Apocalypse? No

In light of the recent furor surrounding the e-mails extracted by a hacker from the climactic research unit at the University of East Anglia, now might be a good time to take another look at the excellent presentation made by Lord Christopher Monckton to the Cambridge Union last year challenging the “settled science” of global warming.

More germane to the current “Climategate” scandal and the upcoming Copenhagen summit, Monckton appeared on the Alex Jones program (yes, yes… I know — he’s more than a little deranged) to discuss implications of the revelations and the draft treaty being proposed.

The additional four parts can be viewed here, here, here and here.

18 Replies to “Apocalypse? No”

  1. No, not at all. What do you find objectionable about his contentions?

    In regard to the realm of popular science, I found it a lot more compelling than the maudlin dreck presented by Al Gore.

  2. What do you find objectionable about his contentions?

    The fact that they all require time-consuming fact checking, for one thing.

    I am unforgiving when it comes to Lord Monckton.

  3. I have to agree that the pesky “fact-checking” is one of the most consternating things about this persistent argument, but my position has always been one of dubious skepticism (absent any conspiratorial political considerations); mainly just because I have a really difficult time attributing absolute certainty to something such as climate science that’s so inherently unpredictable and chaotic by nature.

  4. I remember finding your attraction to Monkton strange back when I posted his interview with George S on the The Hour. I just chalked it up to the mysterious workings of the English mind. 😉

    Personally, I think he’s essentially a character straight out of a Monty Python sketch.

  5. I just chalked it up to the mysterious workings of the English mind. 😉

    What John Ralston Saul describes as the penchant for reducing complex issues to a false clarity so that everyone must choose sides. It’s both a strength and a glaring weakness.

  6. Navvy — Granted, Monkton is something of a Pythonesque caricature and, to be quite honest, maybe that’s what I find appealing about him; but then the same could be said of my endearment to Hitchens, Dawkins and any number of other people who I don’t always necessarily agree with that are at times quite eccentric in their opinions, but are nonetheless fascinating.

    However, rather than simply casting aspersions on his peculiar character traits or errant station in life, what specifically is it that troubles you about his position or that you can’t accept?

  7. Ti-Guy — What John Ralston Saul describes as the penchant for reducing complex issues to a false clarity so that everyone must choose sides.

    Yes, but I’m not choosing sides… I’m simply expressing a reasonable degree of doubt about what seems to be a “false clarity” concerning the issue of climate change that’s constructed on a tenuous house of cards. If Monkton is full of shit, then I’m quite open to any scientific refutation of his position based on facts.

    As for J.R. Saul’s comments about public opinion, they’re indisputable… but also irrelevant in terms of this discussion.

  8. I think they’re relevant because that’s what Monckton is doing (forcing people to choose sides)…at his most principled. I actually think he’s really just part of the denial machine getting people to replace skepticism with doubt. His speaking tour through Canada recently was financed by “Friends of Science.”

  9. However, rather than simply casting aspersions on his peculiar character traits or errant station in life, what specifically is it that troubles you about his position or that you can’t accept?

    Nothing really, I suspect we share the same view when it comes to climate change. I don’t need to be convinced of man made climate change for me to know that pollution is bad and peak oil is real. The debate over how long the planet can hold out – twenty years or a thousand – isn’t particularly interesting, and I, unlike so very many on the intertubes, don’t claim any actual expertise in that extremely complicated area. I don’t need to believe that we’re faced with apocalyptic disasters to think that we should change our practices, sooner rather than later.

    I just think Monckton is a douche bag is all.

  10. Navvy — Well, pollution and peak oil are quite different matters from “climate change” — although they do involve elements of unfounded speculation that are open to debate… As for how long the planet can hold out, I have to confess to a certain degree of selfish short-sightedness in this regard since I’m personally looking at a remaining corporeal timeline of approximately 10-15 years, which is but a nanosecond in the scheme of things.

  11. Lord Christopher Monckton
    Why even debate “stupid”?

    The man has been debunked so many times that it does not even warrant mentioning him…

    He’s the equivalent of a British Tim Ball…

    What bothers me is that he does not look at the science only spews his preconceived ideology…

  12. If Monkton is full of shit, then I’m quite open to any scientific refutation of his position based on facts.

    Monkton’s a polemist (like Gore in his own way), and Monkton’s trying to convince you of a point, which suggests you should take his point of view with a grain of salt. Monkton does not have the best reputation with regards to facts.

    1. He exaggerates and creates an uptick on a graph on temperatures over thousands of years that was not on the original graph.

    2. Monkton’s article on climate sensitivity and CO2 is wrong. (The disclaimer is a bit of a hoot.)

    3. He pretty much falisifies a graph and cherry picks data in a letter to the New York Times

    4. The story about the Chinese navy sailing in the north pole around 1421appears to be from 1421, and it’s a story that’s discredited by other historians.

    5. Monkton exaggerates his relationship to Parliament. “One is his reference to himself as “a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature” in a letter to two American senators. He is not of course and never has been. As Private Eye notes: “Since inheriting the title, Christopher has stood at a “by-election” for a hereditary Tory seat in the Lords, following the death of Lord Mowbray and Stourton two years ago. He received precisely zero votes.””

    6. Monkton claims to have won the Nobel Prize (the one associated with Al Gore) are dubious at best.

    And there’s more….

    Interesting guy, but not the most trustworthy source of information. If you’re a skeptic, there are better guys out there.

  13. There may well be better skeptics out there talking about the subject of AGW but I suspect he’s the most amusing of the lot. I’d very much like to see him debate Al Gore on the subject — now that would be a hoot.

    As for the substance of the argument itself, I have no serious conviction one way or the other. Save to say that I always seem to come away from the discussion just as confused as I was in the first place… if not more so.

  14. @RT:
    I feel that Monckton is a) sincerely dishonest, and b) more than a little nuts.

    He asserts that the IPCC simply makes $#!7 up, and seems to feel that if he spouts denialism in sufficiently high-flown terms, he’ll be believable.

    He also gets his money from Exxon. Given Exxon’s track record on purchasing “science” I’d say that pretty much disqualifies him from speaking on the subject.

  15. “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

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