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« Crooked briefs | Main | Recollections of Bob Carter »

How is this not fraud?

I'm not a great one for shouting fraud, but I can't see that there is any other conclusion that one can draw.

Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a film about Kiribati, the coral atoll that all BH readers know is not getting smaller

Yet the promoters of this film are saying this (click for larger):

That to me looks distinctly like a false statement being used to raise money. A fraud, in other words.

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Reader Comments (45)

An interesting analysis of a failed Kickstarter project ...

How Zano Raised Millions on Kickstarter and Left Most Backers with Nothing

Sometimes it's dishonesty. Sometimes incompetence.

Jan 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice.

Jan 25, 2016 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete Austin

If the charity is registered in the UK, they can be reported to the charities commission, alternaitvely report to the police. The police are obliged to investigate a report of a crime.

Additionally a complaint to the ASA.

Jan 25, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Speaking of Fraud - here's Ramsdorf and Mann in the Guardian lying their asses off:

.“Natural climate variations just can’t explain the observed recent global heat records, but manmade global warming can,” said Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and one of the research team.

He said the record heat brought substantial impacts: “It has led to unprecedented local heatwaves across the world, sadly resulting in loss of life and aggravating droughts and wildfires. The risk of heat extremes has been multiplied due to our interference with the Earth system, as our analysis shows.”

“Natural climate variability causes temperatures to wax and wane over a period of several years, rather than varying erratically from one year to the next,” said Prof Michael Mann at Penn State university in the US, who led the new study. “That makes it more challenging to accurately assess the likelihood of temperature records. Given the press interest, it seemed important to do this right, and address the interesting and worthwhile question of how unlikely it is that the recent run of record temperatures might have arisen by chance alone.”


ya gotta laugh

Where this crew of shysters are concerned "Never assume Stupidity [from Ramsdorf and Mann] because mendacity is far more likely"

Jan 25, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

It used to be called "Obtaining a Pecuniary Advantage by Deception".

Jan 25, 2016 at 12:48 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

It is very lucky for film makers that only idyllic tropical islands need to be filmed, so that people can imagine the threat of imagined sea level rise.

Climate science sets no limits to imaginative ideas for fully funded holiday making.

Eco-tourism, where you take only photographs, leave only carbon footprints everywhere, and somebody else pays.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Natural climate variations just can’t explain the observed recent global heat records"

The AGWH/ Greenhouse heating certainly cannot explain the lack of equatorial troposphere heating. "Natural variations" certainly can.

I put "natural variations" in scare quotes because it seems to me a euphemism for: we don't have a clue what caused it. The corollary is that as we don't understand "natural variations" we cannot dismiss the possibility that they explain all of the phenomena that are being ascribed to the AGWH. If this reasoning is wrong, I would appreciate being corrected. If not, I find it difficult to comprehend how a professional scientist can miss the point.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Borodin

Quite lot of people really do believe this stuff, though. Or at least, a lot of the potential investors in this particular scam probably do. Most of them are never likely to sue Kickstarter for false representation or recompense.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"Can these people survive as their country disappears?"

No. People have no mobility. They can't move. As the sea rises over the next thousands of years, they will drown. It's inevitable. Diddums.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

The pledge numbers shown are also suspicious: 50 backers have supposedly pledged over 25 thousand dollars, fully half the amount "needed". (This suggests, to the lowly masses, that only 25,000 internet users giving only 1 dollar each, is needed. How easy is that, all you good people out there, is the implied meaning; all these heavy-hitters are doing their part, what about you.) In the real world, for a legitimate cause, you only see such a high level of per-capita giving for a high-profile event (televised, and for a famous national or international organization). In my view, this is not just fraud, it is fraud by amateurs, two-bit hustlers just trying to make some quick money in a fly-by-night scam -- quick in, quick out. before the geeks wise up. (If it was worthwhile, it WOULD be a televised event, and in prime time.) And of course it is meant to make people think the "global warming catastrophe" is unquestionably real.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

The small print says they have to get the full 50k by Feb 2nd for the funding to be released. I assume the donations are returned (I assume they are 'pledges' which won't be called on). The fiddle will work if, on Feb 1st they need 10K (say) to get to the target and someone in on the scam 'pledges' the 10k so that the target is reached and the 50k handed over. That makes a profit. It just shows that there are 1440 suckers born every day.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

presenter : "Kickstarter has become just an advertising platform"
Investigator Mark Harris : "Too many people got carried away with enthusiasm" a result no one took steps to hold Zano to account
- By sheer coincidence I just listened an hour ago to BBC Tech Tent's report on the Zano drone (comments closed after 141) ..and those two phrases stood out to me.
And I was thinking how it parallels greendream people and their simplistic black/white thinking : over enthusiasm for green magic solutions ..and over certainty on the doom side.

