Complaint to Ofcom Regarding The Great Global Warming Swindle

2. Complete Transcript and Rebuttal

Page 79




Models predict what the temperature might be in 50 or a 100 years time. It is one of their peculiar features, that long range climate forecasts are only proved wrong long after people have forgotten about them. As a result, there is a danger, according to Professor Carl Wunsch, that modellers will be less concerned in producing a forecast that is accurate than one that is interesting.

[Prof Carl Wunsch]

Even within the scientific community, you see, its a problem. If I run a complicated model and I do something to it, like melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, its not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation, like the heat transport turns off, it will be published. People will say: this is very exciting, it will even get picked up by the media. So there is a bias, theres a very powerful bias within the media and within the science community itself, towards results which are dramatisable. The Earth freezes over – thats a much more interesting story than saying: well, you know, it fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10 percent, sometimes it goes down by 20 percent, but eventually it comes back. Well, you know, which would you do a story on? That, thats what its about.

[Comment 94: Wunsch has subsequently stated (see: that:

The part of the program where Im discussing models was changed by cutting. I believe that I tried to explain that models were essential to understanding climate change, but that I was doubtful about their predictive skill when run out for long periods into the future. I did also say, as shown, that there was a natural bias toward modeling results that were dramatic rather than ones that seemed to show little or slow change. Again, I thought I was appearing in a program whose goal was to show how complicated climate change is and how all the subtleties are lost.

Finally, and this did not appear at all in the film, I said that there were some threats that were much more concrete and already present than was a new ice age in the UK by shutting off the Gulf Stream. In particular, I mentioned the ongoing threat of sea level rise, and of mega droughts in the US midwest which I said worried me, among other things. None of this got in.

Although it is fair to report Wunschs criticisms of models, and of media coverage of global warming, it shows a clear bias on the part of the film makers, and profoundly misrepresents Wunschs views, to have edited out his statement that models [are] essential to understanding climate change; as well as editing out the concerns he expressed about the threats to be expected from future climate change.]

(In breach of the 2003 Communications Act Section 265, Ofcom 5.7, 7.2, 7.3, 7.6, 7.9)

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Comment 94: Use of selective editing to misrepresent what Wunsch said about modelling]


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Final Revision

Last updated: 11 Jun 2007