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Denier dissected 2

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, September 27th, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags: ,

Christopher Monckton has been one of the “highest profile” climate change deniers. We’ve written about him here once or twice (or more). Well, it looks like his days as poster pinup for the denier movement are well and truly over. He’s busted:

‘Chemical nonsense’: Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton’s attack on climate science

Nine ‘profoundly wrong’ claims made by Ukip deputy leader refuted by climate experts in a document filed with US Congress

A coalition of leading climate scientists yesterday filed a 48-page document to the US Congress refuting an attack on climate science made earlier this year by the Ukip deputy leader, Lord Christopher Monckton.

The detailed rebuttal addresses nine key scientific claims made by Monckton, a prominent climate sceptic, to a house select committee hearing in May. It includes the responses of 21 climate scientists who variously conclude that Monckton’s assertions are “very misleading”, “profoundly wrong”, “simply false”, “chemical nonsense”, and “cannot be supported by climate physics”. …

“For those without some familiarity with climate science, [Monckton's] testimony may appear to have scientific validity,” said yesterday’s response to Monckton’s claims . “We have therefore undertaken the task of soliciting responses from highly qualified climate scientists in each of the areas touched upon in Monckton’s testimony … In all cases, Monckton’s assertions are shown to be without merit – they are based on a thorough misunderstanding of the science of climate change.” …

Oh – and just by the way:

During his congressional testimony in May, Monckton was mocked by a Democratic congressman for claiming that he was a member of the House of Lords during a previous committee hearing appearance in 2009. Last month, the clerk of the parliaments, wrote to Monckton, a hereditary peer, stressing that he should stop referring to himself as a member of the House of Lords.

Monckton is now shown to be a liar at every level. Let’s hope that’s the last that we ever hear of him.

37 comments on “Denier dissected 2”

  1. Monckton is now shown to be a liar at every level. Let’s hope that’s the last that we ever hear of him.

    I sort of agree although I will miss those twisted calculated misrepresentations of the science and the utterly conclusive responses issued in response.

  2. rich 2

    I think he’s cruising for a beheading.

    The 1325 law that allows for headlopping of bogus peers was never really repealed, y’know. I can hear the squelch now.

  3. Ten Miles Over 3

    It always pays to discount the outliers. Monckton on one side, Gore on the other. I’ve always considered them mirror images. It appears to be startling symmetry – IIRC a judge ruled there were 9 errors in Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.
    As with all issues, the truth is usually nearer the middle than the extremes.

    • So where is the “middle of the extremes”?

      That our world will be stuffed in 100 years if we do not take urgent action rather than in 50?

      • Ten Miles Over 3.1.1

        There is the real question… take what action? Start carbon trading? Given we’ve (maybe) just come out of a global financial crisis based on trading made-up commodities how could we have any expectation that creating another commodity market would have a good outcome?

        • nzfp 3.1.1.1

          Hey Ten Miles Over.
          Your question “take what action”? Well consider my post below and have a read of this article Sustainable Energy Development: How Costs Can Be Cut In Half”.

          The best way to resolve the enviroment question is to resolve the economic question which is at the root of all of our social problems.

          Resolving the economic quetion is easy. Stop voting National or Labour until they start promoting real alternatives to neo-liberal Washington consensus monetarism along with real tax reform.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Actually, I don’t think the truth is ever in the middle. Normally it’s fairly extreme from the consensus view. The existence of Climate Change only appears extreme from where our culture sits in its greed and destruction of the environment. Stopping that greed in destruction is seen as extreme and yet it is no less than simple fact.

      • nzfp 3.2.1

        “Stopping that greed in destruction is seen as extreme and yet it is no less than simple fact.” absolutely!

        It has been demonstrated by many economists and politcal economic commentators that in our current neo-liberal economic climate it is an economic imperative to be as wasteful and destructive as possible. without waste we cannot have growth and without growth we cannot sustain our current economic activity.

        I assert that the solution to the problem of ecological destruction would start with a fundamental change to our economic paradigm. Anything else (Al Gores ETS scheming) is simply window dressing and small patches and will achieve nothing more then the shift of wealth from labour to the wealthy.

