One of the very first global warming films: ‘The Greenhouse Conspiracy’

The Greenhouse Conspiracy (1990) A “Channel 4” documentary, was recently added to YouTube (h/t to Leo Hickman) Video follows. It is interesting to see what was being said 25 years ago in the context of what we know today. On the day it aired in August of 1990, the Sunday Times ran a 3,000+ word feature story by Hilary Lawson, the program’s producer and presenter.


Of course, if that program ran with that title today, the incompetent and serially abusive Stephan Lewandowsky and his collection of SkS bots would be all over it with “Moon Landing denier” accusations.

Producer & Director: Hilary Lawson

Scientists featured:

Patrick Michaels
University of Virginia

Richard Lindzen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Reginald Newell (1931-2002)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tom Wigley
University of East Anglia

Robert Balling
Arizona University

Roy Spencer
NASA Space Flight Center

Sherwood Idso
US Conservation Labs

Stephen Schneider (1945-2010)
US Center for Atmospheric Research

David Aubrey
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Julian Paren
British Antarctic Survey

John Mitchell
Meteorological Office

Peter Jonas
University of Manchester

John Houghton
Meteorological Office

124 thoughts on “One of the very first global warming films: ‘The Greenhouse Conspiracy’

  1. Tom Wigley is surely the star. Don’t miss his bit on funding near the end. He knows, we know, CRU would not even have survived after Lamb retired if he had not reorientated their research towards US DoE carbon dioxide program funding in the late 1970s.

    • What is even more interesting in this 25 year old story is the sub story ‘Can we seriously meet our energy demands without nuclear power’

      The first nuclear power station in a generation is currently stalled as EDF back away, despite the guaranteed price for the resultant electricity being three times the current rate. The answer is surely ‘No, we can’t manage without nuclear power’ but we have had twenty years of hostility to nuclear and the end result is that Britain has got in a hopeless mess with its energy policy and the lights are likely to go out the next time we we have a hard winter.


  2. His wikipedia article has an interesting quote from another doco.

    …on his film Science…fiction? which argued that “science is not powerful because it is true, but true because it is powerful”

    A good thing to remember when wondering why people get sucked in ie. it gave us such great technology that those appointed must not be lying.

    • There is no such thing as “Science.” There are only individual fields of study, some of which deserve being called sciences, and others arguably not. They don’t truly fit into one overarching category because the methodologies and criteria for what count as valid findings vary so greatly among them. (A cynic might joke that people who do research in physics versus those in psychology might not even be from the same planet.)

      The panorama can be taxonomized as follows. First divide the fields of study into: A-the natural or physical sciences; and B-the social sciences. Then divide the natural sciences to separate: A1-those concerned with homogeneous entities and deterministic (at least in the aggregate) relationships; from A2-the ones that deal with chaotic processes (like climatology).

      Most of the progress in knowledge and technology comes from the A1 category. Although researchers in the other categories would like you to think they are making “powerful” contributions to society, they are not.

      But you can take this even further. Throughout history much of the progress initially came from the tinkerers, inventors and engineers. The relevant sciences were discovered or substantially elaborated after the fact to understand why the things they created actually worked. The Romans built great aqueducts 2000 years ago and the church produced grand cathedrals in the Middle Ages before materials science was developed. “The era of the steam engine … was well into its second century before a fully formed science of thermodynamics had been developed.”

      And unlike science, replication is not an issue in engineering. You may be able to get away with “scientific findings” that can’t be reproduced, but not with a product that doesn’t work.

      • I’d leave it as engineering and hard sciences are very similar. Its just harder to pretend that you expected something to happen in the former when things didn’t work out as planned, so you’re less inclined to make wild guesses.

        The example with Marconi shows how not making use of that freedom hinders science (that and pretending that you got the result that you predicted).

        In the soft sciences, everyone agrees on what will happen and then they go off to have a soy decaf latte at the local organic cafe.

      • The difference is the ‘product’. If it is something the gov’t funds and the public has to buy with their personal cash/credit, like the Volt, and it doesn’t perform for the expense involved, it will fail.
        But, if the product is Not an item where the public is required to fork over cash/credit, performance is not an issue – this is where propaganda really ‘works’.

      • Great observation. In antiquity, the philosophers never took much interest at all in the inventions of the engineers, which included aqueducts but also decimal balances and air guns. Instead, they just speculated about the round or pointy shapes of atoms. Therefore, real physical science simply didn’t happen.

      • Although researchers in the other categories [social sciences, chaotic systems research] would like you to think they are making “powerful” contributions to society, they are not.

        Well said.

        I would argue they are making detrimental contributions since the mantel of “science” gives their work unwarranted weight that is then used to make sweeping policy decisions and set cultural direction. We might as well be making decisions based on Tarot cards and astrology.

      • Interesting point of view. I have one question: In which category does mathematics fall?

        Also, Randall has a different point of view.

        In my opinion, the first step of the scientific method is observation and data gathering. If you cannot measure it, then it is not science. Social “sciences” and mathematics don’t meet the requirements to be called science. I am not so sure about maths, though.

