already tangled with the director of this film before. Last time the watchdog forced them to do an apology because his last job for them was all made up – they’d never take him on for anything serious again – they’d be roasted alive, surely?

3) The whole thing was beardies that no-one had heard of, retired ex-boffins, an ex-magazine hack and an old Thatcher crony – all of whom could afford a temporary dent in their reps, and all of whom could do with a few extra quid for an interview!

4) The clue’s in the ****ing title for ****’s sake!!!!!! :-)

OMG we are talking April, May, June and July fool here! Getting people to believe that global warming’s all down to sunspots!? And they had it in the Middle Ages!!? And Al Gore’s chart’s the wrong way round???

I’ll be keeping my eye on next week’s Comic Relief, or maybe they’ll do a few more like this, get a few on the spot reactions and blow the game at Christmas?

Watch this space :))


The Director Martin Durkin has a poor track record with his “science” documenatries. He’s like an older version of Dylan Avery: facts don’t trouble him none.

Maybe one day a great documentary will be produced that does debunk the AGW theory.

sadly, this wasn’t it.

Better luck next time, folks.

Nick Brooks

Oh dear. It seems that one can’t point out the background of people peddling propaganda as science without being accused of mud slinging. All I was trying to to by pointing out that the makers of “The Great Global Warming Swindle” were part of the post Revolutionary Communist “movement” was to alert people to their ideological motives. I didn’t go into detail on the science as these arguments have been done to death many times before. On my blog I point people to http://www.realclimate.org. This just saves me the bother of going through the same old stuff again. One of the things climate sceptics like to do is tie up research time by engaging scientists in stupid non-debates. Have a look at realclimate.org yourselves if you want to see the arguments – the same that you’d get from me.

As for me not being a scientist, I have a PhD in climatology with the title “Dust climate interactions in the Sahel-Sahara zone of northern Africa, with particular reference to late twentieth century Sahelian drought.” You can download it from the web if you like. It wasn’t on metaphysics or English literature.

As for global warming being my pet theory, well, sorry, but I can’t claim the credit.

As for scientists not being allowed to comment on the ideological background of a group of people bent on distorting science in the name of propaganda to support their own particular fantasy world, well, bollocks to that. If you think I’m just making that up, then check them out. You’ll find that I’m not.

Keep up the hysteria guys – it’s great fun to watch ;-)

Stranger Here Myself

I’m sure we’re all most grateful to Nick Brooks for alerting us to the Marxist background of Martin Durkin. In other news, George Orwell was a lifelong socialist and even fought for a Trotskyist faction in Spain–so I guess we’ll all just have to throw out our copies of 1984 and Animal Farm.

As a ‘rightie’ it can be a shock to find that there a few on the Left who genuinely seek the betterment of their fellow man and are not simply out for unearned power and wealth for themselves; who are rational, and debate using fact and logic, and even *change* their views in response to new facts or superior logic. People such as George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens and the spiked team. Lefties with integrity. Who knew?

But it’s good that Nick Brooks considers being a former Marxist an insult. Like Martin Amis in his anti-communist polemic Koba the Dread, I too consider that it should be a source of blackest shame for anyone to have once been a Leftie, as much as it is to have once been a nazi.

Remember that clip in TGGWS of the bloke ranting at a public rally? That was Robert Newman, a comedian and novelist. He was shown branding the Dutch company of Shell as “climate criminals” and insisting it be taken into “public ownership” and its directors sent to “rehabilitation camps”. Confiscating foreign privately-owned businesses and arresting and detaining their directors indefinitely? With Greens like that who needs Communists?

Stranger Here Myself

Correction to above, I’ve just watched the video again here and Rob Newman didn’t demand that Shell’s directors be sent to rehabilitation camps. His exact words were:
61:33- “British-based corporations are some of the worst climate criminals on the planet. Shell is based in the UK, right here in London–we have the right and the duty to take it back [sic] into public ownership, dismantle it, break it up, and send its managers to rehabilitation training…”

One hopes for the sake of Shell’s *managers* that the “rehabilitation training” resembles the tedious diversity and whatnot training some of us are forced to endure at work, and not Castro’s methods.

Btw, spiked post-broadcast interview with Martin Durkin here.

Laurie Malyon

The level of comment and debate is very low so it seems many people here have a vested interest themselves perhaps. Surely the key points to be refuted are firstly that the programme claimed that CO2 lags behind temperature change with the conclusion that the former produces increases (or dereases) in the latter. Secondly, that sun spot activity is responsible for temperature change.

I thought the programme was excellent but if it is wrong can someone please demonstrate that these two core points are not supported by the evidence shown in the programme. Nothing else matter and certainly not anyone’s political persuasion.

Greg Janzen

RE: Nick Brooks’ entries on this blog.

I am troubled by your entries, Nick. Quite apart from the horrendous ad hominem (not all ad hominems are fallacious, but yours surely is…e.g., one may be motivated to oppose abortion by a fervent belief in the sanctity of all life, but it by no means follows that one’s argument against abortion is unsound), in one of your posts you tell those who disagree with you to “keep up the hysteria.” This kind of response is most unbecoming of a PhD, and it just stifles productive debate.
In any case, I’m an educated layperson who believes, tentatively, that global warming is an anthropogenic phenomenon. However, ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ raises some interesting questions, questions to which I would like answers. So, given that you seem fond of showing off how smart you are, I’d like to pose the following two questions to you: (1) If the anthropogenic theory of global warming is correct, then why did (if it did) the most dramatic temperature increase of this century occur at around 1940, well before humankind’s co2 emissions started skyrocketing? (2) The scientists in ‘Swindle’ point out that, in general, the rise in global temperature has PRECEDED the rise in co2 levels, and not vice versa? This is puzzling, for if the rise in co2 levels is the cause of the rise in global temperature, then it should be the other way around. After all, causes precede their effects. So my question is this: how does the anthropogenic model account for this phenomenon?


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