Vancouver Sun Promotes Climate Swindle

The Vancouver Sun added its voice today to the campaign to remove science - or even common sense - from the climate change debate.

In response to an initiative to show the award-winning Inconvenient Truth in British Columbia classrooms, the Sun has joined the effort to “balance” that movie by also showing The Great Global Warming Swindle , a shoddy counterpoint featuring a host of discredited scientists and industry apologists questioning the role of CO2 in climate change. As reported here before, the single reputable scientist in that UK documentary, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Carl Wunsch, has complained loudly about the blatant manipulation of the program - demanding, without response thus far, that his contribution be removed from future broadcasts.

The Sun's premise that students “need all the facts” in this case is ludicrous. The aptly named Swindle is not overburdened with fact. It is larded with the kind of misinformation that could only appeal to an oil company executive - to someone like EnCana director Mike Chernoff (inset), who is offering to pay to have the Swindle distributed. Equally silly is the notion that students should be exposed to all opinions, so they may learn better how to make up their own mind. If teachers, school trustees and newspaper editors are too thick to recognize the Swindle for what it is, why should we foist it on adolescents? Students have a right to expect that their teachers are showing some degree of discrimination - some due diligence - before presenting “facts” in the classroom.

Of course, you could go all the way with this alternative theory exercise. We could show the slick Unlocking the Mystery of Life, a manipulative religious tract that questions the science behind evolution. We could show Loose Change, the documentary that “proves” that 9/11 was an inside job, orchestrated by the U.S. government.

We could, but we should not.

It doesn't matter if the Fraser Institute alumni writing editorials at the Vancouver Sun want to deny the science of climate change - to themselves or to B.C. students. Or it shouldn't matter in setting high school curriculum.

What should matter is the best science currently available. The Inconvenient Truth is in accord with that science - perfectly in accord with the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Swindle is a bad joke by comparison. We should not be collecting our students in classrooms for the purpose of playing bad jokes, no matter how willing oil company executives or newspaper editors are to promote that option.


Oh, I love this. Would-be censors always just KNOW that they have a lock on truth, virtue and honesty and therefore have to “protect” others, especially innocent youth, from corruption by the OTHERS.

BTW, I’ll take Ball anytime, notwithstanding his c.v. inflation, over that sleezy, mealy-mouthed confidence man, Al Gore.

Would-be censors always just KNOW that they have a lock on truth, virtue and honesty…

Two popular denier fallacies strung together in a single sentence:

  • freedom of speech: everyone has the right to express their opinion (even if it consists of known falsehoods)
  • truth: our understanding of global warming is based on a popularity contest of ideas and opinions, winner take all (not the systematic study of the natural world through observation and experiment, i.e. science)
BTW, I’ll take Ball anytime, notwithstanding his c.v. inflation, over that sleezy, mealy-mouthed confidence man, Al Gore.

“I’ll take dogma over science anytime. Determining reality is too hard; it makes my head hurt.”

There was the managing editor or something from the Vancouver Sun speaking at the forum you co-presented with UBC school of journalism. I got the impression that the Vancouver Sun wouldn’t be focussing on balancing viewpoints as much as trying to present the most credible opinions. This is therefore a disappointment.

What if “Loose Change” is merely the truth. Will this change anything in your overall equation?

If “Loose Change” is telling the truth how many Republican votes is Gore failing to pick up by covering up? How many Democrat votes is he losing for the same reason? If “Loose Change” is telling the truth are we going to be able to charge DeSmogBlog with complicity in concealment of criminal conspiracy?

Everyone jumps all over the fact that Chernoff - who runs a charitable foundation - is a director for Encana and made his money in the oil patch. As usual, in DeSmogBlog’s eyes, anyone working for the oil industry is evil. (I wonder if Hoggan would accept work from an oil and gas company?) But I digress. The question I have is, who or what is the Tides Foundation and why is it willing to pay for distributing an Inconvenient Truth in BC schools? Where does its money come from? Who is funding it? Funny that no one is asking THAT question.

Some people have a hard time realizing that what is being critized is the content of TGGWS not who is paying to support it. It is full of lies, misinformation and is utter rubbish. Do you have any children in school? Are you interested in what they are being taught? Do you want their minds filled with outright lies and fraudulant information? I hope that you are not involved in education.

Educational institutions are for truth and correct infomation so that the students will be educated and not brainwashed by people with a twisted set of values.

Ian Forrester

Ian - I’m not arguing your criticisms of the content of Great Global Warming Swindle. But you’re wrong about the funding. Look at this blog and it’s criticism of global warming sceptics - it’s often about who’s paying the bills. Hoggan himself said during a public presentation he feels anyone who is sceptical of AGW should explain where their funding comes from. I’m just asking the same question about the Tides Foundation, which wants to distribute An Inconvenient Truth in school classrooms. Who or what is the Tides Foundation? Why has that question not been asked? If Chernoff is identified in media stories and by DeSmogBlog as a director of Encana, why is the background on the Tides Foundation not provided?

Mike, if you examine the time line for the deniers (they are not skeptics, they deny the truth) you will find that they lied about scientific facts, distorted the truth and conducted various fraudulent activities before they were identified as getting their money from large greenhouse gas emitters. Check Singer, Michaels, SEPP, TASSC etc.

They are being criticized for their behavior first and their industrial links secondly. If they had any sort of legitimate scientific argument they would have been treated in a much more generous way. However, outright lying and fraudulent behavior is the antithesis of good scientific conduct. It is quite easy to ascertain that their whole modus operandi is based on completely false methodology.

