Christopher Monckton

From SourceWatch
Revision as of 00:21, 7 October 2012 by Scribe (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Christopher Monckton, AGW denier

Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Christopher Monckton is a non-scientist AGW denier, who has had articles published in The Guardian and in a non-peer-reviewed newsletter[1] of the American Physical Society (whose Council subsequently disagreed with Monckton's conclusions)[1] claiming that global warming is neither man-made nor likely to be catastrophic. Monckton has made various false claims in the past such as that he is a member of the British House of Lords.[2], a Nobel Prize winner, inventor of a cure for HIV, winner of a defamation case against George Monbiot and writer of a peer-reviewed article.

Monckton Speaking in St. Paul 2009 - Minnesota Free Market Institute
Monckton examined by Peter Hadfield
Monckton debunked by Peter Hadfield

Credentials

Monckton is the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley and reportedly a former advisor to the policy unit of the British government during the 1980s; he is employed as Chief Policy Adviser for the denier lobby group, Science and Public Policy Institute.[3].

Monckton is also Scotland Leader of the right-wing nationalist party United Kingdom Independence Party.

His critics, including The Guardian writer George Monbiot, point out that Monckton has only a "degree in classics and a diploma in journalism and...no further qualifications."[4]

Sponsors

Monckton's 2011 speaking tour of Australia was part-funded by the Australian Association of Mining and Exploration Companies and supported by coal mining billionaire and AGW denier Gina Rinehart.[5]

Monckton on Climate Change

Christopher Monckton has written many articles critical of current climate change science. In one article written for the Science and Public Policy Institute, Monckton criticized Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth", alleging that the film used very few facts, most of which were "substantially inaccurate".[6] Monckton's critique came on the heels of a British lawsuit in which a school official sued the British government for distributing the film in public schools.[7] A subsequent response from British scientists hit out at the judge for "misleading the public by ruling that Gore had made "errors"" when they considered the movie "presented an exceptionally high standard of scientific accuracy".[8]

Monckton admitted in an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, that he played a role in the court hearings by prompting a friend to fund the court case in order to "fight back against this tide of unscientific freedom-destroying nonsense, which is what global warming is really all about".[9] Prior to this it had been revealed that a Scottish quarry magnate had bankrolled the legal action against An Inconvenient Truth via a fringe UK right-wing political party, the New Party.[10]

"Lord" Monckton also funded the distribution in British schools of the film, "The Great Global Warming Swindle," as part of a "counter-campaign to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change." [11] The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has found that The Great Global Warming Swindle broke its guidelines on impartiality [12]

Monckton also wrote a controversial article for the American Physical Society's newsletter refuting the IPCC's conclusion that climate change is a largely human produced phenomenon. The APS, however, headlined the article with the disclaimer that "its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions."[13] and ""The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters" [14]. Despite this, Christopher Monckton continues to claim that the opinion piece has been peer-reviewed and there is a conspiracy to cover this up [15].

The "Monckton Manoeuvre"

Journalist Peter Hadfield coined the term "Monckton Manoeuvre" (alternate: Monckton Maneuver) to describe Monckton's tactic of changing his position when shown to be wrong and pretending that his position hasn't changed.[16]

Controversies

House Of Lords membership claim

Despite the passing of the 1999 House Of Lords Act (which stripped hereditary peers of instant admission to the House Of Lords) Christopher Monckton has claimed that he is "a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature"[17]. More recently he has claimed that he is a member "without the right to sit or vote"[18]. The House Of Lords themselves state that "Christopher Monckton is not and has never been a Member of the House of Lords. There is no such thing as a 'non-voting' or 'honorary' member."[19] When Monckton persisted with the lie, the House of Lords took the unprecedented step of publishing an open letter to him, demanding that he cease and desist.[2]

Nobel Laureate claim

Christopher Monckton claims on the website of the Science and Public Policy Institute that:

His contribution to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 - the correction of a table inserted by IPCC bureaucrats that had overstated tenfold the observed contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise - earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York, USA -SPPInstitute website[20]

When Christopher Monckton visited Australia in early 2010 he conceeded that it was "it was a joke, a joke" and "never meant to be taken seriously". The Sydney Morning Herald noted that despite this, he had made the same claim with a "straight face" on the Alan Jones show one day prior, and the claim remained on the SPPInstitute website[21] where it could still be found six months later.

George Monbiot defamation claim

In 2007 a paragraph appeared on Monckton's Wikipedia page claiming he had won £50,000 as a result of an article George Monbiot allegedly wrote. As this was clearly untrue, George Monbiot wrote to Monckton asking why somebody claiming "who identifies himself as [Monckton]" was adding fictitious details to the page. A typically evasive Monckton refused to answer directly, and eventually wrote to Monbiot's editors demanding Monbiot cease emailing him pertinent questions.[22]

Policy work

Christopher Monckton worked for the British government between 1982-1986, has previously claimed to be a "chief policy advisor" to former British prime minister Margeret Thatcher, and is frequently introduced as her "chief science advisor" when interviewed by the conservative media[23].

