Monthly Archives: March 2007

Letter to Ofcom

30 March 2007

Dear Sirs/Madams,
FAO The Broadcast Team

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I am writing to make a complaint about a number of breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code by ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, which was broadcast on Channel Four on 8 March 2007, and subsequently repeated on the More 4 channel.

I have documented in the attached document seven major breaches of Section 5.7 of the Code, which states: “Views and facts must not be misrepresented”. The programme misrepresented the scientific evidence and interpretations about climate change that have been documented by researchers through peer-reviewed papers. The programme also contained factual inaccuracies and erroneous attributions.

I do not dispute the right of broadcasters to make programmes that present different viewpoints on the science of climate change. As a member of the Board of the Science Media Centre, I am fully supportive of the freedom of the media to report different viewpoints. However, it is clearly not in the public interest for such views to be supported through misrepresentations by broadcasters of the scientific evidence. Indeed, the errors in this programme are so serious and fundamental that it surely destroys the entire credibility of its central argument ie that the recent rise in global average temperature is due to solar activity instead of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

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Complaint to Ofcom: Seven major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence in ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’

‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’: Misrepresentations of scientific evidence and researchers’ interpretations

30 March 2007

Bob Ward

On 8 March 2007, ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ was broadcast in the UK on Channel Four television, and over the following two weeks was broadcast again on the More 4 television channel. This programme, which Channel Four spokespersons have described in official statements as a “polemic”, claimed that the rise in global average temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution has not been caused by the rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases due to human activities, and instead can be explained by variations in solar activity. The narrative made a number of claims, supported by commentary from scientists and non-scientists, about the results and conclusions of research on climate change. Many of these claims misrepresented the scientific evidence and interpretations that have been documented by researchers through peer-reviewed papers. As such, these claims represent violations of Section 5.7 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, which states: “Views and facts must not be misrepresented”.

This document outlines seven of the major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence and interpretations that occurred in the programme.

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