Ian Forrester

There is a quaint “church and state” separation between what is done in the newsroom (theoretically impartial news) and what is written on the editorial pages, where unvarnished and, in this instance, badly researched opinion is allowed to rule the day. So, I would honour managing editor Kirk Lapointe's professioinalism and goodwill, even if editorial page editor Fazil Mihlar is bringing no particular honour to the Ed Pages on this issue.

I write to protest the deliberate exclusion of an entire body of global warming research from its rightful place in our school curriculum. As any school child will tell you, global warming is the direct result of the shrinking numbers of pirates since the mid 1800’s. As the numbers of pirates decreased, so the average global temperature increased, thereby proving that global warming is not anthropocentric at all but actually piratocentric. See attached pirated research paper here, entitled “What if I told you that the earth is a treasure map?”, shortly to be peer-reviewed in the Canada Free Press. I hereby appeal to your sense of fairplay to feature the piratocentric theory along side the other competing theories you have mentioned as part of the general “Let’s all have fun with science” school curriculum as promoted in the Vancouver Sun. Yours, Alison, PhD, Doctor of Plunder

Are you saying they should show the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in schools? These obvious propaganda films preach the necessity for more swordfights, obnoxious monkeys, rum, salt water and mascara. Sounds good to me.

… reminds me of the guy who founded ‘pastafarianism’ (see “flying spaghetti monster” on wikipedia) in response to attempts to get time in science classes for intelligent design.

I couldn’t help noticing that some time ago Dr. Creekside was listed as having a Doctorate in Pillage, and not in Plunder. I had my library call in Dr. C’s doctoral thesis, and it never even mentions plunder or pillage, and is in fact a study of the repair of fishing boats during the 1700’s, based on the diaries of exiled Harbour Masters. During much of the purported period of piratocentric purse-snatching and plunder, she was not an actual pirate but in fact rowed the dory to set the “purse” of a seiner that donated fish to the poor. Well. Therefore, by the logical powers of Ad Hominem-Phenomenon, we can reject her arguments.

Perhaps the thesis is a cunning ruse and she will raise the flag of a thesis on Pillage/Plunder when you least expect it. On the other hand, I would suggest Dr. Creekside sue DanJ for shivering his timbers like that.

… for the piratical line of debate, at least as reasonable as what Tim Patterson and Tim Ball are peddling.

And thank you, especially, VJ, for the oblique and hilarious Barrett's Privateers reference.

For those you you who've never heard the Stan Rogers tune, you'll have to call a Canadian or go to some illegal website to download a copy (I-Tunes doesn't seem to have it).

For everyone else, has it occurred to you that this is really a song about Conrad Black?

There’s a fine article about the song and about privateers then and now by a historian here.

One of his links leads to where you can buy the CD; and you can listen to a sample of the song there.

Sue. Arrrr.


I think you should have another look at the Sun editorial. To me, it’s about engaging kids, getting them to think about the issues. Right or wrong, there is a debate about the science. Kids should be encouraged to think about the issues, weigh the arguments, do some critical thinking, make a better world. As the Sun editorial concludes: “For all of these reasons, we support the distribution of both An Inconvenient Truth and The Great Global Warming Swindle to the province’s high schools. We hope students find them stimulating and that teachers are able to use them as tools to nurture a generation of thoughtful citizens that will find better solutions to the planet’s problems than their parents have.” On May 5th, David Suzuki will be the guest editor of the Vancouver Sun. Some will complain about this.

… if only the editorial had given any hint that the Swindle should be viewed as an example of abuse of process, I might have been as optimistic in my reading. Unfortunately, I saw only a one-the-one-hand/on-the-other presentation of the two videos, which suggests that the Sun, in this instance, in more interested in provoking a debate than resolving it in the favour of the best science in the world.

I'd be happy if I were wrong …. 

Mr. Keast, our understanding of global warming, first and foremost, rests on the veracity of the science. This is not a popularity contest between opinions in which you present polar opposites as a facile way of presenting balance, giving the lay person an opportunity to decide without any qualifications.

Despite ad hominem criticisms of Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth, the science presented in that documentary has not been discredited. It presents the findings of the IPCC. The Great Global Warming Swindle, on the other hand, has been thoroughly discredited, firstly, on the science it presents and, secondly, on the methodology of the documentary film maker.

It does not make any sense to be presenting children a credible documentary and then one that presents known fallacies and distortions, then tell them to make up their minds. If you have no problem with that methodology, to carry the logic further, you would have no problem presenting to school children the views of Elie Wiesel and Ernst Zundel, then ask them to make up their mind. Clearly, we don’t do that because we’re not that immoral or stupid.

This is not a question of freedom of speech. It is not okay for someone to spread known falsehoods under the guise of “balance” and the idea that “every person’s opinion is valid and equal”. This is false.

How’s about you shut your yap long enough to ACTUALLY show a SINGLE FACT in “..Swindle” that has been disproved? And you suggest it not even be allowed in the schools… It is obvious that the left has zero tolerance for dissent. You people scare me.
Good news for me though… in every debate held, people who walk in believing in GW, walk out skeptical… What’s the matter? Can’t take the heat?

See the “Search” box, upper left? Type in “swindle” and hit Enter and you will find lots about it. Check out ‘A Global Warming Swindle play-by-play’ and ‘A “Great Global Warming Swindle” Library’.