      • I mostly agree. From my vantage I see this as a problem of semantics. The word “Science” is used to convey to the listener a multitude of disparate and incompatible meanings, relying only on context to pick the true thought. The structure used to call someone a “Scientist” is the one I question the most. Every fool can and does wear that hat, even when they are only distantly aware of the scientific method.
        Be careful to use the correct words in your discourse, ie. when you use the word science, do you mean the aggregate knowledge base, the intellectual process of testing a hypothesis, the inquiry department of some organization, or whatever?
        The hair on the back of my neck screams whenever I hear “according to science”. “They keep using that word, I do not think that it means what they think it does….”
        Using the same word for incompatible thoughts leads to all this confusion, and is unavoidable. Have a look at the meanings of the word “set”; all those meanings, what is the “thought”?

      • Underra, My two pennyworth, In its pure form I’d argue that Mathematics is a science. Consider the hypothesis of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Various pieces of mathematical knowledge were pulled together in a structured way to demonstrate its truth ie evidence was found through a structured process. It is tested by computer by searching for counter examples (none have been found). I’d suggest that meets the criteria for science of Popper and Feynman.

        When mathematics is applied it to other sciences I’d say it’s a meta-language that allows relationships to be formulated and manipulated leading to new insights and creating new predictions for testing.

      • As a career engineer with an advanced degree in Mathematics I found Urederra’s cartoon (below) and comment about Mathematics not being a science really intriguing. Mathematics is different from the other “pure” sciences, because Mathematicians do not use the “scientific method” in their proofs. Have I got your attention?

        Mathematicians use pure logical reasoning in their proofs. Even the field of statistics as developed by Mathematicians for use in the other hard sciences is purely logical. While you cannot prove anything to 100% accuracy using statistics, you can prove logically that a null hypothesis is false and you can prove logically that a premise has a probability of being valid X% of the time with a confidence of Y.

        I was first introduced to the Scientific Method in my 7th grade science class with great disappointment. For it did not appear to address logical reasoning at all. The scientific method uses logic only in the sense of statistical probability. But where was the scientific method that applies to pure mathematics—logical reasoning?

        Very few people, even professionals, have a good understanding of logical proof. Even good scientists often have difficulty with logical proof outside of statistical data analysis, but then logical reasoning has a very serious problem in the real world. Logical reasoning requires certainty that is almost always lacking in the real world.

        In short in the real world logical reasoning is necessarily replaced by decision making, which often amounts of your best “guess”. Here’s where communication so often breaks down between scientists and non-scientists, and often between scientists as well. Decision-making tries to be probabilistic by necessity. But we just don’t have the data in the real world to make even statistically valid decisions in our real lives. Hence, we do the next best thing; we use reasonable sounding logical fallacies—the more the better. If one is disproven, we just discount that one and use another. This is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming to a tee. Just try and argue against this logically with someone who is a non-scientists, especially one who is just trying to “do the right thing”. This is now about self-esteem, not science at all. And by swiping down their arguments (which they are just repeating as mantras) you are swiping down their self-esteem. You can’t win this argument as a scientist because they are not making scientific arguments, they are just mimicking science in their “argument”. The result is severe anger as you attack the non-scientist’s self-esteem, and disillusionment with the other person on the part of the scientist. This situation happens just as frequently between two scientists or engineers when one is out of his field, or—more often—in a field that has historically supported dogma now under attack by new science.

      • Maybe that is why I am so…conservative. My first degree was in Chemical Engineering. Taught me to think objectively. My second degree was a JD…taught me to see how politics drives government.

      • Dan Harrison, “Mathematicians use pure logical reasoning in their proofs.” Maybe so but they can make errors that others don’t pick up. Hence it still needs to be tested like any other science.

      • son of mulder
        March 12, 2016 at 9:14 am
        Consider the hypothesis of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
        Indeed, the Fermat’s Last Theorem is one among many examples that can show how corrupted the modern or the post modern “science” has become as a medium in the human struggle towards the bettering of it’s well being and knowledge.

        It is said (or claimed) that the Fermat’s Last Theorem has being proved mathematically, by a very good indeed mathematician, a proper professional one………and not any one like Fermat himself, an amateur mathematician.

        The applied maths used to prove the Fermat’s Last Theorem are claimed to be very complicated and extremely hard maths, to a degree of considered as equal to a String Theory Application……where only two or three people in this entire planet could understand and be able to confirm it as proper enough, and from these very few (two or three) one of them happens to be the mathematician who seems to have proved it, and the other one his peer reviewer, or his “pal reviewer”…….

        The prize payed to the mathematician who has “proved” that Theorem was at about 140k Dollars, if I remember correctly….


      • In reply to

        Dan Harrison
        March 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

        As a career engineer with an advanced degree in Mathematics I found Urederra’s cartoon (below) and comment about Mathematics not being a science really intriguing.

        Your comments on logic triggered a long forgotten item in the recesses of my brain. It would be interesting to create a Venn Diagram for “Global Warming” with what we all/mostly agree on in the centre section, with all the outliers and overlapping agreements from various points of view.

      • WD – the part of the Venn diagram that would be interesting is the overlap in beliefs between those that you get from believing the IPCC reports (high confidence) and the ones from the summary for policy makers. The sceptic group, by definition, should be a broad church but it would be interesting to see how much a denier of the science someone from the second lot are (in units of Lomborgs)

      • Even physics suffers from non-funding of replication studies. 50% of published studies estimated as false?

      • I can say how much I like this comment. It’s actually a good question as to whether the word “Science” (like the word “Chemical”) has any hard and fast meaning at all.

        The comedian and writer Micheal Bentine used to describe himself as a “scientist”, even going so far as to put it on his passport. In fact, most of his ideas were frankly mystical, and he had no scientific training at all. Nobody ever called him on it, because they had no idea what he meant.

        In fact, modern popular ideas of what “Science” means probably have more in common with Bentine’s definition of the word (whatever that was) than anything to do with the scientific method. We’ve all been raised on Star Wars and Doctor Who. To us now the word “Scientist” mostly means “I know about lots of weird stuff”, or “Nobody knows what I’m talking about”. And yet it still has tremendous status.

    • Those who are lying did not of course give us or anyone else any technology. Those who develop technology are largely engineers amongst who you will find a LOT of climate skeptics

  3. The Green Religion Permits Lying to Deceive Unbelievers and Bring World Domination! Greens lie when it is in their interest to do so and “Gaia” will not hold them accountable for lying when it is beneficial to the cause of Greenism. They can lie without any guilt or fear of accountability or retribution. A lie in the defense of Greenism is approved even applauded in their “warmist” emails & books. Greens deceive non Greens in order to make Greenism supreme.

    Word substitution reveals the deception. It is unlikely that many who visit here are familiar with the fact that certain religionists lie not because they are liars by nature but by choice. Systematic lying as a religious policy is deadly, and if our politicians do not understand this, thousands could die. Google is your friend.

    al-Taqiyya: deception; the Islamic word for concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies. It is impossible to understand Islam and Muslims by listening to their protestations against terror and their proclamations of patriotism for America.

    I hope this makes it past the “thought police”.

      • Hi Marcus, Science per sec have a habit of covering their ass and allowing no new ideas to upset their fixed ideas. Been doing experiments for a few years with a friend with results that go against the main stream. Peculiar results that suggest a force not recognised, one that could revolutionise science, everything has to be done by the back door as science is set in its ways. Wayne

      • An interesting comment that triggered my thoughts. I can’t really think of any counter to the current thinking concept that didn’t have to go thru a process of building credibility in non formal channels before it made its way thru more formal trial and challenge.

        Can you ?

    • It’s pretty tough to attack people or their ideas when for the most part they are trying to do “good”. The reality of this ” good” is that compelling the world toward a low CO2 future will condemn millions to a continued existence of poverty. We need a positive narrative that says what the world will look like in 2050 with or without access to cheap energy. When the Warmists say we are headed for 2 degree warming there has to be a parallel story that we are headed for cutting poverty in half. It should be possible to split the do-gooders, with many accepting that human development requires that people have access to low cost energy. We are the good guys! If you believe in a prosperous, progressive future for mankind, get on board!

  4. I believe Ch4 did a doco called Against Nature many years ago, but it seems to have conveniently disappeared. Would like to know if that one is alive anywhere too.

    • Perry… deception; the Islamic word for concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies.

      Catholicism has exactly the same concept – it is called Mental Resevation. It as used by Catholic `bishops in Ireland to lie about the church’s knowledge and its systemaric concealment from the police of Clerical Child abuse.

      • That has absolutely ZERO relevance to the topic at hand. I’d suggest taking it elsewhere- I hear there’s a site called File13….

      • Oops David,

        It seems you’ve got the religious apologists on their high horses!
        Religious bigotry, with its repeated supression of cold hard facts has caused so much suffering throughout history.
        However, we must be positive. In the end, scientific facts will always nullify fairy tales.

  5. Channel 4 Television which made this was visited by Whitehall minions shortly after it went to air to discuss it’s funding after which this channel which prides itself on making cutting edge programs dropped all it’s ideas of debunking CAGW and towed the party line.
    Surprise Surprise!

    James Bull

  6. Dr. Roy Spencer “In the late 1970s it was the coming ice age. Now it’s the coming global warming. Who knows what it will be 10 years from now”

    Ten years on: Climate change.

    I wonder what we’ll be fretting about a decade from now. I suspect it will not be about the weather. More likely, it will be the mass migration of the world’s poor who have been denied basic energy to countries that can feed, clothe, educate and employ them. Unfortunately, these richer countries will be broke having installed solar panels and wind turbines unable to cope with their own energy needs.


    • “In the late 1970s it was the coming ice age. Now it’s the coming global warming. Who knows what it will be 10 years from now”.

      Not from the scientific literature in it’s entirety it wasn’t….

