Many of those familiar with the climate debate are now aware of the “fall” of one of the denial movements prominent members.
Christopher “Lord” Monckton’s reputation as a credible voice in the debate is severly compromised to the point he is now a global laughing stock.
His rise to the leading voice of climate scepticism was meteoric: from obscure advisor under Margret Thatcher’s, he rose to strutting the global debate on climate change debate.
Monckton had it all. He was the “Rock Star” of denial.
Feted by the denial community, he conducted speaking tours around the world to the fawning adulation of people such as Jo Nova, Andrew Bolt and conservative elements of the media. He even recently appeared before a US Senate hearing on global warming, the only “expert” the Republicans could bring to the table.
And now like a shooting star, gravity has brought him to Earth.
All that is now left is a smouldering crater with debris scattered across a large area.
The damage to the entire denial movement is starting to be felt. Having hitched themselves to Monckton’s “celebrity” status, they now find their association embarrassing.
Guardian journalist George Monbiot sums up the last couple of weeks:
“…Another one bites the dust. Every so often, someone with a strong stomach and time to spare volunteers to devote weeks or months of their life to a grisly task: investigating the claims of a person who dismisses the science or significance of man-made climate change…
Now another fallen idol of climate change denial must be added to the list: Viscount Monckton’s assertions have been comprehensively discredited by professor of mechanical engineering John Abraham, at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.
Abraham, like the other brave souls who have taken on this thankless task, has plainly spent a very long time on it. He investigates a single lecture Monckton delivered in October last year. He was struck by the amazing claims that Monckton made: that climate science is catalogue of lies and conspiracies. If they were true, it would be a matter of the utmost seriousness: human-caused climate change would, as Monckton is fond of saying, be the greatest fraud in scientific history. If they were untrue, it was important to show why.
…The results of Abraham’s investigation are astonishing: not one of the claims he looks into withstands scrutiny. He exposes a repeated pattern of misinformation, distortion and manipulation, as he explains in the article he has written for the Guardian. Some of Monckton’s assertions are breath-taking in their brazen disregard of facts. He has gravely misrepresented papers and authors he refers to, in some cases he appears to have created data, graphs and trends out of thin air: at least that was how it appeared to Abraham when Monckton gave no references and his graphs and figures starkly contradicted the published science.”
Abraham’s masterful dissection
Titled “A scientists replies to Christopher Monckton“, Abraham’s careful, precise analysis of a 2009 presentation by the venerable Lord Monckton has shattered any credibility he once had.
Said Abraham about his motivation:
“…It takes a lot to make a scientist mad – even today, when it seems that science and scientists are under siege, particularly over the topic of climate change. But everyone has a breaking point, one straw too many that inspires them to act.
For me, that time came last October when I learned about a British import we have had the displeasure of experiencing here in the United States.
That import, Christopher Monckton, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, had given a rousing speech to a crowd at Bethel University in Minnesota, near where I live.
He started checking Monckton’s sources, and what he found was incredible:
“I actually tracked down the articles and authors that Monckton cited. What I discovered was incredible, even to a scientist who follows the politics of climate change. I found that he had misrepresented the science…”
Abraham emailed the authors of papers Monckton cited to proof global warming was a myth: in every instance Monckton had misrepresented the research, stating the complete opposite of what was actually reported.
Monckton either lied or misunderstood what he was reading. Whatever the case he was wrong. Not even close to being wrong.
As a blogger, and someone with a keen interest in “debunking” the claims of deniers I can only say that Abrahams 80+ minute presentation is a masterpiece.
Indeed, I aspire to produce something half as good as Abrahams work.
Abraham presentation is devastating. Indeed, if there is a “climate sceptic” reading this then I dare you to listen to Abraham’s presentation and respond.
I’d love to know how you handle such truths.
With denial perhaps?
Monckton: fallen star
Very shortly Monckton will find himself with not an ounce of credibility left, and his speaking engagements and media profile will evaporate. Now doubt he will continue to haunt the fringes of the climate debate, but outside the denial community his reputation is in tatters.
And rightly so.
Monckton, as one of the leading figures of the denial movement has done enormous damage to the reputation of science and the publics trust in scientists.
He’s also a rather tragic figure: a man so sure of his own genius he can’t see his own flaws or limitations. **
Monckton now stands as a precautionary tale.
This is what happens when you try to take on an entire scientific discipline without the training, understanding or wit to understand the basics of the science.
All I can say is “Who’s next”.
Let’s take Abraham’s example to heart and apply the same rigor and analysis to the claims of the other prominent denialists out there.
* Image source: http://www.psi.edu/explorecraters/background.htm
** That he is not a genius is very clear.