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What David Attenborough’s climate change show didn’t tell you

April 21, 2019

By Paul Homewood


Ross Clark has also joined the party:


Given the reception that awaited Richard Madeley when he ventured last week that David Attenborough is “not a saint, just a broadcaster” – something which is evidently true, though I haven’t formally checked with the Vatican – one delves into this subject with some intrepidness. Nevertheless, great documentary-maker though he may be, Attenborough cannot be allowed to get away with the propaganda element of his latest piece, his documentary Climate Change: the Facts which went out on Thursday evening….


If you are going to present a film called Climate Change: the Facts the very least you should be doing is, well, presenting the facts. Well here they are, in two of the areas which made up such a hefty part of the film: wildfires and hurricanes. Are wildfires increasing? They are according to Attenborough. One of the scientists who takes part in the programme, Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University, goes as far as to say there has been a “tripling in the extent of wildfires in the Western US”. He is not specific about his evidence for this claim, nor said over what timeframe wildfires are supposed to have trebled, but it is not a fair assessment of the data collected by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). This shows no upwards trend in the number of wildfires in the US over the past 30 years.

But then again, go back further, to the 1920s, and you see that both the number of US wildfires and acreage burned in them has plummeted.     

That is nothing to do with the climate – more down to firefighters getting better at tackling fires. But that reduction in wildfires – which, after all, were occurring naturally long before Europeans arrived in the US – has brought with it a problem: deadwood is not being cleared out at the rate which it used to be. As a result, when a wildfire does take hold, it tends to be a more powerful fire, which is one reason large acreages tend to get burned when fires do take hold. That was a large part of the debate which followed the wildfires in California last November.

But I know what will have entered the heads of many of Attenborough’s viewers: that wildfires are being caused by climate change and that is that…..



The same will be true for hurricanes. If you are child, for whom hurricanes are a novel phenomenon, watching the film will have given you the impression that hurricanes are pretty much a function of man-made climate change. A voiceover, indeed, makes the claim that climate change is causing ‘greater storms’. But again, the data on cyclone activity in the Atlantic, Gulf and Mexico and Caribbean does not support that idea. Figure one shows a very slight upwards trend in the number of hurricanes occurring in these waters but a flat or perhaps slightly downwards trend in the number of hurricanes making landfall in the US. There are two other methods of measuring hurricane activity which are used by the EPA. The first, the accumulated cyclone index (figure two) shows no obvious trend over the past 70 years. The second, the ‘power dissipation index’ shows an upwards spike in the early years of this century, followed by a reversion to mean since then.


Not that this seems to prevent documentary-makers like Attenborough resorting to footage of houses being demolished by winds and lorries being blown off bridges to show the supposed climate change we are already experiencing.

It is little wonder that terrified kids are skipping school to protest against climate change. Never mind climate change denial, a worse problem is the constant exaggeration of the subject. I had thought David Attenborough would be above resorting to the subtle propaganda which others have been propagating, linking every adverse weather event to climate change. But apparently not.   


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  1. April 21, 2019 3:18 pm

    a flat or perhaps slightly downwards trend in the number of hurricanes making landfall in the US.

    No major hurricanes made US landfall for ten years until recently. Climate alarmists like Attenborough don’t want to talk about that, so it’s just swept under their carpet of delusion.

  2. April 21, 2019 3:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 21, 2019 4:48 pm

    BBC is all in a froth, hottest Easter in 3 of 4 nations (not England so far).

    Wow, hottest random day in April, but all 3C to 5C under their respective April records.

    It must mean we’re doomed. End of days I tell ye!

    At least they admit it was nearly 30C in 1949.

    Arrests over Yorkshire fires, BBC still finishing every article with hottest day of year to reinforce the non-existent connection.

    • theguvnor permalink
      April 22, 2019 2:01 pm

      Hot Cross Bunnies! Easter can fall between March 22nd and April 25th each year so this years 21st is somewhat late in the easter possible dates and well into spring. Since 1900 there have been 11 Easters on or after the 21st April before this year (2011, 2000,1984, 1973,1962,1957,1946, 1943, 1935, 1916,1905) therefore assuming weather is likely getting warmer as season proceeds on probability alone there is a 1:11 chance of it being the warmest. But we know that its only weather and nothing lng term can be deduced from that.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        April 22, 2019 10:05 pm

        Noooooo, now hottest Easter Monday evah!!!! Still nearly 5C under the April record.

  4. Ian permalink
    April 21, 2019 4:55 pm

    I think it would be good to give a nod to this WUWT post, Paul, for people who don’t regularly visit that site:

    It’s a pretty depressing piece, but helps explain why scepticism has so much difficulty in gaining traction.

