Channel 4 Now Ashamed of its Experts

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After a DeSmogBlog post yesterday complained about academic misrepresentation in the promotional material for a UK television show (The Great Global Warming Swindle), Channel 4 went back into its website and removed all reference to the “experts” that it plans to quote in the program, due to air March 8 at 9 .m.

That would be good news if Channel 4 also planned to remove the offending climate change deniers – people like Dr. Tim Ball – from the show itself, but that seems more than unlikely.

Accordingly, the DeSmogBlog is distributing this press release, and is asking Channel 4 for a list of scientists (with their credentials) so that any fossil fuel interests can be exposed before the show goes to air. The text of the press release is as follows.

Even before the show goes to air (March 8, 9 p.m.), Channel 4’s “The Great Global Warming Swindle ” leaves the truth in the gutter.
In its promotional material, Channel 4 was advertising one of its experts, Dr. Tim Ball, as a “Climatologist and Prof Emeritus of Geography at the University of Winnipeg.” In fact, Dr. Ball retired from a short, unspectacular academic career in 1995. He neither earned – nor was he given – the honour of an Emeritus professorship, and the University of Winnipeg has, on at least one previous occasion, specifically requested that he stop presenting himself as such.

Far from being a working scientist or credible expert, Dr. Ball has associated himself in the last decade with a series of energy industry front groups (the Friends of Science, the Natural Resource Stewardship Project ) that fight against any policy that would address climate change.

Even the Calgary Herald, the leading newspaper in the Canadian oil capital of Calgary, has said that Ball is “viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist.”

When Ball’s credentials were questioned on the Canadian climate change website DeSmogBlog.com, Channel 4 removed the reference to Ball and removed the names of all the other scientists from its promotional website. But the locations that Channel 4 still mentions suggest that the other “experts” will include at least a cross-section of other people who are known more for taking money from the energy industry than they are for scientific research. For example, the reference to Virginia suggests that Channel 4 plans to quote Pat Michaels, who is on record as having been paid by a coalition of U.S. coal-fired electrical utilities to “stand up to the alarmists and bring balance to the discussion.”
Channel 4’s experts look less like scientists than like PR people who work on behalf of fossil fuel companies.

If that isn’t the case, we challenge Channel 4 to produce a list of its experts, with their credentials, so viewers may know whose interests are being represented before sitting down to the watch the show.

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