Monckton Watch 2

Christopher Monckton has responded to my Monckton Watch post. In a long and rambling post he writes:

If the science behind the scare is as certain as the zombies say, why are they so terrified of a few doubters? Google me and you’ll find hundreds of enviro-loony websites, such as Wikipedia, now an international music-hall joke for inaccuracy, that call me a fraud (for writing about climate science when I’m not a climate scientist), a plagiarist (for citing learned papers rather than making up scare stories), and a liar (for saying I’m a member of the House of Lords when – er – I’m a member of the House of Lords, though, being merely hereditary, I don’t have a seat there).

But oddly enough, Monckton is not on the list of members of the House of Lords. That’s because:

The House of Lords Act 1999 disqualified all hereditary peers for membership of the House, but excepted from this general exclusion 90 hereditary peers

And Monckton is not one of the 90 hereditary peers elected as members.

Monckton continues with:

One of these bedwetting sites even has a “Monckton Watch” page, with a hilarious collection of colourful stories, including the story of how I told the stallholder that much of the southern hemisphere was cooling.

Not to mention the story of how Monckton screwed up his calculations of radiative forcing. But Monckton seems to be incapable of learning, because he just repeats the incorrect calculations:

I explained [to a journalist] that I was an old-fashioned scribbler who had been taught to be sceptical of all sides of every debate, and that the authors of the Holy Book were obviously not good at sums. “Give me an example,” he said. So I did.

The Holy Book saith: “The CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20% 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% 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%, not 20%. The high priests have exaggerated the CO2 effect 20-fold.

“So how are you so nauseatingly certain that you’re right?” he asked. “Well,” I said, “because I worked out that the proportionate increase in CO2 between 1995 and 2005 was 5%, not 20%, and then did a simple calculation from this to work out the radiative forcing. It’s called ‘checking’.” He looked baffled.

No doubt.

The zombies seem listlessly incapable of checking even the most elementary facts. Take Yvo de Boer, the UN archpriest at the conference. He made an impassioned speech saying that the sceptics had had their day and that everyone now accepted that, for instance, the island nations of the Pacific were facing an imminent threat from rising sea levels. Er, no. Corals have been around for 275 million years. They’ve survived temperatures up to 7 degrees Celsius warmer than today’s. And has it never occurred to the poor sap to wonder why, after a rise of 400 feet in sea level over the past 10,000 years, the sea has – by some startling concidence – exactly reached the surface of all the coral atolls?

The people in the island nations don’t live out on the reefs where coral could grow up to the surface, but on islands. And it’s ocean warming and acidification which will wipe out the coral reefs.

The new Australian prime minister got a dutiful round of applause from the zombies when he announced that his first official act had been to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He didn’t tell them that back home he’d also let it be known that Australia had not the slightest intention of complying with the protocol.

I guess I must have missed that announcement from Rudd. Perhaps Monckton could leave a comment with a link to the announcement?

And I see that Monckton is still relying on Gavin Menzies’ fantasies about the Chinese navy:

the ice-cap was probably absent during the mediaeval warm period


  1. #1 John Mashey
    December 17, 2007

    Doesn’t being a candidate for election to the House of Lords count for something? 🙂

    Admittedly, he got zero votes from his “colleagues”, which is less than Mickey Mouse normally gets in many elections.

  2. #2 RW
    December 17, 2007

    Another one in the litany of errors Monckton makes – I see he refers to the Moreno Glacier in Argentina, saying

    As the waters of the freshwater lake build up behind the glacier, it breaks apart spectacularly every eight years. Or rather, as I pointed out to the stallholder, every five years these days, because much of the southern hemisphere is cooling

    It does not break up every eight years, or every five years, or with any kind of regular cycle. It has broken apart twice in the last three years, and before that it hadn’t broken up for 18 years. Of the 48 glaciers fed by the South Patagonian Ice Sheet, 44 are retreating, and only two are advancing. There is no support there for the notion that the southern hemisphere is cooling. Once again it looks like he’s just plucking his facts out of thin air.

  3. #3 dhogaza
    December 17, 2007

    If the science behind the scare is as certain as the zombies say, why are they so terrified of a few doubters?

    This is exactly what the ID creationist community says about science …

  4. #4 guthrie
    December 17, 2007

    RW, any chance you can put your next use of the word “fact” in relation to Christopher Monkton that you can put it in scare quotes? I think your last sentence would look much better with them.

