Extracts from Ofcom Complaint, by Category

Unsubstantiated Allegations
that the Conclusions of the IPCC
are “Politically Driven”

Key to colour-coded commentary text

Bright red text: Actual falsification of data, and/or misrepresentation of the views of a contributor to the programme

Dark red text: Narration, or on-screen graphics, or an accumulation of consecutive interviewee statements that taken together amount to narration; which are either factually inaccurate, or apparently intentionally misleading, or are an attempt to give the impression that a contentious opinion is a fact.

Blue text: Interviewee is either factually inaccurate, apparently intentionally misleading, or expresses an opinion as if it were a fact without context being provided to make it clear that its an opinion.

[This section was considered by both the the Fairness and Standards Divisions of Ofcom.]


Extracts from Complete Transcript and Rebuttal

[Professor Paul Reiter, Director of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the Pasteur Institute, Paris]

We imagine that we live in an age of reason, and the global warming alarm is dressed up as science. Its not science. Its propaganda.

[Comment 2: Professor Reiter is a respected entomologist, but his credentials with respect to the specific subjects that he discussed in the programme were exaggerated – see Appendix C.18, page 142, Comment 115, page 96, and Comment 110, page 91 [of the full complaint].

The inflation of credentials by the film maker of most of the contributors to the programme is important, because Channel 4 billed them as being leading scientists”, and as being an impressive roll-call of experts (see Appendix C.1.2, page 126, [of the full complaint]), as a result of which the public almost certainly gave the contributorsstatements much more weight than they would otherwise have done. Taken together with the inflation of credentials of most of the other contributors, this represents a serious breach of the Ofcom Code relating to accuracy.

More importantly, Professor Reiters links to fossil-fuel industry-funded lobby groups that campaign against greenhouse gas emissions reductions should have been mentioned, as they would bear on the public perception of his impartiality (see Appendix C.18, page 142 [of the full complaint]).

This lack of disclosure of conflicts of interest, which applied to most of the contributors to the programme, is especially important because of the overwhelming evidence that has come to light that some sections of the fossil fuel industry, together with the lobby groups that they fund, have been running a very well-funded misinformation campaign to reduce public support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This evidence is detailed in Appendix C.1.3, page 127, and Appendix D:, page 145 [of the full complaint]. Taken together, with the lack of disclosure of most of the other contributors, this represents a serious breach of the Ofcom Code relating to impartiality.]

(In breach of the 2003 Communications Act Section 265, Ofcom 5.7, 5.8)


Man-made global warming is no ordinary scientific theory.

[Cut to film of News at Ten presenter on BBC1]

This morning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change …


It is presented in the media as having the stamp of authority of an impressive international organisation.

[Cut to film of Newsnight on BBC2, with a background of glaciers]

From the IPCC.


The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC.

[Dr Philip Stott, retired former Professor of Biogeography, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London]

The IPCC, like any UN body, is political. The final conclusions are politically driven.

[Comment 17: The IPCC procedures explicitly state that their reports should be neutral with respect to policy (see: http://tinyurl.com/2o4948, PDF). Hence, Stott is, in effect, claiming that the IPCC is breaching its own constitution as a matter of course. This is a very serious allegation, but despite this, absolutely no evidence is provided, nor is the IPCC given the chance to respond, which is a clear breach of Section 7 of the Ofcom Code.

With regard to the specific evidence for or against Stotts claim, one should note that the conclusions of the IPCC have been endorsed by most of the worlds academies of science (see http://tinyurl.com/yoea6l, PDF, and http://tinyurl.com/2d5uxq, PDF), as well as by many of the worlds respected professional scientific organizations such as the American Meteorological Society (http://tinyurl.com/3yopfc) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://tinyurl.com/23pte3, PDF).

Furthermore, the IPCCs conclusions have also been endorsed by the leaders of many of the worlds largest corporations, including BP (http://tinyurl.com/2gpc8t), Shell (http://tinyurl.com/2t5z5y), DuPont (http://tinyurl.com/2dptz5), 18 leading Canadian corporations (http://tinyurl.com/2chfar), and the Climate Group (http://tinyurl.com/yr667d), an organization representing around 30 major international corporations (http://tinyurl.com/27m54k).

