Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Monckton Testimony at US Congress: Ignorance or Perjury?

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Climate Scientists Respond

Response to the Written Testimony of Christopher Monckton In Connection With the May 6, 2010 Hearing Before the Select Committee On Energy Independence and Global Warming

Update (July 18, 2011): Monckton told he’s not member of House of Lords. Clerk of parliaments publishes letter on Lords’ site saying peer is not and has ‘never been a member of the House of Lords’.

On May 6, 2010, Mr. Christopher Monckton testified by invitation to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Mr. Monckton, who is not a scientist, gave testimony that was in stark contrast to that of the scientists who were present at the hearing as well as the many official statements produced by the world’s premiere scientific organizations, about the growing dangers of climate change.  Here, a number of top climate scientists have thoroughly refuted all of Mr. Monckton’s major assertions, clearly demonstrating a number of obvious and elementary errors.  We encourage the U.S. Congress to give careful consideration to the implications this document has for the care that should be exercised in choosing expert witnesses to inform the legislative process.

The authors of the report state:

Mr. Monckton makes a number of scientific assertions about (1) the efficacy of warming from CO2, (2) the benefits of elevated CO2, (3) the relationship between CO2 and ocean acidification, (4) recent global temperature trends, (5) and the sensitivity of the climate to CO2. He has also claimed that (6) there is no need to take quick action to address the changing climate. In all cases, Mr. Monckton’s assertions are shown to be without merit – they are based on a thorough misunderstanding of the science of climate change.

We believe the responses contained here strongly refute the statements made by Mr. Monckton. It is our hope that this document will be of use to members of Congress and their staffs as further hearings and debates on climate change and energy policy take place. We would be pleased to respond to any inquiries and offer necessary clarifications.

Authors:

Dr. Ray Weymann, Director Emeritus and Staff Member Emeritus, Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena, California; Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Barry Bickmore, Associate Professor of Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Dr. John Abraham, Associate Professor of Engineering, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology with a Joint Appointment with the Department of Geosciences and Director, Earth System Science Center, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Winslow Briggs, Director Emeritus and Staff Member Emeritus, Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Palo Alto, California; Member, National Academy of Sciences.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Monckton has been wrong about climate science many times and has been repeatedly shown the errors of his ways.  In fact, Monckton has quite a long rap sheet.  What makes this latest report so damning for Monckton is that he gave his testimony under oath in front of a United States Congressional panel.

Monckton must now decide how to respond.  He essentially has two options:

  1. Admit that he is ignorant about the science and that he made an honest mistake.
  2. Claim that the world’s experts are lying.

If he chooses #1, he should immediately issue a public statement to that effect that includes an apology to the United States public, to their elected leaders, and to the scientists that he has essentially called liars.  Unfortunately, Monckton’s track record reveals that he will choose #2.

If so, it is time for our elected leaders to respond.  From lectlaw.com:

When a person, having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the U.S. authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; 18 USC

In order for a person to be found guilty of perjury the government must prove: the person testified under oath before [e.g., the grand jury]; at least one particular statement was false; and the person knew at the time the testimony was false.

The testimony of one witness is not enough to support a finding that the testimony was false. There must be additional evidence, either the testimony of another person or other evidence, which tends to support the testimony of falsity. The other evidence, standing alone, need not convince that the testimony was false, but all the evidence on the subject must do so.

To my U.S. readers:

If Monckton does not issue a public statement admitting he was wrong that includes an apology to the United States public, to their elected leaders, and to the scientists that he has essentially called liars, I urge you to write your elected leaders and demand that they take action.  Write to them and point to the .pdf file.  Ask them to investigate Monckton to see if they believe he committed perjury.

You may locate your senators and representatives by visiting: USA.gov

Update 9/21/10: Monckton has responded.  As expected, he has chosen option #2.  In his published comments at The Guardian, Monckton states: “One of the lead authors is currently under criminal investigation for alleged fabrication of results: another has been caught out in repeated lies: a third admits to suffering a mental disability: and many of the scientists whom these lead authors invited to contribute are among the long-discredited clique of Climategate emailers.”

It is time for you to take action.  Please visit USA.gov and ask your elected representatives to investigate Monckton.  I also encourage you to send letters to the various media sources that I have listed in the previous blog post Turn the Tables on Monckton.  Please make your voices heard.

