The Australian continues to express institutional contempt for science, scientists and the scientific method with a piece by Christopher Monckton

Graham Readfern has already commented on some of the errors in Monckton’s piece, but there are plenty more.

Cap-and-tax in Europe has been a wickedly costly fiasco. … Result: electricity prices have doubled. In the name of preventing global warming, many Britons are dying because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

It’s not hard to check this. The average annual bill for electricity in the UK increased from £285 in 2005 (when the EU ETS started) to £381 in 2010 (This is the cost of 3300 kWh of electricity). That’s a 34% increase, not a doubling. And even this increase cannot be attributed to the ETS. The cost of carbon emissions under the ETS has been about €20 per tonne of CO2. CO2 emissions for electricity are 0.41 kg/kWh so the annual cost for the electricity for an average household is 3.3×0.41×20=€27=£23. The actual cost might well be less than this if electricity producers were given some permits instead of having to buy them all. If Britons are dying because they can’t afford to heat their homes then its because the market has pushed prices up. And note that the increase in energy prices, much more than you got from cap and trade has not destroyed the economy as alarmists like Monckton said it would.


Cap and tax is as pointless as it is cruel. Australia accounts for 1.5 per cent of global carbon emissions. So if it cut its emissions, the warming forestalled would be infinitesimal.

If mitigation efforts keep the temperature increase by 2100 to 2 degrees instead of 5 degrees, then Australia’s share of this effort would be 1.5% of 3, or 0.045 degrees. But does Monckton really think that Australia could get away with freeloading on the efforts of other countries?

Monckton then presents some calculations that come up with a lower number. We should give him credit for showing his work, though he then loses it all and then some for all the mistakes he makes.

Suppose the Australian committee’s aim is to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2050. Anything more ambitious would shut Australia down

A 20% cut by 2050 is inadequate. Something like 80% is required, and this would not involve shutting Australia down.

A 20 per cent cut by 2050 is an average 10 per cent cut from now until then. Carbon dioxide concentration by 2050 probably won’t exceed 506 parts per million by volume, from which we deduct today’s concentration of 390 ppmv. So humankind might add 116 ppmv from now until then.

The CO2 concentration increase forestalled by 40 years of cap-and-tax in Australia would be 10 per cent of 1.5 per cent of that 116 ppmv, or just 0.174 ppmv. So in 2050 CO2 concentration would be – tell it not in Gath and Ashkelon – 505.826 ppmv, not 506.

The comparison should be with the case of increasing emissions. Monckton’s assumes that if no mitigation efforts are made emissions would stay constant, when in fact they would increase. Gath and Ashkelon were two of the Philistines’ cities, and no, Monckton’s reference to them makes little sense.

Thus what we maths wonks call the proportionate change in CO2 concentration if the committee got its way would be 505.826 divided by 506, or 0.9997. The UN says warming or cooling, in Celsius degrees, is 3.7 to 5.7 times the logarithm of the proportionate change.

Monckton is not a “maths wonk” — he studied classics at university and has no background in maths. The UN does not say that the temperature change will be 3.7 to 5.7 times the logarithm of the proportionate change. The usual convention is to express the change as the amount of warming from doubling the CO2 concentration, Monckton’s 3.7-5.7 is the warming from increasing the concentration be a factor of e. If we multiply his numbers by log 2 to convert to the convention, you get a range of 2.5-4 degrees. In fact, the IPCC says the range is 2-4.5 degrees.

It expects only 57 per cent of manmade warming to occur by 2100: the rest would happen slowly and harmlessly across 1000-3000 years.

I suppose we should be grateful that Monckton has at last learned the warming doesn’t happen all at once, but he’s still got it wrong. The warming takes decades, not millenia, and by 2100 pretty well all of the warming from CO2 released up until 2050 will have arrived.

To be charitable to the committee, let us take the UN’s high-end estimate. The warming forestalled by cutting Australia’s emissions would be very unlikely to exceed 57 per cent of 5.7 times the logarithm of 0.9997: that is – wait for it – a dizzying one-thousandth of a degree by 2050.

To summarize: Monckton made five separate errors in his calculations and they all went in the direction of favouring his argument. What are the odds?

Monckton then produces a whole list of “facts” that are supposed to show that the world isn’t warming. These “facts” are either wrong or misleading.

Satellite datasets show last year was not the warmest on record.

This is wrong and misleading. It is wrong because the satellite report from UAH says that 2010 was in a statistical tie with 1998 for warmest year do the data does not show that it couldn’t be the warmest year. It is misleading because the best way to judge whether the world is warming is to look at trends, rather than individual years. The trend is clearly warming, no mater what data you use.

