A row of wind turbines marching over the brow of a hill in Vermont, USA

A row of wind turbines marching over the brow of a hill in Vermont, USA

Refuting The Great Global Warming Swindle television program

What two of our scientists say about the television program, The Great Global Warming Swindle, which was first shown in the UK in March 2007, and scheduled for screening on ABC TV, Australia on 12 July 2007.

  • 10 July 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

The Age newspaper’s Green Guide sought scientific responses to the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, as shown in Australia on ABC TV, 8.30 pm, 12 July 2007, from CSIRO scientists, Dr Penny Whetton and Dr Mike Raupach.

The responses appear here with permission of The Age.

Review of The Great Global Warming Swindle: Dr Michael Raupach, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

'I am one of many scientists who have studied the interactions between carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate for decades, concluding that CO2 is an agent of global warming and that humanity must reduce CO2 emissions.

'The Swindle puts forth such a different view that it is difficult to begin a rational dialogue. Its contentions are that CO2 does not cause global warming, efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are misplaced and even 'anti-human', and scientists advocating emissions reductions are self-serving, fund-grabbing puppets of a neo-Marxist movement intent on overthrowing capitalism.'

'Two questions arise. First, is The Swindle based on sound science? The answer, emphatically and objectively, is no.' 

"Is The Swindle based on sound science? The answer, emphatically and objectively, is no.”
Dr Mike Raupach
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

'The Swindle makes its case by employing several massive distortions: use of old data now known to contain errors, omitting recent high-quality data, 'bending' graphs, presenting falsehoods as facts, and drawing illogical conclusions from observations.  These distortions have been well exposed in several excellent critiques available on the web.'

'The second question is: why do a few scientists so torture the evidence? The usual answer, that they are in the pockets of oil companies, is probably inadequate. A more fundamental reason may be philosophical -those who attack the links between CO2 and human-induced climate change believe that the planetary machinery is too vast to be thrown off course by mere humankind, and that the global commons are a permanent resource for human exploitation.

Science now shows that this is a dangerous delusion. We have the power to foul our own planetary nest, and are already doing so through CO2 emissions. The leap we must make in just a few decades is to accept stewardship of the global commons. The position taken in The Swindle is a dangerous dead weight as we endeavour to face this entirely new and absolutely critical challenge.'

Documentary a Swindle: Dr Penny Whetton, Leader of the Climate Impact and Risks Group, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

'Mr Martin Durkin’s documentary purports to show that climate change is neither unusual nor due to human activity. In making these claims, the film ignores the vast amount of evidence that supports human-caused climate change, and selects a few points which, with some careful spin, can be made to appear to support the film’s case.'

'None of the arguments presented in the film are new, and none have passed scientific scrutiny when they were raised previously. As a result, the film is highly misleading.'

“'None of the arguments presented in the film are new, and none have passed scientific scrutiny.”
Dr Penny Whetton, Leader of the Climate Impact and Risks Group, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

'For the record, current research (ignored by Mr Durkin) shows atmospheric temperature measurements are consistent with projections from climate models.'

'Current  CO2-induced global warming is not invalidated by ice-core records showing temperature rises in advance of CO2  rises. Those prehistoric warmings had a different trigger to the current one, unrelated to human activities.'

'Further, variations in the output of the Sun cannot explain the large warming that has occurred between 1950s to the present (as demonstrated in published scientific results, conveniently ignored by Mr Durkin). It can only be explained by increased greenhouse gases due to human activities.'

'This film not only says that the conventional view of climate change is wrong, it accuses those who disseminate that view of lying. Like many scientists who have worked in this area of research for more than a decade, I felt personally attacked. This accusation is very serious and requires supporting evidence, but there is not a skerrick given in the film.'

'Mr Durkin is happy to use graphs that are many years out-of-date, omit key facts and promulgate ideas that had been rejected by the scientific process. This is the real swindle.'
 
'This documentary is one man’s highly distorted view of climate change science dressed up to look like a serious documentary. It is an abuse of the genre and of the trust of the audience it will attract.'

'If this was a mockumentary it might be funny, but the ABC’s decision to broadcast this misinformation as a genuine documentary has to be questioned.'

Find out more about the work being done into Understanding our Changing Climate.