A shattering programme on Channel 4 last night: The Great Global Warming Swindle, and perhaps an opening volley in the forthcoming backlash against the concept of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) currently being predicted by AOG and David.
Amongst its many heretical claims:
1) That, contra Al Gore, the ice records show that increases in carbon dioxide lag behind temperatures by an average of 800 years, so although high carbon dioxide levels and high temperatures are related – a key piece of evidence in An Inconvenient Truth – the former cannot have caused the latter.
2) That the sun is the primary cause of all climate change and none of it is our fault.
3) That there has been no correlation between the rate of industrialisation and the rate of global warming.
4) That volcanoes alone produce much more carbon dioxide than all human industry, planes, cars etc. And volcanoes produce virtually nothing compared to plants and animals. And plants and animals produce virtually nothing compared to the oceans. And that it doesn't matter anyway because carbon dioxide makes no difference to global temperature.
5) That the arctic glaciers break up dramatically every year and always have done.
6) That environmental scientists and the new breed of ‘environmental journalists’ now have to be sensational to have any chance of being funded and published.
7) That there is a huge constituency of people dependent on the multi-billion industry that is the global warming research/scare lobby. Sceptics are ostracised.
8) That, according to Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, the environmental lobby is founded in the rump of the anti-capitalist, anti-US left that has been left directionless by the collapse of communism and socialism as a viable model
10) That the draconian measures imposed by the Precautionary Principle will have a disastrous effect on the world’s poorest. For example, the environmental lobby is demanding that African nations depend on the hopelessly unreliable and impossibly expensive solar and wind power rather than investing in using the continent’s coal and oil to generate the electricity that could immediately transform millions of blighted lives. This is where the environmental lobby becomes morally repugnant.
I have long been a waverer on AGW.
Like all lay people, I rely on what the media tells me is the scientific consensus, but a) I remember spending hours on ridiculous admin work to 'cover' our business in the advent of the Millennium Bug; and b) I have always been very sceptical about people who want to change our lifestyles based on weather forecasting, which ranks pretty high on the list of Things We Know Sod All About.
Following this programme, I am even more bewildered and befuddled, with an additional sense that I have a right to be angry with somebody. I’d like to see a point-by-point rebuttal of the programme, because so much of it was convincing.
As with so many things these days, we laypeople have both too much and too little information.
What seems absolutely clear is that we must not take any drastic action to reverse any technological and lifestyle improvements merely because the environmentalists demand it. We have to have a period of stopping and thinking. Or rather, carrying on and thinking.
Perhaps the next big question will be: which scientists, journalists and pundits will be the first to break ranks and admit they were hopelessly, humiliatingly wrong about AGW? And once the trickle starts, will it soon be a flood, leaving the anti-capitalists as stranded and embittered as they were after the failure of communism?
UPDATE: Gordon McCabe has a crucial clip from the programme here.
UPDATE: Part 2 on this programme here.