Home > Environment > Monckton meets his match

Monckton meets his match

February 18th, 2010

After his debate with Tim Lambert, I think we will have to start calling the potty peer “Lord Monckton of McLuhan“.

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  1. Hermit
    February 18th, 2010 at 16:28 | #1

    I suspect the denier camp will change tack with their next set piece being that the ETS is a job killer. As to what they will pass on to their grandchildren I think the rationale is that a functioning economy is better than one ruined by a massive new tax. The occasional chilly week will be invoked as grounds for lingering doubt.

  2. Nick
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:30 | #2

    Well done Tim. Possibly, Lord Luvaduck will be a bit more circumspect in some encounters with debate-savvy experts.He may feel the need to get rid of references to Pinker and be wary about raising the Snowball earth stuff. Maybe he won’t,as his typical audiences don’t demand any real content,judging by the nonsensical slideshow he carts about.

  3. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 18th, 2010 at 21:09 | #3

    Hermit – I think the key problem with the ETS is that it is all cost and no benefit. Even Barry Brook in his debate with Monckton agreed without any hesitation on that point. Video available here:-


    Australias ETS will not reduce global emissions and it won’t dovetail with an international accord because none is on the table. It is a gesture only. Some like to believe that it is a gesture that will lead to a global agreement but I think that is a long way off.

  4. MarkB
    February 18th, 2010 at 21:15 | #4

    For crying out loud, why do people insist on calling people names? This really irks me to no end.

    Yes, there is name calling on both sides. But the worst of it is calling people “deniers”. Being a sceptic is not being a denier, it is being a sceptic. People are allowed to be scepitcal of things, and to have differing viewpoints.

    Labelling people warmists, bedwetters, or deniers does no one any good. Let’s take the name-calling out of the debate.

  5. gerard
    February 18th, 2010 at 21:41 | #5

    it’s not name-calling to characterize as a “denier” somebody who denies the validity of modern scientific understanding – which is what you have to do to be a “sceptic” on this issue at this stage.

  6. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2010 at 22:01 | #6


    Skeptics with evidence and new research are not deniers.

    So-called “skeptics” with politics and with no evidence in refereed publications, and outside the professional consensus are deniers.

    This may not be immediately obvious but we have seen a certain politicised mode of skepticism over Nazi pogroms, nicotine damage, the moon landing and Tasmanian history.

    Maybe deniers would like to camouflage themselves as skeptics.

    Skeptics questioning the Bible’s version of creation cannot be labelled denialists because they use accurate data and science based on refereed sources.

    So there is a vast difference between useful skepticism and empty-headed denialism.

  7. Tony G
    February 18th, 2010 at 23:19 | #7

    Juvenile double entendre deleted – JQ

  8. Hermit
    February 19th, 2010 at 06:36 | #8

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Well Rudd’s ETS is so feeble I doubt the economic damage would be severe. Against that is the early mover advantage. Oil has already peaked with gas and coal to follow within decades. A forced transition could be regarded as compulsory superannuation to prepare for straitened circumstances ahead. Then there is the demonstration effect; the populations of China and India logistically cannot burn as much coal per head as Australians so we should set an example. With a smoother transition to low carbon we may avoid severe price shocks later.

    If some pundits are right these benefits could be apparent within the next decade, not just in the latter part of the century. That has more immediacy than the vague notion that things will be easier for future generations, though I think that is also a valid argument for making some sacrifice now. Thus I believe it is both morally weak and short sighted for Australians not to switch to lower carbon.

  9. Fran Barlow
    February 19th, 2010 at 07:46 | #9


    the worst of it is calling people “deniers”. Being a sceptic is not being a denier, it is being a sceptic.

    Gosh! Being a sceptic is being a sceptic you say? I don’t suppose anyone can be sceptical of that, but perhaps if I were a denier, I could argue that case, merely on the basis that there is no certainty and scepticism should always be encouraged.

    The question of course is whether the people wrapping themselves in the honourable mantle of scientific scepticism are entitled to wear it or are, like people running phishing scams and pretending to titles, putting on false attire.

    Scepticism is not a measure of one’s willingness to throw rocks at an idea. It occurs when someone who grasps an idea can show flaws in the underpinning premises or reasoning that are sufficient for withholding acceptance. Pretending things are spurious or specious by resort to spurious or specious methods is not ethically distinct from being a fraudster posing as a sceptic.

