(I’m very grateful to Geoff Chambers for this post. He seems to have spotted something that others haven’t: TonyN)


You’re a group of top scientists, showered with funding and honours – even a small share in the Nobel Peace Prize – and engaged in a “Cause” (that’s how you describe it) which you are convinced is of vital importance for the future of the planet.

But there are people opposed to your Cause – other scientists who disagree with your findings. They are to be the subject of a major TV documentary film. The film-makers ask you to reply, defending your Cause. What do you do?

Now read on:

In September 2006 Eliya Arman wrote to Professor Phil Jones:


Dear Prof. Jones,

Wag TV is producing a documentary for Channel 4 called the Great Global Warming Swindle which argues that anthropogenic Co2 is not the primary driver of climate change, and we are looking for leading scientists who can respond to the sceptical arguments […] Even though the film will be designed to present the sceptics case strongly, we feel that it is vital that the voices of other scientists, who believe that man-made global warming is a real threat, be present in the film.

It may seem like an unusual request, but I hope you might consider granting us an interview for the documentary?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Eliya Arman

Phil Jones wrote back:



This seems like a pointless documentary. I would suggest you talk to the Royal Society in the UK and read the front page story in yesterday’s Guardian. You will be giving the skeptic science an airing it doesn’t in any way deserve.

Best Regards


In January 2007 Eliya Arman wrote to Michael Mann:


Dear Professor Mann,

Wag TV is producing a documentary for Channel 4 called The Great Global Warming Swindle which argues that anthropogenic Co2 is not the primary driver of climate change. In the programme we will be featuring a critique of your temperature record reconstruction with interviews from Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick and Edward Wegman and we would like to know whether you would like to have the chance to feature and to respond to their criticism.

Even though the film will be designed to present the sceptics case strongly, we feel that it is vital that the voices of other scientists, who believe that man-made global warming is a real threat, be present in the film.

It may seem like an unusual request, but I hope you might consider granting us an interview for the documentary?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Eliya Arman

On the 18th January Mann wrote back a long long letter beginning:


Dear Ms. Arman,

[Not a good start. But if you can’t tell up from down in your temperature proxies, I suppose getting the sex of your correspondent wrong might seem a minor detail]

Unfortunately I will not be available for an interview for your documentary.

[followed by a long justification of the Hockeystick, quoting the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, RealClimate, “at least 5 different peer-reviewed studies (only 1 of which I was associated with)” and denigrating McIntyre & McKitrick and the Wegman report].

The next day, Martin Durkin writes directly to Mann:


Dear Professor Mann,

Thank-you for your note. As you know, better than anyone, your paper, and the subsequent work in this area, is of enormous significance. The ‘hockey stick’ is one of the defining images of the whole theory of man made global warming. Much rests on the assertion that the current period is the warmest in a thousand years – it suggests, as you know, that the current warming is something we should be concerned about.

The accuracy, or otherwise, of the hockey stick is therefore of immense public interest. As you know, your study ran counter to received opinion on climate history up to that point. It is not unreasonable to ask whether it was right.

I will do my best to study the references you have sent. But we are unable, in a film, to reproduce emails. However, we can repeat our request for a television interview with you, so that you can respond in person to the critique of McIntyre and McKitrick, Wegman and others.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Durkin

The same day Mann writes to Gavin Schmidt, Caspar Ammann, and Phil Jones:


as I suspected, this is being done by a right wing hack, his name is Martin Durkin. […] Monbiot’s all over him: [he cites some articls by Monbiot about Durkin] I think it would be good to contact some folks like George Monbiot to let them no that this charlatan is up to it again. Anyone have contact info for Monbiot?



