Monckton demands that Mann, Bradley and Hughes be put on trial for genocide

i-67965b64b786e7d7906719cfaafcce53-monckton.jpg

Monckton should have SPPI investigated for making him look like a "potty peer", because they've published a wrongheaded piece of his about the hockey stick, where he calls for Mann, Bradley and Hughes to be put on trial for genocide. Yes, really.

"The environmental extremists, who have already killed 50 million
children through malaria by their now-canceled ban on the use of DDT,
the only effective agent against the anopheles mosquito that spreads
the infective parasite, are already eagerly killing millions more
through their latest scientifically-baseless scare -- the "global
warming" panic pandemic. Food riots are occurring throughout the world
among the poorest of the poor in many countries: but the desperation,
starvation, disease, and death that accompany the sudden famines that
the biofuel-driven doubling of world food prices has engendered are
scarcely reported by our news media. In Haiti, they are eating mud
pies made of earth, water, a tiny knob of butter, and a pinch of salt;
or they sell the mud pies to less fortunate neighbours at 3 US cents
each. Has any Western news medium reported this, or the hundreds of
other agonizing stories of famine and starvation all round the world?
No. Instead, every icicle that falls in Greenland is paraded as an
omen of imminent doom: and, as for the crooked pseudo-scientists who
invented the hockey stick, supported it, and continue to parade it in
the mendacious documents of the IPCC, no journalist would dare to ask
any of them the questions that would expose their self-seeking
corruption for what it is. These evil pseudo-scientists, through the
falsity of their statistical manipulations, have already killed far
more people through starvation than "global warming" will ever
kill. They should now be indicted and should stand trial alongside
Radovan Karadzic for nothing less than high crimes against humanity:
for, in their callous disregard for the fatal consequences of their
corrupt falsification of science, they are no less guilty of genocide
than he."

The amount of over-the-top wrong that Monckton packs into this paragraph is impressive. DDT was never banned for use against malaria. The ban on the agricultural use of DDT has saved lives. The main reason for the increase in food prices was the increase in the price of energy. While biofuels did contribute, it is wrong to attribute this to Mann, Bradley and Hughes, since the case for AGW does not depend on the hockey stick and emission reduction efforts do not require the use of biofuels. The hockey stick work was pretty well vindicated by the NRC panel. (Monckton knows this, but simply lies about the panel's findings.)

I came across this because Robert Sutherland pointed me at this discussion at Nature News, with Oliver Manuel, who is apparently a Physics professor at U Missouri-Rolla demonstrating how to destroy his credibility in one short paragraph:

I have no doubt that you personally believe what you write, but frankly many of your opinions are factually incorrect. Compare your 27 Sept 2008 claim that, "the EIGHT WARMEST YEARS on record occurred since 1998" with ... 2.) The abstract of Lord Christopher Monckton's new paper: "An extraordinary series of postings at www.climateaudit.org, the deservedly well trafficked website of the courageous and tenacious Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cynicism that is rife among the alarmist climate scientists favored by the UN's discredited climate panel, the IPCC. In laymen's language, the present paper respectfully summarizes Dr. McIntyre's account of the systematically dishonest manner in which the "hockey-stick" graph falsely showing that today's temperatures are warmer than those that prevailed during the medieval climate optimum was fabricated in 1998/9, adopted as the poster-child of climate panic by the IPCC in its 2001 climate assessment, and then retained in its 2007 assessment report despite having been demolished in the scientific literature. It is a long tale, but well worth following. No one who reads it will ever again trust the IPCC or the "scientists" and environmental extremists who author its climate assessments." [Hockey Stick? What Hockey Stick? 12 September 2008]

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The question is, is Lord Munchkin insane, and is it contagious? I ask because Lindzen is also showing signs of insanity and he and Munchkin must have met at the GWSceptic shindig in March. http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf
It's all a left-wing conspiracy, apparently.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

> They should now be indicted and should stand trial alongside Radovan Karadzic for nothing less than high crimes against humanity:

Heheheheheh. Surely this is a sort of climate science counterpart of Fatwa Envy. Remember Anthony Watts's totally failed attempt to rile up fake outrage and get James Hansen fired?

TrueSceptic: I was just writing about Lindzen's latest piece.

Manuel seems pretty weird, judging by that link: "Neutron repulsion is the primary energy source for the Sun and the cosmos, releasing far more energy than nuclear fusion or fission."

Doesn't Mark Hoofnagle talk about crank magnetism?

I'm expecting Monckton to reveal it was all a big joke any time now. Really, he has made me think that.

In Haiti, they are eating mud pies made of earth, water, a tiny knob of butter, and a pinch of salt; or they sell the mud pies to less fortunate neighbours at 3 US cents each. Has any Western news medium reported this, or the hundreds of other agonizing stories of famine and starvation all round the world? No.

And of course it has been reported. Just one hit:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7426898.stm

Looks like proptosis.

Who's his doctor again?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Well, it's official. Monckton has left this planet. His legal threats have now reached incredible new heights.

Is it worth responding to his drivel, completely devoid of facts as it is? I'd say no

It's not so much that Monckton says the Haitian famine hasn't been reported when it has been reported - that, after all, could be a simple mistake: it's that his report that it hasn't been reported is intrinsically self-refuting - if it hadn't been reported, he wouldn't know about it (unless one believes that he receives the Port-au-Prince broadsheets every morning, which strikes me as implausible). P and not-P in the same sentence. It's a talent.

The UK's aristocracy should seriously consider a quiet guillotining of this gangrenous appendage on their numbers, before the country's commoners cast their eyes across the Channel and back in time, and use Monckton as an excuse for revolution...

One thing is beyond doubt: when this period is looked back upon, anyone who had the remotest link to Monckton will have history remembering them in a dim light indeed.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Wilkie Collins wrote a short story called "Story of Mad Monkton". Anytime I see Monckton mentioned I think "Mad Monckton" and it seems very appropriate.

