Monckton Myths


Christopher Monckton is notable for the way he gets the science wrong over and over again. So the folks at Skeptical Science have created a handy resource listing the arguments he commonly uses and the refutations.

Monckton is in the news again, going to court to try to get prevent a documentary about him from being shown. As usual with Monckton. he lost:

Jo Abbess was (perhaps accidently) CC'd on an email from Monckton where he wrote:

Actually it's a boorish hatchet job of the traditional BBC kind, but I sued them and made them cut it by half an hour and alter or remove some 16 downright errors and unfairnesses in the programme. Pleasingly, they're going to have to pay quite a large chunk of the court costs (though I'm going to have to pay some too, because although the Beeb had promised me a right of reply their promise meant nothing either to them or to the High Court). - M of B

Obviously, since this is Monckton, he could be making stuff up again.

More like this

"but I sued them and made them cut it by half an hour and alter or remove some 16 downright errors and unfairnesses in the programme."

Malicious so and so isn't he?

I think it more likely that those were 16 inconvenient truths about Monckton that he had removed. And since when does someone get to interfere with the content of a documentary to such a large degree?!

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

I must say I'm a trifle disappointed in their choice of logo when the now-classic Pink Portcullis of the House of Lord is freely available.

re #1

Does that mean, if Mad Monkfish is right, that he himself has stifled the press?!?!?

What an authoritarian communist nazi liberal!!!

re: jo Abbess
1) As I recall, Morano has been known to post emails addresses.

2) Monckton either:
a) Wanted people to see who he was addressing.
b) OR does not know about BCC:

By John Mashey (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

This would suggest he is lying:

The Press Association: BBC wins battle over climate show:

By bobinchiclana (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

A list of Monckton's allies (and enemies):

"To: Hans Schreuder, Rupert Wyndham, John Gahan
Cc: Climate Science Google Group, Brice Bosnich, Christopher Booker, James Delingpole,
John Christy, Nigel Lawson, Paul Reiter, Richard S. Lindzen, S. Fred Singer, BBC Radio Times Editor, Benny Peiser, Gabriel (Gabe) Rychert, Sally Allix, Angela Kelly, jo abbess, Mark Thompson (BBC), Caroline Thompson (BBC), Anthony Bright-Paul, Tony Nicholls, Andrew Montford, Humphrey Morison, David Bellamy, Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen, Charles Wyndham, Colin Bradshaw, Piers Corbyn, Peter Sissons, Philip Stott, David Evans, Fred Pearce, CWS, James Naughtie (BBC), John Humphrys (BBC), John Brignall, Kenneth Haapala, Rodney Leach, Physics Services, Melanie Phillips, Andrew Revkin, The Tablet, Andrew Tyrie (UK Parliament), Masters Secretary Trinity College Cambridge, Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That)"

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

RW @6,

Do you have anything to support your assertion that:

"no changes to the program were made, and nor was its broadcast delayed"

What you say may well be true, but some evidence would be nice.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

The production company that managed the program is Fresh One Productions. They are based in South London and its evening here and tomorrow I'm going to ring them up to find out if the program was cut by 30 mins as Monckton says (I find that hard to believe because it was made for the Storyville strand on BBC4 which is approx an hour long) plus that 16 errors were removed or altered and finally that the beeb had to pay a large part of the court costs - beyond any costs of representation they may have been obliged to take.

I'll come back to you all in 15 hours or so.

Re. 5 Mapleleaf -- "A list of Monckton's allies..."

Email group: Climate Cranks Club.

Ah, Rupert Wyndham...

Climate Realists: Letter to Royal Society from Rupert Wyndham
...An equally inept and disreputable UK Met Office remains in stubborn but increasingly risible denial. Although it was foreseen by others (for example, unlike the politically inspired Nature, the scientifically rigorous journal, Energy & Environment) this trend, of course, was totally missed by the GCMs so beloved of global warming propagandists.

Monckton would be better occupied worrying about the consequences of publicly declaring that John Abraham was under surveillance and that he (Abraham) was not an honest man, rather than doing a James "they cut out the three hours of me being brilliant and fabulous" Delingpole and claiming he was made to look bad.

Both Monckton and Delingpole look bad because there's no way their type of stupid can be made to look any better.

I hope St Thomas' and Prof. Abraham's lawyers get the chance to view the show sometime soon.

Re MapleLeaf @7

It is not the case that no changes were made to the film, but rather that no changes were legally enforced.

See the news article in TL's post:

Desmond Browne QC, for the BBC, production company Fresh One Productions Ltd and film maker Rupert Murray, said that changes had been made to the film in the light of Lord Monckton's concerns about accuracy and bias.

He told the court that the October 2010 contract provided for absolute editorial control by Fresh One and the BBC, there had been advance publicity for the broadcast and it would be problematic to show it at another time. He said that an injunction should not be granted as, though "dressed up" as a claim in contract, the real complaint was one of defamation.

The judge refused the application on the basis that the agreement on which Lord Monckton relied lacked the clarity which he submitted it had. The "balance of justice" also favoured its refusal, he added.

That link is a great resource, not only for Monckton's favorite myths, also 148 of the most popular myths from skeptics in general.

There are a few more that are popular in the media that I would add, though:

149. Al Gore is fat.

150. Al Gore has a big house.

151. Al Gore flies in airplanes.

152. Sometimes, it snows. Especially in winter.

These are especially popular ones among viewers of Fox and Friends.

By greatbear (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

Chek @11, "...publicly declaring that John Abraham was under surveillance and that he (Abraham) was not an honest man"

Sounds like harassment and slander to me...wonder what Abraham's lawyers will think?

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

Re 15 Nick Barnes

Nick, thanks. Here's a corker from Andrew Tyrie...

The basic science is not in dispute, but there are two questions in that science. First, what temperature increase will result from any given increase in carbon concentrations? The scientists are not unanimous, and dispute is widespread in the scientific community. A Hamburg institute study of opinions, prepared by Professor Storch, is decisive on that point. Furthermore, Professor Lindzenâarguably the father of modern climate scienceâof the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was asked to be the lead author of the 2001 science part of the report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change and has argued vigorously against the so-called consensus.