    Piers Akerman, the agnotologist, falsely claimed that Sir John Houghton asserted the need to announce disasters so that people would take action. When people corrected the quote and provided salient context his groupies objected that this was unfair. That’s not being a sceptic. It is being a denier.

  10. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 19th, 2010 at 08:16 | #10

    If I start calling people potty will my comments get moderated? I recently got moderated for a lesser crime. JQ should try and be a bit more consistent in the tone he wishes to set.

  11. Andrew
    February 19th, 2010 at 09:01 | #11

    Monckton is a clown – and a sideshow clown at that. All this focus on ‘deniers’ and ‘denialists’ is completely missing the point. As multitude of polls show – the vast bulk of us accept that AGW is a major issue and something needs to be done. The only real debate is what to do about it. Labelling anyone who challenges the Green orthodoxy as a ‘denier’ is just plain silly.

    If proponents of an ETS want to convince middle Australia of its benefits then they’ve got a lot more work to do. At the moment – the mainstream view is that with global action confused post Copenhagen’s failure, we need to be careful not to damage Australia’s economy with a ‘big new tax’ if it will make no difference to climate change.

    At the moment – the Green arguments consist of –

    1) We’re one of highest Co2 emitters per capita – therefore we have a moral obligation to lead the way on reductions to set an example for China.
    2) We have more influence on the world (particularly US) than our size belies – so we should set an example for the US to follow
    3) If climate change eventuates – a ‘big new tax’ is the least of our problems
    4) The world is running out of oil anyway – so lets makes the shift to non fossil fuels today.

    Frankly – none of those arguments will be enough to sway mainstream Australia. The only catalyst for change in Australia here will be if the globe reaches a global solution. At the end of the day – what that means is that the US and China have to agree on a solution.

    Until that happens, Australians will remain ‘skeptical’ on the benefits of an ETS….. that doesn’t mean that they are ‘deniers’ on climate change.

    Forget about Monckton – focus on the real issues.

  12. wilful
    February 19th, 2010 at 09:03 | #12

    Terje, you, me, everybody can afford to be a bit rude about people in the public eye who deserve approbation. It might not be grown up, but things like kruddy or the mad monk are fine around here. Slagging off other posters is what’s not OK, becuase their feelings may get hurt and it doesn’t contribute to debate.

    Chris Monckton is a lunatic, a liar and a charlatan, he’s demonstrated that any number of ways, he is very much fair game. Particularly since he is so shameless.

  13. jquiggin
    February 19th, 2010 at 09:28 | #13

    Terje, think about being at a dinner party. You can be as rude as you like (within reason) about public figures, especially those who are obvious loonies like Monckton, but you don’t insult your host or fellow guests.

  14. jquiggin
    February 19th, 2010 at 09:34 | #14

    Andrew, I suggest you re-examine the polls. A majority of people support an ETS or carbon tax. There is a substantial minority who reject climate science and an ETS or carbon tax. The proportion who accept science but oppose doing anything about climate change is small. In fact, I find it difficult to think of a public figure opposed to serious mitigation who has unequivocally and consistently endorsed science on this issue. Abbott, who coined the ‘big new tax’ phrase you repeat, is an obvious example of someone who is, at the very least, happy to pander to delusional anti-science beliefs and to ally himself with people like Minchin who push those beliefs.

    Also, your use of “Green” is a bit confusing here. Are you referring to the Green party or using this as a general label that encompasses the Greens, Rudd and anyone else who supports serious mitigation policy.

  15. Michael
    February 19th, 2010 at 09:44 | #15

    I agree that whatever China and the US decide will set the direction Australia will take. However I believe there are upsides in a well designed ETS (not necessarily the CPRS). It would address the unfair advantage polluting technologies have versus less or non-polluting technologies. It would help foster industry and jobs in areas that will help address AGW mitigation. It will also make it easier for long term commercial decisions to be made with reference to reducing CO2.
    The vested interests that are lobbying so hard for inaction are not necessarily aligned with the interests of “mainstream Australia” and further inaction doesn’t come without opportunity costs. I realise a carbon tax might achieve similar results.

  16. Ernestine Gross
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:03 | #16

    TerjeP (say tay-a) :If I start calling people potty will my comments get moderated? I recently got moderated for a lesser crime. JQ should try and be a bit more consistent in the tone he wishes to set.

    TerjeP (say tay-a) :If I start calling people potty will my comments get moderated? I recently got moderated for a lesser crime. JQ should try and be a bit more consistent in the tone he wishes to set.

    For some of the readers it doesn’t matter how often you get moderated because they don’t read your comments most of the time anyway.