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Written by Scott Mandia

September 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

58 Responses

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  1. He was clearly informed about his mistakes with respect to the Pinker paper before the Congressional hearing.

    Barry Bickmore

    September 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

  2. So, what is Monckton’s answer?

    In a lengthy letter to Congress some months ago, in which I addressed questions from Congressmen about my testimony before the global warming committee, I had already refuted in detail the points now belatedly raised again by the scientists who have written to Congress. The scientists were unaware of my letter to Congress because they did not have the good sense or courtesy to contact me – or even to contact the vast majority of the scientists whose conclusions I had cited – before circulating to friendly news media their prolix, turgid, repetitive, erroneous and inadequate response to my testimony. From their calculatedly furtive approach, it is legitimate to infer that their exercise was motivated more by politics than by science. One of the lead authors is currently under criminal investigation for alleged fabrication of results: another has been caught out in repeated lies: a third admits to suffering a mental disability: and many of the scientists whom these lead authors invited to contribute are among the long-discredited clique of Climategate emailers. Accordingly, it is unlikely that Congress will pay much attention to their political rant, which displays a lamentable absence of quantitative detail and a pathetic reliance on fashionable but questionable forecasting techniques that have long been compellingly contradicted by hard data.

    The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/monckton-responds-were-a-bunch-of-crazy-felons/

    plazaeme

    September 22, 2010 at 4:17 am

  3. …. good sense and courtesy…..

    Now there’s a concept!

    adelady

    September 22, 2010 at 5:30 am

  4. I’ve also come across this: TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1001

    § 1001. Statements or entries generally
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
    (b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
    (c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
    (1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
    (2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

    Byron Smith

    September 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

  5. 2. Claim that the world’s experts are lying.

    When it comes to stances on climate change ‘world experts’ are all over the map. To make any claim for or against climate change, you have to label someone a liar (or ignorant, mislead, etc.)

    Mandia: Regarding the claim about world experts, not true.

    Michael W

    September 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    • Mandia, all it takes for my statement to be true is one scientist making counter claims to AGW. How do you address this one scientist without claiming hes confused, lying, mislead, bought, etc?

      Michael W

      September 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      • The weight of evidence shows that Monckton’s claims are false. I have no problem if Monckton admits he is wrong. The problem is that Monckton keeps repeating claims that have been proven to be false. Just because one scientist agrees with Monckton does not give him license to tell the public that all other scientists are wrong or lying. BTW, what if there is a scientist that states the earth is flat?

        Scott Mandia

        September 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      • “BTW, what if there is a scientist that states the earth is flat?”
        You would say this scientist is lying, would you not? I’m glad we agree that experts do lie. Even groups of experts. Look at the oil lobby and their paid experts.
        Monckton standing before Congress and claiming a group of experts is lying, is a perfectly legit recreational activity.

        Michael W

        September 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  6. MW: Not so. There are a number of claims Monckton makes that no expert would endorse. Climate denialism demands a strong dose of pure moonshine, not just selective endorsement of fringe experts– and Monckton is no piker.

    Bryson Brown

    September 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    • Bryson, I have read through Monckton’s original testimony, the response by “a number of top scientists”, questions from the commitee, and Moncktons reply to those questions. To me it is an infinitely interesting conversation, and illustrates a difference of narrative between Monckton and his critics, nothing more. Specifically which claim would you say is “out on the fringe”?

      Michael W

      September 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      • A difference of narrative?

        This isn’t an argument in the English lit dept about deconstructing text. Nor is it journalism of the facile he said she said genre.

        It’s about reporting facts, demonstrable facts. Claiming something is a fact when it isn’t, or claiming that someone else reported a ‘fact’ when they didn’t is an entirely different kettle of something fairly smelly.

        adelady

        September 25, 2010 at 12:14 am

      • adelady, no its not about reporting facts. Its about interpreting facts. Monckton and his critics admit to the reality of global warming, they just differ on how much, and what we should do about it.

        Furthermore, I find Monckton to be much more generous with details, which is what I require being very interested in an issue that will end up affecting me profoundly.

        Can you give me an example of a Monckton lying about facts?

        Mandia: See Monckton’s Rap Sheet.

        Michael W

        September 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm

      • Mandia, I have a rap sheet, you have a rap sheet (unless you’ve lived a perfect life). What does a rap sheet by one of Moncktons critics have to do with the points of his congressional testimony?

