Monckton vs. Littlemore: To Think I Could Have Been Doing Something Useful

As might have been anticipated, the radio “debate” today twixt me and the tireless Christopher Walter (Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) descended quickly into name calling and then further into pointlessness - an argument about science that neither of us is qualified to pursue.

In hindsight, I played perfectly into the hands of Monckton and his happy radio host, Roy Green, who share the same goal - not to win an argument about global warming science, but merely to show that there still IS an argument. Of course there's not. But while we danced angels around the head of a pin, I can imagine Green's listeners thinking, “Oh my. This is very confusing. No wonder the government says it's too early to take action.”

Score one for Monckton.

For the record:

We at the DeSmogBlog are proud of our principal funder, John Lefebvre. That's why we list him on our website. Unlike the people at Monckton's (which split off from the Frontiers of Freedom Institute so they could try to deny their Exxon connections) we have maintained a policy of transparency, and will continue to do so.

It was also a tactical error to start pointing people to helpful websites with clear graphs and reliable science that could support my position. It left open the possibility for Monckton to say, “I could produce 35 graphs” to the contrary - which fiction then drifted to the listeners as if it were, well, accurate in the real world.

Thanks (and my apologies) to those of you who volunteered some much-preferable debating strategies. Maybe next time.


The debate may be over, but as I said, there’s still the horde of colourful characters that’ll be upon this blog any time: engineers and physicists with PhDs in rocket science, ‘I’ve studied the science thoroughly’ types, and people who voted Democrat every time except when it was Gore, …

Let’s deal with those, and let’s not mess that up too. I propose using an army of obvious sock puppets (with the word “sock” somewhere in their handles) to counter them.

(By the way, I have a recording of the debate proper, but I’m not sure about uploading the whole thing due to copyright issues. It’s about 36 minutes and weighs in at 12MB when converted to Ogg Speex format.)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Does anyone else understand a word of what frank wrote above.
I don’t.
Perhaps english sub titles?

Why does this not surprise me, Gary?

The first paragraph mocks the current trend in denialists entering the debate (for instance, Phil Chapman’s piece in The Australian), along with the recurring claim of “I’ve studied the science thoroughly” (usually coupled with screwing up the basics of the second law of thermodynamics or somesuch). Me, I think this is just a generalization of the Salem hypothesis, but still.

The second paragraph is Bi’s usual dry wit.

The third is self-explanatory.

Each of those words was relatively simple and their sequence obeyed the rules of English grammar. What, pray tell, was so hard about that?

A larger point with the first paragraph is this: now that the debate’s done with, the High Respectable Inactionosphere will try to create an impression of a mass exodus to the inactivist ‘camp’, and they’ll do this using, well, you know what: .

From the comments below, it should now be evident that there’s no such mass exodus. A mass mobilization of pre-existing wingnuts, maybe. :)

(Is there something wacky going on with DeSmogBlog’s commenting system? The blog server likes to time out when I write comments…)

Hey Frank… Smart comment! I’m ready.

Hey Richard:

I thought you did well but, in some instances, by showing how eminently reasonable you are, his listeners may have thought you were backtracking ever so slightly.

Monkton sounded incredibly pompous, and far less likable, and I wonder if his aggressive, in-your-face style will win - or lose - points on this side of the pond.

But I have to admit, I was shocked at his aggressive opening salvo. I shouldn’t have been, my partner said, as so many British noblemen are bounders and cads.

And I had to turn it off after the Great Red Spot of Jupiter was mentioned… I was worried about my blood pressure!

I shouldn’t have been spooked by the opening insult either, but clearly I was. Stupid of me (from the outset and ongoing) to have been so naive as to answer the host’s questions while Monckton pursued a quite different agenda. And stupid not just to have said: Hey, that information is all available on our website; and why do you want to talk about my funding and not yours?

As to the pompous in-your-face style, or my sometimes-halting efforts to be reasonable, that will break according to bias. People who like my position will find me reasonable. People who like his will find him “assertive.”

(My kids, on the other hand, trotted out a couple of words they know they wouldn’t get away with on other occasions. Three teenage boys who are not generally profane [around their father], they started with, “Gawd, that guy was aggravating,” and went downhill.) 

As to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter - the mind reels. And all you missed was the reference to cow flatulence, which Roy Green concluded was a culprit more likely than cars. (No mention that the cows are all domestic, bred by humans for human.) (Arrrggh.)


What I thought was hilarious was that, after breathlessly agreeing with Monckton earlier when the Viscount brought up the sun, moved on to suggest agricultural GHGs as the sole culprit, forgetting that if it were GHGs, then we can regulate them, and Monckton opposed them earlier.

During the phone calls (I was disconnected while on hold!), a rancher from Big Valley (not exactly known as a liberal stronghold) called in and called him on it, mentioning that with the size of bison herds several hundred years ago, if it were cow farts, we’d expect to see warming back then.

