Scientists Move to block 'Swindle' DVD
· Climate scientists say film misleads public
· Wag TV producers reject 'contemptible gag attempt'
The Guardian (
Dozens of climate scientists are trying to block the DVD release of a controversial Channel 4 programme that claimed global warming is nothing to do with human greenhouse gas emissions.
Sir John Houghton, former head of the Met Office, and Bob May, former president of the Royal Society, are among 37 experts who have called for the DVD to be heavily edited or removed from sale. The film, the Great Global Warming Swindle, was first shown on March 8, and was criticised by scientists as distorted and misleading.
In an open letter to Martin Durkin, head of Wag TV, the independent production company that made the film, the scientists say: "We believe that the misrepresentation of facts and views, both of which occur in your programme, are so serious that repeat broadcasts of the programme, without amendment, are not in the public interest ... In fact, so serious and fundamental are the misrepresentations that the distribution of the DVD of the programme without their removal amounts to nothing more than an exercise in misleading the public."
Myles Allen, a climate scientist at the
The programme featured scientists known as climate sceptics, such as Richard Lindzen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Phillip Stott, emeritus professor at the
Dr Allen said: "What Martin Durkin and Channel 4 don't understand is the way science works. Science is about the arguments, not the people who make them."
Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at MIT, and another signatory to the letter, was featured in the film and subsequently said his views had been misrepresented. He called the programme "as close to pure propaganda as anything since world war two" and has complained to Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, about his treatment.
Ofcom said it had received 246 complaints, and was investigating. The letter was coordinated by Bob Ward, a former press officer with the Royal Society. He said: "This isn't about censorship, it's a question of quality control. We have no objection to the DVD being distributed if all the errors are corrected, but if they correct all the errors then the whole premise of the program will fall to pieces."
Mr. Durkin said: "This contemptible attempt at gagging won't work. The reason they want to suppress The Great Global Warming Swindle is because the science has stung them. By comparison look at the mountains of absurd nonsense pedalled in the name of 'manmade climate change'. Too many scientists have staked their reputations and built their careers on global warming. There's a lot riding on this ridiculous theory. The DVD will be on sale shortly at a shop near you."