Peer Pressure

A new BBC documentary, Meet the Climate Sceptics, puts Christopher Monckton under the microscope (I’ll link to video if it becomes available). Not surprisingly, Monckton tried to prevent the BBC from airing the show but failed. It looks like the potty peer will be under some more pressure.

For those interested in Monckton’s views of climate science, Skeptical Science has aggregated the most common Monckton Myths

53 responses to “Peer Pressure

  1. Watching the Deniers

    The good Lord Monckton loves to threaten does he not?

    “I say! I’ll sue the buggers!”

  2. David B. Benson

    Thanks, but I try to stick to the science.

  3. Watching the Deniers

    Copy of decision should be available soon here:

    Details of application:

    Monday, 31st January 2011, At half past 10 Before MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT – APPLICATION NOTICE – IHQ/11/0042
    Viscount Monckton of Brenchley v British Broadcasting Corporation

    Should make some interesting reading. In short seems Mad Monckton did not read the fine print.

  4. “. . .Mad Monckton did not read the fine print.”

    Hmm. THAT never happened before. . . did it?

  5. The programme can be watched again in the UK (but I’m not sure how much elsewhere) on the BBC iplayer here until 9:59PM GMT Tue, 1 Mar 2011:

  6. Did this show make any mention of that fact that he’s being investigated for involvement in human trafficking? I’m not making this up.

    • Not as far as I remember, but it did show Monckton at the Copenhagen summit referring to demonstrators, one of whom identified himself as a Jew, as “Hitler youth”. He also stated that “there hasn’t been any global warming for fifteen years.”

      The BBC programme guidance is that it contains “very strong language”.

    • Sorry, BPL, but this requires some substantiation.

    • I think I’d retract that, BPL ;)

  7. I recorded the program. I look forward to seeing Lord Munchkin in full flow.

  8. BPL: uh, what? it sounds all too believable, but have you got a link?

  9. The programme was very good I thought – sympathetic almost and certainly respectful. But ultimately presented Monckton as being hard-working but slightly eccentric/odd, fundamentally (and fatally) flawed in his understanding of science and motivated by, along with his followers, strong party political alignment and perhaps as being a little tragic too.

    I suppose I’d have liked the programme to have been more critical of attempts to derail the international process by subverting the US domestic process (which I reckon to be utterly despicable and border-line evil to tell the truth – the US right has really lost its way on the climate change issue.) and detailed the rebuffs of some of the science points a little more specifically, but I’ll happily settle with the programme’s tone of being politely dismissive – which is perhaps more powerful than an angry smack-down.

  10. Gavin's Pussycat

    Just watched the program through a proxy… it is very well made and a pleasure to watch, the whole hour of it. Actually I don’t understand what problem the Monck has with it, as he, and denialism in general, is being treated a lot more fairly than they would really deserve. But, the treatment is as fair as we deserve, and that is the point. Programme maker Rupert Murray is really leaning over backward, but in a good way.

    BTW one thing Murray missed conspicuously out on — and somebody should point that out to him — is the alarmism of the “sceptics”. No, we are not going to lose our freedoms over this, provided we still act in a timely manner. All we are going to do is what free citizens do all the time: pay a bill that came due, costing less than even a small war. Freedom has a price, and we should be happy that in this case it is only money.

  11. There is a preview here:

  12. Anyone know where we can watch this if we aren’t from England??

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Robert, install FoxyProxy for Firefox, find a proxy within the UK, and off you go… probably slightly illegal in some jurisdictions. You may have to wait a little before the stream comes through.

  13. Monckton’s climate “science” has been debunked sufficiently elsewhere. But that’s not something that will cause him to lose sleep: his acolytes will go on believing him whatever nonsense he spouts, and he knows it.

    No, what will have worried him enough to attempt to censor “Meet the climate sceptics” was the realisation that he’d said on camera a couple of things that will come back to haunt him.

    First, the incredible claim that : “…I cured myself [from Graves Disease] with an invention which shows much promise where curing people with everything from HIV to malaria to multiple schlerosis….” (Not one Nobel prize, Christopher, but three!)

    And then his truly McCarthyite remarks about John Abraham: “…we’ll be examining all his financial records, we will be – there are already people watching him to see where he goes in case he’s taking any interesting holidays somewhere, in case he’s got money stashed …. this is not an honest man….”

    An endearing English eccentric he ain’t.

    • Lysenkarthyism.

      It’s the future.