Green’s response? Thousands of years before that, Australia was a rain forest.

I am NOT making that up.

(The questions I would have asked, had I been through, would have been on the merit of scientific discourse without peer review, and if he realized that his suggestion contradicted Monckton’s and supported Littlemore’s on GHGs.)

Current doctrine states that cow farts et al contribute approximately 18% of the GHGs.
If the Buffalo and African herds of what ever were that large and presumably farted just as much, then current AGE theory would suggest that there should have been run away Global Warming at that time due solely to that source of GHGs.
However, that did not happen. Ergo, GHGs do not have nearly the influence on Climate that you think they do.
Bottom Line is that his argument was dumb at best and completely anti AGW at worst.

Which creates more Global Warming…..
Lighting Cow Farts or NOT lighting cow farts………..
now there’s a warmers research paper…..

The sound of one Cow Farting

How would you have behaved if you had read all the very condescending and insulting remarks made about him on this site prior to the debate.
Look back at the previous articles and ask yourself if you could have been as polite after being called all those names simply because you position on a topic was different.
A little honest here would be useful.

comment. Totally whiffed it with the station break.
And then Green proceeded to screw up the point on Jupiter climate change so badly that Monckton had to waste precious time clearing Green’s mental fog regarding Jupiter and the Great Red Spot, without calling the host out for ignorance. He handled it with a reasonable amount of fineness.
Too bad it left no room to demolish the Bangladesh ocean rise fairytale.

I can understand how you would have to stop listening because it sounded like Lord Monck could have gone on busting Rich up all day.

The archive at fails to deliver.

Is it broken or too early, does anyone have a link?

Have not heard your show, so this will be a labored comment.

I am pleased that we are learning to better use these kinds of shows. Of course it is not a real debate. It is a public show. It will take practice and experience to make a proper pundit presentation. Something filled with buzz words, platitudes and emotional phrases that best resonate with the audience. Few are really skilled at that, but if that is where the confrontation is happening, then that is where it should be. If that is where the listeners are, then we should go there. Hansen is a skilled scientist, often interviewed, But this issue needs a showman, spokesperson. Please keep at it.

I point us all to the Army McCarthy hearings of 1954. It was the media showdown for that age. And it was the crux of the crucible then. This issue needs to find the equivalent media event.

Does anyone doubt that the stakes are greater?

Score one for the middle gournd.
The debate seemed to me to be pretty much a draw.
You both had some good points.
I must say Monckton’s comments about the founder of Desmog were completely appropriate in light of the focus of the blog. However It had no more relevance to the topic that your derision of Tim Ball or Roy Spencer.
Where you lost ground was in attempting to support he the notion that the MWP did not happen when the history clearly supports it and in claiming that the arctic melt is unprecedented.
Both of these points are way too easy for anyone to debunk.
If you get to do this again, try focusing on the one issue that counts.
How to show that man made co2 can actually cause the amount of warming you believe it will.
So far nobody has presented a good case for it. If you can you will end the arguments. Everything else is merely interesting co-incidence.
Good effort however. And in the face of someone that does this regularly.

If anybody is interested then one may hear the debate here at my blog-

By the way I am a skeptic, if it matters.


At slightly greater length: The National Center for Science Education has been at the front against efforts to get science taken out of science classes and non-science put it. Since they’re US-based, this is mostly creationism versus evolution. At their site ( you can read their advice about (against) debating.

As you found, merely by showing up, you lost a major point – your presence displays that there is a debate.

It also sounds like you were unprepared for the ‘Gish gallop’. It’s a hard one to deal with as he can lie faster than you can correct the lies.

Science and fact are alive and doing well, This debate supported my belief its foolish to think PR by itself can survive very long under an onslaught of reality.

Richard, may I suggest you bone up on science and history.

Cheers and thanks for taking him on.

“I can imagine Green’s listeners thinking, “Oh my. This is very confusing. No wonder the government says it’s too early to take action.” ”

That might be what you are imagining, Richard, but after listening to the debate, I think the listeners are more likely thinking, “What a bunch of dissembling charlatans these global warming promoters are!”

We didn’t need a computer model to predict you getting your butt handed to you by Monkton, or being a sore loser about it. But the main point that was demonstrated here is that if someone like you is the best that a slick outfit like the David Suzuki Foundation can muster for a debate – it’s no wonder global warming promoters avoid debate like the plague.

You’ve shot your volley, and it turns out they were just blanks.

Keep up the good work.

Sorry, there’s simply no evidence of a mass exodus to the skeptic ‘camp’, no matter how hard you try to conjure one up.

