Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance

Tue, 2010-07-13 12:18Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance

The motor-mouth Monckton - which is to say, Christopher Walter, the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley - has authored a 48,000-word Response to John Abraham (attached). It is a breathless and libelous screed that can lead to only one certain conclusion: the good Lord doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

For those catching up, John Abraham is a professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, who some months ago released a detailed critique of an earlier Monckton presentation. Abraham found Monckton’s work sadly lacking. Monckton misquoted or mislabelled sources; he promoted positions that were unsupported in his material; he bobbled his math; he manipulated or inadvertently misrepresented graphical information and he arrived at conclusions that were, in Abraham’s own generally careful words, “absurd.”

Monckton is outraged (which appears to be a permanent condition - either outraged or outrageous). In a response that goes on for 99 tiresome pages, he calls Abraham a liar, and accuses him of bad faith, malice and academic dishonesty. The Viscount then insists that Abraham and his unversity atone for their sins by paying $110,000 in “damages” to a charity of Monckton’s own choosing. This is couched as some kind of libel action in the court of public opinion - the only court where Monckton dare step: he’d be laughed out of town (and found libel for costs) if he tried any of this nonsense before even the most sympathetic judge.

Monckton’s entire response is both too silly and too incredibly long to be picked apart piece by piece: that would take months. But here are a couple of representative outbursts. In a foreword, “signed” by the Science and Public Policy Institute (the SPPInstitute) Monckton (clearly the author; he screws up his first-person, third-person pronouns) says:

Abraham falsely stated that “Remember, Chris Monckton’s never published a paper in anything” (37), when he knew or negligently and recklessly failed to check that – to take two examples – Lord Monckton had published papers on the determination of climate sensitivity in the UK’s Quarterly Economic Bulletin and in the American Physical Society’s reviewed newsletter, Physics and Society …

In context, Abraham’s reference - an accurate one - held that Monckton has never published anything in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Monckton’s riposte cites a bulletin in a Welsh business school - not a particularly impressive standard for scientific peer review. Monckton also points to a feature that he wrote for an APS newsletter. This, again is NOT a peer-reviewed journal and Monckton has been scolded by people, including the then-president of the American Physical Society, Arthur Biensenstock, for misrepresenting this fact.

So, per Abraham’s criticism, Monckton says something, he offers a vague source to back up his position, but when you check the source, you find that he has said something that is quite incorrect. If you didn’t already know Monckton - which is to say, if you hadn’t come to expect this performance - you might be surprised that someone who is calling someone else a “liar” would be so cavalier with the evidence.

My favourite set of criticisms, though, revolve around Abraham’s general statements that Monckton had urged his audience to believe: “The world is not warming;” “The ice is not melting:” “The ocean isn’t heating;” and “Sea levels aren’t rising at all.”

Monckton says each of these characterizations of his position amount to “a lie” and to prove it, he points to some of the graphs that he used to illustrate the issues in question. These graphs appear on slides labelled “The ‘it’s getting worse’ lie;” ” …so sea level has not risen for four years;” and “Arctic summer sea ice area is just fine; it’s recovering from a 30-year low in 2007.”

I find this fascinating. Monckton doctors these slides for his presentation, using them to argue that climate change is nothing to worry about and that the world scientific community is peopled by a pack of liars. Yet, when he’s crticised for this idiocy, he notices that the graphs and science in his OWN PRESENTATION demonstrate the exact opposite. He puts up an image showing a steady increase in sea level and he draws a big red line across the only four-year period in which the rise pauses - and he uses this pause to argue that global warming is at an end. And then he accuses John Abraham of lying! Monckton says that “Arctic summer sea ice area is just fine …” and then bids us in a later defence to concentrate on the part where he mentions 2007 as a low point unprecedented in the history of Arctic sea ice record-keeping. Say whatever else you want about the guy, you have to give Monckton credit for having cast iron cojones and no sense of shame whatsoever.

Here’s the bottom line: Monckton is a risible hack who burries fact in a lather of language, and who appears to care for nothing so much as the promotion of his own dubious reputation. If you doubt it, take the 90 minutes to watch Monckton’s rude, sophomoric and objectionable presentation and then take another 80 minutes to watch John Abraham’s remarkably respectful response. Then, if you’re really, really determined, check out Monckton’s latest epistle.

After such an exercise, preferably followed by some strong drink and a good night sleep, I believe that most people will conclude that John Abraham is a careful scientist and that the Lord Monckton is a belligerent and unapologetic polemicist, pushing an ideological viewpoint that is - in a way that he has noticed himself - quite directly in opposition to the evidence at hand.

response_to_john_abraham.pdf5.38 MB

Previous Comments

I will brace myself and have a go at Monckton foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards. I have already got through the earlier pieces.

Sometimes I think we should try to think of his Viscountness as a pathetic old crank and feel sorry for him. That is, if he weren’t creating so much havoc … Did you ever see The Ruling Class? Peter O’Toole & Alastair Sim, 1972. Monckton would fit right in.

Before I begin I will pour myself a few fingers of Ardbeg, and keep the bottle handy through the ordeal.


Monckton continues his meltdown with another dose of more bluster than substance.

Reminds me of that good old Rolling Stones song ‘Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown’ which could well be used as TPP’s signature tune.

He is ‘the very model of a modern (Victorian) major-general’.

Again I wonder if his real intent is to make a mockery of those in the denier echelons and by association discredit them. If that is not his intent then he is still doing a mighty fine job of it. Keep at it Christopher, the panto’ season is some way off yet.

I feel very sorry for those who feel obligated to wade through this latest formation sediment

Anyone fancy starting a Monckton wiki. I dont think we can leave it to Abraham to respond to all 48,000 words on his own. I would love to help.


You know that weird sensation when you experience something and you immediately get the feeling you’ve seen that very same thing before?

No, I’m not talking about déjà vu.

I’m talking about watching a press conference from climate science denialists at United Nations climate talks.

Specifically, we’re talking about the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) whose delegation took up the option of a...

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