Climate change, let’s recap. It’s real, it’s happening, people are dying. It’s going to be hugely damaging to life in general and human agriculture and “civilisation” in particular. We know that there is a well funded corporate campaign to obfuscate and deny climate change science (similar to the tobacco industry campaign to hide the truth about cancer). We know that no amount of evidence or reason will ever convince those who have already made up their minds to deny. The task of climate change scientists is almost impossible. Deniers will keep denying until the facts completely overwhelm them, by which time it will be far, far too late.
One of the highest profile deniers is “Lord” Christopher Monckton. We’ve discussed him here before, and he has commented on The Standard himself. Monckton is a systematic liar, and it’s good to see him finally taken to task by a real scientist (part of a trend as scientists fight back). Monbiot sums up:
Viscount Monckton, another fallen idol of climate denial
Professor John Abraham’s withering scrutiny reveals how the gurus of climate scepticism repeat a pattern of manipulation
Another one bites the dust. Every so often, someone with a strong stomach and time to spare volunteers to devote weeks or months of their life to a grisly task: investigating the claims of a person who dismisses the science or significance of man-made climate change. Dave Rado did it with Martin Durkin’s film, the Great Global Warming Swindle. Howard Friel did it with BjÃ¸rn Lomborg. Ian Enting did it with Ian Plimer.
It involves slow, painstaking work, following the sources, checking the claims against the science. But the result in all cases has been the same: a devastating debunking of both the claims and the methods of the people investigated. Now another fallen idol of climate change denial must be added to the list: Viscount Monckton’s assertions have been comprehensively discredited by professor of mechanical engineering John Abraham, at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.
John Abraham writes:
Monckton takes scientist to brink of madness at climate change talk
An angry professor who listened to Monckton’s speech at a US university demolishes the wild claims made by the climate denier
… Monckton cited scientist after scientist whose work “disproved” global warming. He contended that polar bears are not really at risk (in fact they do better as weather warms); projections of sea level rise are a mere 6cm; Arctic ice has not declined in a decade; Greenland is not melting; sea levels are not rising; ocean temperatures are not increasing; medieval times were warmer than today; ocean acidification is not occurring; and global temperatures are not increasing.
If true, these conclusions would be welcome. But there is a problem with this kind of truth it is not made by wishing. So I began a journey of investigation (the full results of which you can view here). I actually tracked down the articles and authors that Monckton cited. What I discovered was incredible, even to a scientist who follows the politics of climate change. I found that he had misrepresented the science. …
How can such misrepresentations be made without public recourse? I cannot answer that. I can say that scientists are listening and though our voices are small, we will use them to hold people like Monckton and others to account for their public claims.
The science community is slowly learning that if we don’t perform this service, no one will. Tough decisions are going to have to be made and the public deserves accurate information about the science so they can help make those decisions.
Abraham’s full results (a long narrated slideshow presentation) are comprehensive and devastating. Monckton is a serial liar, and it can only be deliberate. Deniers come in two flavours, fools and liars. The fools who follow, I can understand, desperate to believe what they want to believe. The liars who lead, like Monckton, I don’t understand at all. What makes a person tell lies that are going to cost us the earth?