        Michael W

        September 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm

  7. Monckton should be held accountable for providing the US Congress with information and advice which was and is wrong and which he knew to be wrong when he provided it.

    Whether Congress is willing to call Monckton to account is quite another matter. Presumably it will only act if it believes that material he provided was not only wrong but that Monckton knew it was wrong, was presented at scientifically factual and was presented as something more than his personal opinion.

    Monckton has a long and distinguished history of repeatedly misrepresenting and distorting the work and findings of reputable scientists in an effort to substantiate his views on global warming, its effects and consequences.

    The publication Climate Scientists Respond cogently shows that material Monckton provided to Congress was wrong and misleading and that he knew this to be the case at that time.

    Does this mean that Congress will hold Monckton accountable for having lied to one of its committees? It should of course but I very much doubt that it will. After all, Monckton made it clear that he was not a scientist, something Committee Members knew and would therefore have expected his views to be personal and certainly not professional.

    The fact that he misrepresented, distorted and fabricated the work of others in a deliberate way so as to claim that their work supported the views and advice he was providing to a Congressional Committee, is more serious, far more serious.

    If Congress does not take action to hold Monckton accountable, it will in effect be saying that anyone appearing before one of its Committees can lie to it and do so with impunity. And that destroys not only Committee credibility but the value of any view, findings or conclusions it or the Congress may reach.

    The only remedy is to call Monckton to account.

    Mandia: Well stated.

    Mike Pope

    September 23, 2010 at 7:35 pm

  8. http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/rachel_pinker_on_moncktons_tes.php

    On top of the 21 climate scientists correcting the numerous errors in Christopher Monckton testimony to Congress, we also have Rachel Pinker and Ellsworth Dutton correcting Monckton’s misunderstanding of Pinker, Zhang and Dutton (2005).

    Scott Mandia

    September 24, 2010 at 11:33 am

  9. I think the two areas where Monckton could definitely be pursued for perjury are:

    1. His rendition of Pinker’s work. Pinker had already told him that he was misapplying it.

    2. His claim to be a member of Parliament. In a written response to questions from members of Congress after his testimony, he explicitly stated that he is a member, and the clerks at Parliament have been instructed to lie by saying he is not.

    On both counts, he was informed well before his testimony that he was telling falsehoods.

    Barry Bickmore

    September 24, 2010 at 11:59 am

  10. Michael, you asked for an example of Monckton lying about facts. The link that Professor Mandia posted (here it is again contains perhaps dozens of documented instances of Monckton being caught out lying in public and then refusing to admit it. This is not a rap sheet of minor misdemeanours, but of serious scientific errors and wild unsubstantiated claims false made in the name of the UK House of Lords.

    The paper that began this post (available here, since the link above doesn’t seem to be working) details nine claims by Monckton made in his Congressional testimony that are incorrect. This isn’t a matter of competing experts, but of of twenty one experts against a man with a long history of deceit. Were any of his nine claims actually lies, rather than just mistakes? Well, he’s been corrected a number of times about more than a few of them in the past, so either he is a deliberate liar or a fool. It is hard to decide which.

    Mandia: Link fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

    Byron Smith

    September 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    • Byron, take a look at the first link you give. Point 1 mocks Monckton, says he is developing a cure for “Graves’ Disease, AIDS, Multiple Schlerosis, the flu, and the common cold”. It turns out it is a drug for the treatment of Graves’ disease that had success treating his own. He developed in conjunction with a British surgeon, and has had “positive results treating HIV and multiple sclerosis”. Lying? Seriously? Byron, this was a waste of time. As much a waste as if I had to look through your history before I had a conversation with you.

      The only way to determine the merits of an argument is to test the argument. Not the man behind the argument.
      Thanks for the link.
      What do you think of his reply questions from the committee?
      http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/answers_to_committee.html

      Mandia: His reply shows ignorance or dishonesty. You pick.

      Michael W

      September 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

      • Michael W, could you provide the evidence you have seen for this comment of yours :

        It turns out it is a drug for the treatment of Graves’ disease that had success treating his own. He developed in conjunction with a British surgeon, and has had “positive results treating HIV and multiple sclerosis”.

        A quick GOOGLE only came up with newspaper/blog comments, supposedly quoting Monckton. Since you seem to believe him, I presume you must have seen more evidence, so could you give more detail of the “British surgeon” and those “positive results”, please ?

