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Thin Ice

H/T to Rob Wilson for pointing us to Thin Ice, a documentary movie about climate scientists. 

The aim from the outset was to give people from all walks of the life the chance to see the astonishing range of human activity as well as scientific endeavour that is required to help us understand our changing climate. Our idea was then we would all be better able to decide both individually and collectively how we might deal with it.

There's a website here, where you can pay a modest sum to watch the movie. The trailer is below:



I'm reminded of Mike Hulme's recent observation - the subject of a recent thread at Judith Curry's blog - that the IPCC's bid for consensus is actually undermining its authority since nobody believes that there is really a consensus. The public wants to know about the cases of the various naysayers too. Refusing to to present that dissenting case does not persuade people that the mainstream case is correct, but quite the opposite: people come away thinking that something is being kept from them. Doubt is created.

We should perhaps refer to the IPCC as the "merchants of doubt".

I'm sure this movie is very interesting and very well put together, and I am interested enough to watch it when I have time, but I wonder if this is what the public - the jury in the court of public opinion - is looking for. They have heard the case for the prosecution again and again and again. But quite rightly, they will not pronounce their verdict until the case for the defence is presented.

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Reader Comments (43)

For what it's worth, the film <u>Thin Ice</u> has been touted on Gavin Schmidt's RealClimate website as telling <I> "the story of CO2 and climate from the standpoint of the climate scientists who are out there in the trenches trying to figure out what is going on.

"The film is mainly the work of geologist and photographer Simon Lamb and science documentary producer David Sington...The story line is Simon’s journey as a geologist. He has heard the terrible things the press have been reporting about his climate science colleagues, so he decides to take his camera and find out what’s really happening.

"The key messages from this 73 minute film are that scientists can be trusted and that ultimately we have to quit using fossil fuels.</I>

Sounds like just one more attempt by CAGW alarmists to convince a skeptical public.

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

I'll stop using fossil fuels if these guys all quit their cushy public sector jobs and go and work in the productive sector. No? Thought not.

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

we would all be better able to decide both individually and collectively how we might deal with it

I've decided individually how to deal with it. I've decided collectively how to deal with it. What is my next step?

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

What bad press are climate scientists getting? Yesl, on the blogs they're being panned for their poor science, but none of that gets into the MSM. In fact it's suppressed. Nobody, again except the blogs, is challenging their scienctific conclusions, as far as I'm aware the public at large aren't aware of the hiatus in global warming, the missing warming, the actual normality of the weather we're having, all failed predictions of the AR4. The Chief Scientific Officer at the Met Office goes on air to announce that he cold March weather was caused by the ice melting in the Arctic, and two weeks later her own people say they can't find any connection between the ice melt and the cold weather. Which isn't surprising because there is none else we'd have had a cold spring in 2008 and we didn't (was that the "barbecue summer"?). And no come back whatsoever in the MSM.

Simon Lamb might have heard terrible things reported about his climate science colleagues but the public hasn't, so what's the problem?

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"The key messages from this 73 minute film are that scientists can be
trusted and that ultimately we have to quit using fossil fuels."

"Simon followed scientists at work in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern
Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the USA. "

Heck of a lot of sailing he did there then, must have taken ages. Do he not realise how hypocritical this makes him. At least my ex supervisor owned up to having a poor 'carbon footprint'

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Hawk-eyed viewers might like to look out for missing data - an opportunity spotted by Tom Nelson and illustrated with a still from the movie here:

Others may like to keep an ear and an eye open for anything else that might be missing from the movie itself.

I don't want to give a penny to The Cause if I can avoid it, so I'm going to wait to hear more before spending anything. The trailer does not encourage me to think I'll be missing much, but I'll wait and see. It should at least provide a view of how some, like the narrator, see themselves.

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

"climate scientists who are out there in the trenches trying to figure out what is going on"

Poor darlings. In the trenches. How brave they all are! And they're trying to figure out what's going on for us. No easy task when you're not exactly Albert Einstein. Perhaps we should send them all food parcels and warm mittens.

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

I'll stop burning coal in my car when climate scientists only drive and fly in electric cars/planes/trains where every kWh is sourced from subsidy-free renewables that don't kill bats and eagles.

(My car is really old)

Apr 25, 2013 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

If you have to pay to see the movie, then what's the point of it, other than as onanism for causists? Who's going to think "I'm unconvinced by the threat of climate change, so I'll pay someone to take 73 minutes to try to convince me"?

Apr 25, 2013 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

It shows how little they understand, that they think this kind of propaganda is a good idea. On the website they provide a link to realclimate. Presumably they are unaware that RC is a great recruitment vehicle for scepticism, because they've never read Jeff Id's reader background thread. (Worse still, they link to Sks).

