The AGW - Skeptics
battle in classic fundamentalist form,
between Bob Ward & Martin Durkin
I found this archetypal, well-recorded exchange highly
instructive as to the issues and tactics on all sides. It
repays study if you want to see how the activist end of AGW
Martin Durkin filmed The Great Global
Warming Swindle, for which he was far more attacked than supported
- but he is generally though not totally supported by skeptics.
Ofcom upheld Wunsch's complaint that (in the context of the
whole film) he felt misrepresented. But Ofcom
would not uphold complaints that the film itself was factually
inaccurate or misleading or dangerous and should not have
Bob Ward was in the lead, making these complaints.
He was "Senior manager, policy communication" for
the Royal Society until September 2006. What was he before
that? When you see the strange level of logic and fanaticism
he shows, and the many stories, in Prof. Lindzen's recent
paper, of activists with little scientific abilities getting
into positions of power like this, it makes one wonder.
First email from Martin Durkin, 25 April 2007
|Bob Ward and his mates say they do not wish
to censor or to curtail free speech, but they call for
the film to be banned. This is a contemptible, weasel-worded
attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won't work.
I am flabbergasted that their excuse for suppressing the
film is 'adequate quality control' when it comes to the
reporting of science. Look at the mountains of absurd
nonsense pedalled in the name of 'man made climate change'.
How many of these people complained when Hurricane Katrina
was blamed on global warming? Or the Asian tsunami? Where
were they then? For the record, I am an extremely experienced
TV producer with a particularly strong track record in
science documentaries (I blush as I write this). The film
was commissioned by Dr Hamish Mykura, the head of specialist
factual programming at Channel Four who happens to have
a Ph.D. in environmental science.
| Nor do the global warmers want a 'balanced
debate'. As the global warming zealots often say these
days, 'the time for debate is over', and 'there is no
longer room for doubt'. Their response to the film has
been a co-ordinated campaign to persuade people to complain
to Ofcom, to sanction the makers of the film and to try
to prevent its distribution on DVD. That is a despicable
way to carry on a debate. The theory of global warming
is so firmly entrenched not because there's solid science
to back it up but because it reflects perfectly the soft-left,
soft-green leanings of a highly influential slice of the
Western middle class. It is also a funding gravy-train
for scientists, many of whom have built their careers
and staked their reputations on global warming. I sympathise
with them. The theory is clearly wrong. An expanded DVD
version of the film will be on sale shortly at a shop
A pair of emails, same day (25 April) luckily BW
raises seven issues and MD keeps to these
The signatories of the letter simply
seek for Martin to correct the major misrepresentations
contained in his programme before it is distributed
on DVD. Seven of these major misrepresentations in summary
| 1) It misrepresented a graph of global
average temperature published in 1995 and failed to acknowledge
the most up-to-date analysis that shows none of the large-scale
surface temperature reconstructions indicate medieval
temperatures were as warm as in the last few decades.
||(1) Bob doesn't like me using a graph depicting
the temperature record of the past 1,000 years, which,
he says has been 'superseded'. The problem with my graph
(which was published by the IPCC and used to be regarded
as the standard account) is that it clearly shows a very
warm period (what climatologists call the Medieval Warm
Period) followed by a relative cold period (what they
call the Little Ice Age), from which, it appears, we have
for the past two or three hundred years, been making a
slow, welcome recovery. All in all it's not very alarming.
So the global warming fraternity replaced this inconvenient
graph by another - the famous 'Hockey Stick' (called so
because it looks like one). Far more dramatic. But then
two researchers (McIntyre & McKitrick - look it up
on the net) examined the computer algorithm used to produce
the famous Hockey stick, and discovered it was very good
indeed at producing Hockey Stick shapes. They fed the
thing random data many times over and found that, bingo,
it always popped out a hockey stick. Their critique (which
was extensive) was subsequently confirmed in the independent
Wegman Report (led by the prominent statistician Professor
Edward Wegman) which again I urge readers to look up for
themselves on the net. Wegman also criticised the way
a small group of Hockey Stick researchers were swapping
the same methodological techniques and datasets to come
up with numerous studies which were essentially the same
one, but purported to be supporting one another.
The record of temperature change over the past 1,000 years
used in the film is far more reliable and tallies far
better with historical accounts of this period.
| 2) It failed to mention the effect of
aerosols in causing a slight cooling the average temperature
in the northern hemisphere between 1940 and 1976.
||(2) Every record of 20th Century temperature
change presents Bob Ward with the same problem. The temperature
went up radically from around 1905 to 1940, it fell from
the 1940s to the early 70s, it rose in the 80s and 90s
and it's done nothing spectacular either way for a decade.
The postwar cooling is especially embarrassing. The postwar
economic boom was a big deal - lots of CO2. So why did
temperatures go down?
The global warmers do a little shrug of the shoulders
and suggest that maybe it was SO2 (pollution from factories).
But they say it awkwardly because they know it makes no
sense. All reliable accounts of SO2 has levels steadily
increasing, from the late 19th Century till at least 1990.
We had dirty industrial production before WWII and dirty
industrial production after WWII. Why did the temperature
go up in phase one and down in phase two? Why did the
temperature go up in the 1980s? China is now the world's
biggest producer of SO2. The amount produced by China
has increased 27 percent since 2000. Why aren't we freezing
Here's a thought. Perhaps the temperature change in the
20th century has nothing to do with CO2 and SO2. Perhaps
it is connected with the fact that solar activity increased
from the beginning of the 20th Century until the 1940s,
fell back till the 1970s and then rose again.
| 3) It wrongly claimed that climate models
are inconsistent with the data for trends in global average
temperature in the lower atmosphere.
||(3) He says the temperature rise in the
troposphere is consistent with surface temperatures. He
quotes as his source Professor John Christy, who is one
of the leading scientists in the world on this topic.
All I can say is, Prof Christy had a very different story
to tell when we interviewed him in his labs in Alabama.
