Monckton's letter to the Rochester Institute of Technology regarding Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello

Earlier, I had mentioned Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello’s despicable climate ugliness and offered some links to addresses on where to complain to. Monckton took the lead on that. I urge others to write such factual and courteous letters.

14 March 2014

The Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs

Eastman Hall

Rochester Institute of Technology

New York, New York, United States of America,


Breaches of Principles of Academic Freedom (Policy E2.0) and of the mission statement of the Institute by Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello

Principle of public law relied upon

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States applies to all. It says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Principles of private law relied upon

The Institute’s policy on academic freedom applies to all faculty members, including Assistant Professor Torcello. The Institute declares that its policy is “guided” by the principles of academic freedom promulgated by the Association of University Professors in 1940, and, in particular, by the third such principle:

“3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”

The Institute’s mission statement includes the following paragraph:

“Respect, Diversity and Pluralism: Provides a high level of service to fellow members of the RIT community. Treats every person with dignity. Demonstrates inclusion by incorporating diverse perspectives to plan, conduct, and/or evaluate the work of the organization, department, college, or division.”

Alleged breaches of the said principles of law

On 13 March 2014, Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello published a blog posting[1] entitled Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent? at a tendentious propaganda website, “The Conversation”. In that posting, he committed the following breaches of the Institute’s policies:

1. Mr Torcello describes himself as “Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology” and makes no effort to comply with the explicit requirement of the principles on academic freedom by indicating that he writes neither on behalf of the Institute nor in his capacity as an assistant professor there but as a private citizen.

2. Mr Torcello offends against the requirement of accuracy stated in the principles of academic freedom in that his posting falsely said “the majority of scientists clearly agree on a set of facts” about “global warming” on which they do not in fact agree. Mr Torcello links his cited statement to a reference to three papers each claiming a “97% consensus” to the effect that most of the global warming observed since 1950 was manmade. However, as Legates et al. (2013)[2] have demonstrated, a review of 11,944 papers on climate published in the 21 years 1991-2011, the largest such review ever published in the scientific literature, had marked only 64 papers, or 0.5% of the sample, as explicitly endorsing that proposition. Though it may well be that 100% of scientists publishing in relevant fields accept that – all other things being equal – our returning CO2 to the atmosphere from which it once came will be likely to cause some global warming (though the record amounts of CO2 we have emitted recently have not caused any warming at all for up to 17 years 6 months[3]), legitimate scientific doubt remains about the quantum of future global warming that may be expected, with an increasing body of peer-reviewed papers moving towards a climate sensitivity of only 1-2 Celisus degrees per CO2 doubling[4], and the IPCC itself drastically reducing its predictions of global warming over the next 30 years.

3. Mr. Torcello offends not only against the Institute’s requirement to treat every person with dignity, including those persons with whose views he disagrees, but also against the Constitution’s assertion of the right of free speech, which includes the right to fund those who wish to exercise it in opposition to what he falsely regards as the prevailing scientific opinion, when he says: “We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus” – a “consensus” which, as the three papers on the subject that Mr Torcello has linked to his posting define it, does not in fact exist.

4. Mr Torcello offends against the requirement of accuracy stated in the principles of academic freedom in that he links the statement in his posting that “public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists” to an allegation, long demonstrated to have been fabricated by one Peter Gleick, a climate change campaigner, that the Heartland Institute had circulated memorandum stating that Heartland intended to persuade schoolteachers that “the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science”. In the interest of accuracy Mr Torcello ought to have made it plain, but did not mention at all, that Gleick had been suspended from his post at an environmental campaign group for several months as a result of this incident, in which he had corruptly posed as a member of Heartland’s board so as to obtain access to its private documents, to which he had added documents of his own when the private documents he had obtained proved to be disappointingly innocent.

5. Mr Torcello shows no respect for Constitutional freedom of speech, or for the principles of academic freedom for those with whom he disagrees, when falsely alleges that all who fund those who dare to question what we are (inaccurately) told is the “consensus” position on global warming are “corrupt”, “deceitful”, and “criminally negligent in their willful disregard for human life”.

6. Mr Torcello, in perpetrating his me-too hate-speech about the alleged “loss of life” from “global warming”, fails yet again to comply with the requirement of accuracy in the principles of academic freedom, in that he departs from the “consensus” to the effect that a global warming of up to 2 Celsius degrees compared with 1750, or 1.1 degrees compared with today, will be not only harmless but net-beneficial to life on Earth. He also ignores the fact that the very heavy additional costs of energy arising from arguably needless subsidies to “renewable” energy systems make it impossible for poorer people to heat their homes. These energy price hikes may, for instance, have contributed to the 31,000 excess deaths in last year’s cold winter in the UK alone – 8000 more than the usual number of excess winter deaths.

