You may remember Lord Christopher Monckton popping up in the news a short while back as the climate expert of choice for the Senate Republicans. Monckton is in fact a professional climate change denier with no background or expertise in the field of climatology.
Recently Lord Monckton resurfaced as the subject of a complete point-by-point debunking by Dr. John Abraham of University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. The debunking relates to a lecture made by Monckton at Bethel University, October 14th, 2009.
Following are some highlights gleaned from Professor Abraham’s presentation.
(“LCM” refers to Lord Christopher Monckton, and the slide numbers refer to Monckton’s own slides. While the information is largely taken from Dr. Abraham’s presentation, the editorial tone is mine.)
The Seven Lies
1) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 8 ) that the IPCC report only predicts 6 cm. of sea level rise. In fact, the IPCC predicts (on p. 409, IPCC, WG1 report) a rise of 20 to 50 cm. from ocean expansion alone. Their prediction actually leaves out ice melt, because, as they said themselves, they had no accurate way of predicting at what rate the melting would occur.
The IPCC did not in any way rule out ice melt as potentially contributing to sea level rise, mind. In fact, they expected it to happen. They just couldn’t quantify it. So with typical and appropriate scientific caution, they left out a figure that could only have been—without considerable refinement of the relevant and particular science—a guess. However, it is clear that the IPCC’s 20 to 50 cm. rise was predicted in addition to ice melt, and was intended to be read as understating the case.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied about IPCC predictions of sea level rise.
2) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 12) and uses a 2006 scientific paper to back his assertion that climate change didn’t kill the four polar bears mentioned in the paper. The bears died because of a storm, Monckton said.
In fact, the paper argues that the polar bears died because extensive areas of open, ice-free ocean which had been opened up by climate change had left the bears unable to escape when the storm came. In other words, without climate change the bears probably wouldn’t have died. See, C. Monnett and J. Gleason, Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, Polar Biology, 29, 681-687, 2006. Thus, Lord Monckton’s interpretation contradicts the specific conclusions of the authors he relies on.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied about the Monnett and Gleason report, and it’s conclusions concerning the endangerment of polar bears by an ice-free Arctic.
3) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 13) that sea ice is growing in the Beaufort Sea. He cites no references. However, his claim is entirely contradicted by Barber et al., Perennial pack ice in the Southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, 2009, and by almost any other scientific report concerning the state of the sea ice in the Arctic.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied about the reduction of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea.
4) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 14) that a 2002 report by Norris and Rosenstrator shows that polar bears thrive in warm weather. The actual report talks about malnourished bears whose ability to reproduce is being endangered and compromised by conditions created by climate change. The press release accompanying the report highlights climate change as the number one threat to the survival of polar bears. Other studies and reports have come to similar conclusions.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied about the Norris and Rosenstrator report about the effect of climate change on polar bear health, and lied when he said polar bears thrive in warm weather.
5) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 25) that the IPCC climate sensitivity estimate rests on just four scientific papers. Yet, a look at the report itself shows thousands of references.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied about how many scientific papers the IPCC relied on to make their report.
6) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slides 37, 38) that the IPCC predicted a temperature rise of 0.35 to 0.42C per decade. The IPCC in fact predicted a 0.2C increase. Lord Monckton as much as doubles the actual IPCC figure. Lord Monckton’s own graphs, which he uses to argue this point, are not even consistent with each other.
Conclusion: Lord Monckton lied (poorly and inconsistently) about the IPCC predictions of decadal temperature increase.
7) Lord Monckton claims (@LCM slide 43) that the scientific literature does not talk at all about catastrophic results for global climate change. (Unless you mean extinctions, killer heat waves, droughts, floods, extreme weather events, wildfires, desertification, sea level rise, etc. Oh, and parts of the world being rendered uninhabitable by humans.)
Conclusion: Lord Monckton (liar, liar, pants on fire) lied about the entire scientific literature on climate change, and really has no shame.
See John Abraham’s full (and much superior) debunking @