According to classic global warming theory, the rate of
temperature rise should be greater in the troposphere
than at the surface. The observations we have from satellites
and weather balloons consistently indicate the opposite.
| 4) It wrongly claimed that volcanoes produce
far more carbon dioxide than human activities, even though
the published scientific literature shows that this is
||(4) Hurray, Bob's got one right. I wrongly
said that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans. He'll be
pleased to see I've corrected that in the DVD version.
But I find people are still surprised when I tell them
that oceans, for example, produce around 80 gigatons of
CO2 a year, compared to around 7 gigatons from humans.
The point here is nothing more than to emphasise that
CO2 is natural (people often refer to CO2 as if CO2 is
produced only by humans and is a pollutant).
| 5) It wrongly claimed that a paper by
Caillon and co-authors suggests that the recent rise in
carbon dioxide concentrations must have followed the recent
rise in global average temperature, when the authors'
paper states the opposite.
||(5) The ice core data is frequently cited
by global warmers as proof that their theory is true.
In Earth's climate record, CO2 and temperature seem to
move together. What they conveniently fail to mention
is that the order is the wrong way round. The temperature
goes up, then a few hundred years or more later, so does
CO2. The reason is that the oceans both emit and suck
in CO2, and the emit more when it's warmer, and suck in
more when it's cooler, but it takes centuries to warm
up and cool down the oceans. The film clearly states,
more than once, that human emissions of CO2 have risen
in the 20 Century. The question is, is CO2 a 'climate
driver'? As evidence that it is, the ice cores are frequently
cited. Wrongly. They show nothing of the kind.
|6) It wrongly presented Carl Wunsch's views
to be that he believes carbon dioxide emissions from humans
cannot be responsible for the recent rise in global average
temperature, when in fact he is on record as stating that
he thinks the opposite.
||(6) Carl Wunsch was not invited to be interviewed
for his views on anthropogenic CO2, but on oceanography,
an area in which he is qualified to speak. And everything
he said can be found in any textbook on oceanography.
His views were most certainly not distorted.
| 7) It wrongly claimed that solar activity
explains the recent rise in temperature, when the up-to-date
published scientific literature suggests that it doesn't.
||(7) Bob Wade's deep attachment to global
warming theory means he has to argue, absurdly, that variations
in solar activity have little or nothing to do with climate
change on earth. This is a sad day for Reason. If he would
like a recent treatment of the subject I recommend "The
Chilling Stars" by Nigel Calder and Prof Henrick
Svensmark. Bob Wade and others have staked their reputations
on man made global warming being true. Some have built
whole careers on it. I feel very sorry for them.
| Perhaps Martin could go through each of
these misrepresentations and justify his apparent refusal
to correct them?
Second pair of emails, digging in deep,
Bob Ward 26th April, Martin Durkin 30th April
|I am grateful to Martin for attempting to justify the
misrepresentations in his programme. Unfortunately he
still has not acknowledged all of the mistakes.
|1) The graph attributed to the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) in his programme appears to have
been published in 1990. But the programme wrongly stated
that it showed global average temperatures from 900 AD
up to today, rather than up to 1975 as the IPCC's graph
stated. Claiming that the graph included temperatures
for the last 32 years was a major misrepresentation.
The IPCC labelled its graph as schematic recognising that
17 years ago there was limited evidence about temperatures
before systematic measurements began in the 19th century.
But since 1990 there have been numerous reconstructions
of surface temperatures using 'proxy' records such as
tree rings. All of the graphs of these reconstructions
for the last 1,000 years show a so-called 'hockey stick'
shape, with a long 'handle' of more or less steady global
temperatures up to about the 18th century, and then a
blade corresponding to the recent warming. Following controversy
over one of these hockey stick graphs, the United States
National Academy of Sciences carried out an authoritative
and detailed review of all the work. The review concluded
that "none of the large-scale surface temperature
reconstructions show medieval temperatures as warm as
the last few decades of the 20th century". The programme
ignored this review and all of the evidence that was considered
|(1) The earth's temperature record over the past 1,000
is a serious matter of contention.
But Bob is one who is misleading here. On the labelling
point, on a scale of 1,000 years with the attendant error
bars, we followed the example of the IPCC. Late 20th Century
The real question is which graph to use (ie. what the
temperature was). Bob would like us to use the so-called
'Hockey Stick'. But instead we used the graph which is
regarded by climatiologists outside the global warming
fraternity as the most authoritative, standard account
(Professor Lamb's, as used in the first IPCC report).
This shows a Medieval Warm Period (as warm or warmer than
today, Bob can chose), followed by the Little Ice Age,
from which we are now, it appears, making a slow, welcome
recovery. And that's why Bob's alarming Hockey Stick graph
is vital to the global warmers. Without it, the current
warming appears neither unusual nor worrying. So let's
have a look at the Hockey Stick. First McIntyre and McKitrick
showed that the statistical method used to create the
graph were dodgy (it always produced hockey stick shapes,
even when fed random data), and that the underlying proxy
data (bristlecone pines) were widely known to be unreliable.
Then there was an independent enquiry into the matter
led by Professor Edward Wegman. Wegman not only agreed
with M&M's devastating critique, but also dismissed
the other 'Hockey-Stick' look-alikes: "It is clear
that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers.
It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar
results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications."
What does Bob have to say about this? Bob doesn't mention
M&M or Wegman, but cites a US NAS report which, he
says, exonerates the 'Hockey Stick'. That's odd. Because
the chairman of that report, Dr Gerald North was asked,
under oath, before a US House Committee: "Dr North,
do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr
Wegman's report?" to which North replied, "No,
we don't. We don't disagree with their criticism. In fact
pretty much the same thing is said in our report."
So go and check out McIntyre & McKitrick, and Wegman,
for yourself. (For those interested I will post the relevant
web addresses on our web-site greatglobalwarmingswindle.com)
In short, the Hockey Stick is not good science, and the
present period in earth's climate history is far from
out of the ordinary.
|2) The first broadcast of the programme presented a
graph of "world temperatures" erroneously attributed
to NASA. In subsequent broadcasts, the attribution was
removed and the graph purportedly showed world temperatures
between 1880 and about 1990. It showed a marked drop in
temperature between 1940 and 1976. But no graph of global
average temperature from a reputable source shows this
sort of drop in temperature over this period.
