Monckton Goes Postal Over RealScience Riposte

Wed, 2008-07-30 10:51Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Monckton Goes Postal Over RealScience Riposte

Journalist and failed politician Christopher Walter (the self-celebrating Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) has launched a blustering counter-attack on Dr. Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate, attempting to avenge Schmidt's impertinence for picking apart Monckton's amateur science submission to a newsletter of the American Physical Society.

I won't wade into the science: Drs. Schmidt and (Tim) Lambert (at Deltoid ) have done an admirable job of that already. But Monckton's tactics are evident even in the way he sets up his piece.

Monckton writes that Schmidt “has launched a malevolent, scientifically-illiterate, and unscientifically-ad-hominem attack on a publication by me,” and the high-road Viscount says that, in rebuttal, he will “replace all comments by him (Schmidt) that are purely ad hominem with “+++”.

So, I checked out the first “+++” in Monckton's hyperventilating counterpoint and found that he had replaced the words: “As Deltoid quickly noticed …” Now, there's a ferociously and clearly malevolent personal attack, no?

Monckton, he who is above ad-hominem attack, refers to RealClimate throughout his piece as “FalseClimate” and concludes with a “chapter” that asks, “Who funds FalseClimate and the blogs connected to it?” (Google John Lefebvre for an answer as it applies to the DeSmogBlog.) Monckton then goes off on a tangent trying to tie a bunch of respected scientists to an imagined leftist-conspiracy to - well, I can never really figure out what the supposed leftists are actually conspiring to do, other than bring a serious scientific issue to the attention of the public.

But since he brought iup the who-is-paying-for-this-opinion? question, Monckton's own counterpoint appears on the site of the Science and Public Policy Institute, an Exxon-funded climate change denial organization. Just for the record.

For more on the who's who of the climate denial industry, check out our comprehensive climate deniers research database.



Monkton humiliated Schmidt.
Schmidt's lame arguments were propoganda not science.
Desperation is truely setting in.
It is a wonderful thing to see reality finally emerge.

Since I have had my wrist slapped for making truthful and honest comments about Gary and the other trolls who infest this blog I will make no comment on Gary's post.

Ian Forrester

I said that you could explain that Gary was, well, misrepresenting the content of his unlinked and unsupported opinions. It's just not sporting to call him a chronic misrepresenter (in his parlance, "a lier") or, without specific evidence, "a disgusting person."

And Gary: where DO you get your talking points?

If Monckton really did "humiliate" Schmidt, on this or any occasion, I personally missed it. Mostly, it seemed that Viscount Chris is flailing at the wind, demonstrating how seriously outclassed he is in an argument with a real scientist.

Perhaps, Gary, you can explain your interpretation - offering a specific example of this "humiliation" rather than just saying it is so....

Or perhaps not.

......Gary humiliated Gary, again.

How about just say that you don't agree with my opinion.
That is all it was.
I did not cite a backup link, so it was obviously just opinion.
You could state your opinion and back it up any way you want. Just calling names however entertaining, was never very convincing.
I gotta challenge you guys or people might get complacent.
Rhetoric without challenge is quite hollow.

You are not capable of challenging anyone because your comments display your ignorance. If you want to play with the grownups you need to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. No one will take you seriously when you make stupid remarks like CO2 is good because it's plant food.

Please attempt to justify that domb statement.
CO2 is plant food.
It is absolutely essential to life on earth.
It is not a polutant unless it reaches toxic levels. (anything is a polutant at toxic levels)
It is aiding in crop yields.

Your statement seems to be just plane wrong.

Why should I reply to someone who cannot spell simple words correctly?

If the subject wasn't so serious, I would suggest that Lord Monkton is laughably inept. But there is nothing laughable about it. His scientific analysis isn't scientific... In fact, the APS editor should really should have gone back on his (or her) word and not published such tripe.

But with all his righteous indignation, Monkton is, at least, earning his oil company pay cheque this month!

1) New Scientist had a good story about how all this happened:

and for more details on Marsh, see:
2) See:

3) Let us be careful: if someone has any clear proof of:

a) Who funds SPPI
b) Whether Monckton gets money from SPPi, or helps fund it, or there is any financial relationship at all

It would be nice to see.

