Monckton Gets it Wrong Yet Again

We all know by now just how paranoid (of hidden Nazis and communists), self-indulgent (“I’m a non-voting member of the house of Lords” [UPDATE: David Beamish, the Clerk of the Parliaments has recently published this open letter to Monckton to clarify that he is NOT a member of the house]; “I was only joking about the Nobel prize thing…” [UPDATE: it seems this is inaccurate also, or else Chris has no control over what is said about him on his own site, h/t John Cook]; climate change “expert”) and warped this character’s understanding of the available scientific evidence is, so I won’t waste a lot of time on this post.

Adam Spencer (apparently another pawn of the socialistic ABC) interviewed Monckton this morning in what turned out to be a very heated argument (the man, quick to fall back on Godwin’s Law or to accuse academics of looking like crustaceans, is quite hostile when questioned about his own credentials – also rich seeing as he indulges in taking superiority over working scientists who are not strictly working on the sciences of the topic at hand, as demonstrated with Ben McNeil). You can catch the recordings (two, as Spencer hung up on Christopher at one point) on the ABC website, here.

Whilst Spencer struggled to come up with a decent reference (I’d have used Pinker et al. (2005) because the results were hilarious – see 13 mins of the video below) he eventually came up with Johannessen et al. (2007), when pressed for an example of misinterpretation.

The paper does show an accumulation of snow at high altitudes, which they state is likely to be largely the result of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). They go on to state;

“[T]he NAO can explain about three-quarters of the surface elevation changes, leaving us to speculate on other factors. A modeling study (30) of the Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance under greenhouse global warming has shown that temperature increases up to 2.7-C lead to positive mass-balance changes at high elevations (due to accumulation) and negative at low elevations (due to runoff exceeding accumulation), consistent with our findings, which implies that perhaps a quarter of the growth may be caused by global warming in Greenland (31) in our observation period. Furthermore, the observed elevation change implies that ice-sheet growth in the interior of Greenland may partly offset the freshwater flow of the retreating subpolar glaciers needed to explain the freshening rate of the world ocean, which can be explained almost
entirely by Arctic sea-ice melt (32)..”

In other words, the results of this interior high altitude accumulation of snow fits into the predictions of global warming – hardly a paper that at all supports Christopher’s hypothesis of hidden commies… (Potholer54 looks into this paper more towards the end of this presentation).

He goes on to discredit “Climate Scientists Respond” not because of the report’s content, but because it’s far larger than his initial report to which it responds, because Prof. Abraham co-authored it (whom he believes is inaccurate because of a reference to a later Jahannessen paper than the one discussed above – huge, I know…), other authors are part of the “climategate scandle” (“fiddling with data”) and one is under criminal investigation by the attorney general of West Virginia for defrauding tax payers.

It’s clear, now more than a year and a half later, that no number of investigations will ever be enough to such people as Christopher Monckton to dispel the myth of the climategate scandle until the scientists involved are found guilt – because people like Monckton know that they must be guilty. In short, none of this undermines the content of the report after all. (see this article from a year ago!)

The next error was a typical dishonest approach to pretend CO2 concentrations are too small to worry about. See the following video;

Changes in CO2 concentrations are known correlate with changes in species abundances and changes in concentration as being witnessed today are unparallelled in history (see chapter five of Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics).

Summing up, Zhuravlev and Wood (2009) state;

“The replacement of low-Mg calcite by aragonite was achieved in particular at the end-Permian mass extinction event, which occurred during an aragonite sea and both preferentially removed a substantial proportion of taxa bearing “unfavorable” low-Mg calcite mineralogies and allowed the selective radiation of clades with “favorable” aragonitic skeletons. This demonstrates the important of incumbency; that is, the persistence of organisms once established within ecosystems to override global oceanic changes in the evolution of skeletal mineralogy.”

The evolution and persistence of coral has not been as straight forward and as warm and fuzzy regardless of CO2 concentrations as Lord Monckton would like to pretend.

“It’s now quite clear, for instance,” Monckton goes on to claim, “that global warming is simply not happening at the rate which, um, it was predicted. Way, way below that… Even if there were as much warming going to happen as the IPCC and others have said, we can now, which is now very clear is not going to happen, even if it were, then it would still be six times cheaper to do nothing and to allow that global warming to occur and to pay for any damages that might arise than it would be to put in policies worldwide, eh, which are similar to those of the Australian government.”

It’s actually, his own “predictions” which are way higher than the IPCC’s predictions as is discussed in detail here, from this this graphic was pulled.

The rate of warming is still within the the IPCC’s predictions, but fall short of Monckton’s own graph – hence the possible source of this error.

As for it being cheaper to do nothing, I suggest reading Stern’s Blueprint for a Safer Planet, in which he suggests somewhere in the order of 1-2% of the global GDP is required to make headway on the challenges facing us with climate change. And then there are numerous insurance firms who don’t see doing nothing as the cheaper option: Association of British Insurers, Lloyds, and Munich Re. Also see this article in the Insurance Journal. [h/t ACN]

Update: Monckton states, “I was invited, first of all, by the University of Notre Dame to give the Hancock Free Enterprise Lecture…”

Another inaccuracy (does it ever end?). The invite had nothing to do with the university itself, but rather the venue was booked by Gina Rinehart’s mob who in turn offered a spot to Chris to pollute the air with his unique style of misinformation. In fact, the university has criticised his pseudo-science being given space on their grounds. More here.

