London, 27 Aug 1999.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

BBC shows Naïve Political Correctitude in its Attitude to Global Warming
Scientific Evidence Raises Serious Doubts About the Role of Man in Climate Change
Drivers’ campaign group the Association of British Drivers (ABD) warns viewers that the BBC is failing its duty of balance in its unquestioning acceptance of human generated global warming and its supposed effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

In its item on the above on the Tuesday 17 August 1999 edition in Newsnight on BBC2, lurid tales of the destruction of the coral reef were broadcast. We were informed that structure will disappear within the next thirty to forty years. These predictions rest precariously on a theory which is looking ever more doubtful in scientific circles.

According to Environment Monitoring & Analysis (EMA) - a leading environmental review organisation - the scientific evidence dismisses the possibility of global warming being a man-made phenomenon and warns of the dangers of premature diagnosis.

ABD Chairman Brian Gregory states emphatically: “Many leading scientists accept that the conventional wisdom surrounding the role of mankinds industrial and transport activities is at the very least open to serious doubt. Yet the Kyoto political bandwagon seems unstoppable - and 500% taxation of motor fuels is just one result.”

Summary of Scientific Evidence

The conclusion is clear: there are ulterior motives behind government claims, echoed by the BBC, that transport activity is implicated in global warming. The ABD rejects this notion on the basis of objective scientific evidence.

Scientific Evidence in Detail

1. Is the Earth warming as fast as they say?

It is claimed that statistics indicate that the average surface temperature of the earth has increased by about 0.6 degrees Celsius this century, with most of the rise in recent decades. But Dr David Wright (Geography Review, Vol. 12 Number 1) points out that the temperature data may not show anything meaningful, as most weather records are taken in towns or cities, with others at airports. As all such sites have seen growth this century, particularly rapid in recent decades, the ability of such sites to retain heat - Dr Wright calls this the urban 'Heat Island' effect -will have grown too. Other environmental commentators (Environmental Monitoring & Analysis, Press Release, August 1999) attribute at least half of the measured rise to such 'urban warming'.

2. Measurements from space back this up

When measurements of the surface temperature of our planet are taken from space using balloons and satellites (eg NASA and CDIAC, Trends, Oak Ridge 1991) half of the ground-based warming disappears due to them being more representative of the natural planet. Better sampling removes the systematic error of urban warming.

3. Theories that solar activity drives the climate fit the facts better than the “man made” suggestion

Compelling evidence from astronomers and atmospheric physicists indicates that significant changes in the behaviour of the Sun this century, and previously, has occurred and largely the cause of recent climate change - over timescales of hundreds of years. Whether the output is measured in terms of radiation, particle flux, diameter (size) or length of the solar cycle, these changes all point to an increase in the total solar energy input to the upper atmosphere. This input is then shown to lead to higher surface temperatures through solar activity magnifier (SAM) mechanisms. Dr Piers Corbyn (South Bank University, paper presented to Climate Change Symposium, Bonn, 1997) points out that the correlation between climate change and solar activity is greater than the link with any other variable. Research by Professor Terry Robinson and Dr Neil Arnold at Leicester University involving the construction of a computer model has shown how fluctuations in the levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun can cause significant climate change on Earth.

4. “Global Warming” is nothing new - and the sun was to blame before

Prior to industrialisation and mechanised transport, there have been documented examples of climate change which cannot have man-made origins. Between the years 1645 and 1715 (the Mini Ice Age) global temperatures fell. The River Thames froze over repeatedly and Frost Festivals were held on it. During the whole of that time the Sun was almost completely devoid of sunspots, representing a sharp decline in solar activity. Many years earlier, during the period 350 BC to 450 AD, global warming occurred. Professor Shamesh of the Weizmann Institute, Israel, found that by using analysis of lake sediments in Kenya. Much larger changes in climate have occurred in the distant past and these have been successfully attributed to semi-regular changes in the Earth's axial tilt and orbital eccentricity (known after its discoverer as the Milankovitch Cycles) plus more random changes due to geological, tectonic effects.

5. More Evidence Points to the Sun

Dr C J Butler of Armagh Observatory has shown a close correlation between the length of the solar cycle and mean surface temperature over the last 200 years (Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 58, 1996, pages 1657 to 1672), while Drs Friis-Christensen and Lassen (Science, 254, 698, 1991) have obtained similar results. Professor Mike Lockwood of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has established that about half of the claimed rise in average surface temperature this century can be attributed to changes in the Sun (Astronomy & Geophysics, Vol 40, 4.11 to 4.16, 1999), remembering that the other half doesn't exist - it's really urban warming - the Sun is seen to be solely responsible for climate change. Over longer timescales than the last 100 years, J R Petit et al (Nature, 03 June 1999) has pointed out that natural phenomena alone account for glacial-interglacial climate change involving surface temperature rises more than 10 times the current levels.

6. Natural changes attributed to “Global Warming” often have other, more complex causes

Global warming is held to have caused parts of the Antarctic ice shelf to break away and begin to melt. However scientists at the British Antarctic Survey, which maintains a presence at the Antarctic 365 days each year for scientific study, point out that this small-scale break-off occurred for local not global reasons. Under a leader 'So Much for Global Warming' Dr Keith Nicholls of the BAS reported in the science periodical Focus that research at the Filchner-Ronne Antarctic ridge leads to the conclusion that rising temperatures would lead to thickening of the ice sheet due to changes in sub-surface salt concentrations, and ends by saying "now it's clear they [ice shelves] are unaffected". Equally reports of alleged changes to Coral Reefs have not been attributed firmly to any one source and since the mean temperatures of the atmosphere and sea have not shown any change corresponding to that of the land, it is difficult to make any realistic connection to supposed effects of global warming (Environmental Monitoring & Analysis, press release PR03899, August 1999). Meanwhile, in Britain, the Environment Agency blames everything from coastal erosion to floods and water shortages on Global warming - much to the amusement of knowledgable scientists and engineers.

7. The Car Is Not To Blame

Some self-styled environmentalists attribute the large part of supposed man-made global warming to emissions from the motor car. Such references usually implicate carbon dioxide in car exhausts. However, the motor car generates only 0.6% of total global emissions of carbon dioxide (Schimel, DS, Global Change Biology, Vol 1, 1995, Blackwell Scientific) so whether ice shelves or reefs are the subject of false concern, the car is blameless. Moreover, Dr Corbyn points out that carbon dioxide is not the most important greenhouse gas anyway; water vapour is.


The ABD was formed in 1992 to fight unscientific and unjustified anti-car attitudes by the British government and green propagandists. It has trebled its membership in the past fifteen months as negative rhetoric from greens and politicians has plumbed new depths.


Notes for Editors