As we’ve been discussing, my invitation to debate Lord Monckton was withdrawn before I could make a decision on it. But, for those interested, my column in yesterday’s Fin presents my thoughts on Monckton’s key claim: that the scientific literature on climate change is a gigantic fraud, cooked up in the service of a conspiracy to inaugurate a communist world government at Copenhagen.
A tepid conspiracy
Australia is currently enjoying a visit from Lord Christopher Monckton, a former education adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who is here to warn us that the climate change negotiations are a plot to destroy the global economy and impose a communist world government. The plot, according to Monckton is led by President Obama and supported by Kevin Rudd, who are, it seems, communists who ‘piled into the environmental movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall’.
In an interview with Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-theoretic radio/TV show Prison Planet, Monckton attributed the plot to a ‘“deliberate desire to control population by killing people in large numbers deliberately if necessary”. His co-speaker, Ian Plimer, assented to similar views on the same program.
It might be thought that such views should be enough to consign Monckton to the lunatic fringe. But his conspiracy theory has received enthusiastic endorsement from large sections of the media including such prominent commentators as Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen (though Albrechtsen later backed away a little).
And Monckton doesn’t lack political support. Opposition Senate Leader Nick Minchin echoed his views a couple of months ago, saying ‘”For the extreme Left [global warming] provides the opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do, to sort of deindustrialise the Western world … you know the collapse of communism was a disaster for the Left, and … they embraced environmentalism as their new religion. ’
The Lavoisier Group, founded by former Labor Finance Minister Peter Walsh asserted that the Kyoto Protocol represented the greatest threat to Australia’s sovereignty since that posed by Japan in 1942.
It is, then, necessary to make a serious assessment of the claim that Kevin Rudd, Barack Obama and the United Nations are engaged in a communist conspiracy to destroy the global economy and seize world power, as asserted by Monckton, Minchin, Walsh and others.
One problem with the theory is that the chosen instrument, a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme, seems grossly inadequate to the task of destroying the economy. Even without the massive exemptions loaded in to the Rudd government’s CPRS, an emissions trading scheme with full auctioning might be expected to raise about $10 billion a year, or 1 per cent of GDP over the next decade. By comparison, the GST raises over $40 billion. No credible economist suggest that the economic impact will be more than marginal.
Even if the world can manage a comprehensive agreement to reduce carbon emissions to near-zero levels by 2050, the best estimates suggest that the economic effect will be to reduce the level of GDP by a few per cent.
An even more puzzling aspect of conspiracy-theoretic claims is that part-time nature of the conspiracy. Most of the time conservatives like Bolt and Minchin treat Rudd as an ordinary political opponents, attacking him for being indecisive and more concerned with spin than substance.
But if Rudd is engaged in a conspiracy to destroy the global economy and institute a communist world government, surely this fact should drive any analysis of his economic policy, health care and so on. Full-time conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones are at least consistent. In the same program as his interview with Plimer, Jones explained how the Obama Administration’s apparently modest health care reforms are actually a genocidal plot.
It is tempting to dismiss all this as overblown hyperbole. But the continuous attacks on the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only make sense if the whole scientific consensus on climate change is the product of a fraudulent conspiracy. This claim has been made repeatedly, most notably with the recent discovery of a couple of erroneous or poorly-source claims in the 1600 page IPCC report released in 2007.
Finally, there is a particular problem for Lord Monckton, given his past career. According to the film The Great Global Warming Swindle, the climate change conspiracy began with a British politician who said, as early as 1990,
I want to pay tribute to the important work which the United Nations has done to advance our understanding of climate change, and in particular the risks of global warming .. The (first) IPCC report is a remarkable achievement … the need for more research should not be an excuse for delaying much needed action now. There is already a clear case for precautionary action at an international level.
The name of this climate arch-conspirator? Margaret Thatcher.
