Mean and tricky take on climate change
The Great Global Warming Swindle 8.30pm, ABC
IT’S hitting our screens tonight and its reputation precedes it. Already, Britain’s The Great Global Warming Swindle has caused heated arguments and rising temperatures on both sides of the Atlantic. And that’s before most West Atlanticans have even seen it.
Among the lucky few are scientists sent bootlegged copies by British colleagues and international science journalists who met recently at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt. A DVD of Swindle was slipped under their doors, along with a newspaper titled The New Citizen , from Lyndon LaRouche’s rightist Citizens Electoral Council of Australia. Much huffing and puffing ensued.
Now, promo DVD in hand, I predict more hot air. That’s so because there’s no middle ground here. Critics claim the program, first broadcast in March on Channel 4, profoundly misrepresents the science of climate change, especially evidence implicating humans in global warming. Boosters praise Swindle ’ s writer and director Martin Durkin for his fearless assault on the myth- riddled religion of global warming.
And I do mean assault. Durkin not only goes tooth and claw at the scientific underpinnings of global warming, he rips and snarls at climate scientists themselves. They’re in league with eco- hysterics, headlinegrabbing politicians and a cynical media happy to play along. Worse, they’re fiddling facts to fit the theory.
Why? To keep research dollars flowing. ‘‘ No one dares speak against it for risk of being unpopular, losing funds and jeopardising careers,’’ slams Durkin. So he does, declaring global warming a natural phenomenon that humans have nothing to do with. The real culprit is the sun.
Little wonder that when Swindle first aired, Britain’s scientific community was appalled. In a letter to Durkin, 37 scientists, including Australian- born Robert May, Lord May of Oxford, outlined ‘‘ major misrepresentations of facts and views’’ in the documentary.
‘‘ In fact, so serious and fundamental are the misrepresentations that the distribution of the program without their removal amounts to nothing more than an exercise in misleading the public.’’
Given that Aunty is putting Swindle to air, after previously telling The Australian that it wasn’t even for sale, I’d normally say: watch and make up your own mind. But that’s impossible. Without detailed knowledge of advances in climate change research it’s impossible to sort facts from distortions, outmoded findings, spurious graphics and outright falsehoods.
It’s worth noting that Swindle comes from a particular school of British documentary- making, one that goes beyond robust scepticism.
Instead, it’s aggressive, frequently nasty and deliberately provocative. Swindle is, in political parlance, mean and tricky.
And Durkin? Immediately after the documentary, Lateline’s Tony Jones will have a chat with him. That should be . . . fun.