It is well-known the Robert Ferguson *was* funded at FoF by ExxonMobil, before he left there to do SPPI. I know it is strange for me to defend the Viscount, but so far, I don't think we know he's getting paid for his efforts....

And it's odd for me to defend Monckton as well, but he isn't a "self-styled" Viscount -- he truly is a Viscount by heredity. He's just not a member of the House of Lords, which is something he styles himself as. Other than this (and John Mashey's response), though, I'm in total agreement.

I don't see how he 'humiliated' Drs. Schmidt and Lambert, though, seeing as his math errors are what I'd expect on a high-school student's assignment.

Hey John.... here's my understanding about SPPI funding:

According to both the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and Exxon Secrets, the conservative think tank* Frontiers of Freedom (FOF) has taken Exxon money since its inception, as you know. Exxon documents analyzed by the UCS (and others) show that the Frontiers of Freedom Institute received $672,000 from Exxon between 2002-2005, and more than $1 million since 1998.

In 2002, FOF established the Center for Science and Public Policy, and later changed the name to Science and Public Policy Institute. According to the UCS report (which details most of Exxon's anti-global warming funding), FOF accepted $282,000 from Exxon to establish the Center for Science and Public Policy, amounting to one-third of its yearly budget.

I haven't checked the citation for that UCS claim, but I expect that its strong.

But you're right, I have little proof that SPPI pays anything to the Viscount to have him on hand as their Chief Policy Advisor.

The UCS report can be found at:

*Would I be betraying my biases if I suggested Conservative think tank is an oxymoron?

And, with apologies to the vainglorious Viscount, it's true that we have no smoking Exxon cheque/check with his name on it.

Delighted, though, for any other input on this matter.

On a related issue, has anyone ever seen any validation about Monckton's claim to having been a "special advisor" to Maggie Thatcher? She always struck me as someone with little tolerance for fools or toadies and it strains credulity that she would have accepted science advice to someone who had never studied science. Monckton also claims, for instance, to have given advice "on technical issues such as warship hydrodynamics." From the "yeah, right" department: I can just imagine the Royal Navy accepting guidance from someone whose actual experience of hydrodynamics was confined to the spilling of drinks in journalism school.

Anyone seen anything on this matter?

I can only find one reference that connects Monckton to the Royal Navy. Like everything else in his bio what is written there bears very little resemblance to the truth.

I found an article in the Times (June 10, 1985) describing a meeting CM had with a number of individuals concerning what design of ships the Navy should get to replace their aging frigates.

The Ministry of Defence had decided on “long and thin” specifications (traditional) whereas the group meeting with CM favoured “short and fat.”

However, reading between the lines it is evident that the main concern was not with shape and design but was an effort to get at the lucrative government contract since some of the people at the meeting were affiliated with outside ship builders. It also seems that Monckton was going behind the backs of his political masters in this:

“It was no idle social gathering. The purpose was to set up an informal committee, independent of the Whitehall machine, to act as arbiters in one of the longest and most fiercely fought disputes to shake the Navy since the fight over HMS Dreadnought almost exactly 80 years ago………The Ministry of Defence has already chosen the traditional long, thin design for the next generation of frigates, the Type 23, to replace the ageing Leander class. But although the Yarrow yard, recently sold to GEC, has already completed the design work for the first eight Type 23s, behind the scenes the battle continues between the proponents of the short, fat S90, led by David Giles and Peter Thorneycroft of Thorneycroft Giles”.

One of those invited to the meeting was Professor R. V. Jones. Jones was one of the few scientists Churchill trusted during WWII. He was one of the few people who would stand up to Churchill and tell him the truth, not what they thought he wanted to hear. I would love to see a transcript of any dialogue between RVJ and CM. (As an aside RVJ’s book “Most Secret War” is a great read, both from the aspect of how science influenced the outcome of the war, but also highlighted the bad feelings between scientists and between scientists and bureaucrats).

Jump forward a number of years and we see that the Royal Navy built 16 type 23 (Duke Class) frigates. Thus whatever “advice” CM gave the Admiralty was ignored. (registration required)

Ian Forrester

Thanks Ian.