159 thoughts on “My response to Monckton’s conspiracy theory”
Half a meter! According to this article from the BOM:
I don’t wish to be impolite. However, as a long-time reader of this blog-site I find it exceedingly boring to read about the Hockey stick in your post. We’ve been through this many times.
Isn’t it clear from JQ’s article in the FinReview that JQ has won the argument againt the nobel Lord M.?
The Lord provides ample material for a show like The Chasers; he is a charming eccentric.
that’s another one of the lies David C – the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been conspiring against humanity for decades. – Check the incomes of the scientists there – all billionaires, and all communists, or Muslims, or Jews, or Democrats. Or they’re not and they’re under deep cover. Coochey has his finger on the pulse for sure – so much so I’m wondering how he gets his inside information – is he compromised, playing both sides? Are we compromised even talking about this?
What else could I call it when their data shows no global warming since 1998 as shown in this chart with increase in CO2 for more than a decade?
In science, when a theory mismatches with observation, you chuck the theory.
CO2 driven global warming must be chucked.
Also, why is Dr Phil John’s not his job as the head of CRU?
Why “hide the decline”?
Why “It is a travesty” that we can not account for the non warming?
Why “Himalayan Glaciers” will disappear by 2035?
I don’t know nanks. I reckon that Coochey is a triple agent. Just look at the way he spells “metre”. One thing is for sure, I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight now that I know that the BoM have been infiltrated. Better not say any more.
Are you that stupid?
_Stupid Peoples Chart_
Hadcrut3 is a dataset of anomalies. The HADCRUT3 mean is constantly positive (0.4) which I interpret as indicative of warming temperatures.
The CO2 Mauna Loa data is of measurements (not anomalies). It could have a linear annual anomaly trend.
To have zero warming, you would need zero mean anomaly. Your chart demonstrates warming.
“What else could I call it when their data shows no global warming since 1998 as shown in this chart with increase in CO2 for more than a decade?”
Did God create the Earth in 1998 and is everything that happened before a test of our faith?
I suggest you go and re-do all those climate science classes you have taken and then try and pass the exams this time.
If God was part of the climate science mechanisms where you were taught, I suggest you do your study this time at a reputable institution.
And why, pray tell, did you quote data out of context and why, pray tell, did you fail to normalize the temperature data as well as the CO2 data?
Looks like there’s plenty of half-wits around.
Plimer was humilated in an open debate. Did that shut him up once and for all? I don’t think so.
In global warming debate, and most public policy debates, there is a tendency to overstate claims to gain attention.
An example is Professor Quiggin’s book title: Zombie Economics. A good marketing ploy – it grabs wider reader attention in a crowded media market full of shrillness.
Of course, such rhetorical excess limits the ability of Professor Quiggin to denounce the rhetorical flourishes of others.
The left wing bias of the green movement is well documented in the second voting preference patterns of green voters in preferential systems and standard analysis of which side of politics they take votes from in first past the post and proportional representations systems.
The biographies of green party MPs and leaders is from the socialist left, unapologetic ex-communists and recovering student union politicians.
Green parties are not known for wishing free market capitalism well. That is Monckton’s poorly made point. The Greens form political parties that are well to the left in the political spectrum.
Muddying the water with red herrings isn’t going to salvage Monckton’s case unless you now provide evidence that Margaret Thatcher is the founder of the Greens in the UK and these Greens have characteristics as described by you.
I think that casting climate change debate (though not the scientific basis for the existence of a serious manmade change to the world we live in) as Left versus Right has some legitimacy; the ideologies of the Right (which are, IMHO, just as flawed and ethically challenged as the Left’s), are failing to find how to incorporate the requirement to deal with the serious manmade changes being wrought upon the world without international government intervention and regulation. And they are ongoing victims of their politically expedient choices to deny the scientific basis for real global problems their ideology lacks the capacity to cope with, rather than face those inadequacies. Of course the Left, left to itself is just as impotent as the Right and, whilst it isn’t up against innate opposition to intervention and regulation, is hampered by being, in recent times, more of an amalgam that tries to be all things to all people. Of course Monckton’s cartoon caricature portrayal of the Left as a cohesive power for evil is barely more loony than the cartoon caricature version of the Right that Monckton typifies.