In context -
Direct link -

Birds of a feather really do flock together. Tim, he has something to say about malaria and temp increase, too ;)


I am most certainly not Jo Nova.

A couple of years ago, I received an avalanche of nasty e-mails from the Climate Sceptics (Skeptics) and it seems my e-mail address has lodged in their computers.

It seems possible on this occasion that the Climate Sceptics were attempting to get some oxygen for Christopher Monckton's narrative, and included me in the loop on purpose.

However, don't let the fact that I published Christopher Monckton's rant distract you from your usual aims and objectives - I love your graphs and charts, so keep up the good work !

The real story here is Climate Change Science, not Christopher Monckton's legal battles, so let's keep on with the research, data collection and reporting.

jo (abbess)


An avalanche of nasty emails from Climate Sceptics?


Interesting to read Monckton putting down Alan Siddons for his ridiculous pseudo-physics (which long-timers may recall sucked Marohasy into its downward spiral). For one paragraph he almost looked reasonable. But then we learn that his one true calculation of climate sensitivity which shows the IPCC is wrong is "currently under peer review" - presumably this means he slipped it under a bar-stool cushion in the Members Bar of the House of Lords before the security guards ejected him.

By James Haughton (not verified) on 01 Feb 2011 #permalink

I did have a few minutes to spare today so I checked Monckton's claim about a negotiated half-hour cut for plausibility. Bear in mind that most of the time I'm too busy or too lazy to use a proper computer so I work with a mobile phone (not even a smartphone) equipped with Opera Mini.

The upcoming Storyville episode on Ronald Reagan will run for about 100 minutes but this episode on climate sceptics seemed to run for about 60 minutes so this claim is at least plausible.

On the other hand 60 minutes seemed ample for the subject matter: eccentric British journalist teaches himself climate science and then tells Congress weird stuff that the scientists he cites find risible. You could cover it amply in a ten minute block on BBC2's NewsNight. What we're left with is a lovely portrait of the classic batty peer, and that's always worth an hour.

Update to the post:

>[ UPDATE : Some of the propagandists of the Climategate non-scandal, an event, you may recall, that involved the purloining and publication of thousands of private e-mails, have complained that I published their private e-mail addresses...Oh, such delicious irony ! ]

As the kids say: "lol"

I found a torrent for the Monckton film, but at nearly 600mb and needing codecs and Winrar to extract and view it's a bit much so I'm currently uploading it to Megavideo. Should be ready for you to view in an hour and a half.

Twelve minutes in myself. Be warned Australians - so far we do not come off well. Not only are there are scores of people slavishly praising Monckton, but one man in particular is of the view that all homosexuals should be "locked up or they should be exterminated". Classy guy.

Monckton in particular is shown in a pretty fair light. His "Hitler youth" tirade is shown, as are scenes of him making special arrangements for the elderly and disabled.

Man shouting at Al Gore: "THERE ARE 30,000 SCIENTISTS TRYING TO SUE THIS GUY!"

John, I've been looking, where did you find it?

24 minutes in and Monckton is demonstrating his incredible memory by singing the very same Tom Lehrer song I learned by heart when I was 14. I must be a genius.

Jakerman, I found it here after Googling on and off since it was broadcast. You're certainly welcome to download it, but the streaming version I am currently uploading will be ready in an hour.

Thanks John, 59 minutes to go.

Hopefully Auntie will bring it to Oz so it gets a broad showing.

Finished watching. It was pretty good, although there were some flat bits during the USA section. John Abraham makes an appearance (looking quite handsome, and nothing like an overcooked prawn) and eviscerates Monckton's arguments. I won't spoil the ending, but Monckton is left very unhappy and makes some statements that will only serve to aid his destruction.

A read of the threads at Bishop Hill reveals the retirees there who were once so fond of Monckton are abandoning him and trying to paint him as a fringe player, which is interesting.

Here's a good comment though:

>As it was filmed following CM around Australia, it seemed interesting that Murray did not wheel out an interview with Bob Carter while he was there. Perhaps he feared it would knock his ideas too much.

Yes Bob. Let's hear about this global cooling we're undergoing.

It's also interesting to note that almost all the comments were made before the show was aired. After the show was aired, very little noise was made.

>*As it was filmed following CM around Australia, it seemed interesting that Murray did not wheel out an interview with Bob Carter while he was there. Perhaps he feared it would knock his ideas too much.*

Its always the one who didn't get critiqued that would have been a better choice for the deniers.

Something wrong with your link John?

Thanks John.

Did you also get a voice sync problem half way through?

I put a call an hour ago into Fresh One Productions setting out Monckton's claims e.g. 90 to 60 minutes, 16 cuts/alterations, etc, and they said the production manager responsible for the program wil get back to me.......... if she is not sicka dn tired of the whole thing (my addition).

Hope they come back to me.

Jakerman, unfortunately yes. That was in the original video I downloaded.

@MapleLeaf: the list of contacts seems to have originated from Hans Schreuder, Monckton was just replying to all.


By Peter Hartmann (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

I can state with confidence Lord Monckton did not get the programme cut down from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. The QC's comments are right and Lord Monckton had no editorial control over the programme.

And James Delingpole is wrong. Rupert really did set out with an open mind as to global warming.

It's so much fun to watch a pseudo-religous movement built on junk science gasp its final few breaths. Start looking for work now gentleman. Don't wait till the last minute.

> It's so much fun to watch a pseudo-religous movement built on junk science gasp its final few breaths. Start looking for work now gentleman. Don't wait till the last minute.

You just described yourself.

-- frank

Re 46 Frank


So, the secret is to just mass email people. Imagine if everyone who disagrees with Monckton and Sullivan were to do the same.

Re 46 Frank again

ROFL. David Milliband's in Sullivan's list. I wonder what his brother Ed thinks of that. David Cameron, too, in the same list as Pete Ridley. LMAO, but coupled with the Heartland graph you found, a clear insight.

Blimey; Alastair Darling, Ann Widdecombe, Marc Morano, fruityjanitor....