7. By looking at only one side of the account, and by threatening scientists who disagree with him with imprisonment for criminal negligence, Mr Torcello offends fundamentally against the principles of academic freedom that he will himself no doubt pray in aid when he is confronted with the present complaint, and against the principle of tolerance of diverse opinions – including, horribile dictu, opinions at variance with his own – that is enjoined upon him by the Institute’s mission statement, and by common sense.

The academic senate will, no doubt, wish to consider whether Mr Torcello is a fit and proper person to hold any academic post at the Institute, and whether to invite him not only to correct at once the errors of fact that he has perpetrated but also to respect in future the academic freedom of those with whom he disagrees as though it were his own freedom – a freedom that, in his shoddy little posting, he has shamefully and ignorantly abused.

Yours faithfully,

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley


[2] Legates, D.R., W.W.-H. Soon, W. M. Briggs, and C.W. Monckton of Brenchley, 2013, Climate consensus and ‘misinformation’: a rejoinder to ‘Agnotology, scientific consensus, and the teaching and learning of climate change’, Sci. & Educ., August 30, DOI 10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9.

[3] Least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature anomaly dataset, September 1996 to February 2014 inclusive.

[4] See e.g. Lindzen, R.S., and Y.-S. Choi, 2011, On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications, Asia-Pacific J. Atmos. Sci., 47:4, 377-390, doi:10.1007/s13143-011-0023-x.


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go get him Tiger !!

Alan Robertson


Jimmy Haigh.

Monckton at his best here. Excellent.

Dear Lord Monckton,
Thank you for your letter. I sent in the following last night via email.
Paul Pierett
Letter is as follows with one edit correction.
Just read where he thinks I should be in prison “What’s Up With That”. Please inform the Dean, Tarcello and the Staff to get an Education in Ice Age Studies. Please inform the Dean, Tarcello and Staff to get an education in Milankovitch Cycles.  
To help Tarcello out with his understanding of Global Warming, we are between Ice Ages; CO2 is not a poison but part of the Nitrate, Carbon Cycles; and that it’s all about sunspots right now.
I am not a skeptic or a denier. I just know more than him‎ when it comes to Global Warming. I have already proved hurricane season strength is tied to strong sunspot activity and it is registered at the Library of Congress.
For a simple Joe the Plumber education I recommend easy reading get Go to the Greek Papers. They outline the next three decades of cold weather and the colder century ahead.
Finally, having spent thirty years of my life protecting life and liberty for The USA, it reflects on your institution how frail the Bill of Rights is when a Paid Professor wants to jail those he disagrees with. Unfortunately, the damage is done and his flock follows him.
Most Sincerely ,
Paul Pierett
Lt. Colonel, Retired
U.S. Army


a most sincere thank you.

Pamela Gray

Lordy Lordy I love how the English write.


I most certainly do NOT want to get in a war of words with Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Bravo, Lord Monckton!

John V. Wright

Restrained, factual, to-the-point – well done Christopher Monckton. And thank you, Anthony, for bringing the original ‘hate speech’ to our attention. Assistant Professor of Philosophy, indeed. God help us all.

Mark Bofill

Thank you Lord Monckton.



David Johnson

Very good

Bob Diaz

That nails it! It’s also worth poising out that this Professor is in a field that does NOT qualify as being an expert in climate science. So on what grounds can he decide that the science is settled and should not be debated?


I Love Monckton . Bravo !!!
As we say in Spain when we admire someone very much
” Es para ponerle un piso ” **
** A not very politically correct way of meaning he should be rewarded,

David Harrington

Cracking stuff your Lordship.

Patrict B

As important- RIT graduates need to express their displeasure to the university and make it clear no donations will be made until your concerns are addressed. I stopped all donations to my graduate alma mater when they began to very publicly support discrimination based on race, and made it clear every time the development office contacted me.


Has the Lord addressed the JDL bigotry?

more soylent green!

That a professor of philosophy should express such opinions is no shock. In Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” he highlights the philosophical and academic roots of German fascism. Not all philosophers believe in classic liberalism.


^correction: the ADL bigotry.

