“Here, a number of top climate scientists have thoroughly refuted all of Mr. Monckton’s major assertions, clearly demonstrating a number of obvious and elementary errors.”
A group of five scientists solicited responses from more than twenty world-class climate scientists to the May 6th testimony by Christopher Monckton to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. These climate scientists “”¦ have thoroughly refuted all of Mr. Monckton’s major assertions, clearly demonstrating a number of obvious and elementary errors,” the report says. “We encourage the U.S. Congress to give careful consideration to the implications this document has for the care that should be exercised in choosing expert witnesses to inform the legislative process.”
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (TVMOB) has now become the most scientifically debunked of all the professional disinformers. A team of 21 top climate scientists have eviscerated his Congressional testimony — news release here, full report here. See also the Guardian piece, “‘Chemical nonsense’: Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton’s attack on climate science.”
Lord Monckton should no longer be viewed as a credible source by the media or Congressional committees, given that he has been thoroughly discredited scientifically and that he is a well-known hate-speech promoter (see Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists). TVMOB has relegated himself to the extreme fringe (see Irony-gate 2: Modern day Tea Partiers outsource denial to Lord Monckton “” a British peer!)
The full report is a marvelous science lesson from leading climatologists and well worth reading in its entirety. The news release notes that “The report examines claims from Monckton’s testimony in nine major areas and corrects and refutes each of them.” Here is a summary of “the authoritative scientific statements in each of these nine areas”:
- In ancient times, the warming from carbon dioxide release played a critical role in lifting the Earth from a cold ‘snowball’ state to a warm climate. Monckton totally misunderstands the sequence of these events in denying the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide. He treats the events as if they were contemporaneous.
- Ancient corals and other life forms were able to adapt to high carbon dioxide concentrations because they have had millions of years to react to slower, natural climate change. Monckton ignores the vast difference in the rate of these changes compared to the present rate; he incorrectly argues that the present rapid increase in carbon dioxide is harmless.
- Paleo-climatologists understand that the rate of change of carbon dioxide concentration is more important than the overall levels of carbon dioxide for plant adaptation. Monckton claims a single benefit of higher carbon dioxide levels – increased yields on selected crops (which he appears to have exaggerated) – but fails to mention the wide-ranging negative consequences for plant species and agriculture as well as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns.
- The fact that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving ocean acidification is based on “experimental results, field observations and our fundamental understanding of physical chemistry going back hundreds of years.” The responses to Monckton’s claim that “if ocean acidification is occurring then CO2 is not, and will not be, the culprit” provide a compelling example of Monckton’s lack of understanding of basic science – in this case of ocean chemistry.
- Despite Monckton’s assertions, compilations of global temperatures show that the late 20th century was exceptionally warm compared with the last 1500 years, with a rate of warming that is indeed exceptional.
- “Global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup”. The frequently heard assertion, repeated by Monckton, that “global warming ceased in 2001” is contradicted by recent, record-breaking global mean temperatures obtained by both NOAA and NASA. The long-term instrumental record shows an unequivocal upward trend.
- “Over the last century we have observed large and coherent changes … of the Earth’s climate…. All these changes are consistent with our … understanding of how the climate system should be responding to anthropogenic forcing … collectively this behavior is inconsistent with the changes…due to natural variability alone.” By contrast, Monckton ascribes the recent rise in global temperature to ‘naturallyoccurring global brightening’, citing a 2005 paper by Dr. Rachel Pinker et al. As the responses forcefully demonstrate, and indeed as Dr. Pinker herself has stated, his conclusions are based upon a misunderstanding and misapplication of that work.
- “Climate sensitivity” characterizes the long-term increase in global temperatures in response to increased CO2 concentration. Multiple estimates of climate sensitivity, based on different types of data, are in agreement. Monckton argues the value is very much lower than these estimates, based on his misinterpretation of the Pinker paper, as well as on a recent paper by Lindzen and Choi. Two recently published papers discussed in this report thoroughly discredit the paper by Lindzen and Choi, as well as Monckton’s conclusions.
- “The urgent need to act cannot be overstated. Anthropogenic climate change is already affecting our lives and livelihoods through extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, rising seas, and many changes in biological systems.” Monckton argues that “global warming is a non-problem”, and in any case “there is no hurry”, and that the correct response is “to do nothing”. This report states that a “decision to delay action to reduce greenhouse emissions is not a decision ‘to do nothing’. It is a decision to continue emissions of CO2…committing the world to higher levels of global warming…with associated adverse impacts.” A paper by Dr. S. Solomon et al. cited in the report emphasizes the long-term role of increased CO2 levels on future climate and shows that the assumption that a “decision can always be made to reduce CO2 emissions and thereby reduce any harm within a few years or decades” is incorrect.
It’s time to close the book on this thoroughly discredited disinformer.
The Guardian also points out TVMOB’s extreme resume inflation:
During his congressional testimony in May, Monckton was mocked by a Democratic congressman for claiming that he was a member of the House of Lords during a previous committee hearing appearance in 2009. Last month, the clerk of the parliaments wrote to Monckton, a hereditary peer, stressing that he should stop referring to himself as a member of the House of Lords.
Kudos to the scientists who contributed to this report:
- Dr. James Annan: Member of the Global Change Projection Research Program within the Research Institute for Global Change
- Dr. David Archer: Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago
- Dr. Ken Caldeira: Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution, California
- Dr. David Easterling: Chief, Scientific Services Division, NCDC, National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA)
- Dr. James Hansen: Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg: Professor of Marine Studies, University of Queensland, Australia.
- Dr. James Hurrell: Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section and Chief Scientist for Community Climate Projects at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
- Dr. David Karoly: Professor, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
- Dr. Jeffrey Kiehl: Senior Scientist, Climate Change Research Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
- Dr. Nancy Knowlton: Holds the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- Dr. Lee Kump: Professor of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University
- Dr. Norman Loeb: scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center
- Dr. Michael MacCracken: Chief Scientist, Climate Change Programs with the Climate Institute in Washington DC
- Dr. Peter Reich: Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources
- Dr. Reto Ruedy: Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Dr. Benjamin Santer: Research Scientist, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Dr. Gavin Schmidt: Climate Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Dr. Pieter Tans: Senior Scientist, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
- Dr. Kevin Trenberth: Senior Scientist and Head, Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
- Dr. John Veron: Professor, University Center for Marine Studies, University of Queensland
- Dr. Bruce Wielicki: Senior Scientist Radiation Sciences, NASA Langley Research Center
No doubt TVMOB will (threaten to) sue them all (see “Hate-speech promoter Lord Monckton tries to censor John Abraham“).
h/t Skeptical Science.
- MN professor eviscerates Monckton in must-see video
- Lord Monckton meltdown: “I’m not going to shake the hands of Hitler youth.”
- TVMOB shocker: Activists decried as “Hitler Youth” for crashing Americans For Prosperity’s global warming event in Copenhagen
- How to diss-a-peer: Real Climate Scientists take on TVMOB
- Deltoid at ScienceBlogs: Monckton’s triple counting and here.
- Climate Crock takes on Lord Monckton aka TVMOB
- Climate Crock takes on Lord Monckton, Part 2