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Monckton Myths: A one-stop-shop for debunking The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

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Lord Monckton, 2TVMOB (aka The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) would be a Monty Python-esque self-parody were he not a prolific promoter of hate speech (see Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists and links below).  [Please note that the picture on the right is now TVMOB but I still do not think he would ever participate in this competition.]

He is probably the most thoroughly debunked disinformer on the web (see “Climate scientists eviscerate Lord Monckton’s attempt to disinform the U.S. Congress” and “MN professor eviscerates Monckton in must-see video“).  But because TVMOB continues to spread disinformation at an impressive rate, physicist John Cook of Skeptical Science has put all of his myths — along with their rebuttals — in one place (click here).

Here is Cook’s intro to his new resource:

To loosely paraphrase an old saying, a piece of misinformation can travel halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on. This is the conundrum facing climate scientists as they attempt to communicate the realities of climate change, amidst the noise and fury of the internet. The problem is global warming skepticism is a renewable resource. When you take the time to closely follow online discussions, blog posts and op-eds, you find the same skeptic arguments appear repeatedly, well after they’ve been thoroughly debunked in peer-reviewed research.

Christopher Monckton is a prolific climate skeptic. Perusing all the articles published by Monckton and the arguments he uses, Monckton appears to be zealous about recycling skeptic arguments. The same ideas appear over and over again. Recycling is usually good for the environment but sadly not in this case.

Of particular interest are the arguments Monckton uses most often. There are several sitting atop the pile which  presumably are Monckton’s killer blows. A close examination of these favourite arguments reveals much about how Monckton presents the science to the public.

Monckton’s most popular argument is that climate sensitivity, a measure of how much the earth warms from rising CO2, is low. As our planet warms from increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere, Monckton suggests negative feedbacks suppress the warming. This is supposedly our Get Out Of Jail Free Card – we can pollute as much as we like and nature will take care of things. To back up this claim, Monckton cites the work of Richard Lindzen who uses satellite measurements of outgoing radiation as evidence for negative feedback.

However, Monckton only presents half of the story. A number of subsequent papers have examined Lindzen’s work and found fatal flaws in his analysis. As well as a questionable choice of end-point dates in his data, Lindzen looks only at the tropics. A number of other analyses using similar satellite observations spanning the entire globe find positive feedback that enhances global warming.

On top of this, many studies using a range of different observations find that the overall climate feedback amplifies global warming. Climate sensitivity has to be high to explain the dramatic climate changes we see in the past. To argue low climate sensitivity based on one study presents only half the story. In fact, not even that. It gives you barely a fraction of the full body of evidence.

Monckton’s other favourite argument is that sea levels are not going to rise much in the future, citing the words of Nils M¶rner who claims it’s physically impossible for sea level to rise much above its present rate. Again, this gives you only a fraction of the full picture. The expectation of future sea level rise is based on many different observations. Recent research into glacier dynamics in Greenland and Antarctica yield a prediction of 80 cm to 2 metres sea level rise by 2100. Another recent study takes a different approach, matching past sea level rise to past temperature change to yield a prediction of 75 to 190 cm sea level rise by the end of this century.

Meanwhile, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing ice at a faster rate every year. Two decades ago, the Greenland ice sheet was in approximate mass balance – as much ice was growing in the middle as was being shed at the edges. One decade ago, the ice sheet was losing ice at a rate of 100 billion tonnes per year. Currently, it’s losing ice at a rate of over 200 billion tonnes per year. Greenland’s glaciers are sliding faster down into the ocean.

A clearer picture of our future can be found in the past. Around 120,000 years ago, global temperatures were about 1 to 2 degrees warmer than now. At that time, sea levels were over 6 metres higher than current levels. Many lines of evidence indicate we’re facing significant sea level rise this century.

In Unsound Advice, Monckton describes “one of the shabbiest tricks of the climate-extremist movement” is to give only one half of the story. Misleading the public by giving only half the story is indeed shabby behaviour. Giving them barely a fraction of the story is even worse.

For this reason, at Skeptical Science we’ve developed a resource Monckton Myths. We’ve compiled a database of Monckton’s articles and the skeptic arguments he uses. As Monckton publishes new articles with the same recycled arguments, let us know and we’ll add it to the database. While misinformation may burst out of the blocks quickly, by the time it’s circled the world to start all over again, perhaps this time it will find the full facts dressed up and ready for action.

Should you be interested in learning more about TVMOB, go to the Science & Public Policy Institute website where he is Chief Policy Adviser. You will learn he has astonishing scientific credentials such as a “Nobel prize pin,” because he commented on the IPCC Fourth assessment report. This has “earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York.” Also “his limpid analysis of the climate-feedback factor was published on the famous climate blog of Roger Pielke, Sr.” I kid you not.  [For the record, commented on the report does not actually allow one to claim to be a Nobel laureate, but when have the facts ever meant anything to TVMOB?]

Monty Python is alive and well.

