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A sceptic documentary

Climate Realists is reporting a move to make a documentary about global warming from a sceptic viewpoint. Martin Durkin, director of The Great Global Warming Swindle has expressed an interest. Good, provided the case is not overstated, which is always a risk on these occasions.

I can't see any station in the UK showing it though. Sceptic views are not generally permitted on terrestrial television, and then only filtered through an environmentalist of some sort. This is what is referred to in the trade as "balance".

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Reader Comments (38)

I wish Mr Durkin good luck with this and I hope it gets on air! most likely C4 as they at least seem to have some open minded people working there who give time for program makers like Durkin and Andrew Gilligan sadly not Adam Curtis as he is still stuck at the BBC but I am sure the ministry of truth ! will shout ' bias' and 'polemic' and trot out Cox/Nurse/Murry to do a docufarce in response to this terrible attack on their science!.

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered Commentermat

The Great Global Warming Swindle is still quite relevent - not much has changed as far as the science is concerned. How ever the skulduggery of the consensus is now better known. The documentary that needs to be made is not about sceptics but about the warmists and their methods - much like your book did. The sceptical story is not a story - we say not much is happening. The story is how Gore exaggerated, how the IPCC cooked the reports, the hockey stick, climategate, folly of wind, carbon trading scandals, domination of scientific societies etc. There might even be a series in it! If it were well made and on youtube msm can be bypassed. Not sure how it would be financed.

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterUlick Stafford

This post inspires an image in my mind of a levered balance.

An extremely long arm out one side with the well tenured and funded "climate science" establishment, NGOs, media, politicians, rent and subsidy seeking companies etc. all piled on the end.

All that "balanced" by the poor old tax payer and plebian voter pulling down desparetly but pointlessly on the opposing, but extremely short lever.

I would love to see Josh do something with that.

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I agree with Ulick Stafford (Feb 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM), but would suggest that some of the sceptic scientists give a cool and detached comment to each of the warmists errors - like Prof Lindzen, Steve McIntyre, Ross McKittrick and those who post here, while our Bish and Dellers should give a cool and detached comment on the propaganda and the political side of the warmists proposal.
Charles Booker and Richard North should also weigh in, and to complete the 'dream team', perhaps Graham Stringer MP might have a say as well.

Keep it brief and to the point - no shouting, no expletives ...

Who'll pay - perhaps we could set up a fund, like for 'normal' films?

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Guardian's reporting today that an ICM poll that 83% of the British public believe climate change a major threat (has anybody looked at the survey BTW?). 83% seems a bit high, but given that most people get their views from TV doesn't seem that surprising.

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

I'd like to see a specific themed documentary. My favoured suggestion is the CERN Cloud Experiment, covering the work of Svensmark, Kirby and Calder, against establishment resistence, leading up to and timed to release on the publication of experimental results, whatever they show. Because I sincerely believe that all serious sceptics just yearn for the unbiased true science. and detest the grossly warped and massaged fodder we are served up with on a daily basis.

The last clue I have for pregress on this topic is this entry on Nigel Calders blog

'calderup says:
30/01/2011 at 15:26
All I can say, Peter, is that the baby I have in mind won’t come from CERN. The news will be good but not any day soon, I’m afraid. My main deadline was met on 30 Dec and now another has appeared. Everything is in the scientific pipeline.


Feb 2, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

The producers should approach "Russia Today" - I'm sure they would show it. Granted, not many UK viewers are aware of the station, but it is available on Freeview & Sky/Freesat.

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

Has anyone considered releasing the documentary through the Web (torrent, YouTube, etc) rather than be "gatekeepered" by the Old Media?

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Davies


It was 41% according to The Times...

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Davies

Phelim McAleer has a good track record. His films 'Not Evil Just Wrong' and 'Mine Your Own Business' are great examples of measured polemic. In fact, in view of the fact Michael Moore's and Morgan Spurlock's stuff gets on telly, it's a gaping omission that McAleer's hasn't.

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Woolley


41% believe (Times)

83% believe AND also think it a current or imminent threat (Guardian)

Looks like some warmists have been hiding a decline again...

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

The Times survey was in November 2009. Does anyone know of anything more recent? (Apart from the Grauniad that is.)

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

The Times reported those who think climate change is an existing threat (41%).