    You want to be the legislator, the executive and the judge while preaching ‘freedom’. No thank you to your notion of freedom – it is as silly as that of Christopher Monckton who appealed to the audience to support ‘freedom’ after Tim Lambert showed his argument on AGW to be absurd (in a technical sense).

  17. paul walter
    February 19th, 2010 at 10:33 | #17

    Terje, the problem would be remedied with further “potty” training for anal types who won’t give over, who “hold on” on a given issue, regardless of evidence presented out of perversity.

  18. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:20 | #18

    EG – please would you pass the salt and pepper.

  19. The Big Fella
    February 19th, 2010 at 12:17 | #19

    JQ I think the title of the post is a little unfair on TL ‘meeting his match’ implies hereditary titled Lord is on equal footing :-)

    Tim was far superior, although not helped on occasion by microphone that was prone to cut out, (one wonders). To debate Monkton on the science or even the economics is a mistake which gives him credibility. What needs to occur is elevate to the social argument and take each and every one of his bogus claims and expose them as the mistruths that they are. Global warming, Economics, Social housing, DDT… Those that are prone to want to believe Monkton et al and not able to apply critical thinking fall for the ‘just a hint of a truth’, with cherry picking misreprestational, bogus, nameless mathematicians, and contradictory garbage will believe him without question, deluded by the showman.

    Monkton of McLuhan as would have Jones I suspect been convinced TL was not able to uncategorically counter his claims. But then their aim would have been to sow just enough confusion to create doubt therefore win.

  20. The Big Fella
    February 19th, 2010 at 13:49 | #20

    Actually the polls demonstrate support for an ETS not a carbon tax, the decline of 11% (?) was indicative of party line and the confusion created in the media/deniers. Heaven help us if a carbon tax is applied in the sense where certain lobbyists and right winged think tanks are pushing.

  21. Andre (aka Ubiquity)
    February 19th, 2010 at 15:29 | #21

    Most accept the need for rapid action on climate change and support for the ETS. However, those same voters are less willing to pay the price to reduce their carbon footprint. Cleary morality takes a back seat in this matter. It may only cost us cup cakes according to JQ but this is proving a difficult message to communicate to the voters. Mr Abbott understands this, thus Labor ” big new tax”, but what a hypocrite !

  22. paul walter
    February 19th, 2010 at 16:12 | #22

    Andre, I think it would be a lot easier if the public could trust the politicans to distribute costs fairly. We didn’t see it before 2007 and to many peoples great disapointment, we haven’t seen it yet from Mabor, either- just the usual tricks to shift costs away from bankers and developers and onto the public.
    A little later, the politicians announce there is a budget problem, services have to be cut further and necessary social infrastructures are up again for sale to profiteers.
    No, I didnt mention Anna Bligh…

  23. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 19th, 2010 at 17:28 | #23

    Andre – like most new taxes the public is generally supportive so long as they think it applies to somebody other than them. Rudd is trying to con them by saying the polluters will pay. Technically Rudd is correct but in practice it is consumers that will pay.

  24. Freelander
    February 19th, 2010 at 18:41 | #24

    I was looking at the PNAS online and came across a paper by William Vickrey from 1996 which is interesting in the context of your forthcoming Zombie book. The title of the paper is: ‘Fifteen fatal fallacies of financial fundamentalism A disquisition on demand-side economics’. He starts off: “Much of the conventional economic wisdom prevailing in financial circles, largely subscribed to as a basis for governmental policy, and widely accepted by the media and the public, is based on incomplete analysis, contrafactual assumptions, and false analogy. … ”

  25. Peter Evans
    February 19th, 2010 at 23:07 | #25

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    But it is consumers who are the polluters, in effect. They want the energy, but not the externalities of producing it. It’s actually right that the people that consume the energy, or the product of the energy (eg, aluminium), should ultimately pay. If they don’t pay now in cash, they or their children and grandchildren will be paying with much diminished lives.

  26. Ubiquity
    February 20th, 2010 at 00:18 | #26

    Paul Walter

    I have to agree with you. Finding a politician you could trust would be an enigma. The scenario you describe is a recurring event for those outside the pseudo-democratic Matrix.


    I suspect thats why the ETS has struggled and the whole climate change mitigation deal is in disarray, the people realised they may have to pay, even if it only costs them ten cents a day.

  27. Tony G
    February 20th, 2010 at 19:36 | #27

    A computer scientist (geek) touting demented computer modelling as science, now he is “potty”; as well as a fraud.

