2011-06-21 22:30:12Monckton's latest
James Wight


I just wasted an hour of my life watching this Monckton lecture. Unsurprisingly, he continues to make many of the arguments we’ve debunked on SkS. The only new parts were:

  • Morner claims a scientist admitted to him that they rotated the SLR graph because that was the answer they were required to produce. Of course, we only have his word for this.
  • Monckton makes his usual criticism of the IPCC graph showing the 150-year, 100-year, 50-year, and 25-year temperature trends. But this time he claims it was added by the IPCC bureaucracy, Monckton confronted Pachauri about it and Pachauri wouldn’t admit it was wrong. Monckton then claims he reported Pachauri to the British police, who discovered he had faked donations to a charity or something, but they couldn’t arrest him because of his UN position. Anyone heard anything about this?
  • He misquotes Trenberth’s “travesty” email.

Given Christopher Monckton is coming to Australia in a couple of weeks’ time, I figured we might want to get ready to counter the arguments he’s been making recently. So here are some arguments he made that we don’t yet have rebuttals to:

  • Central England warmed more in the 18th century
  • China pollutes more
  • Earth was warmer in past interglacials
  • Famine and disease are a higher priority
  • IPCC graph showing accelerating trends is misleading
  • IPCC overpredicts CO2 rise
  • Mitigating would cost more than the damages it would prevent
  • Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer
  • Nazis invented global warming
  • Negative feedback from vegetation will cancel out global warming
  • Scientists admitted faking sea level rise
  • Stern used low discount rate

Also, I’m not sure if this is the sort of thing that is appropriate for a SkS rebuttal, but at the end of the lecture Monckton attempts to associate climate scientists with Nazis, by presenting a series of (mis)quotes on the same slide as a swastika.

Monckton claims:

Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf says: “There will be no body of representatives which makes its decisions through the majority vote.” His future for Europe was no democracy. And he had a body called the Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change, which said: “The people must accept the absolute pre-eminence of sustainability and must thus surrender their own wishes. The guarantor of this virtual contract is the directing State.” But watch the slide: Germany, 2011. They’re at it again!

This was received with sycophantic yeses from the audience of “skeptics”.

Firstly, the actual name of the body in question is the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). The words “scientific” and “environmental” seem to be completely fabricated.

Secondly, the WBGU website says: “The German federal government set up WBGU as an independent, scientific advisory body in 1992 in the run-up to the Rio Earth Summit.” It wasn’t founded by Hitler as Monckton claims.

Thirdly, this is what the report in question actually says:

The new social contract is an agreement to change: the global citizenship consents to expecting innovations that have a normative link to the sustainability postu­late, and, in exchange, agrees to surrender the instinct to hang on to the established. The guarantor in this vir­tual contract is a proactive state that involves its citi­zens in future decisions requisite to the agreement of sustainability targets.

Monckton continues:

“The decarbonisation of society,” says our friends the Scientific Advisory Council, “can only be achieved by limitations on democracy.”

I was unable to find this sentence anywhere in the report (though the search tool seems to be playing up so it may be in there somewhere). In fact, it says the opposite:

The proactive state is firmly anchored in the tradi­tion of a liberal and constitutional democracy, but it develops this democracy further with a view towards the future sustainability of democratic communities and liberal civil societies, and takes into account the boundaries imposed on economic and social develop­ment by a finite planet. Whereas climate protection is often regarded as a restriction and unreasonable depri­vation, a proactive and enabling form of government has the explicit task of preserving available choices and the current room to manoeuvre for future generations and even, if possible, to extend these.

Monckton also shows the following quote from Ross Garnaut:

The outsider to climate science has no rational choice but to accept that, on a balance of probabilities, the mainstream science is right in pointing to high risks from unmitigated climate change.