Holy cow!

One of the most insane books I have ever read was Ann Coulter's "Godless: The Church of Liberalism", where she among other things makes a truly incompetent attack on evolution. But this piece by Monckton is right on that level. I actually had to go to the SPPI site to verify that the quote was accurate (it was), and not a joke. Maybe somebody should set up Monckton and Coulter for a date.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 30 Sep 2008 #permalink

Tim,

I admire your persistence on the Monkton front. It needs to be done, but it must be soul destroying, I think.

By douglas clark (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

> His legal threats have now reached incredible new heights.

Gah, I still say it's just a sort of Fatwa Envy. Now if I were like Anthony Watts, I'd be starting a bogus easily-rigged poll to ask whether Monckton should be fired from some position or other (maybe, say, his Viscounty). But I guess we have too much of this "civility" stuff to do that...

ARGGGH! If I hear that "biofuels caused world food prices to double" canard one...more...time...I'm going to lose what's left of the rest of my shit. Anybody who's not stupid has figured out by now that there just ain't that much biofuel, and that biofuels are not synonymous with corn ethanol, no matter how much the vested interests in corn ethanol would love to have you believe that. There are a metric crapload of other things one can use to make biofuels without having to use high-overhead, high-maintenance, edible things like corn, for squid's sake.

I think when I ran the numbers (and I couldn't even find good numbers on how much of the world's food crops were being diverted to biofuel production, which is illustrative of just how full of shit the claim is), I estimated that about 10% of the US (US alone) food crop was going to biofuels now. If 10% of one country's production being diverted to non-food use is enough to cause a worldwide price increase in all staples, we've got bigger problems than corn ethanol, jus' sayin'.

That's also not taking into account the Ug99 grain blight, insect pest outbreaks all over Asia and the Middle East, and catastrophic flooding in the US this year. Sheesh.

By Interrobang (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

One of the most insane books I have ever read was Ann Coulter's "Godless: The Church of Liberalism", where she among other things makes a truly incompetent attack on evolution.

FYI, that attack on evolution was more or less ghostwritten by the Isaac Newton of Information Science himself, William ("I've defeated evilution before lunchtime!") Dembski.

By the way, being a socialist second-hander, I of course have literally zero knowledge or understanding of this "capitalism" of yours. But is it possible for me to buy the rights to Monckton outright, with or without his permission? A kind of "hostile takeover" of his likeness? What are the odds he already sold himself to pay for an extra Rolls or something?

I think moncktonthemovie is one of the few sure-fire money-makers coming up. It's the studio equivalent of probabilistic combinatorics.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

Britian has very strict libel laws. Could Mann et al. sue?

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

> laws

Heh.

Reputable science journals have strict peer review requirements. Could Monckton publish?

Which forum do _you_ want to see involved?

Which forum do you think Monckton would prefer?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

Interrobang,
Partially disagree with you there. As I understand it, the issue is not so much food crops being turned into biofuel directly, as land that could have grown food crops being used to grow biofuel crops instead. I haven't run the numbers, but that's what Tim's link above seems to indicate.
The more general problem is the soaring price of energy both making it more expensive to grow stuff and get it to market (fuel for tractors, transport, etc) and providing an incentive to grow energy instead of food. High food prices cause famines even when there is enough food available if governments don't intervene - that's what I took from Amartya Sen's analysis.

By James Haughton (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

I think this could come together.

Treatment: Mr. Bean meets Yes Minister!

Setting: United States, UK. Channel 4, debates at colleges, get-togethers with Watts, McIntyre, etc.

Main character, loosely based on Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley: Rowan Atkinson

Supporting role based on Dr. Michael Crichton: John Malkovich

Character Based on Kristen Byrnes (make her Irish to avoid repercussions): "Little" Becky Barry http://www.geckotales.com/becky-prank-calls.htm

Character based on Anthony Watts: Daniel Lawrence "Larry the Cable Guy" Whitney

MacIntyre and McClintock surrogates: Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed (former Jerky Boys)

Bjorn "Skeptical Environmentalist" Lomborg role: Jeremy Irons, essentially reprising his role of Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance, but this time he's a good guy.

Martin Durkin: Stephen Fry

Alex Cockburn: Hugh Laurie

The initial plot involves the Crichton character discovering several simultaneous anomalies: global cooling, a proliferation of species previously listed as endangered, etc.

He consults the American climate skeptic network, along with Danish expert Lomborg, etc. and eventually they realize that an eco-terror wave is threatening Western civilization, and only they know about it. After Dr. Crichton tries to present the evidence at an IPCC meeting, he is dragged out, drugged, and placed in a mental institute.

Only Monckton can put all the pieces of the puzzle together in time for the Channel 4 annual science series!

Monckton is assisted by his bumbling but brilliant aide, Cockburn, who constantly inject comic-opera socialism into the situations but also compensates for the Viscount's trademark absentmindedness.

By turns an eco-thriller, a documentary and a comedy.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

"I think when I ran the numbers (and I couldn't even find good numbers on how much of the world's food crops were being diverted to biofuel production, which is illustrative of just how full of shit the claim is), I estimated that about 10% of the US (US alone) food crop was going to biofuels now. If 10% of one country's production being diverted to non-food use is enough to cause a worldwide price increase in all staples, we've got bigger problems than corn ethanol, jus' sayin'"

Interrobang, it's also worth noting that over the past several years the increase in US corn production has almost exactly matched the increase in corn consumption for ethanol production.

There's as much US corn for non-biofuel use now as there was five years ago.

Of course, a large part of US corn production also goes into making high fructose corn syrup. Presumably Monckton also wants the senior management of Coca Cola tried for genocide.

Oh and the entire Chinese livestock industry.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 01 Oct 2008 #permalink

Off topic:

Andrew Watts is looking at his site's page views. I got curious and had a look at the traffic details as listed at Alexa.
Here's a comparison of Realclimate.org to the usual suspects.

