“Monckton is wrong”

John P Abraham has taken the time to go through one of Christopher Monckton’s talks and check whether the references that Monckton cites say what Monckton claims they do. Of course, as anyone who has checked Monckton’s work can discover, they don’t. But Abrahams has gone the extra mile and checked with the authors of the papers as well and again and again gotten replies from the scientists saying “Monckton is wrong”. The presentation is 84 minutes long and is devastating. Even at that length only some of Monckton’s errors are covered. It’s based on a Monckton talk from last year, before he came up with his misrepresentations of Pinker and Snowball Earth, so they’re not included.

Peter Hartmann has compiled a list of all the papers Abraham has cited.

Hat tip: too many people to list.

If you want to see a perfect example of the way Monckton operates, see this example from his self-serving report of an SPPI-sponsored debate:

He glared at the opposition again and demanded whether, since they had declared themselves to be so worried about “global warming”, they would care to tell him – to two places of decimals and one standard deviation – the UN’s central estimate of the “global warming” that might result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. The opposition were unable to reply. Lord Monckton told them the answer was 3.26 plus or minus 0.69 Kelvin or Celsius degrees. An Hon. Member interrupted: “And your reference is?” Lord Monckton replied: “IPCC, 2007, chapter 10, box 10.2.” [cheers].

Monckton impresses the rubes with by reeling off facts and figures with great authority and conviction. Monckton is wrong, of course, but who is going to have the IPCC report handy to contradict him in a debate? Box 10.2 concludes:

we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is very likely larger than 1.5°C.

Monckton’s numbers do come from box 10.2, but are the mean and standard deviation of the sensitivity for 18 different climate models, which is not the same thing at all.


  1. #1 truth machine, OM
    June 17, 2010

    I’m not very interested in doomsday scenarios which is what AGW is.

    Someone said (or implied) that cohenite isn’t dumb, but that’s mighty dumb — AGW is an empirical assertion or hypothesis that is true or not.

  2. #2 lord_sidcup
    June 17, 2010


    That is an amazing post from Monckton. He proclaims his own genius, and the ever-credulous denizens of WUWT swallow every word of it (well, not all of them actually).

    The denial-o-sphere has recently been putting a lot of effort into reclaiming Thatcher as one of their own. I wonder why? I might see if I can get hold of a copy of Statecraft from a library to see what she really says about AGW.

  3. #3 SteveC
    June 17, 2010


    I’d barely got 1/4 the way through that thread on WTFUWT before I succumbed to a bout of nausea. Surely there’s a law or regulation that prohibits fawning to that extent in a public place …?


  4. #4 chek
    June 17, 2010

    lord_sidcup [said](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/monckton_is_wrong.php#comment-2594553): “The denial-o-sphere has recently been putting a lot of effort into reclaiming Thatcher as one of their own. I wonder why”?

    At a guess, the gerontocracy running the climate change denial campaign still imagine that the Thatcher/Reagan years were the pinnacle of human achievement and see some mileage in conveying that belief to the credulati who’ll believe anything.

    Re-writing history can always be put to some use, as Orwell pointed out.

  5. #5 MFS
    June 17, 2010

    Sod and Chek,

    Interesting indeed, since Lady Thatcher’s every speech are a matter of public record, as I expanded [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/climate_denial_crock_on_monckt_1.php#comment-2478566)

  6. #6 lord_sidcup
    June 22, 2010

    There is an interesting article from Bob Ward in The Guardian today. Amongst other things, Ward fact checks some of the claims Monckton makes over at WUWT about his role in the Thatcher administration. You won’t be surprised by what Ward finds – that Monckton might have exaggerated his importance, just a tad:

    [Thatcher becomes latest recruit in Monckton’s climate sceptic campaign](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/22/thatcher-climate-sceptic-monckton)

  7. #7 sod
    June 22, 2010

    Thatcher becomes latest recruit in Monckton’s climate sceptic campaign

    pretty funny read! Monckton and Curtin (who just claimed that he was drinking sea water, when he actually wasn t) can join a “longest nose” competition any day!

  8. #8 TrueSceptic
    June 22, 2010

    383 cohenite,

    Are you suggesting that some of the CO2 from fossil fuel combustion is going into the mantle? At rates sufficient to explain the discrepancy you mention?