        JMurphy

        September 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      • Mandia, can you tell me which of his points is “ignorant or dishonest” and why? If ignorance or dishonesty is the case, I would like to understand.

        Michael W

        September 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      • JMurphy, the newspaper/blog comments are the only thing I can find. Yet this is listed as a lie by his critics without anything to back up the accusation.

        http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet

        I don’t believe Monckton for a second, nor the quotes attributed to him. Nor is there enough info to call anyone a liar in this case. Is there?

        Relevance to his congressional testimony? None.

        Michael W

        September 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      • For one, look at his comment in Point #2:

        In my testimony of 25 May 2009, I produced a graph of which an updated version is reproduced below, showing that for what is now nine and a half years there has been a global cooling trend, notwithstanding continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

        He is cherry picking start and end dates to claim global cooling (in the warmest decade on record!) and then compounding his mistake by suggesting that rising CO2 levels for that short period should have warmed the climate.

        I already discussed this with another commenter, Dan Pangburn, in my Little Ice Age post. See:

        http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/little-ice-age-vs-global-warming/#comment-917

        Also, please see:

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/05/moncktons-deliberate-manipulation/

        He has been told REPEATEDLY about these things and yet he still repeats them. In my book he is lying. When experts show that 2+2=4 and you keep claiming that 2+2=5, you are either ignorant or dishonest. Monckton appears to be intelligent so I say he is lying.

        He should volunteer to answer these criticisms while strapped to a polygraph. THAT would provide clarity.

        Scott Mandia

        September 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      • I’m sorry Mandia, but the reason why Monckton has the privilege of an audience in congress is he is offering an alternative narrative. There are a lot of people looking at temp records (whether it be GISS HadCRU, RSS, and UAH) and noticing there has been a recent downward trend. Monckton drawing attention to this and calling it a trend, stating which start dates he picked is not lying. And your inability to call a trend a trend concerns me.

        The reasons why this trend doesnt upset the idea that the planet is dangerously warming is another story.

        Mandia: There is not a meaningful “trend” if the time series is too short. Shall I call my pediatric doctor with concern that my adolescent son who has been steadily growing each year appears to have stopped growing in the past week? When a person is called to testify before Congress about THE SCIENCE then any trends mentioned should HAVE MEANING and RELATE to the relevant discussion. No brainer. I am beginning to think that you are just toying with us for kicks.

        Michael W

        September 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  11. Michael W wrote : “I don’t believe Monckton for a second, nor the quotes attributed to him. Nor is there enough info to call anyone a liar in this case. Is there?”

    And yet the previous quote of yours that I highlighted, i.e. :

    It turns out it is a drug for the treatment of Graves’ disease that had success treating his own. He developed in conjunction with a British surgeon, and has had “positive results treating HIV and multiple sclerosis”.

    seems to be an argument you are using against an accusation that Monckton is lying. How does that prove that he is not lying ? If you don’t believe him or the quotes that are given for him, why are you using them as some sort of argument that he isn’t, in fact, lying ?

    Knowing Monckton’s previous history of lying, any scientific claims he makes can be immediately suspected as lies unless they can be backed-up in some way.

    JMurphy

    September 30, 2010 at 7:11 am

    • JMurphy, lets say I make a statement and claim I was quoting you, and say you were lying, without any references to back it up and post it on my website. If someone was trying to research JMurphy, how valuable would my quote be? It would be totally useless. Would it not? What kind of a researcher would they be if they relied on this quality of data?

      Michael W

      September 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      • There are plenty of well-documented instances of Monckton’s claims being shown to be false (the rap sheet mentioned above has many links to such evidence). The most recent example is this very publication that the post is highlighting (Prof Mandia – the link is broken to the report. Here it is again). Nine testable scientific claims made by Monckton while testifying to a Congressional investigation refuted in great detail, with all the relevant references and documentation.

        Byron Smith

        September 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      • Byron, do you have a problem with Moncktons first point?

        Assertion 1
        High CO2 levels co-existed with equatorial glaciers,
        disproving the efficacy of warming from high CO2 levels.