The programme's graph may have shown temperatures from
the northern hemisphere or more likely from North America,
which show a cooling over that 35-year period due to the
effect of industrial aerosols. This can be seen on the
graphs produced by NASA at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/.
The programme completely ignored this fact and Martin
dismisses it. But he also ignores the fact that the temperature
record also shows short-term drops after major volcanic
eruptions, such as that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, because
they emit ash and aerosols into the atmosphere that scatter
and reflect sunlight.
Industrial aerosols have the same impact. I do not know
where Martin is getting his information from, but the
published record of sulphate aerosols show that they increased
sharply between 1945 and about 1989, after which they
declined rapidly. Global emissions of sulphate aerosols
are much less today than they were in the 1970s. Meanwhile
greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to mount,
which answers his question about "why aren't we freezing
|(2) As regards the postwar cooling, again, Bob is very
wrong. Bob says "no graph of global average temperature
from a reputable source shows this sort of drop in temperature
over this period". Our graph came from NASA (Hansen
and Lebedeff 1988), which does indeed show the indicated
drop in global temperatures from 1940 to the late 1960s
(approximately 0.15 deg C) with an even greater decline
of about 0.5 deg C in temperatures north of 23N. Hansen
and Lebedeff 1987 shows an even greater decline in Arctic
temperatures (approximately 1.4 deg C in the same period.)
In the film there were three graphs depicting the temperature
record in the 20th Century. They all show a marked postwar
cooling, as does the IPCC's own record of the 20th Century,
and every other 20th Century global temperature record
Bob might care to cite. He is stuck with it. The question
is, why did it happen? Why, during the biggest explosion
of industrial activity ever witnessed, did the temperature
Bob says it was aerosols, and quotes an economist, David
Stern. Bob says aerosols increased sharply between 1945
and 1989. In fact, aerosol emissions have increased steadily
since the beginning the 20th Century (see for example
Lefohn et al, 1999). Why did increasing SO2 not have a
cooling effect before the war? Why does the postwar cooling
end in the early 70s, while, according to Bob, aerosols
were still 'increasing sharply' up until 1989? And what
has happened with aerosols since then? Bob says they fell
sharply. Oh really? The IPCC AR4 Second Draft stated that,
while emissions in Europe and the US had declined in the
1990s, they had increased in Asia and that the "net
result of these combined regional reductions and increases
leads to uncertainty in whether the global SO2 has increased
or decreased since the 1980s". In short, Bob's account
of a recent "rapid" aerosol decline is unfounded.
The SO2 story doesn't fit, any better than the CO2 story
does. Neither gives a convincing explanation of temperature
change in the 20th Century.
|3) The programme claimed that the record of temperature
rise in the lowermost atmosphere (troposphere) is inconsistent
with climate models showing the impact of rising greenhouse
gas emissions. But this misrepresents the most up-to-date
review of the evidence by the US Climate Change Science
Programme last year. This review, which was co-authored
by John Christy (who appeared on the programme), concluded
that "given the range of model results and the overlap
between them and the available observations, there is
no conflict between observed changes and the results of
climate models". The programme failed to present
the most up-to-date evidence.
|(3) It is Bob, yet again, who is guilty of misrepresentation.
If greenhouse gas (of which CO2 is a minor one) were causing
the warming, then according to all the models, the rate
of warming should be higher in the troposphere than at
the earth's surface. In our film Professors Christy and
Lindzen, both highly qualified in this area, say that
it is not. Bob says that the US CCSP report last year
resolves this key problem for global warming theory. But
it does not. I quote the report: "A potentially serious
inconsistency [between model results and observations]
has been identified in the tropics."
I cannot emphasise this strongly enough. The theory of
greenhouse-led, man made global warming, is not consistent
with observed data in the real world.
|4) How gracious of Martin to admit that the programme
was completely wrong about how much carbon dioxide is
emitted by volcanoes. But now he's promoting another misrepresentation
of the science, with inaccurate figures for the role of
the oceans. In fact, the scientific evidence shows that
the oceans release about 367 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide
each year, but absorb about 374 gigatonnes. Therefore,
the oceans remove about 7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere each year, while human activities
add about 22 gigatonnes. Martin is wrong about the science
on this issue as well.
||(4) My figures on CO2 emissions come from the IPCC.
|5) The programme showed a graph that was attributed
to a scientific paper by Nicolas Caillon and co-authors,
showing how carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had
risen after the initiation of the Termination III deglaciation
event about 240,000 years ago. Carbon dioxide levels did
not start to rise until about 800 years after deglaciation
began, and similar time lags have been recorded for other
deglaciation events. But Caillon did not conclude, as
the programme wrongly claims, that this proves the recent
rise in carbon dioxide must be the result of, rather than
the cause of, the recent warming. His paper actually states
that "the situation at Termination III differs from
the recent anthropogenic CO2 increase", noting that
"the recent CO2 increase has clearly been imposed
first". And it points out that the release of carbon
dioxide at the beginning of deglaciation events amplified
the initial warming caused by fluctuations in the Earth's
orbit around the Sun.
Caillon's conclusion is not surprising. The last deglaciation
occurred about 12,000 years ago, whereas carbon dioxide
levels only started to rise in the 18th century, coincidentally
when the start of industrialisation led to widespread
burning of coal. On this issue as well, the programme
misrepresented the science.
|(5) Bob repeatedly claims that the film says that the
recent rise in CO2 was caused, not by humans but by a
rise in temperatures. I don't know how many times I have
to say this. NO IT DOESN'T. Watch the film. It says the
recent rise in CO2 was largely the result of an increase
in human emissions. Everyone agrees. The question is,
does that have any significant effect on the climate?