The Grauniad added those who think its already a thread (41%) to those who think it will be a threat (42%).

Both these questions referred to GW, not AGW.

Same numbers, different spin.

Feb 2, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

It's probably worth having a section being "an interpretor of interpretations", to coin a phrase.

- interview SMcI to get a clear simple exposition of the hockey stick issue
- show some sensible sceptics showing some sensible scepticism
- THEN do a review of how sceptics have been treated. Lay out the tactics that have been used to disparage these sensible people. Show that the previous documentaries really have been hatchet jobs.
- get Stringer on to do his "trillion dollars in tax" bit to show that this isn't toe-nail clippings either. It really does matter.
- Show that greenery also has costs: flooding in Brisbane, bio-ethanol impact on food prices, failure to prepare for cold winters...

there's loads to be done here.

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Pedant-General

We could story-board it on here. Imagine:

<Picture of drowning polar bears>
Voice-over: They say that global warming will finish the polar bears first.
<Picture of ice falling off glacier into the sea>
Voice-over: They say that the poles will be ice free
<Picture of the hockey stick>
Voice-over: They say that temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate.
<Add in the divergent tree stuff hidden by "the trick">
V-O: Don't look at that bit...!
<Picture of Al Gore receiving an Oscar>
V-O: Courageous people stepping forward to warn of a clear and present danger
<Cut to judgement of court re: accuracy of An Inconvenient Truth>
V-O: And only a fool would disagree.
<Quick-cut from different BBC documentaries>
V-O: And, of course, we trust them...
<Cut to the Royal Society, montage of Newton, Procedings, Rees, Nurse>
V-O: The oldest and most important scientific bodies in the world say the debate is over...
<Cut to bad pics of Monckton/Delingpole/Lindzen/McIntyre>
V-O: Only a fool would disagree. Peer-reviewed scientists have formed a concensus.

Then fisk the errors in various bits of BBC output. Go after Harrabin (met office and the Jo Abbess affair.) Go after Climategate (trick/redefine peer review/kick his ass). Go after the different Climategate inquiries, looking at the staff, one-by-one. Draw graphs. Go after "selected with the consent of the Royal Society. Explain "nullus in verba".

Probably have to be 90 minutes minimum. Might have to multiple one hour episodes.

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

A history of GATA would do it, from the first documented papers, then through the 70's ice age scare compatible papers, through the hockey stick, and then how GISS etc. have been altered since the 80's...

in fact a doc around these graphs alone would do it

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Let's hope the programme, if made, concentrates on serious scientists such as Steve McIntyre and Ross McKittrick and some of the statistical arguments which have now come to the attention of reputable mainstream statisticians, resulting in publications in top statistics journals. Previous treatments have featured the unqualified or whacko "personalities on each side, such as Monckton, Delingpole and assorted tree-huggers, with a bit of stitching up of prominent sceptics. I'm sure C4 would show such a programme.

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

How about an update of this programme...
...from 1990?

30 years later and the "evidence" is still only to be found in the output of computer models.

Compare this "progress" with the advances made in real sciences like physics or biology over this period. Now, compare the progress made in pseudo-sciences like the paranormal and homeopathy over the same period. Would this suggest anything to the average man-in-the-street?

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Someone should do a documentary on the politics, the average person cannot make any sensible judgements about the science.

This is my page of links on Enron created carbon trading, the biggest financial scam in history. Well, it was supposed to be, but I suspect Britain may be the only country it will have any sucess in (thanks to the BBC),

Even Hansen knows it ia a scam as do all the environmetal NGOs, but they are making too much money out of AGW to make any fuss.

James Hansen in the Guardian

Governments today, instead, talk of "cap-and-trade with offsets", a system rigged by big banks and fossil fuel interests. Cap-and-trade invites corruption. Worse, it is ineffectual, assuring continued fossil fuel addiction to the last drop and environmental catastrophe.

Feb 2, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

Jonathan Bagley

Amen. A programme looking at the flaws in the IPCC's science would be on firmer ground than on covering alternative theories of climate change.

Feb 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Richard Desmond - owner of the Express and now owner of Channel 5 is extremely anti AGW (someone said it's written into journalists' contracts for the Express...!) so I can't see why he wouldn't welcome such a programme!