David L. Hagen

The Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Jeremy Haefner
Eastman Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology
New York, New York, United States of America
Dear Provost Haefner
I appeal to you to uphold our unalienable rights to speech and religion, respect for the Rule of Law, Academic freedom with civil speech and professional debate, and the Scientific Method including open testing and validation against objective data.
Accordingly, I second the letter sent you by Christopher Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, titled: “Breaches of Principles of Academic Freedom (Policy E2.0) and of the mission statement of the Institute by Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello”
Yours sincerely
David L. Hagen, PhD


Torcelloed Prose M’Lud.


What next — the professor of poetry will issue a FATWA against those who doubt that zero sodium diets are effective in preventing heart attacks? Will the chair of the art history department demand a pogrom for those who dare point out that we’ve been fracking for 50+ years?


This is excellent. As Anthony says, “factual and courteous”, compared to the appalling tone of the original posting. Outbursts like Torcello’s are surely yet more evidence of an argument that is rapidly being lost. When so much evidence is pointing more and more to CO2 being only a very minor player in global warming, those who have hung their careers and reputation on it will rapidly resort to abuse and threat to try to sustain an unsustainable position.
What I have learned over a year of reading WUWT and an number of books by its main contributors is that no-one denies climate change, no-one denies or is sceptical about the late 20th century global warming; but what we do deny and are sceptical about are the on-going claims, in the face of a 17 year pause with CO2 emissions continuing to rise, that burning fossil fuels is sole cause of global warming. It is becoming more apparent that CO2 forcing contributes very little to the natural global warming/cooling cycles and that returning mankind to the middle-ages with expensive and unreliable renewable ‘green’ energy will not make the slightest bit of difference.
Torcello’s belief that ‘deniers and sceptics’ should be jailed for disagreeing with the approved wisdom, is akin to the recent elections in North Korea, where 100% of the population voted 100% in favour of the ruling status-quo!


Corporate and university policy should never be turned into law. Calling a university policy “private law” is absolutely unAmerican. Policies can be changed or ignored for special circumstances. It’s not law.
Secondly, the first amendment doesn’t “apply to all”, it applys to the federal congress and anything it regulates, which sure as hell isn’t some assistant professor’s speech, unless you are a big fan of dystopian society. Many states have their own bill of rights to make sure that state law reflects the founding principles of the federal government because, if they were not included in state constitutions, those prohibitions do not automatically pass to state law.
The issue is whether state or federal funds were used in an attempt to suppress free speech contrary to state or federal law. In that case, a law granting money for suppression of free speech would have been passed contrary to a constitutional protection. Otherwise, the guy is free to say whatever foolish thing he wants. As your mentor once said, “There is nothing so ridiculous that some philosopher has not said it.”

Rob Ricket

well done Monckton!


How long before there is a retraction and apology? I’m guessing it will be worked on over the weekend and show up around Monday, if not before.
Professor Torcello has perpetrated a crime against academic freedom. If the university lets it stand, perhaps its accreditation needs to be looked at.

Chris D.

Bravo on the responses! If you actually get anywhere with these people, then I think that an appropriate remedy would be to demand the opportunity for a rebuttal essay in The Conversation, rather than to try and silence him. Letting nutters spout off and then following up by exposing the false and inhumane nature of their position is often the best way to marginalize them.

Lloyd Martin Hendaye

As an ossified bastion of PCBS extremism, U-Rochester is the absolute last place any disputant would expect even a halfway decent hearing. However much Rochester’s maundering totalitarians deserve recording, does Viscount Monckton of Brenchley not have better uses for his time?

Eustace Cranch

JDN says:
March 14, 2014 at 8:38 am
“Secondly, the first amendment doesn’t “apply to all”, it applys to the federal congress and anything it regulates,”
“Applys’ -Heh.

David L. Hagen

Please check your assertions.
See The Faculty of Rochester Institute of Technology CHARTER OF ACADEMIC GOVERNANCE. i.e., “private law” of a private instution. (not “public”).

12.1 All members of the faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology are entitled to full freedom in their teaching, studies, creative activities, and research, and in the publication of the results of their research. Likewise, they are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects and material relating to them. It is expected that the aforementioned teaching will be aimed toward achieving the educational objectives agreed upon by the faculty, administration, and the board of trustees.
As teachers and persons of learning, the faculty are aware that the public may judge their profession and the university by their utterances. They shall, therefore, strive to be accurate and to exhibit appropriate professional conduct. They shall respect the views, opinions and sensibilities of others, give appropriate professional consideration to the body of belief held by their audience, and clearly indicate when they are not speaking on behalf of the university.
12.2 Academic due process means that all faculty evaluations shall be carried out according to the norms, criteria, and standards expressed in university policies, and that their application shall be substantive at each stage of the evaluation process.

