Moaning minnie Monckton attacks academic freedom: Support The VUW Three!

Christopher, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, has converted his recent threats against NZ academics and universities into a gloriously idiotic letter of complaint (pdf), sent to the vice chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, professor Pat Walsh, last Friday. In the letter, Monckton accuses the head of the Institute of Policy Studies, professor Jonathan Boston, of academic fraud, professor Dave Frame, director of the Climate Change Research Institute of committing “a grave libel”, and professor Jim Renwick of “delivering gratuitous, baseless and childish insults”. He accuses all three of dishonesty and breaching the university’s code of conduct for academic staff, and demands letters of apology. The reaction from Wellington? Great amusement, as Stuff reported:

The formal complaint was met with hilarity by the accused academics yesterday, none of whom appeared concerned about disciplinary action.

In support of his complaint, Monckton offers two documents: an unpublished paper (pdf) that purports to demonstrate that mitigation of carbon emissions is not cost-effective, and a critique (pdf) of a graph that featured in the IPCC’s fourth report. Boston’s use of the graph in a 2008 presentation is what Monckton claims is “fraudulent”. He demands:

Professor Boston’s fraudulent graph should be removed forthwith from the university’s website. Otherwise, a complaint of scientific fraud may be made to the police.

Scientific fraud? I wonder who is really guilty of that charge — the head of the Institute of Policy Studies using a graph from a major international report, or a visiting fringe politician who has published nothing on climate in any peer-reviewed journal, who is happy to misrepresent the facts about climate change at every opportunity, and who believes the UN is hell bent on confining Americans to concentration camps?

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Stuff and nonsense (ministerial condescension and media fossil fools)

A select few politicians have the ability to make me (and others) shout at the radio. New Zealand’s minister of climate change issues Tim Groser is one such. On Radio New Zealand National’s Morning Report this morning he gave vent to his feelings on NZ’s Colossal Fossil winning performance at Doha. It was an “absurd and juvenile prank”, apparently, put together by “extreme greens and youth groups”. He definitely had it in for the youth groups, referring to them twice. His extreme condescension to young people who think that his policies are at best wrong-headed, at worst disastrous for the country they will inherit, caused me to interrupt my tea making to shout at the radio, much to the dog’s surprise. Hear the full interview here, and see if you are immune to Groser’s aggressively smug assumption that only he holds the key to climate action:

Tim Groser on Morning Report

And then, over the now brewed cup of tea, Google’s morning newspaper presented me with a news item from the Dominion Post (via Stuff) about a new paper in Nature Climate Change co-authored by Dave Frame of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute. The basic news item’s straightforward enough: Frame and co-author Daithi Stone, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have looked back to the IPCC’s 1990 projections, and found that they were remarkably close to what has actually happened over the last 20 years — bad news for climate deniers who insist that model projections have failed and that warming has stopped. (See also VUW press release,, The Conversation). Perhaps that’s why the journalist, one Tom Hunt, chose to close his piece with a quote from physics denier Bryan Leyland (cue coughing and spluttering):

But Bryan Leyland, from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, said science had shown global temperatures had not risen in 16 years and the world was more likely to get cooler.

Leyland, as we discussed at Hot Topic recently, is now happy to align himself with the über cranks who deny the reality of the greenhouse effect. Quoting him on climate research is about as meaningful as seeking the flat earth society’s opinion on orbital mechanics.

For that stupid piece of false balance, Tom Hunt and the Dom Post win my inaugural Media Fossil Fool award. Anyone care to design a nice badge they can wear with shame?