  5. #5 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 17, 2007

    Monckton says there were no Andean glaciers in the 1420s. But the first book I checked on quaternary geology in South America said the glaciers have been there “since the late Miocene.” Hmm, who to believe…?

  6. #6 Nick Barnes
    December 17, 2007

    House of Lords Act 1999, s1:
    “No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.”

    Section 2 has a very few exemptions. Monckton doesn’t qualify. Ergo, he is not a member of the House of Lords.

    The whole act is very short and clear. Presumably Monckton has never read it.

  7. #7 z
    December 17, 2007

    There are two types of hereditary peers. One type tries to use it to score points. The second type tries to hide the fact, because of the first type.

  8. #8 Thom
    December 17, 2007

    Good grief. Monckton comes off like some Dudley Moore character feigning at royalty while dabbling science. I can hear the ice tinkling in a rocks glass….

    It’s all rather ridiculous.

  9. #9 pough
    December 18, 2007

    Monckton is lord!

  10. #10 ErikS
    December 18, 2007

    Monckton: “The Arctic ice-cap will be gone within 5 to 7 years: Six errors in one. First, as a paper published by NASA during the conference demonstrates, Arctic warming has nothing much to do with “global warming”: instead, as numerous studies confirm, it is chiefly caused by decadal alterations in the ocean circulation affecting the region. Thirdly, it was warmer in the Arctic in the 1940s than it is today. Fourthly, thinner pack-ice is surprisingly resistant to melting, so the ice-cap will probably be still there for many years to come, even if (which is unlikely) the warming trend resumes. Fifthly, the ice-cap was probably absent during the mediaeval warm period, and almost certainly absent during the Bronze Age climate optimum, when temperatures were higher than today’s for almost 2,000 years. Sixthly, the Greenland ice sheet melted completely away 850,000 years ago. There cannot have been an Arctic ice-cap then. So the disappearance of the Arctic ice-cap, even if it occurred, would be neither unprecedented nor alarming.”

    Well, I happen to be Swedish, but I´m still quite convinced that it´s “first, second, third, fourth…” rather than “first, third, fourh…” as Monckton does the algebra.

    BTW this is a schoolbook example of denialist retorics. It not happening, and is not happening due to antropogenc causes, and it has happened before, bla bla…

  11. #11 guthrie
    December 18, 2007

    Erik, its not that it is even rhetoric, it is that it is lies, distortions, evasions and sheer make believe.

  12. #12 z
    December 18, 2007

    “I´m still quite convinced that it´s “first, second, third, fourth…” rather than “first, third, fourh…” as Monckton does the algebra.”

    Ah, but as a Swede you are undoubtedly unfamiliar with the Writ of 1653, which gave hereditary peers the right to eliminate the use of the number 2.

  13. #13 Adam
    December 18, 2007

    Surely everyone knows that the aristocracy don’t do number twos?

  14. #14 TTT
    December 18, 2007

    Some of Wikipedia’s “loony” stuff is only there because Monckton sock-puppeted it up there so he could publicly complain about it.

  15. #15 ErikS
    December 18, 2007

    “Ah, but as a Swede you are undoubtedly unfamiliar with the Writ of 1653, which gave hereditary peers the right to eliminate the use of the number 2.”

    Damn it. My english teachers never taught me that. Bad, bad teachers. I will call my third teacher (you know, the one after the first in a Moncktonian sense) and complain.

  16. #16 Hank Roberts
    December 18, 2007

    > The House of Lords Act 1999 disqualified
    > all hereditary peers for membership …

    But, but, isn’t that Lamarckism?

    Can one’s heredity actually be _voted_ away?

    If they cut off his father’s peerage, and his peerage, and his son’s peerage, will there eventually be Moncktons born with no peerage?

  17. #17 Bob Carroll
    December 18, 2007

    I don’t understand this aristocracy stuff. When my ancestors came to the the USA, they were more steerage than peerage.

  18. #18 Nick Barnes
    December 18, 2007

    They are still peers, but they aren’t members of the House of Lords.

    Whatever the dishonest ones might say.

  19. #19 jc
    December 18, 2007

    Christopher Monckton has responded to my Monckton Watch post.

    I searched for your name or citation but couldn’t find anything. Would you mind showing where he does.

