Christopher Monckton and “Apocalypse? No!”
So, at the urging of a friend I finally sat down and watched Apocalypse? No!, a presentation on climate change done in a similar fashion to “An Inconvenient Truth”, only this puts forth the argument that there is no link between the actions of man and climate change. I went in particularly skeptical of what would be presented, and I was absolutely not disappointed. First my complaints from the presentation itself, which stoked me to dig a little deeper into Monckton and his findings, and then a little history of the man himself. I recommend anyone really interested in this watch the presentation first, the video is nearly ninety minutes but I shut it off after the presentation appeared to be over just past the hour mark, and come to your own conclusions before reading mine. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
*has a sandwich*
Okay. Now that we’ve all seen it, let’s begin. These are all -my- observations, and I am absolutely not an expert on anything but how to bullshit people, and I feel pretty qualified in pointing out the times it is apparent to me that Monckton is doing just that. I’ll leave refuting Monckton’s claims to the experts and present some of that at the end.
At the outset of the presentation, Monckton claims that he will only be presenting the facts as they are, and won’t be offering his own opinion to support his position, claiming that’s what people who put forth the global warming argument do. He then quoted the Fox News slogan “We Report, You Decide” to describe how he would run his presentation, and I assure you the people at Fox would approve of his use of their slogan.
In fact, his first point is presented to the audience and then spun in a misleading fashion. Not ten minutes in, Monckton has already revealed himself to be quite high on himself with little regard for his audience. He presents three quotes from scientists preparing an IPCC report on climate change, that all basically say there is no conclusive evidence to say global warming has been caused by man, that were not included in the report and replaced with the statement, “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” He then used that discrepancy to claim the IPCC was claiming there -was- a problem where the scientists said there -wasn’t- a problem.
Now, I feel the need to repeat that I am not an expert or a scientist of any description (exactly like Monckton), but I know a little bit about the scientific method. And anyone adhering strictly to the scientific method to prove something cannot claim that it has been proven until every shred of doubt has been removed. So, when I see quotes from scientists that say there is no clear connection between climate change and the actions of mankind, rather than just flat out saying there is -no- connection, it leads me to believe there is -some- evidence to suggest there is a connection. And, to breakdown the official IPCC line, “The balance of evidence suggests…”, it is making the claim that there is more evidence for the argument than against.
Nobody said there -was- a problem, and more importantly, nobody said there was -not- a problem. The scientists said they couldn’t -prove- (meaning beyond any shadow of a doubt, a virtual impossibility with an issue so large with so many constantly changing variables) there was a connection, and the IPCC said they had more evidence to say there was a connection than they had to say there wasn’t.
So, Monckton is doing the work of Fox News heavyweight Bill O’Reilly, in giving the people the facts and then oversimplifying them and spinning them to his audience so that they can see those facts in the same slanted light he does.
Throughout much of the presentation, Monckton presents graphs used by Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” or published in IPCC reports to support the global warming arguments, and then refutes their worth. He sometimes replaces those graphs with his own, compiled by his own rather unclear methods. (I’ve since come to find he used one particular equation the IPCC used in their reports… in the wrong context and inserted numbers in the wrong place.) He then presents other graphs and charts in rapid succession that bear a similar appearance to his own or the ones he’s chosen to represent the facts.
And again, his talent for bullshit is on display. He offers no context for any of these graphs he presents as irrefutable proof that the point he has just made is fact. No mention of where they came from, no mention of what they’re measuring. He doesn’t care to offer the timeframe that they’re measuring, or the location these measurements were taken. In fact, some of the graphs bear absolutely no discernible similarity to the others that he’s already presented, but he shows them just the same, with no explanation as to how they continue to support his point, just glibly claiming that they do.
Now, these graphs may do exactly what he says they do, in debunking much of the global warming argument, but I absolutely couldn’t tell you how they do that, and I’d say that’s a pretty colossal failing on the part of the presenter. (And, according to the vast majority of leading scientists in the field of climate change, his charts either -support- the arguments for global warming or have been compiled with faulty data.)
Toward the end of the presentation, Monckton draws comparisons between the global warming hype and that of two other issues, one that turned out to be valid (HIV) and one not so valid (DDT). He seems to be using this mostly to justify himself, as he makes the claim that if people had just listened to him at the beginning of the HIV epidemic that everything would be pretty well solved at this point. (Which is interesting, since he also claims now to have developed a wonder cure for HIV and MS, among others.) This is a very clear tactic of the bullshit conman: Reference a previous stand you might have taken that would have turned out to be correct, and act as though it somehow gives you credence on a completely separate issue.
I think that’s all the time I’m going to give to my own observations on the performance by Monckton. I think it’s enough to set the stage for a man who is clearly pushing something that should be taken with a healthy amount of skepticism, and who is perhaps a complete fraud. But don’t take my word for it…
Abraham v. Monckton – A 72-minute slideshow refuting Monckton’s claims. After seeing this slideshow, Monckton responded thusly: “so venomously ad hominem are Abraham’s artful puerilities, delivered in a nasal and irritatingly matey tone (at least we are spared his face — he looks like an overcooked prawn), that climate-extremist bloggers everywhere have circulated them and praised them to the warming skies.” There are no personal attacks in Abraham’s presentation to be described as “venomous” or “ad hominem”, but hey… we certainly can’t take the word of someone that looks like a prawn. Am I right?
Monckton’s Rap Sheet – A long list of flawed findings and really weird fucking behavior.
And, just because I felt like reading over the other side of the argument, I did a Google search for “scientists for Monckton”. The results didn’t bring up quite what I was looking for, with such headlines as “…scientists refute Monckton…”, “…scientists debunk Monckton…”, and “… scientists eviscerate Lord Monckton…”
Admittedly, I went into watching his presentation skeptically, and was very early-on not of the most open mind when he cited a Fox News slogan to describe how he perceived himself. Nonetheless, what I’ve come across is enough for me to very safely discount the work Mr. Monckton has put forth and continue my own advocacy to change the wasteful way most in America live their lives, myself very much included.
A little something more for people that want to listen to really droll explanations: