Climate deniers to send film to British schools

A A A

Secondary schools across Britain are to be sent copies of the controversial television film The Great Global Warming Swindle, as the polemical battle over climate change heats up in the wake of last week's Nobel Peace Prize award to former US vice president Al Gore and the UN's climate change panel.

The much-criticised film is to be distributed by the small but vociferous climate change denial lobby, as a direct riposte to the Government's own distribution to schools of Mr Gore's film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.

The main figure behind the move is Viscount Monckton, the journalist and former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who is likely to couple the Swindle film, made by radical television producer Martin Durkin and aired on Channel 4 in March, in a package with an anti-climate change film of his own entitled Apocalypse No!.

Shot last week before at audience of 400 students at the Cambridge Union, it features Lord Monckton, the brother-in-law of another well-known climate change sceptic, The Independent columnist Dominic Lawson, giving a long presentation intended as a mirror-image of that given by Mr Gore in An Inconvenient Truth – but from a completely sceptical point of view.

Lord Monckton, who as Christopher Monckton was an adviser to Mrs Thatcher when she was prime minister in the late 1980s and was one of the first people to draw attention to global warming, now thinks the dangers are being grossly exaggerated by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists. He accepts that the world is warming, and that some of the warming is being caused by human actions, but denies that this could lead to catastrophe – in contrast to the views of the vast majority of the climate science community.

The filming and editing of the Monckton film is being financed by a right-wing American think-tank, the Washington-based Science and Public Policy Institute, to which Lord Monckton is an adviser. The peer said yesterday his film would feature 300 slides proving that fears about climate change were grossly exaggerated, each one accompanied by a reference to a scientific paper – so people could make up their own minds.

It would be sent out for peer review by independent scientists so it did not contain inaccuracies, he said, although the scientists were unlikely to be British, and he hoped this process would be finished by Christmas. The completed film will be offered to film companies in the US for distribution as a feature film to rival Mr Gore's, and if it needed reshooting, a 5,000-seat auditorium was available for the purpose in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

But first it would be sent to all secondary schools in Britain, "so people everywhere can get a first chance to have both sides of the story and see that there is much greater division in the scientific community about climate change than we are led to believe by politicians."

Asked if he thought people would object to schools being sent material funded by a right-wing US think tank, he said: "What about propaganda being sent into schools by a left-wing British government?"

Lord Monckton declined to reveal who was funding the schools distribution exercise, but he said that accompanying Apocalypse No! on the same CD sent to schools would be The Great Global Warming Swindle, which has been the subject of fierce criticism for alleged inaccuracy and distortion since its broadcast.

Two of the scientists who took part, Eigil Friis-Christensen, the director of the Danish National Space Centre and Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have publicly said that their contributions were distorted, and it has been the subject of many other complaints by scientists.

Lord Monckton accepted yesterday that the original Martin Durkin film "contained a few errors" but said that what would be sent out was "a corrected version".

His move is part of a continuing offensive by Britain's climate change denial lobby, which scored a widely publicised success last week when a High Court judge ruled that there were a series of errors in the An Inconvenient Truth, and forced the Government to alter guidelines sent out with it, making it clear it was a polemic and not a documentary. (However, Mr Justice Burton said that in its presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change, it was "broadly accurate".)

Leading figures in campaign to deny climate change

* Viscount Monckton

As Christopher Monckton, before he inherited his father's title in 2006, he was well-known as a senior journalist for many years (he was chief leader writer of London's Evening Standard), and was an adviser in Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street Policy Unit from 1982-1986. Produced two widely-read articles in the Sunday Telegraph a year ago attacking the science of climate change in detail. Read classics at Cambridge, but says he has "a mathematical background." The brother of Rosa Monckton, who is married to Dominic Lawson, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph and columnist for The Independent

* Robert Durward

A Scot who is chairman of The New Party, a hitherto little-known grouping which backed the successful High Court case against An Inconvenient Truth. Based in Lanark, in professional life he runs a quarrying business and is Director of the British Aggregates Association, set up to defend the interests of the quarrying industry. He has long been a critic of environmentalists, once describing himself as "a businessman who is totally fed up with all this environmental stuff." He helped found The Scientific Alliance, a pressure group set up to provide counter-arguments to the green lobby, which now publicises the global warming denial agenda.

* Stewart Dimmock

The man who brought the High Court case against the Government-sponsored showing of An Inconvenient Truth in Britain's schools. A lorry driver from Dover, with children aged 14 and 11, he was initially presented as a lone David taking on the Goliath of a government, but it later emerged that he had very powerful backers for his very expensive court case, including The New Party – of which he is a member – and Viscount Monckton, who gave a statement supporting his case. Has unsuccessfully stood as an independent in local elections in Dover.

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£20000 - £21000 per annum: The Jenrick Group: This high quality manufacturer o...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £35000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical ...

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'