Earth: The Climate Wars ~ 14 days left to watch online

September 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Climate change, Environment, Global warming | 11 Comments
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Many thanks to several energy industry contacts who recommended last Sunday’s programme, The Battle Begins, the first in the Earth: The Climate Wars 3-part series.  (I recognise many of you are not thought of as ardent environmentalists, and would certainly not consider yourselves as such, but you and your industry are leading the charge to combat climate change, and deserve credit for that: you hold the key to our future.)  As a result of your encouragement, I watched tonight’s second show, Fightback, with my middle school sons.  They thought it was great.  Now I would recommend Earth: The Climate Wars to anyone who wants a speedy introduction to the history of climate science, explaining how the alignment of opposing camps has evolved in the past several decades.

There are occasionally country boundaries on watching certain videos online, so do please let me know if you are able to see these videos outside the UK (or not), especially Stateside:
BBC Programmes > Earth: The Climate Wars
Try to catch them while you can!  (A fortnight is all you’ve got.)  Otherwise we’ll have to track down a DVD version …

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  1. I didn’t see the second prog. But the first was rubbish: std septic drivel: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/09/iain_stewart_is_wrong.php

    I don’t think he is a septic, so presumably he’s just careless and ignorant.

  2. Dr Ian Stewart was dismissive of effects of the sun on earth’s climate when we know that our orbit which changes with the season varies our climate between summer and winter.

    The pro-climate change protagonists are not immune to misrepresentation. The so called hockey stick graph is misleading because it suggests that in the last century the temperature rose 2/3 times. If you do the graph with 0 degrees at the axis then the rise would not look so high. Also the carbon dioxide concentration rise from 250 parts per million to 375 ppm is quoted as a 50% rise but when it is only 0.025% rising to 0.0375%, this is hardly significant. I cannot believe that a complex thing as the climate can change due to this small rise in carbon dioxide, it is much too simplistic.

    Also we continually get emotive footage of an intrepid reporter out in the artic showing us the melting ice cap. When is someone going to tell us that due to the latent heat of freezing, this process is part of the earths balancing system. It is basic “O” level physics. The amount of energy to turn 1kg of ice at 0 degrees to 1 kg of water at 0 degrees is almost the same as to heat it up to boiling point so the melting ice is cooling the Earth.

    On a recent newsnight item when Nigel Lawson appeared to promote his book, a global warming believer agreed with him that the Earth has not warmed up since 2000 and around the same time we were warned by the believers that it would not warm up again until 2020 due to normal weather patterns but then it would accelerate. If it is stopped by normal weather patterns, global warming cannot be very significant,

  3. A quick search of the net seems to show Roger Gowenlock to be a Yamaha motor bike enthusiast.
    I guess some people need to turn to amateur science and retired economists in order to protect their little hobby.

  4. Thanks for that, Paul. (I must admit I decided not to bother answering all Roger’s misconceptions, as that is exactly what contrarians want.) I did challenge William, though—because he’s worth persuading, and also he seemed to have misinterpreted Iain Stewart’s approach (even if there were some aspects Stewart could have phrased more accurately).
    .
    P.S. The Newsnight clip is on YouTube:

    P.P.S. Yes, there are too many retired economists floating around, and likely more will join the ranks, no thanks to the efforts of our illustrious former Chancellors of the Exchequer …

  5. Global Warming Propaganda on the BBC

    The three-part BBC ‘documentary’ program “Earth: The Climate Wars,” which was presented in September, 2008 is a blatant propaganda piece for the promotion of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
    The program’s presenter, forty-two year old Scottish geologist Dr Iain Stewart, employs a lot of trendy expressions, a ‘gee whiz’ style, and a snide, deprecating attitude toward anyone who dissents from the theory of AGW. Stewart’s presentation might impress children or adolescents, but critical thinkers can see through the faulty logic and misinformation which Stewart attempts to conceal with his bluffing, bullying style.
    After presenting evidence of rising global temperatures during the past thirty years,
    Stewart proclaims that the cause is AGW, without mentioning that the increase in global temperatures may have been due to natural causes. During the entire three hours of “Earth: The Climate Wars,” there are no references to the established scientific record of paleoclimatology, which demonstrates that today’s global temperatures and CO2 levels fall within the normal range to be expected within the natural Ice Age cycle. Nor do the
    programs present a balanced discussion of the credible theory that variations in solar output may account for the recent global warming.
    Stewart drools with envy over the privileges which are provided to the members of JASON, a scientific think-tank based in San Diego that is funded by the US Department of Defence. In the late 1970s the DoD and the corporate sponsors of JASON delegated its members to investigate AGW, even though at the time none of the scientists at Jason were climatologists. It was the scientists at JASON who developed the computer models on which much of the speculation and prognostications about AGW are based.
    The Northern Hemisphere winter of 2007-8 marked a downturn in the global heat spike which began about thirty years ago, and the current winter of 2008-9 may turn out to be even colder. In response to the current downturn in global temperatures, the advocates of the theory of AGW have retrenched, and now they are claiming that AGW is causing the global cooling.