It was not the least snow-covered year but the most snow-covered

This is wrong. Snow cover has been declining and 2010 had less snow than the average for the past 40 years.

a largely unreported gain in Antarctic sea ice since 1979 almost matches the widely reported loss of Arctic sea ice.

This is wrong. There has been a small increase in Antarctic sea ice, but it comes nowhere near to matching the decrease in the Arctic.

Nor is sea level rising fast. It has risen at the rate of just 0.3m a century since satellites measured it reliably in 1993, under a quarter of the average rate during the past 11,400 years. The Greens don’t believe their own whining about sea level: their Hobart office is just metres from the “dangerously” rising ocean.

This is misleading. If you look at a graph you’ll see what Monckton’s average conceals: there was rapid sea level rise 10,000 years ago as the ice sheets melted, but then sea level stabilized and hadn’t risen for 2,000 years until we started warming the planet by putting CO2 in the atmosphere.

i-014d49954afc609035448add010dacc8-450px-Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

As for his argument about the Greens’ Hobart office — it shows that there is nothing too ridiculous for The Australian to print. The sea level rise isn’t going to happen next week, but over the next century. The Greens can move their office, but the owners of the building can’t move the building.

Nor do most scientists believe man-made global warming will be catastrophic. Most are not climate scientists and take no view, and only a few climatologists have published on the central question how much warming there will be.

Of these, the researchers using measurement and observation rather than modelling have shown that much of the radiation the models say should be warming the surface is escaping to space as before.

This is wrong. Measurement and observation shows that climate sensitivity is about 3 degrees for a doubling of CO2. I explained this in my debate with Monckton, but it just won’t sink in.

The missing heat energy imagined by the models but not present as warming in the past decade is not lurking in the oceans;

This is wrong. The oceans are warming.

and the entire warming of the late 20th century can easily be explained without blaming man.

This is wrong. See figure 4 of the IPCC WG1 Summary for Policy Makers. The blue bands show temperature changes modelled using only natural forcings, while the red bands include anthropogenic forcings as well. The black line shows observations. Clearly, we must include anthropogenic forcings if we want to match the observations.

i-e92d89e0d5da6d132868b6c7c5de1802-spm4.png

Now if all these arguments were new, we could perhaps excuse The Australian for publishing so many falsehoods. But Monckton has been making variations of these false claims for years and its easy to find corrections from knowledgeable people. The Australian, it would seem, just doesn’t care in the slightest about the accuracy of the material it prints.

Comments

  1. #1 bob
    January 30, 2011

    Can someone do a cartoon of a shadowy Monckton figure walking around the world whispering into the ear of each respective leaders’ ears with:

    “Cap and tax is as pointless as it is cruel. (insert your country here) accounts for 1.5 per cent of global carbon emissions. So if it cut its emissions, the warming forestalled would be infinitesimal.”

  2. #2 EoR
    January 30, 2011

    @bob: Why do a cartoon when the real thing suffices?

  3. #3 MarkB
    January 30, 2011

    In the U.S., the average residential electricity rate has increased 23%.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_3.html

    Coal costs have increased more than 40% since then. Blame dirty coal, Lord Monckton, not carbon pricing.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epates.html

  4. #4 sbh
    January 31, 2011

    Tell it not in Gath
    Publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon
    Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice
    Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
    – David’s Lament over Saul (1 Sam 1:20)

  5. #5 Bernard J.
    January 31, 2011

    If Monckton really was the “maths wonk” that he affects to be, he would grasp the significance of [James Haughton's calculus reference](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3186612), and be very much concerned that every country do exactly it’s fair share in reducing carbon emissions.

    Of course, this is predicated on Monckton actually understanding and accepting physics as well…

    I think that the only wonk that Monckton could reasonable aspire to being is a wonky wonk.

    Or a wanky one.

  6. #6 Clam
    January 31, 2011

    I’m waiting for the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph to get hold of Monckton’s nonsense. Any mention of global warming by their science correspondent brings out hordes of resident anti-AGW trolls who triumphantly jump up and down whilst proclaiming their faith. Any help (you have to register, but it’s free) would be much appreciated.

  7. #7 Al
    January 31, 2011

    The link to the IPCC WG1 Summary for Policy Makers PDF document is not working. Try this instead – [IPCC WG1 Summary for Policy Makers](http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-understanding-and.html)

  8. #8 toby
    January 31, 2011

    Here is a funny Monckton anecdote:

    Monckton was recently on an Irish chat show, at which he was attacked as a “denier” by a woman in the audience.

    Monckton put on his best expression of faux-horror and began to call “Withdraw that, Madam. Withdraw! Withdraw!”

