A very modern climate crank: Monckton tries to shut down the BBC exposé, fails badly

[Hat tip Open Mind]

Good lord, but doesn’t climate sceptic (*cough* denier *cough*) Viscount Christopher Monckton have a glass jaw?

Monckton has just lost a High Court challenge trying to prevent the BBC screening an expose of the climate sceptics:

The BBC has fought off a High Court challenge to tonight’s broadcast of a documentary about climate change skeptics.

 Lord Monckton had applied to Mr Justice Tugendhat for an injunction stopping the programme being shown until it included his right of reply.

He said that he felt he had been “unreasonably treated and misled” and complained of breach of contract.

He told the judge in London that he wanted the programme, Meet the Climate Sceptics, to include his 500 words or three minutes which, he said, was proportionate in the context of a 60-minute film almost exclusively about him.

“What I’m not trying to do is extinguish the BBC’s right to freedom of speech.

“I was for many years myself a journalist and it is not appropriate to say a programme should not be broadcast. I am merely asking for a right to reply to which I say I am entitled.”

He said it was the least remedy that would meet the case as the damage to his reputation would otherwise be “grave”.

It would seem a camera team followed Monckton for a year filming his activities, and now he isn’t happy:

The programme filmed Lord Monckton over [the] past year as he travelled across Australia and the United States challenging the proposition that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes climate change and global warming.

I wonder what they saw and filmed…

Clearly it has the Good Lord panicked.

Given parts were filmed in Australia, I wonder if our friends Joanne Nova, Andrew Bolt et.al make cameos.

Note to self: must watch.

Monckton: flailing, failing and falling flat on his face

Just who is “Lord” Monckton?

Some salient facts.

 He is a journalist by training, with no scientific qualifications. He has a classics degree and spent a couple of years as an “advisor” in Thatcher’s cabinet.

Mostly he tours the world spreading misinformation.

Monckton likes to claim an association with the House of Lords, but last year the House of Lords wrote to Monckton asking he stopped associating himself with them.

Professor John Abrahams – an actual scientist – decisively rebuked his arguments. Turns out Monckton pretty much lied.

Peter Sinclair’s two-part video showcases Monckton’s cheap tricks, and should alert you to just how dishonest this man is.

Maybe we should consider the fact Monckton took over $100,000 from Australian climate sceptics eager to hear him pontificate. While Monckton likes to attack “greedy scientists” he is charging hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread disinformation.

And Monckton is concerned this documentary might do damage to his reputation now!

Oh my!

A very modern climate crank 

Monckton is the very definition of a modern climate crank.

NOT Monckton, but you get the idea...

 So let us honour Monckton with his own song:

I’m very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General climate crank   

Monckton shares the same cognitive bias with a great deal of many “sceptics”: the “Dunning-Kruger” effect.
It is the sincerely held belief their expertise in one areas allows them to speak authoritatively on everything. The trap is, they can’t recognise just how limited their own skill set and knowledge is.
There is a profile for these “modern major generals”: male, older, Anglo-Saxon and with some form of tertiary education. They believe they have the “skills” to take down an entire scientific discipline. 

Copy of High Court decision: not yet available

Copy of decisions made by the High Court (Queens Bench) can be found here, however it appears the Monckton one has not been posted. Details are:

Monday, 31st January 2011, At half past 10 Before MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT
IHQ/11/0042 Viscount Monckton of Brenchley v British Broadcasting Corporation

As soon as it has been made available I’ll post a link.

22 thoughts on “A very modern climate crank: Monckton tries to shut down the BBC exposé, fails badly

  1. fredorth says:

    All of this certainly ranks high in entertainment. Maybe that is what the deniers are really after.

  2. Berbalang says:

    I’d love to see the BBC expose on the climate cranks. Hopefully it will become available here soon.

  3. Can’t wait to watch it. But his fans are brilliant when it comes to denial, so they’ll safely deny the reality of this documentary – no harm done! lol

  4. EoR says:

    As Ian Plimer wrote (in “Climate changing: How global warming lost its science and support” published in the March 2010 IPA Review:

    “[Lord Monckton] is the most outstanding orator I have ever heard.” Yes, more outstanding obviously than Churchill. Or Martin Luther King Jr. Or JFK.

