Dr Richard Milne is quite obviously not a natural performer. When delivering the more informational components of the show he is frantic and nervous, his hands splaying everywhere. The acted components are similarly off-kilter, presented in an exceedingly amateurish fashion, the comedy seemingly coming second to the statement.
However, to criticise the show on this ground would be misguided. Fake News Kills World! functions as a deconstruction of the anti-intellectualism that surrounds, primarily but not exclusively, climate change denial and viewing should probably be mandatory globally.
The show comprises of Milne dismantling arguments against climate change which are offered up by the audience, broken up by the aforementioned satirical sketches. Milne, who is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, is exceedingly informed when it comes to the causes of climate change, the processes behind the research and the reasons for the lack of belief.
Early on Milne discussed the argument that “the climates changed before”. He described it as the most common case for climate change denial.
“This boils down to a logical A and B. So the climate’s changed before, A. Therefore B, which is people, cannot affect A. That is the equivalent of saying people died before guns were invented therefore none of you are going to die if I shoot you. The more factual version is that there are many things which can and do affect our climate over different time scales”.
He went on to describe these different causes, including meteors, planetary tilt, volcanoes and continental drift. While continental drift was cited as the main factor in the long term, Milne suggested major volcanic eruptions bear the closest resemblance to today’s situation.
“Massive volcanic eruptions caused the greatest mass extinction on our planet… it took tens of thousands of years to emit comparable amounts of Carbon Dioxide as we’re emitting now and eventually 96% of ocean life died along with three quarters of life on land.”
He later addressed the claim that scientists have a vested interest.
“We scientists are nerds. We don’t like agreeing with each other. We like to prove each other wrong and by and large if you prove everyone else wrong you get a Nobel prize.
“So this idea that 97% of scientists are colluding to make this scare story into something real, because it’s the only way they can get funding is just nonsense. It’s a deliberate misunderstanding on the part of certain social commentators.”
“Another popular talking point is that ‘in the 70’s they said we were getting global cooling and now they’re talking about global warming’. But actually the ice age theory came only from a few scientists, instead of the whole scientific community. It wasn’t total bunkum like the vaccines was.
“When you were burning lots and lots of coal you don’t just put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You put sulfur dioxide and dust up there as well. While the carbon dioxide is warming, the other two are cooling. So the scientists in the 70’s thought that if we keep putting all this dirty smoke into the air, the sulfur and the dust will outweigh the CO2 and it’ll tip us into cooling and then you’ll get the runaway cooling process – leading into an ice age.
“However, we never got to find out if this would be true or not because fairly soon afterwards the emissions were cleaned and we were left with the carbon dioxide.”
“It does illustrate that when you’ve got something coming from a small group of scientists and it hasn’t been tested, it could be right or wrong. But when you have the entire scientific body saying the same thing for about thirty years, then it’s almost certainly going to be true”
Milne concluded the show making a request for a new global news body, rigorously checked for bias and accuracy and trusted unanimously. An antidote to the age of fake news and deepfakes.