Oh yeah? Don’t believe a word of it. You may have thought the long debate over whether humans are warming the Earth was finally over, especially given the recent warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But today Channel 4 will screen “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, a documentary which claims accepted theories about global warming are ‘lies’.

The programme’s director is Martin Durkin, who first came to fame in 1997 with a series for Channel 4 called Against Nature , which targeted environmentalists. Against Nature presented them as not just ‘the new enemy of science’ but as comparable to the Nazis and responsible for the deprivation and death of millions in the Third World.

Channel Four had to broadcast a prime-time apology after Against Nature drew the wrath of the Independent Television Commission which ruled that the editing of the interviews with environmentalists ‘had indeed distorted or misrepresented their known views. It was also found that the production company had misled them… as to the format, subject matter and purpose of these programs.’

Durkin’s hidden agenda and controversial methods didn’t stop Channel 4 making further use of his services, as Private Eye noted, ‘What does Channel 4 do with programme makers condemned by the TV watchdog, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), for using underhand editing techniques? The answer is, er, hire them to make another programme.”

‘Modified Truth: The Rise and Fall of GM’ was broadcast in March 2000. It presented GM food as perfectly safe and as much needed to feed the starving in the Third World. Dr Tewolde Gebre Egziaber of Ethiopia was among multiple signatories from the Third World who complained in a joint letter that the programme was actually a propaganda vehicle.

Contributors to another Durkin-directed Equinox programme about breast implants were equally unhappy with Durkin: ‘We were totally and unequivocally misled as to the intent and content of that piece.’ Durkin’s proposal for the programme had earlier been rejected by the BBC because it ‘ignored a powerful body of evidence contradicting his [Durkin’s] claims’. A researcher hired to help Durkin make the Equinox programme resigned because, ‘my research was being ignored. The published research had been construed to give an impression that’s not the case. I don’t know how that programme got passed.’

As for the scientists presented as “experts” in the programme, they include many leading climate skeptics. Some like Lord Lawson of Blaby, have no scientific expertise in this field. Others like Piers Corbyn and Philip Stott are known maverics, whereas the oil-industry funded skeptics such as Professor Lindzen and Patrick Michaels are also there. Others like Paul Driessen are key players in the right-wing “Wise Use” movement in the US.

You could find twenty scientists paid by the tobacco industry and put them on TV to say that smoking is harmless, or if you tried hard enough find twenty people that would say the earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese.

Durkin’s work would be laughable… if only Channel 4 didn’t keep putting it out as prime time TV. The only “Swindle” on offer tonight is to the viewers. Channel 4 should know better.

Blog written with Jonathan Matthews of GM Watch