I find this disconcerting. No wonder there is still a "debate".

blue: eh, I think that page only gives the number of hits to RealClimate from RealClimate itself and other sites.

Also, in terms of traffic rank, ScienceBlogs pwnz them all.

Monckton wants scientists he disagrees with charged with war crimes? Monckton? Monckton of let's introduce disease inducing bacillus into a town's water supply fame? Monckton's admitted part (bragged about part actually) in the use of biological warfare during the Faulklands war would be a real cause for being put on trial if it were true. Of course this could be a case of his inability to separate fact from fantasy.

Given Monckton's complete lack of concern for any unintended consequences of overturning international agreements to ban biological weapons I think it's obvious he has a problem recognising unintended consequences in any area - including the use of fossil fuels for energy production.

28 cce,

That is bizarre, given that the rise of fossil fuel prices has not only in itself increased food prices but also made biofuels more competitive. Lots more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_vs_fuel

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 Oct 2008 #permalink

31 Ken,

Lord Munchkin is _insane_. That's all we need to know. It should also guide us in our opinion of anyone who takes him seriously.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 Oct 2008 #permalink

He's lost it hasn't he. Him and Nigel Lawson can now book into the same rest home and babble to each other.

By Hamish Mack (not verified) on 02 Oct 2008 #permalink

CCE: "The World Bank concluded that 75% of the rise in food prices is the result of biofuels."

And the OECD concluded almost the exact opposite.

Read the World Bank report CCE - it's essentially an opinion piece by a single World bank employee which is explicitly NOT endorsed by the organisation.

If you read the report you'll see it's full of caveats.

That "70%" figure also smacks of cherry-picking since it applies to the period 2005-2007 while food prices have been rising since 2000.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 03 Oct 2008 #permalink

Mitchell's conclusion applies to 2002 to 2008. He attributes "most" (not all) of the portion not explainable by energy costs and a weakened dollar to biofuels (which is 70-75%).

The recent OECD report says the current round of biofuels (and their subsidies) are a mistake. It does estimate much lower impacts on food prices.

re:37
He's lost it hasn't he. Him and Nigel Lawson can now book into the same rest home and babble to each other.

Yes, and send Christopher Booker of the DT as well.

The gyrations most go through to prove black is white is quite impressive. There is no reasonable doubt that the ban of DDT did more to shoot malaria deaths spectaculrly upward than anything, whatever selective constrained out-of-context stats one can dig out.

But to label it a malevolent and malicious genocide like the holocaust is equally silly. Monckton is way over the top and goofy here (as are folks who want to criminally indict AGW skeptics, BTW -- though probably not as egregious as Monckton).

Rod B writes:

There is no reasonable doubt that the ban of DDT did more to shoot malaria deaths spectaculrly upward than anything

There is A GREAT DEAL of reasonable doubt about it, since it's not true. You've bought a right-wing propaganda point which was essentially made up.

1. DDT was never banned in the third world.

2. DDT was never banned for malaria control even in the United States. It was banned for indiscriminate agricultural use, thank God.

3. In places that did go all out WITH DDT, like Sri Lanka, malaria deaths rose because the mosquitoes quickly developed immunity.

There is no reasonable doubt that the ban of DDT did more to shoot malaria deaths spectaculrly upward than anything, whatever selective constrained out-of-context stats one can dig out.

Try googling "DDT resistance". You might learn something that involves no stats at all.

True, DDT wasn't banned in "3rd world" countries. They just had to relinquish all US aid if they used it. Did you ever try to buy a tiny amount of DDT for a small yard use since the mid 70s? Give it a shot and be sure to aver you're not using it indiscriminately for agriculture. Buy two pint bottles and I'll buy one from you for $25. It was banned, pure and simple, because of the public (voters) furor over Carson's book simply for vote pandering with virtually no scientific analysis or secondary considerations, as was pretty much readily admitted by Ruckleshouse (sp??)

True its resistance has developed through mutation, but was still potent in 72 and had nearly wiped malaria out from the mid 40s through 1970. Likely could've quickly finished the job...

Get a little blind unassailable truth with just a little google???

I'm still not excusing Monckton's stupidity.

> because of the public (voters) furor over Carson's book simply for vote pandering with virtually no scientific analysis or secondary considerations,

Also, Carson wrote the book because she was an America-hating Communist. Maybe she was Russian. Carson... Putin... sounds suspicious.

> True its resistance has developed through mutation, but was still potent in 72

Is this supposed to be a replica of Sarah Palin's word salad machine?

DDT banned: zombie myth that would not die of doooooom!!!

Anyone know anyone that works for one of those firms that can get Tim's DDT topic to the top of The Google searches?

Best,

D

Did you ever try to buy a tiny amount of DDT for a small yard use since the mid 70s?

So, what's your point? Did you have Anopheles spreading malaria in your backyard?

No? Then your point is irrelevant. Note that malaria was not banned for malaria control.

True its resistance has developed through mutation

False. Its (sic) 'resistance' was selected for by killing off susceptible genetic mosquito variants through indiscriminant agricultural use, and thus allowing extant resistant genetic variants to expand their numbers and continue to carry the disease organism.

With respect Rod, you are promoting the non-science of the DDT denialists. It might sound reasonable, but it's twaddle. Most especially egregious is the idea that malaria might have been wiped out had DDT's indisciminant use been continued... This is wrong - and in fact the resurgence of malaria was due in large part to the selection for resistant mosquitoes that I and previous commenters have mentioned.

Using more DDT was never going to wipe them out, and only served to do the opposite. The pattern of decline and resurgence is exactly the signature of the overuse of any agent such as DDT which is not unavoidably lethal.

Please learn some basic biology before you kick another own-goal.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 04 Oct 2008 #permalink

" Did you ever try to buy a tiny amount of DDT for a small yard use since the mid 70s?"

