Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The adventures of Christopher Monckton in the real world

EoR is a little disappointed with the rather poor efforts of climate change deniers of late. Andrew Bolt used to post monthly temperature graphs to 'prove' there was no global warming. Then he posted monthly temperature graphs to 'prove' there was no global warming because there was only a slight increase. Now he doesn't bother at all. There's only the occasional post claiming sea levels aren't rising quite as fast as some people claim. Though they are still rising.

The Lord Clown of Deniers, Christopher Monckton, also seems to have been quiet lately, but maybe that's just because the media have become bored with his repetitive schtick. And the fact that you can't really be a Lord High Denier and All Round Genius to the conspiracy set when you admit that global warming is happening, and it's caused by humans (the Telegraph, for whatever ulterior reason, has deleted the relevant article — it is, however, still available on the internet). Oh dear. EoR bets all the cardigan-wearing set have torn his posters from the wall in a fit of right wing pique.

Lord Monckton admitted the world is warming as a result of mankind’s activities.

“Some warming is to be accepted as a result of our activities but on balance not very much,” he said.

In a bizarre press conference attended by a handful of journalists and a ‘climate sceptic activist’ dressed in a polar bear suit with a sign reading ‘I am fine’, Lord Monckton spoke out about his theories on climate change.

His theories? How many does he have?

Monckton was introduced as the 'Lord of the climate skeptics'. It reminds EoR of when tours of insane asylums were undertaken, and people would be introduced as 'Napoleon'.

John Vidal at the Guardian reports how the man who was incensed at 'Hitler youth' at Copenhagen is now employing the same tactics.

But it seems that the man who in Copenhagen last year compared young protesters to Hitler Youth because they gatecrashed a meeting of climate sceptics, had not actually been invited to the largest business conference of the summit that featured Lord Stern, Richard Branson and several Mexican billionaires.

After an hour of tolerating Monckton, the patience of the organisers wore thin. "Who is this man?" asked one American green venture capitalist. "These are weird views," said another. A few minutes later he was asked to leave.

You can listen to a 7 minute interview with Monckton at the conference. Monckton argues that modelling is wrong, and when he was taught science "measurement and observation were the appropriate processes". This is a line taken by Ian Plimer in Climate changing: How global warming lost its science and support (IPA Review, March 2010). EoR wonders who's copying their argument from whom?

My scientific critics are decades younger, had a postmodernist education, are scientifically narrow, play with computer models and lack the ability to argue logically. This is probably why ad hominem attacks had spelling errors and poor English.

Of course, the irony of Plimer calling his opponents 'illogical', 'scientifically narrow', 'bad spellers' and users of 'poor English' and then crying about ad hominen attacks against him is hilarious.

In the audio interview, Monckton also refers to a question in the House of Lords, which he had to get a sitting member to put. But isn't Monckton a member of the House of Lords? If that particular lie was true, he could have asked the question himself.

Monckton is not a climatologist (nor any sort of scientist, in fact) but a rhetorician, as a post by Gideon Rachman demonstrates. Rachman, who was about to take part in a (non climate related) Oxford debate with Monckton, spoke to him. Or was spoken at.

I began to think that Viscount Monckton might be a formidable opponent during the debate. Then he told me that he has discovered a new drug that is a complete cure for two-thirds of known diseases - and that he expects it to go into clinical trials soon. I asked him whether his miracle cure was chiefly effective against viruses or bacterial diseases? “Both”, he said, “and prions”. At this point I felt a little more relaxed about the forthcoming debate.

Monckton disputes this account, and has written a rebuttal which Rachman has published:

Lord Monckton has pointed out an inadvertent inaccuracy and unfairness in my account of the medical invention on which he is working. Though there is a substantial body of theoretical and empirical evidence that his invention may prove efficacious against multiple infectious and auto-immune diseases, he did not and does not make any claim that the invention will prove efficacious. That is precisely why, as he told me when we met at Oxford, a series of appropriately sceptical clinical trials will commence shortly in the United States.

Personally, EoR thinks Monckton is just hiding the decline in his intellectual abilities, which has been occurring since at least 1998.

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