When you ask global warmers this question, they almost
invariably refer to the ice core data which they say proves
that CO2 variation drives climate change. But the ice
core data does nothing of the sort. In the ice core data,
changes in temperature clearly precede (not follow) changes
in CO2. In fact increasing rising CO2 often accompanies
decreasing temperatures, contrary to a famous claim by
Al Gore. What is there in this simple logic which is eluding
Bob? Cancer does not cause smoking. The misrepresentation
of the ice core data by the global warmers is a shocking
distortion of the truth (I refer readers to our web-site
|6) In an article published in another newspaper shortly
after the programme was first broadcast, Carl Wunsch wrote
the following: "In the part of The Great Climate
Change Swindle [sic] where I am describing the fact that
the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm,
and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain
that warming the ocean could be dangerous - because it
is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement
in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon
dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities,
human influence must not be very important - diametrically
opposite to the point I was making - which is that global
warming is both real and threatening."
Clearly, Professor Wunsch feels that the programme misrepresented
|(6) I've answered this. In the film Wunsch says basic
things about the oceans which can be found in any schoolbook.
| 7) As entertaining as the book by Nigel Calder and
Henrick Svensmark might be, it is not really a substitute
for scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
The programme showed a graph from a paper by Professor
Svensmark and a co-author that was published in 1997.
The graph purported to show a close match between the
length of sunspot cycles and temperature since 1860. But
the graph in the programme, as it does in the paper, has
no record for the length of sunspot cycles after about
1976. If the programme had included more up-to-date evidence,
it would have shown that sunspot cycle length has not
really changed since 1976 while temperature has continued
to climb. Thus the apparent correspondence between sunspot
length and temperature does not occur over the past 30
In any case, sunspot cycle length is not a particularly
good measure of the amount of heat energy reaching the
Earth, which is what influences global temperature. This
has been measured directly by satellites since 1978, and
the record shows that variations in the Sun's energy have
been too small to have contributed appreciably to the
accelerated warming over the past 30 years.
|(7) The Sun
Bob's rejection of solar activity as a cause of climate
variation is bizarrely obstinate. There are many peer-reviewed,
published studies which show a compelling connection between
solar activity and climate. For the tip of the iceberg,
I urge readers to look at: Perry (2007) Jour. Advances
in Space Research; Jiang et al (2005) Geology; Stager
et al (2005) Jour. Paleolimnol; Soon (2005) Geophysical
Research Letters; Veizer (2005) Geoscience Canada; Maasch
et al (2005) Geografiska Annaler. But for a good old compelling
book on the subject, read Nigel Calder's The Manic Sun.
Scientists researching the evident link between the sun
and earth's climate disagree about the mediating factors
involved (sun-spots by the way are merely one proxy measure
of solar activity) but to dismiss this research summarily
is a reflection is foolish and irrational.
Bob's attack on my 'misprepresentations and errors' is
no more than an attempt to stop people from speaking out
against the theory of man made global warming. Since making
this film I have experienced a little of the slander and
intimidation thrown at people who dare to disagree. It
is very unpleasant.
|And I am afraid that this last point rather means that
the central premise of the programme, that solar activity
rather than greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for
the recent warming, is like a house of cards that completely
collapses when the errors in the science are removed.
Third pair of emails, up to their ears
in it, BW 1st May, MD 2nd May.
|Martin, your attempts to justify the misrepresentations
in your programme are unconvincing.
| 1) The graph in your programme was attributed to the
IPCC. In fact it appears to have been taken from the IPCC
First Assessment Report, published in 1990. This in turn
seems to have been taken from a report by the United States
National Academies of Science in 1975, and based on a
similar graph published in 1966 by Hubert Lamb. To describe
Lamb's diagram, which is more than 40 years old, as "regarded
by climatologists outside the global warming fraternity
as the most authoritative, standard account", is
patently ludicrous - how could it possibly be if it does
not include temperatures since 1966, or any of the numerous
scientific studies that have been carried out in the last
four decades? Martin's programme completely misrepresented
the IPCC's diagram by labelling the end of the graph as
"now", rather than 1975 or 1966.
Martin has now attempted to divert attention from his
misrepresentation of the IPCC graph by drawing in the
'hockey stick' controversy. It is true that there has
been some criticism of the methods and conclusions appearing
in two scientific papers by Michael Mann and co-authors
that were published in 1998 and 1999. The United States
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) set up a committee
to carry out a review of the controversy. Its conclusion
was that the basic finding of these papers, that the Northern
Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the
20th century than during any comparable period during
over the preceding millennium, was "plausible".
But it pointed out that there are substantial uncertainties
in quantifying large-scale surface temperature changes
prior to about AD 1600, and there was "less confidence"
about the conclusion of the paper by Mann and co-authors
in 1999 that "the 1990s are likely the warmest decade,
and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium".
Nevertheless, the NAS report also stressed that there
have been a number of other large-scale temperature reconstructions.
It concluded that "none of the large-scale surface
temperature reconstructions show medieval temperatures
as warm as the last few decades of the 20th century".
|(1) The Hockey Stick is no diversion. It is a central
bit of evidence in Al Gore's film, and the IPCC advertised
it (or used to until it became too embarrassing) on the
front page of its reports. It has been a central pillar
of the global warming theory. And it is wrong. Bob cites
the NAS, but NAS concludes only that the earth is warmer
now than in the last 400 years (ie. since the Little Ice
Age - NOT the last 1,000 years) and the authors have conceded
that their review of the Hockey Stick study was relatively
cursory. Wegman produced the really thorough analysis
(Wegman, who is chair of the US National Academy of Sciences
Committee on Theoretical and Applied Statistics). I conducted
a lengthy interview with Prof Wegman in Washington, which
I will post on our web-site. He concluded that McIntyre
& McKitrick's demolition of the Hockey Stick was solid.
(I beg readers to look up the relevant papers themselves).
Bob then refers to other similar studies - these sons
of Hockey sticks were also condemned by Wegman (see previous
So what graph should we use? The last one used by the
IPCC before the Hockey Stick was Lamb's famous graph.
Bob, like all warmers, wants to extinguish the Medieval
Warm Period. This was the time when Vikings colonised
Greenland (and called it GREEN-land). This was when Chaucer
writes of the wine produced by the vineyards in the North
of England). Give up Bob. It was warmer back then.
