Category Archives: Laughing stock

Carbon tax is socialism: Tony Abbott’s great big conspiracy theory


In case there was any doubt Prime Minister Abbott shares the same conspiracy driven world view of the more extreme elements of the climate sceptic movement, his recent speech to the Tasmanian Liberal Party Conference makes it clear (ABC reports):

Mr Abbott also said the carbon tax was a socialist policy in disguise. 

“Let’s be under no illusions the carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism,” he said. 

“That’s what the carbon tax was.”

This claim is straight from the New-World-Order playbook of paranoia.

Equating environmentalism with a global plot to take over the world via concerns about climate change is often referred to as the “watermelon theory”. It has been a staple of right-wing conspiracy culture for almost two decades. And it seems our Prime Minister is happy to share his paranoia in like-minded company.

In Battlelines Abbott hints at his belief in this great-big-conspiracy:

“For many, reducing emissions is a means to achieving a political objective they could not otherwise gain.” [page 171]

So – according to our Prime Minister a market based mechanism as represented by the emissions trading scheme is “socialism”. And yet supposed to we’re accept the Direct Action Plan, which plays polluters using the public purse, is the epitome of free market.

In retrospect, Abbott becoming Prime Minister is not such a bad thing – the lack of scrutiny that was missing in media during these past few years is dissipating. The world’s eyes are on the PM, and we’re getting a far better understanding of how Abbott sees the world.

[Hat tip Tim @ New Anthropocene]

Anatomy of motivated self-importance: too much of me just isn’t enough (guest post)

Too much of me just isn’t enough: an anatomy of motivated inflation of self-importance.

A controversial recent study has shown that prominent climate sceptics are six times more likely to show narcissistic characteristics than the rest of the community. The tendency is highest amongst those who maintain their own blogs, and especially those with blogs carrying their own names.

Said researcher, “At first I was blown away by this result…, I mean, when you get people responding to surveys and their collective answers are such strong outliers, you question whether you have made a mistake.”

But it seems that careful rechecking of the results has only confirmed the analysis.

“Those that run anti-science climate ‘sceptic’ blogs are simply much, much more into themselves than pretty much anyone else we have ever studied. And by ever, I mean in the entire literature up until this point”.

Respondents scored highly on metrics such as;

  1. How often they refer to themselves.
  2. How eager they were for others to share their high opinion of themselves.
  3. The high negative rating they gave to being personally ignored.

The results pretty much show that the need for ‘reinforcement of self’ is almost constant in this group; it is likely that they run their blogs as a self-validation exercise.

“Failure to have their ‘followers’ reinforce their sense of importance likely leads to an impotent rage. As psychologists, we can only say this seems unhealthy.”

But one blogger is incensed at the results and claims that they are not worth the paper they are written on. Australian blogger Nova Cane (an alias) believes the results are invalid because she wasn’t surveyed.

“How can any conclusion be drawn from a survey about climate sceptic bloggers being narcissistic when that survey does not take in me? It beggars belief that I could have been overlooked for this survey. Its clear what warmists are up to, they want to paint us as self-obsessed nutters, and they must underestimate our collective intelligence if they think we would fall for that trap”

The researchers themselves reveal that, while Nova was originally overlooked due to a simple oversight — “…ironically, we had never heard of her” — inspection of her blog provided reason for caution on her participation in the survey.

“We were initially worried about sample sizes, and hence questioned whether the inclusion of McIntyre and Watts might, by themselves, skew the results toward findings of overt self-obsession. When we saw Nova’s chin-down-eyes-up self-portrait on her blog (entitled, as it happens NovaCane), we wondered whether we could ever get a sample size large enough to accommodate her.”

“She is basically an outlier, even amongst this group of arch narcissists, we felt we would have had to throw her results away to be honest.”

The researchers do believe that there might be promise in developing a narcissistic index based on Nova Cane.

“Since it is doubtful we would find a subject more into themselves than Nova, we thought we might usefully scale future responses against that.”

We believe most people would fit on a scale of narcissism that ranked from 1-10 Novas. The scale is exponential, so we have coined 10 Novas as the ‘Super Nova’ rating for egocentricity. Psychologists can be corny at times.”

