Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Gentles, 20 April 2022
Complaint of breach of Poynter Institute principles on the part of the far-Left “Climate Feedback” propaganda website
The “Climate Feedback” propaganda website alleges that you have certified its compliance with your “fact-checking” “principles”. “Climate Feedback” is one slimy tentacle in a writhing network of far-Left soi-disant “fact-checking” organizations whose true purpose to silencing those of us who, on sound scientific grounds, oppose the crippling of our energy infrastructure in the specious name of Saving The Planet from an imagined emergency or catastrophe arising from mildly warmer weather worldwide.
If you have indeed “certified” that website, I now request that you will decertify it.
A recent hit-piece published by the “Climate Feedback” website, and directed at me personally, manifests the following breaches of the “principles” laid down by your organization:
- “A commitment to non-partisanship and fairness”
Ground #1 of complaint: I can find no record of any request by the “Climate Feedback” propaganda website for comment by me on its prejudiced, anti-scientific allegations before those allegations were published. Had I been given the opportunity to comment, I should have been able to explain – to name but one instance – that the control-theoretic formula that my team uses, under the guidance of a tenured Professor in that subject and three control engineers” – is not, as the hit-piece mendaciously asserts, an “invented formula”. That is a grave and libelous allegation, and it ought not to have been published under any circumstances unless it had been put to me for comment first.
Ground #2 of complaint: The “Climate Feedback” website is not non-partisan. It only publishes hit-pieces against those who, on sound scientific grounds, question the climate-Communist Party Line that it espouses, while fawningly supporting those who endorse the Party Line. For instance, the current homepage mentions the following items, each of which portrays a relentlessly one-sided, narrow-minded, partisan view of the climate-change question, contrary to your “principle” of “a commitment to non-partisanship and fairness”:
- The hit-piece against me;
- An adulatory endorsement of a whining article in the far-Left Washington Post to the effect that three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest is losing “resilience”, whatever that may mean;
- A hit-piece against the non-Communist Wall Street Journal and against Steven Koonin, for having suggested that Greenland’s melting ice is no cause for alarm. I say “correctly” because the published data for ice loss, particularly when netted off against ice gain on the high plateau ringed by mountains that constitutes nearly all the Greenland land area, would imply a sea-level rise of little more than 0.7 mm per decade. The hit-piece contains numerous nonsenses, such as “… most glaciers around the planet are also melting at an accelerating pace”, when, in reality, most glaciers around the planet are in Antarctica, where the 30-year trend shows accumulation of ice, and very nearly all of the world’s 160,000 glaciers (most of them in Antarctica) have never been visited or measured by Man.
- A hit-piece on Prager University for “repeating a range of misleading claims by Steven Koonin”. Again, the pattern is to cite only climate-Communist sources and to suppress or water down evidence contrary to the Party Line.
- A fawning support for CNN’s contention that rain had fallen on the summit of the Greenland plateau for the first time on record. There was no mention of the fact that monitoring of that vast plateau is sparse and incomplete; that the temperatures on the Greenland summit have been declining for many millennia; or that it was almost certainly warmer on the Greenland summit in the 1930s than it is today. It is the relentless suppression of all sources, however credible, that counter the Party Line, and the glorification of all sources, however dubious or dubiously-funded, that endorse the Party Line, that is the chief reason why the “Climate Feedback” website should no longer be regarded as plausible. It should certainly no longer be “certified” by the Poynter Institute.
- A bed-wetting piece on how all the sea ice in the Arctic will be gone at midsummer by mid-century, but no mention of the fact that scientists had confidently predicted there would be no summer sea-ice in the Arctic by 2013. It is now 2022 and the summer sea-ice is still there, underlining the point of my article – to which the “Climate Feedback” website’s childish hit-piece was a counter-factual response – that the rate at which the planet is warming is very considerably below what had originally been predicted, and that no small part of the reason for the climate Communists’ past over-predictionis the elementary error of control theory that the soi-disant “editor” and “reviewers” at the website were and are entirely unqualified to understand, let alone to criticize.
- A fawning piece congratulating Google/YouTube for demonetizing any content on its platforms that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. The use of the word “consensus” is a red flag for Communism. The use of the word “around” in the manner shown in the above quotation has also been flagged by Western intelligence services as an indicator of a Communist mind-set. It does not matter how “well-established” a “consensus” is, if the “consensus” is flat-out wrong.
Ground #3 of complaint: The “Climate Feedback” website advocates for only one policy position on the climate question: the sullenly anti-Western position that has enriched Mr Putin by helping him to knock out coal-fired competition for Siberian gas, and Mr Xi by banning real autos and enforcing replacement of them by electric buggies that consume 30% more energy per mile travelled, add to emissions in levelized-cost terms, and depend utterly on lithium carbonate of which China controls about 100% of the global supply.