And let's look beyond 1,000 years. How about the Roman
Warm Period, or the very warm Holocene Maximum, or indeed
the FOUR PRECEDING INTERGLACIAL PERIODS WHICH (EVEN IN
GORE'S FILM IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY) WERE WARMER THAN THE
CURRENT ONE. Not even a dubious climate model can spirit
these away. Admit it Bob. There's nothing exceptional
about today's climate.
|2) Your graph does not appear in the paper by Hansen
and Lebedeff in 1988. You should admit that it is taken
from the paper by Arthur Robinson and co-authors, which
was published in 'Medical Sentinel' in 1998. That paper
claims the graph incorporates data from three papers by
James Hansen and co-authors in 1987, 1988 and 1996. Your
programme's graph shows a much larger cooling between
1940 and 1976 than occurs in any of the papers by Hansen
and co-authors. You should make clear the source and not
falsely claim that it was published by NASA or James Hansen
Although you have purported to draw upon the work of James
Hansen, it is clear that you have chosen to ignore his
other findings. In a paper in 1998, for instance, he wrote
that the "present climate forcing by anthropogenic
aerosols, the direct effect plus the impact on clouds,
is probably large and negative", and he noted that
"[m]ost of the current direct and indirect aerosol
forcing must have been introduced during the era of rapid
fossil fuel growth, 1950-75". This is now widely
acknowledged, and your programme's failure to even mention
aerosols is a significant misrepresentation of the state
Martin has then tried to cast doubt on the trends in aerosol
emissions. As the paper by David Stern and the report
of the United States Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
show, global sulphate emissions declined after 1980. His
quote from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, published
a few weeks ago, is also erroneous. It actually states
that "[t]wo recent emission inventory studies support
data from ice cores and suggest that global anthropogenic
sulphate emissions decreased over the 1980 to 2000 period"
(see Technical Summary, page 29). Martin is contradicted
by the scientific evidence, but just won't admit it.
|(2) Thank-you for accepting that the data on the graph
came from Hansen and Lebedeff - their work shows a significant
postwar cooling. But let's get to the meat. Bob and I
both know there was a distinct cooling of the earth which
coincided with the postwar economic boom - all records
show this. Why? Aerosols don't explain it. All established
records of SO2 emissions show them increasing during the
rapid warming which preceded WWII. After the war, emissions
of aerosols were greatest in the northern hemisphere but
the cooling was most pronounced in the southern hemisphere.
Hmm. He cites a paper by Stern, but the Stern paper states
clearly: "Global anthropogenic sulphur emissions
increased until the late 1980s. Existing estimates for
1995 and 2000 show a moderate decline from 1990 to 1995
or relative stability throughout the decade."
Stern, an economist, tries amplify the downward trend
using econometrics(!). I suggest he contacts the China
Meteorological Administration, which says SO2 output has
risen by almost a third since 2000, and is now on a par
with US output in 1980.
The postwar cooling does, on the other hand, correlate
very nicely with a downturn in solar activity. Now that
Bob says he does accept that the sun can affect the earth's
climate, perhaps he should look again at this curious
|3) Martin continues to assert wrongly that there is
a discrepancy between models and global measurements of
temperature changes in the lower atmosphere. I can only
highlight yet again the conclusion of the review by the
United States Climate Change Programme, which John Christy
co-authored: "Given the range of model results and
the overlap between them and the available observations,
there is no conflict between observed changes and the
results from climate models".
Martin then tries to change his argument to one about
model results and measurements in the tropics only. There
is indeed a discrepancy at present. But the report of
which Christy is a co-author concluded that the most likely
explanation was "because non-climatic influences
remaining in some or all of the observed tropospheric
data sets lead to biased long-term trends".
Much as he wants to dodge and weave on this issue, he
should not ignore the conclusions of climate researchers.
|(3) Bob tries to dismiss the tropics as just another
corner of the globe ('the tropics only'). But what he
doesn't know, or isn't saying, is that the largest signal
of greenhouse gas impacts in models occurs in the tropical
troposphere. This is why the tropics are so important
... this is where the signature is greatest if greenhouse
gases are affecting the climate in the way the current
models project. So this is the FIRST place you would look
to find the impact. This has been pointed out as far back
as Barnett in 1985.
Yet in the tropics there is less warming aloft than at
the surface in the observations (a discrepancy pointed
out about as simply as possible in Christy et al. 2007).
This is completely at odds with model projections where
the magnitude of tropospheric warming is shown to exceed
the surface by the largest amount anywhere on the planet.
Greenhouse theory says that in the tropics, the rate of
temperature rise should increase strongly with altitude,
peaking at around 10 kilometres. The observations show
Bob quotes from the summary that "there is no conflict
between the observed changes and the results from climate
models". I suggest Bob and the author of this summary
read the bally report.
| 4) After admitting that the programme was wrong to
claim that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than
the burning of fossil fuels, Martin has made a similarly
erroneous claim that the oceans make a net larger contribution
to concentrations of the gas in the atmosphere. He is
simply wrong, but just won't admit it. The IPCC Fourth
Assessment Report (see Chapter 7, Table 7.1, page 516)
states that on average between 2000 and 2005, the oceans
absorbed about 8.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide more than
they released each year, while emissions from human activities
added 28.8 gigatonnes to the atmosphere annually.
||(4) My figures too are from the IPCC. We are talking
apples and pears. I refer to emissions, you talk about
flux. As we stated in the film, oceans both emit and absorb
CO2. At the moment. According to the IPCC they emit around
88 gigatons a year, and they absorb around 90 gigatons
a year. What determines how much they emit and how much
they absorb depends on the temperature. This helps to
explain why, in the ice core studies, CO2 levels go up
hundreds of years after the temperature increases (it
takes many years to warm up the oceans). The oceans are
the biggest well of CO2 on the planet (containing 38,000
gigatons of CO2, compared with 730 gigatons in the atmosphere).