In any case, trying to sheet home blame for the complete inadequacies in the response of mainstream political parties and institutions to serious global issues like climate change on the extremist of Right, Left and Green (which, despite the tendencies in that direction, doesn’t strictly follow Left ideologies) looks increasingly like scapegoating.
It’s not the extremists that are to blame, it’s the complete failure of the Mainstream to deal with isssues like sustainability, ecosystem degradation and climate change in any meaningful way that is doing the real damage and deserves the most scathing criticism.
Interestingly, a number of the extreme right have biographical histories in the extreme left and communism and so on. Probably a good reason to ignore them as well? If they are now apologetic does that change the assessment?
“The biographies of green party MPs and leaders is from the socialist left, unapologetic ex-communists and recovering student union politicians.”
I have a few points for Ken.
A. communism never existed – except in China and all other commnist leaders were closer to fascist leaders or dictators.
B. fear of communism has been overplayed to death by the right wing hardliners who are no better than mcarthyists in their search for internal imaginary enemies within their own peace time nations. Communists to them just means labour voters and Greens voters and anyone else who doesnt vote liberal.
C. What is a recovering student union politician recovering from? The flu? What of the rest of the students who didnt participate in student politics?. If it was only student politicians that joined the greens, that wouldnt account for the numbers.
D. Most major parties have politicial leaders that emerged from student politics in Australian history including the liberals and their current political leader Tony Abbott, that is, until Nelson closed down student politics. As usual it was portrayed as the “fight against communism”…but it was really just to keep uni students from engaging with student politics at all at uni, so John Howard could just to educate them about politics his way….with television ads…. so the children just grow up like some of the zombies in here, mimicking instead of thinking. Thats handy for training of future leaders, not.
E. Fear of communism is spomething you really need to see a psychiatrist about Jim Rose…but you should also see about your political preferences while you are there.
Should say above “I have a few points for Jim”
Dont forget the other participants in this global warming swindle- the stupid old dead bastards who insisted on ‘dying’ of heatstress in the vicious melbourne heatwave of January 2009.
These gutless animals clearly thought snuffing it in the heat would be ‘just the ticket’ to trick us into thinking global warming is real. Well, I’ve got news for you, you dead bastards, knock it off! Quite frankly, if you weren’t dead, I’d have some pretty strong things to say to your faces.
PS melting arctic ice, you can f-ing well stop it as well !
You may be right on this point. However, it seems to me that the public interest aspect of John Quiggin’s article in the public press (AFR) is that he disentangles the political debate from the scientific basis for a practical economic policy problem. Moreover, in line with mainstream economics, which takes the individual as the basic unit of analysis, he clearly shows where the entaglement happens.
As a byproduct, so to speak, John Quiggin exposes Monckton as a lousy conspiracy theorist on technical grounds.
I forgot to add another conspirator in the global warming swindle – high air temperatures.
The temperature hit 46.4 degrees in Melbourne on Feb 7th 2009 smashing all previous records (in 150 years of records).
The con is obvious. The air temperature, by increasing itself, is hoping to panic us into thinking global warming is real, just like the old dead bastards who ‘died’ from heatstress.
Oh yes so now global warming causes high temperatures – what a wank!
We’re in safe hands with the deniers who can see through this conspiracy!
