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Ecologist response to Channel 4's Great 'Global Warming Swindle'

Mark Anslow

15th March, 2007

Last week, Channel 4 aired a documentary by controversial film-maker Martin Durkin. Entitled 'The Great Global Warming Swindle', the film suggested that a combination of factors has led us to mistakenly believe that our emissions of carbon dioxide are causing the planet to warm, and that in fact, natural cycles, solar activity and disaffected radicals were to blame.

The Ecologist welcomes debate on the subject of climate change, and we take this opportunity to respond to the documentary. We asked three leading climate scientists and one environmental author to respond to the documentary's key points:

1. The sun has got his hat on...

Is solar activity reponsible for the current spike in temperature? We asked Dr. Richard Betts, Manager of the Hadley Centre's Climate Impacts programme...

2. Blowing hot and cool...

The Earth has been through several warm and cool periods. What's to say this isn't just another warm one? And what if carbon dioxide didn't cause global warming, but was in fact a product of it? We asked Stephan Harrison, an Associate Professor in Quarternary Science at Exeter University and a Senior Research Associate at Oxford University...

3. Booming and cooling...

A core argument of the documentary was that global temperatures dropped in the post-World War II economic boom, despite rising levels of carbon dioxide. And why do the graphs of temperature and carbon dioxide not match up? We put this to Richard Washington, Climatologist and Lecturer at Keble College, Oxford...

4. Disaffected radicals...

Is climate change the bandwagon onto which Marxist, anti-capitalists and anti-big corporation activists have left? Paul Kingsnorth deals with one of the documentary's most insidious suggestions.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist March 2007


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