"self-celebrating," not self-styled, although I have heard Monckton described as a self-styled scientist without any qualifications whatsoever.

Fern Mackenzie

I don't know whether it's been edited or if I simply read wrong (likely the latter), but I stand corrected. Thanks for the catch, Fern.

On Wed, 2008-07-30 10:39. Richard Levangie (not verified)wrote:

[If the subject wasn't so serious, I would suggest that Lord Monkton is laughably inept. But there is nothing laughable about it. His scientific analysis isn't scientific... In fact, the APS editor should really should have gone back on his (or her) word and not published such tripe.

But with all his righteous indignation, Monkton is, at least, earning his oil company pay cheque this month!]

I thought Christopher Monkton's true interests were in the coal industry. Doesn't he have some financial connection to a coal company or doesnt' he own a mining operation? Didn't he also challenge Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" in the British courts?


1) The FoF ExxonMobil claim is strong, and Ferguson set up FoF's "Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP)" there, and it's still there, although it hasn't generated much material lately. Monckton wrote some pieces for it.

2) But, when Ferguson started SPPI:

a) It could have been a branch of FoF.
b) Or it could be a new spinoff, Ferguson doing his own thing on a more specific topic, and without tobacco funding, and with a mostly new set of advisors.

3) Sourcewatch links its FoF CSPP entry to SPPI, and I don't know whether that's right or not, or whether there's any evidence of a legal connection.

4) Coal: I haven't seen any evidence of that.

5) Rightwing thinktank.

Not all thinktanks are rightwing:
Follow link to US thinktanks.

5) Rightwing thinktank.

Oh, I know... I was trying to make a joke about the words think tank and Conservative being exact opposites, like the other great oxymorons of our time... jumbo shrimp, friendly fire... but I don't think it worked. :-)


Are you for real ? Or just using sarcasm to make Monckton's supporters look like idiots ? You remind me of the guys who used to call himself "troll".

the guy who used to call himself "troll"

Fern Mackenzie

Laughs, kinda says it all doesnt it

Actually it was you guys that named me Troll.
I just went with it for the fun. It was useful for a while.
Anyway on to Monkton.
All the posts above are merely sanctimonious out of hand condemnations.
Just trendy for AGWers to trash him.
Not one post attempted to actually show any problems with his paper.
In typical AGW fashion, you all just echoed each others statement of denial.
And before you “State emphatically” that he was debunked by the propagandists at deltoid or Virtual Climate, …. Don’t. Because they have no more credibility than any other Scam site.

So stop the meaningless character assignation attempts and show some real criticism.
Remember, this in not supposed to be a religious inquisition but a scientific assessment.

to take the amateur ramblings of someone with no scientific training at all over the analysis of experts in the field (and don't give me that old "hockey stick is debunked/RealClimate is propaganda" nonsense -- these guys have qualifications and research experience coming out their ears, no matter WHAT junkscience says), then there's no point carrying this any further.

Checking out for now
Fern Mackenzie

The hocky Stick was indeed completely discredited.
And RealClimate is indeed a propoganda site.
They may have done research but that in no way stops them from being wrong.

And not being a "Climate Expert" does in no way exclude anyone from being right.

Stop pretending that the messenger determines the message and look for a change at the content of the message.
And if you are able, show why it is wrong.

No it wasn't.
No it isn't.
Etc., etc...

Is Desmogblog going to let this kind of inane boring stupidity to take over the comments?

Yes it was
Yes it was
Yes it was

LOL. Are you really going to try to defend the most famous Fraud in the history of AGW?

Really. LOL

... = probably all the other guy(s) who have snipped and snivelled every time we come up with some new piece of information demonstrating what frauds Monckton and company are.

Our policy is, and has always been, to entertain an open conversation and to bounce people only for using offensive, off-color and/or defamatory language - and usually then only after at least three several warnings. (Does anyone remember Rob?)

We do NOT delete comments just because they are vacuous (obviously) or ejecte commentators just because they can't spell, don't add anything, repeat Exxon talking point ad nauseam and fail in almost every instance to back up their pap with links to credible sources. (And by credible sources, I mean people who have the qualifications and work habits to get a real job in science - let's say at a place like NASA.)

