Over on Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet, I showed quite clearly that Christopher Monckton is not the most… reliable source of information. Usually he would be the kind of person one would politely ignore, but I decided to publicly document his antics because he is constantly being touted as an expert on (what’s wrong with) climate science by some very powerful politicians and media personalities, foundations, and even by a few scientists (who almost invariably are not climate specialists.) The purpose of this page is to document who the politicians, media personalities, foundations, and scientists are, who have treated Monckton as if he were a credible source of information about climate science.
The sorts of people who are Monckton boosters have one thing in common–they want to be perceived as the sort of no-nonsense iconoclasts who aren’t afraid to question the status quo. “So what if 97% of climate scientists think humans are significantly affecting the global climate? If you want me to believe it, you’re going to have to prove it to me!” they say. That would be fine, except that when we are dealing with a complex, technical subject, it generally takes several years of very hard work to get to the point where you can make informed judgements about conflicting expert opinions. Most people are way too lazy for all that work, so if they don’t want to defer to an overwhelming majority of the experts, they start pretending. That is, they find plausible-sounding sources of information that go against the status quo, and then pretend that their favored sources blow the consensus out of the water via an irresistible barrage of logic and facts. In reality, these people don’t have a clue who is right–they just pick whatever side fits their preconceived notions or political ideology. In doing so, they leave themselves wide open to be taken in by anyone who will tell them what they want to hear and make it sound “scientific” to a non-expert.
Even so, they should have known better, in this case. His Lordship has gone about falsely claiming to be a member of Parliament, claimed to invent a miracle cure for AIDS, MS, Graves’ Disease, herpes, the flu, and the common cold, and his “science” has been debunked many times by scientists. Anyone can grasp the first two examples I cited, and as for the science, anyone can start looking up the papers Monckton cites and start noticing that the authors often come to the exact opposite conclusion from Monckton’s. In short, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a climate scientist) to figure out that Monckton is rather suspect as a source of information.
So beware, would-be climate iconoclasts! If you insist on relying on Lord Monckton for your information, your name might just end up here, prominently featured with Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet.
This time, I’m just going to get the ball rolling and rely on readers to help me collect more examples. Please help me keep up by posting comments, complete with linked references. If you are one of the people featured on this page, feel free use the comments section to a) try to defend yourself (I may even remove you from the list if it was an error,) or b) publicly repent.
3. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) is the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. The Republicans on that committee invited Lord Monckton as their sole witness at a hearing about the state of climate science. (The Democrats invited three eminent scientists. I was ashamed to be a Republican that day.) Sensenbrenner introduced Lord Monckton by saying he was “helping to improve the state of climate science.”
4. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Arizona) is on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. The Republicans on that committee invited Lord Monckton as their sole witness at a hearing about the state of climate science. Shadegg ignored all the scientific evidence the scientists there presented, and focused on Monckton’s commentary about an IPCC graph that indicates an acceleration in global warming over the last century. I believe Monckton was right that the trend periods presented on the graph were cherry-picked. However, Monckton went on to tell his made-up story about how Rachel Pinker’s recent paper on global brightening/dimming shows that the most recent episode of warming has been naturally caused.
5. Rep. John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma) is on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. The Republicans on that committee invited Lord Monckton as their sole witness at a hearing about the state of climate science. Even though Sullivan endearingly kept calling Monckton “Lord Monckington,” he asked His Lordship to “explain why you are a Lord” after Rep. Jay Inslee attacked Monckton’s claim to be a member of the House of Lords. He later asked Monckton a couple softball questions.
6. Utah Rep. Mike Noel (R-Kanab) taunted a number of local scientists (including me) who had urged the Utah Legislature not to adopt a resolution that distorted the state of climate science, made contradictory claims, and advocated conspiracy theories. In other words, he didn’t have a clue how to defend himself.
7. Utah Rep. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem) also taunted a number of local scientists (including me) who had urged the Utah Legislature not to adopt a resolution that distorted the state of climate science, made contradictory claims, and advocated conspiracy theories.
9. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) adopted Monckton as their Deputy Leader. He was even briefly one of their candidates for the House of Commons, even though members of the House of Lords aren’t allowed to run for seats in the House of Commons. Funny how that worked.
16. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), invited Monckton to address a House committee in 2009, and referred to him as “one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable, experts on the skeptic side.” Of course, during the hearing Barton also said, “Adapting is a common way for people to adapt to their environment.”
3. Alex Jones interviewed Monckton on his show, and called Monckton “an award-winning researcher.” He gushed, “You and your clear, straight, piercing voice and intellect have been one of the main people just, just annihilating these frauds.”
