Condemnation over climate change 'doubt'

THE director of a new film about man-made global warming has slammed the media for giving airtime to sceptics like Environment Minister Sammy Wilson.

Franny Armstrong flew into the Province to attend a screening of The Age of Stupid at Queen's Film Theatre.

The movie is a drama-documentary starring Pete Postlethwaite. He plays an old man living in a devastated Earth of 2055 who watches "archive" footage of 2008 and asks: "Why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?"

So what does Ms Armstrong think of Northern Ireland's controversial Environment Minister, who believes that changes in the Earth's climate are primarily natural cycles?

"With any scientific debate there will be differences in opinion," says Ms Armstrong.

"But we have had the Bush administration and Exxon sign up on measures to tackle climate change – and all the world's scientists."

But are "all" the world's scientists convinced that man is the primary driver behind climate change?

Ms Armstrong says she has read recently published-research which showed that of the 77 scientists featured, 75 believe man is the primary cause of climate change.

"That means 96 per cent are on our side," she says.

"If 75 doctors are telling you that you have cancer and the other two say it is a conspiracy, who do you believe?"

But on a worldwide scale, to what extent is there consensus among experts?

"I don't know," she replies. "I am just talking about this piece of research."

Franny first heard about man-made global warming when she was in school in the 1980s.

The film was her own brainchild.

She now believes there has been enough debate.

"Forty per cent of the UK still think there is a doubt over whether man is causing climate change – what is causing this doubt?" she asks.

"The answer is that the media are giving further airtime to climate change deniers and putting out confusing reports."

She urges sceptics to rethink before the UN climate change Copenhagen summit in December, when major plans on climate change could be agreed.

Sceptics argue that of 2,500 scientists who contributed to a landmark UN IPCC report on climate change, the vast majority merely contributed data and only a tiny minority drew the conclusions that man is wrecking the world's climate. What does she think?

"I'm not sure," she said. "But I am not interested in debate. I am not interested in discussing it with people who don't know what we are doing to stop the end of the world."

And what of the fact that long before industrialisation, the arctic ice cap was regularly free of ice, long before man was churning out greenhouse gases?

"The debate is over," she replies. "Lets not you and I debate this – we are not scientists. Let us report the facts from scientists – we will just confuse people if we discuss it."