    The catchphrase “Withdraw, Madam, withdraw” has now become very popular – but not many people remember exactly why.

    Monckton appeared on the show with a 9/11 “truther” and was on his way to address a lunatic fringe political gathering. The show’s presenter unashamedly presented them as “nuts”, in not so many words.

    I would say Monckton’s stock has sharply fallen since John Abrahams took him on.

  9. #9 lord_sidcup
    January 31, 2011

    I did mention this on the Open thread, but since there is new Monckton thread – expect loads of new Monckton material from tonight’s BBC4 documentary [Meet the Climate Sceptics](http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00y5j3v)

    Hopefully people outside the UK will be able to see this.

  10. #10 itsyourself
    January 31, 2011

    On last nights Money program BBC Radio 4. The entire extra cost of the FIT (Feed in Tariff) for sustainable electricity generation support in the UK was £8.50. Yes £8.50 per year per average household. An outstanding bargain of you ask me.

  11. #11 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    > “In the name of preventing global warming, many Britons are dying because they cannot afford to heat their homes.”

    Uh, they were dying in their homes in the 1960s. In the 1860′s too. There’s no correlation here, never mind causation.

    > “So if it cut its emissions, the warming forestalled would be infinitesimal.”

    So Australia is not a world leader then, just an also-ran?

    > “Anything more ambitious would shut Australia down”

    Alarmist scare-monger.

    > “The UN says warming or cooling, in Celsius degrees, is 3.7 to 5.7 times the logarithm of the proportionate change.”

    Even on a dimensionality basis (something done in Secondary School) his statement is bullocks.

    > “Satellite datasets show last year was not the warmest on record.”

    It shows it as equal warmest on record. So what’s he trying to say here? That it’s damn warm?

    > “It was not the least snow-covered year but the most snow-covered”

    Snow isn’t temperature. It snows less at -50C than it does at -5C. Therefore, his “point” could be that it’s warming, since from above more snow means warmer.

    > “a largely unreported gain in Antarctic sea ice”

    It’s widely reported. And still doesn’t say anything about the temperature since when ice melts on a slope, it will slide off the sloped surface and the sea is, canonically, flat. This factoid is as much saying that antarctic ice is melting.

    > “Nor do most scientists believe man-made global warming will be catastrophic.”

    Weird. Most scientists believe it will be catastrophic if we burn everything available, but most believe that the collapse of society will act as a brake on that, even if the realisation of what we’ve done doesn’t kick in.

    PS It’s a catastrophe why my child dies. Mad Monckey may not give a hoot. Catastrophe depends on what’s happening.

    > “and only a few climatologists have published on the central question how much warming there will be.”

    If by “a few” he means 97% of them…

    > “and the entire warming of the late 20th century can easily be explained without blaming man.”

    Funny how he hasn’t managed to say why then. Also note that this is countermanded by his apparent believe that there’s been no warming in the 20th Century. It seems he’s kept his mind so open it will accept contradictory ideas with plenty of room to spare.

  12. #12 guthrie
    January 31, 2011

    Actually, many elderly Britons are dying because they can’t afford to heat their homes because they are too poor to be able to afford it. Needless to say this does not bother Monckton.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/consumer_affairs/article5245961.ece

    Every year it is the same – the above link is to an article from 2008, and this year we have such things as:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/elderly-at-risk-as-money-for-heating-help-runs-out-2162635.html

    Since the actual effect of cap and trade on prices is so low, oone can only assume that Monckton doesn’t care about these elderly victims of poverty.

  13. #13 Mike
    January 31, 2011

    I was going to write a letter to The Australian pointing out the fallacies, nonsense, and “just plain wrong” stuff in Monckton’s article, together with the explanations of why, but ran out of space and time!

    It would be a good topic for a 5000 word mini-thesis.

    You just can’t get it all in something compact enough to be a letter to the editor.

  14. #14 "John"
    January 31, 2011

    Toby, here’s the clip you are referring to.

    Monckton seems to be very offended by the harmless and non-holocaust-related-term-in-this-context “denier”, which is amusing because he accuses others of being “Hitler youth”. You know, an actual nazi insult.

  15. #15 Paul UK
    January 31, 2011

    A while ago I read a report that showed UK electricity spot prices were kept lower because of renewable energy.

    If I can find it again I’ll see if I can post a link.

  16. #16 Paul UK
    January 31, 2011

    Regarding the elderly in the UK and elsewhere.
    How about Monckton invests effort in getting better insulation into UK homes??
    Instead of whining about climate science.