That's about as far as you can get from malaria eradication and still be in the general field of killing insects.

"They just had to relinquish all US aid if they used it."

That's new. Did you mean to say that the US govt wouldn't buy DDT for them? Not exactly the same thing. Not necessarily true either.

Again, if anybody has, on their own hook, attempted to provide a malaria-ridden country with DDT and had the international DDT police step in to prevent them, I urge them to come forward.

"True its resistance has developed through mutation, but was still potent in 72 and had nearly wiped malaria out from the mid 40s through 1970. Likely could've quickly finished the job..."

Might I suggest Paul Russell's account in "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance" which is readable via amazon, a little at a time , starting at page 48. Russell was the instigator of the plan to rid the world of malaria in one short, intense, and most importantly, synchronous worldwide attack leaving it no reservoir in which it could retreat and hide. The model being the eradication of smallpox; picemeal regional efforts would merely chase it from place to place, but a worldwide synchronous program made it extinct.

To sum up: the plan, circa the late 1950s, was for "four to six years of actual spraying" followed by surveillance and drug treatment for the occasional case. It was NOT for perpetual yearly spraying. On the scientific front, that would generate resistant mosquitoes and make DDT spraying valueless "because DDT resistance has appeared in six or seven years" and on the political front, that would rapidly generate resistant congressmen.

The spraying program began in 1958, and ended in 1963, as planned from the outset. According to Russell as quoted in the book, unfortunately malaria was almost but not quite eradicated, but Congress would not extend the funding for another year and finish the job, for financial reasons, not some sort of environmentalism. In the ensuing years DDT and other insecticides got so overused agriculturally that resistant insect populations appeared all over the place, making the goal of malaria eradication via insecticide treatment forever unattainable. Meanwhile, the malarial organism itself was becoming resistant to drugs, in parallel.

Russell's account fits with several independent items of evidence:
1) the well known, currently and in the 1950s, need to kill pests, whether insect or bacteria, with a time-limited high-dosage exposure to a toxin rather than maintaining constant or intermittent exposure, which just selects resistance;
2) the general behavior of Congressmen and their funding habits; and,
3) the fact that Carson's book was published in 1962; it's a little much to assume that it would have inspired Congress to stop funding DDT spraying in the third world by 1963, the next year, given that Congress didn't end DDT spraying in the US until 1972.

Also, check out the quote from Carson on page 50 of the book
:
"No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored. The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods which are rapidly making it worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other side of the story - the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made stronger by our efforts. Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of fighting."

Not only does this give a very different picture than the caricature of Carson demanding that we stop fighting malaria with DDT in order to protect other species, it also has the virtue of being scientifically correct, unlike the "more DDT spraying would always be better" position.

Bernard, the point was a simple refutation of the claim that DDT wasn't really banned -- 'only for excessive agriculture use'. The rest of your post is a perfect example of how, with enough myopic minute analysis black can become white; except for the mutation part -- I was being to loose with that.

z, for example the World Bank (at our urging) would not make development loans to any country that had not banned the use of DDT. Your follow-on posts are not bad with a couple of nuanced exceptions. I never said that Carson wailed against DDT because somehow she supported malaria -- malaria wasn't really part of her protocol. She was concerned that in the end it would poison and wipe out all animal life probably within a couple of generations. Plus, despite all of the so-called selected and self-induced resistance there are in fact regions successfully spraying DDT in the 90s and I think even today.

I didn't really mean to hijack this thread with what is a secondary issue to the topic. Guess I should've known better.

For anyone puzzled by my post at #48, I am sorry! I was rushing to prepare for a birthday lunch, and I didn't proof first. Why is it that the only time I need 'Preview' is when I don't use it?

The first sentence should have been a quote, rather than the whole post being so, and my quote "Note that malaria was not banned for malaria control" should of course have read "Note that DDT was not banned for malaria control".

That aside, I still maintain that Russell's plan for wiping out malaria by wiping out Anopheles would have had very small chance of complete success. The genus is more widespread than just occuring around human settlement, where it causes the most problem. Short of continent-wide aplications of DDT to cover even the most remote of human settlements, it is doubtful that every source of mosquito could have been eradicated.

Seriously, if this strategy could work in practice I think that there would be many more agricultural pests that would have been exterminated than there are to date.

And it is a flawed comparison to equate the virus/human smallpox model with an insect/protozoan/human malaria model. The Variola virus had a biologically straighforward lifecycle, high contagiousness, obvious symptomology, and an excellent and fortuitous immunogenic cross-reactivity with a related but very much more benign virus, the cowpox Vacinnia. (It is from the practice of bursting cowpox pustules and inoculating immunologically naïve patients with the pus that the term 'vaccination' arose, and it properly only applies to this disease. Inoculations for other diseases are more appropriately referred to as immunisations).

But getting back to my point: technically, smallpox was a magnificently easy disease to prevent, even amongst the biologically 'simple' taxon of viruses. Malaria on the other hand is caused by four different Plasmodium (protozoan) species, carried by 35-40 species of Anopheles. And whilst the most important vector species for Plasmodium are strongly anthropophilic, not all are, so truly effective eradication would need to target all vector Anopheles species, whether near humans or not.

And then there's the inconvenience that some Plasmodium species can lie dormant in humans for up to three years (or more?), and that sufferers of the sickle-cell mutation or of any of a range of thalassemias are resistant to the worst clinical effects of the disease and can carry the parasite for years. Oh, and there's also the fact that some humans are just darned reclusive, and might fly under the radar of an eradication program.

Put all of these factors together, and the chances of globally eradicating all vector mosquitoes, or preventing the inevitable resurgence after resistance is selected for or the program stops, and simultaneously treating all infected people before any such resurgence in mosquito numbers occurs... well, it would be slim indeed. Too many weak links in a rather long and branched chain.