42 Mark Gillar,

Ignoring the obvious irony of your claim, what work do you imagine most Deltoid commenters do? We all work in climate science? Or for some imagined warmofascist econazi organisation bent on world domination?

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

I think Mark Gillar slowly sees HIS work fall apart. He's been carefully building his case around Monckton's arguments, and now probably realises Monckton is a load of hot air. So, what does he have left himself? Blowing hot air...


I went to the Mark Gillar site via the link (thanks J Bowers) and was gratified to see that his website has a section devoted to those of us frequenting Deltoid. That means something.

BTW on the doco whenthey first mentioned Dr Pinker I sat up in anticipation that Tim's tangle with Monkers would get an airing and the UK audience could see that wonderful, wonderful moment when after Monkers declaring his close study of all of Dr Pinker's works and describing to the audience how Pinker was a satellite Nerd thereby envincing his (Monkers) how much close he was to Dr Pinker and then Tim reveals that Dr Pinker is a she and not a he and didn't agree with Monkers under standing of her own work.

Unfortunately the doco didn't include that but for me that rates up there with Plimer's remark of "illbreeding' wrt to Monbiot on the lateline interview.

Ahhhhhh, deniers...the gift that keeps on giving. No wonder Mark gillar has so much comedy material for his website.

Meet the Climate Sceptics

Act 1

Monckton: âI have a long nose and I poke it into all kinds of things simply because they amuse me [â¦] I do a bit of medical research, so far promising results. I do a bit of scientific research into this, again with reasonably promising results, rather exciting results. If Iâm right the this entire, this problem is going to disappear, it will be lifted off the shoulders of human kind. (@22:30s)

Act 2

Monckton: âAnd all weâve 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.â (@33 min)

Act 3

Murray: âI repeated the question the scientist had been asking, Had he deliberately misled people on this important political issue?â

Monckton: âNo, and besides, I thought I was addressing a scientific issue.â

Then discussing Moncktonâs claims that:

>*âThey attribute 69% of all the recent global warming to the Sun. Most solar physicists agree, the International Astronomic Union 2004 had a symposium on it, they concluded that that was the case.â*

Monckton: âSo if you like I made a mistake. But when he said that I was deliberately trying to deceive people: No I wasnât.â(@57m)

Andy Pittman: âClimate change isnât like an election⦠This isnât like that, this is an attack on the science and that actually doesnât change the truth⦠Winning [the Public Relations battle] doesnât change the trajectory of the Earth Climate⦠So by winning they win a battle so that we all lose the war. (@39m)

Peter @40,

Thanks. Still it does show that the "skeptics" are courting the media...very worrisome. Can you imagine the furor had "warmist" been found to be doing the same?

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

Monkton:I have a longnose

Perhaps we should call him Pinocchio.His nose-size was commensurate with his lying.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

>*His nose-size was commensurate with his lying.*

You're being unkind to his physial dimension, and overkind in the other dimension.

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

May it spread far and wide, and continue to vex religious nutters like Mark Gillar.


I've watched the piece already, but I'm curious to know whether your posting has the synchronisation issue that starts just before 40 minutes?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

Mark Gillar:

Start looking for work now gentleman.

So do you think we should get a job like yours? i.e. Cherrypicking?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

Don't be baited by the likes of Gillar - have you seen his website? Its scary - full of comic-book level stuff about evil liberals and support for the nutters in the tea party movement and other far right wingnuts. IMO the guy appears to be living on another planet.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

I've just got off the phone to Fresh One Productions, the producers of Meet the Sceptics. The person I spoke to said they are no longer commenting on the doco. The only further thing was when I said, "well, I guess you have received a lot of calls seeing the program was about Monckton" the person at the other end just laughed.

I guess the deniers will take this as 'evidence' that Monckton's email was correct though I would be sceptical given Monckton's continued performance e.g. when during the program he mentioned a medical treatment he came up with was effective against HIV.

The other thing is that if I could get hold of the email for the editor of the BBC Storyville strand that commissioned the programm then that person might be in a position to be more forthcoming.

> So do you think we should get a job like yours? i.e. Cherrypicking?

Nah, rent boy.

That guy's for sale as long as you've got the money.


as i said in post 41:
I can state with confidence Lord Monckton did not get the programme cut down from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. The QC's comments are right and Lord Monckton had no editorial control over the programme.

And James Delingpole is wrong. Rupert really did set out with an open mind as to global warming.

the reason i can do that is i worked on the film, i was the associate producer.




Thanks for clearing that up.

I must say, I thought that you were actually very gentle on Monckton, given the drubbing that could easily have been served to him!

Oo, and if you ever do an associate producer's cut, you should consider including Tim Lambert's taking down of Monckton with respect to Pinker during their debate last year. It's just another of those little moments where Monckton demonstrates that he is all hot air, and not fact-checked science.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

Thanks Callum,

Hope you guys had fun following Monkers around while making the program.

Just curious. Do you have any info on the 16 cuts/changes the the finished program and substantial legal costs also claimed by Monkers in his email?



i know that clip well. Whilst it has comic power, that clip was like many things part of Lord Monckton's journey but not necessarily part of Rupert's journey with him. There's a case for including a clip like that and a case against.

We felt, though Lord Monckton disagreed, that we had tried to be as fair as possible to him, not least in that Rupert and I genuinely like him as a person. This may be controversial on here! ;-)Though there may be major differences of opinion on climate science and concern about some of his methodology, we wanted to reflect a genuine affection for him and still address some part of the science.

This was a film that was very much Rupert's personal opinion and journey.

On the 16 points, i couldn't remember the exact number, but they were generally small points of factual accuracy from checking IPCC temperature variation estimates and slight script changes to show Lord Monckton that this was not an attempted to be biased, rather an attempt to call it as Rupert (and I) saw it. They did not change the editorial thrust of the film in any way.

I am surprised by Lord Monckton's email and some of his comments, but then I am not in his position.

jeremy - most people put 2 'l's is Callum without thinking, no worries!

> not least in that Rupert and I genuinely like him as a person. This may be controversial on here!