If loyal readers would like us to update that policy, please weigh in. Otherwise, can I suggest that when Gary or Troll or whatever he decides to call himself in the future sticks his fingers in his ears and starts shouting "Na-na-na-na-na," that we all try to ignore him.

What's the point in someone doing 4 years of undergraduate work in theoretical or applied science, 5+ years of graduate & post-graduate work specializing and building a reputation in your field, and writing long, detailed and highly technical papers (based on endless repetitive research)that your peers go over with a fine-toothed comb and debate in conference, if some self-aggrandizing dilettante who has never set foot in a lab of any kind can claim he has worked out the truth & they've all got it wrong?

Oh well, then, they can all just go home and work on their golf game. Leave the science to the amateurs!

I don't know where your mistrust of educated, knowledgable people comes from, Gary, but it seems to know no bounds. Realistically, how likely is it that Monckton has actually stumbled upon the truth of atmospheric sensitivity to CO2 and every legitimate national science academy and society has got it wrong?

Fern Mackenzie

since more than 31000 other scientists agree with him.

your arguments make no sense.

Even by my own reading it looked like Monckton did not even seem to understand the difference between a forcing and a response ! Seems to me that reviews at RealClimate are spot on !

Gary, it's obvious that there's a lot of bad blood history here between you and the others, but as a newbie and an innocent (for the moment) I'd like to invite you to present some substantial argument on this matter. You assert that Monckton has humiliated the folks at RealClimate. Could you delve into that in some detail? Could you perhaps take one of RealClimate's assertions and compare it with Monckton's response and present your analysis of the dispute?

A first on this thread.
Firstly, the bad blood is only on their part because it really irritates them that someone has the audacity to disagree. "Science is closed" and all that nonsence.
Secondly, and this goes for nearly everyone here.
I am not a climate scientist. Same as all the others.
Therefore any argument I could present will be in the form of a link to a rebuttle or discussion of the topic by another scientist.
In my experience here it has become clear that any link to any source other than the apporved AGW supporting sites is immediatly dismissed for a number of silly associative reasons.
Teh bottom line is, they don't bother to read them, they just State that they are invalid and call me a name and pretend that their case is made.
I have largely given up that tact and only suggest that interested people look up the issue and form their own opinions.
I don't make these thing up.
I do research them myself.
If others do as well they may find that there is much more to this debate that what they read here or at Realclimate.

Specifically, has the whole story on Monckton and Schmidt. You can read the attack and counter attack there and evaluate for yourself who makes sense and who doesn't.

BTW: Icecap is not just anti AGW commentary but rather a collection of links to papers, studies and articles from around the globe on the topic. So to say it is just a denier site and dismiss it is silly.

No, it's your smug stupidity that irritates us.

I'm not sure if this is, in Gary's mind, a "silly associative reason," (I don't think I even know what it means), but is some sort of investment fund. The closest thing it offers to a scientific commentary is a link to the Environment Canada weather site.

Someone asked, extremely respectfully, for a single substantive argument from Gary and the response is a link to a second-grade stock push. Nice, Gary. 

I don't know if this is about bad blood. I think longterm frustration is a better explanation.  

I'm sure that Gary meant a well known denier web site. How do I know that it is a denier site?

Well under "experts" it lists D'Aleo, Balling Jr., Baliunas, Birkland, Bryson, Carter, well I won't go on and on but you get the message.

Ian Forrester

Like I said in thread on Evans, DeSMogBlog is not the place for detailed technical debates. It's a waste of time to try to replicate them here, when they are perfectly well done elsewhere.

Go over to RealClimate, Open Mind, Rabett Run, Deltoid, Atmoz, Duae Quartunicae etc, or just go look at:

as many of Monckton's arguments were already listed there.

When the first page of a paper complains that Earth climate simulations don't predict warming on Mars and Jupiter, one needn't read any further to guess the silliness that will follow.

and in any case:
IUOUI: Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals
as they are, at best, worthless, and at worst, a waste of time.