This is not to say that it would not be possible to eradicate malaria, but it would require a much more finessed approach than blunderbussing with DDT for a few years. To me the 'almost made it' claims are not much different to the claims that Vietnam only needed a little more carpeting to have succeeded...

It is no surprise that Anopheles numbers plummeted with the original widespread spraying of DDT, but this is a world of difference to eradication, and given the essential impossibility of complete mosquito-range coverage for continuous periods for a sufficient time, resistance emergence was basically guaranteed. I suspect that it had already emerged irrevocably by the time of the Carson backwash, and no amount of addition spraying would have changed the outcome.

The other thing to consider is that drainage of mosquito larval habitat had a significant impact, but there is a limit too to how much drainage is possible. It's easy to shift an equilibrium, but it's harder to totally break one. This is well known in noxious species eradiction, where it is said that killing half of a remaining population costs the same as killing the previous half.

Of course, humanity can easily exterminate many species, but these are nearly always specialised in one way or another, whereas many disease species or noxious species are much more geared toward boom-and-bust cycles, and such generalist strategies makes their elimination a much more profoundly difficult exercise.

I say this with a decade and a half of experience in immunology, and another decade in ecology and population dynamics. Perhaps I am being overly opinionated, but I don't think that I am being myopic - if anything, it is the cadre of beaurocrats and later of DDT denialists that are a little short-sighted and monochromatic.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Oct 2008 #permalink

Thanks Bernard J. Good to read a response that succintly covers the points that matter. I'm doubtful it will work with anyone who's already bought into the DDT ban myth.

I've wondered how such opinions get set in stone. I tend to think if you start with someone who has a pre-existing aversion to environmentalists, the message that "Greenies that hate civilisation caused millions of deaths by putting birds and mosquitos ahead of people" (DDT ban/defacto ban) stands a good chance of getting through unopposed - and when they are pointed to more misinformation that makes it all look consistent - it's all over. That opinion is pretty much set in place. Contrary opinion won't be welcome no matter how polite, informative or acccurate. Anyone who says it's not true must be wrong - or must be a greenie that hates civilisation.

I do find it strange that anyone can seriously believe that Environmentalists, particularly the extremist nutters, whether 40 years ago or today, could have so much influence that the world's strongest governments would shift policy at their whim for reasons that were groundless! Environmentalists only succeed in changing mainstream policy when they are so clearly right that their views become the mainstream. They only get taken that seriousy if credible science supports their views - if it wasn't credible science that informed those views to start with. This is evidence of the success of democratic processes, not evidence democracy is undermined.

Bernard, the comment was great but a couple of links would be icing on top, not for the happy to remain misinformed but for people who would like to be better informed.

56 Bernard,

Thanks for that excellent explanation.

57 Ken,

This is something that I don't get either. I can understand it when professional propagandists spread misinformation (obviously, they are paid to do it!), but there seems to be a certain mindset that will only believe bad things about any sort of environmentalism. I just can't see what they get out of these beliefs.

The only factor seems to be an ideological/political one common in the libertarian extreme right. Environmentalism is seen as being anti-Big Business (it often has no option) and is therefore a product of the left (socialist or otherwise). This simple-minded association guarantees continued attacks from the right.

Am I being too simple-minded?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 07 Oct 2008 #permalink

Bernard, good analysis re the [total] eradication of Malaria from DDT. I was using the term too loosely, and "total" probably wouldn't have made it. However this does not detract from the tremendous impact DDT had (and might still) have. Dropping annual cases from a few hundred thousand to a few dozen is pretty good even if not zero. The long-term effect is likely IMO, but, as you say, not certain.

Ken, et al, why do I buy into the "myth" of a ban on DDT??? After giving it considerable thought, I've concluded it was probably because of THE BAN on DDT. And if you believe politicos don't react to well-financed advocacy groups but only to well-founded science, you need to get out of the cave more often!

There is a wealth of quotes from environmentalists that are explicitly and strongly anti-business and capitalism. Now, it's not all I admit; but in the less malicious set the trade-offs put virtually everything else down the cost benefit chart so far it's almost academic that they are not, strictly speaking, anti-business.

No ban on disease control use of DDT. DDT effectiveness diminished so use of DDT is reduced for Malaria control purposes because it's not working. Blaming the deaths of 50 million children on this "ban", blaming the "ban" on excess influence of extreme environmentalists rather than real problems with DDT, blaming them for the world's failure to follow up Malaria control with other strategies including chemicals which work better than one where resistance had become widespread... these are very, very nasty accusations. It doesn't impress me when I hear them repeated and the presumption of guilt held to so firmly.

No ban on disease control use of DDT. DDT effectiveness diminished so use of DDT is reduced for Malaria control purposes because it's not working. Blaming the deaths of 50 million children on this "ban", blaming the "ban" on excess influence of extreme environmentalists rather than real problems with DDT, blaming them for the world's failure to follow up Malaria control with other strategies including chemicals which work better than one where resistance had become widespread... these are very, very nasty accusations. It doesn't impress me when I hear them repeated and the presumption of guilt held to so firmly.

Ken, hard to understand. Here's an excerpt from the EPA press release:
"The general use of the pesticide DDT will no longer be legal in the United States after today, ending nearly three decades of application during which time the once-popular chemical was used to control insect pests on crop and forest lands, around homes and gardens, and for industrial and commercial purposes.

An end to the continued domestic usage of the pesticide was decreed on June 14, 1972, when William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, issued an order finally cancelling nearly all remaining Federal registrations of DDT products. Public health, quarantine, and a few minor crop uses were excepted, as well as export of the material."

Looks like a ban; smells like a ban; tastes like a ban; IS BAN! NB the little word "export".

It is no logical stretch to attribute the tremendous increase in malaria (many millions of deaths over the years, though "50 million children" is too big a stretch) primarily to the usage ban. It is also an easy conclusion to attribute the ban (and earlier heavy restrictions) to environmentalists. However "blame" and "guilt" are not appropriate -- they had no malicious scheme to kill people; they honestly believed (wrongly...) that DDT would eventually kill people.

