Friday, 13 July 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle ABC post-viewing 'debate'

Australia's ABC (= PBS, BBC) has shown The Great Global Warming Swindle - a documentary 180 degrees from its political bias - and instead of simply showing it and moving on they just had to have a dirty, great bash session afterwards.

Once TGGWS was aired, Tony Jones showed an interview he conducted with the film's maker, Martin Durkin.

The first tactic of the ABC was to discredit Durkin, which it did by showing previous documentaries he had worked on including one on silicon breast implants that quite unnecessarily showed footage of naked women. They then launched an attack on Channel 4 for commissioning the program, describing them as having a history of producing controversial material. Incredibly, a couple of snippets from that first class socialist clown George Monbiot were included, which really set the scene for what was to come.

Jones then very aggressively questioned Durkin about the accuracy of what was presented. He was clearly well briefed by pro-AGW scientists within the ABC, as well as, I'm guessing, by David Karoly. I thought that his questions were quite legitimate and were the type that should be asked. However, he never let Durkin answer them properly, which was problematic from a balance perspective.

I don't mind aggressive, probing questions but it's hugely unfortunate that the ABC's bias prevents it from taking the same tack with pro-AGW liars (there's no other term for them) such as Al Gore and Tim Flannery (and even its own Robin '100 metre sea level rise' Williams).

After the interview with Durkin was over Jones then attacked the scientists featured in TGGWS, particularly Fred Singer who has questioned the relationship between sunlight and melanoma (I have no opinion on that one) and second hand smoke and cancer (if you believe there's a correlation here then you should look at how the empirical science was done, which will shock you to the core).

The panel 'discussion/debate' was fairly predictable and I'll summarise as best as I can given my notes (I haven't got all of the panellists listed):

Andy Pittman - Believer - Claimed the world has a "natural balance" of C02, that we can measure CO2 exactly, understand the process and know it's us that's made the difference. Anyone who claims that there's a "natural balance" of CO2 is a grade-A ass-clown if you ask me, as it's completely unprovable.

Robin Williams - Believer - If Pittman is an ass-clown then this fellow is the circus ringleader. He referred to Richard Lindzen as having smoked three cigarettes in a twenty minute interview and that Fred Singer was a "serial complainer". So what? Does that make their science wrong? Later in the program Williams defended the Hockey Stick, claiming that the National Academy of Sciences had supported it a couple of years ago when it took a look at the subject. As Williams knows, this is an untrue statement. Their support was quite equivocal and they referred to uncertainties in the results. Subsequently, the NAS' own Chair of their Statistics Committee, Edward Wegman, supported the McIntyre and McKitrick criticisms of the statistical flaws in the Hockey Stick, which is why it's now completely discredited and has been derogated in the recent Fourth Assessment Report from its prominent, smoking-gun position in the Third Assessment Report. Williams came across as a profoundly shallow, immature thinker of the type you encounter with people who have never had a real job outside of academia.

Michael Duffy - Blasphemer - Attacked Tony Jones for not being so harsh when he interviewed Nicholas Stern about six months ago. Jones ignored the criticism but it's completely valid, as at that time the economics of the Stern Report had been not only challenged but profoundly debunked by economists across the political spectrum.

David Karoly - Believer - Professor Karoly is a climate scientist with his snout firmly in the global warming money pit. To me, his input was the most disturbing because he used real science to deflect legitimate queries in order to impress a viewing audience that lacked the scientific knowledge to question his statements. That Jones deferred to him so often I think gives away the fact that he was the one behind the questions to Durkin, as mentioned above. Karoly's claim that the IPCC "reviews science fairly and openly" is a remarkable statement to make given that it is so far from the truth, as anyone who has followed the IPCC's shenanigans over the last ten or so years can attest.

Nick Roley - Believer - Tony Blair's Climate Change advisor, a good speaker and a truly political player. He didn't say anything with any depth other than support the position that we need to do something and do it now.

Dr Nicky Williams - Believer - CEO NSW Minerals Council - I don't know if she's a Believer or just a Blasphemer that can see a huge pile of cash sitting on the table that is there for the taking as long as the coal industry wants to side with the IPCC orthodoxy. Didn't make a very profound impact.

Greg Bourne - Believer - Former businessman and now CEO of the World Wildlife Fund. Beclowned himself spectacularly when he wouldn't deny that there are too many people on the planet, pretty much promoting the standard environmentalist's anti-humanity leanings. Looked quite a zealot, really.