The comments on tidal datum are innane because even if correct they could not measure movement before the “new technology was introduced” But why not publish the actual figures if you have them and the we will match them against actual RAN records” The basic rule is that at any one moment, and I choose my words carefully, there is only so much water in the oceans, but there is only so much water in existence which for practicable purposes is the same as when the world came into existence. Some water will be in the form of vapour other parts will be fresh. Some will be frozen. So… for water levels you need a huge number of readins world wide simulaneously. Not possible. Or and I hate to start a sentence with a conjunction, a long time series at common locations. These have not been done for Australia and given the daily revelions about the IPCC nor has anyone else. But once again the questons of why; was the temperature of the world, if anyone knows what that was, just before the return of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the most beneficial that the world has experienced? There have been some previous metaphors about champion boxers not meeting challenges from drunks. I do not consider Quiggin a champion in anything but I do remember when “workng security” (bouncer) we had staff who could have always removed the obnoxious bikie but were never there when it happened. We sacked them. Put up or shut up!
Good night everybody. I don’t wish to be in the company of a commenter who uses foul language in a most disrespectful manner and another one who writes, IMHO, incoherent stuff, except for an order: Put up or shut up.
Exactly Ernestine – Im with you (going to bed early). Id say both of their days are numbered. All I can think is JQ must have gone to bed early too.
Hang on, all I was doing is congratulating my fellow deniers. We’ve uncovered the world socialist conspiracy about global warming, and I was rightfully expressing our anger at the silly people who died in the heatwaves (they are trying to trick us through their deaths).
Hector – go read the comments policy …the prof doesnt like bad language and he doesnt like bad language disguised as hyphens or **** either. He also may not like beer drinking on Sunday nights but I am not completely certain on that one.
Alice and Ernestine – Regarding the history and philosophies of Left and Right, I admit I’m not that well informed. It does seem that the Right prefers denial of scientific reality than do something about their inability to deal with an issue like climate change. Having chosen denial as their primary response they have deeply damaged their ongoing ability to deal with it in any reasonable way. But the reality is the Left as represented by Labor are failing to deal with it any better. It’s been made clear that as far as the ALP is concerned coal is the future energy source for Australia; the only concession to climate is some ineffective R&D spending on CCS. I can’t see how that’s communist – or any kind – of ideology at work.
My main point remains that it’s not the extremist responses that are the problem; the failure of mainstream politics as represented by Liberals and Labor to deal with climate change in any meaningful and effective way is the problem.
Speaking briefly of the left/right divide; I see it as often nothing more than tribalism, akin to rabid support of a soccer team.
I identify as being of the left, and my father who’s American, is a Republican who thinks Fox News is fair and balanced, and that Ann Couter is a ‘great woman’.
We get on great because our values are actually similar; dislike of racism, poverty etc…
Alex, if that divide is preventing unilateral action on something as serious as human activities impacting the planet’s climate it’s a kind of tribalism that’s doing us no good. I’m not sure the failure of these ‘sides’ on this issue is really more than fiddling whilst Rome burns. Maybe sending a few Greenies to the lions could be good too – if it wasn’t for them the physics and chemistry of our planet’s climate wouldn’t be an issue and plundering and pillaging our environment would still be held in high regard.
Further grist to the conspiracy mill – the Pentagon is now including climate change as a real and pressing threat to national security. Those communists are everywhere.
Sorry, being a bit sarky. I think that the Greens have significance because a lot of mainstream people think the issues they are vocal about are significant – and mainstream politics has failed to adequately address them. Lots of people have genuine concerns about environmental degradation and sustainability and climate change that looks certain to seriously impact both. The Right appears to support the right to exploit for profit and the Left support the right to exploit for continued employment and compromises to protect those keep leaving the underlying problems unaddressed. The most obvious impacts are largely out of sight, far off or appear unstoppable but the best science tells us failure to address them is no longer about appeasing a tree hugging minority; it’s about our long term prosperity and security and isn’t optional.
While there certainly is an element of tribalism in such things, this radically trivialises politics. The left is centrally concerned with questions of equity, especially in relation to governance and one’s life chances. The right sees its social concerns about “rights and freedoms” as manifest in the security of property holding and privilege.