Rod B, how are you parsing this sentence?

"Public health, quarantine, and a few minor crop uses were excepted, as well as export of the material."

It pretty clearly states that exporting of DDT is excepted from the ban i.e. export of DDT was legal. I don't know if the rules have changed since then.

Rod B, spraying for malaria eradication is pretty obviously covered by the exemption for "public health and quarantine". If it was legal to export DDT, then it didn't function as a ban stopping third world countries spraying for malaria control, either. And that's leaving the resistance issue aside.

By James Haughton (not verified) on 08 Oct 2008 #permalink

Rod B.

I am truly puzzled by your last post.

You quote

"The general use of the pesticide DDT will no longer be legal in the United States after today, ending nearly three decades of application during which time the once-popular chemical was used to control insect pests on crop and forest lands, around homes and gardens, and for industrial and commercial purposes.

An end to the continued domestic usage of the pesticide was decreed on June 14, 1972, when William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, issued an order finally cancelling nearly all remaining Federal registrations of DDT products. Public health, quarantine, and a few minor crop uses were excepted, as well as export of the material."

You see, it works like this:

1) indiscriminant overuse of DDT led to widespread selection for mosquito resistance in areas where DDT was used to manage malaria.

2) the non-malarial uses (emboldened above) of DDT were banned in order to retain as much operational susceptibility to the insecticide as possible.

3) the disease-control uses (underlined above) of DDT were exempted from the ban

4) the quote that you give repeats exactly these points

5) this is a ban on non-disease use of DDT, exactly what biology/medicine required in order to maximise the best disease-control use of DDT

6) it is not only a logical stretch, but a logical faux pas and indeed a logical error "to attribute the tremendous increase in malaria (many millions of deaths over the years, though "50 million children" is too big a stretch) primarily to the [non-disease) usage ban." Because, as has been repeatedly pointed out, the USE FOR MALARIA CONTROL WAS NOT BANNED!!

Looks like a confabulation; smells like a confabulation; tastes like a confabulation; IS CONFABULATION! NB the little word "export"... to countries where malaria was much more of a concern than in is the States.

So, to correct several more of your statements - "it is an easy conclusion to attribute the non-disease use, ban (and earlier heavy restrictions) to environmentalists". And to scientists and to sensible officials. And thank heaven that this is so, as "the [non-disease] use of the ban [has] saved many millions of deaths over the years".

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 08 Oct 2008 #permalink

Dunno what happened tom my underline. The relevant sentence was:

Public health, quarantine, and a few minor crop uses were excepted, as well as export of the material.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 08 Oct 2008 #permalink

A quick retraction (it didn't sound right in the back of my mind as I read it -- incorrectly): Exports of DDT were not banned in the 72 ruling. It's non-use was effected through indirect (extortion??) means.

And yet, after telling us it was banned, every ban-decrier goes on to tell us what a bad decision that was, on the grounds that the places which continue to use it have such good results.

Most commonly with those who believe the DDT banned for malaria control myth, like Monckton, there is deliberate blaming and attempts to smear environmentalists with mass deaths, including comparisons with deaths by infamous dictators. By your agreement with them, even if not specifically stated by you, you are participating as a volunteer in a deliberate campaign to blame every post-DDT malaria death on environmentalism.

In any case, no matter how much lobbying by environmentalists, and by the chemical industry (anyone think they simply sat silently and watched a very profitable product restricted to use for disease control?) these decisions were not made by environmentalists!

Any failure to follow up DDT's reduced use with other strategies and chemicals - whether you believe that reduction was because of diminishing effectiveness (and an agricultural ban on DDT specifically to reduce the ongoing loss of that effectiveness), or excess influence of a noisy minority - is not down to environmentalism.

Your elected officials and their appointees made these decisions, not environmentalists.

BTW, any effectiveness DDT currently retains with Malaria mosquitos is largely because it's widespread use was restricted.

We're beating a dead horse, but what the hay. I never claimed the environmentalists are anywhere near the malicious evil doers and dictators that deliberately (though rationalized in their own mind) murdered millions. They are not even in the same league; not even close; hell, not even distant. I do admit others have implied the connection, like Monckton I suppose (I'm still not sticking up for him), but they are wrong (even though, as an aside, one need not look hard to find really egregious statements by some environmentalists (and some leaders in the movement) like the world would be better off if millions of humans were dead, and it's better African women die of malaria than reproduce riotously.) None-the-less to see, e.g., Sri Lanka cases go from millions to dozens with the spraying of DDT and then rise back to millions after stopping the spraying and assert with full confidence that DDT had nothing to do with it is not just silly, it's, well, stark denialism, to coin a term. The environmentalists just didn't believe that would be the outcome, but were not malevolent about it.

BTW, it was the Environmental Defense Fund who was the prime mover behind the '72 ban and strongly instrumental in the earlier restrictions. And they, along with the manufacturers and distributors, both took the EPA to court. For different reasons of course: industry to kill the ban and EDF to kill the minor exceptions. Both lost.

Rod, Sri Lanka stopped spraying DDT because it wasn't working any more -- they were in the middle of an epidemic which they only got under control by switching to malathion. So how come you got this so badly wrong? Where are you getting your "facts" from?

Look, Rod B is a climate science denier and an intelligent design creationist, as well as a DDT ban kool-aid drinker.

It's really not worth the effort to try to educate the man.

Rod, your elected officials and their appointees made these decisions, not environmentalists. The right decisions on DDT in my opinion. Perhaps not the right decisions on funding and managing Malaria control after DDT's effectiveness had diminished to ineffectiveness.

Your apparent belief in the magical powers of DDT to eradicate Malaria is only matched by your apparent belief in the magical powers of environmentalists to get every major gov't to stop believing in the magical powers of DDT. (And cause them to fail to be responsible for the decisions they make!)

