Last month I wrote a post about how Peter Hadfield, an experienced science journalist and YouTuber, seemed to be cornering Lord Monckton into a debate. Here’s an excerpt from that earlier post.
Several months ago I wrote a post here about how Lord Christopher Monckton’s handler, Bob Ferguson, had tried to get me to do a live debate with Monckton. I declined, because I felt that live debates favor people who, well… make up whatever they want. Instead, I proposed a written online debate, in which we would have time to check each other’s sources. This proposal was flatly refused.
Well, it appears that Monckton may have been forced into a written debate by an experienced science journalist, Peter Hadfield. Or at least he’s been forced into looking very, very bad if he doesn’t accept Hadfield’s challenge.
Hadfield, who goes by the handle “Potholer54″ on YouTube, produces a high quality series of videos that debunk common climate myths. Some months ago he produced five videos debunking various claims made by Monckton. (Lord Monckton Bunkum Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). Much of it was simply a matter of checking Monckton’s sources and comparing what they actually say to the claims Monckton used them to support. In other words, Hadfield did a John Abraham, but with video clips to back up his assertions about what Monckton had said. Monckton posted a “response” to the video series on the Watt’s Up With That? blog, in which he dropped a bunch of insults on Hadfield and tried to squirm out of the charges by essentially denying everything. Hadfield responded back with a two-part video series (Part 1,Part 2), which was, to be frank, devastating, because Monckton was on video saying all those things he now denies having said.
But here’s where the story gets really good. Anthony Watts, a former weatherman and proprietor of the Watt’s Up With That? blog, has now posted a written response by Hadfield right under Monckton’s post.
Apparently, Monckton had promised to answer Hadfield’s criticism, but he has now responded to Hadfield’s requests by saying that he all of a sudden has far too much other stuff to do, and so he can’t possibly be expected to address such “inconsequentialities” as whether he misrepresented his sources to make all the major points in his public lectures. This is quite amusing to Monckton watchers like myself, because for years His Lordship has been touting the fact that Al Gore refuses to debate him. Al Gore would likely refuse to debate Jessica Simpson or the guy who played Screech on Saved by the Bell, too, but the fact is that Monckton has very publicly criticized certain points in Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and many, many people repeat those criticisms. In my opinion, most of the criticisms are absurd, but I don’t think Gore would be remiss in assigning a staffer to do some kind of written response. I’m all for ignoring fringe figures, but when fringe figures are testifying before the U.S. Congress as “expert” witnesses, maybe it’s time to take notice. Here is Monckton throwing down the gauntlet for Al Gore on Fox News (video here):
I want you to face me in a debate about global warming, and if you don’t dare, I want you to remain silent about that subject forever, from now on.
As I noted, however, the sort of debate Monckton wants is the kind where you can say anything you want and nobody can check your sources. So now that he has been cornered into a debate ABOUT his sources, with video clips and photographs of paragraphs in the papers he cites, I think it’s a bit uncomfortable for him. Hadfield has followed up with an open letter to Monckton, which he has posted on his YouTube channel, challenging Monckton to continue with the debate.
Will Monckton respond? I doubt it, but he has no excuse for it. Peter Hadfield had this to say with respect to Monckton’s “I don’t have time” excuse.
Let me address the first excuse first. I understand you are currently on a busy tour, but you promised Anthony Watts you would respond when you returned from your last tour, and you did not. Meanwhile I note that you have had plenty of time to respond to a university newsletter that criticized you, and you spent two hours talking on skype to a small classroom of students. I fail to see why these are “priorities”, while my 57,000 subscribers and the hundreds of thousands of subscribers to wattsupwiththat are not deserving of an answer from you concerning clear evidence that you seriously misled your audiences over a period of several years. The people watching this debate have watched you vacate your chair, and are still expecting to see you to re-appear from backstage at any moment with some incisive rebuttal after checking my evidence. I am sure they will be as shocked as I am to hear the squealing of car tyres as you make good your escape.
As the sound of Monckton’s squealing tires fades into the distance, the real question is this. If Monckton refuses to debate Hadfield, will he “remain silent about [climate change] forever, from now on”?