For once this quote is correct, but it is misattributed to the 2011 Garnaut update (it was actually from the original 2008 Garnaut report), and Monckton adds his own interpretation in the narration:

Professor Ross Garnaut: All we should do is believe when they tell us it’s all going to be terrible, if we’re not climate scientists. That again is a fascist point of view, that you merely accept authority without question. Heil Hitler!

2011-06-22 08:53:21
Dana Nuccitelli

Geez those are some crappy myths.  The IPCC doesn't even predict CO2 rise.  We've got "Mitigating would cost more than the damages it would prevent" in "CO2 limits will harm the economy".  And of course there's Godwin's Law.  Monckton sure loves him some Nazis.

2011-06-22 15:04:06Monckton rebuttal document
John Cook


There is some discussion among various organisations on how to respond to the Monckton tour. It's a delicate balancing act because we don't want to give him oxygen and attract media attention to him but we also need to be ready to respond in case he's getting media attention. Some organisations have asked if SkS could summate their various Monckton Myths into a single, relatively short PDF document that they could have at hand for their own members and also to give to journalists if queries come up about Monckton's science arguments.

I was hoping to get hold of the powerpoint PDF Monckton will be using in Australia and a few people contacted Monckton who was coy about sending them a copy so that came to naught. So the Swastika Talk that James just watched is his most recent presentation. James, if we were going to do a PDF of Monckton's key arguments that he is most likely to be using in Australia, which ones should we include based on what you saw in the Swastika Talk?

2011-06-22 16:46:04Arguments in Swastika Talk
James Wight

  • The university Monckton gave the lecture at tried to censor him
  • The environmental movement has been taken over by communists
  • Paper for increase of hurricanes turned out to be wrong
  • Promotional poster for An Inconvenient Truth uses fake temperatures
  • A British judge ruled against Al Gore
  • Al Gore should debate Monckton
  • Temperature isn’t rising as IPCC predicted
  • It hasn’t warmed for ten years, which doesn’t mean global warming has stopped but does mean natural variability is bigger than the CO2 signal
  • CO2 isn’t rising as fast as IPCC predicted because it’s plant food
  • Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain
  • Tropical storms decrease with global warming because of the decreasing temperature differential
  • Scientists admitted to Morner that they fabricated sea level data
  • The IPCC graph showing accelerating warming trends is misleading
  • Pachauri couldn’t be arrested for fraud because of his UN position
  • Trenberth can’t account for the lack of warming because natural variability is bigger than the CO2 signal (and Monckton misquotes the email)
  • It warmed just as fast in 1860-1880 and 1910-1940
  • Central England warmed more in the 18th century, and Central England is a proxy for global temperatures
  • Most of the last 10,000 years were warmer
  • Earth was warmer in past interglacials
  • PDO explains warming/cooling periods in instrumental record
  • Global brightening explains warming in recent decades
  • Climate sensitivity is low (based on Monckton’s complicated calculations which he “goes through very quickly”)
  • The possibility of runaway warming is an artifact of the IPCC’s assumption of strong positive feedbacks
  • Warming is exaggerated by urban heat island effect
  • There’s no tropospheric hot spot
  • Lindzen and Choi find low climate sensitivity, and they’ve corrected the errors in their original paper
  • Mitigation costs more/CO2 limits will make little difference
  • Stern used low discount rate
  • Global warming is associated with Nazis and communists (supported by a series of quotes/misquotes including the ones I excerpted above)

(Note: I’ve bolded the arguments Monckton spends most time on. This list differs from my original post because then I mapped Monckton’s specific versions of arguments to the general ones in our database.)

2011-06-24 15:02:33
Peter Miesler

James, may I copy and use your above list?

As for attribution?

2011-06-24 15:27:06Sure
James Wight


You don't have to attribute it.

2011-06-26 15:08:06
Peter Miesler

thank you.

2011-06-26 15:20:33Using James' list
John Cook


BTW, James, I also took your list and passed it onto The Conversation who are doing a series MoncktonWatch and asked for some recommended topics to cover - I passed on your list of subjects and the link to his latest talk. So great work!