        It is well past the time of debating whether or not Climate Change exists or doesn’t exist, whether it is human caused or not. What we do know, and is undeniable is that our current human activity is destructive to the environment and must be addressed.

        The manufactured dichotomy of AGW proponents (Gore) vs Climate Change deniers (Monckton) is another media led distraction, like Maori vs Pakeha, White vs Black to keep us distracted from the solution – a change in economics.

    • NickS 3.3

      /facepalm

      The errors in Gore’s docu were minor compared to the multitude of fractally wrong crap Monckton et al have produced. To even call them similar is so utterly stupid I’m having trouble understanding how you can use a computer without destroying it.

      As for extremes, the research to date on positive feedback loops in climate change is worrying simply because they’re very real, rather than conjectures waiting to be tested. The only thing against them is further research to gauge the forcing and account for any negative feed-back loops that are or may occur to continue to refine the climate change models we have. But besides all that, the present models all posit 2-4 degree temperature increases, with sea levels dependent on what happens to Greenland + West Antarctic Ice sheets, leading to sea level increases of anywhere from 30cm upwards towards 14m+ for the worst case scenarios. So really, taking the middle in this case, as in many others is merely a sign of your own laziness and inability to think, on top of it also being an informal fallacy.

      • mickysavage 3.3.1

        The errors in Gore’s docu were minor compared to the multitude of fractally wrong crap Monckton et al have produced

        Agreed NickS. I was trying to suggest that the notion of “balance” meant that we are still going to hell, just not as fast as some are saying we are …

      • nzfp 3.3.2

        NickS grow and put your “/facepalm” rubbish in the bin where it belongs.

      • Ten Miles Over 3.3.3

        Yeah, whatever. Fractals are so vitally important to the debate I guess.

  4. deemac 4

    Ten Miles Over seems confused; there is no equivalence between (1) being wrong on the science (Monckton) and (2) making a few descriptive errors (Gore).

    • Ten Miles Over 4.1

      deemac – there are plenty of more credible hero’s than Gore. Come on, this is the guy who said the earth is millions of degrees inside. Why do you think he doesn’t take audience questions? He’s a front man, the face not the brains.

  5. MrSmith 5

    Unfortunately there is another Monckton just around the corner, I blame most of the denial over climate change on religion, I fair chunk of the worlds people still think that they can do whatever they like with the environment, as the earth was created as there play thing and what ever happens the big man will come and straighten it all out for them in the end. Here is a quote I picked up from Hot topic that I like. “In short, this is what denialism is – a willful refusal to rationally consider the evidence and draw the appropriate conclusions”. This quote nicely describes most religious people for my mind.

    • Redlogix 5.1

      This quote nicely describes most religious people for my mind.

      Describes virtually all fundamentalists…who in my book understand neither the science, nor their religion at all well.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Hear hear. Fundamentalists of all kinds are loopheads, nutcases extraordinaire. They should be herded together and incarcerated on islands where they can scream and holler to their hearts content and nobody can hear them. The rest of us can then get on with saving the planet.

        I’m only half joking :wink:

        anti-spam: contribution.

      • Clarke 5.1.2

        Religious fundamentalism – of whatever stripe – should be treated as the mental illness that it so clearly is.

  6. Kevin Campbell 6

    What crap you lot talk. Are you left wing or something?

    • Maynard J 6.1

      Phew, that’s pursuasive, k-dog. Maybe Climate Change is a myth after all.

      This guy is good.

      • billy fish 6.1.1

        Sold me totally on the idea – I’m off to burn some fossil fuel while pissing toxins into the water supply

  7. Anne 7

    Kevin Campbell has just proved the point :D

  8. Kevin Campbell 8

    The warm climate change is good, its the cold climate change we can see coming I am worried about.

  9. Kevin Campbell 9

    He takes a well earned bow :-)

  10. billy fish 10

    Can I recomend you all have a check of
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKUPUznJZoE

    For one of the best statements ever on climate change.
    Nicely sums a lot of the PR issues up

  11. Corey 11

    What a load of bollox the hysterical claims of suicidal anthropomorphic climate change is.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it is happening…

    How can we be so sure it will result in disastrous effects predicted? Weather/climate forecasters dont know whats happening next week let alone in 100 years! Is global warming even a bad thing? Some very significant scientific and moral questions are still very much unanswered.

