Christopher Monckton, the third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley and the science adviser to the most famous British PM of the last 50 years, is quite an amazing character. He is one of the aristocratic treasures of the British empire. He is known to his wider family as "Mr Knowledge". More importantly, many fans of puzzles know him because of his Eternity puzzle from 1999. The first solver of the new Eternity II puzzle that was released in July 2007, will receive 2 million dollars, more than ever before.
He has also decided to dedicate a lot of time to a widely discussed "scientific problem" and to look at the evidence behind the popular theory of the so-called "global warming" a bit more carefully. The results of his work were reported in The Telegraph:
- The Sun is warmer now... (11/5/2006) - originally called "Climate chaos? Don't believe it"
- Apocalypse cancelled (40-page-long PDF supplement of the above article)
- Wrong problem, wrong solution (11/12/2006)
- Responses of the readers (77-page-long PDF file with positive responses of the readers to the first article; you will find "It isn't even wrong" there, too)
- Gore Gored (29-page-long reply to Al Gore)
- Monckton to Rockefeller and Snowe, U.S. senators (full)
- Lord Monckton's reply to IPCC
- Lord Monckton invites Al Gore for an international debate
- Monckton: the fingerprint is absent (wrong altitude/latitude dependence)
- 35 errors in Gore's movie
- A seminar by Monckton (video)
- 23 Trenberth's errors
- Climate sensitivity reconsidered (July 2008, discussion at the American Physical Society; now includes a red disclaimer by an Inquisition-like "council" that undermines the work of the APS from within)
- U.S. may lose sovereignty in Copenhagen, a YouTube speech
- His defense of the previous speech, plus many other wise ideas
- News Media Watchdog speech - go to 2:30:30 to see Monckton
- Interview in Canada about Gore etc. (one hour)
- Monckton on Glenn Beck show (with Bolton, about Copenhagen)
However, one half of these hypotheses are almost certainly untrue, one third of them is very unlikely, and the rest is unproven. The "global warming paradigm" is supported by downright false statements about the scientific opinions of the actual scientists; unjustified negligence of the natural variability in comparison with the recent trends; negligence of the influence of solar dynamics, cosmic rays, and other effects; unrealistic estimates about the influence of higher temperatures on life and humanity and the sign of this effect; overestimates of the capability of the recently proposed regulating mechanisms to change the overall climate dynamics; wrong calculations of the costs and benefits; unjustifiable application of the so-called precautionary principle.
In other words, the whole framework known as "global warming" is not holding too much water.
Monckton's article "Apocalypse cancelled" is filled with a lot of graphs - current temperature graphs, temperature reconstructions, calculations of the sensitivity etc. - references, and analyses of the scientific work. Some minor errors probably occured in his text and some of them were pointed out by the readers: for example, Lord Monckton chose the units of "Watts per squared meter and second" for the flux. ;-) Nevertheless, they can hardly change anything about Monckton's qualitative conclusions: it is incredibly unlikely that the whole ideology behind the recently proposed international policies can be supported by a comprehensive rational or even scientific justification. And incidentally, the dominant motivation behind these policies is probably the dream of certain people to create a world government.
Most people whom I consider to be respectable mainstream climate scientists - Richard Lindzen, Hans von Storch, and several others - would probably think that Monckton has offered a legitimate viewpoint on this whole set of issues that can be viewed as an informed outsider's unusually qualified zeroth approximation how to think about the climate and its interactions with the mankind.
But there exists a certain rather aggressive class of people who find Monckton's analysis to be a very inconvenient truth, if I can use the words of one of them, much like any other analysis whose conclusions are just a little bit similar. The heretics who carry these "dangerous" opinions must be attacked, destroyed, silenced, and removed. Their comments at all blogs controlled by the nice, progressive believers in the global warming must be erased because the Earth, if not the Universe or even the multiverse, is at stake. Needless to say, this also applies to all of my comments at Cosmic Variance.
If you open news.google.com, you will find about 16,800 articles with the keyword "global warming" that were published during the last 30 days or so in sufficiently important media. That's more than 1000 times more than the number of silly articles attacking string theory - and even the number of silly recent articles attacking string theory was higher by more than one order of magnitude than what it should have been. ;-) Several months ago, the number of the "global warming" hits was below 10,000. (Yes, a fraction of this increase is due to a larger ensemble of the sources included in the search engine.) The hysteria is clearly getting more and more serious.