    • Myrsinifolia wrote:

      An endearing English eccentric he ain’t.

      That is something they could have emphasized a bit more. When evaluating him you can’t focus simply on the fact that either he is right and the vast majority of the scientific community wrong but that he slanders them and their motives. And not simply those who expose him, like Abraham, but all those he would have us believe wish to create a one-world government. Not only does he tell people what they want to believe but he fuels their hatred of the scientific community.

      “If” the scientific community is right then we owe the scientists who have devoted their careers to the study of the climate system and have chosen to speak out a great debt of gratitude. Monckton and those like him have demonized them. In many cases the motives are ideological (and I believe the reporter managed to get some of that across) and in others financial. In Monckton case the motive would seem to be some form of egomania.

      Frankly I would have preferred a bit more of the science, but the subject was the skeptics/deniers and as such really wasn’t the focus of the program. Might have been nice if they had included a bit about how it isn’t just climatology with deniers but evolutionary biology, that HIV causes AIDS and so forth. Could have actually made a bit more mention of his snake oil, even. But that was early on in the program and as such might have seemed a bit out of place. In any case it was fairly good, but perhaps not quite as up front about certain things as I might have liked.

      I do have to wonder a bit about giving up “freedom.” Am I really missing out that much if I can’t “seek relief” in the communal pool? Do I have some sort of inalienable right to that sort of thing? But the roar of a two-wheeled hog might help explain a bit of why so many are willing to fall for the likes of Monckton.

    • Not to mention his inference that Obama is not American while on stage at the Tea Party rally he attended (sorry, don’t know when in the programme it was – about half to two-thirds in, iirc). While that evidently endeared him to those loons in attendance, is there anyone outside of the US who believes that horseshit?

      So, not only is there his comments about curing currently incurable diseases and his chilling stalker talk wrt Abrahams that make him look seriously short of change, but there’s also his signing up to a wingnut conspiracy theory about the US president that exposes his sheer credulity for all to see. Splendid.

  14. An endearing English eccentric he ain’t.

    Indeed he is not. He is vain, vindictive, delusional and brazenly dishonest. He is a lot of things, but endearing is not one of them.

    To me he is the most appalling personality in the whole menagerie of public denier grotesques–not so much for his disturbing behavior per se but for the fact that he is still coddled and caressed for it. He has clearly shown that he can utter literally any nonsense whatever, repeatedly, and still get paid to speak around the world. It’s not Munchie himself who frightens me; it’s all his acolytes.

  15. Apologies for not giving timing references: the snake oil salesman pitch and McCarthyite diatribe are at 9.58 and 50.30 minutes respectively.

  16. And Watts had a post about it. Guess what – it was a conspiracy :-)
    Don’t bother going to look for it, its not worth it.

  17. I remember reading it on-line, but now I can’t find a link–so I officially retract it, fully and completely, and apologize to Viscount Brenchley.

  18. Monckton’s High Court Injunction to stop the programme fails:

    This also includes links to some press reaction to the programme.

  19. I was sure of myself, and now I can’t find my sources. Ouch. I ask tamino to pull all related posts on the subject, if that wouldn’t be dishonest.

    • See, that’s what I love about real, proper, actual sceptics – a willingness to admit to a mistake.

  20. I disagree with Trenberth’s statement in the film:

    “To produce that link in the causality and do the so-called diagnosis that global warming is happening and humans are causing it – that depends upon climate models.”

    Yes, we need models to do formal mechanistic attribution studies, but the evidence that GHGs are causing current warming is extremely strong in their absence. Moreover, there is no other viable hypothesis to explain warming. Perhaps he was cut off, but I’m surprised that Trenberth would say that – it provides great material for the strawman army.

  21. Well, the Beeb aren’t stupid – they have seen Monckton’s litigious approach to getting the last word time and time again – I imagine they were very careful with the contract. They don’t want to deal with insane nonsense carefully structural as 245 “rebuttals”.

    I really don’t want to watch it, though. He always makes me feel like I need to scrape something nasty off my shoe.

    Also, to those people getting excited about this: it’s on BBC Four. Audience share 1.1%.

  22. Horatio Algeranon

    Good to see that someone is helping Christopher Mocktman get …

    Back to the House of Lords Diner (by one)
    You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done….

