Todays grauniad has a piece by Monckton, “This wasn’t gibberish. I got my facts right on global warming”. Its in the “response” column, where people get a chance to reply. Sadly its all more gibberish. But also somewhat sadly the piece it responds to by Monbiot also contains some mistakes, and is itself a reaction to Monckton’s bit in the Torygraph (in fact its all so badly written its rather hard to tell if Monbiot is just quoting Monckton or making mistakes of his own; and what Monckton is talking about is only even slightly comprehensible after reading the RC response…). I don’t think either of them understand the difference between stephan-boltzmann, which is a physical law, and climate sensitivity, which is a diagnostic: its an output from the AOGCMs, not an input, as Monckton seems to believe. For the truth, as usual, you’re best off with RC.

Monckton in the response refuses to admit he’s wrong over the well-known issue of Hansens graph; he attributes the 1990 “MWP” schematic to the 1996 (?) report (a mistake copied from elsewhere, probably Daly; see-also wiki); and so much else is wrong with it its rather hard to know where to start. Or indeed, why to bother, since its the same old stuff all over again.


  1. #1 Douglas Coker

    This is useful – thank you. Would it not be worth “tidying it up” and sending it to the Guardian for publication.

    Douglas Coker

    [Thanks for the encouragement. Are you calling me untidy? ;-). Maybe I will – W]

  2. #2 Eli Rabett

    It’s all very simple. This is the prequel to Climate Wars AR4. Either you respond IN THE MASS MEDIA or your side will get squashed. Real Climate needs to emerge from the blog and become a quote source. Since it is housed in an organization that has the ability to do this, get to it folk.

    For good examples consider what has happened to date when most of the science side were content to stay in their labs leaving the field to the gang of four (Singer, Seitz, Lindzen and Michaels…add your favs) of the world. Fortunately the attack was vicious enough to wake up some of those who were attacked, Hansen and Trenberth among them.

  3. #3 Lubos Motl

    Dear William, it is very nice that you criticize everyone and paint yourself as brighter than both ;-), but honestly, you’re lucky that you don’t have to compete with Lord Monckton, a pure elixir of intellect, aren’t you? Joshua’s opinions about the “climate wars” are entertaining.

  4. #4 Lubos Motl

    Sorry, “Halpern’s opinions” above should have been “Rabett’s opinions”.

  5. #5 Lubos Motl

    Incidentally, William, if you want to pretend that you have already learned what the latent heat is and how much energy a blackbody radiates, it could be useful for you to pretend that you know how to spell Stefan-Boltzmann (no Stephan), too. ;-)

    [Oh dear Lubos, spelling flames are so lame. Still, it beats arguing he science I suppose… -W]

  6. #6 Lubos Motl

    The advantage of the spelling wars is that it is actually possible to convince others that you’re wrong. I secretly suggest that you don’t know how to spell the name because you haven’t seen the physical law too many times in your life if ever. ;-) The more you work with such concepts and papers that include these concepts, the less likely it is that you will misspell them.

    The disadvantage of scientific arguments with those who don’t quite accept the scientific method is that they will defend an arbitrarily undefendable statement – for example that the Arctic Sun is able to melt 30 meters of ice a day ;-) – and there will always be many people who will support the author of such a ridiculous statement for political reasons.

    In the case of the spelling of “Stefan”, I learned that the number of people who would argue that your spelling is correct drops significantly.

  7. #7 nc

    Stoat, if I may destroy this thread by launching into a rudely off-topic discourse on my pet theory of why global warming predictions are a load of {hot CO2 or methane}, we’re running out of oil which is the main source of CO2 so this global warming won’t last forever anyhow, see censored string theorist Tony Smith’s graph here:

    [There is plenty of coal. No one really thinks we will run out of fossil fuels to pump out CO2 with -W]

  8. #8 Ian Forrester

    It seems that Monckton does not like criticism since it is impossible to add comments to his latest (Guardian) diatribe. I tried twice.

    nc, have you ever heard of coal? Coal contributes, on a global scale, as much CO2 as oil and will increase its share in the future.

    Ian Forrester

  9. #9 Guthrie

    I got:
    “An error occurred
    No such entry ‘010432’”
    from the Guardian when I tried to post.

    Go on William, you know you want to post something on this shredding Monkcton in more detail, otherwise how will us less well educated non climatologists get it across to people that he is utterly wrong?

