Readers may recall this piece Monckton’s Schenectady showdown in which he schools a number of students despite “en-masse” collections (to use Donald Rodbell’s words) of naysayers. Mr. Rodbell and Erin Delman, pictured below, wrote this essay (which I’ve excerpted below) in their student newspaper The Concordiensis, citing their angst that Monckton was speaking.
Erin Delman (left), President of the Environmental Club, debates with Monckton – photo by Charlotte Lehman | Department Chair and Professor of Geology Donald Rodbell (right) asks Lord Christopher Monckton a question at the event on the “other side” of global warming. – photo by Rachel Steiner, Concordiensis
As Earth scientists, we were torn. The College Republicans and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) were hosting Lord Monckton, a globally recognized climate skeptic, on Mon., March 5, and we were not quite sure how to respond. Frankly, the sentiment vacillated between utter disgust and sheer anger. On one hand, it seemed ludicrous to give Monckton a second of time or thought. On the other, however, dismissing him and allowing his speech without rejection risked that he would have an impact, and a dangerous one at that.
And thus, the college environmentalists – including Environmental Club members, the leaders and members of U-Sustain, concerned citizens, and renowned Earth scientists with PhDs from prestigious research institutions – decided to oppose the presence of Lord Monckton on our campus. We collected en-masse before his presentation to make it unambiguously clear that we would not allow such erroneous discourse to go unnoticed.
Lord Monckton does not stand alone in his beliefs on this issue; however, 97 percent of scientists overwhelmingly oppose his viewpoint. He kept asserting that this debate must follow a rigorous, science-based approach, and that the consensus of experts is, by itself, an insufficient basis on which to decide the veracity of the evidence for significant human-induced global warming.
Serious scientific debate cannot be carried out in the blogosphere, nor in highly charged and politically motivated presentations either by Lord Monckton or by Al Gore. The fact of the matter is that science has spoken, the overwhelming bulk of the evidence has shown very, very clearly that global warming is occurring and is at least mostly caused by humans. While scientific consensus can be wrong, it most often is not.
Sigh, there’s that ridiculous 97% figure again. You’d think these “educated” people would bother to check such things before mindlessly regurgitating them and making themselves look like sycophants. And then there’s this: “Serious scientific debate cannot be carried out in the blogosphere…” well, then, PLEASE tell that to the RealClimate team so they stop trying to do that on the taxpayers dime.
It seems Erin Delman is training to be a professional enviro-legal troublemaker…
She is interested in pursuing a joint Ph.D. and law degree in geology and environmental law and is considering a career in environmental policy, particularly involving water rights.
…so I suppose I’m not surprised at this article. With that California background and water rights bent, I predict she’ll be joining the Pacific Institute to supplement Gleick’s mission.
Full article here: A lord’s opinion can’t compete with scientific truth
Monckton responds in comments to that article
Oh, come off it, Professor!
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Professor Donald Rodbell’s personal attack on me in Concordiensis (“A Lord’s Opinion Can’t Compete with Scientific Truth”) deserves an answer. The Professor does not seem to be too keen on freedom of speech: on learning that I was to address students at Union College, he said that he “vacillated between utter disgust and sheer anger”. My oh my!
The Professor should be reminded of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”. I exercised freedom of speech at Union College. The Professor may disagree with what I said (though his article is lamentably unspecific about what points in my lecture – if any – he disagreed with); but, under the Constitution, he may not deny or abridge my right to say it.
He and his fellow climate extremists ought not, therefore, to have talked of “opposing the presence of Lord Monckton”: for that would be to abridge my freedom of speech. It would have been fair enough for the Professor to talk of opposing my arguments – yet that, curiously, is what his rant in Concordiensis entirely fails to do.
The Professor says it is certain that “the world is warming, climatic patterns are changing, and humans are a driving force”. Let us look at these three statements in turn.
- The world is not warming at present. It has not been warming for almost a decade and a half, though it has been warming since 1695. In the 40 years to 1735, before the Industrial Revolution even began, the temperature in Central England (not a bad proxy for global temperatures) rose by 4 Fahrenheit degrees, compared with just 1 F° in the whole of the 20th century.
- Climatic patterns are indeed changing. But they have been changing for 4,567 million years, and they will go on changing long into the future. However, the fact of climate change does not tell us the cause of climate change.
- Humans are indeed exercising some influence. Indeed, though the Professor implies otherwise, I stated explicitly in my lecture that the IPCC might be right in saying that more than half of the warming since 1950 was caused by us. However, that tells us little about how much warming we may expect in future. My best estimate is that the CO2 we add to the atmosphere this century will cause around 1 C° of warming by 2100. But that is not far short of the IPCC’s own central estimate of 1.5 C°.