        The truth is Neoproterozoic Era is a controversial and poorly known era. The critic scientists (Dr. David Archer, Dr. Jeffrey Kiehl, Dr. Lee Kump) throw out theories to explain the climate of this era like its the final word on the subject. And looking at CO2 graphs of this era and the timing of ice ages, its clear that CO2 was much higher than today even during the snowball earth conditions. And Moncktons question still stands. How did equatorial glaciers exist in these conditions? Can you say you are satisfied with these scientists explanations?

        Michael W

        September 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      • That makes no sense to me, I’m afraid.

        You used what appeared to be your own words – “It turns out it is a drug for the treatment of Graves’ disease that had success treating his own. He developed in conjunction with a British surgeon…” – and then you claimed not to believe him anyway !
        If so, why didn’t you say that ‘Monckton claims…etc’ ?

        In your own scenario, I have looked at your words, searched for verification, found none (and you later admit you had none), and now realise that you wrote something that you claim you don’t believe anyway. Any researcher would be shaking their head in bemusement…

        JMurphy

        October 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

      • JMurphy, not quite.
        If you follow the link on Moncktons rap sheet

        http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-sceptic-clouds-the-weather-issue-20100201-n8y3.html

        you find the comments about the British surgeon etc.
        But still, this is all just hearsay. I can’t find any evidence on this point to grab hold of. Can you? Could you honestly put this on his rap sheet with the info available?

        Michael W

        October 14, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    • Mandia your insistence on what is meaningful and relevant are your own opinions, as are Moncktons. There are people who would say the 200 years of direct temperature records is too small of a sample for a planet billions of years old or “a week in the life of your adolescent son”.

      Science can only answer so many questions and does not come with a narrative. We have to take something like climatology, and apply it to our lives. Is it relevant to me? Is it more important than other issues? What is the correct response? Has it been sufficiently vetted? Should I stop everything I’m doing and focus on this?

      There is a reason we elect politicians and not scientists. This is what Monckton is good for in my opinion.

      Michael W

      September 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

  12. I’m not trying to toy with you. We both despise groupthink, and I am offering you a fresh perspective. Your welcome. And I really do value your taking the time to have this conversation.

    Michael W

    September 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

  13. How did equatorial glaciers exist in these conditions? Can you say you are satisfied with these scientists explanations?
    Yes. And the reason I shouldn’t be satisfied with them is? If our knowledge about this era is indeed less solid than our knowledge of conditions today, then to the extent that we ought to take the explanations from the experts with a grain of salt, so also Monckton’s claim loses relevance for understanding today. He has put forward a claim that tried to falsify greenhouse theory (or rather the sensitivity range commonly accepted for greenhouse theory) and they have given an account of the data that is consistent with both the Neoproterozoic data and contemporary data, showing that his counterexample doesn’t demonstrate what he claims. I note that Monckton cites Ian Plimer on this, whose work is only marginally more respected than Monckton’s own (which isn’t saying much).

    Byron Smith

    October 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

  14. PS The scientists acknowledge the uncertainties with deep time paleoclimatic reconstructions: the difficulty is that the data become more uncertain as you go back in time. [...] There are still mysteries lurking in our understanding of deep climate.

    My point is that such uncertainty cuts both ways. To the extent that we are uncertain about paleoclimatic reconstructions in deep time, Monckton’s attempts to nail climate sensitivity through them is also inadequate. But to the extent that he wants to be able to make solid claims about the paleo data, the actual scientists have good accounts of the apparent anomaly he points to.

    Byron Smith

    October 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

    • Byron, so Monckton puts forth a theory on shaky paleoclimate reconstructions, to counter thier theory on shaky paleoclimate reconstructions, and Monckton’s labeled a liar? I don’t understand how to sympathize with your views unless I was emotionally devoted to a single narrative.

      Michael W

      October 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      • “…sympathize with your views … emotionally devoted to a single narrative.”

        Again with this narrative guff, Michael. Nobody wants anyone to “sympathise” with any “views”.

        When people say Monckton lies, it’s because when his errors are pointed out to him, he doesn’t retract them. He doesn’t even ignore them and fail to refer to them again like a guilty teenager pretending they really do do the homework on time last week.

        He repeats them. And repeats them again. And never, ever refers to the corrections he was offered. If he acknowledges corrections at all, he goes on the offensive – often with offensive remarks attacking the person who was so uppity as to correct him as an unexpected bonus.

        If you have a real interest in paleo reconstructions, or in climate sensitivity, or in Arctic ice melt, or acidifying oceans, go to the real experts. Go there f.i.r.s.t.