Apr 25, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Well, just before shutting down my computer for a few days, I idly Googled 'simon lamb climate change'. More than 1 million hits, first few pages (I ran out of time) all about the movie launch from an impressively wide range of organisations. I stumbled on this one in Scotland that I'd not heard about, for example:

So I am seeing an early benefit. This movie initiative is helping reveal the huge extent of the climate change monster that has been created, and the huge diversion of funds that must be involved. It got me wondering if 'Tip of an Iceberg' might have been a better title for the movie, but perhaps that will be used for a later one on the monster itself.

Looking forward to learning more next week.

Apr 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Can you imagine a trailer for The Great Global Warming Swindle, a link to a site where it is hosted, and a comment from Gavin that he intended to watch it when he had time, appearing at RC?

Apr 25, 2013 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Dunford

[Snip -raise the tone please]

Apr 25, 2013 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnotherBadDay

"climate scientists who are out there in the trenches trying to figure out what is going on"

Was it Prof Phil Jones that couldn't use Excel nor could he work out his own age!

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Hopefully they will find an Alien Space ship under the Ice

The Thing will come and get them.

Or worse the heating fails.All have to snuggle together for warmth.Find out how hot it really isnt.

Justify their salaries somehow.Just how much money is there in Polar research.

PS anybody seen the Top Gear episode years back where they went to the North Pole ,Hammond on a Dog Sled and Clarkson and May in a couple of 4x4s.The North Pole seemed perfectly ok and still very cold .

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Geronimo said, "as far as I'm aware the public at large aren't aware of the hiatus in global warming,". I don't know how it is in other parts of the world, but here in the UK you don't have to rely on the MSM to keep you informed about the climate. Most of us can remember the hot summers and mild winters around the turn of the century. We can also remember the MSM telling us that hotter summers and milder winters were in store from now on. It is a bit difficult not to notice that the winters have since been rather colder than average and that we haven't had a decent summer for a decade.

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

"...for the first time in my lifetime scientists are under attack"

... oh, but warmists always exaggerate.

"Global warming" = a few tenths of a degree C in a hundred years or so, few if any would have noticed if it wasnt for the climatologists
"Death threats" = some Australian had a gun and was allowed to shoot a few cangaroos
"Denial machine" = Richard Lindzen and a few blogs, frequented by people who have doubs or ask questions
"Worse than we thought" = the data don't show much, actually
"Climate experts" = often little more than a bunch of activists (28 gate)
"Attack" = reasonable and scientific critisism, e.g. from Steve McIntyre and Nic Lewis

And so on.

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

Since when was a nice warm, paid-for-by-somebody-else, office/lab/study, "out there in the trenches"? Seems to me that a huge amount of work is regurgitating what's already been printed, but with a slightly different interpretation.

Granted a few idividuals do get out there on the coal-face, so to speak, but how many as a percentage of the whole? Any guesses?

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

My two cents:

Apr 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarcel Crok

Smells like propaganda. The trailer attempts to give off the feel that a real objective inquiry is being performed, yet it seems a bit expensive for a amateur & keen camera man to travel around the world as a hobby. Had to have support financially and otherwise to walk into he belly of a glacier in Antartica. I guess geological connections could get you in there, but I doubt "skeptics" would get the same kind of access.

And as always with media criticism, the camera points at what it wants you to see. I'm sure "skeptics" could take a camera to the same places and produce a wholly different documentary.

Apr 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

The trailer asks "Who are these scientists?" And it offers the choice: are they liars or are they seekers after truth?

Why not both? Or neither, for that matter?
They may seek the truth with a methodology so bad that they deceive themselves as well as anyone else.
They may have genuine concerns and so exaggerate the impact of their findings for safety's sake (precautionary principle in action)

They may lie inadvertently by offering up a false dichotomy and excluding the middle ground.

So why make a trailer that will repel the curious and only appeal to those who want simplicity? The subject isn't simple so can someone tell me, what is the marketing strategy intended to do?

Apr 25, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

This film seems to be syndicated widely in our academic institutions right now under what must be an organised campaign. Try searching 'Simon Lamb Geologist' and page through the results and you will see what I mean.

Apr 25, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

There is no warming of the Tropical Troposphere...the models over estimate positive feedback and virtually ignore negative feedback. On top of this Carbon Dioxide's ability to create heat is logarithmic and not linear...therefore the whole thing falls apart.
We are where we are because politicians and the media have to continue to believe the fairy story as to back track would show them to be the simpletons they are. There would also be the small matter of paying us back all the taxes taken under a false pretence. Oh..and of course some of them could go to prison for not telling us the truth....along with some scientists!