  17. #17 Paul UK
    January 31, 2011
  18. #18 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    > How about Monckton invests effort in getting better insulation into UK homes??

    That would be government interference in the profits of energy companies! They DESERVE to have people in draughty and inefficient homes! If you insulate them, then the demand for power will drop and the poor employees will be unemployed!!!

    And most of the poor are benefit scroungers anyway.

    (funny how they evince care of the poor in one diatribe yet complain about them being benefit scroungers getting pots of cash on the public purse in another)

  19. #19 stopmurdoch
    January 31, 2011

    Rupert Murdoch is a fascist! Wow! No Shit!

    Monckton is a tool of Murdoch’s??? Blow me down!

    Let’s just go all Egyptian on the F’in lot of them!

    “Steal” every mX you see. If you’re really game, piss on the stack! If you have plenty of time, sit next to a stack and comment “you know that’s a Murdoch paper?” every time someone takes one.

    Is there any other line of business, or job, in the whole world where you get so rewarded for consistently lying, cheating and bending all the rules?

  20. #20 Bernard J.
    January 31, 2011

    Is there any other line of business, or job, in the whole world where you get so rewarded for consistently lying, cheating and bending all the rules?

    Real estate, law, used car sales?

  21. #21 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    Insurance agency? Financier?

  22. #22 Stu N
    January 31, 2011

    >The 350 campaign has a copy:

    >http://www.350resources.org.uk/2010/07/25/all-power-to-the-wind-%E2%80%93-it-cuts-your-electricity-bills/

    Thanks Paul, that article is a real eye-opener.

  23. #23 ligne
    January 31, 2011

    Wow:

    > “(funny how they evince care of the poor in one diatribe yet complain about them being benefit scroungers getting pots of cash on the public purse in another)”

    funny how they only care about the third world when it’s an opportunity to attack AGW…

  24. #24 Jeff Harvey
    January 31, 2011

    *Is there any other line of business, or job, in the whole world where you get so rewarded for consistently lying, cheating and bending all the rules?*

    How about U.S. President or U.K. Prime Minister?

  25. #25 Paul UK
    January 31, 2011

    “Is there any other line of business, or job, in the whole world where you get so rewarded for consistently lying, cheating and bending all the rules?”

    TV advertising?

  26. #26 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    Jeff, you’re repeating yourself there..!

    (OK, it’s not so bad now “Poodle” Tony’s gone to Money Heaven as a lecture circuit pundit)

  27. #27 ligne
    January 31, 2011

    Wow> don’t forget the bit where he explains how to bring peace to the middle east.

  28. #28 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    Arrrgh. Don’t get me started. It’d be like putting Dr Kevorkian on the “Suicide outreach” programme or having Ian Paisley on the peace talks with Sinn Fein.

    They really couldn’t have put a worse person in that post IMO.

    I guess that being ludicrously religious, completely without shame and playing a demeaning role pays off in the end.

  29. #29 klem
    January 31, 2011

    I love this. So much vitriol toward Monckton on this blog. It demonstrates that he has gotten under your collective Marxist skins. As the number of faithful believing in the devil CO2 dwindles, the crying and gnashing of teeth fades to background levels. Its a joy to behold, truly. Keep up the great work. Climate change is dead. Cheers.

  30. #30 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    Hmm, klem needs to go to WUWT and ask what they think of, say, Al Gore.

    Or have a look when the typographical mistake and 2035 was put as the year of the end of the Himalayas.

    klem has VERY thin skin.

    It must be something in the water that does that to a troll…

  31. #31 ligne
    January 31, 2011

    > “Ian Paisley on the peace talks with Sinn Fein”

    uh…we did that too, didn’t we?

  32. #32 Wow
    January 31, 2011

    No, he was allowed in to the negotiations, but at least they didn’t let him *lead* them!

  33. #33 ligne
    January 31, 2011

    > It demonstrates that he has gotten under your collective Marxist skins.

    oi! i’m a Fourth-International Titoist, not a Marxist. i’d never have anything to do with those splitters.

  34. #34 Stu N
    January 31, 2011

    Klen

    I call Poe’s law :-D

  35. #35 Mapleleaf
    January 31, 2011

    Klem says ” Climate change is dead. ”

    Talk about being in denial. I do not think there is a person on this thread who understands climate science who would wish that Klem were right, i.e., that AGW/ACC were a farce. Alas, our troll is simply deluded.

    And for the record Monckton gets under people’s skin because he is a serial liar and bully, amongst other things best not said here.

    Also, funny how the errors identified by John Cook and Tim here are like water off a duck’s back for the denialists.