      “When the myth of the 1970’s global cooling scare arises in contemporary discussion over climate change, it is most often in the form of citations not to the scientific literature, but to news media coverage. That is where US Senator James Inhofe turned for much of the evidence to support his argument in a Senate floor speech in 2003 (Inhofe 2003). Chief among his evidence was a frequently cited Newsweek story: “The Cooling World” (Gwynne 1975).”

      As ever it is the media that created same.

      And why?

      It sells newspaper copy.
      Have you ever spoken to a journalist (radio/TV mainly in my case) about anything weather related in an official capacity?

      Not interested unless it’s the warmest/coldest/windiest/wettest etc.

      Science distorted….. because those uninformed/lazy are gullible.

      • All of us who were around in the 1970s remember it well. There is an Orwellian attempt to revise history because it is inconvenient to ‘the Cause’

        The coming ice age was based upon the significant increase in Arctic Ice during the 1970s. The latest IPCC reports like to consider the extent of Arctic ice after the highs of 1979. However, even though there has been quite some loss in Arctic ice since 1979, we still today have more ice than was there in the early 1970s!

        One should not overlook the early IPCC data. Note the rapid and substantial increase in Arctic ice as from the early 1970s. See

      • As one can see from the above plot, if one ignores the smoothing there was an increase of nearly 2 million sq km between about 1974 and 1979! That is why there was such concern.

        Of course, it appears that this is nothing more than cycles, and it will be interesting to see whether the present recovery continues and that over the next 10 or so years, Arctic ice increases.

      • Re: “when the myth of the 1970’s global cooling scare arises in contemporary discussion”.
        It was a real scare. Many articles were published and there were TV news items and at least one serious T.V. documentary feeding the populace with this grand eco-armageddon scare.
        It was a real scare. Several significant scientists were prepared to grand-stand. Especially Schneider, who later decided to capitalize on the warming scare.
        But, now we are told that the existence of a scare is a “myth”, based on a scientific paper counting competition.
        What will be the future excuse for the extreme weather scare?
        “Yes, many papers did exist and many citations were made, but most of that was poor quality science or unoriginal parroting of a perceived consensus. Therefore we now declare that the belief in the existence of an extreme weather scare – was a myth”.
        These guys have clearly attended the Goebbels/Lenin/Stalin school of rewriting history.

      • Toneb, I was alive then and beginning college, so don’t lie to me. My father was a physics professor and a skeptic. He feared that the global cooling movement was unstoppable. It was that pervasive and strong at that point in time.

      • Gifford Miller is not a scientist? Or was he not one in 1978 but is one now that he’s changed his tune and jumped on the band wagon?

        In Search Of: The Coming Ice Age

        RIP Leonard Nimoy

      • You’ve been hoodwinked by professional liars. You’d know better had you read WUWT in 2012.

        The 1974 CIA report on global cooling was replete with citations from academic and government scientists.

        The worrisome global cooling of the ’40s to ’70s so inconveniently shown in NCAR data then has since been airbrushed almost into oblivion.

        Callendar, prophet of man-made global warming in the 1930s, considered that the frigid 1960s falsified his hypothesis. Unlike Mann and his un-indicted co-conspirators today, he practiced the scientific method.

      • As a young man around the early 1980’s I recall thinking about emigrating to southern climes for the sake of my future family so they could escape the approaching glaciers. Don’t tell me it didn’t happen, I was there, I’ve seen it happen (the ice age scare).

        In another WUWT article :
        “[75] The start of the global warming frenzy can be dated to papers of Manabe (1967) and of St Schneider (1975) On the carbon dioxide- climate confusion. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 32, pp. 2060 – 2066 ; four years before the same Schneider (Science, 1971 vol 173, pp. 138-141) was forecasting the imminent glaciation due to the aerosols from the guilty human industry”

      • ToneB,
        I agree with you and am glad to have found someone who thinks in a similar way as I do.
        I don’t think there was a consensus on global cooling, but you are right, the media exaggerated it far beyond what it probably should have been.

        As ever it is the media that created same.

        And why?

        It sells newspaper copy.
        Have you ever spoken to a journalist (radio/TV mainly in my case) about anything weather related in an official capacity?

        Not interested unless it’s the warmest/coldest/windiest/wettest etc.

        Science distorted….. because those uninformed/lazy are gullible.

        I agree, I mean, you won’t see the mainstream media reporting on this new paper very much, (paywalled, but full paper here) even though it’s published in a high-impact, peer-reviewed journal.

      • You should probably look up Hubert Lamb’s position on the coming ice age in the 70’s, before he founded the CRU.

      • In the documentary, Steven Schneider is shown a passage on global cooling in his own 1970s book. Don’t be naive Toneb. Of course they are going to spin this when they changed horses and call it a myth. Do you honestly believe that all the newsmagazines, papers and the BBC somehow concocted this idea on their own. No they were fed by scientists like Schneider and Ehrlich. If you’ve come this far, you know that the printed word is most likely to be spun these days in such constructs as climate science.

