Since Martin Durkin’s controversial documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle originally aired on the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 on March 8, hundreds
of complaints have been filed to Ofcom, the independent regulator of
communications industries in the UK.
In one case, Carl Wunsch and Eigil Friis-Christensen, both featured in Swindle,
said they felt their contributions were “completely misrepresented.”
Wunsch alleges that global-warming has occurred and must be addressed.
“I had never before encountered a filmmaker who clearly quite
deliberately understood my point of view but set out to imply, through
the way he uses me in the film, the reverse of what I was trying to
say,” Wunsch said in an interview with the Australian ABC program Lateline.
Both scientists’ testimony has been removed from the DVD version of the film.
These accusations are only a few of the many roadblocks Swindle faced before being released on DVD, a success unto itself considering the negative response the film received.
Yet Durkin and officials at WAGtv—Durkin’s
independent production company—point to a statistic dissenters would
rather ignore: Ofcom calculated that at a ratio of 6 to 1, calls taken
following the March broadcast were positive.
The negative reaction and attempts to suppress Durkin’s work are
reminiscent of a key argument of the film itself. Climate change
naysayers claim that a large number of scientists are alarmed by claims
of global-warming supporters, yet their voices are widely suppressed.
“There are more and more thoughtful people—some of them a little bit
frightened to come out into the open—but who quietly, privately, and
some of them publicly, say, ‘Hang on, wait a minute. This doesn’t add
up,’” said Lord Lawson of Blaby, a British politician and outspoken global-warming dissenter.
Durkin’s film seeks to uncover the methods behind global-warming
activist campaigns. He also poses alternative evidence concerning the
global rise in temperature.
The music makes the documentary feel more like a mystery theater
performance; Durkin assumes the role of Sherlock Holmes on the prowl
for the truth. As an environmentally aware Sherlock, Durkin is at his
best when he moves beyond the graphs and charts that scientists with
opposing views often cling to.
Arguments concerning data such as the infamous “hockey stick” graph
only prove that the two sides are equally well entrenched in their
The more compelling interviews occur with the likes of Paul Reiter, professor of entomology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. Reiter resigned from the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) when the organization was preparing its latest report on global-warming in 1995.
The IPCC still found a use for the highly-regarded scientist after his resignation.
“When I resigned from the IPCC, I thought that would be the end of it,”
said Reiter. “But when I saw the final draft, my name was still there.
So I asked for it to be removed. Well, they told me I had contributed,
so it would remain. So I said, ‘No I haven’t contributed, because you
haven’t listened to what I said.’”
The IPCC continually refused to remove Reiter’s name from their list of
2,500 hundred scientists whom they claimed supported the findings in
the report. They only backed down after Reiter threatened legal action.
Reiter said he knows of other scientists who found themselves in a
similar situation; after resigning to acknowledge their opposition to
the report, they still found their names on the list of contributors.
Durkin also cites a letter from Frederick Seitz,
renowned American physicist, which called the report a “disturbing
corruption of the peer-review process,” and contended that the final
report was nothing like the first draft approved by contributing
The evidence left out dealt with skepticism of a human caused global-warming hypothesis.
From an economic standpoint, Durkin points to third world countries as
an abused battleground in alternative energy campaigns. The film notes
that 2 billion people are without electricity, effectively hindering
their ability to live.
Author Paul Driessen and Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore are two subjects interviewed who express fear over what effects global
limitations on industrial advancement may have on poor countries. The
film uses Africa as an example of a country with the resources for
Driessen notes that enviromentalists are quick to talk about the risks
of using certain technologies, but ignore the potential benefits.
It is these arguments—ones that touch on human interest subjects of
global-warming—that leave the most lasting impressions from Durkin’s
work. It shows the disconnect between UN agendas that are largely
politically driven and the needs of people who would benefit greatly
from use of their own natural resources for energy.
“The rich countries can afford to engage in some luxurious experimentation with other forms of energy,” said James Shikwati, Kenyan economist. “But for us, we are still at the [basic] stage of survival.