Feb 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered Commenteryaosxx

"My favoured suggestion is the CERN Cloud Experiment, covering the work of Svensmark, Kirby and Calder, against establishment resistence, leading up to and timed to release on the publication of experimental results"

Yes, I agree that would be good, particularly Kirkby but it has to be themed on the basis that it is a bunch of brave truth seekers against the corporate, science establishment. Serious science is far too boring a subject to engage an audience with.

However, if virtually the entire amy of climate science lab technician / scientists is going along with the scam, scepticism is a very difficult thing to sell. That's why I concentrate on the business/polics.

Feb 2, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith


Guardian's reporting today that an ICM poll that 83% of the British public believe climate change a major threat

Are you a troll? You haven't provided a link and this thread is about Martin Durkin producing a sceptic documentary. This is the link:-

It leads to this:-

There is nothing as far as I can see about the wording of the poll.

I would give the Bish my email address but I have no intention of opening up my email to monbots.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartinGAtkins

I just wish alarmists like BBC's Paul Nurse would stop conflating GW and AGW, and suggesting that all skeptics refuse to believe the earth is warming. They're like sun-worshippers who 'prove' the efficacy of their rituals by pointing to the sunrise.

If the MSM do a documentary on climate skepticism, chances are they'll interview a bunch of creationists who'll say "there has been no warming," and make us look like idiots.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney


Adam Curtis did a very interesting documentary series, that's very germane to the global warming mania, called "The Power of Nightmares" a number of years ago. To say it's prescient is an understatement. Have a look on youtube. It's there but in fragmentary parts. The first part, a taster -


Feb 2, 2011 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

Low hanging fruit first.

Shine a light on the egregious "mistakes" and exaggerations of Big Green. Invite people not to take on trust what they're told. Encourage them to ask questions and look at the evidence themselves. A programme could spend a few minutes looking at, for example (in no particular order):

- Himalayan glaciers gone by 2040 (or whatever the date was)
- disappearing Pacific islands
- endangered polar bears
- multi-metres of sea level rise by 2100 (or tens of metres by dates unspoken)
- desertification of the Amazon rainforest
- increase in malaria
- the "unprecedented warming" meme/abolition of the MWP/the numerous Hockey Sticks produced by the same clique of scientists/their claims that these were "independent" studies
- the deletion of data to create a false impression of certainty/"hide the decline"
- the conspiracy to defeat FOI requests
- the subsequent exaggerated claims by UEA of how they were inundated with FOI requests
- the vested interests at the heart of the whitewash inquiries
- the side-stepping by the whitewash inquiries of any review of the science

We can't have a debate on whether and what sacrifices should be made in order to "combat" CO2 global warming until the promoters of CO2 limitations abandon hyperbole and exaggeration and start to engage in a sober and honest debate about risks/costs/benefits/alternatives INCLUDING the very real possibility that we will see only modest temperature rises, even with unrestrained CO2 rise, which will on the whole benefit mankind. We, the public who have read the IPPC reports and peer reviewed literature, have sussed out that you're trying to rail-road us into mind-bogglingly expensive, damaging and ineffective action programmes based on a bunch of tricks that a double-glazing salesman would be ashamed of. We're not buying it any more.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

Adam Curtis would be a dream candidate. Combine The Trap, The Power of Nightmares, GGWSwindle, Mine Your Own Business with McIntyre and McKitrick, Matt Ridley, Brendan O'Neill, Ben Pile and the Bishop himself as primary talking heads and you've got something with clout.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Woolley


1. You apparently had no trouble finding the survey yourself, so it doesn't matter that I didn't post a link

2. It's very relevant to this thread, because a poll of current opinion gives some indication of where we are now, when all TV is basically on the warmist side, and whether there is a need for a sceptic documentary, and what it might have to face.

3. It's not my fault the wording of the questions isn't on a particular website.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

There’s probably enough material to make three episodes mimicking the three IPCC working groups. Unpick the case for climate change in the same way they make it.
Lack of a physical Science Basis
Exaggerated impacts, adaptations and vulnerability
Crazy mitigation schemes and huge costs

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

At the end of the day, we're talking about a movie which will influence the ordinary person. The luminaries already mentioned here are all well known to us but not to the intended audience. They'd just be more talking heads talking all that scientific stuff.

If I were comissioning the piece, and I say this in all seriousness, I would ask for a mocumentary sending up the activities of the warmists. There's a huge amount of real but seriously funny material.

