A ruling came in yesterday on complaints about the UK documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle. On The Great Beyond, Katharine Sanderson notes that despite very negative headlines about the ruling,
you might say that Channel 4 got off pretty lightly for their documentary that suggested that global warming wasn’t caused by humans burning fossil fuels. Ofcom [the complaint board] charged the programme with misrepresenting certain scientists, which leads to those critical headlines, but ultimately the regulators said that the programme didn’t mislead viewers.
This is extremely frustrating to the climate scientists and other critics who’ve said the program is as wrong on the scientific details as it is on the overall anti-warming message. Katharine’s post and the BBC story round up several of their reactions, and complainants have a response page here. At the rhetorical extremes, George Monbiot’s Guardian column calls the show “consonant with the entire body of human self-deception” – while Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill blasts Ofcom for crusading against “Climate Blasphemy”.
Maddeningly, Ofcom is just as ready as the scientists are to dismiss Swindle’s skepticism. “The link between human activity and global warming… became settled before March 2007”, say the regulators – and that’s why they don’t fault Channel 4 for not providing an impartial viewpoint. The channel only has to do that for controversial issues.
If the scent of culture clash here entices, see this analysis of the Ofcom findings. It’s from Steve McIntyre, whose Climate Audit blog is pitted against mainstream climate research, but in this case he critiques the complainants’ strategy rather than their science.