Given this overwhelmingly positive reaction from the scientific and business communities, it is difficult to see how one could credibly conclude that the final conclusions of the IPCC are politically driven”.]

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

[Comment 18: Philip Stotts credentials with respect to the subjects he discussed in the programme were greatly exaggerated. For full details, see Appendix C.8 [below].]

(In breach of the 2003 Communications Act Section 265, Ofcom 5.7, 5.8)

[Prof Paul Reiter]

This claim that the IPCC is the worlds top 1,500 or 2,500 scientists – you look at the bibliographies of the people and its simply not true. There are quite a number of non-scientists.

[Comment 19: The IPCC is divided into three working groups: the first considers the science of climate change, while the second assesses the impacts to society and nature and options for adaptation, and the third assesses options for mitigating climate change (see: http://tinyurl.com/yvn5ym). Many of the topics in the second and third working groups are outside the expertise of natural scientists, and more appropriate for social scientists: economists, for example, and other experts from both public and private sectors. It is therefore quite appropriate that scholars with a range of expertise beyond the natural sciences are involved in writing the IPCC reports.]

(In breach of Ofcom 5.7)

[Professor Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT]

And to build the number up to 2,500 they have to start taking reviewers and government people and so on – anyone who ever came close to them; and none of them are asked to agree. Many of them disagree.

[Comment 20: There are government scientists who contribute to the report, but government scientists are scientists. The reviewers of the scientific content of the IPCC reports are also scientists.]

(In breach of Ofcom 5.7)

[Prof Paul Reiter]

Those people who are specialists but dont agree with the polemic and resign – and there have been a number that I know of – they are simply put on the author list and become part of this 2,500 of the worlds top scientists”.

[Comment 22: There is no evidence to support this claim, which appears to have been made in an attempt to discredit the IPCC in the minds of less well-informed viewers – for details see Comment 115, page 96 [of the full complaint].]

(In breach of Ofcom 5.7)

[Prof Richard Lindzen]

People have decided you have to convince other people – that since no scientist disagrees, you shouldnt disagree either. But whenever you hear that in science, thats pure propaganda.

[Comment 23: Few scientists disagree with the ideas that the Earth orbits the Sun, that the Universe is billions of years old, and that humans are the product of millions of years of evolution. Are we to conclude that, when one hears these ideas, they are pure propaganda?]

(In breach of Ofcom 5.7)


This is the story of how a theory about climate turned into a political ideology.


It is the story of the distortion of a whole area of science.

[Comment 25: The narrator is again expressing contentious opinions as if they were undisputed facts, without any supporting evidence being provided.]

(In breach of the 2003 Communications Act Section 265, Ofcom 5.4, 5.5, 5.7, 5.11, 5.12)

Extract from Appendix C: Backgrounds of the Contributors to the Programme



The ISI Web of Science (WoS) is a database of almost 9000 peer-reviewed journals – see: http://scientific.thomson.com/products/wos/. The database covers publications between 1970 and the present day.

All references to ISI WoS in the following section mean that the source of the information being cited was this database.


Dr Philip Stott

The programme wrongly identified Dr Stott as Professor Philip Stott, Dept. of Biogeography, University of London. However, the University of London has never had a Department of Biogeography (see http://tinyurl.com/2ukxr4).

He is a Professor Emeritus (having retired in 2004, see http://tinyurl.com/22omnr. of Biogeography, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (see http://tinyurl.com/2y9jb9); a Social Sciences college of the University of London which does not contain a Science Faculty. He has only had 9 peer-reviewed articles published since 1970, and all those concern forests in tropical regions; with nothing on climatology or the impacts of climate change (ISI WoS).

Dr Stott could not, therefore, objectively be considered to be a leading scientist; still less a climate expert: and nor does he have any known expertise in English history. [Note: It should also have been mentioned in our complaint that Dr Stott has never had any involvement with the IPCC, on which he commented as an authority in the film.] Yet he was given a great deal of air time on the Channel 4 programme, to talk about climate science and English history.