      • That New Scientist article links to a paper,
        The authors are:

        Thomas C. Peterson
        NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

        William M. Connolley
        British Antarctic Survey
        Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, United Kingdom


        John Fleck
        Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico

        If you expect people here to take you seriously on this subject, don’t look to Peterson, Connolley, or Oreskes for support. (Yes, Oreskes wasn’t an author, I’m just being proactive. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the paper that inspired her to jump on the band wagon.)

        -10 brownie points for each reference.

        One of the claims was that all it would take for an ice age to start is for snow not to melt one summer. I remember talking with my father about that just before I flew to California for a business trip one spring. Looking at all the conifer sticking up through the snow, I concluded that might be a problem in tundra, but it sure wasn’t a concern outside of that.

        Eventually, it was Keeling’s first CO2 concentration curve, ideally timed with the end of the 1940s-1970s cooling period that triggered the hand wringing transition from cooling to warming.

      • “Every major climate organization endorsed the ice age scare, including NCAR, CRU, NAS, NASA – as did the CIA.” It was far more then the media.
        Also the global and N Hemisphere mean T graphics supported this…

        So when CAGW proponents wish to explain their adjustments they need to start from the global data sets of this time period. This they completely fail to do.

    • Yeah, lot of squirm out there!

      Anyone else watch “Lie To Me”? Oh, to have Cal Lightman on hand when some of these climate experts are put on the spot!

  7. Not a lot has changed in the last 25 years. The final quote from Dr. Pat Michaels remains at the heart of the matter:

    “Would you march down the road toward a policy which people have rightfully said would require an economic restructuring of the world knowing that the world was behaving opposite to the basis for what that policy said? “

  8. One wonders if they will be able to change their models to obtain continued funding if a little ice age arrives.

    • Sure why not. Climate Change will morph to Climate Uncertainty because after all carbon based life forms using carbon based fuels certainly leads to an uncertain future that only Climate researchers and massive taxing of energy can solve.

  9. Channel 4, in 2007, aired The Great Global Warming Swindle by Martin Durkin. We’ll worth seeing that if you can.

  10. It is and always has been a means to an end. Global warming has never been about saving the earth, it is about control.

  11. I saw this one back in the day. It is, of course, somewhat dated, and we have learned a lot since then.

  12. As Evan Jones notes, it is somewhat dated. What really strikes me is how contemporary it still is, 25 years later. One would have hoped, after watching this 25 years ago, that by now CAGW would be just another forgotten scare cooked up by the environmentalists. Alas, it was not to be. The “scientific” basis seems to have changed little, if at all, in all this time.
    Indeed, the biggest change is that so many of the featured scientists still had full heads of hair back then.

    • Yes, this time they started earlier in the cycle with only an eight year trend to project upon.

  13. I remember this film,my employer at the time, a power-generating coop, showed this to all of their employees.

  14. I had the “pleasure” of learning about the dangers of AGW from Steve Schneider himself when he was developing the “slide set” which was later picked up by Al Gore. Scary stuff – until I learned that Steve himself had been one of the leaders of the “Coming ice age” scare a few years earlier.

    The difference between the two scares is that a coming ice age has little political traction – What could anyone really do about it? Spray soot on the Arctic, as Schneider promoted? Conversely, CO2 is produced by virtually all human activity, and thus has huge potential for political control, i.e. taxes and regulation.

    Governments, like corporations, only invest in science because they expect a large return on investment. Why did the DOE invest in nuclear research? Because the resulting bombs provided huge political return on investment. “Saving mankind” has never been a priority of governments, ever.

    The primary governments pushing AGW, say the US, UK and Australia, all have their eye on huge taxation ROI. The $500 million Obama just (tried to?) push out is just another chip on the table in the poker game of gaining political control and increase regulations (the latest EPA regs) and raise taxes.

    Of course the UN and the soon(not)-to-be-underwater developing nations once again don’t give a rat’s patooti about the future of their people or countires, but are looking to extort free cash from the fools who wring their hands and weep over the success of human civilization powered by cheap energy.

    It’s enough to make one downright skeptical…

    • Good point.

      What could the government say for the ice age scenario, “We need more CO2 to stop the ice age. Drive more fuel inefficient cars today!”

      Warming is better, “We need less CO2 and need taxes to reduce it”

    • “Saving mankind” has never been a priority of governments, ever.'”

      Take the growing homeless populations in rich, developed countries. They can’t/don’t pay taxes, vote or consume. So why spend money rehabilitating them? No R.O.I.

      • Tim

        “Saving mankind” has never been a priority of governments, ever.’”

        Take the growing homeless populations in rich, developed countries. They can’t/don’t pay taxes, vote or consume. So why spend money rehabilitating them? No R.O.I.

        But, every dollar SPENT by governments “trying to rehabilitate and train and serve the homeless” DOES SERVE the bureaucrats and their employees who DO vote, DO sent politicians votes and DO very, very enthusiastically publicize the “efforts” to “rehabilitate the homeless” ! As far as the politicians, bureaucrats, homeless advocates, homeless care-givers, and their unions care about, “rehabilitating the homeless” (with somebody else’s money!) IS a 200% return on their investment.