If our crazy green friends use Kickstarter for their Kiribati Doom project, then maybe it's a good thing cos it will end up with the truth being exposed in the end
...And the same Zano comment will end up applying to them :

" It'll take ages to repair the reputational damage and restore investor confidence.

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:32 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mark Harris's LONG report reveals further Zano/Green parallels.
eg The politicians were well taken in

"In spring 2013, the Secretary of State for Wales at the time, David Jones, visited a young company at the Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park. On a windswept campus at the western tip of the country, Jones heard Torquing Group’s enthusiastic managing director, Ivan Reedman, share a vision of Welsh-made autonomous robots for industry, commerce, and the military."
: Softies gave awards before they even achieved anything
Engadget shortlisted Zano for its official Best of CES Award

eg3 The usual FREE adverts from the BBC

Jan 25, 2016 at 1:42 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It's not clear (to me) whether the pitch is for financial support for Kiribati or for the film company. Though given the fraud, the latter is appropriately enough named: EyeSteel ...

Jan 25, 2016 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bishop

Why do they need to visit glorious Kiribati in the warm-as-toast central pacific to demonstrate the 'horrendous impacts' of 'accelerating sea level rise' when they could just as easily nip over to Nova Scotia or New York, in the process reducing their 'carbon footprint'? After all it's the sea, innit, so 'sea level rise' must be reasonably consistent everywhere, right?

What was that you say....New York - fffffing ffffreezing. Ah, righto.

Jan 25, 2016 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

"Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice."

I never understand this. If the evidence points to malice... perhaps conclude malice.


Jan 25, 2016 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Well, Kickstarter have their rules and will dump anything that they consider to be fraudulent, and have done so. I don't know what it would take to reach that threshold, but it's worth a try.

Jan 25, 2016 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Fraser

Er...what is the actual project? I can't find anything about it...

Jan 25, 2016 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

One of the kickstarter founders is quoted as saying "In our case, we focus on a middle ground between patronage and commerce", so in this case it could probably be argued that it is heavily weighted to patronage.

Jan 25, 2016 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Re: John B

If the charity is registered in the UK, they can be reported to the charities commission, alternaitvely report to the police. The police are obliged to investigate a report of a crime.

Additionally a complaint to the ASA.

Unfortunately its based in Montreal Canada.

But they do claim to to collaborate with the BBC

You can see their other works here

Jan 25, 2016 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

<I>...Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a film about Kiribati...

Somebody on Kickstarter is trying to raise funds for a holiday in Kiribati...

There. Fixed that for you...

Jan 25, 2016 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Reminds me of "The Way We Live Now" by Anthony Trollope

"Montague was not to make a railway to Vera Cruz, but to float a company. Paul thought that Mr. Fisker seemed to be indifferent whether the railway should ever be constructed or not. It was clearly his idea that fortunes were to be made out of the concern before a spadeful of earth had been moved. If brilliantly printed programmes might avail anything, with gorgeous maps, and beautiful little pictures of trains running into tunnels beneath snowy mountains"

Jan 25, 2016 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

The Zano project's HQ was just down the road from me.
An account can be found at

Jan 25, 2016 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Grumpy

There will be an actual product though, a film.
It may be shonky, like the one where they push lemmings over a cliff, or film of a rodent running along a tyre made to look like a tunnel. If making shonky films was a crime, old 'wiggy' the Star Trek war criminal would be doing 250 years

Jan 25, 2016 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Steve Borodin,

"I find it difficult to comprehend how a professional scientist can miss the point."

It's in his professional interest to miss the point.

Jan 25, 2016 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Has anyone here made a formal complaint?
If not I will.

Please respond.

Jan 25, 2016 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"If the charity is registered in the UK, they can be reported to the charities commission, alternaitvely report to the police. The police are obliged to investigate a report of a crime.

Additionally a complaint to the ASA."

@ John B - Good luck with that! All full of Common Purpose droids. The ASA certainly won't do anything, as I discovered when I complained about a TV advert for the Renault Zoe, and their claims about "zero emissions".