This hysteria occurs at the same time when the climate is cooling from 2005, the number of Atlantic hurricanes has dropped by 70 percent from the previous year, and most of the evidence for an "exceptional global warming" such as the "hockey stick graph" is being debunked by the scientific panel of the National Academy of Sciences, another panel ordered by the U.S. lawmakers, and by other scientists.
This hysteria clearly doesn't depend on science in any substantial way. If you look at these 16,800 articles, most of them are nothing else than pure crap. They offer ever crazier catastrophic predictions and ever more insane ideas how to fight with the alleged "problem" to ever less educated and ever more manipulable readers who are exerting ever more irrational pressure on the politicians. The articles blame ever more unrelated events on the global warming. The current standard is that every person who dies under the sunny skies was killed by the global warming; however, the newspapers are always very careful not to mention the climate when they write about the 25,000 Britons who froze in 2005, among dozens of similar examples.
The ecoactivists are suing the U.S. president (30 minutes ago). Various politicians want to create new committees and policies to feel even more important and attractive for the environmentalist activists than they have ever been and other politicians are doing the same thing because they are just scared by these loud and obnoxious ecoterrorists and their semi-serious allies who have literally flooded the universities, companies, and newspapers.
Both second class as well as third class scientists are presenting their irrational views on the climate that have nothing to do with their actual research. It is described how it is important to exterminate or at least eliminate all the "skeptics" who are surely being uniformly paid by the evil oil corporations. The skeptics are painted as a fringe negligible minority; nevertheless they seem capable to halt the whole international movement to fight against the "climate change".
These articles are being written by thousands of journalists who are either intellectually challenged so that they can't figure out that what they write makes no sense, or they are heavily influenced by their personal interest to be interesting, important, and to produce a lot of fictitious "stories" because these "stories" are sold well - especially to the least demanding readers. These stories are also easy to write down and it doesn't matter whether they're completely unsubstantiated because thousands of other, similarly corrupt journalists are writing the very same things so there is never any reason to be worried or to feel guilty: the group-think also acts as a nearly perfect group-shield. In many cases, the journalists suffer of both of the problems mentioned above and several more.
Mark Trodden vs Lord Monckton
I was just saddened when I learned that Mark Trodden decided to criticize science journalism but instead of criticizing those 16,800 junk articles produced every month, he decided to join a person named George Monbiot and attack the work of Lord Monckton, a rare example of a a relatively thoughtful climate reporting. We must ask: has the situation deterioated so far that we would be willing to accept people like Mr. Monbiot into our discourse, Mark? Do professors from the universities really have to use this brand of unreasonable and politically twisted writers in our blog articles to make a point even though the word "point" could be a kind of exaggeration in Mark's case?
When you search for "moonbat", you will find dozens of completely insane articles with the same kind of content written by this Gentleman.
- To save the planet, bring back Byers
- America's war on itself
- The chief scientific adviser has become a government spin doctor
- Behind the spin, the oil giants are more dangerous than ever
- Faced with this crisis
and lots of others. In his newest anti-Monckton diatribe, it is extremely hard to find any idea. He starts by whining that the readers have assertively pointed out that Monbiot had not been right. If I didn't think that the readers were right on the money, I would feel compassion towards Monbiot. Then he gets political, personal, and as soon as it seems that he would be discussing the Stefan-Boltzmann law, something that Mark is expected to know much like I am, he refers to the authority (?) of Gavin Schmidt who doesn't say anything meaningful either except for some random "holy" figures that sound better than Monckton's figures.
Mark Trodden also promotes Gavin Schmidt and we learn that one of the reasons is that they have drunk alcoholic beverages together. The fact that Mark has no rational reason to trust Gavin's words is so flagrantly obvious that even some of his closest readers had to remind Mark that he can hardly hide this fact.
Is there anything wrong about their having common political goals and about their sharing of the alcoholic beverages? As long as they don't drink gasoline, everything is probably fine from their, somewhat distorted, moral viewpoint. They are always superior over the skeptics, aren't they? This is an important part of their definition of moral values.
The only "argument" I noticed in this section was that the temperature increase looks smaller than it should be because the huge increase will surely be delayed and this strangely sounding statement is correct because the Earth is not at the equilibrium. I simply can't believe that Mark Trodden is unable to determine that this "argument" is pure rubbish. According to all the data that is available to me, Mark Trodden is just dishonest because he must see that that Monbiot's article is nothing that could be, even remotely, called a meaningful reply to Christopher Monckton's 40 pages of a rather thoughtful, data-based technical analysis. He just relies on the fact that there are so many people who have been brainwashed by this flagrant nonsense and so many warriors for the "right cause" that it doesn't hurt Mark if he writes some obviously untrue comments as long as they have the right (more precisely: left) political flavor.