But the sceptics aren’t done with yet, with Nova herself firing the warning shots.

“If they thought our attempts at amateur climate science were the end of things, then they are mistaken. We will attempt amateur psychology as well, and then, well, who knows?”

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Epic fail: the stunning defeat of Bob Carter and NZ climate sceptics (guest post)

A great post from Uknowispeaksense, who has given me permission to re-post:

Recently, there has been a court case in New Zealand where a group calling themselves the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (the Trust) were bringing an action against New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited [NIWA] essentially alleging that they used some dodgy statistics to produce a warming trend in some of the New Zealand temperature record.

The Trust was represented by Bob Carter (paleontologist), Mr Dunleavey (retired journalist) and Mr Dedekind (IT professional with some modelling experience). Keep in mind, these are the so-called “experts” put forward by the Trust. I kid you not. Before going any further, I urge you tocheck out their “statement of claim” as lodged with the High Court of New Zealand registry. It stops just short of claiming the scientists committed fraud but only just.

In paragraph 20 the trust accuse the scientists of being “influenced by the expectation that significant NZTR warming would encourage funding for additional climate change research”. Wow. They also accuse them of being subjective and secretive etc.

Well, the verdict is in and it seems Bob and his mates  have lost in the most spectacular fashion, not only failing to prove their case in all aspects, but also having costs awarded against them. But that’s not all. Reading the findings, one gets a real insight into just how poor and sloppy Bob and his mates were in their whole approach. The judge has also given them some severe, but just, criticisms. Here are a few of my favourites. Emphasis is mine.

Section 23 of the Evidence Act 2006 provides that a statement of opinion is not admissible except as provided by ss 24 or 25. Opinion is defined in the Evidence Act at s 4 as: “A statement of opinion that tends to prove or disprove a fact.” I accept Mr Smith’s submission that there are substantial portions of Mr Dunleavy’s original and reply affidavits where he proffers opinions on matters in issue in the proceedings, particularly on scientific practices and the validity of the scientific practices of NIWA. Such evidence could only be admissible under s 24 or s 25. Section 24 is not applicable in the circumstances. Section 25 could only apply if Mr Dunleavy was an expert in the particular area of the science of meteorology and/or climate. He is not. He has no applicable qualifications. His interest in the area does not sufficiently qualify him as an expert. I also accept Mr Smith’s further point that Mr Dunleavy’s views are not capable of offering substantial help to this Court on the issue that it has to determine. To that extent I agree that substantial passages of Mr Dunleavy’s evidence are inadmissible.

[52] Further, I note that Mr Dunleavy has, in any event, failed to comply with High Court Rule 9.43, and could not be regarded as an impartial expert. There are passages of his evidence which are objectionable on the grounds that they are submission and not evidence as to factual matters or even opinion.

[53] Similar issues (as to the limited nature of his expertise), apply to the evidence of Mr Dedekind. Although in his affidavit in reply Mr Dedekind purported to comply with r 9.43, Mr Dedekind’s expertise is in relation to computer modelling and statistical analysis.

[54] I accept Mr Smith’s criticism of Mr Dedekind’s evidence to the extent that Mr Dedekind is not an expert in the application of statistical techniques in the field of climate science. Mr Dedekind’s general expertise in basic statistical techniques does not extend to any particular specialised experience or qualifications in the specific field of applying statistical techniques in the field of climate science. To that extent, where Mr Dedekind purports to comment or give opinions as to NIWA’s application of statistical techniques in those fields,his evidence is of little assistance to the Court.

Ooooh, that smarts. When are these idiots going to realise that being an Excel Expert or a Google Galileo does NOT a climate scientist make. At this point I’d like to digress for just a moment and refer my readers to a blog entry over at my favourite denier blog, Geoffrey Brown’s official blog for the Climate Sceptics Party, where on Wednesday, July 4, 2012,  Anthony Cox, in referring to this New Zealand court case, said this:

Anthony Cox suggesting a case could be brought against the BoM

All I can say to this is, please do Anthony. Given your expertise in climatology, perhaps you could evidence? So, back to the New Zealand High Court findings. After the judges critique of the relevant expertise or, lack thereof, of the plaintiffs, he then went on to describe the extensive qualifications and expertise of the defendants. It was a beautiful thing and well worth the read.  But now to something else that caught my eye.