Dear Richard, Please explain your comment “was registered in YOUR country… because it woudn’t have been legal if it was registered in the United States.”
Your lack of knowledge about “a lot of this”, can be solved via the internet (wikapedia is not resourse material).
The CBC has no problem talking about global warming science on the radio? Why do you?
I think the next time, the David Suzuki Foundation,won’t have a blogger debating science.
Thank you, Honestly, I give you a gold medal for being the first AGW advocate to use the freedom to debate!

Aye, my dear brothersmartmouth, I too am very curious about DeSmogBlog’s connections to the gambling industry, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of whether global warming is real and serious. Please explain, Richard?

Good try Richard,

…but…you had it coming.

I promise not to say…I told you so……

Thank you for having the courage to debate.
You sir are a much better man than Mr Al Gore,
of this I have absolutely no doubt.
You’ve got some huevos, Gore has naught.

I beg to differ, my dear Kirk. Gore is a very honorable man. I say this as a staunch libertarian who has voted Republican in every election (except when Gore was candidate).

Then, kind sir,


I am not sure that honorable men hide from a challenge to debate on a Topic that they are so invested in.
Or do they ???
Doesn’t seem to fit my dictionary.

No, no, no, Kirk, you got that all wrong. I’ve told you already, I’m not your typical “alarmist”. I vote Republican every time (except for Gore), and I waste energy and avoid recycling as much as possible. My point is, Gore is an honorable man, and as a libertarian I must point out that he has every right to decide whether and when he’ll debate.

Please excuse my logical aside;

Your argument “Gore is an Honorable man because you are a Libertarian and voted for him”, does not compute.

A man is Honorable for what he IS and DOES.

Feel free to Google “Gore Lied” and see to what heights of Honor this man has risen.

I speak, of course, only as to his chosen current profession. I am sure in his family and home life he aspires to, and achieves, certain degrees of Honor as a Man, Husband and Father……as we all try.

What, exactly, are the procedures for returning a Nobel Prize??

Kirk, it’s not about logic, it’s about freedom.

You keep mistaking me for a stereotypical “alarmist”, but I’ve explained this already: I’m a card-carrying libertarian who makes it a point to waste energy, to throw things away instead of recycling, and to breathe the fragrant air of second-hand smoke.

I voted Republican every time (except when Gore was the candidate).

Why won’t you cease with your “us against them” mentality? Why can’t you admit that there are people who can reasonably disagree with you? You should know that reality is a lot more nuanced than your black-and-white view!

How can someone be a libertarian and vote for Gore? That just peggs you as someone who doesnt know what he’s talking about. Libertarians believe the exact opposit of everything Gore stands for.

Why can’t libertarians vote for Gore?

If some libertarians can vote for torture, then other libertarians can vote for cap-and-trade.

Reality’s not “us against them”, my dear Steve.

Those talking about cow farts might wish to brush up on the biology and chemistry of rumination. It’s the belches that produce most of the methane.

Gary, you wrote that claims that the recent arctic melt is unprecedented are easily debunked. Would you be so kind as to do so? Thanks.

I also agree with Robert Grumbine’s point about the Gish Gallop. It is very hard to deal with, especially in an area as scientifically technical as climate science. Someone like Monckton can cheerly trot out all kinds of stuff knowing that most listeners will just take what he says at face value because it sounds authoritative. The conscientious person who tries to rebut such material usually ends up appearing ham fisted as he or she tries to make the (technical) corrections.

Given that Mr. Green’s audience is likely inclined to agree with Monckton (since it appeals to that kind of audience and Mr. Green is in the same camp as Monckton), Richard had at least two strikes against him going into this “debate.”

Just one of many:

On your particular prejudice.
“appeals to that kind of audience “

Would that be????
Open minded?
Interested in facts rather than myth What?

“We at the DeSmogBlog are proud of our principal funder, John Lefebvre. That’s why we list him on our website.”

Well you certainly win the chutzpah stakes Mr Littlemore.

Multi-billion-dollar charges for B.C. man
Saltspring man alleged to have promoted illegal gambling through his Internet company
David Baines, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Saltspring Island resident John Lefebvre hit the jackpot in November 2005 when he cashed in $123 million worth of shares of his offshore company, NETeller Inc., which handles billions of dollars of money transfers for Internet gamblers.

The bonanza enabled him to pursue a life of luxury, including a beach house in Malibu (which actress Jennifer Aniston was also eyeing), and to support various academic, philanthropic and political endeavours, including a $170,000 donation aimed at helping Vision Vancouver’s Jim Green win the mayor’s chair in the last civic election.

But in a sudden reversal of fortune Monday, Lefebvre, 55, was arrested by FBI agents at his Malibu home and charged with conspiring to promote illegal gambling by transferring billions of dollars of cyberspace bets placed by U.S. citizens with offshore gaming companies.

… and the guy who wound up defeating Jim Green was dumped by his own party as an incompetent.