  15. Funny seeing people much younger.

    Pat Michael’s end thought about the unique to science atmosphere of hatred in climate field is interesting. Pat says he doesn’t understand it.

    Perhaps the atmosphere of animosity can be understood by observing that the alarmist scientist have successfully advocated modern society change how its economies are run to reduce CO2 production, if they are wrong then they look ridiculous and are ridiculous. Someone coming along and contradicting there advocacy brings the fear of being exposed as ridiculous people closer to reality. Their hatred is a subconscious defence mechanism to being exposed as ridiculous people.

  16. The Greening of Planet Earth I and II are worth a look. They were inspired by Sherwood Idso’s book and Craig carries on for him.

  17. Regarding the Ice-Age scares of the 70’s, I remember it well. Or, do I?

    It’s so confusing, on one hand we’re told that it (a) never happened or (b) that even if it did, it was just contrarian, swivelled-eyed, conspiracy ideation from old men who’d watched the moon landings and reckoned it was all a hoax.

    While on the other hand, I thought that I distinctly remembered the brouhaha in the media about the imminent arrival of a new Ice age and the dread with which I drank in the doom and gloom predictions of the eminent scientists of that time.

    I watched the lunar perambulations as they happened and never doubted their provenance, I don’t think I was terribly old back then and, for me, the thought that scientists could be anything other than scrupulously err, scientific, never crossed my mind.

    I’d put my confusion down to simple age-related confusion and diminution of faculties on my part but, horror of horrors, it seems that I’m not alone in my recollections of the Scientific Consensus of some 40 years ago. But, clearly, I and others of that ilk must be wrong because the scientists and institutions tell us we are!

    Was it something in the water, fallout from atomic bomb tests, mass hallucination as a spin off from research into goat mortality or is there a simpler explanation?

    I doubt that there is a simple answer but some may disagree. Any thoughts?

    • The big difference between that scare and this one is the access the pervasive media provides for the politically motivated. Like lawyers, the media hide behind a veil of impartiallîty and say they just cover whatever is newsworthy. In reality journalism is infested with people who want to change the world but can’t do the math.

  18. It is astonishing that absolutely nothing has changed in climate science in 26 years. Scientific progress? Meh…

    • Indeed. The arguments on both sides have not changed at all in that time, only the name of the phenomenon. What we didn’t have back then was a clear understanding of the shenanigans involved.

  19. 1990 was the year the Reds went wire-to-wire and won the World Series.

    Just sayin.


    [But 1917 was year the Reds went wire-to-wire and won the Serious World. .mod]

  20. “I don’t put much stock in looking at the direct evidence”

    Money quote in the video.

    Funny that it was put in the context of being able to determine the probability of a roll of dice. These people are truly clueless as to how silly they sound.

  21. Schneider’s NCAR model of the climate system – 1990

    Isn’t it rich? Aren’t we a pair?
    Me here at last down on SimEarth / You up in SimAir
    But where are the clouds?
    Why aren’t they there?
    Send in the clouds.

    Schneider at 28:21:
    We take our models, and when we let the sun get higher it gets warmer, and we let the sun go away it gets colder.
    I remember once talking to a U.S. congressional hearing on this, and one of the senators said to me:
    “You mean to tell me you guys have spent a billion dollars of our money telling us that the winter was cold and the sun was hot?
    And my answer was, “Yes sir, and we’re very proud of that!”

  22. Yep, nothing much has changed. CAGW was claimed to be a big crisis back then, and it’s still a big crisis now, although nothing much has happened in the intervening 26 years.How many years do we have to save the planet now?

  23. Just watched the video. It certainly demonstrates that there has been very little “climate change change” since 1990. Also at such an early stage in the satellite era and with relatively primitive versions of climate models, it’s clear that the believers belief was either political or self serving, they are not stupid people. The data just wasn’t there to provide statistical significance. Little has changed there since except the historic data has been changed to favour warming.

    The film is a great find.

  24. Just watched the video. Both the scientific and the political message are completely current, here now 26 years later.

    There was zero scientific evidence in 1990 that CO2 was affecting the climate, and there is zero such evidence today. Climate models couldn’t predict nothing about the future climate in 1990, and they predict future-nothing today.

    All that, after some 100 billion $pent in the US alone since then. What other branch of science has cost so much and produced so little.

    What other group of scientists has produced such social disruption and hatred for having been treated so well? (Academic progressives is the only other group I can think of that has acted with equal villainy.)

    Politically, the hatred is just as violent as in 1990, much more public, and is now angling towards gulags for skeptics.

    Of all the people interviewed Steve Schneider had the fixed stare of a fanatic, and was most obvious in his repudiation of science, saying in effect, I don’t need no stinkin’ data. His belief in climate models was as complete as the justification was absent. Tom Wigley, on the other hand, just seemed duplicitous and slimy in a composed British sort of way.

    • Tom Wigley, on the other hand, just seemed duplicitous and slimy in a composed British sort of way.

      He’s Australian, just sayin’.

