I just had my first conversation with a climate change sceptic/denier here at the UN Climate Change talks. I was at the Hadley Centre stand (it’s a research unit associated with the UK Meteorological Office). Everything he said sounded strangely familiar, but it was funny to have a fairly posh Englishman telling me that “The southern hemisphere is cooling overall. ” Sorry, I’m from the southern hemisphere, and believe me, Australia, like the rest of the hemisphere, is warming.
Yep, it was Monckton. So what’s Monckton on about now?
I found the latest from Monckton:
As a contributor to the IPCC’s 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords – through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers – profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate’s alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won this year’s Oscar for Best Sci-Fi Comedy Horror.
This seems to be more of Monckton’s fantasies. He’s not a member of the House of Lords. Nor did he share the Nobel with Gore.
Why does Monckton think he deserves a piece of the Noble?
My contribution to the 2007 report illustrates the scientific problem. The report’s first table of figures – inserted by the IPCC’s bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent – listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10.
The result of this dishonest political tampering with the science was that the sum of the four items in the offending table was more than twice the IPCC’s published total. Until I wrote to point out the error, no one had noticed. The IPCC, on receiving my letter, quietly corrected, moved and relabeled the erroneous table, posting the new version on the internet and earning me my Nobel prize.
Yes there was a typo in one of the tables. But others noticed this before Monckton did. It is wrong for Monckton to label a typo “dishonest political tampering”. And it’s wrong for him to claim that a quickly corrected typo is some sort of serious scientific problem. And his belated letter on the matter doesn’t entitle him to a piece of the Nobel.
Monckton continues with more wrongness:
The shore-dwellers of Bali need not fear for their homes. The IPCC now says the combined contribution of the two great ice-sheets to sea-level rise will be less than seven centimeters after 100 years, not seven meters imminently, and that the Greenland ice sheet (which thickened by 50 cm between 1995 and 2005) might only melt after several millennia, probably by natural causes, just as it last did 850,000 years ago. Gore, mendaciously assisted by the IPCC bureaucracy, had exaggerated a hundredfold.
The typo was in their figures for past sea level rise, and had nothing to do with their projections of future sea level rise. The IPCC absolutely does not say that the contribuion of Grenland and Antarctica to sea-level rise will be at most 7 cm in this century. They explicitly say that they cannot give an upper bound. It is wrong for Monckton to accuse the IPCC of mendacity because they made a typo.
Monckton continues with more wrongness:
At the very heart of the IPCC’s calculations lurks an error more serious than any of these. The IPCC says: “The CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20 percent during the last 10 years (1995-2005).” Radiative forcing quantifies increases in radiant energy in the atmosphere, and hence in temperature. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 1995 was 360 parts per million. In 2005 it was just 5 percent higher, at 378 ppm. But each additional molecule of CO2 in the air causes a smaller radiant-energy increase than its predecessor. So the true increase in radiative forcing was 1 percent, not 20 percent. The IPCC has exaggerated the CO2 effect 20-fold.
Let’s do the calculation, shall we? The pre-industrial concentration was 280 ppm, so in 1995 the forcing was log2(360/280)=36% of that from doubling CO2, while in 2005 the forcing was log2(378/280)=43% of that from doubling CO2. That is a 20% increase, just as the IPCC said. (Or a 19.4% increase if you want to split hairs.)
And just to show that he can be wrong about more things than climate science, Monckton gives us:
The international community has galloped lemming-like over the cliff twice before. Twenty years ago the UN decided not to regard AIDS as a fatal infection. Carriers of the disease were not identified and isolated. Result: 25 million deaths in poor countries.
I can’t imagine why they didn’t agree with Monckton that:
“there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month … all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”
Monckton even trots out the DDT ban myth:
Thirty-five years ago the world decided to ban DDT, the only effective agent against malaria. Result: 40 million deaths in poor countries. The World Health Organization lifted the DDT ban on Sept. 15 last year. It now recommends the use of DDT to control malaria. Dr. Arata Kochi of the WHO said that politics could no longer be allowed to stand in the way of the science and the data. Amen to that.
The WHO did not ban DDT and has always recommended its use.
But hey, Monckton’s story about how no-one but himself noticed that four numbers in a table did not add up, wouldn’t fool anybody, would it? But no, here’s Andrew “Mr Gullible” Bolt:
The most intriguing thing about the first error mentioned by Monckton is not just that it was made, and how. It is that no one but Monckton pointed it out.