Ignore anyone that tells you to ignore any source since they are clearly biased and only interested in keeping you away from finding the truth.

BTW: are you REALLY??? Denying that Mars and Jupiter have warmed at the same time as Earth????
Really..... ????

The other sites he mentioned are focused on science and have the resources and expertise available. DeSmog has neither -- by its own admission, it focuses on "PR Pollution" and its regular authors are not scientists. Even setting aside RealClimate, you have to admit that Rabett Run and Open Mind *are* run by scientists. Tamino (of Open Mind), for instance, is a professional statistician specializing in time series analysis, and his posts focus on what the data themselves say, and he provides links to all the datasets he uses.

As for Mars and Jupiter, you assume their climates are identical to Earth and have no other considerations. The tacit, underlying point of your argument is that it's the sun (the only thing that's constant between those three planets). There are five problems with this.

1) Anyone with the formula for the surface area of a sphere, the size of an astronomical unit, the distance from the sun to Jupiter, and the / button on their calculator (all of which are readily available through the Magic of Google) can tell you that solar irradiance (amount of solar energy reaching Jupiter) at Jupiter is roughly 4% of what it is at Earth, so if Jupiter's temperature increase (see 2) were due to solar output, it would have fried the Earth, not to mention the rest of the inner solar system.

2) Jupiter's 'temperature increase' (actually a shift in heat from the poles to the equator; it's still the same average Jovian temperature) has not yet been observed. It's merely a prediction from models -- the same models you have decried in the past as unreliable, yet accept on faith here.

3) There is little empirical evidence that Mars is warming apart from two well-timed photographs. Mars also has planetwide dust storms which alter its albedo significantly, meaning that if solar output is constant (see 4) Mars can still absorb more or less of that energy and thus cool or warm in the absence of external forcings. Such storms aren't happening on Earth -- the closest we get is cloud cover (which, I note, the denialists embrace as a cooling influence here while rejecting that the same basic radiative physics (an albedo shift) are present on Mars too).

4) Your argument assumes that it's all due to solar activity. Sadly, direct satellite observations haven't shown a trend in solar irradiance since 1978 at the absolute latest. This is the same timespan in which the Earth has heated up the most and the supposed change on other planets happened. Please explain how no solar trend can equate to a solar-based change, as this is one of the most glaring and consistent holes in your arguments.

5) Finally, you seem to dispute the impact of the greenhouse effect on planets with GHG atmospheres. Consider the case of Venus, with an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 96.5%. Its surface temperature is 467 ºC. You may argue that this is because it is closer to the sun than Earth, which (in this argument) could account for 450 degrees of extra warming -- but Mercury, even closer to the sun, has a peak temperature of 427 ºC, 40 degrees cooler. If solar proximity covered all of that, one would expect Mercury to be hotter than Venus. Clearly, something else is at work here. What is your explanation? (And do you see why the logarithmic forcing argument is bogus now?)

All of this information is readily available; I'd be happy to provide links to fill in the gaps of whatever you've done as 'research'. Still, I'd like to see how your research explains these discrepancies.

Brian gives good answers, but there are even simpler ones:

a) The Solar System has many moons and planets; some have elliptical orbits and long years.

b) At any point in time, some are naturally warming, and some are naturally cooling. Picking only the warmers is called "Cherry-picking" and it is a common form of outright lie, like citing alone the one Swiss glacier that advanced last year (compared to 86 that retreated and 2 stationaries).

c) Some planets have orbits that are more elliptical than others, such as Pluto. Unsurprisingly, a planet with a highly elliptical orbit gets warmer as it comes closer to the Sun, although there may be a lag time from nearest approach to highest temperature. [It's often hotter later than noon.] Since Pluto's year is ~250 of ours, we don't even yet have a year's modern observations, and those observations aren't easy. Brian D covered Mars.

d) In addition, some temperature measurements are of one hemisphere or another. On Earth, let me pick a 3-month period, and N or S hemisphere, and I'll *prove* that the Earth is either warming or cooling, depending on which you want. Neptune's year is 160+ EArth years.