  20. #20 LeeS
    December 19, 2007


    perhaps if you had at least gone and skimmed through the Monckton ‘thing’ Tom cited by link, you might have found this absurdity, referring to Tim’s “Monckton Watch” post:

    —One of these bedwetting sites even has a “Monckton Watch” page, with a hilarious collection of colourful stories, including the story of how I told the stallholder that much of the southern hemisphere was cooling. No mention that the location of the BBC’s favourite glacier has indeed been cooling. And, of course, no mention of the elephant in the room – that a national weather bureau had flagrantly exaggerated the Holy Book’s official ramblings about Greenland on its silly, taxpayer-funded poster.

    You’ll find precious little science on the zombie websites. They specialize in global whingeing ad hominem, rather than scientific argument ad rem. The frenetic personal assaults have become so self-evidently ludicrous that I’m getting an increasing number of emails from people who have first heard of my work from the Kool-Aid slurpers and have gone on to find, to their surprise, that the peer-reviewed science to which my climate papers politely draw attention does suggest that the Holy Books have exaggerated both the influence of Siotu over temperature and the consequences of warmer weather.

  21. #21 Marion Delgado
    December 19, 2007

    Monckton is simultaneous proof of a Young Earth, devolution, intelligent design and Lamarckian inheritance. Moreover, his noble disinformation is irreducibly complex. Without his level of sound dishonesty, wise ignorance and beneficial arrogance, the full scientofiscal disinformational complex simply won’t function. Hence, it could not have evolved by random chance. Clearly it was intelligently and nobly designed, influenced by morphogenetic fields, and reshaped at the gene level by the scientific climate. And again, it is Lambert, not Monckton, who is dishonest.

    REPEATEDLY, Lambert has committed the cardinal scientific sin of claiming research is “peer reviewed” when, in fact, not a single reviewer was a peer!

    By the way, “sound science” (which is employed by “wise use
    as opposed to “junk science” such as the “scientific” “consensus” on “issues” and “controversies” involving “facts” “data” and “research”) recognizes both the hereditary peerage and the following in defining those eligible to provide peer review:

    “Peer: A member of one of the three groups: Knight, Laurel, or Pelican. While some awards only count in the kingdom in which they were given, a Peer is recognized throughout the SCA world.”

    Can we at least see an end to this elementary howler by the bedwetting Lambert? Or will the obsessive attacks on his betters continue?

  22. #22 John Mashey
    December 19, 2007

    Well, this should be over at Nexus6, but it’s too long or it should be over at Jennifer Marohasy’s blog, but that one reformats into unreadability. So I thought: where’s a nice OZ website? And actually, there is a slight connection with Monckton, via SPPI, so:


    WHO IS JOHN MCLEAN, REALLY? I’ve seen his name before, but I’m now prompted to gather info via comments at Nexus6 & elsewhere, and add some more to complete the picture.

    A) He appears widely, for example:

    “John McLean, Climate Data Analyst, computer scientist, Melbourne, Australia” [1]

    “John McLean, PhD, climate data analyst, computer scientist, Australia” [2]

    “Australian climate researcher Dr. John Mclean” [3]

    Google: john mclean climate data analyst
    (There are many spurious hits, adding Melbourne or Australia help).

    B) There’s a picture in OLO (OnLineOpinons) [5]

    “John McLean has an amateur interest in global warming following 25 years in what he describes as the analysis and logic of IT.”

    [I understand the first part; I’m not exactly sure what the second means.]

    C) He has a website,, which says:

    “Computer consultant and occasional travel photographer”

    whois yielded street address in Croydon, Australia (the Croydon that’s a Melbourne suburb), and gave a matching address, and GoogleEarth even knew where it was.

    The bulk of his website is: on global warming, of which the earliest posting seemed to be December 2004.

    D) He has a picture, and characterized himself, as of 4/23/2005 [5]:

    “John McLean has an amateur interest in global warming following 25 years in what he describes as the analysis and logic of IT.”

    E) He writes occasional pieces for SPPI , a key player in the recent Monckton + Schulte vs Oreskes silliness [4]. (If you are not familiar with the sort of think-tank/entity that consists of a person or two, a list of “advisors”, and a website often in/around Washington, DC, this is a a good example.) He has written [6, 7, 8], but is *not* listed as an advisor, science or otherwise.

    “John McLean, of Melbourne, is a valued and longstanding member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition”, in NZ [9].