BTW, do you think evolution is false? Do you believe AGW is false?

Tim, Google " WHO UN DDT spraying history "sri lanka" " (without the outside quotes) and select the "Aquatic Pollution" link to a readable (but not copyable) authoritative book (URL is a mile long). It ain't hard; there are tons of references -- as there are tons of usually shrill blogs trumpeting just the opposite (and to be fair some of the proponent references are shrill, too.) The trick, on the internet of course, is to somehow separate the wheat from the chaff.

But the above is academic. As the man says, some guys are going to believe what they choose and nothing will change that. Sorry I hijacked this post which was supposed to be on Monckton.

Ken, Geeez.. Of course the political appointees made the decision, strictly and literally speaking. They are the only ones that can. Do you suppose the Environmental Defense Fund was sitting around with tea and crumpets one day, read the paper about the ban, and said "Gee, that's nice." (followed by, "Hey! Why don't we hire that nice man, what's his face, Ruckelshaus?"....)

dhogaza, I'm a climate science partial sceptic, not a "denier", support the intelligent design concept, but not creationism, and, of course, can't drink the DDT kool-aid since they banned it! But, hey, zero for three ain't that bad! And Ken, evolution has some holes in its totality but I do not believe it is false. None of which, BTW, has anything to do with the history of DDT.

Rod, the [book you referred says](http://books.google.com/books?id=11LI7XyEIsAC&pg=PA280&lpg=PA280&dq=WHO…):

>Tests conducted in 1974, however, indicated that resistance within the mosquito population had increased to an alarming level, and that there were over 300,000 clinical cases of malaria that year. In response to this development and perhaps also as a result of the U.S. ban on DDT use in 1972, the government began substituting malathion for DDT in the spray control program in 1974, and DDT use was ultimately phased out entirely.

So your own reference contradicts you --DDT spraying stopped because of resistance. Laws does add a unsupported speculation that the US ban might also have had something to do with it, but that makes no sense whatsoever -- the US ban exempted public health use. He also has another unsupported speculation that the 1963 suspension of spraying might have had something to do with Rachel Carson when it was in fact SOP in the malaria eradication program -- you stop spraying when malaria has been eradicated.

Laws figures for malaria are wrong as well. Compare with the [official figures from WHO]( http://www.searo.who.int/en/Section10/Section21/Section340_4026.htm).

support the intelligent design concept, but not creationism

That's a bit like saying "I play five-card draw, but not poker".

Well, you ignored the main thrust and got down to pick some fly specks out of the pepper -- and didn't even get that totally correct. I don't wish to belabor this, but on the outside chance that some here might be interested in the full context from Laws' book:
1946 -- about 2.8 million cases a year; DDT large-scale spraying begins.
1954 -- about 40,000 cases; spraying greatly reduced.
1957 -- many many cases reappear; spraying DDT recommences though on a smaller scale.
1963 -- 17 cases.
Paraphrasing, "Partially because they thought malaria might have been eradicated and partially because of [the public furor] ... over... Carson's book, they drastically reduced DDT spraying in 1963 and ceased it in 1964."
1968-9 -- near 2.5 million cases of malaria.
1969 -- restricted spraying resumes.
1972 -- about 130,000 cases -- a big reduction but less than expected; thought maybe because of increased resistance to DDT.
1974 -- cases actually increased with continued limited DDT spraying to about 300,000; Now confident this was caused by increased resistance and began substituting the less persistent and more costly malathion on a restricted basis because of costs, but soon used exclusively of DDT. [The increased cost proved relative as aid to use DDT was fast drying up, making it very costly.]
1978 -- [hold on to your hats!] cases reduced by malathion to -- TA-DA -- 250,000 a year. Actually, this wasn't as minimal as I'm hinting since the increase of cases at least was stemmed, and that is significant.

Make of this what you will. No more bedtime stories until you learn to read. And don't check out South Africa's experience, e.g., in the 2000s; you'll find it depressing.

dhogaza, I use "intelligent design" as it initially meant (and as Einstein roughly thought of it), not as it has been sometimes co-opted by creationists.

i find "intelligent design" as a concept exceptionally limiting. humanity has demonstrated conclusively the limits of intelligence and teleological behavior; on the other hand, in every scale of nature we see more and more evidence of self-organzing behavior, of complexity arising as emergent phenomena, of the ability of random chance to find and exploit niches that would never have been seen by a priori intelligent design.

hope not to rub anyone the wrong way, but if i were god, i'd be insulted to be limited to anything resembling human intelligence, no matter how souped up, and to have my handiwork considered as the product of a similar process.

on another note, ever time i see that monckton photo at the top i am once again transported into a world of delight. i should probably make that my desktop wallpaper.

Rod, even though I told you that your source's malaria figures were wrong and linked to the official ones, you continued to use them. Malathion spraying got the number of cases down to 38,000 in 1982. Then things deteriorated again, probably because the civil war (1983-2000) disrupted the spraying program.

Your paraphrase is misleading. Laws wrote: "perhaps partially in response to the publication of Rachel Carson's *Silent Spring*". Note the "perhaps". Laws has no evidence, it's just a speculation. A speculation that makes no sense. If they changed their policy in response to Carson it would have been to restrict the agricultural use of DDT. But they didn't and presumably as a result, when they resumed spraying, mosquitoes had evolved resistance.

I note that Rod B claims there are "tons" of references to support his claims regaring Sri Lanka - but produces only one, which as Tim points out does not supprot his position.

Tell you what Rod, why don't you post three of four more?

While you're at it, how about a sample of those "really egregious statements by some environmentalists (and some leaders in the movement) like the world would be better off if millions of humans were dead, and it's better African women die of malaria than reproduce riotously."

Seeing as its so easy to find them, I'm sure it shouldn't be that difficult to come up with a half dozen or so.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Oct 2008 #permalink

Tim, neither I nor Laws (in the referenced work) even said anything about 1982 malaria cases in Sri Lanka.