Apr 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Griffin

Does the title mean they finally realise their claims are on thin ice?

Apr 25, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennis A

There is a scene which shows a graph of the correlation between temperature and CO2. Simon Lamb trumpets this finding, and states that this is what really persuaded him of the case for AGW.
Did he really not know that (historically anyway) the CO2 changes followed temperature? And no one told him?

At the start and end of the film he pulls on the heart strings, where he's telling a story to his toddler child (think of the children and the grandchildren).

It's only worth seeing to put faces to names, to see some (not all) of the scientists' fanatical activism, and how weak their case really is.

Apr 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Registered CommenterQ

"There is a scene which shows a graph of the correlation between temperature and CO2.Simon Lamb trumpets this finding, and states that this is what really persuaded him of the case for AGW. "

Indeed. Does anyone really think something as complex as the earth's weather/climate system can be adequately described with a squiggly line? If someone tried to sell you a vacuum cleaner based solely on a graph they presented you, would you buy it?


Apr 26, 2013 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Is this guy for real? Did he really say "for the first time in my lifetime scientists are under attack"?

He must have missed PETA, ALF, Greenpeace, etcetera, inciting criminal behaviour (and criminal damage) against scientists/engineers working for BP, scientists involved in animal drug-testing, scientists working with GM crops, scientists working for the nuclear industry....Not to mention all the non-scientists who felt the cold hand of environmentalism knocking on their door or breaking their windows in the middle of the night.

nfckngblvbl. Jssfckngchrstnbknthftrnn.Whtfckngshtfrbrns. The guy is also clearly a keen “amateur thinker”

I wonder if he managed to get some cute penguins or baby seals into the movie?

Apr 26, 2013 at 2:48 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

nfckngblvbl. Jssfckngchrstnbknthftrnn.Whtfckngshtfrbrns.

Precisely. You captured my thoughts exactly!

Apr 26, 2013 at 6:20 AM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Found it...

Apr 26, 2013 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterSera

BIshop, your last paragraph is masterly. Precise and elegant.

Apr 26, 2013 at 8:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Notwithstanding my burning thirst for knowledge......after watching the trailer nothing could persuade me to watch that movie, let alone actually pay money to do so.
There is only so much human flesh and blood can stand.

Apr 26, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Climate scientists can be trusted - to pick out bits of science which provide them with an income for life by continually scaring the public. In 1974, Richard Feynman called this 'Cargo Cult' science. An engineer looks at climate, picks out key parts of the science and by developing theory shows how the atmosphere is a self-adapting control system with a simple null point - Solar energy IN = IR energy out.

The result of this is that it can adapt to at least 12 times present CO2 concentration with no change of temperature, also that to get change of temperature you either have to increase the mass of the atmosphere, more gravitational heating as in the late Permian extinction, or change solar input. Everything else is a transient, as we are now facing as we enter the new Little Ice Age!

The problem with solving problems is that you can't collect piles of dung, which is what most academics do.

Apr 26, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecm

They still not got it , it not the way their trying to 'sell ' the cause that is making it a unpopular buy .
Its that increasingly people are seeing it for the poor product it is in the first place .
And for that they can thank , ironically, not the defamed 'deniers, but the lies , the arrogance and the BS spouting of climate 'scientists' and green activists.
Even if it did not start has rubbish , its been made that way by the very people promoting it .

Apr 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

The Thin Ice might be about to get thicker:

The First Decade of the New Century: A Cooling Trend for Most of Alaska

CO2, which increases semi-exponential [8], cannot be the source the observed cooling, as the opposite effect would be expected. However, there are a great number of circulation indices, and Mantua et al. [6] were the first to show the strong influence of the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) on the climate of Alaska by examining the relationship between climate variability and salmon production in Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Monthly anomalies in the sea surface temperature (SST) field of the North Pacific, poleward of 20°N, constitute the basis of the PDO index.

Apr 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

I watched this film (most of it at any rate) a few days ago without paying. There was a link to it on a blog I was reading. Unfortunately I did not copy the URL and have not now been able find it with a web search. I even started to download it while it was playing but deleted it as soon as I realised what it was.

Impressions from memory:

Is the film really new? Most of it has a very old feel to it. I might be wrong, but I should have guessed that it was made well before the CG revelations of 2009 and yet the narrator does mention the Jones whitewashes, but I suppose that part could have been added later.

Simon Lamb modestly calls himself a ‘sarntist’ but to me he seems rather uncannily like a ‘nurse’.

