Archive for October 2009
A few days ago a friend forwarded me a link to this video of a speech by noted climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, asking what I thought of it. I watched that entire video — all 95 minutes of it — and in short, I think it’s bunk. Monckton is such a charlatan I hesitate to even dignify his buffoonery with a response. However, my friend asked me earnestly what I thought of the presentation, so I wanted to respond earnestly.
Also, it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a deeper look at the climate deniers’ current arguments. (I usually just avoid them as a waste of time.) And another friend sent me the link to a shorter video clip from the end of Monckton’s talk (see video at bottom), where he describes the Copenhagen treaty as a threat to “democracy” and “freedom.” So I figured this would be a good chance to brush up on my response.
While I cringe at most of Monckton’s nasty one-liners — characterizing environmentalists as a “communistic” murderous faction bent on world government, or mocking Al Gore’s accent (“Nahn Lahs”) — his presentation of the science does seem impressive on its face. But I know that the serious scientific community has long considered him a dangerous fraud with a talent for political theater.
Since, like Lord Monckton, I’m not a scientist, I can’t pretend to be qualified to debunk his claims point-by-point. I don’t even understand many of his graphs and formulas. But as one of his critics points out, “just because somebody uses a lot of numbers and formulas, that doesn’t make their analysis either scientific or credible.” And there are many more voices in the scientific community (real scientists, no less!) that I find far more credible than Monckton.
So I asked around a bit. No one seems to have yet done a thorough response to Monckton’s entire 10/14 speech in St. Paul, but I found a few useful links that address different pieces of his presentation. The first is a response to his statement in the video below, which has been making the rounds of the right-wing blogosphere. The other links discuss some of the bogus scientific claims he has been recycling for years — many of which showed up in his speech — and his decidedly non-scientific background.
1) PolitiFact: British climate-change skeptic says Copenhagen treaty threatens “democracy,” “freedom” PolitiFact, Oct 20, 2009
This piece fact-checks Monckton’s statement about the Copenhagen treaty with numerous academics and diplomats. According to PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter, Monckton’s whoppers earn a “pants-on-fire” rating.
2) In Congressional Hearings, Amateurs Invited to Confuse Climate Science Stacy Morford, SolveClimate, Mar 27, 2009
3) American Physical Society stomps on Monckton disinformation Climate Progress, July 19, 2008
4) This is a dazzling debunking of climate change science. It is also wildly wrong.
Deniers are cock-a-hoop at an aristocrat’s claims that global warming is a UN hoax. But the physics is bafflingly bad.
George Monbiot, The Guardian, Tuesday 14 November 2006
5) Christopher Monckton the “Viscount of Brenchley”
To put Monckton’s role in the climate “debate” into perspective, here’s John Holdren, the White House science adviser, who said at a conference late last year:
Members of the public who are tempted to be swayed by this vocal fringe should ask themselves how it could be, if human-caused climate change is just a hoax, that the leaderships of the national academies of sciences of every country in the world that has one are repeatedly on record saying that global climate change is real, dangerous, caused mainly by humans, and reason for early and concerted action to reduce those causes; that this is also the overwhelming consensus view among the faculty members of the earth sciences departments at every major university in the world.
The fact is that anybody who could believe that the cream of the part of the world scientific community that has actually studied this phenomenon could be co-opted by hoaxers or suffering from mass hysteria is just not thinking clearly.
UPDATE: Here are two more links to useful resources critiquing Monckton’s “science” (thanks to Brad at Hill Heat):
- A detailed list of the errors in Monckton’s July 2008 Physics and Society article Arthur Smith, AltEnergyAction.org, Sep 6, 2008
- DeltoidBlog’s Monckton archive Tim Lambert, ScienceBlogs
Noted climate science blogger Lambert has been tracking Lord Monckton for a long time. This page pulls all of his Monckton posts together in one place.
These just-released photos by Chris Jordan show with horrifying beauty the impact that plastic pollution is having on millions of seabirds in one of the remotest corners of the planet, Midway Atoll, a tiny island northwest of Hawaii.
Here is Chris’ statement about the photos, from his website:
These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting baby birds are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.
To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs has been moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.
~cj, October 2009
Chris and four other media artists documented their amazing journey to Midway on the web at www.midwayjourney.com.
This Thursday, October 15, is Blog Action Day 2009, and the theme is climate change. Join me and more than 6,000 other bloggers around the globe as we do some major collective consciousness-raising about climate science, climate solutions, and the UN climate negotiations coming up in December in Copenhagen.