    G) Finally, in [10], written in 2006, last updated June 2007 (i.e., pretty current):

    “John McLean, BArch (Melbourne)”


    I would add a few questions, and perhaps Mr. McLean can clarify any omissions, as I have tried to gather facts, but some names are much harder to search than others.

    a) What’s a climate data analyst? Is that a job title?
    Does this require any particular educational background or job experience, or can anyone who looks at climate websites and posts on blogs be called one?

    b) What’s a climate researcher?
    Usually, people called that actually do research and publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. Most of them work for universities or government.

    c) What’s a computer scientist?
    That’s always been a little fuzzy, especially since CS is a bit of misnomer, as some parts are more like engineering. I offer opinions:

    Is somebody with one course in Java a computer scientist?
    – very unlikely.

    Is a programmer, software engineer, or system analyst a computer scientist?
    – maybe, maybe not; it depends on what they’ve been doing.

    Can somebody be a computer scientist without having a CS degree?
    – sure, many have come into the field from EE, physics, math, etc, but usually, they will have taken some formal coursework in CS, done recognizable work, given technical talks, published at least occasionally.

    Wikipedia says of computer science:
    “Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems.” [11]

    Wikipedia also has a list of well-known computer scientists [12] and I looked up McLean there, but didn’t find him, but that is a pretty minimal list, and there are many fine computer scientists not listed there. There is a computer scientist named John Mclean @ NRL in the USA, but that’s somebody else.

    I did try to find him in the US’s ACM & IEEE, and in Australia’s ACS, and GoogleScholar, but with no obvious hits. Maybe an ACS member can get further.

    d) What’s a PhD?
    Usually that’s a degree from an accredited university that involves actual research, and often takes 4-6 years after an undergraduate degree (in US). It sometimes means “Piled higher and Deeper”.

    e) What’s a BArch (or B.Arch) at Melbourne?
    Maybe Aussies can help out, but I’d guess that’s an undergraduate degree in architecture (?) at the University of Melbourne.

    Anyway, I make no editorial comments on the quality of work, discerning readers may assess that themselves.


    NRSP Open Letter.
    However, NRSP does not list McLean as an advisor or allied scientist, see:

    [2] National Post (Canada), “Signatories of an open letter on the UN climate conference”

    [3] Marc Morano, of US Sen. James Inhofe’s EPW.

    [4] My writeup, Tim pointed at earlier will give you an idea of SPPI’s nature and behavior. See especially page 40 for the relationship of SPPI with other climate-change-related entities.


    [6] John McLean, Nov 9, 2007 “Why the IPCC should be disbanded”

    [7]John McLean, Sept 9, 2007,
    “Fallacies about Global Warming”.

    [8] John McLean, Sept 6, 2007,
    “Peer review? What peer review?”


    Recommended sites

    “What the Royal Society of New Zealand wouldn’t publish – so read it here.”


    [12] List of Computer Scientists

  23. #23 JTK
    December 20, 2007

    It’s also possible that Monckton is actually a normal person who believes in reality. And that he just has a particularly emphatic sense of humour. It is also possible that he appears to be purely satirical unintentionally. Either way, he’s just comic relief. Why bother talking about him except as a comedian?

  24. #24 guthrie
    December 20, 2007

    JTK- its possible, yes, but you’ve got to go with the evidence, and so far it all points to Mockton being a fruitcake.

  25. #25 JTK
    December 20, 2007

    Well, okay then. I guess the evidence points toward “fruitcake”. So, if that’s the case, I still don’t quite get why we are all wasting our time like this over a fruitcake!

    Fruitcakes of this ilk, and we have a few at University of Ottawa, thrive on the attention they get when someone argues with them. They don’t have any sort of case, at least not one with a detectable link to reality, so they are just trying to keep everyone arguing. This creates the perception of a debate, where no actual debate really exists.

    It’s been an extraordinarily successful strategy that has grossly delayed much needed action.

    And we all continue to play by their rules. Why, why, why…


  26. #26 John Mashey
    December 20, 2007

    Monckton has:
    a) Money
    b) Press connections in mainstream media, esp. in UK
    c) Willingness to harass legitimate researchers
    d) Visibility enough to let him speak at places like the Cambridge Union
    e) The sort of position that engenders no natural restraint.
    f) Ability to write OK-sounding disinformation; he has usually had a good command of English, although that rant from Bali was not up to his usual standards
    f) Dedication to employ these in service of AGW denialism

    Not that many people have all of those attributes.

    We still don’t know if he helps fund SPPI, and I’m not sure he helped fund the Dimmock case in UK, but he is supposed to be doing a movie to distribute to kids to counter AIT.

