In true Orwellian fashion, Al Gore’s award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth is about as close to truth as was Pravda (Russian=truth) under the communist USSR. The documentary is in fact a concatenation of very convenient lies. It is a propaganda piece of historic proportions. In October 2007, the British government was sued in the High Court for encouraging its dissemination and showing in schools. The judge directed that had the government not given an undertaking to the court to put out a guidance note pointing out the manifest errors in the film, the judge would have ruled the government’s action to be a contravention of the law prohibiting the political indoctrination of children.
The BBC, though, is not bound by such a ruling and continues to pump out the untruths that have been so thoroughly discredited. Now climate change propaganda has found its way into history articles. Not content with governments and the media disseminating propaganda to manipulate and control the future, we have to suffer the distortion of the past as well. In this month’s BBC History magazine there is an article about ‘the scientists who predicted climate change’. This is a very topical issue, and could have been a very interesting article had it not come off the rails and become a train wreck in the first few lines.
We are to understand that the article was penned by Dr Paul Parsons,
a former editor of award-winning science and technology magazine Focus. His latest bookThe Science of Doctor Who, was long-listed for the 2007 Royal Society Prize for Science Books
We’re not told that Parsons is a BBC journalist, or that the magazine Focus, of which he was editor, is a BBC publication that heavily promoted his book in 2006, and no doubt made him plenty of dosh into the bargain. Parsons has a DPhil in cosmology, and is the author of the BBC book ‘The Big Bang: The Birth of our Universe’. That great bastion of bigoted atheism, the Royal Society, describes Parsons as ‘a lifelong worshipper of Doctor Who’, and he is hailed by the BBC as an ‘expert’ on Doctor Who (a science fiction television programme). In my judgment, he’s too far into the fiction to be able to determine what is truth from a scientific perspective.
In his article in the BBC History magazine, he has barely got started when he comes out with this howler:
Climatologists now warn that extreme weather events…are set to get ever more common as we start to feel the effects of global climate change.
There are other signs too…Malaria has been reported in Nairobi, Kenya, as the city’s high altitude becomes warm enough for mosquitoes carrying the disease to survive there.
It seems that Parsons has lifted this straight out of Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, a piece of propaganda worthy of the Third Reich. Don’t tell a fib, because no-one will believe you. Tell a whopper because no-one would believe that anyone would lie to that extent, so the lie will prevail. Such was Goebbels’ doctrine.
Anyone reading this text by Parsons would (because they are being told this by a scientist) be expected to believe that 1) malaria was not known in Nairobi before, 2) Nairobi’s climate is warming, 3) malaria is related to warm climate, and 4) this is a sign of climate change.
All four propositions are false. No true scientist could possibly believe this rubbish, but as the Nazi propagandist wrote,
It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.
Yet even in 2001, that political body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stated
there are insufficient historical data on malaria distribution and activity to determine the role of warming, if any, in the recent resurgence of malaria in the highlands of Kenya… (emphasis mine)
Perhaps the most detailed relevant study was by Small, Goetz and Hay published in 2003 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Climatic suitability for malaria transmission in Africa, 1911-1995, which stated
The majority of areas with variable transmission potential showed no evidence of trends in climatic suitability…Climate warming, expressed as a systematic temperature increase over the 85-year period, does not appear to be responsible for an increase in malaria suitability over any region of Africa…These results suggest research on the links between climate change and the recent resurgence of malaria across Africa would best be served through…closer examination of the role of nonclimatic influences, such as the rise of drug resistance.
One of the world’s leading experts in malaria, Paul Reiter at the Pasteur Institute, sums up the evidence against Gore’s claim
Gore’s claim is deceitful on four counts. Nairobi was dangerously infested when it was founded; it was founded for a railway, not for health reasons; it is now fairly clear of malaria; and it has not become warmer.
What has been seen in East Africa is a resurgence of malaria. Under British colonial rule, action was taken against malaria – draining swamps, destroying breeding grounds and spraying with pyrethrins, DDT and malathion, anti-malarial city planning etc. This is all documented in the literature:
Diary of an African Journey, 1914 by Henry Rider Haggard:
Typhoid is rife (there is no drainage in Nairobi) and notwithstanding the altitude there is a good deal of malaria…
A City of Farmers: Informal Urban Agriculture in the Open Spaces of Nairobi, Kenya by Donald B. Freeman, describing the situation in the 1920s:
Further tracts of open apace in the city were provided by the vigorous anti-malarial activities of the colonial administration. Twelve foot minimum-width way-leaves along the banks of all streams and drainage lines were left free of buildings to permit spraying of mosquito larvae and clearing of dense brush that harboured adult mosquitoes. The Nairobi swamp and other low-lying areas were drained and canalized.
Bulletin of Hygiene, 1926:
Nairobi was divided into 18 areas in each of which the breeding of mosquitoes were mapped, together with notes of the varieties taken.
Diseases of the Tropics, by George Cheever Shattuck, 1951:
Autochthonous falcaparum malaria is common in Nairobi (Kenya) where it is transmitted by A. gambiae at altitudes up to 5700 feet (1900 metres)
International Nursing Review, 1969
A little over 20 years ago plague was well-known in Nairobi, and malaria was prevalent.
Paul Reiter has an interesting note:
My colleagues have looked carefully at climate and malaria records kept by the management staff of nearby highland tea estates, and published their findings in Nature.
They found no evidence of long-term climatic change and noted that epidemics of malaria were frequent until the 1950s, when DDT appeared. Malaria’s return in the past 20 years has been due to many factors – the effective ban on DDT, deforestation, migration from highly malarious areas, drug and insecticide resistance and above all, poverty.
Enough. We have demonstrated that Al Gore’s assertions about malaria in An Inconvenient Truth are pure deception. But Gore is a politician and not a scientist. Shame on Paul Parsons, a scientist, who is embracing, repeating and propagating such fantasies.