He also says he is an amateur cameraman and the first few shots are indeed a bit dodgy but that might be a ruse to set the scene for ‘honest and unprofessional innocence’. The camera work is quite good later. Similarly, the early citing of sceptical comments is seductively attention-grabbing, but the tipping point is where he shows a short-period correlation between Temp and CO2, without mentioning that CO2 follows Temp. The card house topples. In the end it is all pure and undiluted warmist propaganda.

The attempted amateur optimism of it is in his apparent but understated expectation that BH sceptics will be hoodwinked. They won’t.

Who financed the film? It must have cost a great deal to make. How many would agree that they charge only a ‘modest’ sum to view it? I’d bet they stand to make millions out of it!


Here is a nice relaxed interview made on Fri 5 Aug 2011, to redress the balance:

Apr 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

Can't wait for the day when they're out on the streets all ragged holding home made signs "Will forecast for food".

Another opens up a jacket to passers-by revealing an assortment of charts pinned on the inside as he peers around looking for plods.

Apr 26, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveA

I remember Nixon on the TV saying "I am not a crook". From that moment on, many previously undecided people were convinced he was a crook.

The warmists seem to have a pretty poor understanding of the outlook of CAGW doubters. I imagine that putting out a film saying "look, we are honest!" may not have the quite effect they hope for.

Apr 26, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The material is several years old (2009, with editing in 2010) - primarily UK and NZ Scientists.
There are multiple clips of several minutes apiece.
Some are listed below, ordered by chapter. Looks like there are 41 clips.
This is a good record of the fundamental convictions of key scientists. Thin Ice Trailer Exploring the Ocean Measuring CO2 in the atmosphere Drilling beneath the ice in Antarctica §1.2 - Climate change as seen by UN negotiators and scientists. §1.3 - Inside the IPCC §2.1 - Measuring CO2 at Baring Head §2.2 - How CO2 warms our climate §2.3 - How CO2 traps the sun's warmth §2.4 - How CO2 warms the climate - Pierrehumbert §2.5 - Taking the Temperature - Allen & Jones §2.6 - Factors Besides CO2 §2.7 - Shrinking Tropical Glaciers §3.1 - The Polar Plateau 1 - getting there §3.2 - The Polar plateau 2 §3.3 - The Polar Plateau 3 - Coring for climate history §3.4 - A slice of Antarctic snow §3.5 - Analysing an ice core §3.6 - Ice Age cycles, temperature and CO2 §4.1 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 1 - Heading out to sea §4.2 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 2 - On Station §4.3 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 3 §4.4 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 4 - Thermoh. Circ. §4.5 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 5 - Taking the pulse §4.6 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 6 - Oceans and CO2 §4.7 - Voyage to the So. Ocean 7 - Forests §4.8 - Voyage to the So. Ocean §5.1 - Beneath the sea floor 1 - the drilling operation §5.2 - Beneath the sea floor 2 - viewing new core §5.3 - Beneath the sea floor 3 - a warmer climate in the past §5.4 - Fossils record warmer climates in the distant past §5.5 - What past climates tell us about CO2 & GW §6.1 - Life in coastal Antarctica - Dugger & Karl §6.2 - Life in the Arctic Sami View §6.3 - Business as Usual §6.4 - Implications from Rising CO2 Levels - Rahmstorf §6.5 - View on Temperature Rise - Meinshausen (PIK) §7.1 - Changing attitudes in the last 100 y - Geering §7.2 - Reflections on a warming planet - Allen §7.3 - CCS - Blunt, Koseli & Moeller §7.4 - Being a [climate] scientist - personal thoughts

Kurt in Switzerland

Apr 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterKurt in Switzerland

O dear, here we go again. Why is it that people who are funded by the state are correct whilst those who have to earn a living by getting things right have a much harder battle to get their hard earned science accepted. Why of course it's money again. If you are offered research funds providing it is to prove AGW then you wouldn't be stupid enough to prove the opposite.

Apr 27, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterferdinand

As a geologist he should know better but the money got to him.

Apr 27, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Kurt in Switzerland

Many thanks, that is a very useful compilation.

Apr 27, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterQ

In American idiom, it is the pusher of the idea who is "skating on thin ice" when they are pushing shoddy work and deceptive ideas. "He was skating on thin ice and when they audited his work, he was fired."
"Thin ice" is a great way to sum up the corrupt rent seeking behavior of the AGW promoters.

Apr 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

The links at the website include fawning praise for SkS and RealClimate plus a few assorted alarmist blogs. Not a single sceptical site.
So I think that tells me what I need to know. I doubt I will be going too deeply into debt to donate to this cause.

Apr 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith L

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