So, J. Lefebvre made a lot of money setting up an internet bank, registered and traded legally under the auspices of the London Stock Exchange. He made a lot of money and he has since turned his attentions to a) spending some of it and b) giving the rest to environmental organizations, international aid and sundry other causes which turn out to be pretty good.

U.S. justice officials have put a damper on that philanthropy by charging Lefebvre and he is in the process of making peace with those authorities. That process is not yet complete.

And again, lest anyone still doubt it, it was dumb of me a) not to anticipate that Monckton et al would prefer to talk about my funding rather than climate change, and would prefer to talk about my funding than his. In fact, I will credit the man unreservedly for making no effort to deny his links to Exxon. 

The big question:

What in the blazes of the nine hells does an online gambling connection have anything to do with a ‘vested interest’ in the AGW theory?

Nothing, that is what.

I like cheese burgers. Does that automatically mean that I’m guilty of ‘AGW bias’ too?

= AGW advocacy.
It has the same relevence as all the stories on Desmog about all the Skeptics.
Paid by oil money
Supported by right wing group
Drives an SUV
Ate meat once

None of it is relevent.
Except that if this issue in not relevent then nearly all of what Desmog stands for is also irrelevent.

An oil company has an obvious interest in showing that oil’s not harmful.

Does a gambling company have an obvious interest in showing that oil’s harmful?

So why can’t a gambling company sell oil futures? Where’s DeSmogBlog’s vested interest in the AGW theory? We still fail to see one.

I love it. Littlemore and his PR hacks at the DeSmog Blog do nothing but throw mud at people they don’t even know regarded alleged funding sources (much of the time deliberately misrepresenting the nature of such funding), and then they cry like little babies the first time somebody turns the tables on them. Heck, Monckton brought up DeSmog’s criminal funding sources only after Littlemore proudly proclaimed that calling attention to people’s funding sources – rather than promoting scientific discussion – is what they do.

How mean of that cruel and arrogant English gent to spend a small portion of his time pointing out the irony of this!

By the way, when floating Arctic sea ice melts, it has no effect on sea level, Richard. Are you really that ignorant of even elementary school science?

Typical “Warmist” Tactic:

Shoot the messenger….What Message??

Richard – Ever looked at the level in your nice cool drink as the ice melts???? ANY IDEAS???????

Now go slap whoever is feeding you this wonderful science.


Artic Ice is mostly floating, and this is the context of Littlemores’ comments. The Antartic is more land based, but this ice is increasing, not decreasing, with the small exception of one peninsula with below sea volcanic activity in proximity to it.

I am pleased to have provided so much entertainment for the trolls, and freshly convinced of how ill-advised it was to try to joust with people who are looking not for understanding but for points to attack

Thank you all, I know that Arctic Ice floats. I also know that a lot of it is bumped up against continental ice which calves into the ocean at a much higher rate when the floating ice melts. I further know about the albedo effect, which is an active positive feedback to warming, which causes the water to warm more quickly, which causes continental ice to - what was that word again? - melt.

And on the question of Antarctic ice, here’s a graph from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center that shows that you are - what’s that other word? - oh yeah: wrong.

I would prefer to think that you are wrong because your information is out of date, rather than that you are, like Monckton, just making it up. But you’re just as wrong, either way.

Mar 28, 2008
Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth

Posted By Marc Morano - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov

Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth

The media is once again hyping an allegedly dire consequence of man-made global warming. This time the media is promoting the ice loss of one tiny fraction of the giant ice-covered continent and completely ignoring the current record ice growth on Antarctica. Contrary to media hype, the vast majority of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years and ice coverage has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1979, according to peer-reviewed studies and scientists who study the area.

Climate scientist Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, stated, “It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what’s happening around the [western] peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net ‘no change’ or ‘cooling’ over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently.”

Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.” Pielke wrote on March 25, “The media has ignored in their reporting the increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added, “Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publically identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!”

Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo served as the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel, was the Chief Meteorologist at Weather Services International Corporation and served as chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting. D’Aleo commented on his website on March 25: “The shattered part of the Wilkins ice sheet was 160 square miles in area, which is just 0.01% of the total current Antarctic ice cover (just 0.003% of the extent last September), like an icicle falling from a snow and ice covered roof. No big deal (unless you are standing beneath it). And this winter is coming on quickly. The latest satellite images and reports suggest the ice has already refrozen around the broken pieces. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The total ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere fall season and 6 months ahead of the peak. We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record [for Southern Hemisphere ice extent]. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear.”

See full image here Source: The Cryosphere Today

Read much more here.

The preceding entry and the Volcano article can be found on the Icecap website with a 2 second search.
You could learn alot from this site.
Just saying……

Actually I made it all up, just exactly like you said.

Really Richard its all going to be fine, just lie down, relax, take a pill and please feel free to do some research on other sites than the pro-AGW ones for once. Its OK to get smushed in a debate, it’ll be fine.

There is another side to this issue…expand your mind.