Jan 25, 2016 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Maybe they are giving an indirect hint with the company name EyeSteelFilm especially if you remove the Film.

As Dodgy Geezer @4:17 PM says there are some people looking to get away from the cold and snow of Canada.

Jan 25, 2016 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Bad Andrew

"Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice."
I never understand this. If the evidence points to malice... perhaps conclude malice.

Three reasons not to.

1) There is such an abundance of stupidity that guessing malice is nearly always wrong. If you can't tell if the horse is black or white in this light don't guess both and say "zebra". Not if you're in the Cotswolds.

2) It's bad strategy. Always give the benefit of the doubt on the first move else you signal a spiral of eye-for-eye that leads to everybody losing to the non-players.

3) Even of you do win cheaply, so what?
The winnings are too small for the fight. Unless you can prove malfeasance to the extent that the Courts throw away the key all you do is lose credibility and lawyers fees and, worse, gain a reputation for being a trouble maker.
Scorn is cheap - it's a good response to stupidity.
But malice needs fighting - save your powder until you can win big.

Jan 25, 2016 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Don - I've flagged this as a potential fraud with Kickstarter. I bet I'm not the only one to have done so either....

Jan 25, 2016 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

"looks distinctly like a false statement being used to raise money. A fraud, in other words." There is nothing at all unusual in all that. There would be no money for CAGW research if this were not the case.

Jan 25, 2016 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

I've sent a message to ISteal, sorry EyeSteel and advised them that they are talking absolute rubbish and they are therefore applying for cash under false pretences.
I'll wait and see if I get a reply.

Jan 25, 2016 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

Charities in last chance saloon
Not sure if this new organisation will be able to assist with Kick farts(sic) and other online chuggers?

Jan 25, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Of course as a bunch of evil sceptics, you'd say that ;-)

Me, I'd let a fool and his money be parted. It's not like it will be any less legitimate than some of the recent green box office flops.

Jan 25, 2016 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

One would think that land sales would be raging on this doomed island but no. Everywhere I look no land for rent or sale.
Indeed informs that --

Foreigners are not allowed to own land in the country. Leasing of land is hard because ownership disputes among the claimants as owners are hard to resolve. Almost all of the land in Kiribati is owned by indigenous people.

Yes everyone wishes to stay on their doomed island and not share the supposed future disaster with any outsiders.

Jan 26, 2016 at 2:00 AM | Unregistered Commentertom0mason

I ask you, is it a fraud that DiCaprio used his private jet instead of Skype to confront the world's most evil at Davos?

Absolutely not.

The death of 3.86 pieris rapae butterflies per millisecond of flight time is EVIDENTLY offset by the labors of DiCaprio's renowned "pussy posse" and the need to spread the concerns of this humanitarian organization throughout Europe.

Jan 26, 2016 at 4:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

The problem is rising sea levels between 2 to 3 mm/year. One inch per decade. Solution: Houseboats! Millions of people on the planet live on houseboats, many quite happily. So make plans NOW for houseboats for great-grandchildren when sea levels are one or two feet higher than currently.

Jan 26, 2016 at 5:59 AM | Unregistered Commentermayor of Venus

Em the "Top of Kiribati", Gilbert Islands is 81m above sea level.

- Ecological Kiribati took money for PIPA Phoenix Islands Protected Area, but never actually stopped any fishing nor spent any money on the reserve. According to 2013 article in the Earth Island Journal

"At the PNA meeting last March, Kiribati shocked its partners by announcing that last year it sold almost twice as many days as its quota allowed, which is how it doubled its fisheries income"

I think they have always sided with Japan on whaling,

I wonder how much money they have spent on construction over the last 15 years with the New Parliament building, ports, airports etc ?

RNZ just reported that 4men died when a freak 5m wave him their car on the dockside 2 weels ago.

Jan 26, 2016 at 6:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

How dare you nasty people say he's using the money for a beach holiday !
It's more of a world tour.....
"the final leg of his two-year journey" "as I follow President Tong ..
From Paris, we went to London, where he met with Prince Charles..
The next stop was Morocco for a regional meeting of Pacific island nations ....
Finally, I will return with him to Kiribati early in the new year, where Anote Tong will formally hand over the presidency to his successor"

The Grantham Institute website hosts the ex-presidents plea letter can't they fund the film about him ?