  10. #10 Steve Bloom

    Lubos: “Undefendable” is wrong; “indefensible” is correct. Based on your logic above, everyone reading this should take your error as an indictment of everything you have ever said. What a good idea!

  11. #11 Adam

    Without wishing to seem to leap to Monbiot’s defense (I’m sure he’s capable enough of doing that himself, should he so wish), I’m not sure that he doesn’t necessarily misunderstand the points he’s arguing (if you’ll forgive my wording). Given the wording limits of his column, he has to fit a lot of argument into a small space (see poor Ben Goldacre’s stuff to see how editors can mangle well-constructed stuff). There seems a strong implication that the S-B is an input that affects and output (sensitivity), though I agree that this could have been made more clear. I’m sure he’d welcome your input though if you wanted to contact him. :)

    I tend to read Monbiot’s stuff from his website anyway, as he provides references on there (something that newspapers might want to start introducing even if only on their websites). Oddly though it doesn’t seem to be on his site yet – at least then he’ll provide a link to the RC article he quotes from.

    [Some of the stuff that looked wrong (lambda in the S-B) may well be Monbiot paraphrasing Monckton – looking again, I think that is what happened. Rumours are of lawyers being involved on the dark side, which might poss explain the lack on Monbiots website? Who knows -W]

  12. #12 nc
    2006/11/17 includes coal! Both oil and coal will be eliminated as polluters long before the last drop / lump is burned, because of price rises making them unaffordable expensive, so demand will drop long before then disappear.

    About 50% of global oil production is near the gulf:

    “The oil coming out of Saudis biggest oil fields now contains more than 50% water, and they are injecting 3 barrels of sea water to get one barrel of this mixed liquid out. That’s a fact, not fiction. How much longer do you think the oil can continue to flow from the ground?” – Quantoken, comment on:

    More on the alleged looming “peak oil” price flip / economic crisis: and also see and

  13. #13 nc

    Whoops – wrong graph! There’s another which plots coal reserves, which won’t last forever either, believe it not.

  14. #14 guthrie

    Whoa nc, dont you know that we have enough oil to last for a century! Why spread the doom and gloom?

    (Yes, I am perfectly aware of peak oil, its just that I see a broad overlap between those who think oil will last forever [some of them push the abiogenic theory of oil origins] and those who think AGW is all bunkum. Personally I find rather good.)

  15. #15 Nils Simon

    Very interesting, William. Have you already given any thought about reviewing Monbiot’s lates book, ‘Heat’, or does anybody else know a proper source to someone who did this?

    [I haven’t seen it. Maybe someone will buy me it for Christmas – W]

  16. #16 Meyrick Kirby

    nc, look up “tar sands”.

  17. #17 Patrick Caldon

    The man is just mind-numbingly daft. The rebuttal includes:

    He says I shouldn’t have said the Viking presence in the middle ages shows Greenland was warmer than now. The Viking farmsteads in Greenland are now under permafrost, and you can’t farm permafrost.

    A forty-second Google shows the ruins of the viking expedition surrounded by grasses, and that the areas the vikings settled are now exporting 20,000 sheep a year.

  18. #18 Adam

    I don’t normally bother reading all the comments to the Grauniad columns, but I noticed this by Monbiot under his latest pro-coach article:

    “…So far my attempts to challenge him have been met with threats to sue for libel. While the Guardian can cope with this, I’m in a more exposed position when posting material on my own sites. This is why I have not yet posted my original article about his paper on, let alone any rejoinders…”

    “…I should add that I now see that I got some things wrong about the Stefan-Bolzmann equation, but that the atmospherics physicists I have spoken to regard Monckton’s paper and response as risible. Perhaps the fairest thing to say is that neither of us got it right, and the best people to debate this are the experts in the field, preferably in peer-reviewed journals.”

    [Not very impressed by Monbiot, who should know enough to read -W]

  19. #19 Adam

    He does quote that article, so I assume he did read it which makes his mistake a bit more odd (and I missed it when I read the article, so I’m not exactly showered in glory here, either :| ), and it’s a shame he didn’t refer to it in his comments – he probably referenced it in his article but as that’s not on his site, and the Grauniad doesn’t print them…

  20. #20 guthrie

    To be fair to Monbiot, I have a chemistry degree and some scientific work experience, and I still have trouble over the Stefan-Boltzman equation. At least he admits when he is wrong, unlike MOnkton who is sailing merrily along.

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