I think it more likely that you've not been on his bad side until now.

I know what you mean, though to be fair, that can be said of many people. I think also Rupert and I share an enjoyment in people's company who are interesting even though there may arguably be flaws in their character. I know I have plenty of flaws in mine!

But perhaps greater excoriation by Lord Monckton may change my opinion, though I hope not.

Well Monckton is a flawed character, but the film did show him to be generally very genial. However there were two moments where the documentary showed another side to him; the 'hitler youth' incident and his rather creepy statements about John Abraham. I think this may be evidence that he displays sociopathic tendancies and has narcissisistic delusions of grandeur - but that's just speculation, I'm not a psychologist.

Well, it can be a bit like the difference between the weird bloke who always asks how you're doing vs the weird bloke who follows you everywhere while asking how you're doing.

They're both similarly interesting people. It's just one of them is a worrying threat.

Just offhand, Monckton has written
/helped write letters demanding apologies or resignations, or claimed people were being investigated :

Senators Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller
Naomi Oreskes
Me (in minor way)
Barry Bickmore
John P. Abraham

The 3 academics all had nasty letters written to their administrations, often to President/Chancellor level. I'd guess there are more.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

Calum, thanks for this insight into the production process.

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

@ calum

How about a 'Meet the Climate Scientists'? I suspect it'd be a novel one... quite seriously. ;)

Big thumbs up for the film. Thanks.

happy to help Nick.


But have you seen this latest piece by Fred Pearce.

Unbelievable. Feel free to post comments at NewScientist.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

Re 79 ML: Oh yes. I've defended Fred in the past, but he's really jumped the shark and nuked the fridge with that one.


Care to try and be a voice of sanity over there?

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

ML, already dropped by and left my thoughts there.

Voice of sanity? Thanks (sure others would disagree), but I'm mad as hell, right now ;)

Thanks JBowers. Re being mad as hell, me too.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

I'd give the documentary 3 out of 4 stars. The lack of 4 stars is specifically with regards to not enough critique of the pseudoscience Monckton puts forth. I know there could be hours of this but more of that material would have been good.

Monckton seems to be a generally a polite fellow with British charm towards anyone he thinks can be duped, but appears rather nutty and fanatical towards critics.

Most disturbing were those U.S. tea party rallies. Monckton praised "fair and balanced" Fox News and got cheered on, while leading the crowd in "global warming is ********" chants. It's embarrassing that my country has millions of these fanatics, so easily and readily mislead.

The fact that Monckton can convince people he is a nice fellow when he manifestly is not makes him all the more creepy. That is the mark of a successful sociopath.

Calum, Congratulation of very sound and well made film. I found in enjoyable and believe it will reach people that blogs wont.

I note that certain "sceptical blogs" acknowledge you gave a sympathetic hearing to Monckton (commenting on the film showing Monckton's accommodation of elder and sick). Though I note the Lizard men at David Icks donât approve (except of your inclusion of Alex Jonesâ rants) ;)

I also felt that the scene showing Monckton reading the 'bad news' on the scientific report to his Congressional testimony, showed him to be thoughtful rather than a frothing maniac. That was good.
Bloggers can acknowledge that you donât need to be an evil genius to do make the errors that misleading statements that Monckton does.

If you have a chance to make corrections before our ABC run the film, the first time Kevin Rudd in mentioned he is incorrectly named as Premier Rudd. The second time (later in the film showing his toppling) he is correctly named as (then) Prime Minister.

Calum, the mis referencing of Prime Minster as "Premier Rudd" is at about 5 minutes in, straight after the BBC intro clip to the driest inhabited continent.

I'm loathe to admit, that I found the scenes of His Lordship and Plimer nature-trailing with a bottle of acid(!) in clothes your dad might hesitate to wear, quite endearing.

If only these two old buffers were only out to interest and entertain themselves, much in the manner of an Outback version of 'Last of the Summer Wine' (a light comedy TV show about the mundane - if well observed - "adventures" of three retirees in a remote country village, for the benefit of non-Brits), what a nicer place the world would be!

Likewise the scene where His Climateship opened the letter in which is opinions on climate science were judged nonsensical by Real, Professional Scientists. A nicely presented scene for which the phrase 'crestfallen expression' might have been invented, that any of us who have received an envelope containing less than what we'd hoped for could empathise with.

Leaving all else aside, as a neutral viewer, it would have been conceivably possible to have been left with the impression that while some might doubt their credentials, basically these were two thoroughly nice, harmless blokes who at worst might be perhaps mistaken. Which of course is the illusion most TV and half-truths provide us with.

But in the case of this program, we were also allowed to see the Abraham moment, when the veil of civility was lifted and we also got to see the underlying vicious, vindictive and threatening nature of the Climate Denial machine, as expressed through the travelling circus mouthpiece that is the Monckton Denialist Roadshow, no matter how kind he is to cripples.

That for me was why it was a noteworthy show.
Congratulations Calum and the team on producing something well worth the time invested in viewing.

Check, seconded from me as well.

Calum, I hope you don't get too much hate mail over this, but if you do I hope its as good [as this](, posted against Greenmans Crock busting videos:

>Find me a Full professor of Atmospheric science or climatology that thinks global warming is a real Conservative (sic) who alsoâ¦

>1) Always votes republican

>2) Carries a gun.

>3) Believes in God.

>4) Has big muscles.

>5) Eats meat

>You canât.

>All you can find is dwarfed democrats that are womanly.

>That is because global warming is political and religious and not at all science.

>There is an attempt to cloak it in science. But it does not fit.

One of the things I liked about the documentary was that it revealed some of the individual motivations of many contrarians. We're familiar with the fossil fuel and industry influence, but what doesn't get mentioned enough is the simple drive for personal attention one gets from being contrarian. Monckton comes across as a role of a spiritual leader of a movement, and loves this role, expressing great enthusiasm at the perception that such a movement is growing. It made his references to "Hitler Youth" appear rather ironic.

Judy Curry might have similar motivations, although with a somewhat different narrative of course (being something like "mainstream science is corrupt, let's replace it with what I'm doing"). She also feels her arguments are validated/vindicated by perceived growing attention.

