Last bastion of climate sceptics topples

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Today, Martin Durkin and Channel 4 must hang their heads in shame.

In March, the controversial documentary maker released a film entitled, ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, which argued that global warming was a fantasy of environmentalists to advance their own interests, and that rises in temperature were actually due to solar activity instead of rising carbon dioxide emissions.

Now, an authoritative new study by scientists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire has demonstrated that although increases in the intensity of the sun’s magnetic field have in the past led to climatic changes, the past twenty years have seen a decrease in solar activity, and yet an increase in global temperature.

‘The temperature record is simply not consistent with any study of the solar forcings that people are talking about,’ Professor Mike Lookwood, lead author of the research, told the Guardian. ‘They [records of solar activity] changed direction in 1985, but the climate [temperature] did not.’

Describing climate change sceptic arguments based on solar activity as ‘half-baked’, Professor Lockwood said that his study was ‘another nail in the coffin’ for proponents of the theory.

Durkin’s documentary was widely condemned at the time as misleading and false, and two scientists featured in the film said that they had been misrepresented.

The Ecologist’s response to the documentary can be read here.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist July 2007