Again, start with :
#20 Other planets are warming

d) Like I say, DeSMogBlog is not the place for the technical discussions, which are already well-covered elsewhere.

e) But for *here*, the point is:

If someone asks "what does Mars' warming mean?" that's a fine question.

If people *claim* that the warming of a few other planets means that the Earth's warming is caused by increases in solar output, or that since those others are natural, Earth's must be natural, you can simply ask yourself:

are they scientifically and statistically illiterate?

(I.e., don't know *anything* about planetary orbits and seasons, and also think a small sample is significant in this case.)



Google: warming mars jupiter neptune
and try going down the list to see who's spreading this.

In some case, this is spread by people who HAVE to know better...

For the latter, if one is not habituated to disentangling such things, a good starting point is the classic:

"How to Lie with Statistics", Darrell Huff, a 142-page paperback that costs $10 new from Amazon, a book everyone should study in high school. Chapter 3 is relevant to this discussion.

For more, try "Damned Lies and Statistics" (Best), "How to Lie with Charts" (Jones), "How to Lie with Maps" (Monmonier). If you want to get really serious, go into Tufte's books, starting with "The Visual display of Quantitative Information", "Innumeracy" (Paulos), or "How to Use (and misuse) statistics", only the last of which really gets technical.

Love the reading list ...

Nicely rendered.

OK, Gary, both you and John Mashey make it clear that this is not the place for discussion of scientific issues.

You will often see CM referred to as a "science adviser" to Margaret Thatcher. However this only appears on links which eventually link back to CM.

Other links just refer to him as a "policy adviser."

Here is an article from the Times (November 6, 1984):

[headline] Policy Unit at Full Strength

[List of names and areas of responsibility]

..............Mr. Christopher Monckton, housing, parliamentary affairs.......

No mention of "science" (in fact education and science responsibility was under Mr. Oliver Letwin).

Seems that one of the characteristics of these AGW deniers is resume inflation (cf Tim Ball).

Ian Forrester


Let me ask you this, since I'm also new to these boards, and I'd really like to hear your answer.

Let's say that someone you love dearly has cancer, a very serious form of cancer that is invariably fatal if not treated properly.

1) Would you take your loved one to Chris Monkton for treatment?

2) Would you take your loved one to a researcher with a PhD in engineering and see if he or she could find a cure?

3) Or would you call friends and family and search the internet and find a medical specialist who treats this form of illness, has enjoyed great success, and comes highly recommended as a doctor and a human being.

When you ask us to debate the science with you, you are inevitably asking us to place the future of the world in the hands of #1 and #2 — even though they don't possess the qualifications to understand the issue or provide meaningful answers. In fact they don't provide any clarity or light, just heat.

There are recognized experts in the science of climate change, and they unanimously agree that Mother Earth is warming, and that humans are causing it. The overwhelming number of climate studies - far greater than 90 percent - support their contention. Some are computer modeling studies, thousands are empirical studies with real, hard facts, and they all buttress our experts. (And when I say our experts, I mean the experts).

If you want to make all the posters on DeSmog splutter, you simply need to provide real evidence — published in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal and authored by a scientist with a PhD in climatology — that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 can rise above 450 parts per million (ppm) without affecting global temperatures.

No expert is making that claim. No expert could make that claim. And it's the reason why you see so many scientists willing to go out on a limb, and get political for the first time in their lives. It isn't because they're trying to secure research grants, or they're part of some socialist conspiracy. It's because they're people, with family, and friends, and children and grandchildren. They know we are just a decade away from reaching a total greenhouse gas concentration greater than 450 ppm, and that scares the bejesus out of them.

for a very clear and focussed question. Don't expect a satisfactory response, or to make a dent in Gary's resolve to resist the empirical evidence in favour of ill-informed speculation. It's a mental block of some kind, and it's shared by many who post here.

Fern Mackenzie

No dumping
The former owner of a Youngstown, Ohio, excavating company pled guilty to illegally dumping thousands of gallons of contaminated fracking wastewater into a storm drain that led to the Mahoning River. 
Benedict Lupo, 63, will be sentenced on June 16 for violating the Clean Water Act. His sentence could range from probation to up to three years in federal prison. The federal prosecutor in the case intends to seek the maximum sentence....
read more