    This “debate” has been hijacked to the point where any skeptical view is shredded and discounted without considering the facts of that view. This is anti-Enlightenment and anti-scientific. Its the behaviour of cults and fanatical groups to discount any criticism without giving it proper consideration. No wonder people like Monckton have to appeal to (their own) extremes.

    • lprent 11.1

      The main reason most skeptics get dissected is because they don’t understand the basic science, and are running arguments based on faith aimed at discrediting the science. That is clearly tbe case with the silly peer who is argues without any understanding of the basis of earth sciences (I did a degree in it, makes it easy to recognize ignorant blowhards). Science is based around skepticism and rechecking. However it isn’t based around taking entertaining comedians like monckton too seriously when they can’t offer anything apart from their opinion and a habit of producing meaningless munged graphs.

      • Corey 11.1.1

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        My opinion on this is that the truth is somewhere in the middle of both extremes.

        Having said that, I was hoping you could respond to my point about weather/climate forecasting as you are a custodian of the sciences. I will give you the moral high ground to start with by admitting that my field, economics, is not a science.

        When it comes to forecasting, not even the most complex models in economics can predict how an economy will have grown in 6 months time. Given the complexity and inter-relatedness of the eco-system (which I compare in complexity with a nation’s macroeconomy) how can we have any faith at all in climate forecasting in 100 years? Without knowing the statistics behind climate modelling I can only imagine the errors are so large that the exact opposite climate impacts could be equally likely to occur.

        I must say that I will sit firmly on the fence while others tear their hair out about alarmist projections. I think the very same critiques a number of posters make here about economics are equally valid for climate change.

        • NickS 11.1.1.1

          /groan

          1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation
          - basically to determine the factual nature of a scientific argument etc, you actually need to understand the evidence, instead of merely being lazy and going for the easy route of the middle ground. It also helps to understand how science works, instead of merely only paying attention to news and denialist blogs.

          2) Climate Modelling is Not Economics Modelling.
          - Two very different systems, of which economics is still a very much dismal science, which has failed to actually critically examine it’s various “foundational” assumptions. Indeed, I’d argue economics is closer to ecology, in which we can already and do predict what’s going to happen, or may happen under different variables in terms of population change, species interactions and nutrient/energy flows.

          - Anyhow, your argument is effectively one from ignorance, as you fail to even bother considering, let alone reading up on climate modelling, and I doubt very much if I started to mention absorption spectra and basic quantum physics behind why greenhouse gases are greenhouse gases that you’d be able to understand it. But also not be able to manage the all important trick of integrating it with other knowledge, something which is vital to understanding complex science properly and not at ye olde “C’s get degrees” levels.

          - As for long term modelling, climate models look at the long term average, not the yearly, decadal or multi-decade climate cycles, unless they impact on climate change mechanisms. Leading to relatively robust long-term predictions, simply because they average out all the noise. And for fucks sake, they can also model 5 year averages if aforementioned climate cycles are added into the models. Which Mann et al showed back in the 90s, and earlier mechanistic fluid models before the advent of powerful computers also gave fairly decent predictions.

          3) Fuck morals.
          - Show us well evidenced scientific arguments, or better yet, go read the key papers, or even the wikipedia bits and then come back here. Because after years of dealing with creationists and watching other types of denialists, it’s readily apparent that morality is used as an excuse to not bother with the whole evidence thing. There’s a wealth of free papers out there, from the major journals like Nature and Science, and a large pool of climate science bloggers with either the intelligence or the scientific background to understand and explain climate change in all it’s wondrous complexity, and utterly simple core.

          4) Lastly:
          - The same argument schema your using, if applied to economics, or to say the well evidence science of Biological Evolution, or even HIV causing AIDS, would get you laughed at within the science-based community, and more so if you tried to use such a schema in court, or in an academic setting. So why the fuck are even bothering with it, as you should have the academic training to be able to notice it’s wrong in the first place. Although this maybe misplaced optimism on my part, given the number of science grads one can causally observe making dumb, to fractally wrong arguments.

