The perpetual debunking of Christopher Monckton

If you’ve been reading S&R for a while now, you’re probably familiar with the fact that I have issues with Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, and climate disruption denier. While he came to my attention as a result of his many errors of fact regarding climate science, my issues with Monckton are largely the result of the fact that he has labeled student activists “Hitler Youth,” has threatened legal action against his critics in transparent attempts at intimidation, and accuses his critics of resorting to ad hominem attacks while describing them as looking “like an overcooked prawn.” Pot, meet kettle.

Now, thanks to the miracle of massive databases and people who know how to code them, we have available a new Monckton debunking tool. John Cook, physicist and creator/editor of the website SkepticalScience.com has put together a page devoted exclusively to debunking Monckton’s many, many, many myths.

When it comes to the science and data underlying anthropogenic climate disruption, Monckton’s favorite approach is the logical fallacy known as “proof by verbosity,” aka the “Gish Gallop” whereby Monckton throws out so many erroneous facts and figures that no-one can possibly counter them in any debate or even a timely manner. It took John Abraham (the aforementioned prawn) months to counter all of Monckton’s claims in a large set of PowerPoint slides available at Abraham’s University of St. Thomas website, for example.

What the Skeptical Science page does is collect all of Monckton’s arguments, in order from most used to least used, in a single place. For example, according to Skeptical Science, Monckton has made the claim that predictions of sea level rise are exaggerated eight times, yet the best available data shows that sea level is actually rising faster than the predictions. For every claim Monckton has made, Skeptical Science has the counterpoint immediately available on the website with a clickable link to what the science and data are actually saying. Cook has conveniently included a search feature so you can search the entire database for something Monckton has said, and you can also request a specific rebuttal on any Moncktonism that doesn’t appear to be included in the database. The page is rounded out with a bunch of links to other sites where Monckton’s misleading and false statements have also been debunked.

Monckton, a non-scientist who has claimed that he’s cured the common cold and his own Grave’s Disease and who accused NASA of intentionally crashing their carbon dioxide monitoring satellite as part of a conspiracy, has been asked to appear beside actual climatologists as if he is some kind of expert on climate. He’s not an expert, and it’s an embarrassment that climate disruption deniers in Congress keep inviting him to testify. 21 scientists felt so strongly about Monckton’s error-packed testimony that they wrote a detailed refutation of his testimony and submitted it back before the 2010 election. At least now if Congressman Fred Upton or Darrell Issa call Monckton to testify again in the US House of Representatives, the Democrats on the committees will have ready access to detailed refutations of pretty much everything Monckton says a couple of clicks away on any laptop or smartphone.

With any luck, this will represent the beginning of the end of the Monckton Gallop.

22 replies »

  1. What a crock! “No one can possibly counter any of Monckton’s facts and figures in any debate”? Is it because Mr. Cook is so uninformed that he wouldn’t know where to begin to have a one-on-one debate? I say, it must be difficult for Cook to follow someone of Monckton’s stature. Afterall, it’s quite easy to take what scientist has taken out of context and to arrange the argument in Cook’s favor after the fact. Ah, this is what is so dangerous about the Internet…posting whatever you like, making up your own climate science, and hoping some of it sticks. No, thanks.

    • Remarkably, if you replaced “Mr. Cook” with “Mr. Monckton,” your comment would be correct.

      The debate thing is a red herring, since to the best of my knowledge, neither Monckton nor Cook have ever challenged the other to a debate. If you’ve ever listened to one of Monckton’s presentations, however, you’ll notice that he rattles off dozens if not hundreds of “facts,” sprinkles in Latin phrases that nearly no-one knows, and does an excellent job of sounding authoritative. It’s unfortunate for Monckton that his claims are nearly all false and the quotes he attributes to papers and scientists are nearly all misintepreted and/or taken out of context.

      The Latin serves its purpose, however – people in the audience are left struggling to guess what Monckton said so long that they miss the fact that he’s moved on to some new false claim that often is completely contradictory to the false claims he was making earlier in his presentation.

      Monckton is an excellent salesman. I’m certain he would have been fantastically successful selling snake oil tonics to the ignorant, scared, and naive in a bygone era.

  2. The world environment organization wants a new world
    government based on the fake climate crisis
    Lord Christopher Monckton on how NWO using fake climate crisis
    Thursday 2/17/11 6pm pst 9 est
    on Hardtail News at http://www.thewatchmen.fm/
    This is your chance big mouth, its a call in show.

  3. S&R ? climate disruption (another cute name) the fossil fuel (no such thing as fossil fuels, oil is abiotic)related industries. The oil based economy would of course produce higher economic activity climate scare or no climate scare, they are producers. On the other hand the default swap carbon credit scammers take out a significant part of economic activity and produce nothing except the goals of the Marxist. Starvation,war, and one world government. And as far as this fantastic constantly red handed manipulated data, the CRU climate gate proved its value. The facts remain, with the puny 0.2 degrees C we’ve had since 1940, we have enjoyed the best weather in man’s history.