Along the lines of what jakerman and chek said, it was good that the documentary took time to establish the person Monckton. Misinformation doesn't come simply from raving lunatics (the dude who screamed that 30,000 scientists were suing Al Gore) or soulless shills. It also can come from seemingly polite and sometimes charming people with physical human frailties.

The "crestfallen" scene can be interpreted in different ways. While it might depict genuine sadness and reflection in discovering he was wrong, is there any evidence that he's changed his mind on anything? It seems Monckton and other contrarians interpret criticism as meaning the critics are just part of the conspiracy. Admitting any serious errors threatens the whole movement and place as a spiritual leader.

To finish this thought, the film also indicated why many in the denial movement feel the way they do about the science. Many see global warming concern a threat to individual freedoms. Combined with general lack of solid scientific background, this ideology is what makes it very easy for them to believe people like Monckton. Monckton wouldn't be doing his thing if there weren't so many people who wanted to believe him.

Re MapleLeaf and J Bowers...

I've been buying and reading New Scientist almost weekly since the early 70s (being disappointed when I missed buying it at the newsagent because they'd sold out). And I have been a subscriber for most of about the last 10 years or so.

I used to really enjoy reading it. Now, I wouldn't say it is without value still, but it has become less enjoyable over time and I've now reached my limit with it.

I almost stopped subscribing this time last year (but since, strictly speaking, my subscription is renewed for me around birthday time, the opportunity was lost because I didn't make my wish known early enough ;-). And I won't be buying it regularly (if at all) from the newsagent either now, since I only go into town about 8-10 times a year.

Why the change? Well, largely because of pieces like the current Fred Pearce nonsense pointed to above, though I hasten to add that it's not because of that piece alone that I'm not renewing the subscription. I'd already finally come to the decision a couple of months ago.

IMO there has been a steady "tabloidisation" of NS over the years (I could be wrong, but I think it started shortly after Reed Elsevier divested themselves of IPC Magazines in the late 90s whilst retaining the NS title), and possibly a more recent willingness to employ the (false) journalistic balance on certain issues that has no place in science or its reporting.

I should probably write about this to NS directly, but I can't honestly be bothered. Anyway, my money is going elsewhere in future.

Oops! That should have read

I almost stopped subscribing this time last year (but since, strictly speaking, my subscription is renewed for me around birthday time, the opportunity was lost because I didn't make my wish known early enough ;-). This time around I made my wish to discontinue subscribing known well in advance of renewal time. And I won't be buying it regularly (if at all) from the newsagent either now, since I only go into town about 8-10 times a year.

One point about the film talked about on "sceptical" blogs is the guy advancing the idea of suspending democracy. That really played into their prejudice views about designs for world government, green totalitarians.

I've not seen this suspention of democarcy discussed much as a method to get policy to mitigate climate change. I think the idea is fringe, and I think its misguided.

Democracy needs to be strengthened to get through climate mitigation policy. We are in an unbalanced political system where plutocracy challenges and where allowed it displaces democracy.

The massive spending on elections is one case in point. This combines with consolidation of media ownership, which is bad enough in the print media but worse in USA without the counter balance of a well resourced public broadcaster.

With the USA's mitigation inaction being used as an excuse for others to delay action (in a circular feedback argument with a tragic endpoint), the short term profit driven plutocratic displacement of democracy is in US is devastating for the world.

The recent Supreme Court "Citizen's United" ruling means that the concentrated power of corporations can spend whatever they want in political campaigns, and have the first amendment rights of a citizen, combined with the cumulative power that comes with immortality.

We do need political reform; we need better protection of democratic institutions and processes. We need media reform, and we outside the USA need to be examples as much as we can, including with our own reforms to promote more journalism that does not answer to the corporate profit motive.

Who knows, maybe the if things get bad enough, the US citizen's might do a Ciaro, and over through the corrupt system.

Oh, and to add to the two points I highlighted above:

Monckton repeated the lie that Obama was not born in the USA* so he's either a credulous idiot or a liar telling credulous idiots what they want to hear.

*Crap, now I have Springsteen stuck in my head


The 'Premier' glitch has been mentioned, but there was one other niggle that stood out for me.

When initially discussing climate sensitivity there is mention that it is about 1 degree celcius (excluding feedback), without any reference to the fact that this refers to a doubling of CO2 concentration. Of course, it is very likely that with business as usual a doubling will be easily exceded.

Although a doubling of CO2 concentration is mentioned a few minutes later, I think that the lack of an immediate connection of temperature rise and CO2 concentration would make the whole issue of warming a little more difficult to understand (and apparently insignificant as well) to those lay folk who are struggling with the very basic science.

If the documentary is to be broadcast in Australia (or elsewhere), and if it is possible to twiddle the dialogue, it would be good to have a little clarification of this point.

On the matter of Fred Pierce's extraordinary nonsense, I submitted a reply myself, but it doesn't seem to have been released. I thought that I was polite, but perhaps I've ruffled the feathers at Non Scientist...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

#33: Thanks, John. This seems to be well worth a look. How big is the Megavideo clip? I'd like to watch at home, but my downloads at home are limited.

[P. Lewis](…).

I seem to have a similar history with NS, and I too recently let my subscription lapse. I said as much in my post on the thread, and I used the word "tabloid" too, which might explain why I've been parked in moderation.

Jakerman's point about the suspension of democracy is an interesting one. The argument is being used as a contradiction of the science, when in fact it is irrelevant to whether the science is correct or not. It's politics, not science. If people want to refrain from acting because they want to be free to pollute and modify the biosphere as much as they desire, and in ignorance of the rights of 80% of the population of the planet and of the rights of future generations, then they should be frank about it. They should simply admit that they'd rather trash the place in the face of the best science, than to act on it.

But using political claims (whether justified or not) to deny the science... well, that's just bogus.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

Bernard J, I thought about that loss of reference to "per doubling" in the climate sensitivity. I wonder though, for the audience, most will be lost by this technical nuance (i.e. the A1 CO2 emissions scenarios are on track for 2 x doubling) . The scale of the issue at least comes across clearly with the Lindzen quote: "I can cope with 5 degrees".