The most amusing part of the show was when Tony Jones asked the audience questions and, being unable to understand what was being asked by them, simply moved on. The first question was quite legitimate and related to the presence of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere, which seriously calls into question the persistence of CO2 - a major requirement if the catastrophic claims are to hold true. Some young student asked a question that Jones also couldn't understand and a couple of people mentioned that the modern environmental movement grew out of the eugenics movement. Most people don't know what that is so Jones simply moved on again. Apparently it's OK to question the motives of those opposed to the 'consensus' but not those in favour.

The program lacked any discussion about the problems with the climate models themselves, which I'm sure was deliberate, as it's a huge weak spot for the Believers and they wouldn't have wanted to argue against the fact that the models have not been right even once. Ever. It was poor form by the Blasphemers to not bring the issue of model accuracy up.

In summary, a fun time was had by all. Regardless of which side of the debate you are on your mind was not changed by the debate, though TGGWS itself might have got you thinking a bit, particularly about the morality of expecting Africa to forgo the use of electricity.

I'm sure other bloggers will have more in the next day or so.


Anonymous said...

wow thank you so much for such a thorough, quick response. i initially went to the abc forum expecting some stimulating debate but this was completely disabled by the over moderation going on there.

how frustrating!

so i went on digg and the first thing came up was your blog. nice work.

all of the points were well articulated and i agree with them simply because they suit my conclusions based on my, admittedly still amateur, critical thinking skills.

i made a number of posts on the abc forum about the bias in the show, and then got pissed off, quite frankly, that none of them were appearing because they were, get this, 2000+ posts (apparently) behind in moderating.


Anonymous said...

it was also a well made point about the models not being a true reflection of reality 100% of the time, and i loved you listing those against tony jones as 'blasphemers'. your grasp of all the factors at play in the show tonight is quite competent.

Anonymous said...

Durkin was a bit blindsided on the temperature issue (his chart ended in the mid nineties). Of course, when the film was originally put together last year the updated info wasn't available, but not inconsistent with what he had shown. It was interesting that Pitman argued that if he had it would have shown that today's temp was higher than the medieval warm period, but that would be only true if you use the reduced temps in the IPCC report for the MWP. As you say, the discredited Mann hockey stick has been removed from any prominence, but its memory lives on!
Speaking of Pitman, I nearly fell of my chair when he comared CO2 with ebola! it's not a gas, its a extremely contagious virus! Hyperbole, meet your high priest.

I also had to laff that Duffy had at most twenty seconds total while Robin (100m) Williams got to deliver speeches.
I am also annoyed they got that fossil from lavoisser group to turn up (as a skeptic)

Where Durkin does have a case to answer is that while up until the 1980s there has always been a clear relationship between sunspot activity and temp (as shown in his film), the divergence of solar sunspot activity from temperature from then on is clearly anomalous.

Jack Lacton said...

Thanks, Entropy.

The sunspot divergence is only anomalous if you ascribe a 100% fit of solar activity to the earth's temperature, which is not the case. Certainly, there are periods in history when there's been a similar divergence. The point of the graph is that it shows a much higher correlation with temperature than does CO2. Furthermore, the IPCC has some horrible divergence issues of its own over the last 10-15 years, as well, and has been happy to truncate graphs that produce an inconvenient result.

Anonymous said...

Pretty thorough summary Jack.

I thought Carter represented the Blasphemers most effectively except for an early stutter. Of course, Jones always let Karoly reply but didn't give Carter the same latitude.

Would've liked more questioning of the (in)accuracy of the models and a bit more focus on the hypocrisy of the need to query TGGWS but blind acceptance of Gore's alarmist propaganda.

Williams was true to form with his usual drivel - burning houses, petrol, plane crashes - wtf? Jones let him ramble on because he's one of the faithful. Should not have even been there. Almost as good as the ebola virus analogy.

Where was Flummery? No $50k appearance fee on offer? Would've loved to see him and Williams explain their science of 100m rise in sea level this century.

If nothing else, the whole circus didn't support the believers's mantra - total consensus, no debate.

pommygranate said...

it was good fun, jack!

Anonymous said...