Just one example. At Copenhagen, they set up a special interest sub-committee to discuss how to stop the Polar bear becoming extinct. The found out about a scientist, whose name escapes me, who'd spent 30 years studying nothing but Polar bears so the invited him to Copenhagen for his expertise. Just before he was due to go there, they found out he was going to tell them the simple fact. Polar bear population was at a record high and indeed, had increased five-fold since the 70s.

What to do? They uninvited him !

True story and great material ...


Feb 2, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

Bishop Hill said:

Amen. A programme looking at the flaws in the IPCC's science would be on firmer ground than on covering alternative theories of climate change.

A programme looking at the acknowledged uncertainties, let alone the flaws, in the IPCC science would be a start. Things like how the computer models remain unvalidated. The uncertainties in the proxy record, surface stations, etc. The admitted inadequacies of the models when applied to small areas.(eg what the Amazon rainforest might do) Basically a programme setting out the limits that restrain the science, how all the projections rely on economic projections and uncertain feedbacks and the way in which the consensus has been massively inflated.

At its simplest, a programme detailing what the IPCC reports actually say rather than the most extreme interpretation of them. But I think telly channel programmers would view that as too boring.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I had a thought about this idea last night and wondered if there would be mileage in a programme dramatising what would actually happen if the eco-luddites actually got their way.
Progressively we lose modern transport (shots of a full car park with cars disappearing from one frame to the next: ditto trains, aircraft, ships) because not only is there no oil the machinery needed to manufacture these things or mine the raw materials can't be built either. Which in turn leads to the end of mechanised agriculture and the use of artificial fertilisers (which they're agin anyway) and so to subsistence living, poor health (and no hospitals and no way of getting to them if there were) etc., etc.
If we can have scary polemics about what might happen if the warmists don't get their own way there ought to be a market for what will happen if they do.
Final shot: narrator looks directly into camera in close-up. "Of course your phone doesn't work any more and your internet connection has gone, not to mention your .." At which point the screen goes blank. Five second pause. Roll end credits.
Good dramatic stuff!

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

There is a sceptic, Dr David Whitehouse, who writes for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, who is a former BBC Science correspondent, won many awards and has a lot of TV experience. He seems across the science in a big way. What an irony it would be if the proposed documentary was done by a former BBC insider, who probably knows all their tricks.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterKathG

It would be good to have a documentary about sceptics and their views, produced by the sceptics themselves, to counter the effects of the documentaries made by those who want to portray sceptics as ignorant buffoons. I nominate Jonathan Bagley, AngusPangus, etc plus of course AWM to write the script and make the programme!
If David Whitehouse could be involved, yes that would be great.

On the subject of surveys, the continuing and accelerating decline in belief in AGW by the British public has been shown most recently by a poll by the DFT, as discussed recently here at BH. This adds to other surveys by reliable organisations like MORI and Rasmussen that all show the same thing.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

Whilst the poll seems quite kosher, I was struck by this comment about it in The Guardian:

Compared with August 2009, when the same question was asked, opinion remained steady despite a series of events in the intervening 18 months that might have made people less certain about the perils of climate change.

What? Climategate, the battering the IPCC's credibility has taken, the Copenhagen disaster, the Cancun non-event, "barbecue summers", the 3rd cold winter in a row in the UK (odds 1:8000), not to mention "AGW means less snow, sorry I mean more snow", has had no effect on public opinion?

Seems rather unlikely, doesn't it? Completely at odds with all the other polls I've seen.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce


1. You apparently had no trouble finding the survey yourself, so it doesn't matter that I didn't post a link

It matters because we shouldn't have to crawl through crap to find out what you are talking about.

No harm done but please me more mindful that for some of us this is not a game. A little more work on your part helps a lot.

Feb 2, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartinGAtkins

Soundtrack by the Minnesotans 4 Global Warming?

Feb 2, 2011 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSzerb fan

what is shameful is the failure of channel 4 to commission Durkin to update "Swindle" since Climategate broke.

similar to the failure of book publishers to sign McIntyre/McKitrick, the Bish or Anthony Watts to book deals post Climategate.

it always amuses me how quickly the big publishers sign up Wall St fraudsters and other criminals to book deals when they emerge from prison!

Feb 2, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

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