What does come across clearly is that Monckton is making radical claims counter to the current science, makes mistakes and misleading errors, miss-interprets data(Pinker), hasn't publish his work, and it falls over when reviewed by competent people in the field.

Perhaps that is enough to communicate to the un-immersed audience, rather than the technical nature of the science involved?

>*But using political claims (whether justified or not) to deny the science... well, that's just bogus.*

Yep, and I suppose we can expect Alex Jones, David Ick's Lizard people, Glen Beck, Rush L, and Monckton fans to keep using then.

@97 - Monckton is a "birther" too?

Oh just when I thought it couldn't get any better!


Alas yes. He was onstage at some Tea Party rally-type event and said (exact quote):

>You can be born in Kenya and end up as president of the United States

He also called Fox News the 'freedom channel'.

Eugh, I just did a little sick in my mouth.

Peter, it's about 250 megabytes.

Stu, Mike, a Monckton classic:

>âI'm planning on running for President. Apparently all I need is a freshly-minted Hawaiian birth certificate."

I personally doubt he believes this, but he knows how to work an audience. Watch the way he plumps up his peerage credentials when touring Australia for the benefit of his aging, monarchist audience, but speaks at anti-government movements in the US (the majority of whom are supposed to be appalled by hereditary peerages as their ancestors fought to be free of such antiquated notions).

It's an act. He knows his audience and he morphs his personality accordingly.

P. Lewis @94,

Thanks for that. FWIW, why don't you just send NewScientist what you wrote have done all the work already. It really could not hurt.

Bernard J @100,

Something odd is going on with their comments page...I posted a comment and it is displayed under "recent comments", but it has not (yet) been added to the list of comments. Same problem with other recent comments.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

For the sake of the continuity of this thread, and because the "Recent comments" link doesn't actually seem to be producing the message, this is what I posted at New Scientist:

Bernard J. on February 4, 2011 2:19 AM

Fred Pierce has, like the organisers of the "conference", employed the logical fallacy of argumentum ad temperantiam as the premise for this whole tawdry exercise.

The example of evolution has been raised previously, but I will mention it again. There is no middle ground between the science underpinning biological evolution on the one hand, and the myth of literal biblical creationism on the other. Bringing biologists and Christian fundamentalists together in an attempt to hash out a middle ground would be ludicrous and futile for reasons that anyone who isn't relying upon faith as a scientific tool should understand.

Similarly, there is a huge body of science that describes the cause/effect relationship between HIV and AIDS, and yet there are those who claim that there is no relationship. Issues of receptor-based resistance aside, are we to decide on a model of partial infectivity only, simply to appease those who don't accept the evidence of science?

There are millions of people who believe that Santa Claus delivers billions of presents each 25 December, and then there are those who have evidence to the contrary. What should we do - meet halfway and accept that Santa Claus delivers some of the presents?

It['s] extraordinary to see a magazine that was one a reputable reporter to the lay community of the latest advances in - and understand of - science, descending into tabloid nonsense. Where is the editorial integrity that used to characterise the magazine in days past?

It is sad indeed to see that New Scientist has become a haven, even if it is just on the blogosphere, of the like[s] of people who say "here come the AGW trolls" when scientifically qualified people attempt to correct the record.

And before anyone protests that there are "sceptical" (read denialist) 'scientists' here such as Sherwood Thoele, who dispute AGW, it is interesting to note that Thoele (a vocal and publishing denialist) has elsewhere come up with pearlers of scientific distortion such as "CO2 is heavier than air, so without air currents it won't rise above the ground (stage fog, silos, caves, mines)". If one is not able to detect the misrepresentation of gas physics in this quote, one is probably not in a position to support Thoele's pretence to credibility.

New Scientist has been notable over the last few years in its dabbling in non-science, and indeed I ceased my decades-long subscription solely because of Fred Pierce and his conversion of the magazine to Non Scientist. I found my way here through a link, and I am glad that I did so, because I was toying with the idea of perhaps putting my toe back into the water. This sad piece has cemented my resolution to eschew any further purchase of New Scientist for any reference to the cutting edge of science.

And yes, I realised afterward that I mis-spelled 'Pearse' and left a few typos, but I was too livid to even bother with a preview...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Feb 2011 #permalink

Stu, I guess I shoudn't be surprised that neither Monckton nor any of the other "he's a Keynan citizen" birthers can be bothered looking up section 97 of the Kenyan Constitution which automatically terminates Kenyan citizenship for dual citizens on their 21st birthday unless they renounce their other citizenship.

Or perhaps, I guess, the other possibility is that Monckton and the others know full well the truth of the matter, but just lie about it anyway. That would be more in line with his writings and talks on global warming.

#105. Thanks John. It looks as though I'd exceed my modest monthly allowance at home. The part I viewed from my work looked like fun, though. I especially liked the bit where the "three P's" (Plimer + Potty Peer) went into the outback to pour acid (marked "Acid", for the benefit of viewers, I guess) onto limestone. The resulting fizzing presumably disproves the entire corpus of AGW evidence. And what about PP's Gilbert & Sullivan rendition? Clowns.

Another question, open this time. Somewhere, in the pages I've viewed in the last couple of days connected to Monckton's copying to Jo Abbess of his e-mail, I saw one in which the address of Sir Martin Rees was also listed. I can't find the page now, and it doesn't seem to be listed at #57 above. Not that I wish to write to Sir Martin himself, no, I just wondered if anyone can hypothesize why Monckton would bother copying Sir Martin on his messages, when Sir Martin's views seem to be so different from Monckton's own.

Peter, in that case if you're in Australia I'd happily burn a DVD of it for you.

Mike, it's *all part of the conspiracy*!

