Lord Monckton – AGW non-expert (par excellence)

Or is he a non-AGW expert; or maybe even a non-AGW non-expert? I am not sure. One or two things I am fairly certain about though, since he is a Classics graduate of Churchill College Cambridge; and a former newspaper editor, British Conservative politician, and hereditary peer… he is not a scientist, has no apparent scientific training, and is not (IMHO) a neutral interpreter of climate science. He served in Conservative Central Office and worked for Margaret Thatcher’s Number 10 Policy Unit during the 1980s. Therefore, not surprisingly perhaps, Monckton is a prolific writer and public speaker. Furthermore, presumably due to his aristocratic status and well-connected position, he is frequently cited by the Heartland Institute and Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) as a climate change expert, although he is clearly nothing of the sort. Why is this? The SPPI’s website declares its Mission is to provide “…research and educational materials dedicated to sound public policy based on sound science… [and to] support the advancement of sensible public policies rooted in rational science and economics”. It is difficult to see how Monckton’s Classics background qualifies him for the position of SPPI’s Chief Policy Advisor but, as such, this enables him to publish his second-hand ideas without going through any peer-review process. However, I believe it is also important to note the use of the phrase “sound science” as this little gem was used by those that sought to discredit scientific evidence that passive smoking is dangerous… Why is this? The discredited nature of his testimony to US Congress last year is well-documented; and yet he continues to pop-up on sites like Wattsupwiththat? Why is this? I think I know the answer to all of these questions. The answer is money; or rather big business interests vested in the continuance of our careless consumerism. The counter-argument that states that scientists are engaged in a self-serving campaign to retain investment in research programmes just does not stand up to scrutiny. Therefore, with regard to Monckton, although he is a multi-faceted denialist, his bottom line is an economic rationalist one… In typically-bold fashion, Monckton has published (via SPPI) a critique of a speech made by (US Presidential Science Advisor) John Holdren on 6 September 2010 entitled, ‘Climate-Change Science and Policy: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?’ This critique, entitled Unsound Advice,# provides a good summary of Monckton’s position, which is that AGW stopped in 2001, current warmth is not unprecedented, some glaciers are advancing, and sea levels are not rising, etc. Monckton appears to question the IPPC’s independence (as per Fred Singer etc) and/or ridicule its conclusions; and to criticise Holdren’s reliance on the output of climate models (where have we heard that before?). However, he concludes his diatribe with one final bold – but yet again completely unsubstantiated – statement that: “Any measures to cut CO2 emissions that are affordable will make no difference to the climate. Any cuts in CO2 emissions that might in theory make some difference to the climate are unaffordable.” Thus, it may be seen that, not satisfied with ridiculing the work of thousands of scientists in hundreds of countries, Monckton’s trump card is an economic one; and he clearly believes that the consensus view is mistaken (but how could he possibly know?). Moreover, even if warming may happen and may be significant, he does not accept that radical change in human behaviour is required (but why should his opinions be taken seriously?). So, Lord Monckton, if I may speak directly to you now, will you please leave science to the scientists to sort-out; and go back to your History of Art, or whatever it is that you are actually good at? ——————- # Monckton publishing a book criticising a scientist and giving it the title “Unsound Advice” is almost as ironic as the first draft of Julian Assange’s autobiography being published without his consent (but not quite)!


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Consumerism, Economics, Environment, Maketplace of Ideas, Merchants of Doubt, Scepticism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lord Monckton – AGW non-expert (par excellence)

  1. Rick_Altman says:

    Donald (of WisdomBlogs fame) has suggested that, despite all of the evidence (above) to the contrary, Monckton really is a climate change expert (and former advisor to Magaret Thatcher, don’t forget! [About what? It certainly wasn’t climate science; so it is an irrelevance]). In support of this hypothesis, he posted this 2 year-old Youtube video of a classic Monckton performance… However: (1). Monckton is trying to use numbers he does not believe in to prove that we cannot solve a problem that (according to him) we do not have. This is intellectually dishonest. (2). He assumes an indefinite linear growth in emissions whereas if we do nothing (as he suggests) they will continue to grow exponentially. (3). Ignoring this, Monckton then divides current annual emissions by observed ppm increase to get emissions per ppm. (4). He then quotes a figure (I don’t recognise) for the likely additional ppm by the end of the century as being 468 ppm. Most IPCC scenarios for the end of the Century usually range from 450 to 650 ppm (an increase of between 70 and 270 ppm from now). (4). Ignoring this, Monckton then multiplies his numbers to get our supposed total emissions by 2100AD (which is unsurprisingly a very large number). (5). Finally, dividing this by the “number he first thought of” he comes up with an excruciatingly-small rate of decline for a lot of pain. This is not just a circular argument, it is tortuously twisted and designed to confound most viewers and convince them that, since Monckton appears to know what he is talking about, he probably does. There is only one problem with this conclusion; it is wrong. Monckton does not have a clue what he is talking about; he is merely a puppet of the conservative think tanks feeding him with this rubbish.


  2. Pingback: Sammy Wilson MP – an ex-Environment Minister | Anthropocene Reality

  3. pendantry says:

    No discussion of the Prevaricating Peer is complete without reference to Dr John Abraham’s superb debunking of Monckton (or see the overview by Joe Romm at Climate Progress, which includes links to Peter Sinclair’s debunk in two parts). Thankfully, since Dr Abraham took the time to create this presentation, Monckton seems to have largely dropped off the radar.


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  5. Pingback: On the trail of Christopher Monckton « Anthropocene Reality

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