    So we can trust the Australian to print an apology, correction and perhaps even a retraction? ;)

  36. #36 Heraclitus
    January 31, 2011

    Re Britons dying from the cold I remember seeing a recent Scandinavian proverb along the lines of ‘there’s no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes’. If cold has killed a significant number in the UK it is because of unpreparedness; much colder weather does not kill many in Scandinavia. If anything it is the uncertainty in regional responses that bears responsibility. Adaption is much more costly with greater uncertainty.

  37. #37 jakerman
    January 31, 2011

    [Heraclitus](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/the_australians_war_on_science_59.php#comment-3190713),

    Sounds like Britain need to adopt more Scandinavian social policies. Perhaps that is Monckton’s cunning plan?

  38. #38 Vince Whirlwind
    January 31, 2011

    Klem, Monckton is a fantasist with no qualifications and a demonstrated lack of knowledge in this area.

    But I guess you’d have to actually be a sceptic to realise that.

  39. #39 J Bowers
    January 31, 2011

    Excellent documentary on climate sceptics on BBC Four tonight, ‘Meet the CLimate Sceptics’.

    Monckton tells the filmmaker that they’ll be going through John Abraham’s financials, and there are people watching Abraham to see if he takes any interesting holidays.

    The doc’s very, very good. Excellent, in fact. At the end the filmmaker puts Monckton on the spot, and goes on to conclude, “In the end, I trusted the scientists.”

  40. #40 Dave R
    January 31, 2011

    The best scene so far was Monckton & Plimer in the desert carrying a plastic drink bottle marked __ACID__.

  41. #41 J Bowers
    January 31, 2011

    How about Lindzen saying on camera something like, “Come on, we can deal with five degrees.”

    I hope he meant Fahrenheit.

  42. #42 himThere
    January 31, 2011

    An article in the [Guardian](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/31/public-belief-climate-change) indicating that 83% of Britons believed that global warming poses a current or imminent threat rather gives the lie to Klem’s claim of dwindling public belief in climate change.

    Interestingly, the article identifies that the demograph most resistant to accepting the concept CO2 induced climate change are male, over 65 years in age with “conservative” political views. I wonder where Klem fits into this profile.

  43. #43 J Bowers
    January 31, 2011

    It turns out that Monckton went to the High Court to try and stop the documentary from being aired, and failed. Awesome ;)

    BBC wins battle over climate show

  44. #44 Stu N
    January 31, 2011

    >Monckton tells the filmmaker that they’ll be going through John Abraham’s financials, and there are people watching Abraham to see if he takes any interesting holidays.

    Anyone who has an ounce of sense can tell that Abraham is in the right. Have any of Monckton’s threats of legal action gone to court? He would lose spectactularly.

    >The doc’s very, very good. Excellent, in fact. At the end the filmmaker puts Monckton on the spot, and goes on to conclude, “In the end, I trusted the scientists.”

    Yes I thought it was pretty good overall, a little too much with the emotive footage of disasters… and particularly thunderstorms, which have such a tangential relationship. They look cool though.

    Anyway, when Monckton’s misrepresentation of Pinker was mentioned I thought we might have been treated to a segment of Tim’s debate. Oh well!

  45. #45 bluegrue
    January 31, 2011

    It’s my impression, that the use of “proportionate change” is quite deliberate; not to obfuscate, but a rhetorical trick to make his target audience feel at home. If you google for “proportionate change” the entire first two pages have economical background, mostly econometrics or price elasticity. Monckton is simply using the language of his target audience. “we maths wonks” would go along the same line, stroking the ego of the reader who is able to understand such “deep” mathematics.

  46. #46 jakerman
    January 31, 2011

    Dave R [that](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/the_australians_war_on_science_59.php#comment-3191106) is priceless!

    Those two hippy love children.

  47. #47 "John"
    January 31, 2011

    Dying to see the Monckton film, hopefully a patriot will upload a copy to YouTube for us.

    Until then, we can read reviews at the David Icke forums.

    Spoiler: they hated it.

  48. #48 jakerman
    January 31, 2011

    Anyone found a site for viewing “[Meet the Climate Sceptics](http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00y5j3v)” for people outside the UK?

  49. #49 MapleLeaf
    January 31, 2011

    So rampant and numerous are Monckton’s myths etc. that John Cook has now made a whole series dedicated to debunking his myths, culminating in the Monkton Myths post. Beautiful.

    I hope that this and the BBC documentary spoil Monckton’s week. I’m sure that being an honorable man of, err, esteemed lineage, Monckton will acknowledge and correct his errors, and issue apologies. Right Christopher? ;)

    So we have had Plimer taken care of (thanks George Monbiot), Monckton debunked (Abraham, Lambert, Cook and Murray and others), and Delingpole self imploding (he the interpreter of interpretations) before Sir Nurse, Michaels taken to task for possibly misleading congress (thanks to Waxman)……there are not too many left….

