E-mail exchange between Bob Ward and Martin Durkin (September 2007)

From: Bob Ward
Sent: 20 September 2007 10:57
To: Martin Durkin

‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’: Misrepresentations of scientific evidence and researchers’ interpretations in the DVD version

20 September 2007

Dear Martin,
In April, I and 36 leading scientists wrote to you about your plans to distribute a DVD version of ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, a version of which was broadcast on Channel Four and More4 in March. We stated that it would be “very much against the public interest to distribute the DVD without removing the major misrepresentations that appeared in the broadcast versions of the programme in early March”.

I have learned that the DVD version of the programme has been available for purchase through Amazon since 23 July. I have now obtained a copy of the DVD myself, and have checked whether you removed the major misrepresentations that appeared in the broadcast version.

I have been glad to discover that you removed two of the major misrepresentations that I outlined in my complaint to Ofcom, namely the false claim that volcanoes currently emit more carbon dioxide than human activities each year, and the comments by Professor Carl Wunsch that he claimed you edited to give a false impression of his views about the contribution of the oceans to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

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Five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence in the DVD version of ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’

‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’: Five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence and researchers’ interpretations in the DVD version

September 2007

Bob Ward

The DVD version of ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ has been available for purchase since late July 2007. The front of the presentation case describes it as a “documentary”, which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a film or television or radio programme giving a factual account of something, using film, photographs, and sound recordings of real events”. However, the DVD contains at least five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence and researchers’ views on climate change. This document presents details of the five misrepresentations.

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Open exchange of e-mail messages between Bob Ward and Martin Durkin (April 2007)

From: Martin Durkin
Sent: 25 April 2007 11:52
To: Bob Ward

Bob Ward and his mates say they do not wish to censor or to curtail free speech, but they call for the film to be banned. This is a contemptible, weasel-worded attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won’t work.

I am flabbergasted that their excuse for suppressing the film is ‘adequate quality control’ when it comes to the reporting of science. Look at the mountains of absurd nonsense pedalled in the name of ‘man made climate change’.  How many of these people complained when Hurricane Katrina was blamed on global warming? Or the Asian tsunami? Where were they then?  For the record, I am an extremely experienced TV producer with a particularly strong track record in science documentaries (I blush as I write this).  The film was commissioned by Dr Hamish Mykura, the head of specialist factual programming at Channel Four who happens to have a Ph.D. in environmental science.

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The Great Global Warming Swindle: open letter to Martin Durkin from 37 signatories (April 2007)

Martin Durkin
Managing Director
Wag TV

24 April 2007

Dear Mr Durkin,

We are writing to object to plans by Wag TV to distribute DVD versions of the programme ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, which was produced by your company.

The programme misrepresented both the scientific evidence and the interpretations of researchers that have been documented in the scientific literature when it was broadcast last month. Both Channel Four and Ofcom have received a number of complaints since the programme was first broadcast on 8 March 2007. Many of the objections to the content and style of the programme have received coverage in the UK national media.

A complaint from one of us (Bob Ward) is currently under consideration by both the broadcaster and Ofcom. It outlines seven major misrepresentations of both facts and views that occur in the programme, and claims a breach of Section 5.7 of the Broadcasting Code. A document describing the details of these seven misrepresentations, which has been submitted in support of the complaint, accompanies this letter.

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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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