 [79] A further preliminary point arises. The Trust’s argument on this point depends on this Court finding that NIWA departed from “best recognised scientific opinion”. It defines “recognised scientific opinion” as relevant established scientific opinions and methods described in internationally recognised research journals. In Dr Carter’s opinion, RS93 is the definitive paper for statistical adjustments to offset the effects of site changes in New Zealand conditions. It is implicit in his evidence thatfailure to apply that is a failure to comply with recognised scientific opinion.

[81] Dr Carter, the expert for the Trust, does not directly support the Trust’s definition of recognised scientific opinion. His evidence on this point is, in summary: Applied science in any field must take into account the current state of knowledge as attested by the peer-reviewed literature. Any departures from established knowledge or authority must be noted and explained. If one disagrees with the established literature, then the remedy is to write a critical paper with full reasoning and have it published in a suitable journal.

This really tells a story and I refer my readers to a post I did about Bob Carter and his opinion on peer review where states, “Interestingly, Albert Einstein’s famous 1905 paper on relativity was not peer-reviewed. It is therefore quite clear that peer-review is not a precondition for excellent, indeed epoch-making, scientific research.” Ouch. Finally, this bit:

[88] Next, there is a letter to Mr Dunleavy on 18 February 2010 responding to an Official Information Act request. The Trust seeks to rely on the following passage:
NIWA’s letter of 29 January pointed you to several papers including Dr Salinger’s PhD thesis as explanations of the methodology behind processing the original records.

It may have been of more assistance if NIWA had gone on to clarify the application of the RS93 but the use of the word “including” is again at best, ambiguous. When the passage relied on is read in context of the response as a whole it does not, in my judgment support a conclusion that NIWA was saying that it did not apply RS93.

What is it with deniers taking things out of context? Anyway, the rest of the judgment reads like a “How to make spurious unsubstantiated claims relying on the testimony of non-experts in order to waste the court’s time and cop a hefty legal bill in the process” manual.

Well done Bob and his mates, well done. Now, how about coming home and having a go here and then maybe go and give crybaby Watts a hand to take on the establishment over there?

That way, when it’s all done and dusted and you’ve made a complete dick of yourself in numerous places, we can get on with dealing with the very serious issue of human induced climate change and rising temperatures as recorded by the very accurate instrumental record.

Deniers hit record low on sea ice: Anthony Watts lies; Marc Morano qualifies as the Iraqi Information Minister of climate denial

One swallow does not make a spring.

Nor does one record low for Arctic ice signify the immediate and imminent end of the world.

So then, why has the announcement by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) on the new record low for the Arctic sea ice got many talking, tweeting and blogging?

The death spiral of the Arctic is but one data point. As an isolated phenomenon it is concerning – what is important is that this is part of an emerging pattern that matches scientific predictions made decades ago.

This is why so many are focussed on the issue, and why the denial machine is in state of utter conniption (see below).

To put it bluntly: scientists said this shit would happen.

The shit appears to be happening.

QED: this shit is real.

Indeed, the shit is not merely hitting the fan, its knocking the fan from the ceiling and ploughing right on through into the stratosphere.

Climate change is generating fast-moving-super-powered shit and we’re standing between it and what ever trajectory it’s on.

As the kids like to say: “This shit just got real…

The record low for Arctic sea ice merely confirms our understanding of the multiple impacts of climate change: how it is now manifesting in extreme weather events; the Greenland ice sheet melt; rising sea and land temperatures; all of which paint a picture.

Its takes a very focussed mind to ignore all of the above, and dismiss this concerning event.

Thus the concern trolls who say “Look, maybe climate change is a problem but in regard to this issue there’s been only 33 years of satellite data” are no better than the outright deniers.

Yes – we understand it is only one data point. And if this was an isolated event we’d be saying “Interesting, perhaps we should look into this phenomenon, eh?”

But focussing on the fact we have a “mere” thirty years of satellite data is no different from saying we have only a century-and-a-half of temperature records from actual instruments.