    I can only suggest that you ask a geologist about the process that would bring that about. Bob Carter and Ian Plimer spring to mind.

  9. #9 John
    June 22, 2010

    Reading Monckton’s piece.

    >Margaret Thatcher was very conscious that the Left tries to taint every aspect of life by attempting to politicize it.

    What an odd thing to say.

  10. #10 John
    June 22, 2010

    Speaking of Monckton, why is he reminsicing about Thatcher when he should be filming his video reply for John Abraham as promised? Seeing as he criticised John Abraham for taking a long time to create his presentation perhaps he shouldn’t be too tardy.

    C’mon Chris. Some of us have long memories.

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    June 22, 2010


    What an odd thing to say.

    It’s also inherently oxymoronic.

  12. #12 James Haughton
    July 12, 2010

    Fans of the Discount Viscount, rejoice! Monckton has released his [response to Abraham](http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/07/monkton_shumps_the_jark.php) (see story on Stoat), via WTFUWT no less, and has gone for the Gish Gallop!

  13. #13 toby robertson
    July 15, 2010

    Perhaps you “gurus” can explain to me why we are continually told the current temperature level and magnitude of change is unprecedented and therefore worth worrying about? There is an immense body of research and evidence suggesting temperatures during the medieval, roman and minoan warm periods were as warm or warmer than current levels. We also know that temperatures can fluctuate quite dramatically (1-2c) in a few years and have done several times since the dalton and maunder minimums.

    I would also appreciate somebody giving me a definitive paper that proves positive feedback effects are more likely than negative feedback effects. Historically this is clearly not the case so why are you all so convinced now is different? ( by the way a small change in global cloud cover can have a significant influence on climate and this is a quite reasonable explanation for the rather pleasant change in temperature that the planet has seen over the last 30 years.)
    The science does suggest without these positive feedback effects a doubling of co2 causes a pleasant 1c increase.
    The precautionary principle is all well and good but only if the costs warrant it. Everything the world is suggesting will not change the temperature. To believe otherwise is crazy. Future technology will allow us to reduce global co2, population control can help us control co2. But everything else is basically just platitudes that come at huge cost…..these are the reasons that “sceptics” keep challenging the appalling politics and much of the sceince that is guiding AGW.

  14. #14 Bernard J.
    July 15, 2010

    Toby Robertson.

    Your post is an impressive list of the type of denialist carnards that have been refuted so many times that it boggles the mind that you raise them again. In it I counted 14 errors of fact or of truthful representation before I gave up on the exercise – at that level of inaccuracy I could see no point in actually attempting a response to your nonsense.

    Perhaps you should learn to do some research (and learning) of your own before adding to the weight of tripe that persists in popping up again and again like blackberries in a paddock.

  15. #15 Gaz
    July 15, 2010

    Future technology will allow us to reduce global co2…

    Please give us some details, Toby. We’re all very interested in this idea. Some idea of the cost would be nice, too.

  16. #16 toby robertson
    July 15, 2010

    Bernard thankyou for your considered and informative response! There is no definitive report you can point me to.
    I am guessing you do not think temperatures have been higher or as high. Which is most likely rubbish. I am guessing you dont think the magnitude of temperature has been greater in recent history which is also rubbish……because it is so inconvenient….i say back to you..don’t believe me do some research!
    You presumably also believe there is evidence for positive feedback effects causing the planet to spiral out of control. Then how come we are still here!?

    May I say finding 14 errors in my short statement kind of sums up the religous belief held by so many and is why so many people are sceptial of much of what is assosiated with AGW.

    Do your self a favour and read the comments on this blog with an open mind and tell me they are not a classic example of group think at work.
    I listened to much of Abraham’s talk and found it far from convincing.

    This sums up AGW beautifully ;

  17. #17 toby robertson
    July 15, 2010

    Gaz, exactly..it isnt here yet. All of the current “technology” is too expensive or incapable of supplying sufficient power for our modern lifestyles. When we find it …and humans are very clever..then co2 will naturally reduce again. Governments rather than wasting money trying to pick political winners should offer a huge prize both for a “battery” capable of storing renewable energy that is practical for running a village, then a town and then a city, and also of course for an alternative low cost source of energy.

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