Monckton in NZ: tells lies on radio, threatens academics and journalists

by Gareth on April 4, 2013

The Monckton has landed in New Zealand, and he’s up to his usual tricks. In a desperate display of attention-seeking behaviour, the discount Viscount has lashed out at his critics, threatened libel actions against a scientist and a journalist, and attacked the good standing of Victoria University of Wellington. To make matters worse, in a talkback session with Leighton Smith on Newstalk ZB earlier today, he was given free rein to tell lies and misrepresent the state of our understanding of climate science.

Unfortunately a full recording of Monckton’s radio performance is not (yet) available on the web1, but in a brief section discussing Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, he made the following astonishing and counterfactual claims:

  • During the 1920s and 1930s there was probably less Arctic sea ice than now
  • The Arctic sea ice has only declined for a few weeks in summer
  • Arctic sea ice set a new record high only two weeks ago
  • Increases in Antarctic sea ice make up for half of the loss in the Arctic
  • There’s no way water can get under the Antarctic ice sheet

Here’s the facts:

According to the best dataset we have for the last 110 years, the present Arctic sea ice extent is at it its lowest level in all seasons. Paleoclimate data indicate that current extent is probably the lowest for several thousand years, as this graph shows (source):

1 kinnard2011

Arctic sea ice reaches its annual minimum in September. Last year’s minimum extent represented a 3.29 million square kilometre — or 49% — drop below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum. Arctic sea ice extent runs below the long term average throughout the year2

Arctic sea ice set no new record high in recent weeks. The 2013 maximum extent was the fifth lowest in the dataset maintained by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the USA. March (maximum) extent has been declining at 2.5% per decade relative to the 1979 to 2000 average.

Antarctic sea ice has shown a small increase3 in extent over the period of the satellite record, but that in no way “makes up” or somehow compensates for losses in the Arctic4. When Justin Gillis in the New York Times “ran the numbers” on Arctic v Antarctic sea ice last year he reported:

…expressed as a percentage of ocean cover, the decline going on in the Arctic is almost 25 times the increase going on in the Antarctic. Walt Meier, a top scientist at the snow and ice center, told me, “It should be pretty clear that the change in sea ice in the Arctic is much more substantial than what is happening in the Antarctic.” [my emphasis]

Despite Monckton’s claim, there is an awful lot of water under the Antarctic ice sheet, and large parts of the ice sheet are grounded below sea level in both East and West Antarctica, as this map shows (source):


So much for Monckton’s sea ice nonsense. None of the data I’ve provided here is at all controversial or hard to find. It represents a pretty middle of the road view about what’s going on at the poles as they warm. In order to downplay the importance of this knowledge, Monckton has to lie and misrepresent the facts.

As we’ve seen before, this is pretty much his normal modus operandi. Make it up, cock it up and when called on it, resort to threats and bullying. Why this puffed-up pompous hypocrite, a minor UK politician described by a former member of his own party as eccentric “even within the UKIP”, is taken seriously by anyone other than the terminally deluded remains a mystery.

Life is too short to enumerate all the deliberate distortions of climate science he perpetrated under Leighton Smith’s doting gaze, but if this is the standard of the guff he’s going to be offering his New Zealand audiences, I think they should get their money back. Preferably in advance.

  1. A video of the first 8 minutes of the 90 minute session has been posted by the radio station here. []
  2. All figures from the NSIDC. Sea ice extent flirted with the long term average for a few days in April 2012 – the first time that had happened since March 2003. Plot it here, and see for yourself. []
  3. First predicted as a consequence of warming by Manabe et al in 1992 – hat tip to the Rabett. []
  4. Useful NSIDC comparison here. []

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Taylor April 5, 2013 at 3:02 am

It really is extraordinary, the number of lies that Lord Bonkers can fit into a single sentence.

I was pleased, however, to hear him say that The Herald is “in the tank for Global Warming” and that he opposes Elites who Want to Control the World.

Yeah, right…

HarryWiggs April 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

Maybe “Lord Bonckton?”….:)

Rob Painting April 5, 2013 at 7:30 am

Elites? The windbag calls himself a lord. Sounds pretty elitist to me.

cindy April 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

His argument for there being more sea ice in the 20’s and 30’s was that “there was no satellite watching it then”.