    My wife attended Cambridge at the same time, and saw him at Cambridge Union debates. Suffice it to say that there is no evidence he has really changed, except that he is clearly very unhappy that:
    – He has no seat in the House of Lords
    – The Tory party has become much greener of late

  27. #27 guthrie
    December 20, 2007

    JTK- by contrast, if we do not counter the fruitcakes, many many people assume that from the deafening lack of responses, that the fruitcakes must be right. It is important and I think necessary to point out their idiocy at every opportunity.

    However, that does not mean taking part in idiotic “debates”, rather, it is in correcting as much as possible that they spew, so that undecided people see that there are answers. If we say nothing, the denialists and liars will have a field day, and (plucking a not so random and rather controversial example) everyone will think there are WMD’s in Iraq, or that in fact there is lots of uncertainty about climate change.
    I am currently in the middle of a newspaper letters war with a braindead eejit who, when I directed him to the IPCC TAR, responded by comparing the TSI with the estimated forcings (roughly 1360 compared to 0.8) and saying that didn’t look very big so he wasn’t worried. By dishonestly checrrypicking the numbers and using the Creationist tactic of arguing by personal incredulity, he promotes idiocy. So I’ve pointed out his errors in my reply, lets see if it gets printed or not.

  28. #28 JTK
    December 20, 2007

    This is a legitimate argument. I honestly don’t know the right answer, if there is just one.

    In the case of climate change, and at this point in time, it looks to me like even the reality-challenged political leaders (e.g. Canada, US) are at least apparently ignoring the absurd rants from the professional contrarians. I wonder if we should ignore them too. Certainly, I have been refusing debates with these folks for this reason, as their purpose is to have public fights so make it seem like scientists actually have fundamental problems with the basic science around the issue. By engaging in such debates, we are basically playing right into their hands. Having lost all scientific credibility, they can still have a big impact in the public sphere this way.

    Education is a good thing and those who can be persuaded through logic and evidence ought to have that chance. So, I guess I agree with the idea of correcting the propagandists at least some of the time. I am not sure where this sort of rearguard action ends up turning into the sort of public fight that keeps contrarians alive. Somewhere in there, I guess.

    The analogy to WMD is of course quite right in its own way: there were lots of people who pointed out very clearly that there were none. But the majority was not already onside with that argument, as is the case with climate change, so I don’t think the analogy is perfect for climate change.

    Anyway, we can all agree that this dippy dude Monckton is just an arrogant, tiny guy with an outside ego. I suppose he is not actually all that funny, since climate change is killing a lot of people (estimates, published in Nature, Nov 2005, are conservatively 150,000 people per year averaged over the last 30 years… when I pointed this out at a meeting in Oxford, someone yelled out at me that “they are mostly old” !!!!). Dante probably had a hell all set up for contrarians but the church told him to remove it from the final draft.


  29. #29 John Mashey
    December 21, 2007

    JTK: #28

    My suggestions:

    1) I don’t think we can afford to waste the time of professional climate scientists debating such folks, especially live, where debates favor obfuscation and confusion over clarity. Personally, I don’t know how one does a meaningful discussion with no charts.

    2) We still have reality-challenged leaders in US (like Senator Inhofe) who have several people doing nothing but propagating rants, and worse, we still have lots of people that remain confused, beyond the hardcore denialists.

    3) This probably means that effort is better spent cultivating journalists and politicians, and making sure they’re educated.
    If you haven’t already, you might check note here on helping the press.

    4) A lot of these fights may well best be left up to other people, who if not climate scientists, are at least reasonably-informed, and consider it a civic duty to help out.

    5) Especially for letters to editor or to papers, where there’s something so egregious and visible enough not to let stand unchallenged, I really like the use of Standard arguments.

    Ideally, when a lot of confusion is being generated, one can insert a terse list of standard arguments … which sometimes stops the discussion cold, as in this case – go down to the first listed reply (chronologically last).

    6) There may well be other tactics more easily applied by other people.

  30. #30 David Kane's friend
    December 21, 2007

    John Mashey, your last link (“this case”) is broken.

  31. #31 John Mashey
    December 21, 2007

    David Kanes’ friend:

    I click on it and I get to:

    which is where it is supposed to go.

    This works with Firefox on Linux, Firefox & IE on Windows.

    So, say more about the effect you’re seeing.

  32. #32 Chris
    January 2, 2008

    Monckton: Lunatic, Liar and/or Lord?

  33. #33 stewart
    January 2, 2008

    Mad, bad, and dangerous to believe. Especially if you are stuck with the legal bills.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.