Next, the Professor asserts, without any evidence, that “97% of scientists overwhelmingly oppose [Monckton’s] viewpoint”. Overlooking the tautology (the word “overwhelmingly” should have been omitted), as far as I am aware there has been no survey of scientists or of public opinion generally to determine how many oppose my viewpoint. I am aware of two surveys in which 97% of scientists asserted that the world had warmed in the past 60 years: but, in that respect, they agree with my viewpoint. No survey has found 97% of scientists agreeing with the far more extreme proposition that unchecked emissions of CO2 will be very likely to cause dangerous global warming. And, even if there had been such a survey, the notion that science is done by head-counting in this way is the shop-worn logical fallacy of the argumentum ad populum – the headcount fallacy. That fallacy was first described by Aristotle 2300 years ago, and it is depressing to see a Professor trotting it out today.
Science is not done by headcount among scientists. It is done by measurement, observation, and experiment, and by the application of established theory to the results. Until Einstein, 100% of scientists thought that time and space were invariant. They were all wrong. So much for consensus.
Next, the Professor says I made “numerous inaccuracies and mis-statements”. Yet he does not mention a single one in his article, which really amounts to mere hand-waving. He then asserts that I have “no interest whatsoever in pursuing a truly scientific approach”. Those who were present, however, will be aware that I presented large quantities of data and analysis demonstrating that the principal conclusions of each of the four IPCC climate assessments are defective; that the warming to be expected from a doubling of CO2 is 1 C°; and that, even if 21st-century warming were 3 C°, it would still be 10-100 times cheaper and more cost-effective to do nothing now and adapt in a focused way later than to try to stop the warming by controlling CO2.
The Professor goes on to say that “the fundamental building block of all science is peer-reviewed publications”. No: rigorous thought is the cornerstone of science. That is what is lacking in the IPCC’s approach. All of its principal conclusions are based on modeling. However, not one of the models upon which it relies has been peer-reviewed. Nor is any of the IPCC’s documents peer-reviewed in the accepted sense. There are reviewers, but the authors are allowed to override them, and that is not peer review at all. That is how the IPCC’s deliberate error about the alleged disappearance of all Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was not corrected. Worse, almost one-third of all references cited in the IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report were not peer-reviewed either. They were written by environmental campaigners, journalists and even students. That is not good enough.
Next, the Professor says that, in not publishing my own analysis of “global warming” in a reviewed journal, I am “fundamentally non-scientific”. Yet he does not take Al Gore to task for never having had anything published in a reviewed journal. Why this disfiguring double standard? The most important thing, surely, is to shut down the IPCC, whose approach – on the Professor’s own peer-review test – is “fundamentally non-scientific”.
The Professor goes on to say, “It is impossible to scrutinize [Monckton’s] methods, calculations, and conclusions without a complete and detailed peer-reviewed publication that presents the important details.” On the contrary: my slides are publicly available, and they show precisely how I reached my conclusions, with numerous references to the peer-reviewed literature and to the (non-peer-reviewed) IPCC assessment reports.
Next, the Professor says that “rather substantial errors” were pointed out to me at Union College. Yet in every case I was able to answer the points raised: and, here as elsewhere, the Professor is careful not to be specific about what “errors” I am thought to have made. I pointed out some very serious errors in the documents of the IPCC: why does the Professor look the other way when confronted with these “official” errors? Once again, a double standard seems to be at work.
The Professor ends by saying that “science has spoken” and that, “while scientific consensus can be wrong, it most often is not”. Well, the eugenics consensus of the 1920s, to the effect that breeding humans like racehorses would improve the stock, was near-universally held among scientists, but it was wrong, and it led directly to the dismal rail-yards of Oswiecim and Treblinka. The Lysenko consensus of the 1940s and 1950s, to the effect that soaking seed-corn in water over the winter would help it to germinate, wrecked 20 successive Soviet harvests and killed 20 million of the proletariat. The ban-DDT consensus of the 1960s has led to 40 million malaria deaths in children (and counting), 1.25 million of them lasts year alone. The don’t-stop-AIDS consensus of the 1980s has killed 33 million, with another 33 million infected and waiting to die.
The climate “consensus” is also killing millions by diverting billions of dollars from helping the poor to enriching governments, bureaucrats, bankers, landowners, windfarm scamsters, and environmentalist racketeers, and by denying to the Third World the fossil-fueled electricity it so desperately needs. It is time to stop the killing. If arguing for a more rational and scientifically-based policy will bring the slaughter of our fellow citizens of this planet to an end, then I shall continue to argue for it, whether the Professor likes it or not.
He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.