Ground #4 of complaint: The hit-piece talks of an “overwhelming consensus” about climate change. The notion that any scientific question may be decided by “consensus” is totalitarian and anti-scientific. Argument from consensus is an unholy conflation of two logical fallacies: argument from mere headcount and argument from appeal to the authority or reputation of imagined or self-proclaimed “experts”. No website purporting to “check” facts on any scientific question should ever present an imagined “consensus” as an argument for its position. In any event, there subsists no consensus as to the quantum of global warming that may be expected to arise in consequence of our sins of emission. Our research indicates it will continue to be slow, small, harmless and net-beneficial.
Ground #5 of complaint: Contrary to the requirement in the “Principles” that certified fact-“checking” entities should not participate in campaigning on one side or another of an issue, the “Climate Feedback” website has been actively campaigning to induce internet providers to demonetize all websites that publish any material contrary to what the website’s operators call the “overwhelming consensus” about climate change.
- “A commitment to standards and transparency of sources”
Ground #6 of complaint: The hit-piece lists various sources in support of its mendacities, but it fails to reveal that all of those sources are from only one side of the climate debate – the far-Left, totalitarian side. Sceptical sources are not cited at all. The sources cited include the following –
- Schmidt, a known climate-fanatic campaigner, writing at a long-discredited and now-moribund climate-Communist website;
- Oreskes, a self-confessed lifelong Communist who argues solely from the notion of “consensus”; but no mention of Schulte (2008), updating Oreskes’ figures and showing them to have been false;
- Anderegg, another pedlar of the anti-scientific “consensus” notion, whose sample size was far too small for significance, but no mention of Legates et al. (2013), showing a mere 0.3% “consensus” to the effect that recent warming was chiefly manmade’
- Cook, another self-confessed Communist investigated by police in Australia for having published a paper asserting that 97.1% of 11,944 papers published on climate and related topics over the 21 years 1991-2011 had said recent warming was mostly manmade, but no mention of the fact that Cook’s own list of all 11,944 papers, marked up by him, showed that only 41 papers, or 0.3% of the entire sample, had said that;
- NOAA, which has long and profitably championed anti-scientific catastrophism, but no mention of the fact that its climate-fanaticist former director, one Karl, had been humiliatingly debunked by me in front of the U.S. Congress on the temperature record;
- Cheng on sea level, but no mention of contrary sources such as Mörner, the world’s ranking expert, who published more than 600 papers on the subject in his long career, or the Envisat satellite-altimetry record, or Wysmuller’s research on adjustment for regional variability in post-Ice-Age tectonic recovery rates.
- HadCRUT4 surface-temperature dataset, but no mention of the University of Alabama at Huntsville dataset that was the focus of the article the hit-piece purported to fact-“check”.
- WMO report on “acceleration” of climate change, but no mention that the WMO is highly partisan and gave great prominence to the long-discredited “hokey-stick” graph purporting to find recent warming unprecedented on the basis of incorrectly-assessed dendrochronology combined with outright data-tampering.
Ground #7 of complaint: Though the hit-piece aimed to make the false and grave allegation that I had used an “invented formula” from control theory, not one of the sources cited in the hit-piece has any expertise in control theory, the well-developed and amply-demonstrated branch of engineering physics devoted to the mathematics of feedback analysis. Yet the hit-piece fails to make it clear that it has no suitably-qualified source for its false and baseless allegation.
Ground #8 of complaint: The hit-piece deliberately misrepresents the sources I had used for the assertion that there has been no trend in global mean temperature over the past seven and a half years and more. It states that I had relied on a single surface-temperature dataset, when my primary source was in fact the UAH lower-troposphere temperature dataset, whose output I have been tracking for more than a year with monthly updates. The hit-piece fails to mention the UAH dataset at all, inferentially because the authors are desperate not to let it have any publicity.
- “A commitment to transparency of funding and organization”
Ground #9 of complaint: Though your “principles” require those whom you certify to provide easy means of communication with the “editorial team”, no email is provided for the listed “guest editor”, one Doherty.
Ground #10 of complaint: Neither of the two soi-disant “reviewers” had his email address listed on the “Climate Feedback” website.
Ground #11 of complaint: The “Climate Feedback” website, which provides a contact email address, did not respond to two emails from me to that address requesting a right of reply.
Ground #12 of complaint: Neither of the two soi-disant “reviewers” replied to emails sent to them at their university addresses.
- “A commitment to standards and transparency of methodology”
Ground #13 of complaint: Though your “principles” require that evidence on both sides of a question under consideration should be presented, the hit-piece cites sources and evidence only on one side of that question, and actively suppresses evidence for the truth of various matters it alleges I had stated incorrectly.
