Just when you thought the debate on climate change was done and dusted, an annoying climate sceptic has popped up trying to continue the oil industry’s campaign to deny and delay action on the issue.

For the last couple of Sundays, Christopher Monckton has written in the Sunday Telegraph, the torch-bearer of the old guard of the right of the right-wing of the Tories. Under the headline “Climate Chaos: Don’t Believe It”, he accused “the UN and its scientists of distorting the truth” over the climate change. In yesterday’s Guardian, George Monbiot took issue with Monckton and called his articles a “a mixture of cherry-picking, downright misrepresentation and pseudo-scientific gibberish”.

Today Monckton hit back saying: “It’s a shame that George Monbiot didn’t check his facts with me before using his column to describe my two recent Sunday Telegraph articles on climate change as “nonsense from start to finish”. He implies that a classically trained peer ought not to express scientific opinions. It’s still a free country, George. And at least I got the science right”.

Ok so what is Monckton’s background and scientific credentials to suggest that he is right and the UNPCC and the rest of the majority of the world’s scientific community are wrong?

He is the eldest son of the 2nd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, who was educated at Harrow School, Churchill College, Cambridge and Cardiff University. He has a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism.

He is a right-wing political activist and a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher. He is also a former member of the Committee for a Free Britain. The CFB’s first public act was to place advertisements in national newspapers warning the country of the consequences of a Labour victory in the 1987 General Election.

The following year the London magazine City Limits (October 20, 1988) gave extensive coverage to what they called the “Tories’ Loony Fringe” activities at the Conservative Party (UK) Conference at Brighton that month, and reported on the CFB’s extravagant reception. Those invited included non other that Richard Perle, the neo-Con who led the drive for war in Iraq. The CFB fizzled out in the early nineties.

Since then Monckton was a director of his own, namesake consultancy company, Christopher Monckton Ltd., between 1987 and 2006, when he retired through ill health. He is also a member of the Worshipful Company of Broderers, an Officer of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and a Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Upon the death of his father in 2006, Monckton inherited his title

Anyone know anything else about him? Please let us know..


  • So he’s wrong because he’s gentry?

    Or can you come up with anything other than “he’s right wing”?

  • No Bender,

    He’s wrong because:

    1) He’s factually incorrect.

    Such as in his citation of Thompson 2003, none of Thompson’s papers back up his claims. Even in Thompson’s abstract it is stated. “Comparison of this ice core composite with the Northern Hemisphere proxy record (1000-2000 AD) reconstructed by Mann et al (1999) and measured temperatures (1856-2000) reported by Jones et al. (1999) suggests the ice cores have captured the decadal scale variability in the global temperature trends.” i.e. his work supports broadly the ‘Hockey Stick’.

    2) He’s logically flawed:

    For example in his repetition of the old chestnut of CO2 changes follwing temperature changes in glacial/interglacial periods. i.e. does anyone claim CO2 changes drive glacial cycles? No they don’t. The cause is Milankovitch cycles, changes in irradiance due to changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters. So one wouldn’t expect that CO2 changes should happen at the same time. The most likely mechanism for the changes is that changes in ocean temperatures cause changes to the solubility of CO2 and the change in uptake/outgassing changes the atmospheric level of CO2. THAT then amplifies the small Milankovitch change and exacerbates the warming/cooling. So the ‘CO2 lag argument’ is a straw man. More interesting would be if sceptics could produce peer reviewed work discounting a need for CO2 forcing in the observed changes, they can’t.

    I don’t think there’s an element of the science Monckton has managed to get right! In the initial article and pdf that I did read (What a waste of time that was!) there seems to be a flaw in every paragraph.

    Monckton’s piece is indicative of why the sceptic lobby has now been relegated to the lunatic fringe, flat-earther, conspiracy-nut, wing of debate.

    That’s why, apart from occasional forays like this, I ignore the sceptics as it’s a waste of my valuable time.

  • BUENTGEN, Ulf, Frank, David C., Nievergelt, Daniel, and Esper, Jan. 2006. Summer Temperature Variations in the European Alps, AD 755-2004. Journal of Climate 19: 5606-5623.

    “Decadal-scale differences between (warmer) early instrumental measurements and (colder) proxy data reveal uncertainty in the longer-term temperature amplitude. Annual extremes, such as the warm and cold summers of 2003 and 1816, respectively, remain less pronounced than the instrumental target requires. Although reconstructed temperature variations mimic natural forcing agents reasonably well, their quantification is still vague, and the twentieth-century contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols remains insecure.”

    Looks as though Monckton has a point. He’s been unfashionably right before. At John Major’s request the Evening Standard sacked him for opposing Britain’s catastrophic ERM membership. Every newspaper except the Evening Standard had kowtowed to the consensus. Three weeks after he collected his £250,000 payoff from the Standard, he was proven 100% right when the ERM collapsed and economic recovery in Britain began. Best not to underestimate him. He couldn’t care less what people think of him: he just follows the truth wherever it leads. Irritating, that.

  • He’s also been unfashionably wrong before. In 1987 he wrote:

    “There is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life […] Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month […] all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”

  • And because HIV was not treated as a notifiable disease, as all previous fatal incurable infections had been, 25 million have since died, and 40 million are infected. Looks as though Monckton was right about HIV too: or does no one care about the misery of those who have died, and of their families?

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