#1 You click the "Campaign" button bottom left of that kick starter page to get to more info here

... The rising seas will engulf this island nation within the lifetimes of its last inhabitants, because they live barely above sea level.Their country will be drowned in the next 50 years, regardless of any investments or agreements.
There is an ask a question button there.

- Bottom line the writer is a typical true-believer whose beliefs are reinforced by what he thinks he saw in 2012 Panama Kuna-Yala islets which run down the bottom of Panama's east coast.
He can pick older scientific reports which predicted doom, but on a timescale at least double his claims.
- The difference between them and the Webb & Kench 2010 report Bish quotes official link is that it measured past REALITY.
"Using historical aerial photography and satellite images this study presents the first quantitative analysis of physical changes in 27 atoll islands in the central Pacific over a 19 to 61 yr period" (2mm/year sea level rise would give about 122mm sea level rise over that 61 years)
" Results contradict existing paradigms"
(They seem to say yes there are changes but you can't just simplistically say 'sea level rises and wipes out atholl islands
"First, islands are geomorphologically persistent features on atoll reef platforms and can increase in island area despite sea-level change"

The report that Bish links to does mention some earlier scientific studies which predicted doom but over a longer time eg "over the coming century"

These low-lying reef islands and their populations are considered physically vulnerable to a range of climate change impacts including: sea level rise; changing weather and oceanographic wave regimes, and increased cyclone frequency and intensity (Church et al., 2006; Mimura et al., 2007). Under current scenarios of global climate-induced sea level rise of 0.48 to 0.98 m by 2100 it is widely anticipated that low-lying reef islands will become physically unstable and be unable to support human populations over the coming century (Leatherman, 1997; Connell, 1999).

...."equatorial Kiribati has no record of direct cyclone impact"

The report then points out flaws with those old arguments
The future persistence of low-lying reef islands has been the subject of considerable international concern and scientific debate. Current rates of sea level rise are widely believed to have destabilised islands promoting widespread erosion and threatening the existence of atoll nations. This study presents analysis of the physical change in 27 atoll islands located in the central Pacific Ocean over the past 20 to 60 years, a period over which instrumental
records indicate an increase in sea level of the order of 2.0 mm yr
The results show that island area has remained largely stable or increased over the timeframe of analysis. Forty-three percent of islands increased in area by more than 3% with the largest increases of 30% on Betio (Tarawa atoll) and 28.3% on Funamanu (Funafuti atoll). There is no evidence of large scale reduction in island area despite the upward trend in sea level.
Consequently, islands have predominantly been persistent or expanded in area on atoll rims
for the past 20 to 60 years
Being in Canada he is getting help from the CBC to publicise campaigns Radio from 2 years ago

"New radio item from Radio New Zealand
about the Canada-based Swiss film maker.

Jan 26, 2016 at 6:59 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Bon Voyage to Aila's Ugandan Climate Quest

Jan 26, 2016 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"1) There is such an abundance of stupidity that guessing malice is nearly always wrong."

M Courtney,

Malice lives in the hearts of all men. Everybody. To pretend it doesn't exist means you are using an incorrect model.


Jan 26, 2016 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

James Evans

I would call him an "unprofessional scientist". To coin a phrase, a disgrace to his profession.

Jan 26, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Borodin

Maybe consider:

"This study did not measure vertical growth of the island surface nor does it suggest there is any change in the height of the islands. Since land height has not changed the vulnerability of the greater part of the land area of each island to submergence due to sea level rise is also unchanged and these low-lying atolls remain immediately and extremely vulnerable to inundation or sea water flooding."


A brief on the peer reviewed, scientific publication.
The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal
analysis of island change in the Central Pacific.
Webb & Kench, 2010. Global & Planetary Change (accepted).

Jan 26, 2016 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterFelix

@AhFelix was it you on Twitter ?
The report would not have considered the height of the island as it talks about the islands moving up as the sea moves up it being a coral island.
So yes today and 50 years ago the islands would have been vulnerable to freak high waves etc. ie "immediately and extremely vulnerable to inundation or sea water flooding."

One part of the islands is 81m above sea level as I said above

Jan 27, 2016 at 2:14 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It's funny, I was thinking just the same thing when an advert was shown on I think Quest TV or the Travel Channel: adopt a polar bear for £13 because they are endangered! That must surely be fraud I thought - they are NOT endangered!

Jan 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenteryaosxx

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