Complaint to Ofcom Regarding The Great Global Warming Swindle

1. Complaint Summary

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Falsification or Serious Misrepresentation of Graphs or Data; or of Quotations from Reports, or of Press Articles; or of Film Footage

Presentation of graphs or figures which evidently have been manipulated or fabricated, most likely with the intent of aiding the arguments presented by the programme. Some examples:


The programme presented a graph (attributed to NASA) of global temperature over the last 120 years, and suggested that most of the warming in the 20th century actually occurred prior to the post–World War II industrial boom. However, the original source of the graph is unclear and, most importantly, it is obsolete as it ended in the mid-80s. Hence, it left out the warming from the last 20 years, the period in which the fastest rate of warming has occurred. The film makers extended the time axis of the graph to cover up this limitation, and later admitted that the original time axis was incorrect. A cursory glance at up-to-date temperature records from NASA would have revealed to the film maker that contrary to the programmes claims, most of the warming in the 20th century occurred after World War II, so this appears to have been an intentional deception (see Comment 42, page 35 and Comment 43, page 38).


The film presents a graph, attributed to Eigil Friis-Christensen (also an interviewee) titled Temp and Solar Activity 400 Years. The original graph produced by Friis-Christensen and published in the scientific literature included a 100-year gap in the solar data. The graph presented in the film fills this gap (¼ of the graph) with solar activity data which exactly matches the temperature, artificially inflating the correlation between the two. The manner in which this occurred has led even Friis-Christensen to state that it is highly likely that it was filled with artificial data. Martin Durkin claims that this was a mistake (see Comment 60, page 55)

A total of 9 breaches fell into this category. See Appendix A.1.1, page 116 for details.


Misrepresentations of Peoples Views and Other Breaches of Section 7 of the Ofcom Code


The views of one of the programmes participants, Carl Wunsch, were clearly misrepresented by the programme on both climate change and on modelling, through selective editing and use of context to make him appear to the audience to be saying the precise opposite of what he was actually trying to convey: see Comment 54, page 49; and Comment 94, page 79. In addition, Wunsch has stated publicly that he was misinformed by WagTV about the true nature of the programme (see Comment 53, page 48), in breach of Section 7 of the Broadcasting Code.


On April 27, 2007 another of the programmes participants, Dr Eigil Friis-Christensen issued a joint statement with one of the lead authors of this complaint, Nathan Rive, stating specifically that Friis-Christensens views had been knowingly and fundamentally misrepresented by the film (see Comment 60, page 55).

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Section 1.6.2 / Section 1.6.3]


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Final Revision

Last updated: 11 Jun 2007