Monday, March 05, 2007

Credit where it's due

As I've noted before, The Independent is one of the cheerleaders of the man-made global warming movement greedily buying into the theory to push it's leftist agenda.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise to read an opinion piece from Dominic Lawson that actually challenges that viewpoint in which he refers to the new documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, due to be broadcast this Thursday on C4.

He begins by remarking on the news that the government is to spend several thousand pounds of tax payers money sending a copy of Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth" to every secondary school in Britain.

Announcing this unexpected bit of promotion, the Environment Secretary, David Miliband, declared: "I was struck by the visual evidence the film provides, making it clear that the changing climate is already having an impact on our world today, from Mt Kilimanjaro to the Himalayan mountains."

Ignoring this blatant piece of left-wing propaganda and the more obvious fact that the "changing climate" has been having an impact on the world for several hundred millions of years, Lawson then questions whether the government would be interested in balancing this one sided opinion with the C4 film?

I shall be fascinated to learn what accolades Mr Miliband will bestow on another film about climate change, which is to be shown on Channel 4 next Thursday.

My guess is none whatsoever. The director of The Great Global Warming Swindle is a chap called Martin Durkin who has a track record when it comes to upsetting the Environazis applecarts.

In 1997, Channel 4 broadcast an earlier film of Durkin's - Against Nature. This was a three-hour long polemic which tore into organisations such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for the way in which they sought to deny the Third World the benefits of industrialisation which have given us lives of hygiene and plenty.

Durkin examined the Green campaigns against hydroelectric dams which would have brought clean water to parts of the subcontinent ravaged by water-borne disease, but which were opposed as "damaging to local biodiversity" - the same sort of argument, in fact, which caused countless millions of African children to die of malaria unnecessarily because the Green lobby successfully blocked the use of DDT.

Immediately after it was broadcast there was a concerted howl of rage from the eco-warriors interviewed by Durkin. Channel 4 felt obliged to broadcast an apology, confessing that some interviewees had been misled as to the ultimate content of the programme. Still, as Simon Hoggart wrote at the time: "The Greens have pulled the same dishonest stunts many, many times. It will do them tremendous good to get a taste of their own medicine."

Not just the Greens, either. Isn't misleading interviewees the favourite trick of the left's other favourite "documentary" maker, Michael Moore? Lawson takes a look at Durkin's latest effort to expose the hypocrisy of the left. Anyone, when considering the "good" done by the various environmental groups and their nefarious activities should bear in mind that one reason why millions of African kids are dying every year for lack of clean water or through disease spread by mosquito is due entirely to those groups. The next time Sir Bob is berating you to give him your hard earned "fucking money" to save some kids in a drought ridden or disease ravaged African despot state, just ask him if he realises that those kids may not be dying if it wasn't for the green lobby.

A similar theme pervades The Great Global Warming Swindle. We are taken to those vast tracts of Africa where there is no electricity, and see families huddled round a fire in their mud hut. Then we are told that "five million children under five die every year as a result of respiratory diseases from indoor smoke". Remember that, the next time you read about the ecological purity of heating derived from "biomass". Next we are taken to some godforsaken health centre in the Kenyan hinterland, struggling to get by with electricity from a dilapidated but undeniably politically correct solar panel. It just about manages to keep alive the fridge with the medicine inside. (My emphasis).

Lawson then compares Durkin's style with that of Al Gore.

Despite such scenes, Durkin's latest effort is not a manipulative tear-jerker - there's none of Gore's politically practised treaclyness ("Our children will say: what were our parents thinkin' about?"). Most of the advocacy is handed across to a series of eminent scientists, a number of whom have been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They all believe that man's responsibility for the slight warming (of 0.6C) over the past century is much less than the "consensus" view - and ridicule the more alarmist predictions of future "man-made" climate change.

One, Professor Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, fulminates that "consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science" and says that it wasn't until he threatened legal action that the IPCC reluctantly removed his name from an assessment with which he profoundly disagreed: "That's how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed. It's not true."

