Another LM network swindle (18/3/2007)

1.Another LM network swindle
2.Global warming is a 'weapon of mass destruction'


1.Another LM network swindle

Channel 4's recent screening of 'The Great Global Warming Swindle', a TV documentary that claimed accepted theories about global warming were 'lies', has attaracted a lot of comment, much of it adverse.

In particular, the programme's director, Martin Durkin, has come under considerable scrutiny, as has his links to the LM network. The prime time apology Channel 4 was forced to broadcast by the Independent Television Commission, following a previous Durkin documentary series, has also attracted quite a bit of notice.

Adding to the embarrassment for Durkin and Channel 4 have been the complaints of Professor Carl Wunsch that he had been "completely misrepresented" by Durkin's programme as well as "totally misled" on the programme's content.

Equally embarrassingly, e-mail exchanges leaked this week to The Times show Durkin's style of debate with scientists who disagreed with the claims made in his programme, was characterised by his deployment of expletives and obscenities rather than science-based argument.

And see the full e-mail exchanges

Durkin was also brilliantly taken to task by comedian Marcus Brigstocke during this week's THE NOW SHOW on BBC Radio 4. You can hear it here (Brigstocke's piece is from 18:18 - 25:20 mins into the show)

But then, just as all was looking bleak for Durkin and the documentary he'd boasted would change history, guess what? Today's Independent on Sunday reports:

"The comments of... two meteorologists, Professor Paul Hardaker and Professor Chris Collier... - billed on Radio 4 as "leading experts on climate change" -threatened to revive the row over the scientific view of global warming after the broadcasting of Channel 4's polemic The Great Global Warming Swindle 10 days ago..."

The meteorolgists, who it turns out are not experts on climate change, let alone "leading experts" (see below), are billed in today's Observer as warning in a report "Don't exaggerate climate dangers".,,2036728,00.html

But some confusion surrounds this as one of the experts admitted to the Independent on Sunday when pressed that "he could not think of a case where a scientist had overstated the position" on global warming. Their warning seems, in fact, to have been aimed mainly at Hollywood and the media.

So where did this new story come from? According to the Observer, "The report by Hardaker, Collier and other climate experts, 'Making Sense of the Weather and Climate', was launched at a conference in Oxford organised by the charity Sense About Science."

Key players in the pro-GM lobby group Sense About Science, including its director Tracey Brown, are of course part of the climate-change denying LM network to which Martin Durkin also intimately connects.

How fortuitous that Sense About Science should have arranged this conference and launched this report, and press released it with this particular angle to the media, so soon after Durkin's documentary.

For more about Sense About Science.


2.Global warming is a 'weapon of mass destruction'
Climate experts hit back after being accused of overstating the problem
Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor Independent on Sunday, 18 March 2007

Global warming is a "weapon of mass destruction", one of Britain and the world's top climatologists said yesterday.

Sir John Houghton, former director-general of the Meteorological Office and chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, entered the debate over the seriousness of climate change after two meteorologists were reported as saying that "some scientists have been guilty of overplaying the available evidence". He said he agreed with the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, that it posed a greater threat than terrorism.

The comments of the two meteorologists, Professor Paul Hardaker and Professor Chris Collier, both of the Royal Meteorological Society - billed on Radio 4 as "leading experts on climate change" - threatened to revive the row over the scientific view of global warming after the broadcasting of Channel 4's polemic The Great Global Warming Swindle 10 days ago, which took issue with the view set out in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth.

One of the most distinguished scientists featured in it, the oceanographer Professor Carl Wunsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says he has registered a formal complaint with Ofcom.

Sir John says he agrees "we must not exaggerate the evidence, and if anything must underplay it". But he adds the evidence of serious climate change is now "very substantial".

Sceptics charge that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change exaggerates the dangers. But Sir John, as one of the founders of the panel, says that it had "deliberately underestimated the problem".

He says the latest projections of the floods and droughts that will result from the heating of the globe are "frightening". And he adds that the 20,000 deaths caused by the 2003 heatwave in Europe justify the view that it is more dangerous than terrorism.

Some confusion surrounded the views of the RMS scientists yesterday after Prof Hardaker told the IoS that he could not think of a case where a scientist had overstated the position. He did however mention a statement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science that described an "intensification of droughts, heatwaves, floods, wildfires and severe storms" as "early warning signs of yet more devastating damage to come".

He said he did not disagree with any of this, but thought the AAAS should have made it clear what could be justified by the scientific evidence and what was based on judgement. He pointed out that he and his colleague were not experts on climate change.


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