    Considering the computer geek is a fraudster and Mockton isn’t, this post should be called “Monckton meets his” geek.

  28. Chris Warren
    February 21st, 2010 at 19:34 | #28

    While deniers have had good exposure – it has come to nought.


  29. Chris O’Neill
    February 21st, 2010 at 21:07 | #29

    @Tony G

    A computer scientist (geek) touting demented computer modelling as science, now he is “potty”; as well as a fraud.

    Actually Monckton started off by touting a scientist (geek) who was supposedly touting computer modelling of satellite measurements that showed (according to Monckton) a low climate sensitivity. By Tony G’s own logic that makes Monckton potty and a fraud.

    BTW, if Tim Lambert posts a comment here, does that mean all comments calling Tim potty are no longer acceptable and will be deleted?

    BTW2, I doubt that I’d ever have a dinner party with the likes of Tony G. Just my opinion but I don’t think dinner parties are comparable to posting on a blog.

  30. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 22nd, 2010 at 22:24 | #30

    Peter Evans :@TerjeP (say tay-a) But it is consumers who are the polluters, in effect. They want the energy, but not the externalities of producing it. It’s actually right that the people that consume the energy, or the product of the energy (eg, aluminium), should ultimately pay. If they don’t pay now in cash, they or their children and grandchildren will be paying with much diminished lives.

    Don’t tell the voters. The ALP spin doctors are working on the notion that that polluters are some far off evil corporation.

  31. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 22nd, 2010 at 22:25 | #31

    Is there a Lambert versus Monckton video online anywhere yet?

  32. John Coochey
    February 26th, 2010 at 17:40 | #33

    I was going to put this on Clive’s final paper but it looks like he has done a John Quggin and done a runner
    The debate should not degenerate into smears but when Clive Hamilton writes stuff like this it is difficult not to.
    Instead of dishonouring the deaths of six million in the past, climate deniers risk the lives of hundreds of millions in the future. Holocaust deniers are not responsible for the Holocaust, but climate deniers, if they were to succeed, would share responsibility for the enormous suffering caused by global warming… So the answer to the question of whether climate denialism is morally worse than Holocaust denialism is no, at least, not yet.
    And in a letter to one of the sceptics children
    Hi there,
    There’s something you need to know about your father.
    Your dad’s job is to try to stop the government making laws to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution. He is paid a lot of money to do that by big companies who do not want to own up to the fact that their pollution is changing the world’s climate in very harmful ways.

    Whichever way you cut it the alarmists have several bridges to cross
    1) there is significant warming
    2) it is harmful
    3) human activity has a significant role
    4) if 3 is correct there is the technology to reverse this without going back to pre Amish life styles
    5) there is the political will to do this .

    IN fact non of these have been crossed. Even Phil Jones has admitted that any measured temperature increase is not significantly valid and a previous Chairman of the IPCC has called for its reform because all its “errors” are in one direction only. “We are scientists, trust us!” no longer cuts it after climategate where Jones and others did everything to prevent proper checking of their data and processing. The oft heard mantra of peer assessment is meaningless if the data is not accessible and the Lancet has only just admitted guilt over a peer reviewed article claiming a link between MMR vaccine and autism. No one knows who the reviewers were to this day but the article caused child deaths when there was a drop in vaccination. Even if bridges 1-3 are crossed I have seen no evidence of the Hamiltons and Quggins of this world cutting back their lifestyle anymore than Al Gore will give up his private jet and China only today stated emphatically that it will not cap CO2 emissions so it is really all a lot of hot air! Lord Monckton has claimed that, even if the IPCC/UN is right it would take 41 years of zero human activity to reduce the world temperature by 1C. Now it does not matter if he was a member of the Hitler Youth and eats live kittens for breakfast, can anyone refute this calculation, show how they did it and if so what the “real” figure is? If not then sit down and shut up.

  33. Macondo
    February 26th, 2010 at 20:18 | #34

    John Coochey :
    Even Phil Jones has admitted that any measured temperature increase is not significantly valid. . . . . . Lord Monckton has claimed that, even if the IPCC/UN is right it would take 41 years of zero human activity to reduce the world temperature by 1C. Now it does not matter if he was a member of the Hitler Youth and eats live kittens for breakfast, can anyone refute this calculation, show how they did it and if so what the “real” figure is? If not then sit down and shut up.

