Friday, July 20, 2007

Martin Durkin, the Salman Rushdie of the AGW debate

Martin Durkin recently created a documentary called The Great Global Warming Swindle, intended to be "the definitive response to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth". The film, first broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 in March, definitely appears to have struck a nerve among the CoGW faithful -- not quite to the point that they have actually issued a fatwa calling for his head, but it almost seems that way at times, given the vigorous reaction wherever it is shown.

When it was broadcast last week on Australia's ABC, the network felt compelled to inoculate the viewers against the arguments made in the film. Here is how Durkin himself described the situation in a July 21 Australian essay:
I wasn't shocked that the film was attacked on the same night it was broadcast on ABC television last week, although I was impressed at the vehemence of the attack. I was more surprised, and delighted, by the response of the Australian public.

The ABC studio assault, led by Tony Jones, was so vitriolic it appears to have backfired. We have been inundated with messages of support, and the ABC, I am told, has been flooded with complaints. I have been trying to understand why.

[...] I think viewers may also have wondered (reasonably) why the theory of global warming has not been subjected to this barrage of critical scrutiny by the media. After all, it's the theory of global warming, not my foolish little film, that is turning public and corporate policy on its head.

The apparent unwillingness of Jones and others at the ABC to give airtime to a counterargument, the tactics used to minimise the ostensible damage done by the film, the evident animosity towards those who questioned global warming: all of this served to give viewers a glimpse of what it was like for scientists who dared to disagree with the hallowed doctrine.

The final sentence above raises an important point. There are many, many competent scientists out there who strongly disagree with the AGW orthodoxy, but who are unwilling to cooperate in the trashing of their reputation by mouthpieces of the CoGW.

Durkin goes on to speculate on why the AGW faithful are so zealous for their cause:
After a year of arguing with people about this, I am convinced that it's because global warming is first and foremost a political theory. It is an expression of a whole middle-class political world view. This view is summed up in the oft-repeated phrase "we consume too much". I have also come to the conclusion that this is code for "they consume too much". People who believe it tend also to think that exotic foreign places are being ruined because vulgar oiks can afford to go there in significant numbers, they hate plastic toys from factories and prefer wooden ones from craftsmen, and so on.

All this backward-looking bigotry has found perfect expression in the idea of man-made climate disaster. It has cohered a bunch of disparate reactionary prejudices (anti-car, anti-supermarkets, anti-globalisation) into a single unquestionable truth and cause. So when you have a dig at global warming, you commit a grievous breach of social etiquette. Among the chattering classes you're a leper.

I agree -- AGW appears to be the ideal vehicle (ironically, a high-emissions vehicle) to advance the various aspects of the environmental/marxist left's agenda, all in one tidy package.

Three cheers to Martin Durkin for refusing to run for cover, even in the face of withering counterattacks.

The film will be available on DVD soon, but it can also be seen online here, among many other places.