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14 Responses to Monckton Myths: A one-stop-shop for debunking The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

  1. MARodger says:

    The BBC ran an hour-long Storyville programme last night on BBC4 (31/1/11)featuring his Lordship entitled “Meet the Climate Sceptics”. There wasn’t much publicity for it across the network. However,it should be available for viewing on BBCi down the link below (although these link-things are not my strong point!):-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00y5j3v/Storyville_20102011_Meet_the_Climate_Sceptics/

  2. toby says:

    View Monckton’s encounter with a feisty Irishwoman. “Withdraw, Madam, withdraw!” is now a popular catchphrase around here, though most people have lost track of the reason why.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOb4s3ETUQc

    Nice to see the egregious lord being publicly challenged. The concentrated debunking since last year has knocked the sheen off his public persona. In fact, his Irish visit was to address a lunatic fringe meeting of 9/11 “troofers” and world government conspiracy fantasists.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Re toby, actually Monckton is the next gen Holocaust Denier.

  4. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Toby… That’s a great snippet of Monckton. And it’s typical of his rhetorical tactic. When he can’t win he talks over you. I’ve seen him do it time after time after time.

    Nice job, BTW, on the part of the woman challenging him!

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    I’ve had a lot of fun with His Lordship over the years, and would miss him if he ever disappeared out of sheer humiliation. Not likely, though.

    People need to realize that there’s actually very little difference between Monckton and people like Watts, Morano, Lindzen, and Christy, especially since they defend each other. Bullshit on this subject comes in many flavors, but it’s the same chemically. As in “I am Spartacus” or “We are all Berliners”, the deniers, if truthful, would shout “I am Monckton!”.

  6. Sime says:

    Monty Python’s Upper Class Twit of the year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ba1OKY7Xc well what can one say your Lordship other than “If the shoe fits…”

    That would some of that classic British mickey taking.

    Perhaps your Lordship could tootle back off to Loch Rannoch bog and leave the important stuff regarding climate change to individuals who are actually qualified to make the necessary assessments… you know experts I.E. not you.

    Perhaps one could sit by the fire with your fellow Climate change denier James Delingpole (he probably need a hug at the moment) who also doesn’t do science and console one another, after all apparently “It’s not James job to sit down and read peer-reviewed papers, because he simply does not have the time; or the expertise.” sound to me like the pair of you would get on like a house on fire.

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/01/25/watch-climate-change-denier-james-delingpole-admits-he-doesnt-do-science/

    Who is the more foolish the fool or the fool who follows the fools?

  7. Bill Logan says:

    A “Nobel Prize pin”???. I have a “World Series pin” that proves I attended one of the games. I am anxiously awaiting my call from Cooperstown concerning my induction into the Hall of fame..

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I agree with Prokaryotes #5-these creatures are Holocaust deniers, but even worse than Nazi Holocaust deniers, because the climate deniers will cause far more victims than all those killed by the Nazis or all the genocidaires in human history, so far. As for Baron Monckhausen, he’s beyond parody. I think Dickens, or Balzac might have invented such a preposterous figure, but for it to leap from the pages of fiction into our world is deeply depressing. If the media had a scintilla of integrity remaining, he’d be ignored as a serial pest, but they haven’t so he is everywhere. And the exopthalmos- hyperthyroidism, perhaps. He resembles, to my mind, in his behaviour and appearance, Graham Crowden, the actor, who played a number of mad scientists, loopy eccentrics and sinister medicos during his career. Unfortunately Crowden was recently ‘promoted to Glory’ as they say, unlike Baron Monckhausen, who, it appears, will be around for a wee while yet.

  9. MapleLeaf says:

    Check this out:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/monckton_myths.php#comments

    Follow the link to Jo Abess. Here is a list of Monckton’s allies (and enemies) from his email that he cc’d Jo Abbess on:

    “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)

    Lindzen and Christy seem to be amongst Monckton’s confidants, as are Watts, Piers Corbyn, Singer, Delingpole, and the editor of of Energy & Environment (Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen). Now why would the editor of a journal be on Monckton’s list? One of many strikes against Energy and Environment (a journal sympathetic to second-rate science pushed by “skeptics”). And why are journos Fred Pearce and Andy Revkin on there?

    There are other interesting name there…but I’ll leave those for others to speak to.

    But Lindzen, Christy, Revkin, Pearce and Boehmer-Christiansen have to come clean on what is going on here.

  10. John says:

    Recently Christopher was featured in a BBC documentary called Meet The Climate Sceptics. It is online at the BBC site, but only for those who dwell in the UK.

    Apparently it has also been uploaded here for those who do not.

  11. John #13 and Monckton (and Plimer) in ‘Meet the Climate Sceptics’ (note English English spelling), did anybody else note the stupidity of using, what looks to me like a carbonated drinks or water, plastic bottle to carry ACID!

    Any parent knows that is a NO! NO! What if by chance their plane crashed and that bottle fell into the hands of aboriginal children – would they have understood the word ACID, probably not but they may have made ‘sense’ of the brand label and considered the contents potable – with fatal consequences. What a pair of prats. Besides what did they prove – that Australia has some 950 million year old carbonate rocks? Wow!

    And that periodic table recital, considering the original verse, was just self parody but he appears too insensitive to realise that.

    And message to Delingpole, pursuit of your own happiness at the expense of the already marginalised – that is poisonous and evil.

    Monckton at (36:03) ‘…and there would not be nearly fifty-thousand people here today were it not for the freedom loving fair balanced unafraid journalists of the freedom channel Fox News’.

    That, in one statement Mr Monckton, destroys any credibility that you imagined you had.