    They need to do a series showing how each one of these guys are Charlatans and how they have been thoroughly debunked.

    Oh, and Bishop Hill skewered Curry by releasing this incredibly damning video of her (H/T SheWonk) featured .

  50. #50 J Bowers
    January 31, 2011

    MapleLeaf, you’re forgetting Wegman ;)

  51. #51 MapleLeaf
    January 31, 2011

    Doh, of course. Thanks JBowers, and Wegman takes McIntyre and McKitrick down with him. This is like a house of cards falling….

    Ugh, my SheWonk link did not work. Here is it again.

  52. #52 Holly Stick
    January 31, 2011

    Um, MapleLeaf? No rest for the weary… Christopher Booker of the Telegraph is rearing his ugly head and claiming that the Met office has revised the 2010 temperature figures upward, also generally denigrating Sir Paul Nurse:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8290469/How-BBC-warmists-abuse-the-science.html

  53. #53 P. Lewis
    January 31, 2011

    Gosh, that’s an old pic of Paul Nurse, and in the context of that Booker diatribe, I think the cap to the fig is hilarious:

    Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, is an expert in genetics, not climatology

    And Delingpole is an interpreter of interpretations who doesn’t read peer-reviewed literature because he hasn’t the time and wouldn’t understand it.

    And Plimer is a rock jock (sorry rock jocks).

    And Monckton is a classics scholar…. who on tonight’s Meet the Sceptics says: “Listen carefully to both sides. Believe no one. Science is at root a sceptical endeavour.” [Shame he doesn't follow his own advice!]

    And Paul Nurse is a scientist who understands science and defers to scientists who ought to know what they are on about!

    [Note to MapleLeaf: it's Sir Paul, not Sir Nurse.]

  54. #54 MapleLeaf
    January 31, 2011

    P. Lewis @53,

    Aah, my error. Thanks. Sincere apologies to Sir Paul.

  55. #55 Miles Taylor
    February 1, 2011

    That buffoon Monckton is still being listened too? Weird.

  56. #56 Mike
    February 1, 2011

    When it comes to engaging their “experts”, the right wing sceptical crowd have absolutely no shame.

    There was a column written by uber-conservative Miranda Devine recently in the Sydney Daily Telegraph which admonished Australian of the Year Simon McKeon for having the hide to even mention global warming when he had no formal scientific qualifications.

    Yep, this was the same Miranda Devine who in her column called Lord Monckton “the most effective global warming sceptic” at the beginning of last year!

    No-one without scientific qualifications is allowed to speak about global warming – except our sceptical experts!

    I pointed out that this wasn’t exactly a hallmark of consistency or logical argument from her side, and actually got the comment published, believe it or not.

  57. #57 Donald Oats
    February 1, 2011

    Yes, a great image. Unfortunately a little bit of acid can be dangerous, inducing flashbacks and delusional thoughts. Hope they didn’t drink from the bottle, for their sakes. Maybe it is the Nu Koolaid?

  58. #58 Paul UK
    February 1, 2011

    Hmmm, lets see. Booker is no climate expert, but he writes about it every week??
    Where as Paul Nurse writes about climate science how often??

    Booker is the doofus I think.

  59. #59 Paul UK
    February 1, 2011

    Some have mentioned the ‘Meet the climate sceptics’ documentary.

    There was a classic prank in that where Plimer and Monckton take a break and go to a place in Australia and Monckton puts some acid on a rock. It starts bubbling and Plimer says it is carbon dioxide. I think Monckton says the rock contains ‘carbon dioxide’, not carbon.

    It just reminded me of loads of documentaries about UFO conspiracies and other myth type situations where a believer shows magic happening, like pyramids sharpening razors and perpetual motion machines.

    It just had that ‘air’ about it.

  60. #60 John
    February 1, 2011

    Sadly my childrens’ childrens’ little ones won’t find Monckton and Plimer’s desert japery as amusing as I do.

  61. #61 lord_sidcup
    February 1, 2011

    The denialist response to Meet the Sceptics has been fascinating. It was all done by clever editing, apparently. All those demonstrable and well-documented misrepresentations of science would have been explained had Monckton been permitted his 500 word right of reply. Other than failing to check the small print of his ‘release contract’, Monckton is blameless.

  62. #62 Dunc
    February 1, 2011

    The Australian, it would seem, just doesn’t care in the slightest about the accuracy of the material it prints.