Phil Jones writes back:



You’re getting paranoid now! I got this in September and replied accordingly. Channel 4 is watched by less than 1M viewers here in the UK. I doubt they will get anything out in time for IPCC… There is a major BBC program coming out on Sunday showing what Britain will be like in 2050 and 2080. David Attenborough ( now you’ve heard of him) leading it. This will get about 5-8M viewers – depends a bit on time…

Cheers, Phil

25th January, Mann has got George Monbiot’s address, via George Marshall, (the activist paid by the taxpayer to lecture to DEFRA employees on the psychology of Denialists)


Dear Mr. Monbiot,

This has to do with a denialist-leaning documentary being filmed by Martin Durkin for Channel 4 TV in Britain. I saw that you had written about Durkin before in the Guardian, and was hoping that you might potentially have some interest in exposing this latest disinformation effort. I am forwarding messages from Durkin and his assistant, which I’m forwarding separately.

I hope to hear back from you.

best regards,

Mike Mann

George replies swiftly:


Dear Michael,

I’m intending to mention Durkin’s latest tomfoolery in my column in the Guardian on Tuesday. Do you have any idea when Channel 4 intends to broadcast it?

With my best wishes, George

And on the 28th January Mann replies:


Dear George,

Thanks so much for your message… I don’t have any idea when they plan to air this… All I know is that they were still prepared to shoot an interview when they contacted me a little more than a week ago. So I suspect this must be at least a month or more away from airing. Its possible that Phil Jones of UEA knows more… Thanks again so much for pursuing this,


And there the trail goes cold until Bob Ward takes it up after the screening of the film, informing Phil Jones that he and the Royal Society are on the case.

Monbiot kept his word. On 30th January, despite competing news about Bush’s about-turn on climate change and the imminent IPCC report, he found space to mention Durkin:

.. surely we’ve seen the last of the cranks and charlatans who had managed to grab so much attention with their claims that global warming wasn’t happening?

Some chance. A company called Wag TV is currently completing a 90-minute documentary for Channel 4 called The Great Global Warming Swindle … it’s the same old conspiracy theory we’ve been hearing from the denial industry for 10 years, and it carries as much scientific weight as the contention that the twin towers were brought down by missiles. The programme’s thesis revolves around the deniers’ favourite canard: that the "hockey-stick graph" showing rising global temperatures is based on a statistical mistake … the paper claiming to have exposed the mistake has been comprehensively debunked…

How often must scientists remind the media that a handful of cherry-picked studies does not amount to the refutation of an entire discipline? … the band of quacks making these claims is diminishing fast …


How often indeed? What Monbiot doesn’t say is that the hockey-stick authors were given the opportunity to “remind the media” and refute their critics by the “quacks, cranks and charlatans” making this film. They refused, preferring to turn to a journalist to criticise the film (which he hadn’t seen) and insult the film makers. Never once do they show the slightest interest in discovering who is to be interviewed in the film, and what they might say. (The film interviewed Professors Akasofu, Paul Reiter, Fred Singer, John Christy, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, and Roy Spencer, among others). The only questions they raise are about the political views of the film-maker and the likely size of the audience.

Nobel-prize winning professors, just like climate activists, react to criticism from their peers by reaching for the big red button.

15 Responses to “Climategate2: Taking Your Argument to the Public”

  1. Geoff, great find! I think this just about says it all, doesn’t it.

  2. What’s the story here? Is there some law that says scientists must submit to an interrogation by Martin Durkin, then?

  3. No they dont show the slightest interest in discovering who is to be interviewed in the film, nor in what they might say. That’s because for the last 300 years the scientific debate has been conducted in peer reviewed journals, not by Martin Durkin on Channel Four TV.

  4. Hengist
    The story is that those who defend an “official” theory, and complain bitterly that unqualified charlatans are receiving unjustified coverage in the media, refuse a golden opportunity to put their case.
    The “300 years of peer-review” argument doesn’t hold up. Firstly, the sceptics I mention as being interviewed in Durkin’s film are all qualified experts with peer-reviewed articles to their name. Secondly, we’ve read the emails; we know how peer-review works. Peer-review is part of the problem.
    Mann and Jones clearly don’t agree with you that the only debate that matters is in the peer-reviewed literature, since their first reaction is to contact a journalist.

