Debunking Lord Monckton, Part Two

April 15, 2010

A character that seems to leap right out of a Monte Python skit, Lord Monckton is the darling of those who wish desperately to believe the fantasy of climate denial. There’s way more than one video can possibly contain, so a two part series was necessary to even begin to deal with the fountain of disinformation that is Lord Christopher Monckton.

Script:

Although not well known until recently in the US, Lord Monckton’s writings have made it across the pond in the past. In the late 1980s, he published and article in a right wing US magazine, the American Spectator [AIDS: A British View, The American Spectator, Jan 1987], outlining his proposed solution to the AIDS problem.

“Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month to detect the presence of antibodies against the disease, and all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”

“..there are occasions when it is imperative to think the unthinkable and then to do the undoable. The AIDS epidemic is one such occasion.”

Perhaps because he does not receive the respect he feels he deserves in his native land, Lord Monckton has continued to seek attention in the Americas, and create the impression that he himself is a member of the UK parliament, although he has never been.

In recent testimony before Congress he began, “I bring fraternal greetings from the Mother of Parliaments to the Congress of your athletic democracy..”

In a letter to US Senators Rockefeller and Snowe, he referred to himself as.. “.. A member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom Legislature..”

On many of his publications he imprints a logo that is very similar to the symbol of the UK parliament, a portcullis topped with a crown.

His Lordship’s only innovation is the unique pink and gold color scheme.  The symbol appears, bizarrely, on almost every slide in his public presentation.

But of course, eccentricity doesn’t matter, if he’s right about the science.  The eccentric English gentleman is part of time honored British tradition, a tradition as revered as the Ministry of Silly Walks…

Lord Monckton recently cited ancient glacial Rocks from the Flinders range in Australia to argue that CO2 can have little effect on climate change.

Monckton:  “We can tell from the magnetic signatures of the rocks around there, that this glacier was at the equator. We can also tell something else about the atmosphere at that time. Dolomitic rock is composed of something like 40 percent, CO2. From that, we know that that rock was precipitated out of the ocean, at this time, 750 million years ago, by a very high partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In fact we can work out that that glacier existed at the equator, at sea level, at a time, when there was, get this, 300,000 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere.  And yet, there was a glacier there.

So there’s the first of two observations I’m going to make on why CO2 doesn’t have the big effect on temperature that the UN says it has.”

A global glaciation event, the so-called snowball earth, is something that is likely to have happened, perhaps several times, in the distant past.

This event, thought to have been due to a dimmer sun and changes in the position of continental plates, is discussed in a history of the planet collected by the American National Academy of Science. ["Origin and Evolution of Earth: Research Questions for a Changing Earth, Chapter 3, A Habitable Planet", National Academy of Science, 2008]

“….volcanism would have continued through the snowball period, contributing CO2 to the atmosphere that could not be removed by rock weathering because the rocks were covered with ice.

Once extreme levels of CO2 were reached (~400 times the modern preindustrial level; Caldeira and Kasting, 1992), the greenhouse effect would have been strong enough to overcome the high albedo, melt the ice, and swing Earth to exceptionally warm conditions (~40°C global average inthis model) before weathering processes could catch up and remove the atmospheric CO2.”

So a CO2 rich atmosphere was a byproduct of the ice itself, and eventually what brought the earth back to life.

Snowball Earth, BBC: “.. and there would have been nothing left to stop the carbon dioxide from the volcanoes from building up over millions of years. After 10 million years without rain, the atmosphere would have been 10% carbon dioxide.  Today, it is far less than 1%.

Daniel Schrag: “The natural expectation of a prolonged global glaciation ending in extremely high levels of carbon dioxide was that you would expect these very unusual, thick carbonate rocks should immediately follow the glacial deposits. “

Indeed, if CO2 had as little warming effect as his Lordship proposes, the earth might still be a lifeless ball of ice.

In another accusation, Monckton cites a scientific study that he says has been deliberately misinterpreted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Monckton:  Now this paper ["Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?", Pinker, et al, Science 2005] was written in 2005 by a satellite nerd, name of Pinker.  He is wholly unconcerned with the global warming debate.  It is as though he lived on another planet.  He lives for verifying whether satellites are doing their job.   That’s what Pinker is all about.

With a series of calculations, he purports to prove that the IPCC has deliberately ignored the study’s results.

Monckton: The only conclusion you can come to is that they were deliberately avoiding the very clear implications of Dr Pinker’s paper.  They knew perfectly well that if they took proper account of that paper, they would have to evaluate climate sensitivity as though by the remarkably simple calculation that I showed you on the screen or something very very close to it, and they simply funked it because if they knew they did that, and admitted all their previous reports were wrong, they’d be out of business before you could say “Jack Robinson”.

But in a recent debate, Climate blogger Tim Lambert challenged this assertion with a simple question.

Lambert: “What about Dr Pinker?  What does… Why hasn’t Dr Pinker spoken up and said, You haven’t represented my work fairly.”

In an email, Lambert asked Dr Pinker to respond to Lord Monckton’s charges.  In answer, Dr Pinker, the author of the study, wrote that Lord Monckton’s conclusions resulted from a “misunderstanding”, and that, “our work was properly interpreted in the latest IPCC report.”

Thus the evidence for a global cabal of evil scientists proposed by Lord Monckton was put to rest as quickly as you could say “Jack Robinson”.