The Constitution of the State of New York protects rights similar to the US Constitution’s First Amendment. e.g.,

§3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.) . . .
§8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.


The Rochester Institure of Technology is in Rochester, New York. Not; New York, New York. New York, New York is shorthand for New York City, New York. NYC, New York is a bit further East and a lot further Left of Rochester.
Otherwise a fine letter, but I doubt they will be concerned by the opinions of a few future jailhouse denier’s.
Cheers, Kevin


Good response by Christopher Monckton
Monckton’s words are truly mightier that a sword.
This Lewandowsky look alike / act alike academic clown has some explaining to do.

Eustace Cranch

Torcello = Toast

Timothy Sorenson

This RIT professor’s ‘well-documented’ reference is to an article about Brulle’s paper. Which is nothing more than a conspiracy theory paper. As a professor myself, if that reference shows his diligence and bibliographic strength not only is he a deluded individual but apparently incapable of doing research. So many of these guys are a disgrace to education. If I write, and I think I will, I need to reference the Brulle paper in detail so that he can be shown to be the shoddy researcher he appears to be.
Hmm… the quote springs to mind:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
Possibly: Lincoln or Twain, but most probably just a reformulation of Proverbs 17
“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” by some earlier unknown writer.

David L. Hagen

PS Letter also sent to Assistant Professor Lawrence Torcello


“Mr Torcello offends fundamentally against the principles of academic freedom…and against the principle of tolerance of diverse opinions…that is enjoined upon him by the Institute’s mission statement, and by common sense.”
I doubt if an appeal to common sense will carry any weight. This is academia, where common sense is an outmoded concept and thin on the ground. CAGW’s scientific arguments have long been exposed (via Climategate, et al) as invalid. Since then, the only way forward for CAGW proponents is to increase the quantity and amplitude of what they do have: rhetoric, specious statements, hand-waving, unfounded assertions, fraudulent papers, and, above all, strident personal attacks. I shall be extremely surprised and pleased if the response from RIT amounts to anything other than the usual whitewash dip for Mr. Torcello.

Torcello seems to have inspired Lewandowsky, with his Sept 2012, UWA talk, which is far WORSE than his Conversation
see slides 30:30 and 42:40!!!
and he goes after Lindzen, Spencer, Christy at 9 minutes
and he goes after named politicians at the end 47 mins.. calling ‘these people’ wilfully ignorant, completely foolish or corrupt, then goes on to say how to handle that.. to morally condemm them, and to be silent (ie not doing that) is to be complicit.
“I therefore perceive a moral obligation to conduct research into why people reject well-es
tablished scientific facts, be it climate change or the utility of vaccinations. This is my personal conviction, which other scholars are free to share or disagree with. To illustrate my position, Dr. Lawrence Torcello, a philosopher at the Rochester Institute of Technology, put it succinctly: “… Some issues are of such ethical magnitude that being on the correct side of history becomes a cipher of moral character for generations to come. Global warming is such an issue. History inevitably recognizes the moral astuteness of those loudly intolerant of ignorance and corruption. Those who offer polite hospitality to injustice must learn from history that they are complicit to the harms they enable.‎”


Gosh Monkton is tedious. His letter is nothing a good savage editor couldn’t fix.
If you want to be read keep it brief and make it pointed.

Bernie Hutchins

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is in fact in Rochester NY, not in NY, NY. As a small ENGINEERING school it is outstanding, with its top graduates competitive with those from larger schools. High marks in engineering. Philosophy? Not so much it woulds seem!


Lord and Dr. Hagan, I see that both of you sent the letter to RIT at a New York, New York address. If I am not mistaken, RIT is in Rochester, NY, which is upstate.
Rochester Institute of Technology
1 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603


@JDN @ 8:38: In citing the First amendment, the Viscount is not alleging any violation of law. He’s saying that the principles of free expression in the first amendment have been violated. Nor is it un-American to use the term “private law”, which is shorthand for the University’s internal rules for academic conduct that are written to keep their employees on the straight and narrow. The university no doubt has an academic senate where this will be adjudicated. In other words, there will be a trial of sorts, if it gets that far, which I doubt.
God forbid that we get lawyers involved in this. Monckton has it right when he writes: “The academic senate will, no doubt, wish to consider whether Mr Torcello is a fit and proper person to hold any academic post at the Institute, and whether to invite him not only to correct at once the errors of fact that he has perpetrated but also to respect in future the academic freedom of those with whom he disagrees as though it were his own freedom – a freedom that, in his shoddy little posting, he has shamefully and ignorantly abused.”
The university has an obligation to correct Professor Torcello’s errors as well as his hostility to freedom of expression, unless it wants to be seen as tolerating academic fascism within the ranks of its employees.