|5) I am glad that Martin now agrees with me that the
steady rise in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse
gases since the start of industrialisation has been preceding
the increase in global average temperature. His argument
seems to be that the two rises are coincidental because
a paper by Nicolas Caillon and co-authors showed a time-lag
of 800 years between carbon dioxide concentrations increasing
and the initiation of the Termination III deglaciation
event in Antarctica about 240,000 years ago. But his programme
clearly misrepresents the conclusions of the paper by
Caillon, which pointed out that the temperature rise during
Termination III occurred over a period of about 5000 years
and that "[t]he sequence of events during this Termination
is fully consistent with CO2 participating in the latter
~4200 years of the warming".
||(5) I do NOT agree with you Bob. CO2 has never driven
the earth's climate and there's no good reason to suppose
it is now. For about 20 years, Al Gore and others have
used the ice core studies to support the idea that temperature
and CO2 are linked. But the only thing the ice cores tell
us, is that temperature changes induce changes in atmospheric
CO2. Caillon et al, 2003, for example, shows that increasing
temperature preceded increasing CO2 by hundreds of years.
Bob's quote from Caillon (that CO2 might "participate"
in the warming trend, once it's got going) is merely the
author's subjective opinion and cannot be deduced from
the data. The point is, the CO2 clearly did not induce
the warming trend, and we often see the temperature falling
during periods of rising CO2.
|6) Carl Wunsch's accusation that his views on the effect
of human greenhouse gas emissions were misrepresented
by the programme remains unanswered by Martin.
||(6) We did not misrepresent Wunsch's views. Wunsch says
the oceans emit more CO2 when they're warm, and absorb
more CO2 when they're cold. You'll find the same thing
in a school textbook.
|7) On solar activity, Martin has now misrepresented
my views. None of my statements have been a "rejection
of solar activity as a cause of climate variation".
I have pointed out that climate models only successfully
reproduce the pattern of global temperature change when
they include all natural and man-made factors, including
solar activity and greenhouse gas emissions, among others.
But Martin's central premise, that the recent rise in
global average temperature is solely due to changes in
solar activity, just doesn't fit the evidence. Direct
satellite measurements of the Sun's energy show that it
has not increased significantly since 1978. Martin cannot
escape that fact.
||(7) Hurrah! Bob now concedes that there is close correlation
between solar activity and the Earth's climate in the
20th Century (a far better correlation, he must surely
also concede, than with CO2), at least, he says, till
1978. This has at least reduced the area of disagreement.
His argument about the size of the variation in heat coming
from the sun holds not water. Solar variation is as likely,
more likely surely, to induce climate feedbacks (or amplifying
effects) as his beloved CO2. The work of Svensmark et
al, for example, clearly show an inverse correlation between
solar activity and cloud cover.
|In conclusion, the major misrepresentations in Martin's
programme remain unjustified and he refuses to even acknowledge
all but one of them. He has mis-cited the findings and
interpretations of research, used papers that are out-of-date
and misrepresented the views of researchers. The problem
appears to be that Martin has not really made a programme
about the science of climate change. Instead he has made
a programme about his own narrow ideological views, and
he has tried desperately to shoe-horn the scientific evidence
in to make it fit. The trouble is that the evidence just
does not fit his views.
||Bob, I believe used to be with the Royal Society, who
called on journalists not to pay attention to "climate
sceptics" (horrid phrase). Well I am one journalist
who didn't do as he was told. And my eyes have been opened.
Shame on Bob and his friends.
Fourth pair of emails, 3rd May
|Martin still refuses to acknowledge and
justify all of the misrepresentations in his programme
and instead continues to attempt to divert attention by
making more erroneous claims.
|1) Martin has implicitly admitted that his programme
misrepresented the IPCC graph. He appears to be sticking
with his hilarious claim that a diagram published in 1966
provides the most up-to-date record of global average
Martin tries to distract from the obvious misrepresentation
with his personal account of the 'hockey stick' controversy.
Edward Wegman's report reviews the content of just two
papers, published in 1998 and 1999. If Martin does not
like those two papers, why did his programme not refer
to any of the other papers about reconstructions of global
average temperature over the past millennium that have
been published more recently, rather than sticking with
a diagram that is more than 40 years old?
His references to "the time when Vikings colonised
Greenland" and "when Chaucer writes of the wine
produced by the vineyards in the North of England"
sound awfully scientific, but shows a lack of understanding
about the difference between local and global climate.
Proxy measurements suggest temperatures in a small number
of locations where higher at some point in the last 1000
years than they are today. That is why the report by the
US National Academy of Sciences concluded that "[p]resently
available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at
many, but not all, individual locations were higher during
the past 25 years than during any period of comparable
length since AD 900".
| (1) So you think it's a local phenomenon and you want
some 'up to date' evidence of a Medieval Warm Period (MWP)
and a Little Ice Age (LIA)? Measurements of carbon and
oxygen isotopes in stalagmites showed the temperature
was higher than today in South Africa by 3C during the
MWP, and lower by 1C in the LIA (Tyson et al, 2000); a
study of the cultivation of subtropical citrus trees and
herbs in China had temperatures 1C higher than today in
the MWP, and according to a study of oxygen isotopes in
peat cellulose the same region was the coldest for 2000
years during the LIA (Hong et al, 2000); in Argentina
during the MWP glaciers retreated and the plains became
warm and humid, and during the LIA the glaciers advanced
again (Cioccale, 1999); borehole measurements into the
Greenland ice sheet indicate a temperature 1C higher than
today in the MWP and 1C cooler in the LIA (Dahl-Jensen,
1998); a study of oxygen isotopes in sea floor sediments
in the North Atlantic show a 1C rise in the MWP and a
1C fall in the LIA (Keigwin, 1996). And so on, see Dean
et al, 2000; and Grove et al, 1994; and Pfister et al,
1998; and Huang et al 1997; and Karlen, 1998.
To quote the great Professor Lamb: "Mulitfarious
evidence of a meteorological nature from historical records,
as well as archaeological, botanical, and glaciological
evidence in various parts of the world from the Arctic
to New Zealand ... has been found to suggest a warmer
epoch lasting several centuries between about AD900 or
AD1000, and about AD1200 and AD1300."