Step back: look at the big picture.

Falling down: the denial continues, but from a distance its revealing

To those who think “Surely at this point, even the most hard-core “sceptics” have to accept the data?” the answer is a definitive “No, they won’t”.

For an example of this look no further than Anthony Watts (Watts up with that?) and Marc Morano (Climate Depot).

These men have spent a considerable portion of their adult lives – and I might add built public profiles – denying the science and undermining public trust in scientists.

Expecting them to repudiate their life’s work in response to mere facts, scientific data and the overwhelming consensus of experts is a naive hope.

Anthony Watts – after rousing himself from bed after a hard night poring over temperature data downloaded from public sources – gets straight to the task of convincing himself there is nothing to worry about:

No matter what though, its all just quibbling over just a little more than 30 years of satellite data, and it is important to remember that. It is also important to remember that MASIE wasn’t around during the last record low in 2007, and IMS was just barely out of beta test from 2006. As measurement systems improve, we should include them in the discussion

Yes, because high school graduate Watts has picked up something NASA and the NISDC have overlooked: Mr. Watts, the Nobel Committee will be knocking on your door soon.

No really Anthony – I promise, like soon.

You know, I could debunk what is merely a very public example of cognitive dissonance – but why? Tamino does it here – clearly he has a stronger stomach than I do.

But I will note Watts uses “Aspect two” of my Six Aspects of Denial:

Question the motives and integrity of scientists – This is the favourite tactic of the climate change denial movement. They claim the scientists are engaged in fraud, or are being pressured by governments to make up the results…

Such tactics can clearly be seen in Watts post:

“Note that we don’t see media pronouncements from NOAA’s NATICE center like “death spiral” and “the Arctic is screaming” like we get from its activist director, Mark Serreze. So I’d tend to take NSIDC’s number with a grain of salt, particularly since they have not actively embraced the new IMS system when it comes to reporting totals. Clearly NSDIC knows the value of the media attention when they announce new lows, and director Serreze clearly knows how to make hay from it.”

Yes – the NSIDC and its “activist” director are clearly a pack of media whores hungry for fame.

In fact, I’d suggest Serreze is the Lady Ga Ga of the scientific world, engaging in publicity stunts in order foster celebrity status.

Expect Serreze to be adorning a “meat dress” at the next Warmist Convention…

But for the throwing of chum, spinning of facts and sheer chutzpah of denying reality the award surely goes to Marc Morano of Climate Depot

Here is a man who has done more to sway public opinion against the science.

Today he goes into overdrive in an attempt to not merely wave away concern, but shout down doubt:.

Irony free would you believe…

Yes, Climate Depot will explain it all away for you….

Even a cursory glance today’s Climate Depot reveals the sheer desperation of Morano.

His repeated “It’s not happening, it’s not real, it’s not happening, it’s not real!” show cases not merely special pleading, but dissembling on an epic scale.

So clearly at odds with reality is Morano’s public statements he must qualify the climate deniers equivalent of Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf.

Morano is – quite literally – falling down in a very public way.

Monckton questions Obama’s status as President: states there is enough to cast doubt on POTUS place of birth

Monckton now believes there is “compelling evidence” to cast doubt on where Obama was born. No, really he does…

If further evidence is needed to support to the contention that many climate sceptics have embraced a cluster of conspiracy theories, look no further than Lord Christopher Monckton.

The prominent climate sceptic – who has been feted by figures such as Gina Rinehart, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Australia’s climate change “sceptics” – now claims the birth certificate on the White House is a forgery (which many of us know, he has been for some time).

Monckton has been spending time in Hawaii “investigating” Obama’s birth certificate and detailing the results of his investigation in a series of ongoing interviews with Alex Jones, host of InfoWars.

Jones is known for his  support for New World Order conspiracy theories and that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks:

Six weeks later, on the day the Twin Towers fell, Jones began his broadcast by declaring that, as he had predicted, the Bush administration had taken part in a staged terror attack. “I’ll tell you the bottom line,” Jones said. “98 percent chance this was a government-orchestrated controlled bombing.”