  5. Hi Geoff
    * Where do you get the notion that AGW is an “official” theory ?
    * Sorry, I didn’t realise The Great Global Warming Swindle was ‘a golden opportunity to put their case’ . The word swindle in the title there kind of gave it away as a bit of a hatchet job instead. Probably the scientists felt the same way.
    * I never said the only debate that matters is in the peer-reviewed literature, at all.

  6. Hengist:
    *It’s endorsed by all the world’s governments, its predictions for future temperature rise used as the basis for international treaties, EU emission reduction targets and the Climate Change Act. Global Warming is an official theory.
    *Durkin and Arman stated openly their intention to criticise the theory defended by Jones and Mann, giving them the opportunity to defend it. Mann and Jones didn’t even consider the opportunity, but turned to a journalist to attack the film, before he’d even seen it. Now that’s a hatchet job. (Incidentally, this was a bad tactical decision, since if they had appeared in the film, they could have attacked it afterwards for distorting their message, and the 100-page complaint to Ofcom could have been extended indefinitely).
    *If you accept that debates other than those in the peer-reviewed literature matter, you presumably accept that a TV debate matters. And who better to defend the hockey-stick and the temperature record than Mann and Jones? Would you have put up Monbiot against Lindzen, Christy and Spencer?

  7. Geoff, you are labouring under the illusion that Durkin can take the role of both advocate and judge and still have his work taken seriously. As you note Durkin and Arman stated openly their intention to criticise the theory defended by Jones and Mann. But as the producer Durkin should be open minded . Nobody makes a documentary that shows the filmmaker has set out on a false premise.

    Carl Wunsch took part in the programme and regretted it. His afterthoughts were very revealing. He tells how they put his contribution in a context to make it appear ‘diametrically opposite’ to the point he was making.

    I think a TV debate would be excellent but would it be fair? If the proposition is that global warming is a swindle then it certainly wouldnt be fair, because the starting point is biased. Politicians have a phrase for this they call it a ‘when did you stop beating your wife question’. There’s little point in a tv debate whilst (most) advocates positioned as skeptics continue to pretend that they can make a contribution to the physical science basis. The primary place to make such a contribution is in the scientific literature, it would be misleading to suggest that skepticism of AGW is able to significantly contribute to the corpus of knowledge at that level any more.

    I’ve just read Wunsch’s account and I figure you would like this bit “These and others are truly complicated questions where often the science is not mature enough give definitive answers” so I suspect we would all agree there.

  8. Hengist
    You say I am “labouring under the illusion that Durkin can take the role of both advocate and judge and still have his work taken seriously”.
    I suppose I am. It’s the nature of television documentaries that the producer can say what he likes. You could make precisely the same criticism of any work of non-fiction from Plato’s dialogues to “A Brief History of Time”.
    Thanks for the link to Carl Wunsch’s article at RealClimate. In it he says:

    I have tried to stay out of the `climate wars’ because all nuance tends to be lost”

    Then in the next paragraph:

    Some elements [of the science of climate change] are so firmly based … that most scientists would agree that they are almost surely true (adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous…)”

    Is putting “all nuance tends to be lost” back to back with “adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous” a distortion of Wunsch’s views? I don’t think so. It’s the job of an editor to highlight the essential in an argument. The fact that Wunsch is afraid of entering the debate “because all nuance tends to be lost”, yet is happy to state that it is “almost surely true that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous” tells us a lot about the debate, as Wunsch sees it.
    The Realclimate article in turn links to a thread at scienceblogs.com in which Wunsch is quoted as saying “[the film] was billed as a balanced discussion of the threat of global warming. As I began to see ads for the program, I realized I’d been duped”.
    (We haven’t seen the letter Wunsch was sent. It must have been very different from those sent to Jones and Mann for him to have been “duped”).
    It was amusing that the message from Wunsch comes via Dave Rado, who says:
    “I’m typing up a complete transcript of the programme. I won’t put it on the web for general circulation, because that would only give contrarians something to link to..”
    How very different from the attitude of us contrarians! Alex Cull, who commented above, is putting up all sorts of transcripts at
    where they can be used by believers and sceptics alike. Why do you think this is?