What amazes me is that this man thinks his audience is that stupid. Or maybe he is stupid? Which he doesn’t appear to be. Vain and prone to bragging and making stuff up. But not stupid. It’s all very confusing. I wonder if Leighton Smith really believed all of that?


nigelj April 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Moncton reminds me of the court jester in medieval times, prancing around to entertain the “elites” or those silly enough to listen.

Nick April 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Exactly the process Lord Bunckton followed in Tasmania. Turn up,find no public interest in the Grand Tour, seize on newspaper article,threaten to have academics investigated while feigning legal competence,and hope for some bums on seats. Don’t think it helped.Numbers were tiny. On the mainland, in Brisbane he managed to attract perhaps a few hundred in a city of two million plus.

Meanwhile,polar bears,and northern sea life in general, will be heartened to know that sea ice loss in the Arctic is compensated for by any gains in the Antarctic,and no matter that Bunckton gets the ratio wrong.

HarryWiggs April 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

Bunckton, Bonckton…GMTA!

Carol Cowan April 5, 2013 at 9:11 pm

It’s amazing what you can get away with if you have a posh accent.

noelfuller April 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Yes Carol, I have known people whose politics soley rested on how well their reps could speak, elocution as well as rhetoric.

Manuel Seidel April 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm

After sitting through an hour and 40 minutes of Monckton speaking about this issue today I don’t think we as sustainability advocates have anything in the slightest to worry about.

Mr Monckton puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of citations and the accuracy of research and it was therefore interesting to note him referencing “The New Zealand Environment Department” in one of his slides with NZ climate data. The fact that The New Zealand Environment Department doesn’t exist didn’t seem to be a problem for him…

Andrew W April 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

To quote the late Paul Holmes:

“Leighton’s a wee bit bonkers when it comes to global warming, you know what I mean?”

Rob Taylor April 6, 2013 at 4:04 am

Oh dear, Lord Bonkers talk at Auckland Uni. last night did not go too well…
I got there early and, from the people I talked with, I’d say about one third were his retinue and other True Believers, one third had come to see what he had to say, and the other third were sceptical – about him.

Starting off by saying how important it was to debate the ideas, rather than attack individuals, Monckton proceeded to do exactly that, defaming named scientists, including Phil Jones, Michael Mann and Jim Salinger.

He also said that a criminal conspiracy amongst climate scientists was being investigated by certain “major police forces” and arrests are expected soon. Not all scientists are corrupt, however – many are well meaning, just incompetent. Fortunately, he is here to help them out…

He would not take questions during his presentation, but said he would be happy to answer any at the end. He also threatened to evict anyone who made a noise. This seemed to be directed at a small group of “Flat Earthers” in Medieval attire who were cheering and applauding his more egregious statements.

This resulted in a rather boring and oppressive atmosphere, as, with no audience feedback to energise him, Monckton droned on through an interminable succession of incomprehensible slides and juvenile jokes (e.g. referring to Will Steffen as “Stuffem”). Fellow denier David Evans featured in a number of slides, whilst others were crudely drawn and poorly labelled.

Things livened up at question time, however; the first to get the nod was an angry scientist who gave him a bollocking for his crude and defamatory attacks on the profession. He was followed by a gentleman who asked Monckton about one particular slide. Monckton obliged by putting it up on the screen, whereupon the questioner pointed out that the supposed photograph was actually two photographs, poorly Photoshopped together!

Applause and hilarity ensued, at which point Monckton refused to take any more questions and the meeting ended in chaos, with cries of “fraud” and “bullshit” from the student rabble at the back.

Overall, I was disappointed, as I had expected a more energetic and interesting performance. Perhaps Monckton was just tired and feeling his age – or that the tide has finally turned against him.

Phil Scadden April 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I love the flat earth society welcome. Brilliant way to ridicule him.

bill April 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

Fascinating – can we find this slide somewhere, do you think?

Rob Taylor April 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

Yes, I took a photo, which I will send it to Gareth. It was of some supposed Green environmental atrocity in Oz; I must have been dozing, and missed the full story.

The other stand-out, for me, was the slide showing no ice melt in the Beaufort Sea – the data only went to 2003, but, Monckton explained, there has been “very little change since then”…

Rob Painting April 6, 2013 at 7:19 am

Rob T – thanks buddy. Your account of events had me laughing out loud.

Rob Taylor April 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thanks, Rob P., here’s more jolly japes with Monckton (best be sitting down and not operating heavy machinery when you read it):

bill April 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

That caption; ‘Environmentalist Lord Christopher Monckton…’ – say what?