Re 94 P Lewis

I didn't bother renewing my NS subscription last year. I'd pick it up at a station for something to read on the train if I had nothing else to hand, but I won't even bother with that now.

thanks for all you kind comments and the notes on accuracy.

the scene where monckton reads the report from the climate scientists is a good one as i think Lord Monckton expresses a range of emotions and I think it's something we can also project onto and i like the ambiguity of that. i make no judgement on what is going through his head at that point.

the suspending democracy point from mayer hillman (echoed in reality by james lovelock) is an interesting one as it challenges people on a lot of levels, and Lord Monckton was glad we included it because from his perspective it vindicated some of his thoughts about those who promote AGW. I do not think Mayer is representative of the whole spectrum of AGW thought but his point is one worth documenting, especially as it ties into an idea of liberty that roots many sceptics in the sceptic camp.

for many, i think like Ben and Rita in the film, liberty is at the heart of their resistance to accepting AGW, and i think that's a legitimate concern to pose and a challenge for those who seek solutions to AGW to consider. however it's also a separate idea to the truth of the science.

MarkB @92 "the simple drive for personal attention one gets from being contrarian"

You have just described Glen Beck!

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 04 Feb 2011 #permalink

> the suspending democracy point from mayer hillman (echoed in reality by james lovelock) is an interesting one as it challenges people on a lot of levels

Isn't this just basically like Christianity?

God doesn't put His works to a vote, does he.

> for many, i think like Ben and Rita in the film, liberty is at the heart of their resistance to accepting AGW, and i think that's a legitimate concern

But as you say, this has nothing to do with the science, so why do they continue to attack the science, saying it's wrong?

It may be worthwhile if you do a followup piece to look into why people's problems with the proposed *solutions* to AGW drive them to attack the SCIENCE not the SOLUTIONS?

Me? I think it's investment. These people don't like greens or government action or infringement on business deals or lefties or just people who say they've done something wrong. They then invest in the idea that they've lied about the facts. They then DO NOT WANT to admit that the facts (or not all of them) were not lied about.

Because that would be admitting a mistake and they don't want to lose any position.

You see it often in the PHB types in businesses.

Wow -- "Isn't this just basically like Christianity?
God doesn't put His works to a vote, does he."

Isn't that basically an example of how opening one's mind to straw men too much can make the brains fall out?

Just found it odd that so many deniers are also devout christians who follow what is basically a dictator when placed along Calum's observation regarding dictatorships.

Even senators tell us that God wouldn't let a flood happen. But that's only possible if God rules absolute. Which is totalitarian government.

for them i think it's liberty under god's law. by which i mean their interpretation of god's law.

in terms of attacking the science i think that comes from choosing aspects they think support their interpretation of the science as we all do to greater or lesser degrees. my take on it is that underneath that lies an interpetation of AGW as an attack on personal liberty.

But why do we have to infer this?

When they state that the temperature record is falling because it snowed outside, this has NOTHING to do with personal liberty.

It may have started that way, but now I reckon it's invested ego in a position and, for far more people than I think you realise, that they have done all this polluting and they want to dodge blame (disregarding that no blame is thrown at people who did not know any better). That is why largely old men are staying denialist.

1) Ego. Being Right is far more important
2) Persecution complex. Oh, right, it's *me* killing all the baby seals. Again.
3) Guilt.

Which also covers why these people aren't actually reading anything.

Pop over to the Guardian's Comment Is Free section and have a look at how many times someone is shown something merely to ignore it.

Wilful ignorance is not explained by your interpretation nor is the false complaining.

Not, at least, to any great degree that you can attribute that way. There's another factor running through their feelings that is pretty much as big as any fear of dictatorship.

I've got my sense of it.

But what is it in reality?

A rational person can can infer these things for themselves, Wow. I felt they covered quite a wide territory for only an hour, much more than I frankly expected.

calum -- "my take on it is that underneath that lies an interpetation of AGW as an attack on personal liberty."

It's no big secret that a great deal of AGW denialists (they're not sceptics by any stretch of the imagination) and WUWT fans are (often extremist) neoliberals/libertarians and Tea Partiers. You see it everywhere in the debate, and their endemic distrust of envirnonmentalism as a socialist plot. You should read up on Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips, David Koch, George C Marshall Institute, Fred Seitz, William Nierenberg, Robert Jastrow, Ken Cuccinelli, Glenn Beck.

A must read book is Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway, which tracks the current anti-environmental (it's a socialist conspiracy) movement all the way back to the tobacco industry's attack on science using PR firm created fronts, and its Cold War roots in defending the West against Communism; well referenced and in-depth. Another is Climate Cover-up by James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore.

You could also look into the International Policy Network, the LM Network (I'm sure you know of them), Foresight Communications and its co-founder Mark Adams, the New Party, the Scientific Alliance, and Benny Peiser (of Buckingham University and the Global Warming Policy Foundation). You'll find the Austrian School of political ideology (neoliberalist) crops up regularly, and the same names keep cropping up, especially when the subject is environmental.

That's if you haven't already ;)

For example:
Check out the advisory board, Sallie Baliunas in particular. Also go to:

The same names and organisations just keep cropping up. John Mashey has more:

And me using "cropping up" just kept cropping up. Sorry all. Bad form.

> A rational person can can infer these things for themselves, Wow.

Yes, rather not the question asked, however. Why do we have to infer is the question. It's not like "Well, I don't think that an overarching government is a good thing" is going to be hugely unpopular a statement, is it?

So why do we have to infer this is the base problem?

> I felt they covered quite a wide territory for only an hour, much more than I frankly expected.

A complaint not made by me.

I was suggesting a follow up might be investigation into whether Calum's insight is correct and why they don't come out and say what their problem really is and instead attack the science.

I'm not a programme director for a television company, though, so it is merely a thought for future consideration.

When the two deniers pour acid on to the limestone and chuckle about "damaging the environment" (what a rip snorter eh?) do they happen to discuss, at all, how old that limestone is and how many millions of years it took to accumulate? Does the producer ask the obvious question as to how limestone formation is going to come to the rescue of a planet about to show rapid CO2 build up and heating in the space of, say, 100 years? Rhetorical questions, of course, but I am so sick of these clever little "stunts", these outrageous claims that are never challenged.

Mike, I don't think Monckton is a "birther" at all.