5. Anthony Watts has consistently given a forum to Monckton on the Watts Up With That? blog. Watts even characterized Monckton’s reply to John Abraham as “jam packed with essential points.” I guess he means the one about how Abraham is REALLY only an “Associate” Professor, even though he said he was a professor.
13. Michael Coren, a Canadian journalist, had Monckton on his show. Coren started out by saying that he doesn’t claim to be an expert about climate change, but introduced Monckton as “someone who IS an expert.” He went on to encourage his viewers, “Don’t believe anything. Do your own work of research. You may then conclude, ‘You know what? David Suzuki, he is just another human being who gets it wrong sometimes.'” Really, Mr. Coren? Have YOU gone and checked Monckton’s claims for yourself? Or did you just encourage your viewers to do so because you wanted to sound like a hard-nosed, iconoclastic journalist, and then swallow everything Monckton said whole because he is an expert, after all?
14. Piers Akerman of The Daily Telegraph highlighted Monckton as a “distinguished sceptic.” Akerman acted like Australian Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull’s support of “the climate change argument” was going against the grain, given “a growing number of distinguished sceptics coming forward on an almost daily basis.” And yes, Monckton was the ONLY example he gave of all these “distinguished sceptics” coming out of the woodwork.
15. Theo Richel, a Dutch journalist, totally sucked up to Monckton in this interview, where Monckton claimed he was having Rajendra Pachauri jailed for fraud. Still waiting for the hammer to come down….
16. Andrew Orlowski at The Register (UK) was incensed that Monckton’s non-peer-reviewed article in an APS newsletter was labeled as such after Monckton and his followers went around claiming otherwise.
17. Surprise!!! Rush Limbaugh is a Monckton fan.
Non-Profit “Think-Tanks”, etc.
1. CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) relies heavily on Monckton for information about climate science. They gush, “Few have been so brilliantly effective at debunking the global warming scare as this compellingly articulate British Lord.”
2. The Heartland Institute also relies heavily on Monckton, and consistently invites him as a keynote speaker to their conferences on climate change in March 2008, March 2009, June 2009, May 2010. Yes, that’s every single one so far.
3. Monckton is the “Chief Policy Advisor” for the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), or more aptly, sppinstitute.org. As of Aug. 19, 2010, they still have Monckton listed as a Nobel Laureate on their personnel page, even though the Director, Bob Ferguson, has been informed that this is false for some time. Methinks he doesn’t care.
4. The Minnesota Free Market Institute invited Monckton to speak in St. Paul.
8. The Heritage Foundation says this of Monckton. “At the same time the scientific evidence is pointing away from catastrophic global warming scenarios, the European experience in addressing the issue has proven both costly and ineffective. Few have commented on these and other aspects of the global warming debate as presciently as Christopher Monckton.”
10. Friends of Science (FoS) sponsored a Canadian speaking tour by Monckton. The bio they posted for His Mendacity lauds him for issuing “A Churchillian Reproof to Senators Rockefeller and Snowe”. Well, you know, there are a lot of similarities. Like how Churchill was actually a member of Parliament, and then later the Prime Minister, and Monckton claimed to be a member of Parliament in his letter to the two Senators. Ok, so I didn’t say they were exactly alike.
12. Freedomworks sponsored a “Tax Day Tea Party,” where Monckton was listed as a speaker. They complain that the “Lefties” are “freaked out” by the Tea Party Movement, and have “done everything they can to keep them out of the mainstream coverage and paint them as a fringe movement.” Yeah. It’s all the Lefties’ fault.
14. The American Freedom Alliance had Monckton speak at their conference about “Green Tyranny”. During the speech, His Lordship compared various “eco-fascists” to Hitler to the great delight of the black-helicopter-watchers in the audience. (And yes, I mean the entire audience.)
8. Ian Plimer, author of Heaven and Earth–Global Warming: The Missing Science, suggested the Climate Sceptics Party in Australia invite Lord Monckton to speak alongside him. Plimer cited Monckton a couple times in his book, as well.
11. John Brignell, the engineer who runs the Number Watch site, dedicated to “the monitoring of the misleading numbers that rain down on us via the media,” teared up over Monckton. “Just at our darkest hour, when the new godless religion seemed to be sweeping all before it, a major newspaper has produced a two-page broadsheet article telling the truth about the global warming hoax.” I love this quotation, as well. “Despite his arts background, he has amply demonstrated that he understands both the physics and mathematics of the global warming scare. He is a giant among dwarfs on the international scene. He has an intellectual mastery of the facts coupled with the gift of oratory. He is the Winston Churchill of his time, standing virtually alone in defiance of the antidemocratic forces that threaten to take over the world.” Methinks Mr. Brignell has not been apprised of Monckton’s tendency to put the wrong numbers into formulae.