Christopher Monckton has been quoted as saying "I gave her advice on science as well as other policy from 1982-1986, two years before the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded", that he was "the only one who knew any science" and that "it was I who – on the prime minister's behalf – kept a weather eye on the official science advisers to the government, from the chief scientific adviser downward".

Bob Ward in the Guardian invesitgated these claims and found them to be false, noting "that this novel and important innovation by Viscount Monckton [bringing a computer to Downing Street and calculating that global warming was, in fact, happening] was not recognised by the current minister for science and universities, David Willetts, who was also a member of the prime minister's policy unit between 1984 and 1986. In 1986, "Two Brains" wrote a prize-winning essay on the role of the unit, but mysteriously omitted to mention Monckton's historic contribution."[24]

"Nazi" epithets

Monckton likens Professor Ross Garnaut to a Nazi

2011: Swastikas for those who accept mainstream climate science

At the right wing American Freedom Alliance conference "Big Footprint: Is Green the New Tyranny" in Los Angeles in June 2011, as a grand finale, Monckton displayed on the giant conference screen a large Nazi swastika next to a quote from Adolf Hitler. A few seconds later came another quote, next to another large swastika, from Australia's climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut, which suggested that "on a balance of probabilities, the mainstream science is right" on human-caused climate change.

Professor Garnaut's opinion was, according to the presiding hereditary peer, a "fascist point of view".[25]

Monckton later described himself as "catastrophically stupid" for having made the comparison.[26] Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described Lord Monckton's actions and remarks as "very offensive and grossly unacceptable".

2009: 'Hitler Youth' for climate activists

During the Copenhagen Climate Summit in late 2009, where Christopher Monckton was head of the right-wing CFACT delegation, his press conference was interrupted by climate change activists from Sustain US. Monckton responded by calling them "Hitler Youth" and "Nazis".

The next day, when confronted by the same individuals to explain his actions, Monckton repeated his slur and told them "So I think you should all just chill out and accept that if you ever behave like that again I will call you that again in public. You're already now known and your faces around the world are known as members of the Hitler youth. You people do as much damage to the poor as the Hitler youth did. And you've got to accept that if you're not willing to take it, then you shouldn't give it. And don't go around invading people's meetings again."[27]

John Abraham presentation

On May 31 2010, John P. Abraham, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas uploaded an in-depth rebuttal of Monckton's lecture entitled "A Scientist Replies To Christopher Monckton" in the form of an online presentation.[28]

Monckton's first response was to personally attack John Abraham,[29] accusing him of being "snake-like", of having the face of "an overcooked prawn" and an "irritatingly nasal tone", while at the same time accusing him of being "venomously ad-hominem" and belonging to a "Bible college" (despite the fact Monckton and the University are both Catholic). Monckton also stated that his presentation was full of "artful puerilities" and threatened to "[haul Abraham] up before whatever academic panel his Bible college can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of willful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession."

Monckton corresponded with the University of St. Thomas, outlining that he perceived the presentation as "academically dishonest".[30] The University replied that Monckton was entitled to disagree with Abraham, but that they were standing by him.

During the course of the (largely one-way) correspondence Monckton also threatened to litigate for libel, to speak to the University's benefactors to withdraw funding, and demanded that the University remove all traces of the presentation from their servers or he would release all correspondence and publish a "book" of criticism of John Abraham's presentation on the 10th of July.

On 24 June, Monckton appeared on the Alex Jones show and charged that the head of the University, Father Dennis Dease, was a "creep", that John Abraham was a "wretched little man" and that the University itself was a "half-assed Bible college".[31] In response, the University sent a legal stating they were "appalled by [the] disparaging, outrageous and defamatory comments regarding the University of St. Thomas, Father Dennis Dease and Professor John Abraham, especially the comments made during a TV interview on the 24th of June". [32] Monckton responded by denying any remembrance of the comments or interview,[33] even though he had only made the interview two days prior. Eventually he admitted recording an interview for Alex Jones, and demanded to know which comments they perceived as defamatory.

By 10 July the University had refused to fold to Monckton's demands, and true to his word he published an 86 page attack on John Abraham (and to a lesser extent, his presentation) on the popular global warming denial website Watts Up With That.[34] The response was criticised for being a "gish-gallop",[35] and "too silly and too incredibly long to be picked apart piece by piece".[36]

Monckton also encouraged Watts' readers to flood Father Dennis Dease's email inbox with demands for the presentation to be removed and for Abraham to be dismissed (for daring to criticism him). For this action, Monckton has been widely criticised for trying to bully the University with yet-to-be-enacted legal threats and unsolicited emails.[37]

As of September 2012 and despite multiple threats to the contrary, no legal action has been taken by Christopher Monckton against Prof Abraham or the university.