        Follow the real paper trail through scientific publications and the reports of NOAA or NSIDC or BOM. I might add that some of this is not easy work. If you like, skip the really dense text with incomprehensible equations or specialist language, and look at NOAA’s latest seasonal report (or something similar).

        Never ever presume that scientists are dishonest. Scientists by and large are too honest for their own good. Uncertainty this, more research that, not enough data the other.

        The reason so many people find Monckton and others so attractive is that they tell simple, unequivocal “stories”. And Monckton, unlike many of the others, makes stuff up. The others tend to latch onto uncertainty statements and make mountains out of molehills.

        Ignore _all_ the storytellers and narrative peddlers.
        Do your own reading. Starting from the official documents and branch out from there.

        adelady

        October 2, 2010 at 3:30 am

      • adelady,
        “Never ever presume that scientists are dishonest.”
        I really hope you change your mind on this point. Scientists are not immune to the affects of human nature. If you are going to appeal to authority and not watch for dishonesty you will be defenseless to scientists on the payroll of companies/industries, scientists ideologically committed to a viewpoint, scientists who let their religion interfere, scientists simply mistaken, angry scientists, delusional scientists, etc.

        I know its tempting to appeal to authority, but appealing to logic is a better path. How do you personally choose which climate reconstruction, climate projection to accept?

        Michael W

        October 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      • adelady, I’m going to say the reason Monckton doesnt retract his claims, is because they haven’t been debunked. His critics will level criticisms at him, and then declare him debunked. And then they label him a liar and point to their so called “debunking”.

        Take the example Byron and I have been discussing here. Monckton says there was a higher level of CO2 in the Neoproterozoic Era, and glaciers came and went. The critic scientists say “according to theory” this is because CO2 came down low enough for equatorial glaciers to form several times during this era. Do you think this theory is enough evidence to disprove Monckton on Assertion 1?

        Michael W

        October 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    • PS these critic scientist acknowledge these uncertainties, than go on to claim they are certain Monckton has gone horribly wrong on assertion 1. If they were honest, they would have said we can’t prove him wrong on this point.

      Michael W

      October 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      • No. They say that on the best evidence we have, his reconstruction doesn’t fit the data. They can show that his account is very unlikely, while acknowledging that our knowledge of this area is incomplete. It is not impossible that they are wrong, but not all account are equally shaky. You seem to be working with a strange assumption that either things are certain or they are shaky (and therefore to be discounted or ignored).

        Byron Smith

        October 1, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      • As far as I can tell Monckton is suggesting a lower CO2 sensitivity fits the reconstruction better. The critic scientists have good explanations supporting a higher sensitivity, but thier failure to address their lack of certainty and thier attempts to silence Monckton are suspect and look more like obfuscation.

        You threw me for a curve on your last point-I don’t follow you.

        Michael W

        October 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

  15. And the other eight clams?

    Byron Smith

    October 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

  16. The critic scientists have good explanations supporting a higher sensitivity, but thier failure to address their lack of certainty and thier attempts to silence Monckton are suspect and look more like obfuscation.
    They are not attempting to silence Monckton. They are just pointing out his many glaring errors. Is that so difficult to understand?

    Their failure to address their lack of certainty? What on earth do you mean? Do you mean that because Monckton claims to have the silver bullets that conclusively show thousands of people with actual training and expertise in the field are thoroughly and comprehensively wrong and seems to claim this with certainty, while the actual sciences acknowledge the limitations on their knowledge that they have a problem? Or something else?

    What I meant by my comment is that you seem confused about the relationship between doubt, knowledge and certainty, assuming that only if something is known with certainty is it truly known. This is a deeply erroneous claim and leads to assuming that those who claim certainly ought to be taken more seriously than those who acknowledge the ways in which their data is incomplete. Monckton comes across as very knowledgeable, but the fact that he claims to be so supremely knowledgeable about so many different fields (climate science (all subdisciplines!), medicine, foreign policy, economics, and so on and so on) while pretty much everyone else in those fields with actual qualifications and who is recognised as a credible expert thinks he is off his tree ought to be telling you something. This guy isn’t claiming to be Galileo, standing against the consensus view of the experts of his day (which very occasionally turns out to be correct), but to be Galileo in a whole range of fields simultaneously. If he is correct, then vast swathes of our knowledge are deeply wrong and he ought to be recognised as possibly the greatest mind in the history of the race. Or he’s a nutter.

