The ‘Great Global Warming Swindle’: lies and innuendo

(Update: some insights on climate change denialists here: “almost entirely white males … most past retirement age [and most] affiliated with rightwing think tanks“)

The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary aired on Channel 4 in March 2007, appears to be doing the rounds in SA.  The film argues against the scientific consensus that man-made greenhouse gases are the cause of global warming and posits the whole story as a huge scam. When a client recently queried the relevance of carbon initiatives given this “swindle”, I had a look.  

What an insidious little piece it is, replete with outright lies and various misleading innuendos. There was, happily, a significant flood of criticisms of the programme in the UK, including those of two contributors who claimed misrepresentation, the British Antarctic Survey, various groups of scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Of course, these refutations do not accompany the movie as it trots around the world on memory sticks.

Amazing the insinuation that those convinced by the climate change evidence are a bunch of radicals / greenies / gullible idiots. If only this were true. The IPCC co-ordinates research from over 2,000 climate scientists around the world who agree that there is no longer any debate as to whether climate is changing (it is), that the cause is anthropogenic (it is) and that we are in a serious pickle (we are). In fact the IPCC predictions (which are pretty sobering in themselves) are being shown to be conservative: the actual measurements for global CO2 concentrations and temperature increase are greater than the high-end scenarios suggested by the IPCC models

As Jim Hansen of NASA (hardly the most radical or conspiratorial of organisations) stated last year: “The point at which major climate disruption is inevitable is already upon us”.

Even in the interests of spurring public debate, the screening and continued distribution of distorted information on climate change carries a serious tax: diverting attention from the collective effort required to ensure a viable future for humankind. If the skeptics win this one, we all lose.

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