Peter Hadfield debate

In early 2012 Christopher Monckton penned rebuttals to journalist Peter Hadfield's YouTube eviscerations of his work for Watts Up With That. Anthony Watts agreed to publish Hadfield's rebuttals on his website and a debate broke out. After a couple of posts, in which Hadfield made numerous references to the sources that Monckton was misquoting and demonstrated why he believed Monckton to be wrong, Monckton mysteriously pulled out, claiming he was "too busy" to take part in a debate of "inconsequentialities"- an intriguing claim as he doesn't have a real job and the "inconsquentialities" in question concerned climate sensitivity, the main thrust of Monckton's argument. Peter Hadfield responded with an "Open Letter To Christopher Monckton" urging him to return to the debate[38]. No response was received. As of 2012 Monckton has found the time to pen numerous piece for Watts Up With That and travel the world questioning President Obama's birth certificate (see "birtherism"), but still refuses to engage Hadfield.

Birther

Monckton is a staunch supporter of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and has claimed that President Obama's birth certificate is fraudulent[39]. In September 2012 Monckton claimed the odds that President Obama's birth certificate was real were "One in 62,500,000,000,000,000,000"[40]. To date these claims have yet to be peer reviewed.

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Joe Romm (2008-07-19). American Physical Society stomps on Monckton disinformation - thank you Climate Progress readers. Climate Progress. Retrieved on 2010-07-28. “The country’s largest organization of physicists is working fast to restore its good name, which was damaged by one ignorant editor of a non-peer-reviewed newsletter. That editor, Jeff Marque, published a previously-debunked analysis by failed conservative politician and non-scientist Lord Monckton. ... The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 House of Lords takes Monckton to task. abc.net.au (2011 [last update]). Retrieved on 19 July 2011.
  3. Science and Public Policy Institute Personnel December 2009
  4. "This is a dazzling debunking of climate change science. It is also wildly wrong", George Monbiot, The Guardian Online, November 2006.
  5. Australia's place in the global web of climate denial - The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 2011-06-29.
  6. "35 Inconvenient Truths - The errors in Al Gore’s movie" February 2009
  7. "Britain sued over Gore movie in schools", MSNBC website, September 2007.
  8. "UK scientists defend Gore film", BBC, October 2007.
  9. "Glenn talks with Lord Monckton", Glenn Beck Interviews Online, March 2008.
  10. "Revealed: the man behind court attack on Gore film", the Guardian, October 2007
  11. "Please Sir--Gore's got warming wrong", The Times Online, October 2007.
  12. "[1]"
  13. "Newsletter Article Causes Climate-Change Kerfuffle", Fox News Online, July 2008.
  14. [2] Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered
  15. [3] "About Christopher Monckton", Christopher Monckton Foundation
  16. Monckton debunks Monckton : Deltoid (2011-12-12). Retrieved on 2011-12-12. Peter Hadfield dissects Monckton's response to Hadfield's demolition of Monckton's claims about climate science.
  17. [The Raw Story - Monckton's letter to Snowe, Rockefeller on Global Warming]
  18. Watts Up With That "A detailed rebuttal to Abraham from Monckton]
  19. [The Salt Lake Tribune - "The debate on global warming heats up online".]
  20. Science and Public Policy Institute - Personnel
  21. Nobelman is no Nobel Man - Sydney Morning Herald, 26th of January
  22. [4]
  23. Morning Bell: Al Gore's Morals vs Your Pocketbook - The Foundry
  24. Thatcher becomes latest recruit in Monckton's climate sceptic campaign - Bob Ward, The Guardian, June 22.
  25. Graham Redfearn (2011-06-21). The environmental Nazi hunter. The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 2011-06-23.
  26. Monckton apologises for Nazi jibe - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved on 2011-06-26.
  27. Copenhagen Climate Talks: Monckton "Hitler Youth" Video DeSmong Blog, Kevin Grandia, 10 December 2009
  28. A Scientist Replies To Christopher Monckton
  29. Pajamas Media - "Monckton: At Last, the Climate Extremists Try to Debate Us!"
  30. Christopher Monckton's correspondence with the University Of St. Thomas (Word document)
  31. Alex Jones show, 24 June 2010 part 5/6
  32. Monckton/University correspondence Page 13
  33. Monckton/University correspondence Page 14
  34. Monckton's reply to Abraham (PDF format)
  35. Deltoid - "I think they might have to rename it a Monckton Gallop"
  36. Desmog Blog - "Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance"
  37. Deltoid - "Why is Monckton afraid of a debate with Abraham?"
  38. [5]
  39. [6]
  40. [7]

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

  • Monckton Myths from Skeptical Science; countering Monckton's claims
  • Letter from the House of Lords [8]
  • BYU geochemist Barry Bickmore's The Church of Monckton
  • Letter from the House of Lords to Monckton asking him to cease his claim to membership of the House [9]

External articles

Speeches and Articles by Monckton