    As an aside, I’ve just listened to Any Answers, with gritted teeth. The main topic as climate change/the XR protest. Most of the callers were supporting the XR protest. One articulate 17-year old was devastated by the “walrus suicide” portrayed in Saint David’s propaganda piece. Talk about brainwashing.

  5. mikewaite permalink
    April 21, 2019 6:35 pm

    The climate change show had the appearance of a trial with CAGW in the dock and the viewers as jury. However, in accordance with BBC’s obsession with all things European and hatred of anything English, instead of the customary English adversarial system we had only the prosecution case, and no arguments in opposition.
    The jury of course will find humankind, especially Britain, guilty of CAGW, but the irony is that it is the jury ( the BBC audience) who will be subject to punishment in the form of any misery that the ER crowd, with the approval of all the media, Parliament, the Anglican Church and Emma Thompson, can devise.
    Truly a kangaroo court .

  6. jolan permalink
    April 21, 2019 7:07 pm

    Attenborough has been guilty of a number of deceptions in his various productions. Can anybody list them all? It would serve as a nice little rejoinder to those true believers preaching from their climate change gospel.

  7. Tim. permalink
    April 21, 2019 7:39 pm

    Ilkley Moor has been on fire. Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn was reported as saying it was due to Climate Change. Today 3 men were arrested, suspected of starting the fire. Can someone say how many moor fires we had in 1976? Were they due to Global Cooling?

    • mikewaite permalink
      April 21, 2019 10:25 pm

      We were walking around Dunham Massey park yesterday. Near the deer sanctuary is a large area of bracken, Tinder dry, could easily have been cleared to reduce the risk of fire . that day, Easter Saturday: there must have been over 500 cars in the carparks and the small roads to the estate were jammed with further cars. Just imagine the scene if that bracken had been set alight and the fire spread throughout the wooded area. There is a policy not to clear any dead wood or bracken. Foolish beyond belief.
      The NT has also begun to build a biomass unit there , fueled by wood pellets, meaning since the estate is large and the energy requirement correspondingly so, a constant flow of lorries on country roads to keep the furnaces going – and biomass is neither environmentally safe nor carbon neutral.

  8. Tim Spence permalink
    April 21, 2019 8:44 pm

    Happening a lot in Spain and Portugal, ‘wildfires’ caused by reservist firefighter staff desperate to earn money. Also, people wanting to clear land for farming or real estate. Then they build illegal temporary barns and stores, over time they can be legalized and converted into legal housing to be sold on.

  9. BAZ WILLMOTT permalink
    April 22, 2019 1:09 am

    Not sure if I would believe everything that the EPA says though.

  10. Hivemind permalink
    April 22, 2019 1:18 am

    David Attenborough was once a great documentary maker. I remember many weeks when my father would fall asleep watching “Life on Earth”, for instance. These days he’s just another propagandist.

  11. Murray White permalink
    April 22, 2019 4:17 am

    Intrepidness. Don’t use words that you don’t understand.

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    April 22, 2019 11:28 am

  13. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 22, 2019 10:10 pm

    The BBC was using the Met Offices graph of predicted warming today.

    Look how accurately it matches the past the lady said, and look it projects more than +1.5C in the next few years.

    This is the graph that they redo every little while making it match the past after the previous prediction has failed – OF COURSE IT MATCHES THE PAST!!!!!!!!!

  14. April 23, 2019 7:49 am

    Climate change the facts.

  15. saparonia permalink
    April 23, 2019 6:45 pm

    The thing is that as we go into a new seasonal pattern caused by the relative position of the Sun it might seem as if this presenter is right. This is a dangerous position for us to be in because people of my age tend to have seen Attenborough’s films from childhood. It’s been within my lifetime to see massive changes in technology, in science, in our ability to communicate and we never had any alternatives for discriminating between opinions. It’s only now that the lid came off Pandora’s Internet box that we are able to research information and see alternatives.
    So what does the establishment do? They attack the Internet and spew out their doctrines, censoring free speech globally. Attenborough has a hold on people who watch him and he is one of the people who would actually like to eradicate most of us, he has said this.

    Our governments should be storing food and making provision for energy in a long spell of cold long nights. We should be opening the pits.

    It could bring severe weather until the next Sun cycle, 25, is diminishing and then, due to the Suns changing orbital extreme and effect on our orbit, the pattern will gradualy change to hot short summers and long cold winters first in one hemisphere then the other. This is coming and it’s going to be a very long time until we have similar cycles to what we have been used to.

  16. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 26, 2019 10:03 am

    I was looking at the posts on “Open Mind” on this subject, to see the other side’s views, as I occasionally do and I couldn’t believe some of the comments.
    No doubt they would have the same reaction looking here.
    I wonder how two groups of people can have such divergent opinions on the same programme?
    Never the twain shall meet!

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