    • The best available science indicates strongly that petroleum is predominantly from biological sources, namely marine microorganisms. Abiotic petroleum is not presently a serious field of research for a variety of reasons, most of which suggest that creating petroleum from abiotic hydrocarbon gases (like methane) is chemically problematic at best under real-world (as opposed to laboratory) conditions.

      I’ve addressed the CRU email hack several times. Search “CRU email” for the many posts. Suffice it to say, the emails did not show what you think they showed.

      And your 0.2 deg. C is incorrect. The average global temperature has risen about 0.5 degrees since 1940 according to the GISS:

      0.4-0.5 degrees C according to the Hadley/CRU dataset:

      and about 0.6 degrees C according to NOAA/NCDC:

      Furthermore, the surface temperature as determined from satellites shows about 0.4-0.6 degrees warming in the lower troposphere (just above the surface) since 1980 in the data from both RSS and UAH (where skeptic Christy and Spencer work):

      (Source: Greenmanstudio.com)

      And adding in radiosonde data from CDIAC, we get about 0.6 degrees C warming since 1958:

      You’re wrong any way you slice it, I’m afraid.

  4. More tainted and controlled data – and no Russians not only proved abiotic oil but thats why they now are a leader in production. fool me once thats your fault, fool me twice thats my fault. You don’t get that second chance. Read UN own documents, even they admit the whole climate scam is about wealth redistribution. and no it isn’t
    0.5 degrees its 0.2 Cecilius. The temperature records of Texas and other states have been reworked like a gin rummy pencil whipper. No telling what you marxist are doing with temp records elsewhere. And yes we have the best weather for human conditions in the last 6000 years, thats what disturbs you guys. You want to depopulate the planet!

    • Let me get this straight – you’re saying that there haven’t actually been 2x as many hot records as cold records than expected as shown in this 2010 GRL paper and that temperature records have been widely falsified by generations of climate scientists for no personal gain? Not only that, you’re saying that some human-caused climate disruption skeptics and deniers aren’t actually skeptics/deniers at all, but are instead moles, and that Roy Spencer and John Christy and others like them are in on the grand conspiracy?

      Let’s not forget that the US is only 1.8% of the total surface area of the Earth. That means we could ignore the US temperature record and only add 1.8% error to the global record. That would make the global record vary between 0.589 and 0.611 degrees C – and that rounds to 0.6 degrees C. The effect gets even smaller when you consider just Texas, which is only 0.1% of the surface of the Earth.

      As for abiotic oil, if oil comes from abiotic processes, then why can’t petroleum geologists find it and exploit it? When petroleum geologists use the present science (marine biota-sourced oil, trapped by specific geologic structures and rock types) they find oil where they expect it to be. But when they look at the very places where abiotic oil should be present, they have not yet struck oil. Sorry, NP, but if abiotic oil is possible (and the jury’s still out on that), then it’s produced in such microscopic quantities that it might as well not exist because it can’t be extracted.

  5. abiotic oil is just deeper and yes there are replenished wells. As far as the grand conspiracy by “generations of climate scientists ” You sir have mistaken training for education.

  6. “records than expected” another marxist strawman. Lets put it this way, the whole “theory” because that all it is, stated a 2.5 forcing of temperatures upwards. Well even the marxist can’t manufacture that rabbit out of a hat. But of course you are welcome to call in to Lord Christopher Monckton on Thursday 2/17/11 6pm pst 9 est on Hardtail News at http://www.thewatchmen.fm/ and show us all were we are going wrong. After all we have not declared the collapsing debate over.

    • My calling in (or, worse yet, an actual climate scientist instead of a mere environmental journalist like me) would give your internet radio station and Monckton both far more credit than either deserve.

    • One final point, NP – you’ve engaged a few logical fallacies here. If you want to refute science (the scientific paper I linked to), you don’t simply declare it a “marxist strawman,” you refute it using science. You didn’t, and so you committed what’s known as the fallacy fallacy by calling something a fallacy that wasn’t. The repeated use of the word “marxist” is another fallacy, namely the ad hominem, especially since you seem to be claiming that my arguments are invalid because I’m supposedly a Marxist.

      Also, would you care to provide evidence of your earlier statement that the Texas data supposedly being “reworked like a gin rummy pencil whipper?” Claims made without proof can be dismissed just as easily (and I provided proof that, even if you were right, you’d still be wrong, a point you ignored).

      I’m not a Marxist, by the way, not that I expect you to believe me. But it’s all here on S&R. Read a few dozen of my posts over the last 4 years and it’ll be abundantly clear that I’m not a Marxist – if you have taken the time to learn what a real Marxist is.

      You have also confused the colloquial use of the word “theory” for the scientific use of the word. I recommend you start with the Wikipedia article, as it’s a good primer on how scientists use the word. Other good sources, some of which might be easier to understand than even the Wikipedia article, are here and here.

      Finally, I’m a journalist as a hobby, and journalism is not the same as PR. As a practicing EE in my day job, however, I have a strong enough mathematical background that I can do much of the math and have independently crunched much of the data underlying climate disruption. Most of the graphs I personally generated from the raw data (I was in a hurry for today’s graphs, however, so I didn’t bother this time around).