I saw that rally performance as the quintessential snake-oil salesman manouevre. Pick up on the preferences and prejudices of your marks and exploit them. Monckton is intelligent and a very capable public speaker. He could have had those people eating up his gw nonsense without any adornments. He's very adroit at sidestepping anything he doesn't want to talk about.

He *chose*, cynically and consciously, to play on a vile prejudice, all for the sake of a few extra minutes applause.

I rather think that his personal charm, what snake-oil salesman can succeed without being charming, and constant companionship eventually got to Rupert (and Calum apparently.) Another few weeks reflection, and some less charming interaction with Monckton in the meantime, may lead them to modify their views a little.


*the suspending democracy point from mayer hillman (echoed in reality by james lovelock) is an interesting one as it challenges people on a lot of levels, and Lord Monckton was glad we included it because from his perspective it vindicated some of his thoughts about those who promote AGW. I do not think Mayer is representative of the whole spectrum of AGW thought but his point is one worth documenting, especially as it ties into an idea of liberty that roots many sceptics in the sceptic camp.*

I think when people talk about suspending democracy wrt it may stem from a personal conclusion that climate change may get so bad that democracy will get suspended anyway for the sake of survival.

BTW the problem I have with putting Mockton et al up beside the science is its done under a false equivalence i.e. ideology is being presented as equal to science on a complex scientific topic.

BTW Wow, I'm not so sure a lot of christians are denialists as evidence I present John Houghton.

Regarding the High Court hearing, a lawyer friend says that "It was an ex tempore judgment and so may never have been transcribed or written down." There is a record of it on lawtel, which I have seen but am reluctant to post for copyright reasons. The upshot as I understand it is this:

- Monckton was shown a near-final edit and given a 30-second right of reply;
- At that point the documentary-maker accepted and agreed to correct some inaccuracies;
- Monckton complained to the Director General of the BBC;
- The judge refused the application for an injunction because it wasn't likely that Monckton would be able to show a breach of contract, and because Monckton would have "a remedy in damages", i.e. would be free to sue for damages after broadcast.

Monckton's basic complaint is that his 30-second right-of-reply isn't nearly long enough to make the programme fair. Knowing some people who have been royally stitched up by journalists, I have some sympathy for this. But given that it is Monckton, with his long history of mendacity, misinformation, and empty legal threats, and considering that the programme actually showed him in quite a positive light, I'm very glad the injunction was denied. I think if anyone should be suing now, it is John Abraham, for the outrageous slander Monckton delivers in the film.

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 05 Feb 2011 #permalink

There's a Senate enquiry on in Australia, closing soon, on [The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms](…), a good-bye present from Steve Fielding. You shouldn't have, Steve, your departure is present enough.

Monckton has [made a submission](…). This would be a great opportunity for anyone in the rebutting game to do so protected by parliamentary privilege.

> BTW Wow, I'm not so sure a lot of christians are denialists as evidence I present John Houghton.

A is a subset of B, not the identical set, Jeremy.

A big part of some denialist screed is based in Christianity. E.g. "Climate change won't happen because God promised no more floods".

I suspect that the link between Christianity and climate change denial is non-causal, but rather a secondary effect of the political leanings of some Christian groups. In the US, there are a lot of conservative-leaning churches, and these will commonly also be deniers. However that attitude is not universal: see for example Evangelical Climate Initiative, this, this (find 'climate'), this and so on.

In Europe Evangelicals have traditionally been more spread politically, with a significant left-leaning social action strand. I suspect that here also attitudes on climate are more likely to be politically determined.

Kevin your links don't seem to be working.

BTW I agree with your assessment of the differences between attitudes in Europe and the USA.

I'm very conscious of the spectrum of beliefs within Christianity - about 5 years ago i worked on a film for Channel 4 in the UK called 'God is Green' which looked at that. S i would emphatically agree that the link between some aspects of Christianity and climate change beliefs is non-causal. however, within that i think there are correlations, not least in those who felt the green movement had links in pagan earth worshipping roots.

Another big one is that God is All Powerful. Therefore it's NOT POSSIBLE for us to affect the climate, since that's the sole perview of God's Domain.

There are probably others who are "rapturists" thinking this presages the end of the world where all those sinners get their come-uppance.

A larger section that have a similar end result would take the idea that if the climate changes, then that must be what God wants.

And you have that US Senator (?) who said that God promised there'd be no more floods and, since AGW predicts global flooding, this must be wrong.

There are multitudes of reasonings.

I'd not thought of pagan worshipping (except inasmuch as all science is pagan) being a problem.

You also have a strong Randian contingent where their success in making pots of money is indication of the love God has for them and therefore whatever they say MUST be right. Therefore (in an extreme case of God Is Capitalism) since rich people say AGW is a scam, it MUST be right. Else God wouldn't have made them rich... Very much in the vein of the Holy Writ of the Monarchy, the King being God's choice for our leader.

These are problems because telling them that AGW is wrong is not an attack on their beliefs, but an attack on *God*.

There would also be large contingents who take the Biblical teaching of human STEWARDSHIP of the earth as the role of humanity who would support changing our lifestyle to avoid damage to the planet and the ecosystem we live in.

These however don't have the problem that saying they're wrong and that we aren't doing anything wrong isn't an attack against God, so they're a lot less vocal and nuts, so don't get noticed. As Minsc says: "the squeaky wheel gets the kick".

good point about the end time theologians Wow, and i didn't know that about the Randian style thoughts.

it's not that science is pagan obviously, rather the environmental (as opposed to science) movement had roots in 'hippy/pagan' type ideas in the eyes of some christians. some think the scientists have gotten into bed with the environmentalists in effect.

you are right to point out to the stewardship (the key word for many as you know) ideals which seek to foster a sense of responsibility towards the climate though.

Unfortunately, they don't get much attention because the ones really passionate about it get the screen time.

And the nuttier you are, the more screen time you'll get. See: Monckton.

And that ensures that despite most people thinking climate change is a big problem and humans are a big factor in it in the UK, the denial machine STILL insists they are the silent (hah!) majority, quashed under the boot of, well, pick your poison.

Because by volume (loudness) they are a huge faction. By volume (count), no, they're not.