    Given the preponderance of available evidence, I would have to say that they clearly do care about the (in)accuracy of the material they print. Have they ever printed anything accurate?

  63. #63 ligne
    February 1, 2011

    Heraclitus:

    > “If cold has killed a significant number in the UK it is because of unpreparedness; much colder weather does not kill many in Scandinavia.”

    requiring that houses have adequate insulation would be a good start. it’s insane how many properties still have single glazing, and leak heat from every surface.

  64. #64 Wow
    February 1, 2011

    Only 15% is lost through the windows. You can’t save much there.

    One reason why double glazing doesn’t get much of a take-up is that they will rip you off. I’m not talking about “twice the price” but *five or more times* the price.

    It costs less than £100 per window (plus less than £100 per opener for each window) to make and fit double glazing.

    They’ll “offer” a grand, but give you a “one time limited special offer” of £600.

    It’s much the same with plumbing and other trades. If they’d offer at least a REASONABLE offer, I’d take them up on it, but if I’d done the same in my favour as they do in theirs, they’d storm out offended.

    Try it some time. Offer £40 per window with one opener and they’ll fall off their chair.

    Yet they don’t see a problem asking for £600.

    Cavity and loft insulation is offset and competition for that windfall makes the price range available at least a reasonable level of profit, but double glazing (or bathrooms or kitchens: NEVER trust a company that won’t give you a finger-in-the-air estimate without a meeting, they’re trying to guilt you into buying) they go all out molestation.

  65. #65 Holly Stick
    February 1, 2011

    You might be interested in this series of articles in the Tyee (an online British Columbia based news site) about building green houses, including the Passivhaus:

    “…It was built without a furnace. Instead, the northwest Regina home features a nearly airtight envelope with R-40 wall insulation and R-60 roof insulation. This enables a small hot water system to heat the house, even through the winter.

    The house is cube-shaped to expose a minimum amount of exterior surface area per square foot of floor space. Dark-brown cedar siding enables the house to absorb heat from the sun. And deciduous trees on the south side of the house provide shade in summer and allow solar heat to enter the windows in the winter…”

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/01/25/Passivhaus/

  66. #66 Composer99
    February 2, 2011

    If there’s one glaring error Monkcton makes that jumps out at me, it’s quantifying 1.5% as “infinitesimal”. Sure, it’s a small proportion of carbon emissions. But given the global quantity of CO2 emissions it’s still an enormous amount cut back if Australia proceeds with emission reduction.

  67. #67 Wow
    February 2, 2011

    > But given the global quantity of CO2 emissions it’s still an enormous amount

    Aye, if he thinks it’s infinitesimal, he should try lifting it!

  68. #68 Paul UK
    February 2, 2011

    It’s the old story Wow.
    You take one particular emissions source (a country or a mode of transport) then compare it with the world total and hey presto it’s tiny, a convenient excuse in the making.
    But if you look at the per capita figure, you get a more realistic idea of the problem.

    Australia is way up at No. 12
    UK is at No. 44

  69. #69 jakerman
    February 2, 2011

    Comp, Wow and Paul,

    Its part of a powerful PR one-two punch:

    1st: a carbon tax is going to cost jobs. “A dagger to the heart of Australia’s prosperity”.

    2nd and it would make any difference if Australia cuts its emissions and the USA or China don’t.

    We get follow up claims that All Australia’s emissions would be made up for by China’s growth in x months.

    Its self interest of a few powerful here that are both a0 taking advantage of and b) reinfocing lack of action by the US at a federal level.

    See Monckton strategy [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/monckton_myths.php#comment-3200431):

    >*Monckton: “And all we’ve got to do is to try to keep the latest Senate bill in the United States from actually being passed. And therefore by the time of the Cancun UN conference the Americans have still not effectively done anything much about the Climate. [Then] nobody else is going to do so.”*

    And Australian Conservatives provided cover for Bush to keep the USA out of Kyoto. If Australia had joined, Bush would have been isolated internationally on that issue.

    [Here is](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/01/andrew_bolt_column_flooded_wit.php#comment-3190860) my attempt to articulate flaws in this strategy:

    >what difference would it make if Australia joined European nations and leading US states by committing to significant cuts from now and pricing carbon to restructure markets?
    It would increase the possibility of a strong global agreement. It would cut our per capita emmissions to less than 4x China’s, and less than 10x India’s. Hence bringing close and readying these developing countries to join with there own cuts.

    >And it would reduce the gap between Australia’s per capita emissions and those of leading Euro and US states, hence reduce the amount of freeloading we leverage. This would enable progressive states to make deeper cuts with greater leadership as they would no longer be economically disadvantaged to the current extent by Australia’s freeloading.