    Also, describing his rockstar tour with the Lord promoting the fact that global warming wasn’t happening, or wasn’t real, or we didn’t need to worry about, or something like that, he praises the wonderful BBC for following them everywhere. Unlike those commie ABC pinkos:

    “The BBC were present for the whole tour. The ABC were missing in action.”

    So, as long as things are going the deniers’ way they’re happy. A little criticism, and they run crying to the courts.

  5. Helen Bang says:

    I watched it last night. Very good programme, allowed the skeptics to voice their opinions, allowed the scientists to explain why the skeptics were wrong but how it was difficult to combat incorrect soundbites without lengthy explanations.

    Interesting observation about how old the sceptics on the Australian tour were.

    The trouble is we still haven’t moved on from accepting the science to making fundamental changes to how we power our lifestyles and economies. A recent UK survey suggests that most people in the UK accept AGW but then they go on to talk about what car they’re going to buy next and where they’re going on holiday!

  6. Tony Sidaway says:

    To be scrupulously fair to the batty House of Lords wannabe, he didn’t sue with the aim of stopping the documentary being shown, he only sought to force the BBC to air his rebuttal alongside the documentary.

    Given his notorious propensity for wild accusations, I almost regret that he failed. The rebuttal would have been, as it were, the final nail in the coffin.

    Also yesterday in London, the Guardian released the results of a recent British opinion poll on climate change. This shows that despite the worst efforts of the deniers, despite the lies about the contents of stolen emails and despite two unusually savage British winters, the public remains overwhelmingly convinced of the imminent danger posed by man-made global warming.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      I saw that as well – it would seem we have turned a corner?

      Climate change denial is fast becoming the preserve of a few odd cranks.

      • Julien says:

        Sure but I’m afraid the ones still in denial are the ones in power -or having significant influence on those in power to slow down any relevant action. See the Reps sitting at the Senate in the USofA, along with their friends Kochs brothers & co…

  7. Tony Sidaway says:

    It may be true in the US that the denialists are in power, but that seems to be a product of that country’s ambivalence about science.

    In last year’s British General Election only two small extreme right fringe parties (one of which is now led by Monckton) had climate change denialist policies; they each got around 1% of the vote, and won no seats. Everybody else was gung-ho about fixing the problem, and the Coalition explicitly promised to be “the greenest government ever.”

  8. Tony Sidaway says:

    Correction: Monckton is deputy leader of UKIP, not its leader.

  9. J Bowers says:

    I don’t think I’d call it an “expose”, as such. The filmmaker went into it having seen and read a lot of dire predictions and being deeply concerned for the life his kids will end up with, and openly admits to being attracted to the idea that climate change may not be bad at all. He even grew to like Monckton, who he shares some common interests with (motorbikes). By the end, though, he’d come to his own conclusions on the subject, and did put Monckton on the spot about some of the claims Monckton had made which, on further investigation, turned out to be the opposite to reality.

    The documentary works on a number of levels, and is worth watching a few times. But I seriously don’t think the film was ever intended as an expose, which is actually one of its strengths.

    I’m also wondering if Monckton’s Aussie fangirls will be so enamoured with him this time next week, should any of them live in Queensland or Victoria.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks – expose may over do it… that Monckton resorted to litigation is interesting to say the least.

      I’d change the title perhaps… but I don’t like editing away what I’ve written. Right or wrong, it’s my words.

      So I’d change it to “documentary”, rather than use the term expose.

      Thanks all for the comments.

  10. Pete_Ridley says:

    Hi Tony (Sideaway) so “the Coalition explicitly promised to be “ .. the greenest government ever .. ” and we all believe that, don’t we.