Repeating myself from the earlier thread: what’s so bad about bringing “full, true and plain disclosure” standards to climate science? Start with the editors and contributors of papers to the IPCC.


Quelgeek: “Gosh Monkton is tedious.”
What’s tedious is people focusing on stylistic differences when very important issues are being discussed. You’re in such a hurry, you couldn’t even spell his name right.

Chris B

There must be a reason for the professor to say such foolish things. When my kids were small they occasionally sought quick attention through bad behavior. Fortunately they outgrew it.
Or, perhaps he’s seeking a Golden Handshake?

I thank Monckton and Watts (among many others) for efforts to widely expose the RIT sourced hate speech against independent thinkers.
The hate speech against independent climate thinkers by RIT’s troubled faculty member Lawrence Torcello leads us to recall the despicable episode where University of Graz professor Richard Parcutt suggested the idea of death sentences for [CA]GW skeptics (aka independent thinkers).

These people can be considered the inevitable intellectual consequences of the ideas of Naomi Oreskes (formerly of UCSD now at Harvard). Oreskes can be considered an intellectual implementor of the totalitarianism envisioned in the fiction book 1984. She is a radical anti-enlightenment intellectual.


Bernie @ 9:13: it’s not small. It’s has over 18,000 post-graduate and undergraduate students.

It seems that I stirred the pot over at ‘the conversation’. I went there for the first time about 10 days ago, and got into a good argument. I didn’t realize that I had stepped into a major bastion of CAGW believers. The byline for ‘the conversation’ seemed to indicate a place to come for respectful discussions, and I even left a comment stating “how nice to find a place to hold reasonable discourse”. I have to say that I was completely wrong in that regard. I haven’t been back since last Friday, but I noticed that at least one CAGW believer appeared to have followed me back to here and HenryP ended up engaging with him.
The incident did spark my thoughts last week. That is what led me to look with renewed vigor into some of the possible connections of climate interactions. That is how I came to consider a radical premise that the Sun is interacting with the oceans to produce cyclical pulses within the oceans. The cyclical pulses are what we end up seeing as climate shifts. I don’t know if this thought will ever bear fruit, but Spring is close by and I am ever hopeful.


Letter sent:
I am writing to you out of concern due to the recent remarks made by Lawrence Torcello.
I have been following the climate debate with intense interest for over a decade. While I am not a fan of “argument from authority”, I will suggest that my credentials and knowledge in this area of science well exceeds his. In fact, Professor Torcello seems rather unaware that the United Nations expends considerable sums of money to collect and the current state of climate science on a regular basis and to publish same in the IPCC AR reports. These reports are, in fact, the actual consensus scientific opinion, and it is not what Professor Torcello claims it to be.
IPCC AR5 (most recent), unlike earlier reports, failed to publish a consensus estimate regarding the climate’s sensitivity to CO2. So, the official consensus among the scientists that world governments and the United Nations have entrusted with analyzing the matter is, that there IS no consensus. Further, the consensus expressed by the scientists in that same report was that sensitivity as predicted by the climate models themselves was well above any estimates that could be justified by observational data and that they were universally running “hot” due to unknown factors.
So, Lawrence Torcello is calling for people to be jailed, not for disagreeing with the consensus science, but for pointing out what it actually says. As to his claims of well documented corporate funding for the denier campaign, I would challenge him to produce evidence of same. If it is in fact “well documented”, then by all means, produce the documentation. Similarly, I would draw your attention to the “97%” consensus surveys frequently referenced and point out that even a cursory examination of any one of them reveals that the vast majority of responses were eliminated on the flimsiest of excuses in a blatant attempt to arrive at a predetermined answer. Had the supposed consensus being claimed actually existed, there would have been no need for such a contrived analysis, and the end result would have been commensurate with the views expressed in UN IPCC AR5. Instead, AR5 refutes any such notion.
Lawrence Torcello has expressed opinions which are at odds with the actual published consensus science. In brief, he has expressed opinions which are his own, which he cannot substantiate, and calls for those who disagree with him to be jailed. He echoes rhetoric from the darkest episodes of human history. I urge your institution to deal with him accordingly.
David M Hoffer

Paul Pierett says:
March 14, 2014 at 8:14 am
Very nice, concise and to the point.

Jack C

Thank you Lord Monckton.