A sub-editor with a sense of irony? Or might we humbly interpret this as yet another string added to the bow of this neo-Renaissance übermensch? (Can you even imagine the intellectual strength required to make the drawing of it?)

Haven’t heard the striking miners story before; only the truly unkind – no-one here, certainly – could suggest there’d be even an iota of divergence between this splendid account of avuncular noblesse oblige and reality…

HarryWiggs April 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

Monckton got something correct: it IS hate speech: we scientists HATE when unqualified lit majors get the science so wrong, it’s not EVEN wrong, or when they misrepresent/torture the the data so it arrivaes at a predestined ‘zone of deniability comfort,’, and generally continue to mislead the easily misled public. Yea, we HATE that….;(

Phil Scadden April 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Perhaps we should be handing out this as a flyer.

Rob Taylor April 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Good idea, Phil. He’s in Hamilton on Monday:

12 noon Student Union Forum-Village Green outside the shops, Waikato University
Public welcome, no admission charge

7pm Price Waterhouse Cooper Lecture Theatre, Waikato University, Hillcrest Road, Hamilton (opposite the Admin building)
Gold coin donation.

Thomas April 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

Uh, I feel embarrassed for my alma-ata that they welcome Lord Bonkers to their grounds. I hope students and staff will attend and ask some pertinent questions.

Rob Painting April 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Probably something to do with Willem De Lange, who is in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Dept. Bit of a fruitcake himself being an ironically named climate realist. I think that De Lange is the unnamed oceanographer that the equally delusional Richard Treadgold occasionally cites.

Here’s an example of De Lange’s illogical thinking. Dude doesn’t even understand how greenhouse gases warm the ocean.

Mike Palin April 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Toward the end of that 2009 example, deLange says, “Carbon isotopic ratios indicate that while there is a contribution from the burning of fossil fuels, it is of the order 1-5 percent of the increase.” He obviously has no clue about isotopic mass balance in a dynamic system. It is unbelievable that he was serving on a Marsden Fund proposal evaluation panel around that same time. Pathetic.

Thomas April 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm

De Lange would also need to explain why the pH level of the ocean is falling as observed as it takes up a good fraction of CO2 from the atmosphere which we are adding. This flies completely into the face of his attestation that atmospheric CO2 is a consequence of ocean out-gassing. In fact the reverse is obviously true. For the oceans to turn into a net CO2 source a lot more warming of the same would be required. Let us hope we will not get to that point in hurry.

Using inorganic carbon measurements from an international survey effort in the 1990s and a tracer-based separation technique, we estimate a global oceanic anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO) sink for the period from 1800 to 1994 of 118 ± 19 petagrams of carbon. The oceanic sink accounts for ~48% of the total fossil-fuel and cement-manufacturing emissions…
(The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2, Sabine NOOA)

This is just one of the many fallacies in De Langes unfortunate dabbling with climate science without much of a clue of the same or evidence of adequate reading of the science to afford an opinion. He better stick to his main research topic in sediments, tsunamis and coastal stability….

More on De Lange here:

Rob Taylor April 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

More Monckton humour here:

Miffed Michele mangles Monckton meeting
Richard Treadgold | April 7, 2013

But she never asked this expert IPCC reviewer about climate change! It was either a lost opportunity or she didn’t know what to do with it…her journalistic behaviour was crude, unprofessional, unattractive, unfair and unworthy of Christopher Monckton.

She refuses to ask intelligent questions about <b.his vast knowledge of climate change

Rob Taylor April 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

OK, Bill, here is a link to the “Greenies destroyed Maldives tree as it was evidence that AGW does not exist” photo that Monckton showed. Monckton’s slide was a b&w blowup of the top photo – you can see a horizontal join across the picture, where the tree is discontinuous and the background colour changes.

Also, here is a shot of one of the trio who disrupted Monckton’s magisterial presentation on Friday. Whoever he is, he’s down at the front of the theatre, with Monckton’s psychedelic opening slide in the background:

I think this was taken just after the guy had introduced himself as an astrologer and welcomed Monckton on behalf of his “biggest fans”, the long-oppressed Flat Earth Society, who sought Monckton’s help to battle the “evils” of peer-reviewed Science.

The leaflet they handed out was pretty funny too, IMHO. I hope they’re organised enough to follow Lord Bonkers around the country, because they sure got under his skin, just by applauding his craziest lines and laughing at his jokes!