    In 2004 dear trustworthy Tony Blair, head of the Labour Government, promised a referendum on membership of the EU and so did the Conservatives in opposition. That promise was repeated by equally trustworthy Jack Straw, to take place in 2006 if Labour won the 2005 election. In September 2007 the Sun reported that another “trustworthy” leader, Gordon Brown, hadn’t ruled it out. On 13th December “UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has belatedly signed the EU reform treaty .. He promised the committee there would be a full debate in Parliament on the 250-page text but no referendum”. But, of course, they’ll keep their promise about being “the greenest government ever”, because, after all, they are politicians and we all trust them – don’t we?

    BTW, talking about “green”, have you seen the impact in Mongolia of producing those magnets for those useless wind-mills being put up in the UK at enormous taxpayer expense (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html)? I’m sure that ecologist Ti(Moth)y will have something to say about the damage that has done to the flora and fauna there.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  11. Tony Sidaway says:

    Pete Ridley, I don’t think you can deny that all UK governments to date have made considerable efforts to deal with global warming.

    You bring up wind power, allege that it’s “useless” and link to a Daily Mail article about magnets in Mongolia. Can you not see how this does not help your case that the government is *not* politically committed to dealing with global warming? You may not like what’s being done, but you can’t deny that something is being done at the same time as you acknowledge what is being done with criticism.

    In other words, make your mind up.

  12. Pete_Ridley says:

    Tony, I would argue that it is not a case of political commitment to trying to do nature’s job of controlling global climates but a commitment to attracting green votes and attracting money from gullible taxpayers who are prepared to pay far more than is necessary for their energy and the products that use that expensive energy in the mistaken belief that it will in some way affect climate change.

    Have another look at it, but take off the blinkers.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  13. Tony Sidaway says:

    Pete, the greater issue I’m happy to leave to other threads, but you do appear to be grudgingly accepting that the political culture in the UK is such that the voters expect action on climate change. And that’s what this thread is about.

  14. Tony Sidaway says:

    (Duh! Sorry Pete, wrong thread. Correction: I acknowledge that I misspoke when I described the subject of this thread.)

  15. J Bowers says:

    Pete Ridley’s a big Monckton fan, in case everyone wasn’t aware.

    So, Pete, what did you think of the documentary?

    By the way, Pete, that Daily Mail expose is old news. The Times reported on it in December 2009, where they have an interesting observation…

    “…Officially the polluting plants have been closed down, but villagers say they still operate at night, under armed guard, with the collusion of local Communist party leaders who help mafia bosses keep the lucrative trade going…”

    Is the problem in going green, or local government corruption in China?

    Surely you were aware of it?

  16. Tony Sidaway says:

    Well I took a look at it, just a once-through during which I listened to the sound mostly and occasionally looked at the screen. My expectations had been tempered by a Tweet from Guardian features editor and journalist Leo Hickman:

    “Bit underwhelmed by that to be honest. Of interest to climate nerds but snore fest for everyone else I fancy #meettheclimatesceptics”

    It’s extraordinarily sympathetic to Monckton as a person–Rupert Murray obviously likes him, and during the filming Monckton seemed to like Murray. They talked motorbikes together.

    Murray also interviews several climate scientists, and John Abraham the Minnesota physics professor who produced that long, gentle debunking of one of Monckton’s talks last year. Monckton himself also speaks of Abraham, and this is one of the weirdest parts of the film. Monckton’s threats and the way he talks about Abraham do make him sound both unhinged and ruthless.

    I noticed Telegraph journalist James Delingpole at one point, but it was just a soundbite about wanting to be able to do whatever he wanted (I wonder if he realises how stupid that makes him sound).

    Monckton does at the end have a chance to rebut criticisms of his claims, but he doesn’t make best use of the time.

    There are aspects of Monckton’s history, his conspiracy theories and whatnot, that aren’t investigated at all as far as I could tell in this brief rundown of the film. So Murray really hasn’t gone for the obvious target. His final pitch is, as Hickman says in another tweet: ‘Can we risk trusting the climate sceptics?’

    I’ll probably give it a closer look soon.

  17. Tony Sidaway says:

    (Sorry again, Delingpole is a novelist who writes a column for the Telegraph. He isn’t a journalist).

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