    Here, again, is the lying side of denialism. Phil Jones has admitted no such thing. Skeptical Science has demolished this typically pernicious mis-reporting at:

    Here is the transcript of the interview:

    BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Phil Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    BBC: How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

    Phil Jones: I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

    As for Monckton’s ‘calculation’, I have no knowledge at all of how he arrived at his ‘claim’, and, I’ll bet, nor have you. Yet you want to see the details of any refutation? Of course, this is just grandstanding, isn’t it, and a fine example of begging the salient question: What degree of warming will occur if human activity continues/increases at its present rate for ANOTHER 41 years? Or even 14. You can easily find out how scientists answer that question for yourself. Their peer-reviewed research findings have been broadcast rather widely for quite a long time now.

    John Coochey, you’ve given a perfect example of what JQ is talking about in another thread: the Dunning-Kruger effect. The vapid and ignorant triumphalism of someone who hasn’t got a clue but doesn’t know it.

  34. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2010 at 20:46 | #35

    John Coochey, as Macondo observes, there’s a whole post above pointing out that anyone making the claim you’ve just cited is either
    (a) consciously dishonest; or
    (b) ignorant of the basic concept of statistical significance, and therefore unqualified to comment on any issue depending on statistics, of which climate change is an example

    Having had some experience of you, I’d say both (a) and (b) apply. Having violated my comments policy calling for civil discussion, I’m not going to include you under its protection. You’re not welcome here, and, if you keep commenting you can expect to be called out as the ignorant, lying fool you are.

    BTW, if any other “sceptics” are reading, I’m still waiting for someone on that side of the debate to either defend the ludicrous of misinterpretation of “statistical significance” that is currently the proliferating meme on their side of the debate, or, better, to point out to their co-thinkers how wrong they are on this one.

  35. Tony G
    February 26th, 2010 at 21:52 | #36


    Jones’ statistical ‘problem’ is prima facie evidence of an error (JQ reckons it is not a Type 1) therefore it must be a type 2.n.b. Jones’ test is useless and the value of the “proof of warming” of H0 is also null.

  36. jquiggin
    February 26th, 2010 at 22:21 | #37

    Oh dear, Tony. And I had such high hopes for you this time.

  37. brendan
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:51 | #38

    It has become very blatantly obvious that the ETS is just a vehicle which world governments are using to justify taxing us more. The world has heated and cooled innumerable times over the thousands of years of it’s existance. The Green movement started off as a genuine group of people who were genuinely concerned about the state of our world, but they were highjacked by a bunch of oportunistic money grabbing thieves who are using the Green movement to extract money from the little bloke to feather their own nest. The ETS will never pass the Senate. The lie was exposed at Copenhagen, and the whole idea now is dead. If Kevin Rudd wants to ‘flog a dead horse’, then it will be to his own detriment at the next election.

  38. brendan
    February 28th, 2010 at 12:01 | #39

    I found it very amusing that throughout 2009, Rudd tried to ram the ETS down our throat, but never attempted to give us one piece of evidence to support his claim that the ETS was necessary. No graphs, no tables, no information, no facts, no details, no references, no mention of which scientists gave him the information or what instruments were used. What I appreciated about Monckton, is that he gave us all the information that he had on an overhead. He explained it all to us, and then said NOT to believe him, but to sift through all the information and to make up our own minds about climate change based on SCIENTIFIC FACT NOT ON SOMEONES OPINION.

  39. brendan
    February 28th, 2010 at 12:09 | #40

    Climate change is all about science, NOT about politics. Rudd trying to legislate for science is like him trying to legislate for churches. It does not work. How can anyone be arrogant enough to suggest that they can change the climate of the whole world just by playing with carbon emissions? He is a control freak who thinks that he alone can control this whole country and everyone in it as well as the atmosphere and everything else. At best he is completely delusional, at worst, just an arrogant blatant liar. I would like to suggest a bit of both are true.

  40. Philomena
    February 28th, 2010 at 12:45 | #41

    Brendan, here’s a challenge for you. Write one short para about what you really think about climate change that is free of whimpering done-to-death clichés and and anti-leftist group think.


  41. John Coochey
    February 28th, 2010 at 18:58 | #42

    So who can rebutt the 41 years without fire figure? OK do it here. Who is prepared to forego all industrial activity for that period to reduc temperatures for 1C?

  42. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2010 at 20:29 | #43

    Rebuttal is simple: Monckton is a loony, who asserts a plot to establish a Communist world government, among many similarly absurd claims. Anyone who repeats his claims is a fool, who does not deserve to be engaged in serious discussion.

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