Rob Painting April 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Geez, those Flat Earthers are pure comedy gold!

cbanks April 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm

As a fellow attendee, and one of the angry scientist’s co-conspirators, I endorse Rob’s account of the evening.

An image of the slide:
And a link to the article which gives the best image of the original I could find (page 4, but read the whole thing for a good laugh):
Very strategic placement of text boxes in a failed attempt to make the fraud less obvious. Plus he got Mörner’s name wrong.

If anybody plans to attend the Waikato Uni session, I can share my notes if you like.

bill April 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

It’s ironic that the black-and-white treatment only makes that seam even more obvious.

I note there’s also a clumsily stitched panel in the lower-left hand corner of the original as seen in both of the linked documents.

Kind of funny these ‘interesting’ features were apparently unworthy of consideration for such a keen devotee of Sheriff Arpaio’s zealous hyper-scrutiny of the online incarnation of Obama’s birth-certificate, don’t you think?

(If you’re reading this, Your Lordship, try advising Joe and the team to check out the world of scanning artifacts some time! Three letters: O, C and R… NOTE: This could rather spoil the fun!)

I’m still bemused as to the point this image is meant to be assisting in making. I mean, this evil Australian ‘Pro IPCC’ team was remarkably lax in its disposal of the evidence of its extraordinary – and remarkably pointless – crime, don’t you think?

bill April 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hang on; I think I can explain everything – a drive-by grafting! 😉

bill April 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh, and look at the slide, and consider; if the tree has been ‘killed’… I mean, the leafy bits at the top are…?

And, um, is that a Mangrove? I mean, judging by the roots and the location and everything you’d almost think so… And that’d mean they’re notable for being particularly susceptible to even ‘just a little’ SLR, then? Golly – haven’t I been grasping the wrong end of the stick!

Rob Taylor April 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Thanks, cbanks, this gives the lie to the chatter on denier blogs that the problem with Monckton’s b&w slide was just a fax glitch…

bill April 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm

A ‘fax glitch’!? Oh, the irony! See above!

cbanks April 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Also, my analysis of Monckton’s economics argument if anybody’s interested. Seemed a shame to let it go to waste.

Yes, the man is incompetent across a wide variety of subject areas.

Beaker April 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I followed your terminally deluded link and the first line was ‘But she never asked this expert IPCC reviewer about climate change!’ Does this guy have no shame or no brain?
How they love the title ‘Expert’.
Without wanting to burden the IPCC with more silliness, has anyone tried this to poke fun at those who brandish the title of IPCC Expert Reviewer as some sort of award of merit?

bill April 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Further to the above, I repeat – Denial has gone completely feral.

Thomas April 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Completely feral indeed. It reminds me of the sad fate at the bottom of the creek next to our land that befall a scruffy and gaunt looking – in other words, Delringpole resembling – bird killing, hissing and biting feral cat, that found itself enclosed in your trap set out for the same one night…. Of cause that’s all just Metaphorical really and the mad feral Joker of the right wing reality denying self gratification circus Delringpole will non doubt meow meow in the gutter press for a while to come. At least he outs his fellowship and publishers by association to himself as likewise sick to the bone…

However the generation 2090 will likely wish we had taken a slightly different tack with such people who’s mind has gone completely feral and the publishers dishing up their verbal splatter to ponder to the market of right wing zealots…. 😉

Thomas April 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

At least The Terminator is telling it as it is.
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Global Warming in the LA Times
Perhaps the potty Lord Bonkers should meet is nemesis The Terminator for a match up. Now that would be worth a new edition of the Terminator movie franchise. “The Terminator terminates denial”…..

HarryWiggs April 9, 2013 at 3:59 am

I’d get a flight to California for *that*….:)

bill April 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Now, there’s a confrontation! –

TERMINATOR: Come with me if you want to live.

MONCKTON: Should one wish to: primo, continue to employ ones prevailing modality vis-à-vis the manner to which one is accustomed; secundo, maintain ones preferred state extant; and, tertio, experience further opportunities to be subjected to expatiations at considerable length upon ones dominant subject of preoccupation, being, if one may eschew the tyrannical Political Correctness of false-modesty, oneself, then one should promptly accompany one in manner exeunt vis-à-vis our conjoint and current locale

Rob Taylor April 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Priceless, Bill – you’ve even got the accent right!

: > )

HarryWiggs April 9, 2013 at 4:03 am

My Dad taught me a saying that foreshadowed Lord Bonckers; he said it’s a useful line for shutting up those with little critical thinking skill.