  9. “Durkin can take the role of both advocate and judge”

    Not like Attenborough then, who doesn’t even realise there is a debate (or maybe he does, but just wants to keep his job).

    [TonyN says: Have you noticed that the BBC are very carefully trailing Attenborough’s final contribution to Frozen Planet as being his ‘personal view’? See Section 4.4.29 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines for why this might be. By using that designation, it is unlikely I think, that a complaint based on the sections of the code requiring the BBC to exercise impartiality would succeed.]

  10. Hengist McStone, #7

    Durkin’s film was not a ‘debate’ but a documentary about climate scepticism, and this kind of factual output must conform with Sections 2 and 5 of the Broadcasting Code, a fact that both the production company and the broadcasters would have been very well aware of. There is no requirement, of course, for the producer of a film to be open minded, only for the broadcast to meet the requirements of the Code. I don’t think anyone would claim that Al Gore has been open minded about climate change, and Ofcom have no fault to find with his film on the subject when it was shown on Channel 4. It is useful to consider what the reaction of Steve McIntyre, Richard Lindzen or John Christy might have been if Gore had invited them to appear in An Inconvenient Truth in order to provide balance. Would they have refused I wonder?

    In spite of a 176 page complaint from a team of scientists, which I seem to remember Phil Jones had a hand in, Ofcom found very little to criticise about the scientific content of Durkin’s film, and from my own dealings with that organisation I am in no doubt that if they could have found grounds for censure in that case they would have done so.

    Wunsch made the mistake of saying things when he thought that he was off-camera that he would not have said on-camera. His subsequent attempts at retraction do not show him in a good light, but as Steve McIntyre dryly observed, he probably had a team of graduate students and several high maintenance research programmes to support. Being branded as a climate sceptic was not an option for him, but a whiff of hypocrisy still hangs in the air. Durkin was fully justified in including Wunsch’s criticisms of climate models in his film and Wunsch’s subsequent complaints about being misled about the purpose of the film seem synthetic to me.

  11. Hengist
    “But as the producer Durkin should be open minded .” (sic) Why? He is a film producer, not a scientist – and those asked to defend the hockey stick are demonstrating that open-minded is what they are NOT!

    “Nobody makes a documentary that shows the filmmaker has set out on a false premise.” Because the film-maker may well have the intention to set out so, to explore the possibilities. Have you not seen “Star Wars”? Also, that is how a scientist should be working: “Okay. That’s the premise. Let’s prove it wrong…”

  12. Geoff You have put together a great post here. Thank you for the diligent work.

    Hengist Carl Wunsch is an oceanographer, and basically told it how it is on sea level rise which is nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not accelerating as the alarmists would have us believe. But being an insecure person he was uncomfortable being put in the spotlight and started to backtrack, obviously being more afraid of not being one of the in-crowd than trusting his own scientific research. His only recourse was to come up with a frankly pathetic excuse that he was duped, pretending his remarks were taken out of context. Pull the other one its got bells on. There was no refuting that what he said was not correct. It has done his reputation no good and he won’t ever be trusted by anyone again.

    As for you, it is obvious you know nothing other than rhetoric, or that you make the same mistake that Jones and Mann continuously make thinking that they are somehow more intelligent or informed than us great unwashed public. Well I tell you what we the great unwashed public find it exceedingly easy to understand the science of mann and jones. After all we the great unwashed can do all sorts of amazing things in our everyday work and deal with problems that Mann and Jones would have no hope of doing. So we tire of the same old worn out lack of detail meaningless waffle they trot out.

    Its like this, they are Paleoclimatologists. They study tree rings and other proxies and try and reconstruct past temperatures from this data. But rather than stick to this they have tortured the data and come up with a cock and bull story about CO2. They are not atmospheric physicists, and this is where they have come unstuck.