          __________________________
          Yes, the writing bug is coming back to me! Muwahahahahaha.

          • Corey 11.1.1.1.1

            “basically to determine the factual nature of a scientific argument etc, you actually need to understand the evidence, instead of merely being lazy and going for the easy route of the middle ground.”

            - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability

            “Anyhow, your argument is effectively one from ignorance, as you fail to even bother considering, let alone reading up on climate modelling, and I doubt very much if I started to mention absorption spectra and basic quantum physics behind why greenhouse gases are greenhouse gases that you’d be able to understand it.”

            - that’s a rather bold claim to make given you have absolutely no idea who I am don’t you think? I wonder if you have an opinion on anything which you haven’t received some sort of qualification for?

            A moral question I had in mind was something like: “Do we as a species have a moral obligation to maintain the atmosphere at a steady-state level such that the temperature over a long-term period does not change at all. Similarly, if we were in an anthropomorphic period of global cooling, should we deliberately heat the atmosphere to maintain a flat-line temperature?

            Note that I’ve never said that I’m a climate denier. I just have a hard time accepting the validity of alarmist projections as I think they are justified to (often) support ideological biases.

            http://itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/864/

            (Here is something I have read and understood which you may or may not choose to respond to. I liked the references it has to Popperian falsifiability)

        • lprent 11.1.1.2

          I don’t work in science these days, but I program a lot of simulations for various reasons from economic to traffic control. Generally in most modeling, longer term trends in complex systems are easier to model than short term chaotic effects. That is as true in economics as it is in climate science. It is extremely difficult to predict the market in the next few days, but relatively easy to predict a 5 year trend.

          In climate science the minimum period that is worth looking at is about a decade because that evens out all of the chaotic noise of weather and short term cyclic effects. As I keep pointing out, weather is not climate.

          We pretty sure that we know the major drivers for climate, and there are a lot of people refining that knowledge by looking into the present and far past. So far everything points to raising greenhouse gases gives you very fast (in geological terms) changes in tempatures. It has happened in the past. The only real question is how fast it will go – natural sources of change aren’t as extreme as what has happened over the last couple of hundred years

          As for it being better – it is very unlikely to be so. The entirety of our current agricultural technology arose during a very stable climatic period over the last 10 k years. It is founded on climate stability and when that stability fails we have famines. Even under tbe most optimistic projections like the IPCC, we’re likely to 2 degree average shifts in tempatures worldwide by the end of the century with the associated shifts in climate patterns. But that is an average. The polar and near polar regions are likely to shift more like 5-10 degrees, continental climates more like 4 degrees, and maritime and ocean regions a degree or less. That means we’re going to get quite rapid climatic and weather pattern shifts that our agricultural systems don’t know how to handle. With our current population, we’re pretty borderline on our food now.

          Whatever way it goes, sitting on the fence isn’t going go be an option. Either we change our polluting behaviors now and reduce the effects, or we don’t do enough and get the larger die backs later this century. Either way you can expect to get an increasingly chaotic economic system with the wars and disruption over diminishing resources. The only question is how much

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Monckton appeals to his own extremes because he doesn’t believe in reality. The scientists are actually doing the science – Monckton is just lying.

    • KJT 11.3

      We can predict climate change over time better than we can predict daily weather for the same reason we can predict how a thousand people will react better than we can predict how one will behave.

      When every known indicator s that we have shows steadily rising average temperatures over time correlating to a rise in greenhouse gases. Simple physics says greenhouse gases are the reason why earth is warmer. You can show it yourself on a kitchen table experiment. Without them we would be frozen. It is proven that an increase will warm the earth. In fact the IPCC is optimistic. Most of the temperature indicators say we are warming faster than the models used until recently.

      The best scientific knowledge we have at the moment say AGW is happening. Those who deny it have a vested interest in doing so or have their heads in the sand.

      The scary part is what we do not know. What temperature is a tipping point where warming runs away altogether.

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