    I know which of those options is staggeringly more likely.

    Byron Smith

    October 1, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    • On earth, this is what I mean: The correct response to assertion 1 should have been “while we don’t agree with Moncktons assertion, we cannot disprove it”

      I don’t think Monckton is a Galileo, and I actually feel out of place defending him, because I don’t even know the guy. But its very hard for me to understand why someone would call him a liar for claiming the reconstructions of the Neoproterozoic Era is evidence for a lower climate sensitivity. Can you explain that to me? I actually feel like I should thank him if I happen to meet him because this conversation is infinitely interesting.

      I wish Dr. Lee Kump would have talked more dolomitic rocks and CO2 only being able to bond with magnesium at CO2 concentrations of 300,000 parts per million. Kump made a point about dolomite, but skipped over the magnesium factor altogether.

      Michael W

      October 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

      • No, you are again assuming that if something cannot be said with total certainty, then we know nothing and it is mere opinion. Here’s an example to illustrate this. Suppose you know that a six-sided die has been rolled 100 times but you haven’t seen the rolls. What do you think the average of all the rolls is likely to be? I can’t be certain about it, but if I said that I expected the average to be close to 3.5, then I’d be making a very reasonable assumption, much more likely to be true than someone who claims that the average was 5. Most of Monckton’s claims are like saying that the average was 7.

        Just because they can’t be totally sure about the very, very distant past, doesn’t mean that the experts know no more than Monckton about it.

        This is far from the only claim that Monckton has made and been corrected on (many of them concern things with much higher degrees of confidence). So this particular claim alone may not be enough to say that he is a liar, but the fact that he is so far off beam on almost every topic he cares to address and (as Adelady says) never accepts corrections but simply continues to make the same discredited claims is what makes him a liar.

        Adelady’s suggestion above (read the primary documents) is very good. Follow it.

        Byron Smith

        October 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      • “No, you are again assuming that if something cannot be said with total certainty, then we know nothing and it is mere opinion”

        I am not saying “we know nothing it is mere opinion”. I am saying the more a theory is testable, the more useful it is to us. I accept these critic scientists theory as helpful and constructive, but it cannot be used to prove or disprove Monckton’s assertion.

        “So this particular claim alone may not be enough to say that he is a liar”

        Byron, thank you for taking the time to go through this one point with me. I have already gone through his points in detail like we just did here, and cannot find this “off beam on almost every topic he cares to address”
        I know it is tempting to ridicule him, but if you look into any kind of detail, you will find these accusations baseless.

        If you would like, we can move on to Assertion 2.

        Michael W

        October 4, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      • Byron and Adelady I have avoided using the derogatory “go read some more material”. Please try to avoid this in the future because it shuts down conversations. I’m going to assume you don’t take take anything at face value from the MSM, and actually do the research yourselves. I’m not going to just accuse you of being ignorant just because I disagree with you.

        Michael W

        October 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

  17. Michael, I’m perfectly happy to read something that contributes to my knowledge or understanding.

    I’ve read and watched Monckton’s various presentations. I’ve read and watched refutations of his stuff. I’ve read and watched a whole lot of other things as well.

    So far, I’ve found nothing to support Monckton’s assertions and points of view. In addition there’s lots and lots of material, data, publications, reports by many people and organisations which not only contradict him but undermine the whole of his arguments. That is, he hasn’t just made a mistake with a number or a graph here and there, he’s constructed whole arguments on flimsy, and sometimes non-existent, evidence.

    Point me to a paper or a presentation where you think he’s got it right and I’ll look at it.

    Mandia: Well stated.

    adelady

    October 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  18. Shorter Michael W:

    Don’t you dare question my knowledge because I’ve read all the blogs.

    Even Shorter Michael W:

    I’m right and you’re wrong. So there!

    crazy bill

    October 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    • crazy bill, do you have any comments on Moncktons congressional testimony?

      Michael W

      October 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  19. “Point me to a paper or a presentation where you think he’s got it right and I’ll look at it.”
    adelady, how about Assertion 1 of his congressional testimony?

    Michael W

    October 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

  20. “Point me to a paper or a presentation where you think he’s got it right and I’ll look at it.”