I viewed "The Great Global Warming
Swindle" last Thursday night on A.B.C. television. I am somewhat nonplussed by the circumstance that there was edited out of the version thereof which was shown on Chanel 4 in the U.K. on the 8th of March, 2007 the whole business about sunspots, their effect in deflecting cosmic rays from the Crab nebula away from Earth, the hypothesis that cosmic rays are the "operatives" which convert water vapour to cloud, that a six year experiment is in progress at CERN in Geneva concerning such hypothesis, that the loss of the albido effect promoted by cloud formation is a mighty contributor to global warming and that the oceans may take a long time before they reflect the loss of the albido effect to the extent where the oceans become very active
instruments for climate change. To me, this was the nub of the science contained in a programme somewhat overstated in other respects.

Why was this material edited out of the programme as shown on A.B.C. television?

Anonymous said...

The ABC presentation of 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' was an embarrassment to watch. I enjoyed the main documentary, but waited and waited for some 'point by point' credible debunking of claims. It never happened, instead there were personal attacks, carefully worded misquotes and repetition. The expert panel had little expertise and the audience were the biggest bunch of wackos assembled on TV.
The so called credible experts in the documentary were discredited for reasons like 1) being a smoker 2) being a known complainer. The documentary was discredited for reasons like 1) it has had multiple edits 2) 1000 years of climate data missed 17 years. Even before the show I heard of the great controversy in showing the documentary which was dubbed 'fiction'. I thought we had something remotely called 'democracy' in Australia where people can discuss their opinions and claims, while others can debate and counter them. I still have no idea how credible the actual documentary was since the debate over the key issues was a complete joke. I've found Wikipedia more useful.

Anonymous said...

After the heavy bias of the "debate" lead by Tony "Mouthpiece" Jones as chief cheerleader, I went onto the forum and posted numerous messages.

They did appear after delays, but what was amusing to me at least was that there was almost certainly a majority of skeptical comments with a smaller number of pro-AGW comments.

Most of the pro comments were pretty simplistic ones. The skeptics were well ahead in my (not entirely unbiased) opinion. My guess is that the Australian public is still relatively unmoved by the hysteria - despite the Consensus clowns. And after seeing surveys in UK and US showing 56% and 75% of the public in those countries do not rate GW a major problem, I feel that my impressions are on the money.

I think the whole debate was a setup to discredit GGWS but I don't think it worked. Plenty of people got to see some thought provoking arguments and the propaganda that was supposed to counteract the doco was so ham-fisted and so blatantly unfair as to have no value other than to p**s people off and maybe get some of the undecideds to wonder what is really going on here.

The true believers would never watch the show anyway - and since 1.1m viewers watched it I think the exercise was much more helpful to the skeptics than the ABC lefties would like.

Jack Lacton said...

I think the exercise was much more helpful to the skeptics than the ABC lefties would like

I think that's probably right, GMF.

Anonymous said...

What a load of hogs wallop
Do you not think it important that the director of a supposed scientific documentary has been charged with scientific fraud over the global warming swindle?
Why should the public believe a director that has been taken to court for deliberately misleading them. Why should the public believe an "expert" that has no qualifications on the subject?

To actually find a blog site( totally opinionated with no credibility) that actually thinks this documentary is legitimate is as surprising as the documentary itself.

"he never let Durkin answer them properly, which was problematic from a balance perspective."

Yes he did let durkin answer questions , Durkin was unable to answer them and contributed to his own discrediting.

'Anyone who claims that there's a "natural balance" of CO2 is a grade-A ass-clown if you ask me, as it's completely unprovable.'

Personal attacks? usually what think tanks or front groups restore too when they can find no evidence to rebut an argument. Not very nicely done and discredits your own blog.

"Robin Williams,f Pittman is an ass-clown then this fellow is the circus ringleader"

More personal attacks? your arguments get weaker and weaker. Lets not forget that Williams is a Journalist not a scientist

"Williams came across as a profoundly shallow, immature thinker of the type you encounter with people who have never had a real job outside of academia."

Do these personal attacks ever stop? where is your science????????

"the Stern Report had been not only challenged but profoundly debunked by economists across the political spectrum."

Now this is just not true. Most organizations have accepted the stern review. It has not been debunked but critiqued by conservative think tanks and front groups for fossil fuel burning companies.

"Professor Karoly is a climate scientist with his snout firmly in the global warming money pit."

Personal attacks again. No credibility what so ever

"promoting the standard environmentalist's anti-humanity leanings"

Are you serious?????
Environmentalists are in-humane??
Utter rubish

Common sense from down under ?????
I don't think so

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