    — Gregory F. Fegel

  6. Thanks for your comment, Gregory. I can see you have written several opinion pieces for Pravda. Obviously, you are entitled to your opinions, wherever they may be published, and I appreciate that in this piece you are complaining that you do not like Dr. Iain Stewart’s style. Then again, nor does william (see above), whose views I respect a lot, though I don’t always see things from the same viewpoint as he does, and william knows much more about climate science than you or I do.
    .
    Anyway, your summary of the programme content, as well as your misconceptions about the climate reality, contain so many errors (helping to propagate popular misconceptions), that I am not going to spend time now refuting each of your mistakes. Suffice to say, if anyone is interested, I’d suggest they watch the programmes and decide for themselves rather than reading what you and I might have to say in this thread.
    .
    Climate change is a serious matter and not one to take lightly.

  7. The cold winter of 2007-8 and the current winter of 2008-9 demonstrate that AGW is incapable of preventing or pacifying an annual
    winter, so it is unlikely that AGW will postpone the next Ice Age.
    The record of the Ice Age cycle shows variations, but overall it is regular in both timing and intensity. Most interpreters describe Ice Age maximums as lasting about 100,000 years and Interglacials as lasting on average 10 to 12 thousand years.
    Some observers have speculated that variations in solar output, increased levels of greenhouse gasses, or other factors might prolong
    the present Interglacial for as much as another 50,000 years. But there is insufficient evidence to show that such factors have interrupted or
    modified the Ice Age cycle in the past or that they will in the present or the future.
    Given the regularity of the Ice Age cycle and the position we occupy on the time-line of that cycle today, we should expect to see the onset of the next Ice Age within the next 1000 years, although it could begin immediately, since the paleoclimatic record shows that a) we are already due for the termination of the present Interglacial, and that b) major shifts from cold to warm and warm to cold can happen rapidly.
    Downward shifts in temperature of only a few degrees Celsius will dramatically reduce the sustainability of human civilization in
    the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. When agriculture and forestry become impossible, and the infrastructure is overburdened with
    devastating winters, most northern nations will become unable to support their current populations.
    I see AGW as a false threat which draws attention away from the far more realistic concern of the coming Ice Age.
    inel, you wrote that “Climate change is a serious matter and not one to take lightly.” Right you are, and I’m afraid that the AGW theorists are ‘barking up’ entirely the wrong tree.
    I write for Pravda because in my country, the USA, the government-controlled mainstream media will not publish any opinion that does not conform to the government dogma.
    In “Earth: The Climate Wars” and in a seperate interview Iain Stewart proclaims his concern for the world that his children will inherit. In “Earth: The Climate Wars” Stewart speaks to the camera while behind his back, several hundred feet away, his two small daughters frolic on a steep ocean beach unaccompanied by any adult. I have personally seen a child drowned by a ‘sneaker wave’ on a similar beach. In that case, the drowned child’s father was standing only thirty feet away, likewise with his back turned.
    I agree with what william said about Iain Stewart — “presumably he’s just careless and ignorant.”

    — Gregory F. Fegel

  8. Gregory Fegel has made more noise recently, being the denialist of the day. However, it is important to note that his prediction of an imminent ice age is rubbish. Based on Milankovitch cycles if this was to occur it would have happened about 800 years ago, and we missed the on ramp. The AR4 Paleoclimate chapter (Ch 4) says

    It is virtually certain that global temperatures during coming centuries will not be significantly influenced by a natural orbitally induced cooling. It is very unlikely that the Earth would naturally enter another ice age for at least 30 kyr.

    Of yes, the IPCC does not ignore paleoclimate, it features it. More deconstruction at Rabett Run

  9. Ice ages are quite well understood. They depend on the orbital parameters of Earth (read about Milankovitch).

    The current orbital parameters of Earth are very well known and thus an imminent ice age is not predicted.

    In ten thousand years, perhaps.

    Meanwhile, global warming can cause problems in this century already.

    That’s a hundred-fold difference in time scale.

  10. Lets see. No scientist is saying that global warming will prevent cold winters. No climatologists have been saying that we are heading into an ice age within the next decade or two. In fact the IPCC, having access to, you know, scientific investigations of ice ages and orbital forcing etc etc, reckons its just not going to happen for 10,000 years.

    So, what on earth are you worrying about? Do you have a clue as to why 2008 was a bit cooler (not by much) than the previous few years?

  11. Thanks for your comments, Eli, gravityloss and guthrie, while I’ve been consumed by Heathrow matters. The three-part series is on Google Video now:

    and one day I might make time to respond to a few of Fegel’s misrepresentations of those programmes. I know william thought Iain Stewart might be a sceptic, but that’s not so—though I agree with william that there are some points that could have been expressed more clearly.


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