“The nature of (______fill in the blank) is that congeries of coordinated attributes whose integrated functioning is solely dependent upon the nature of its psyche.”

Thomas April 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Perhaps posters of the graphs in this big picture article should be pasted wherever Lord Bonkers rocks up to speak. The graphs when drawn on the scale there are simply taking the breath away….. mine anyway as long as I can bare to stare at them…

Rob Taylor April 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

So what was the tussle over the laptop at Waikato Uni. all about?

I have also heard from a student friend in Hamilton that, in response to a question about his lack of scientific training, Bonkers said the following:

“I studied classical architecture as part of my Cambridge degree in Classics, thus had to learn mathematics so that my buildings wouldn’t fall down”

Thus, are we to add to his CV that he has designed Greek or Roman buildings? He sounds more like Walter Mitty every day:

bill April 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

Wow! A part of a degree in Classics can give you all that? I wonder why we even bother to train Architectural Engineers?

That’s how to do it!

Rob Taylor April 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

Indeed, Bill… further, as “senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher”, Lord Monckton headed up the Ministry of Silly Talks, a branch of government no less important than its better-known sibling:

Thomas April 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Is Monckton throwing his towel into the ring?

“However, Monckton is planning to wind up his role of climate change speaker shortly.”

Now that would be the only good news there ever was on anything Monckton. Perhaps he is afraid of The Terminator already?… 😉

Thomas April 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Stupidity pays, with a free iPad gift from Rush Limbaugh to a 13 year old caller who admits to his complete ignorance – poor lad – of climate change science on the radio.
How low can Limbaugh and co. pull the American soul one must wonder?

Bob Bingham April 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Their lordships Monkton and Lawson are funded by the fossil fuel industry. Lawson previously had some reputation and has sold himself cheaply. Monkton is too stupid to know the difference. He wrote a paper on how to get state housing off the governments accounts and was on a think tank for a while but the people around him quickly realised his was useless (or mad) and got rid of him.

bill April 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Denial has certainly been a boon for certain attention-seeking mediocrities who would otherwise have drawn little attention in any mainstream, whether political or scientific…

bill April 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Timely. Further on another old friend. Not a happy man, apparently!

Rob Taylor April 10, 2013 at 3:55 am

More hilariously bad press for Bonkers – why, oh why, can’t they take the Great Man seriously?

I’m finding it hard to take eccentric, right-wing, climate-change denier and British peer Lord Christopher Monckton seriously.

I’m trying not to smile.

His English vowels are so pronounced they’re elliptical rather than rounded, but it’s not that…

It’s because he reminds me of Spike Milligan. Maybe it’s the eyes, the self-deprecating Englishness, or a delivery that turns a serious subject into the bizarre…

As I leave the entertaining but vaguely disturbing reds-under-the-beds address, Milligan pops into my mind again. The epitaph on the gravestone of the greatest goon of them all reads: “I told you I was ill”.

noelfuller April 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Itrust people have been keeping up with the ructions in UK upon the death of Maggie Thatcher. In particular I have noted the hostility of coal miners to her mine closures. Was she before her time with respect to climate change? In view of Monkton’s claim to have been an advisor to the Iron Lady could someone attending any further meeting, if there is one, enquire of his Lordship what advice he gave Margaret Thatcher on her coal mine closures?

Thomas April 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm
Copie April 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Moncton certainly has brought out the reality deniers on this site!

RW April 23, 2013 at 8:04 am

The ultimate in unintended irony! As a substitute for AndyS, you make even him look sophisticated.

Rob Taylor April 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

Copie, this must be some new meaning of the word “reality”…

Perhaps you are not aware that Monckton is a serial fantasist with a long history of bizarre and ludicrous claims that go well beyond the confines of climate science?

bill April 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Ho ho! And, bless us, many of the ‘reality deniers’ can even spell!

If you’re more than 14 years old you have a serious problem.

noelfuller April 23, 2013 at 2:31 am

Trolls must fantasize that their darkness is freedom from responsibility. They avoid the light because they have the thoughts of rocks. Tis right that trolls become rocks.

Johnmacmot April 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

Copie is so ludicrous he might just be a Poe. Hard to believe anyone can be so mindless.

noelfuller April 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Gareth did give him a final warning so the troll has probably been stoned before now. I wonder if trolls get paid by the number of responses he gets?

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