Monckton’s claims: yes, he really is a Birther

On a recent InforWars show (8 June 2012) Monckton makes some incredible claims. The segment goes for over 2 hours, but Monckton’s discussion of Obama’s birth certificate begins at 1:33:40 onward:

Here are some direct quotes:

Alex Jones: “…what’s the latest you’ve got breaking from Hawaii?”

Monckton: “Well its very clear now… that somebody in the Hawaiian Health Department knew the document that now appears on the White Hose website is a forgery… it is clear it is a forgery…” 

He then goes onto say:

“…there must be an opening up of the official record of Mr Obama’s birth to independent forensic scrutiny… there is now sufficient doubt as to where he was born…”

See also here on the InfoWars site.

Monckton paper that questions the President’s legitimacy: end results of his “investigation”

The end result of Monckton’s investigation is a paper titled “Is the President the President? A Hereditary Peers’ Briefing Paper“.

He even uses that logo that his own variation of the House of Lords logo which potentially breaks copyright:

In the paper Monckton outlines an incredible theory the that birth certificate on the White House web site is a forgery.

Citing the work of “bither” Sheriff Joseph Arpaio of Arizona,  Monckton goes at great pains to demonstrate “anomalies” with the birth certificate.

From there he questions the legitimacy of Obama as President of the United States.

Monckton even links his climate change scepticism to his support of “birther” claims:

Does the issue matter? An eminent constitutional lawyer has given advice that it does. He says: “We amend the Constitution, or we abide by it.” Judge Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court in the McInnish case also considers the issue important, in that it raises “serious questions about the authenticity of both the ‘short form’ and the ‘long form’ birth certificates”. Mr. Obama’s legitimacy is now materially in doubt. Though his political supporters dismiss questioners of his birth certificate as “birthers”, much as they brand questioners of Man’s influence on the weather as “deniers” or questioners of the European Union as “xenophobes”, the subject will move up the political agenda in the coming months, notwithstanding the studied indifference of the media and of both parties to it.

At the end of the paper Monckton launches into a rhetorical flight of fancy that leaves little doubt that the man is a fantasist:

The implications of this affair for Her Majesty’s Government are considerable. The apparent forgeries, with the failure of Mr. Obama and of the State of Hawaii to ensure access to the original long-form birth certificate of which the document on the White House website is said to be a copy, have cast legitimate and growing doubt upon Mr. Obama’s fitness to hold office. His hostility to the United Kingdom, evidenced by his removal of the bust of Churchill from the White House, may have been somewhat assuaged by his relationship with the present UK Prime Minister: however, almost any other foreseeable candidate for his office would be less inimical to the United Kingdom.

If any successful moves are made against Mr. Obama or his key supporters, whether via ballot challenges in the civil courts, or via the exercise of Brady rights by a defendant accused of a crime signed into law by Mr. Obama, or via a disqualification from office under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, a dislocation considerably more severe than the fall of Nixon may be anticipated, leaving the free world leaderless at a time of great financial uncertainty. Therefore the issue, peripheral though it may at first seem, is not only of central importance to the United States, whose Constitution may have been flouted and circumvented in a material respect, but is also potentially of great consequence to Britain and to the West.

Apparently Obama has a hatred for the United Kingdom, evident from removing a bust of Churchill. Monckton also believes the fate of “the west” is in the balance.

There can be little doubt this provides support to the the recent research by Lewandowsky

Our house is in order (part 2): the art of repudiation is a powerful thing

When I hit “publish” on the previous post “Our house is in order: reframe the debate guys, don’t make a mountain out of mole dung” I did pause. No really I did.

Was I too harsh on people I have nothing but the deepest admiration for? I hope not, and that the comments are taken in the spirit they were intended. Should I include a “naughty word?”

I fully appreciate that not everyone agrees with the style and tone of my blog, and that in fact some would consider its approach (“deniers” is the mantle of this blog!) confrontational and off-putting to segments of a broader audience.

All true.

A politician or scientist can’t speak with the same folksy bluntness that I do. I write as I speak and think.

But I suspect I’m voicing what’s on many people’s minds.