As I have pointed out before on this blog, there is no such thing as "consensus science". Consensus is the buzz word of the day for politics, but science relies on proven fact or disproved theory. Lawson recounts how Durkin's film uses the latest findings to lay the blame on the sun, but Lawson himself is careful to put some distance between that theory and himself - he does work for The Independent after all!

On its own, this is just a theory - and not an entirely new one, but Friis-Christensen and Svensmark have accompanied it with a very detailed multi-era superimposition of global temperatures against solar activity (measured by sunspots). The correlation turns out to be striking, to put it mildly. As I said, the idea itself is not breathtakingly new: a long-dead British astronomer, E W Maunder, noted that the coldest part of the "Little Ice Age" (1645 to 1715) coincided with a period of very few detectable solar eruptions - now gratifyingly referred to in the textbooks as "the Maunder Minimum".

Ah, the "Little Ice Age". That and the equally annoying "Medieval Warm Period" does seem to have a habit of annoying the AGW freaks. Which is why they pretend it didn't happen - or that it was not global. Or that it was just a coincidence. The real trouble with the "it's the sun wot done it" theory, no matter how plausible, is that it doesn't give the Environazis anything to beat the human race up about - and that is their very reason for being. The Environazis are not driven by a LOVE of the human race, but an utter HATRED for it. I'll leave the last word to Lawson and the head of the International Arctic Research Centre.

Even if you don't buy that, you should definitely watch the programme, if only to see the head of the International Arctic Research Centre, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, describe how "the Arctic has always been expanding and contracting ... the press come here all the time and ask us: will you say something about the Greenhouse disaster? And I say: there is none." (My emphasis)

Then Dr Akasofu emits a tiny laugh - the laugh of a true scientist at the idiocy and hysteria of the world's media and politicians.


xoggoth said...

While I totally disagree with you on the reality of global warming, I am tempted to become an unbeliever on principle because of the way the issue is being hijacked by politicians and others for their own purposes.

If, for example, extra taxes were to be ringfenced for "green" issues, grants for insulation etc., I might support them, but the fact that they are just going into the general pot and being wasted suggests that preventing GW is not the true motive.

Stan said...

Not sure what you mean about the reality of global warming xoggoth. I certainly wouldn't deny that the globe has warmed slightly over the last few years, but I am far from convinced that it is caused by man' activities or that there is anything we can do to alter it short of plunging ourselves back into the dark ages.

My argument has always been - whether it's natural or man made - the best thing to spend money on(and without crippling our economy) is mitigating the effects of it rather than trying to stop it.

In my view the "greens" are part of the problem and are preventing solutions being implemented. Real solutions - not pie in the sky pipe dreams.

Chris said...

five million children under five die every year as a result of respiratory diseases from indoor smoke

This is because of a lack of ventilation - and nothing to do with the 'biomass fuel' being used.

In fact, were coal or gas to be burned, as many - if not more - people would be killed (due to CO).

xoggoth said...

Well yes, Stan, I do mean I find it convincing that man's activities are a significant factor.

Of the more sensible measures like reducing wasteful usage in big vehicles, better insulation in buildings, alternative bio fuels and nuclear plants, it seems to me that these are desirable anyway due to the reducing reserves of oil, the insecurity of the supplies and the increasing cost.

PS I still think my idea of covering the artic in clingfilm was the best solution.

Stan said...

Well, I remain unconvinced. Once again I have no problems in technological advancements that make better use of available resources - but not if it means a cut in our standard of living or coating our glorious British landscape in wind-turbines or if it harms the emerging economies in the developing world. Simple things - like turning off lights, insulating homes and not leaving doors wide open make sense to me as a home owner because it reduces my bill - and I like saving money!

I like the idea of covering the arctic in clingfilm too - I also quite like the idea of covering Kiera Knightly in clingfilm, but that's a whole different issue.

Anonymous said...

PS I still think my idea of covering the artic in clingfilm was the best solution.

Funnily enough I was shown a scientific paper in the early 1980s which suggested covering the poles with coal dust. the intention of course was to warm up the poles and hence avoid a new ice age.