The "delayed" argument is unjustifiable because 1) the equilibrium is reached quickly according to the actual hypothesized effect, the greenhouse effect, because the warming of the atmosphere occurs directly by the IR absorption and because 2) the delayed reaction in the future could go in both ways. It is just scientifically unacceptable to deny the actual experimental evidence against a theory by making arbitrary and quantitatively unsubstantiated speculations that a different kind of evidence will occur later. This is simply called junk science. I don't believe that Mark Trodden doesn't realize that. Science must always be backed up by actual arguments that exist at the given moment - either theoretical or experimental arguments - not by arguments that are promised for the future.
Mark also talks about the "consensus" that is not backed by any single paper or result but that "emerges" from the collective synergy of the climate scientists. It is hard to believe that Mark thinks the that evidence in science can have this form. Whenever we have some scientific result that is trustworthy, there must exist a paper - at least one paper - that presents a strong evidence for this result. This paper may refer to other papers but the actual evidence must be included in one of them. Otherwise the result doesn't exist. Do you really disagree, Mark? Could we believe that there is an AdS/CFT correspondence if there were no single paper that could be used as a reference? Could we believe relativity, Big Bang theory, or any other theory in science if its dramatic quantitative predictions for some quantities analogous to the temperature were emerging synergetically from the consensual spirit of many papers and their authors? This doesn't look like science to me. We can find a common spirit in many papers - such as emergent geometry - but we can't find quantitative predictions - such as the catastrophic global warming - by looking at an ensemble of papers neither of which implies such a result individually.
Monckton is also critically discussing the Stern report. I don't think that this is the ultimate argument but nevertheless, all people whose opinions I have read and who follow the climate or economics at a technical level dismiss the report: see these 65 pages of criticism to get a flavor what the critical words are all about. This includes "suddenly moderate" alarmists such as James Annan, William Connolley, and several others. It's no secret that even most of the otherwise radical alarmist writers at RealClimate.ORG think that the Stern report is a bad piece of work which selectively chooses upper "catastrophic" limits from all papers and makes very bad calculations in economics.
Incidentally, that's the reason why RealClimate.ORG decided to remain silent about the Stern report: they only describe and promote work that could "help their cause". In this case they had some internal disagreements how much dishonesty and untrue assertions they can include in an article, and many contributors to RealClimate.ORG just found the amount of fraud that they would need in order to endorse the atrocious Stern report too high an ethical price to pay. It may have been the first time ever when the amount of dishonesty required by the "politically correct", leftist media-driven opinions went beyond the moral mantinels of some of the climate scientists-activists.
Of course, the journalists don't care about the scientists' opinions, not even the RealClimate.ORG's opinions. Their main goal is to write a story that will be more radical than all the previous stories combined. These are the new rules of their game. Rational thinking has become secondary.
Let me return to the article in The Guardian. Monbiot adds many other incorrect comments. He denies that James Hansen was flagrantly wrong in his 1988 testimony in which he predicted three scenarios for the temperature for the next two decades. The actual temperature has turned out to follow the "complete regulation" scenario of Hansen (the mildest temperature increase among his three scenarios) that essentially proposed to bring the world's economy into recession although the actual policy of most nations has followed Hansen's "business-as-usual" scenario (whose expected temperature increase was much higher, by hundreds of per cent or so, than the observed reality). Hansen just couldn't have been more wrong.
There is another entertaining - or sad - comment by Monbiot that Mark Trodden decided to quote uncritically. Monbiot offered an explanation of the conjectured "errors" in Monckton's articles, namely an observation that at a 2005 gathering of the climate change journalists, someone asked how many journalists among those 150 attendees had a science degree. The answer was three. Monbiot's conclusion is that Monckton who didn't participate had to be wrong.
Well, this is what could be called the moonbat logic. ;-) My conclusion is quite different: the majority of the journalists - those who write most of the 16,800 absurd stupidities about the "global warming" every month and among whom Monbiot is a textbook example - are insufficiently educated and insufficiently rational and honest for their written opinion to have a measurably positive value which partially - but not completely - explains why they're producing so much incredible junk all the time.
And that's the memo.
See also Global Warming Swindle, a must-see documentary.
Other popular climate articles on The Reference Frame