As the hacked emails from the CRU demonstrated, scientists will happily share blunt views on the “sceptics” in private. However I agree my approach is not the only approach, nor necessarily the right approach: I happily admit my amateur status and naivety.

But I have come to think that for over twenty years – the span of a generation – the denial machine has had a free run. It’s tactics and personalities have not been directly challenged. And when I say challenge, I don’t mean that we engage in formal debates with them.

We all know how that ends up: witness how Not-really-a-member-of the-House-of-Lords Christopher Monckton performs on stage. He is a powerhouse speaker, even if his liberal use of latin aphorisms smacks of pompousness.

We don’t give them massive platforms to inject their disinformation into the public debate like the deeply flawed “I can change your mind on climate” which quite frankly was – even if well-intentioned –  a massive own goal.

I believe there is merit in taking them head on, exposing and repudiating them. There are countless examples in history when this has happened. We should observe, forensically dissect, expose and repudiate. That members of the denial machine – who are paid to do what they do – shed some crocodile tears along the way should be of minor concern.

And what about the contested middle, the ordinary mums and dads so to speak.

What about the contested middle?

Hey guys – I am the contested middle.

I’m a father and work outside media and science. I grew up in the suburbs, went to a public school. I struggle to pay bills, raise a kid and manage a career.  I share the values of many “ordinary” folks. I only got interested in climate change a few years back and what I read both amazed and horrified me.

My reaction was “What can I do?”

My teachers have been the countless scientists, bloggers and activists such as Tamino and Michael Tobis.

Guys, thanks – you educated and inspired me to act, to speak up and to fight.

But pause for a moment – the thing about us people in the “contested middle” is that we are deeply cynical of spin, messaging and framing. You might think we’re dumb and easily manipulated but “we” smell spin a mile off.

The collapse in public trust in the media, politicians and other social institutions may very well be due the fact that they all speak with the same bland, monochromatic tone of the well massaged press release and uninspired speechs that have been worked over and sanitized.

We in the contested middle can read the code words…

We know “restructuring” in business means job losses.

We know “work place flexibility” means pushing wages down and cutting benefits.

We know.

What we in the contested middle crave is honesty, plain speaking and truth.

The deniers have been successful because they have read the mood of the contested middle and exploit it, stealing the mantle of underdog and plain spoken truth-tellers.

On crocodile tears

If there is one thing I learnt in life, is that bullies have glass jaws: when you stand up to them and say “No more! You will stop!” they often dissolve into histrionics and claims of being victimized.

There are two things they hate: laughter directed and them and the word “no”.

Sound familiar?

Repudiation example one: “Have you no decency?”

Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild…Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

It’s the 1950s – the height of the McCarthy era when America was in the thrall of a conspiracy craze about reds-under-the mattress. During the Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph Welch stood up to rabid fear monger, Joseph McCarthy:

Many have come to see this as the beginning of McCarthy’s fall.

Repudiation example two: Barney Frank strikes back

“On what planet do you spend most of your time?”

During the acrimonious debate over the introduction of Obama’s health care act, Tea-Party activists claimed the President’s policies were the same as Hitlers. Yeah, I know – nuts.

Democrat Senator Barney Frank responded to such claims during a town-hall style meeting:  

The woman making those claims felt the sharp sting of social repudiation in the audience’s response: and rightly so. 

Deniers, have you no decency? I would get no further talking to a dining room table then I would with you.

Guilty pleasure: messin’ with The Galileo Movement’s Twitter feed

I have to say Twitter has been wonderful a source of news, and just as importantly promoting this blog. But it’s more than that – it’s the opportunity to have some fun. Case in point, The Galileo Movements Twitter feed:


I’ve not come across a more humorless, dry and boring feed.

But I have been enjoying interacting with the guys (I assume guys) behind Alan Jones’ vanity project… er AstroTurf group… sorry I mean “group of really concerned citizens”.

I’ve developed a soft spot for their dry, robotic tweets and the humorless way they interact with me with a kind of stoic stupidity.

I keep telling them I only blog on climate change for the lulz, and that this blog is actually run by a crack team of transgender socialists hell-bent on imposing a one world government, universal health care and death camps for pensioners.