Bob is leaning heavily on this one NAS study. Can I draw
his attention to the remarks of its chairman, Dr North,
who is quoted as saying:
"We didn't do any
research in this project. We just took a look at the papers
that were existing and we tried to draw some kinds of
conclusions. We had 12 people around the table, all with
very different backgrounds, and we just kind of winged
it. That's what you do in this kind of expert panel".
Since Bob claims to be so keen on accuracy, when will
he and the IPCC apologise for pedalling the Hockey Stick
as solid science all these years?
| 2) Martin misrepresents my previous message, while
stubbornly refusing to confirm that source of the graph
that was featured in his programme was a paper, published
in a medical journal in 1998, the lead author of which
runs a website campaigning against the compliance of the
United States with the terms of the Kyoto Protocol.
I am glad Martin now appears interested in the effect
of aerosols on measurements of surface temperature. It
is a shame his programme completely ignored the topic,
thus totally misrepresenting the state of scientific knowledge.
I do not know where the quote that he attributed to David
Stern came from - it certainly does not appear in the
2005 paper by Stern that I mentioned.
|(2) You say my quote from the IPCC is erroneous. Oh
really? The quote is taken from IPCC Fourth Assessment
Report chapter 2, page 30, which says in full:
"However, over the same period SO2 emissions have
been increasing significantly from Asia which is estimated
to currently emit 17TgSyr-1 (Streets et al., 2003) and
from developing countries (e.g., Boucher and Pham, 2002).
The net result of these combined regional reductions and
increases leads to uncertainty in whether the global SO2
has increased or decreased since the 1980s (Lefohn et
al., 1999; Van Aardenne et al., 2001; Boucher and Pham,
You are the stubborn one Bob. The data is from Hansen.
You falsely assert that the programme's graph shows a
much larger cooling between 1940 and 1976 than in any
of the papers by Hansen and Lebedeff. But the decline
from the maximum in the early 1940s to the 1960s minimum
of 0.17 deg C, is precisely the decline shown in the graphic
in the program. You refer to Stern 2005, I refer to Stern,
|3) Martin still tries to hide the fact that his programme
wrongly claimed an inconsistency between the data and
models of global temperature in the lower atmosphere.
He clearly prefers his own 'expert opinion' over that
of the scientists, including John Christy, who carried
out the authoritative review of this issue by the United
States Climate Change Programme. The discrepancies in
the tropics are interesting, and are probably due to biases
arising from data collection, but they do not change the
overall finding for the global troposphere.
|| (3) The theory of global warming is not supported by
the observed data - in a very crucial area. This is a
profound blow to your theory. I am amazed that you simply
find this 'interesting'. It is a reflection of the arrogance
of you people.
|4) At least Martin has admitted the programme was wrong
to claim that volcanoes today produce more carbon dioxide
than human greenhouse gas emissions. The rest of his last
response on this point is pure gobbledygook. The scientific
evidence shows that the oceans currently absorb more carbon
dioxide than they release, which is why they are becoming
||(4) I know they do. We say in the film they do. And
they emit more when they're warm and absorb more when
|5) Here at least we find some progress. Martin at last
admits that his programme misrepresented the findings
of the paper by Nicolas Caillon and co-authors. His justification?
The paper's conclusion is "merely the author's subjective
opinion and cannot be deduced from the data". Clearly
Martin believes his 'expertise' must be greater than that
of the scientists who carried out the research!
||(5) Ha! This is rich. Who misrepresents the ice core
data? Warming comes first, then comes a rise in CO2. You
and your chums are stuck with it Bob.
|6) Martin continues to reject Carl Wunsch's clear assertion
that the programme misrepresented his views. Martin must
believe he has a better grasp than Carl Wunsch of the
||(6) Since Bob is prepared to accept the close correlation
between sun-spot cycles and temperature (at least up until
the 1970s), can we at last dispense with his pathetically
feeble attempt to pin the postwar cooling on SO2 and at
last admit that it was more likely to have been caused
by a downturn in solar activity. Would he also acknowledge
all the recent research showing that solar activity is
currently at an historical high?
|7) Martin tries rather feebly to misrepresent my views
on this issue. But he still has not been able to find
any evidence that the rise in global average temperature
in the last 30 years has been accompanied by a significant
increase in solar activity. The graph in his programme
ends the record of sunspot cycle length in the mid-1970s.
By refusing to even acknowledge the evidence about solar
activity after that date, Martin continues to misrepresent
the state of scientific knowledge.
| It is clear that Martin has created an ideological
straitjacket that requires him to misrepresent the scientific
evidence and the work of climate researchers. By refusing
to acknowledge and correct the obvious misrepresentations,
he displays utter contempt for the evidence, the scientists
whose research he misrepresented, and the viewers who
might have the misfortune to believe the misrepresentations
in his inaccurate and misleading programme.
Fifth and final exchange, Bob Ward gives
up - note how he does it and how Martin Durkin responds -
|Oh well, I have tried to get Martin to acknowledge the
misrepresentations in his programme, but clearly he is
determined not to (except for his erroneous claim about
Happily, we have established:
|1) I have very little to add to Martin's last contribution
on this point. He highlighted the fact that the NAS report
was a review of all of the existing scientific literature,
and was not pushing any particular researchers' point
of views. But clearly Martin does not like the conclusions
reached in the report.
|| (1) There are many times in the past when the earth
was much warmer than it is now. There is a good deal of
evidence, which you do not refute, that several hundred
years ago it was as warm or warmer than today. This warm
period was followed by a cooler one (the Little Ice Age),
from which happily, we have been recovering for around
|2) Oh dear, I am afraid Martin appears to have been
working from an early, but now out of date, confidential
draft of Chapter Two that must have been leaked to him.
There is no page 30 in Chapter 2 of the final draft (now
published at: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html).
