Recursive fraudery: Monckton goes mad in Australia

Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley’s tour of Australia must be going very badly, because the “high priest of climate scepticism” is indulging in another of his increasingly desperate displays of attention seeking behaviour. After giving a poorly attended lecture in Hobart last week, Monckton took umbrage at an article in the Sunday Tasmanian (on the web here) reporting the views of Tony Press, CEO of the University of Tasmania’s Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, who was not impressed by Monckton’s efforts. In response, Monckton has thrown his toys out of his fossil fuel funded pram, and called for the University of Tasmania to fire Press. Here’s the last paragraph from his typically pompous and ludicrous letter [pdf] to the Vice Chancellor:

On any view, Press is not a fit and proper person to be employed in any capacity at the University of Tasmania. I hope that the University will investigate his misconduct and fraud and will dismiss him forthwith.

Connoisseurs of Monckton’s antics will note that this is a well established pattern of behaviour. Remember when he took exception to the comprehensive dismantling of one of his lectures by John Abraham, and tried to get him fired? Nothing came of that threat — except that Abraham was motivated to become more active in countering climate crank nonsense wherever it appears.

Continue reading “Recursive fraudery: Monckton goes mad in Australia”

Symptoms too serious to ignore: a call to face up to NZ’s critical risks

A loose affiliation of New Zealand’s great and good will launch an appeal to parliament next week, asking for a dispassionate and non-partisan risk assessment of the “unprecedented threats to our collective security” facing the country as a result of climate change, fossil fuel extraction and economic uncertainty. The Wise Response group features poets, writers, All Blacks, academics, surgeons and scientists amongst its first 100 supporters1, and will launch its appeal at a public meeting in Dunedin on March 8th.

In its appeal the group identifies critical risks in five areas:

Continue reading “Symptoms too serious to ignore: a call to face up to NZ’s critical risks”

  1. The Otago Daily Times lists Brian Turner, Wayne Smith, Fiona Kidman, Glenn Turner, David Thom, Philip Temple, Anne Salmond, Julian Dean, Owen Marshall, Morgan Williams, Chris Trotter, Bruce Burns, Richard Langston and Anton Oliver amongst others. []

People talkin’ #11

The nets are on the vineyard, the peaches are picked and the pool is warm, friends are scheduled, and Hot Topic will be briefly unattended while the boss takes a short break from the world of climate in order to bask in what he hopes will be a benign one. Please talk amongst yourselves. I will check in from time to time, but not frequently. The world is your lobster…

NBR interviews Steve McIntyre: hard-hitting business journalism or fatuous piffle? You decide…

The National Business Review (NBR) is New Zealand’s biggest selling business weekly. This weekend it published a profile of Steve McIntyre, the ClimateAudit blogger and amateur statistician who has long had an unhealthy obsession with hockey sticks. Here’s how it introduced him on the web version of the article1:

A man who has become the arch-enemy of climate scientists for exposing serious flaws in a United Nations study on global warming believes the issue has been greatly overstated.

Vilified by global warming zealots, Canadian Steve McIntyre, who was passing through Auckland this week, told NBR ONLINE the impact of global warming is likely to be “about half” of what current scientific models are showing.

Unpacking all the errors and misrepresentations in just those two opening sentences is a major task, so I’ll restrict myself to a few bullet points:

  • McIntyre has pissed off a few paleoclimate people (Mike Mann in particular), but is no “arch-enemy” of an entire discipline.
  • He exposed no substantial flaws in any study, though he has tried hard to create that impression. The sum total of his efforts has done nothing to change our understanding of paleoclimate.
  • The United Nations doesn’t do climate studies. The UN and WMO coordinate the IPCC, which summarises all the science done in academic institutions around the world.
  • McIntyre’s main contribution to science has been to orchestrate and agonise over freedom of information requests sprayed around the climate community, especially the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and thereby to waste a huge amount of real scientists’ time.
  • McIntyre lacks any credible expertise that would allow him to sit in judgement on the likely impact of a warming climate.

The NBR article continues:

Mr McIntyre, who is a mathematician and former mining company executive, says “the onus is on the people arguing it’s a big problem to really show in an engineering quality report why it’s a big problem”.

More to the point is that McIntyre has been up to his elbows in organised efforts to delay action on climate change for at least the last ten years, as DeSmogBlog’s record of his activities shows — but you wouldn’t guess that from the fawning interview by Rod Vaughan.

The really jaw-dropping moment, however, is when Vaughan presents McIntyre’s views on climate impacts:

Asked how much damage has been caused to the environment so far from global warming, he said:

[…]“Activists will tend to say that carbon dioxide emissions in the last 50 years have caused serious negative impacts.

“But from my point of view I would say I don’t know what they are and certainly on balance there’s been no serious impact.

There’s none so blind as those who won’t look at the Arctic, glacier retreat, increasing extreme weather events, or any of the many other signs of a rapidly changing climate system. McIntyre has made no contribution to the study of climate change, but he has made a huge contribution to the campaign to do nothing about it. His wilful ignorance, and his willingness to present it as wisdom, makes for unedifying reading. More’s the pity, then, that the NBR should choose to feature McIntyre’s piffle as worthy of its reader’s attention.

Climate change is already the biggest challenge the business community will have to face over the next century. Dealing with the impacts of climate change — from extreme weather events to shifting climate zones and ocean acidification — is going to be tough. Creating an economy in which business can thrive at the same as radically reducing emissions is an urgent necessity. It can’t be dismissed by the arm-waving of mining consultants with a political axe to grind.

It could be argued that the business community gets the journalism it deserves. On the basis of this dreadful and fatuous interview, it would appear New Zealand’s business community is in deep, deep trouble.

  1. A longer version is in the print edition. []

The Climate Show #33: Salinger, carbon carnage and recursive fury

In this week’s news-packed edition of The Climate Show we have an exclusive interview with Jim Salinger, probably New Zealand’s highest profile climate scientist, talking about extremes and the shape of things to come. John Cook discusses his new paper with Stephan Lewandowsky, Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, which is already upsetting climate cranks around the world, plus we look at carbon bubbles, renewable energy beating coal on price, and a simply superb iPad app.

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, listen to us via Stitcher on your smartphone or listen direct/download from the link below the fold.

Follow The Climate Show at The Climate Show web site, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue reading “The Climate Show #33: Salinger, carbon carnage and recursive fury”