"perhaps partially" of "partially": So? Both imply conjecture. In this case a reasonable conjecture from objective observation and analysis, but conjecture none-the-less. What's the point?

I said, conjecturing, the 2nd cessation of spraying was partially in response to the public furor from Carson's book which was pretty much evenly divided between hurting wildlife (especially birds) and people. I still miss your point.

Ian, I have no reason to nor get any benefit from citing more references to any of my assertions. It ain't hard, nay quite simple, to find them for either my basic point or the egregious quotes. You're not interested in the references; you're just exercising me and I don't have that time to waste. I will do one, however, for the drill: John Davis, (an) editor of Earth First! Journal: "I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems." And btw, the African women comment was from Edwin J. Cohn of USAID Policy Development (though in fairness he later retracted it as being a stupid thing to say...) I singled out Laws' book because it seemed a serious and credible source. There are half-tons of shrill not credible sources on this topic out there in plain view -- on both sides of the debate I admit.

z, valid points. One of the problem is that "intelligent design" has come to mean many things in support of various groups' agendas. I'm really talking of Super Intelligent Design which puts it far far above current human intelligence, but does not necessarily exclude random improvements nor evolution nor things wrong (like avocado pits!)

I'm really talking of Super Intelligent Design which puts it far far above current human intelligence...

It just gets better.

So, what's your objective evidence that this Super Intelligent Designer exists? And who designed the Super Intelligent Designer?

And there's nothing wrong with avocado pits.

"Ian, I have no reason to nor get any benefit from citing more references to any of my assertions. It ain't hard, nay quite simple, to find them for either my basic point or the egregious quotes. You're not interested in the references; you're just exercising me and I don't have that time to waste."

No I'm interested in exposing your use of hyperbole.

Thank you for your assistance.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Oct 2008 #permalink

The reason why Rod hasn't provided more of these "tons" of references is that they don't support him. The first hit on his Google search refers to [this page](http://timlambert.org/2005/02/malaria/) where I collected some more authoritative references, none of which support him. Speculation that "public furor" in the US somehow influenced the Sri Lankan government to do the opposite of what Carson advocated is not based on "objective observation and analysis".

And no surprise that Rod is pushing the fake "riotously reproducing" quote. It's a fabrication.

Super Intelligence Design? Why not? It's as equally outlandish and possible at the same time as, say, Big Bang, and it can offer answers (for the moment at least) to current questions that don't have them. Strict creationism is also outlandish, but not reasonably possible. God, played by George Burns, admitted he made the avocado pits too big, in the movie "Oh! God.

Tim, a large number of folk say Charlie said so-and-so. Another large group says "Did not!" First group says "Did so!" Second group says.... What's a guy supposed to do??

Well Rod, since that one particular quote is under question, you could always trot out some of the numerous other examples you assure us you have.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Oct 2008 #permalink

Is Rod B a sock puppet? Expertise in reading one line of a document and omitting the next is always interesting. He's not honest, and his script is not stupid. Either a puppet or a tool, I think.

stewart, Like Tim in #75 for instance??

to which you will most assuredly say, "Not so! Fabrication!", or possibly, "But he's on the outlying fringe and doesn't count; King's X", the latter which, btw, might be true but doesn't change my assertion.

But, what the hey. A few of the many that I have copied (some paraphrased for conciseness, to which you will might reply, "Aha! Misquotes!", but...):

Paul Ehrlich [everyone's favorite...]: "We're at 6 billion people on the Earth, and that's roughly three times what the planet should have. About 2 billion is optimal."
David Foreman, a founder of Earth First!: "Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental."
Alexander King [of the Malthusian Club of Rome]: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem."
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh [of all people!?!?], leader of the World Wildlife Fund: "If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
Maurice Strong: "Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"
Paul Watson, a founder of Greenpeace: "I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds."
John Davis [of one of my earlier quotes]: "Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs."
Charles Wurster of the Environmental Defense Fund [prime advocate of the 1972 ban]: "People are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them, and this [ban of DDT] is as good a way as any."

Rod must have had his sense of shame surgically removed. After being caught posting one fabricated quote, he does it some more. The fake Wurster quote [even has its own square in DDT ban myth bingo](http://timlambert.org/2005/12/ddt-ban-myth-bingo/). In fact, all of his DDT quotes are misleading. As well as the fabricated Wurster and Cohn quotes, he has one from King, that has merely been taken out of context.

Super Intelligence Design? Why not? It's as equally outlandish and possible at the same time as, say, Big Bang, and it can offer answers (for the moment at least) to current questions that don't have them.

Except in science, we look for predictions, and big bang theory has led to predictions that have been verified by observation.

"super intelligent design" makes no predictions whatsoever. It explains nothing. It is the ultimate "if we don't know everything, we know nothing" kind of argument.

But it's pretty clear that your views on science are ideologically driven. You wouldn't lie in this thread so repetitively if that weren't true. You wouldn't trot out the same old arguments over and over and over again at Real Climate, wasting the time of people who correct you on the same point endless times, if that weren't true.

Thus my claim that it's pointless to try to teach you anything.

dhogaza, thank goodness

why are things sometimes posted twice here??

Why are some things posted once here?

Looks like proptosis.

Who's his doctor again?<?i>

I thought that too. Hyperthyroidism if untreated can lead to mental effects, can't it? I don't mean actually mad, but it can cause mental confusion, yes? (I know little about this subject and I'm open to correction!)

P. Lew, that was quality.

Agreed. Rod B, you've been nailed by P. Lewis.

Oh, well! dhogaza, my earlier example was not precise. For the record, classic intelligent design and the Big Bang are not mutually exclusive. Science looks for explanations as well, even if they are not readily apparent. What ideology could drive this escapes me, even though as you suggest I have it. What could it be?

Tim, the purveyors of the DDT ban myth have their own board game to prove their case?!?!? Wow!