But the story line has been a consistent one in his presentations leading up to the recent Copenhagen summit.

Monckton: “Now the apotheosis is at hand…they are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a President who has very strong sympathies with that point of view, he’s going to sign, he’ll sign anything, he’s a Nobel Peace Laureate..of course he’ll sign…

The Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact.com evaluated the conspiracy theory [British climate-change skeptic says Copenhagen treaty threatens "democracy," "freedom", Politifact], and pronounced it, “Not only unsupported, but preposterous”, awarding his Lordship the coveted “Pants on Fire” award for credibility.

But making incredible claims is all in a day’s work for Lord Monckton. Recent press reports describe his pronouncement that NASA had crashed its own satellite, in order to avoid dealing with accurate data.

And now in several interviews[Climate sceptic clouds the weather issue, ADAM MORTON, February 2, 2010], Monckton is quoted announcing he has discovered a cure, not only for AIDS, but for multiple Sclerosis, flu, and the common cold.  No more need for politically sticky concentration camps for AIDS patients.

But Monckton’s central claim to credibility has always been his most famous political connection.

Introductions:

“The science adviser to British Prime Minister Maggie, Margaret Thatcher…”

“He served as a policy adviser to one of my personal heroes, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher..”

“Margaret Thatcher’s, one of…..chief policy advisers…”

Mrs Thatcher, of course, was scientifically trained. She had no need for science advice from a classics major. What did she think of the science of climate change?

Mrs Thatcher: “The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations….

That prospect is a new factor in human affairs. It’s comparable in its implications to the discovery of how to split the atom. Indeed, its results could be even more far reaching.

No generation has a freehold on this earth.  All we have is a life tenancy,with a full repairing lease..”

Hold your breath, make a wish…, count to three.

Come with me, and you’ll be.. in a world of pure imagination.

Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination…..

References

Debate: Monckton and Tim Lambert

Snowball Earth animation created by Eurisko Studios

BBC Snowball Earth

  • part 1
  • part 2
  • part 3
  • part 5

Origin and Evolution of Earth: Research Questions for a Changing Earth, Chapter 3, A Habitable Planet“, National Academy of Science, 2008

National Geographic: Snowball Earth

Snowball earth:

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist

Detailed Account of Monckton’ s errors:

The Right Honorable Christopher Walter Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton Of Brenchley Before The Energy & Commerce Committee Of The House Of Representatives, full pdf text, March 2009, Claims to be member of Parliament

Monckton saves the day, Tim Adams, The Observer, May 2007, Claims to have won the Falkland’s war, by giving the Argentinians diarrhea

Cure for AIDS, NASA crashed its own satellite:

Climate sceptic clouds the weather issue, ADAM MORTON, February 2, 2010

Courting controversy: Q&A with skeptic Christopher Monckton, December 14, 2009

British climate-change skeptic says Copenhagen treaty threatens “democracy,” “freedom”, Politifact,  finds Monckton “not only be unsupported but preposterous” on the Copenhagen treaty

Open letter to Rockefeller and Snowe

UK Parliament Home page

Paliamentary Porticullis

Swivel-eyed maniac, Spectator, Dec 9, 2009

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11 Responses to “Debunking Lord Monckton, Part Two”


  1. [...] be sure to check out Peter Sinclair’s two latest Climate Denial Crock of the Week videos, starring the potty [...]


  2. [...] Transcript and full references here. [...]


  3. [...] Debunking Lord Monckton, Part Two « Climate Denial Crock of the Week [...]


  4. [...] Plimer and Monckton, two "heroes of denialism" at these links: Climategate Claptrap, II Debunking Lord Monckton, Part Two Climate Denial Crock of the Week Plimer exposed as a fraud : [...]

  5. joseveragio Says:

    If this Monckton chap is such a “crock”, why are you so afraid of him ?
    Indeed, why is that High Priest of Anthropogenic Global Warming, ex Vice President Gore so petrified of encountering him, if he’s just an an eccentric snake oil salesman ?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      What’s sad is, he’s being put up as a spokesman for the denialist cause by republicans in the US legislature. As you can see from the videos, he’s completely nuts – which shows the bankruptcy of the climate denialists.

      Oh, wait, you actually think he’s cured AIDS, don’t you?

    • jaimymoore Says:

      Why are you pretending we’re afraid of him? We’re laughing at him.

      Why should Gore help Monckton lie to a bigger audience?

      Monckton is a soft target. The more ridiculous he looks, the more he works for us.

    • livinginabox Says:

      AFAICT, EVERYTHING Monckton claims is a lie, apart from the occasions when he’s admitting a lie.

      The question is, why are you so impressed by Monckton, a proven, serial liar and distorter of science?

  6. indulisb Says:

    It is simple- anyone can make a false or distorted claim in a debate, and if he is a good orator then people will believe him. Monckton has been proved to have made incorrect and unreliable claims in past debates, including incorrect references (look up what he did with a chart he claims the IPCC did, when it was actually done by him, and he botched it badly). To actually prove the real facts after a new false claim is made takes time which is not possible in a debate. So, you can end up with a good orator who is not afraid of making whatever claims needed to win, against a person who is not willing to make stuff up on the spot. Guess who “wins the debate” despite being wrong on most of the facts?


  7. [...] Sinclair’s latest video continues on with Christopher Monckton. I’m in this [...]


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