  25. There are at least four logical, intersecting domains: science, where engineers earn their living and people pass their lives; philosophy, where we speculate about distant things; fantasy, where independent confirmation is not forthcoming; and faith, where independent confirmation is not possible.

    Science is based on a frame-based philosophy that implicitly acknowledges accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time (or just motion) and space offsets from an established reference. Its theories begin with axioms or assertions with a goal to reconcile external observations. Mathematics is indeed a science in that it begins with axioms and seeks to reconcile them. The difference can be observed in the process. While mathematics need only seek internal consistency, engineering is forced to discover external consistency, and science or the study and practice of acquiring knowledge seeks to discover principles that are internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

    • Science is not axiomatic. Theories are always under-determined but explicitly falsifiable hypotheses invented to explain observations.

      Science has been removed from axiomatics since Galileo.

    • n.n
      March 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

      There are at least four logical, intersecting domains: science, where engineers earn their living and people pass their lives;

      I may have been inappropriately “programmed” in University but we were told very clearly by both the Engineering Faculty and the Science Faculty that we were separate and distinct. Maybe that was a university territorial thing.

      Undoubtedly there are Engineers with PhD’s that are scientists. When I went to school they told us we were not doing science but “applying science to real world solutions” as opposed to studying and investigating things that were not understood. Our application of science was to solve problems for people using (well understood) science (The brackets are because we often pushed the boundaries).

      My “engineering degree” says “Bachelor of Applied Science”. I always liked that because that is what I did, right down to digging and drilling holes to install sensors to make things do what we engineered them to do. How they worked to produce a signal may have been science, but hooking them up to a SCADA system was engineering.

      Speaking of which, off to a week of skiing in the mountains so I have just turned on my home monitoring system so I can watch it from a thousand kilometres away. Science and Engineering are marvelous things regardless of what we call them.


    • Oops – looks like this is a different movie – apologies. I’d definitely seen this one on YT many years ago though.

      • Dan,
        Other important 1911 events:

        “British physicist Ernest Rutherford discovers the structure of an atom.”

        “Mexican Revolution: Porfirio Diaz, president since 1877, replaced by Francisco Madero. ”


  26. Dan Harrison on March 12, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Terrific post on the path the mind takes to be a supporter of the CAGW meme. I know I’ll refer to it in the future.


  27. 43:56 Body language reveals the decision to be less than forthcoming Prof Wigley.

    Great flick btw …. thanks for sharing.
    It’s a fine summary of the four pillars and how they crumble under fairly simple review.

  28. I saw it when it aired on the Discovery Channel decades ago. It was quickly pulled. They wanted to get it on PBS but were turned down. For years, I looked for it on the net but found only transcripts. But it’s been on YT for a few years now. It holds up great, better than the more recent “Swindle” version. For one thing, the mentions the benefits of more CO2 for plants.

  29. The song remains the same…to quote a well known rock group.

    Some things change and some things remain the same…. I know cagw proponents
    will say these ‘skeptic’ arguments have been debunked, But actually have they?…..From my reading they are still unknown issues and can still be argued now….. 25 years (and a lot of funding) later.

    This is a pretty interesting documentary….and if it was run now would still be pretty accurate and timely.

    The funding question to Wigley at CRU and the global cooling question to Schnieder and their answers are really pretty revealing I think.

  30. Is there any online resources for the article “Lawson, H., ‘Conspiracy in the air: A cold hard look at “global warming”‘, The Sunday Times, 12 August 1990;” above? As far as I can see The Sunday Times archive only goes back to 2000 (, and The Times Historical archive goes up to 1985 ( Any idea where we can find a full copy of this article?

  31. I think the chief value of this documentary is that it shows that the whole CAGW industry IS a political movement. Proof? Not a thing has changed in the science in 25 years since this documentary was produced after trillions spent on research and mitigation (w. mills and solar, etc.) How likely is it for a real science to resist learning anything new with the largest investment in research ever done on any science. Cern is comparatively a tiny investment and look at the new discoveries. The US government spent more on climate science and its industry than it did on Hubble or getting to the moon. And no progress on the science!! Only in a 19th Century political ideology movement would this be possible, not a science.

      • +10
        Crowdfund it.

        + 100
        also to CO2islife (I think i remember right) idea of open source (crowd fund the server) for all climate data. I’d add same for any pharmacy health based research and certainly any chemical based tox research. You’d reign in alot of nonsense by getting a grip on climate, drug and toxicology fields.

        Now, back to fishing.

    • Cash cow promoted by those that would profit. Look at the glimmer in Wigley’s eyes as he salivates over his little kingdom of 12 researchers. Btw, Wiggly the wiggle worm is an apt moniker. Yes, call me trashy.

      The more this doc sits with me the more I lean towards a faux industry built up to support shakedowns executed by trial attorneys.

      It’s pretty gross. Wigley is a poster child.

