Debunking Monckton

Monckton interviewed by Adam Spencer

Christopher Monckton was so annoying when interviewed by Adam Spencer that Spencer hung up on him before finishing the interview later on. The Australian was so impressed by Monckton’s performance that they posted a partial transcript. Moth at New Anthropocene corrects many of Monckton’s misrepresentations, so I’ll just cover what was in the transcript posted by The Australian — presumably they think those are his strongest points.

Spencer: Can I just clarify sir, are you a member of the House of Lords?

Monckton: Yes, but without the right to sit or vote.

Spencer: Because the House of Lords, when you’ve made that claim before, have repeatedly asked you to stop calling yourself as such, haven’t they?

Monckton: No they haven’t because they have not yet repealed the letters patent creating the peerage and until they do I am a member of the House as my passport records. It says I’m the Right Honourable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, so get used to it.

Christopher Monckton told to stop claiming he is a member of the Lords:

The House of Lords has stepped up its efforts to make Lord Monckton – climate sceptic and deputy leader of the UK Independence party – desist in his repeated claims that he is a member of the upper house.

The push comes as Buckingham Palace has also been drawn into the affair, over his use of a logo similar to parliament’s famous portcullis emblem.

Last month Michael Pownall, clerk of the parliaments, wrote to Lord Monckton, a hereditary peer, stressing that he should not refer to himself as a member of the House of Lords, nor should he use any emblem representing the portcullis. …

The House of Lords said today it strongly rejects Monckton’s interpretation. A spokeswoman said: “Lord Monckton is not and never has been a member of the House of Lords. The clerk of the parliaments has written to Lord Monckton, confirming that he has no association with the House and advising him to stop branding himself as such.”

Back to the interview:

Spencer: Are you a Nobel Laureate as is claimed on many websites?

Monckton: No website that I control says any such thing. It is, however, quite clear that after a seminar that I had given, Professor of Physics David Douglas kindly presented me with a little prize pin which I wear from time to time.

That’s what we on the centre-Right would call “a joke”. It is something you on the Left at the ABC might not fully understand.

Later in the interview Monckton directs listeners to where it states that he is the Chief Policy Advisor and that

His contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 – the correction of a table inserted by IPCC bureaucrats that had overstated tenfold the observed contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise – earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate.

Now it is possible that is a joke, but only if the rest of Monckton’s biography there is a joke, along with all his writings on climate science. If so, I think it’s time he let us in on the jape. Update: Barry Bickmore adds:

In April of last year, I personally informed Bob Ferguson (president of SPPI) about his organization’s complicity in Monckton’s résumé padding in an e-mail conversation.

Spencer: J. P. Abraham presented to you a list of dozens of them, including Dr [Ola] Johannessen for example.

Monckton: Right. Now can you please tell me what I got wrong in Dr Johannessen’s paper?

Allow me. See slide 76 of Abraham’s presentation. Monckton put up a slide asserting “Greenland ice sheet is just fine” citing Johannessen et al 2005 and said:

Here is a paper by Johannessen et al, a very diligent Danish researcher using laser altimetry and what he found was that from 1992 to 2003 the average thickness of Greenland’s ice sheet increased by 2 inches a year.

Johannessen is Norwegian, not Danish. His study used radar altimetry, not laser altimetry. And most importantly, the area studied did not cover the entire ice sheet so you cannot conclude from the study that the ice sheet is “just fine”. Johannessen et al clearly state:

First, we cannot make an integrated assessment of elevation changes–let alone ice volume and its equivalent sea-level change–for the whole Greenland Ice Sheet, including its outlet glaciers, from these observations alone, because the marginal areas are not measured completely using ERS-1/ERS-2 altimetry (see Fig. 1).

Monckton was just repeating a misrepresentation of Johannessen’s work made by the CEI and refuted back in 2006.

In the interview Monckton offered this defence:

What so-called Professor Abraham had said was that I had not mentioned a paper published by Ola Johannessen in 2009 — that’s a different paper — in which 273 billion tons, he said, had gone from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean. I didn’t because that paper hadn’t reached me, partly because it hadn’t been published at the time I gave the talk because he made his criticism of me eight months later.

The paper referred to was not published by Johannessen but rather was sent to Abraham by Johannessen when Abraham asked Johannessen if Monckton had accurately presented Johannessen’s work. While it was published after Monckton’s talk, Abraham cited four more papers, all published before Monckton’s talk and all showing Greenland losing ice. Monckton continued with:

I calculated that was 6 inches of the two feet of ice that had accumulated had gone back over the next few years, swings and roundabouts, into the ocean and that would have caused sea level to rise globally by exactly 0.7 mm. And that is the point Abraham held against me. Had he talked to Professor Johannessen? Not as far as I know.

The paper did not say that the total ice loss was 273 gigatons, but that the total from 2000-2008 was 1500 gigatons and the rate after 2006 was 273 gigatons per year. And again, Johannessen’s earlier paper did not cover the entire ice sheet so you cannot say that 2 feet of ice had accumulated on average over the whole sheet. Abraham had contacted Johannessen — the email form Johannessen was even included in his presentation.

The Conversation has created a Monckton Watch page to correct Monckton’s misinformation.

by Tim Lambert


About jboydedu

The Australian Centre for Sustainability Literacy is a division of Julie Boyd and Associates, who have been working for three decades to educate students in becoming positively contributing world citizens. We use a careful integration of solid research and evidence from a broad range of fields across education, community, business and leadership to support the 7th Generation concept which says that all decisions need to be made for the benefit of 7 generations forward.
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