Complaint to Ofcom Regarding The Great Global Warming Swindle

1. Complaint Summary

Page 7




The programme gives an inaccurate history of global warming science and of the formation and development of the IPCC, in an apparent attempt to discredit both. It is suggested that the eccentrictheory of the enhanced greenhouse effect originated with Bert Bolin in the 1970s, whereas the theory dates back to the 19th century, and involved subsequent work by numerous scientists and the collection of a huge body of evidence, prior to the 1970s. It is then suggested that the funding for climate change research in the UK (and later, the forming of the IPCC) was a co-conspiracy by Margaret Thatcher and the environmental movement to draw power away from the striking coal miners. This history is wholly incorrect, as the international developments that culminated in the IPCC actually pre-date Thatchers interest in global warming (see Comment 69, page 63, Comment 71, page 65; and especially Comment 72, page 65).


A schematic graph (not a plot of real data) from a 1990 IPCC report is presented of temperatures over the past 1000 years in which it is suggested that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was warmer than current levels. However, the graph presents the year 1975 as Now, and thus ignores the past 30 years, when by far the fastest rate of warming occurred. Furthermore, the programme neglects a multitude of more recent peer-reviewed studies which clearly demonstrate that current global average temperatures are higher than those of the MWP (see Comment 35, page 27 and Comment 37, page 29).


The programme claims that because satellite measurements indicated that the troposphere is not warming as quickly as the surface, the current warming trend does not support global warming theory. This discrepancy between data and theory has been discussed in the scientific literature for some time. It is largely resolved and determined to be an issue of data collection and analysis, rather than a fault in the theory: a point that has been accepted even by interviewee John Christy. Failing to present the most recent science is highly misleading (see Comment 49, page 42).


The programme highlights that in the ice core data, CO2 fluctuations tended to lag those of temperatures. This is used to indicate that CO2 cannot be the driver of climate change. This argument fails to take into account temperature–CO2 feedback mechanisms, and has been refuted by numerous reputable climatologists and institutes (see Comment 50, page 45).


The programme made numerous factual misrepresentations regarding the carbon cycle”, in order to support its thesis that human CO2 emissions are not important. For example, the programme claims that volcanoes annually produce more CO2 emissions than humans. This statement is completely incorrect; their emissions are approximately 1% that of humans. The producer Martin Durkin has subsequently admitted that this was untrue, but has failed to explain why such a clearly false claim was made in the first place (see Comment 52, page 47). For another example, see Comment 54, page 49.


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Final Revision

Last updated: 11 Jun 2007