    Hengist, anyone that stood back, and combined their knowledge of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, could not but be just a little concerned that the whole CO2 thing ran counter to life and the natural world. And when we eventually get some real figures we find that its not CO2 that does the warming but H2O, via climate feedbacks. OK so how do we measure these feedbacks?? Well we don’t actually but our climate models tell us……………. OK so we have something we can’t measure but we can model it? Another bell to pull. And all the time these same idiots, yes that is what they are, carry out continuous personal attacks on anyone that dares offer an alternative explanation to their own. Never are they prepared to discuss the data, a lamentable position and one that reinforces mistrust.

    At this point the whole thing should have been in the bin, but there is one group of people on the planet who have very little intellect but much low cunning and they have always recognised that demonising CO2 could be their ticket to unlimited taxes and an unlimited supply of our money to spend. Yes our Politicians. But you know what, its not the scientific argument that has killed the AGW scam, its the fact we have run out of money. And they have done such a good job of destroying our western economies that they don’t even yet realise what they have done.

    So Hengist if you are going come here and debate with us, please come with scientific evidence, you know real numbers, please understand we are well informed, so don’t assume we will be satisfied with the offhand rhetoric you have dealt out above, and please understand we have debated just about every aspect of Dangerous AGW without so much as single coherent piece of supporting evidence being presented. Oh and just remember before diving into the paleo stuff, correlation is not causation.

  13. Peter,

    Hengist, like all believes in the religion of Mann Made Global Warming ™, isnt interested in debate because to debate would expose them to the inconvenience of having to defend their cult.

    Its the same with so called climate scientists like Mann and Jones et al, they arent interested in debate because to them their religion is perfect and must be protected at all costs. And part of how they protect their religion is to deliberately starve those who dont believe in their god of the oxygen of attention (through things like debates).

    Besides, look what happens when you do actually get climate scientists who believe in their religion debating heretics…the believers in Mann Made Global Warming ™ have ALWAYS come off second best. Hell, its a guardian sponsored debate, hosted by Monboit, that we have to thank for showing the believers that McIntyre isnt a stark raving lunatic BUT a well reasoned well spoken gentleman and that the clowns on the otherside of the debate didnt have a clue what they were talking about to the point that the chancellor of UEA wasnt even prepared for the debate!

    Boom! :)

    The sooner this religion dies the better BUT when it does die its going to be a bloody and terrible death that will take not only all of the big named climate scientists with it BUT orgasnitaions like the BBC who have committed their very soul to Mann Made Global Warming. And there is perhaps a hint as to why its taking so long for this religion to become nothing more than a fond memory, so many people have invested so much time, effort, money AND reputations in to their belief that they are doing everything possible to keeping it alive!


  14. The Great Global Warming Swindle is the only documentary I have ever seen on the television that was stuffed with scientists with qualifications relevant to Climate. Scientists appearing on the BBC with relevant qualifications in Climate Science have been rare, with what the BBC sites as its main documentary on Climate Science, called Climate Wars, being presented by a geologist, talking about Climate Science as a political war. Both these documentaries help to make it clear that we are dealing with another ideological interference in science, by people that call themselves socialist.

  15. TonyN,

    One intriguing element to the whole affair is their link to the Revolutionary Communist Party, also known as the Living Marxism group, also known as the Institute of Ideas, also known as Spiked Online,


    I suspect they wouldn’t have much time for people like yourself who seem to have a genuine interest in the Welsh countryside. Planning laws to them are no different to controls on CO2 emissions. They use a strange mix of Marxism and Libertarianism in support of their arguments. To a working class audience they would say council planning controls are imposed by elitists trying to stop them escaping from their city ghettoes. To a business audience they would argue that the market is best mechanism to decide whether an area of countryside should be used for food or automobile production.

    Do your own research. Do you really want to ally yourself with these guys?

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