I hesitate to suggest perhaps we have a case of fallacy turrets syndrome, but there it is.

Spencer deserves a round of applause for holding in there and even suggesting to continue to conversation after his broadcast.

For more on this infamous character, check out;

UPDATE: Deltoid has continued the look into the Spencer interview, here.

Monckton’s rap sheet

All five of Potholer54’s presentation [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

John Abraham’s presentation

Various Climate Crock presentations [1] [2] [3] [4]

18 thoughts on “Monckton Gets it Wrong Yet Again

  1. I felt sorry for Adam , I think he thought he was going to have a reasoned question and answer interview , he probaly should of had a chat to John Cook first or even better had him there too . Is it to or too ?

    Hi Tim how are those chillies going ?



    1. True, but I think it worked in his favour; Monckton refused to answer with much conviction anything that related to him personally and continued to harp on about his usual nonsense which clearly doesn’t represent what’s available in the scientific literature. Any time Spencer got personal, he deflected. I think it’s an admission of guilt. He is obviously not confused but genuinely lying.

      Chillies are going good – a few are starting to go red. I had a problem with snails and aphids on a few, but I’ve got passed that and the mint, although being labeled as preferring full light, shriveled in the light but grew out and under the rosemary – interesting result, but it’s all on track again. Parsley is wonderfully easy to grow as well!


    2. I have to agree with David, that interviewing Monckton would be much more useful if preparation had been made, and if several of the “so-called” lord’s favourite gambits were anticipated.

      For example, he routinely asks the question “give me an example”, because he knows that most interviewers are either not so scientifically dense that they can rattle off exact reference details, or that the specfic demand just confronts the interviewer. End result: Monckton turns the tables and scores a hit, even though he is entirely in the wrong. And when the interviewers do oblige (a bad move in itself, as Monckton suddenly becomes the interviewer himself), Monckton simply misrepresents or lies, as he usually does.

      I agree too that the Pinker example would have been an especially interesting example to have ready. What would have been brilliant though, would have been to have Pinker ready on another line for exactly this contingency…

      I found it interesting that Monckton disparaged, toward the end of Spencer’s first interview, Australia’s best economists, and their expert opinions about the economics of mitigation, on the basis that they “work for banks”. Hang on – he works for mining companies and other vested-interest lobby groups… why is not his opinion similarly worthless, and more? After all, he’s not even academically qualified in the areas or science or economics.

      And if anyone dares challenge Monckton in an interview, it’s almost guaranteed that he will put on an affronted petulance at some point, as he did with Spencer. It shouldn’t be an onerous task to anticipate this, and have an appropriate set of responses at the ready.

      He’s really not a scientifically difficult plum to squish – one simply needs to have a handle on his well-developed tactics.


      1. The thing to remember is that you’re not having a scientific conversation with him and if allowed, he will gish gallop. I agree that preparing would be good – especially as you could lead him down natural “traps” from which his nonsense would be caught out. For example Pinker. You wouldn’t need her on the phone, you would just need the recording of her reply on hand. I’d only bring it up when you’ve already let him defend himself.
        He is quick to get affronted as you say – maybe reply to him the time he called a Jewish youth a “Hitler Youth” and the aggressive continuation after that and then ask how on Earth simply clarifying his position (ie. “Lord” / “Noble prize” etc) is anywhere nearly such behaviour.
        He needs to be held accountable, which unfortunately doesn’t not as often as it should.


  2. Monckton on if warming was going to happen “even if it were, then it would still be six times cheaper to do nothing and to allow that global warming to occur and to pay for any damages that might arise” …… so he is prepared to leave people mainly poor to the fate of being driven from their Island homes or die from drought stricken lands , how do you compensate someone when there dead the ideology behind his thinking is just horrible .

    Instant coffee is (not) good for snails apparently , me I just throw them next door .


    1. In Stern’s book, Blueprint for a safer planet, he runs through the details – it’s certainly NOT cheaper to adapt. The climate related insurance links above further exemplify this fact. As you say; death, mass displacement, worsening drought conditions (especially in poorer Asian, South American and African countries) – you cannot pay to repair such things.

      That’s the same fate of the snails I’ve encountered as well!


  3. If Monckton thinks that it’s six times cheaper to adapt to, rather than to mitigate against, carbon dioxide emissions, then he obviously does not know the cost of (and to) the biosphere.

    He would also seem to be clueless about the cumulative impacts of carbon dioxide emissions.


    1. Indeed…
      It would be good to catalogue his various presentations, as they have appeared online and dot point the various errors as I did in this piece… The problem would be time constraints. Luckily he tends to repeat his nonsense until the most feverish supporter can no longer believe it, making the job a little lighter.


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