    Btw-I’m not suggesting Monckton is right or wrong. I came here suggesting “lies, ignorance and pergury” is hyperbole. And therefore suggesting institutional intolerance for anything other than a very narrow viewpoint.

    Michael W

    October 5, 2010 at 11:47 am

    • Michael there is a *big* difference between (a) arguing that one thing that Monckton said might be so obscure as to be merely likely to be wrong, rather than an obvious falsehood and (b) arguing that Monckton is not a liar. Even if we grant that Monckton’s first congressional statement might be in a realm of knowledge where he can only be shown to be likely to be wrong, given the degree of uncertainty, this does very very little to show that he is not, in fact, a liar. For him to be exonerated of lying, you would have to show that every charge against him is false, or likely to be false. Do you understand this difference?

      Byron Smith

      October 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm

  21. Byron, once again, where in Assertion 1 do you see Monckton likely to be wrong? Much higher levels of CO2 existed along with equatorial glaciers and suggests the critic scientists are more likely wrong.

    “For him to be exonerated of lying, you would have to show that every charge against him is false, or likely to be false”
    Monckton needs no exoneration until he has been proved to be lying. This conversation we have had is an attempt to find out if he lied in the first place. I’m trying to help you out here by asking for evidence to support your accusation. Once we have this evidence your accusation will have merit.

    “For him to be exonerated of lying, you would have to show that every charge against him is false, or likely to be false”
    After further thought, I kind of like this assertion, and I think it should be applied to anyone giving testimony to congress, including the critic scientists.

    Michael W

    October 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    • Michael W wrote : “Byron, once again, where in Assertion 1 do you see Monckton likely to be wrong? Much higher levels of CO2 existed along with equatorial glaciers and suggests the critic scientists are more likely wrong.”

      If you read the report itself, you will discover why.

      We have three scientists :

      Dr. David Archer a professor in the Department of The Geophysical Sciences
      (He gives a clue as to why Monckton is wrong :

      So in fact, the idea is that when the CO2 got high enough, the glaciers couldn’t exist any more, so they melted. Monckton is mixing the two different intervals in time, using a theory that relies on CO2 as a greenhouse gas to argue that it proves the opposite.

      Dr. Jeffrey Kiehl, who is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate Change Research Section

      Dr. Lee Kump, who is a Professor of Geosiences.

      In the opposite corner :

      Lord Monckton, who is…?

      They point out “where Monckton is wrong”. Read their short pieces and try to decide who is most likely to be right.

      You could also look at this study :

      A Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth

      Part of the abstract states :

      This collapse can be explained by a global glaciation (that is, a snowball Earth), which ended abruptly when subaerial volcanic outgassing raised atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 350 times the modern level. The rapid termination would have resulted in a warming of the snowball Earth to extreme greenhouse conditions.

      Again, try to decide which of the above might be wrong/lying : the scientists or Monckton.

      You decide.

      JMurphy

      October 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      • Sorry about the cock-up in the formatting at the end but hopefully it is clear what is what.

        As an addendum, did anyone notice the difference between the ‘Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth’s’ “350 times the modern level”, and Moncton’ “773 times” ?

        Where did Monckton get his figure from ?

        JMurphy

        October 8, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      • JMurphy,
        Monckton’s assertion was that CO2 needs to be at ~300,000ppm to bond with magnesium, which is where he gets his “773 times”. To falsify this claim you have to show this bond happens at lower CO2 concentrations.

        Lee Kump makes a attempt at addressing this saying CO2 forms in dolomite at any CO2 level, but misses the whole magnesium question entirely.

        Archer, Kiehl and Kump have a plausible case. But generally speaking, its weak to try to falsify one plausible ancient climate reconstruction by suggesting another plausible climate reconstruction.

        Lord Monckton, who is a voice of opposition. Defeating his climate change assertions with solid thinking solidifies climate change science in the eyes of everyone watching. Labeling him, disregarding him, shutting down dialog with him weakens climate science in the eyes of everyone watching.

        Michael W

        October 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  22. [...] ‘important document’ I just mentioned is titled ‘Climate Scientists Respond’, and it’s a detailed response to this testimony by 21 leading climate scientists from institutes [...]

  23. Here’s another list of a small selection of Monckton’s misrepresentations, with links to supporting documentation.

    Byron Smith

    November 8, 2010 at 10:23 am


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