  23. I’ve got to respectfully disagree(ish) with the prevailing opinion here:
    I don’t think this was a great documentary. It didn’t discuss the science in any detail. It was a very personal, subjective account of the narrator’s journey from the green point of view (which he apparently “sets aside” at the start of the film) towards the contrarian position, and back again. Maybe this is how it happened, or maybe not— but this framing feels too neat. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no doubt that Monckton is dangerously wrong headed on the issue of climate change, and his claims about discovering a “cure” for HIV and multiple sclerosis are jaw-droppingly bizarre, but I’m uncomfortable with this kind of selective, context-free film making (in fact it has too much in common with some of the documentaries from the skeptic side, GGWS etc)

    In short, it was more about the personalities than the science, and I don’t think it will change anyone’s mind. Whereas the recent BBC Horizon documentary was a brilliant piece of film making, which is what you get when you put an articulate expert like Paul Nurse in the driving seat.

    • It wasn’t the intent of the film, though. The filmmaker went in with an open mind, and concluded that Monckton is wrong. If you’re looking for an expose, that was never the intent of the film.

      What you need to watch is the three part documentary by Professor Iain Stewart, ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’, which Dr Brian Cox praised as the perfect example of scientific filmmaking at the most recent Huw Wheldon lecture, ‘Science – a challenge to TV Orthodoxy’.

    • Given that Monckton is 100% personality (nasty, nasty personality) and completely content-free when it comes to science, this result was rather inevitable.

      Monckton’s magic trick is in spouting nonsense that sounds like science. If the documentary didn’t let him get away with this (and I hope they didn’t – I still don’t want to watch it) then he’s left with conspiracy theories and a massive narcissistic ego.

      Not pretty.

  24. I’m surprised that the documentary didn’t mention him getting assaulted in Copenhagen as he claimed at the time.

    Odd how nothing more has been heard about this since then isn’t it?

  25. I did watch it all the way through, but I was really, really antsy for the last 12 minutes or so, it was all getting too much.

    On reflection, I think the real problem lay in the film-maker attempting to work with Monckton as a subject at all. He was trying to be neutral, even-handed (and to fend off the likely attacks from Monckton after the editing) , and finished up with a product designed as much to placate Monckton as to show how and why he is firstly, wrong, and secondly, dishonest and manipulative in his dealings with the public.

    The audience is left with a little too much work to do for themselves to deduce that he’s a smooth snake-oil salesman who accurately picks his marks – and is completely unscrupulous in echoing and amplifying their prejudices and fantasies to ingratiate himself with them. He is intelligent enough and adroit enough to avoid topics like Obama’s citizenship when talking to such a group. But he makes a cynical, conscious choice to exploit such prejudice, merely to get himself a few extra minutes of applause. The man is beneath contempt.

    I suspect that’s how the film-maker sees him too. He just couldn’t find a way to put it together in a way that would get the doco onto the airwaves.

  26. Matt: “I’m uncomfortable with this kind of selective, context-free film making (in fact it has too much in common with some of the documentaries from the skeptic side, GGWS etc)”

    I don’t see the similarities at all. Can you be explict?

    We’re at a stage where ingoring the politics is giving power away. This docu speaks to people who wouldn’t know Monckton’s cred from Hansen (except that Monckton is more dynamic and tells people things which some people want to hear).

  27. Let me quote some who I respect and who make a valuable insight on this issue:

    “I prefer to discuss the science rather than the politics. But perhaps we need to discuss the politics more than the science.”

    Google the quote

    • The main (and admittedly subjective) similarity for me is the sense of being led by the nose along a chosen narrative.

      I’m afraid our host may be right. Perhaps this film will sway some undecideds who can’t or won’t get into the science, and pay more attention to politics and personalities. That’s worth something, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

  28. Jeffrey Davis

    The film gives the impression that Monckton had only made 1 error. Well, no.

    As their arguments have unraveled in the face of events, climate septics have added a sanctimonious whinge about the nature of science and doubt. “Trust no one.” As if skepticism were a foundational value. We use science to improve our lives not to arrive at Ultimate Truth as weasels like Monckton aver. The evidence is unambiguous: not doing anything about carbon will lead to a horror show.

  29. Interesting discussion over at Deltoid including comments from ‘calum’, who says he was associate producer on the film.

  30. I might have missed it as I FFed through some of the program. Did the ask His Lordship about the origin of the crest he uses?
    I only ask as, well I quite like it….

  31. Those in The Colonies and other places might be interested to see ‘Meet the Skeptics’ provided in bite size pieces via the linky below…