But they just keep asking me about “your belief in AGW is from IPCC which provides no empirical evidence that an increase in human co2 caused increase in atmos temp?…” and blah, blah, blah.

I’m simply fishing for one witticism from Galileo – not much to ask is it?

But they seem incapable.

Give it a go – see what you get back.

Oh Lordy: Monckton rejected by his own political party, but “Uncle” Monckton’s effect on Australia’s media landscape is still playing out

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is typical of the right-wing extremist parties plaguing the European political scene: anti-immigration, anti-European Union, demands more funding for the military, small government and against same-sex marriage.

You know – the usual grab bag of idée fixe of older, angry white men.

With such a platform it was little wonder that “Lord” Christopher Monckton – he of climate denial fame – was attracted to the UKIP. Indeed, for some time he was the party’s deputy leader.

Well no more it seems as DeSmogBlog reports.

It seems Monckton is too extreme for the extremists. Guardian reporter Leo Hickman reports the UKIP now regards Monckton as a “loose cannon” and is cutting ties with the eccentric “Yes I am!” (but not actually) wannbe member of the House of Lords:

“…I asked if there had been a falling out between Monckton and the current UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. Towler said not, but said that Monckton – whom he described as a “17th century pamphleteer” – was sometimes the source of “frustration” and was “very much Lord Pearson’s man – they own contiguous shooting estates in Scotland”. Towler added that Monckton had been active in the party at a time when it was “not drowning in talent”, but the recent surge in popularity for the party had seen a fresh influx of personnel. Monckton was a “loose cannon”, said Towler, but Helmer is a “tied-down cannon, pointed in the same direction”.”

Rinehart and “Uncle” Monckton

Earlier this year Monckton was caught on video advising that a very rich “someone” invest in Australia’s media in order to reshape the political debate:

As many of pointed out, Gina Rinehart’s play for Fairfax seems to be part of the strategy outlined by Monckton. Rinehart has a penchant for listening to the advice of eccentric daddy figures like Plimer and Monckton – she takes her climate scepticism from “Uncle” Plimer and her “politics” from “Uncle” Monckton.

The thought that an extremist rejected as a ‘loose cannon” by the extremist UKIP somehow shaping the Australian media landscape is indeed terrifying

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 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.

Jo Nova: telling porkies about BoM rainfall predictions

Should we really be surprised that deniers cherry pick data and distort the truth? 

In addition to her usual war on science, Jo Nova frequently attacks the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). 

In today’s post produces a predicted rainfall map produced by the BoM on August 24 2010 for the September-November period contrasted with actual recorded rainfall. In her mind it proves BoM can’t get it right:


Shocking! How much more wrong could the BoM be!  Says outraged Nova :

How many billions have we lost thanks to farmers who might have been able to harvest early, or plant different crops, or avoid seeding in droughts, or any one of a thousand other choices that would help them to make the most of our highly variable climate.

Oh wait, there is something she neglects to tell her readers…

I’m sure alert readers of this blog now what she’s done.  

Nova neglects to show us is the forecasts made following this August outlook which actually predict wetter conditions for most of Australia.

Here is their prediction released on 22 September 2010. 

And the map:  


BoM state:

Wetter conditions favoured for most of Australia

The Australian rainfall outlook for the December quarter (October to December) favours wetter than average conditions over large parts of the continent, with strongest odds across northern Australia. The October to December outlook is the result of warm conditions in the Indian Ocean and cool conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, both of which are associated with the current La Niña event.

Probabilities versus observed rainfall

BoM refined their predictions in light of new data and observing trends, standard practice. Nova’s post is a gross mischaracterization of BoM’s predictions.  

More importantly, the BoM predictions indicate probabilities for increased (or decreased) rain, not actual predicted rainfall. It’s a subtle and important difference and means the BoM was actually correct in stating in there was an increased chance for wetter conditions in parts of Australia.  

She is employing a standard trick of all anti-science movements: asking the impossible of science. Predictions about future events are made with a certain level of confidence, and then refined as more data is available. Between August and September, BoM refined their predictions.

It took me less than two minutes to check this information.

An “honest’ oversight on Nova’s behalf? 

You be the judge…

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