It is easy enough for both leftists and (some) rightists to repudiate racism and oppositoion to poverty. The rubber hits the road at the moment one asks how?, with what resources? and “for whom?
It is ironic that the responses to a posting on how people all too often over-state their claims in political debates should themselves fall in the trap of extravagant rhetoric.
If there was a prize for conspiracy theories of politics and history, the left would win hands down.
Left wing politics are not known for attributing the beliefs and policies of their opponents to their right and to their further left to no more than intellectual error.
The left talks of class war, robber barons, history is the history of the class war, the bosses and the workers, class loyalty, class traitors, class consciousness, imperialism, capitalist running dogs, deviationists but to name but a few.
It is natural then, given this intellectual toolkit, for the non-democratic left, when it comes to power, to blame their inevitable and rapid economic failures and stagnation on traitors, spies and wreckers and hold show trials. Set-backs are blamed on the remnants of capitalism. Failed socialist policies were rarely abandoned, and often inspired more radical steps.
The left’s approach to the current financial crisis is to round up the usual scapegoats rather than blame government interventions that favoured home ownership and several years of loose monetary policies. Much easier to blame a hidden cabal of international bankers. The market system is frequently criticised for features of contemporary economic society which should, in fact, to be properly attributed to regulatory interference with the market.
The far left in particular must resort to conspiracy theories and hidden persuaders to rationalise away their abject failure at the ballot box.
With respect, Jim Rose, your description of ‘the left’ is an absurd caricature.
Knocking down strawmen may be easy, but it’s also intellectually lazy.
the constitutions of the british and new zealand labour parties commit the party to democratic socialist principles.
in my post i differentiated between the left, the far left and the non-democratic left.
Do they still? Even if they do the inclusion is an artefact, not anything that has any enduring significance. For that matter, the government of China probably still claims to be communist and Mao’s visage is probably still in evidence. So what?
NZ and England are not socialist countries despite labour parties having been in power for a majority of the last decade, so what’s your point?
so there are no communist countries, no socialist countries, and the parties of the left do not speak for the interests of the working class.
what people will say to avoid admitting that the left questions the motives of its opponents in vivid terms. An example might be the title of professor quiggin’s book.
You are so delusional you would qualify for a job at the Productivity Commission!
The left’s approach to the current financial crisis is to round up the usual scapegoats rather than blame government interventions that favoured home ownership and several years of loose monetary policies. Much easier to blame a hidden cabal of international bankers.
Isn’t the issue here that in relation to the USA’s specific problems there is certainly plenty of blame in regard to lending “initiatives” of the government and loose monetary policy, but the international spread of the problem directly relates to unregulated derivatives market that spread the risk across the world? I suspect there is an issue of culpability on a grand scale by the financial sector because I am at a loss to understand how so much risk management ideas were thrown out the window in the pursuit of the big bonus.
I have little knowledge of economics so would appreciate ideas from those who do know something about this matter.
Oh for goodness sake Jim Rose – you do have your charicature of the left nicely boxed in your mind dont you with the following comment…
“The left talks of class war, robber barons, history is the history of the class war, the bosses and the workers, class loyalty, class traitors, class consciousness, imperialism, capitalist running dogs, deviationists but to name but a few.
Are you aware Jim Rose that charicature can be as easily applied to thr right who talk of
“freedom of choice, the individual takes all, user pays, the darwinian survival of the fittest, the fundamentalism of religion, the oppression of labour to complete flexibility, the crude elevation of the entrepreneur beyond the ethics of their behaviour, the mocking of the role of the state in any service, the quest for ever lower taxes and the shrinkage of government, the failure to admit privatisation disasters, the ignoring of education and health needs for the majority, the failure to pursue greater equality for women, the worship of wealth for some at the expense of wellbeing for many, freedom to carry guns, deny climate change, the penchant for war and national might over peace time government services, and finally the deeply flawed assumption that competition prevails in any market (and every market) if you just stand back and watch it”
Heard it all before Jim Rose – heard it all before but you have no inkling of the charicature of the right.