But on page 160, almost the exact quote used by Martin
does appear, updated to include papers that have been
published after 2003:
"Emissions of SO2
from 25 countries in Europe were educed from approximately
18 TgS yr-1 in 1980 to 4 TgS ye-1 in 2002 (Vestreng et
al, 2004). In the USA, the emissions were reduced from
about 12 to 8 TgS yr-1 in the period 1980 to 2000 (EPA,
2003). However, over the same period SO2 emissions have
been increasing significantly from Asia, which is estimated
to currently emit 17 TgS yr-1 (Streets et al, 2003), and
from developing countries in other regions (eg, Lefohn
et al, 1999(; Van Aardenne et al, 2001; Boucher and Pham,
2002). The most recent study (Stern, 2005) suggests a
decrease in global anthropogenic emissions from approximately
73 to 54 TgS yr-1 over the period 1980 to 2000, with NH
[Northern Hemisphere] emission [sic] falling from 64 to
43 TgS yr-1 and SH [Southern Hemisphere] emissions increasing
from 9 to 11 tgS yr-1.
Smith et al (2004) suggested a more modest decrease in
global emissions, by some 10 TgS yr-1 over the same period."
Still, it is nice to see that Martin is now interested
in aerosol emissions - it is just a shame his programme
did not mention them.
The graph in his programme definitely did not appear in
the paper by Hansen and Lebedeff in 1988, and I am puzzled
that he continues to make such a demonstrably false claim.
And if you he goes to the list of publications for David
Stern's university department (http://ideas.repec.org/d/derpius.html),
Martin will see that he only published one paper in 2006,
with Chunbo Ma, and not only does it not contain the quote
he cited in a previous response, it does not even deal
with sulphur emissions.
|(2) You have not resolved the contradictions between
the temperature record and the real story of CO2 and SO2
emissions in the 20th Century. You have also reminded
me of the IPCC's known habit of censoring material from
its final reports which doesn't fit the global warming
story it so keen to promote. The full, shocking story
about the IPCC has yet to be told ... a book idea I think.
|3) Martin makes no further attempt to justify this misrepresentation
in his programme.
|| (3) You live in a strange topsy-turvy world Bob. It's
like trying to conduct a rational discussion Through the
|4) Martin is tying himself up in knots here. In one
of his earlier responses he claimed that oceans release
more carbon dioxide than human greenhouse gas emissions.
Now he appears to be claiming that he never said that!
||(4) Bob, Bob, Bob. The oceans DO emit more CO2 than
humans do. But they also absorb CO2 (as we say in the
film). And what determines how much is absorbed compared
to how much is emitted, is the temperature of the oceans,
as we say in the film.
|5) Martin remains in denial about his misrepresentation
of the findings of Nicolas Caillon and his co-authors.
||(5) Bob, in all those discussions you've had over the
years with people about global warming, how many times
have to told people that, according to the ice core data,
the correlation between CO2 is the wrong way round? Neither
Caillon, nor you, can deny this.
|6) I do not accept "the close correlation between
sun-spot cycles and temperature (at least up until the
1970s)". The graph used in his film contained a number
of other faults that I have not had the time and space
to explain. But he still has not answered the crucial
question: why did the graph in his programme not show
sunspot cycle length against global average temperature
after the mid-1970s?
||(6) We showed the graph as published. Solar physicists
have now established that the correlation between solar
cycles and temperature remain close until around 1985.
But then, after that, there is an intense debate, is there
not, about the veracity of the surface temperature record
(which has not been helped by the reluctance of certain
scientists to disclose their core data for scrutiny by
other scientists). And how about some other contradictions
Bob - like the fact that global mean temperature does
not appear to have been rising or falling to any significant
extent for the past decade?
|I think this might be an appropriate point to draw this
exchange to a close. I hope Martin feels that his responses
properly reflected his views. I know I found them very
On 20th September 2007, Bob Ward writes
to Martin Durkin again.
A year later, Steve McIntyre reports
Decision: A Humiliating Defeat for Bob Ward and the Myles
Allen 37" in which he berates, not the fact of Bob
Ward et al going to Ofcom over Swindle, but how stupidly it
| Dear Martin,
In April, I and 36 leading
scientists wrote to you about your plans to distribute
a DVD version of ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’,
a version of which was broadcast on Channel Four and
More4 in March. We stated that it would be “very
much against the public interest to distribute the DVD
without removing the major misrepresentations that appeared
in the broadcast versions of the programme in early
I have learned that the DVD version of the programme
has been available for purchase through Amazon since
23 July. I have now obtained a copy of the DVD myself,
and have checked whether you removed the major misrepresentations
that appeared in the broadcast version.
I have been glad to discover that you removed two
of the major misrepresentations that I outlined in my
complaint to Ofcom, namely the false claim that volcanoes
currently emit more carbon dioxide than human activities
each year, and the comments by Professor Carl Wunsch
that he claimed you edited to give a false impression
of his views about the contribution of the oceans to
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
However, I have been disappointed to discover that
five of the major misrepresentations that I outlined
in my complaint to Ofcom also appear in the DVD version
of the programme. I have outlined these misrepresentations
in the accompanying document. Although you have made
some minor changes to the programme with respect to
these five misrepresentations, you have not corrected
the major underlying factual inaccuracies.
I note that the DVD case describes the programme as
“a documentary”. The Oxford English Dictionary
defines a documentary as “a film or television
or radio programme giving a factual account of something,
using film, photographs, and sound recordings of real
events”. Given that the DVD version of the programme
contains five major misrepresentations of the scientific
evidence and researcher’s interpretations, it
appears to me that you have misrepresented the programme
itself by describing it as a documentary.
Climate change is an important issue and the public
have a right to expect that the information they receive
is accurate. The DVD version of ‘The Great Global
Warming Swindle’ contains major factual inaccuracies.
You were told of these inaccuracies before copies of
the DVD were available for sale, so your decision to
distribute them anyway constitutes an attempt to deliberately
mislead the public about climate change.
I appeal to you to now act in the public interest
by withdrawing the DVD from sale and recalling all copies
of it that have been distributed in the past two months.
Are you on drugs or something?
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