  32. A paragliding pilot’s simple explanation of increasing CO2 as a negative feedback on global warming

    In The Greenhouse Conspiracy I observed that a negative feedback theory is well known to meteorologists and other scientists including Dr. Hugh Ellsaesser, an American Meteorologist associated with the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories for 23 years, and the Air Weather Officer for the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, who was referenced in the video with a publication on this concept. The following is a simple explanation for the layman from a paragliding pilot’s perspective.

    The study of local weather effects as a paragliding pilot has led me to the conclusion that with a substantial lag of, perhaps several decades, an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere may have a net cooling effect globally through a series of local weather related mechanisms.

    As a cross-country paraglider pilot I’m always looking for lift in the form of atmospheric thermals to keep me airborne. And lift is all about local weather. The sun heats some types of terrain faster than others, the heated air rises and the Paraglider goes up in these thermals. We can actually fly many miles cross-country this way without landing and without motorized power.

    Consider what happens to local weather with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. We’re already seeing it. Vegetation explodes everywhere even into former desert areas. As plant life flourishes the local terrain is modified. (1) Plant debris accumulates becoming peat and topsoil. (2) This plant debris, peat and topsoil absorb rainwater, which would otherwise have been lost through drainage. (3) Water that is transpired during photosynthesis, possibly together with some of the water that has previously been absorbed by the peat and topsoil during dryer periods, evaporates into the atmosphere. (4) This vaporization of liquid water requires 586 calories of heat energy per gram of liquid water and makes undergrowth below the forest canopy even cooler during the heat of the day than the canopy shading alone.

    So far there’s nothing new here. Nor is what happens next, although the specifics are less well understood by the layman. Water vapor added to air decreases the density of the air into which it is mixed—as molecules of H2O are lighter than O2 and N2, but the loss of 586 cal/gram to vaporization simultaneously decreases the temperature of this mixed vapor/air. The net result is that this moister forest air after further heating will rise in thermals later in the day. But it’s very important to note exactly how and where these thermals rise.

    In more barren local landscapes, on the outskirts of a forest for example, the air near to more exposed ground is warmed faster and to a higher temperature by the sun than the nearby forest, thus reducing the air density in barren terrain through rapid heating. This exposed, hotter, less-dense air is easily triggered to rise as thermals, and is immediately replaced by humid air drawn out of the nearby forest, which is in turn heated and rises too creating a circulation that takes forest moisture to higher elevations to form clouds. (Note that the return circulation typically drops the same air, now dryer and cooler, directly onto the forest.)

    Paragliding pilots have long known to avoid the areas directly above forested regions when looking for lift. But the tree line at the edge of a field is a good trigger point for thermals. Paragliding pilots will seek to find these thermals to take advantage of the lift they provide.

    Once rising air has cooled—through expansion at higher elevations—to the local dew point, clouds are formed as the moisture in the air condenses. Much of this moisture will be the moisture that was transpired by the forest plant life and from water that was stored in accumulated plant debris, peat and topsoil in the nearby forests. In fact paragliding pilots use these clouds to find the lift that’s feeding them.

    But as these clouds develop they block sunlight from reaching the ground. When more moisture is available from the forests to form clouds, more clouds are formed to block the sunlight from reaching the ground. The areas shaded by newly formed clouds will cool very quickly, cutting off thermal production in the shaded regions. The clouds have absorbed or reflected the sunlight back into space.

    So what does this mean for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming?

    We already know that the Earth is greening as a result of increasing CO2. And this growth in plant life is global including encroachment into formerly more arid regions. (I’ll note here that an increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere makes photosynthetic plants more tolerant of dryer air. This is because the stomata, or holes, on the underside of leaves through which CO2 is absorbed and water is lost do not need to open as wide—or to stay open as long—to take in the CO2 needed for the photosynthetic process. As a direct result less water is lost through the stomata making these plants more drought tolerant.)

    So this global increase in plant life, resulting from an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, may add up to a truly global effect in the following manner. Increased plant life slowly modifies the local terrain by adding carbon debris, which accumulates as peat and topsoil. This results in storage of more water, which when evaporated increases the moisture content in the atmosphere, and ultimately, increases the quantity of clouds in the troposphere. This may add up to a significant effect globally by reducing the reflectivity, or albedo, of the planet.

  33. One interesting visual tidbit: interviews are often conducted at outdoor sites with large-scale views in the background, or in cars in cities, and more often than not, heavy, thick air pollution (ground level ozone) is clearly visible. This lines up well with my memories of that era and stands in stark contrast with the cleaner skies of today.

  34. Fascinating sea-ice extent chart from Richard Verney above. It fits nicely with the AMO chart of long cycle ocean temps.Taken together, the talk of a coming ice age in the 70s and major campaign of global warming that came afterward is all just ignorance of longer term cycles.

  35. This will be useful imagery to contrast when the Thames freezes over and the AMO is matching historic lows.

  36. Great discussion. It seems like a Perfect Storm: govt is not going to kill a great tax; since Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear power got black crosses but now comes the green tick; the CAGW meme is research grant heaven; and as Michael Crichton’s book State of Fear so well hypothesizes, fear (via climate) continues to be the management tool of choice.

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