    >Its a positive feedback cycle. Australia’s choice has great positive feedback effect which ever direction we choose.

  70. #70 Anne van der Bom
    February 3, 2011

    Wow,

    Only 15% is lost through the windows.

    You can’t say that in such a simple way. It all depends on how well the rest of the rest of the house is insulated. If you have a well insulated R=5 cavity wall, and single pane windows with an R value of about 0.2 then per square meter the windows lose about 25x as much heat as the wall. Your 15% rule will only fly if you have very, very small windows.

    Don’t decide by ‘rules of thumb’, they are pretty meaningless. Do the math, that’s the scientific thing to do.

    And the pricing thing. I don’t know the situation in the UK, but here (Netherlands) I had some double glazing fitted recently. 5 m2 in total for around 1000 euros. Two guys have been working about 4 hours to fit it. That’s 8 man hours for just installing it. HR++ double glazing is not simple. The cavity is filled with Argon. There is an IR reflecting coating on the inner pane. There are no standard sizes. You can not simply take some glass and cut it on the spot. It must all be ordered to size. 200 euros per m2 is a fair price to me seeing all that is involved.

  71. #71 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    > > Only 15% is lost through the windows.

    > You can’t say that in such a simple way.

    I just did.

    the average roll of a six sided dice is 3.5. Temperature is 0.56C warmer than the baseline.

    All simply said, all true within that simple remit.

    If you don’t have insulation, then you don’t have R=5 on the walls. Now if your single-glazed unfilled cavity wall house is losing 100 quatloos of heat, 15 of those will be through the windows, (I think) 35 of them through the roof and the remainder (less bits and pieces) through the walls. About 50.

    Cavity insulation: £500, £350 rebate from the government. Saves 30.
    Double glazing: £12,000, no rebate. Saves 10.

    cost/benefit analysis..?

    PS You forget curtains. R=? then?

  72. #72 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    > Comp, Wow and Paul,

    > Its part of a powerful PR one-two punch:

    That’s why I count the question as irrelevant.

    China runs over their protesters in tanks. They haven’t done that this year, so is Australia going to whip out a Challenger and run over a few greenpeace activitsts to keep the numbers up?

    I say again:

    What would the EU and leading US states do if Australia cut nearly all their CO2 production off? Forget China. Forget playing THEIR argument. Play the right one. What would Europe and leading US states do?

    WHO THE F**K cares what China does? Are you going to let THEM tell YOU what to do? Do they have that much control over your actions? Are you that beholden to being like them?

  73. #73 jakerman
    February 3, 2011

    >*WHO THE F**K cares what China does?*

    People who are vote for deniers cos they are convinced by the PR.

  74. #74 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    You are then playing their game for them, jackerman.

    Why do you continue to ignore the RIGHT question:

    > What would EU and leading US states do if Australia reduced their CO2 output to nearly zero?

    > People who are vote for deniers cos they are convinced by the PR.

    So STOP FEEDING THEM THE SAME PR!!!!!

    Feed them PR that makes them BETTER, not strive to be better than the worst:

    > What would EU and leading US states do if Australia reduced their CO2 output to nearly zero?

  75. #75 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    Another contra-indication to this “we’re only $small %” meme is the fairly common christian “pro-lifer” that they pay taxes and they DO NOT WANT abortions to be paid out of their taxes.

    Yet “their taxes” are an $extremely small % of the taxes, so why should their extreemely small % be considered of any import on where taxes get spent?

    Of course, such people have minds so open they can hold several contradictory ideas at one time.

  76. #76 jakerman
    February 3, 2011

    >*Feed them PR that makes them BETTER, not strive to be better than the worst:
    *What would EU and leading US states do if Australia reduced their CO2 output to nearly zero?*

    Ill go with that. Its a good baseline.

  77. #77 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    Ta.

    Sorry to get heated over it, but it’s important not to play the game when someone else is making up the rules as they go along.

    Just look at ID/Evolution (until the IDers forgot the plot in their ecstasy and admitted it was actually God, not aliens wot did it). They were moving ahead because they set the plot to play on.

  78. #78 Anne van der Bom
    February 3, 2011

    Wow,

    Good luck with your one-size-fits-all rules of thumb. It’s about as informed as saying “CO2 is only 0.03%, how can that make a difference?” Do the math.

  79. #79 Wow
    February 3, 2011

    > Good luck with your one-size-fits-all rules of thumb.

    Wow. Good comeback. Nothing like a well reasoned argument.

    Really, that was nothing like a well reasoned argument.

    Why don’t you go read my response instead of being a plonker. Do the english.