Charicatures are tribalism and tribalism obstructs progress.
As for “capitalist running dogs” – please – the last person who spoke of that was probably Mao Tse Tung and he died years ago – but here we have jim Rose raising the spectacle of an enemy who is no more “communism” here, in downtown Sydney.
A communist in Australia means anyone who doesnt vote liberal..
All of them – every one Half the Australian population in fact go round complaining about “capitalist running dogs” in Woolies on Saturday mornings…. Ive heard them..I swear I have. They hate capitalism but they still by their vegs there and they dont always vote conservative Jim Rose – so maybe you should start filiming all those commies in Woolies.
I’m curious as to how many people here (and JQ if he wants to respond) agree with Chris Warren’s interpretation of the anomaly chart above? I note that people here are generally very quick to jump on comments they consider wrong or silly, but nobody has responded to Chris… so should I take that to mean that most people here agree with him?
It is a source of great amusement to me that so many people, and climate change deniers in particular (not to mention conservative voters), still seem to be fighting the cold war. Well heres a news flash folks; We won! Yep, twenty years ago the cold war was won by the capitalists, the wall came down and there was much rejoicing. Subsequently, we are all capitalists now. The communists are dead and in reality they never were communists, they all ended up fascists (except for the chinese who just attached a marxist tag to something they have been doing for the last few thousand years – warlords, ya gotta love em). Anyone claiming to be a communist today should be given the sort of consideration reserved for civil war re-enactors or members of the SCA, ie a pat on the head and direction to go play in the backyard. The same goes for socialists.
The problem is that there has not been a paradigm shift with which to describe the new playing field. The ‘right/left’ thing is a bit old fashioned, what with its ‘capitalist/communist’ connotation and its original use to describe which side of the river you were on during the french revolution (the right bank was with the king, the left bank against him). I reckon, and as someone touched on earlier, that a better description would be the ‘Humanists’ versus the ‘Tribalists’. Humanists believe that capitalism is a tool that should benefit all humanity, wheras Tribalists believe that capitalism is a tool to be used for the benefit of their tribe, their group.
To continue fighting a war that was won twenty years ago only distracts people from seeing where the real evil is growing in our society, such as the rapacious growth in power of multi-national corporations, or the undermining of democracy by elite fundamentalism. As Bertrand Russell wrote, a world government is inevitable if we are to have any hope of saving humanity. Lord Monkton is wrong to fear communists however. The real danger is that we end up with a corporatised fascist state, but we wont have to worry cause we will have been put up against the wall and shot by then.
Have you considered the other possibility?
I didn’t see that comment. As is the case more often than not, Chris is wrong. A constant anomaly means temps not increasing. The problem with the chart is that it starts in 1998 (not to mention thinking anything particularly meaningful about long-term climate trends can be extrapolated from 12 years – try this one instead).
“I note that people here are generally very quick to jump on comments they consider wrong or silly”
You mean compared to the loving support group that is Catallaxy? 😉
I notice a few indications that some journalists are repositioning Mr Monckton as a bit eccentric now, Janet Albrechtsen being the first. I think they appreciate that the public at large see his political comments about AGW as “out there”, and they want to preserve the more “reasoned” part of his performances as credible science (which it too often is not).
So, John, putting the point back to you. Given that you are keen to see Chris’ response to the graph debated, do you agree that the choice of 1998 as a starting point is, at best, silly and (much more likely), at worst, dishonest cherrypicking.
I suppose it is anybody’s guess as to how the association with Monckton will reflect on Prof Pilmer.
By the way, I like your comments and I admire your patience.
Not Pilmer but Plimer. Sorry.
I agree the left/right polarity is of declining relevance to the present. Intergenerational conflict is also flawed but of more relevance to the climate debate than left vs right. I expect there will be opposition to this idea and for the record I don’t think everyone fits the intergenerational stereotypes.