Ground #14 of complaint: The hit-piece did not follow any standard methodology for deriving the trend on monthly global mean surface or lower-troposphere datasets. Instead, it not only suppressed all mention of the UAH dataset that was the foundation of the article it was attacking. Instead, it stated that datasets for ocean heat content continued to show increased warming of the ocean. However, no attempt was made to translate the ocean heat content into ocean temperature (which has barely changed in decades), and no attempt was made to identify the extent to which natural factors such assubocean volcanism, particularly at the divergence ridges that meet under el Niño regions 1 and 2, are responsible for such little ocean warming as is evident.
Ground #15 of complaint: The hit-piece displays a striking ignorance of control theory, the field of science borrowed and fatally misunderstood by climatology, leading it to make grossly excessive predictions of temperature-feedback strength and consequently of global warming. Yet nowhere is it explained that none of the “authors” or “reviewers” or “sources” has any relevant training, certification, knowledge or experience in control theory, and that the hit-piece’s conclusions on that subject are simply made up. They are a lie.
- “A commitment to an open and honest corrections policy”
Ground #16 of complaint: No response has been received to my request to be given a right of reply so as to set the record straight and provide sources other than climate-Communist sources.
I now require the Poynter Institute to instruct the handsomely-funded operators of the “Climate Feedback” website either to grant me a right of reply or to publish the statement of which a draft follows.
Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Statement by the Poynter Institute
Lord Monckton has complained to the Poynter Institute that the “Climate Feedback” website certified by the Institute is in breach of the Institute’s fact-checking principles. The Institute has upheld His Lordship’s complaint and has directed the website to publish the present statement within seven days.
The Institute has issued the following findings, following Lord Monckton’s numbered grounds of complaint:
- The Institute finds that no one for or on behalf of the “Climate Feedback” website contacted Lord Monckton to hear his side of the case before it saw fit to publish a hit-piece calculated to be detrimental to His Lordship’s reputation and to mislead the public. The Institute reminds all those whom it certifies that they are required to adhere to the two principles of natural justice: namely, that both sides should be fairly heard and fairly allowed to express their opinions, and that no one should be the judge in a cause that he has made his own.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website is not non-partisan, in that, as Lord Monckton demonstrated in his letter of complaint, all of its recent articles on the climate change question have reflected only the catastrophist side of the case, with little or nothing fairly to reflect the skeptical side of the case. The Institute is particularly concerned at the evidence that the “Climate Feedback” website has been actively suppressing data that point against what the website calls the “consensus” position, even where those data were presented in the articles the website’s operators have seen fit to “fact-check”.
- The “Climate Feedback” website has been reckless as to whether its partisan approach to the climate question may contribute to the harm caused to Western nations by international climate policies that give an undue terms-of-trade advantage to Russia through the enforced removal of coal-fired competition, and to China through the enforced replacement of gasoline-powered vehicles with heavily-subsidized electric vehicles dependent upon lithium carbonate, of which China is the near-monopoly supplier worldwide. The Institute will be following up indications from Lord Monckton that certain of the “Climate Feedback” website’s corporate funders may be, or may be acting under the influence of, or under financial subornation by, Russian and Chinese agents of influence.
- The Institute was particularly concerned at the evidence that the “Climate Feedback” website has sought publicly to justify its partisanship on the climate question by asserting that there is an “overwhelming consensus” on the climate-change question. The Institute’s principles are clear: fact-checking websites must neither be, nor be seen to be, partisan. The Institute is persuaded by Lord Monckton’s statement that argument from “consensus” is a conflation of the logical fallacies of argument from mere headcount and argument from appeal to authority, and that to appeal to “consensus” in any scientific matter is to be partisan.
- The Institute hereby instructs the “Climate Feedback” website to cease all campaigning activities on the climate question if it wishes to remain certified. In particular, the Institute was concerned at the evidence provided by Lord Monckton to the effect that the website’s operators have been applying pressure to internet content providers so that they will censor views on the climate question with which the website’s operators disagree.
- The Institute finds that, in respect of the article attacking Lord Monckton, many of the sources the “Climate Feedback” website had relied upon are known partisan sources, some of them wholly unreliable by any objective standard. If the website wishes to retain its certification, it must henceforth properly present evidence from sources on both sides of the climate-change question, not merely from the side that its operators favor, and it must cease to cite dubious or defective sources.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website was wrong to state that Lord Monckton had used what its operators saw fit to describe as an “invented formula” in support of His Lordship’s argument that an elementary error of physics had misled climatologists into imagining that global warming would be far more rapid, severe and disruptive than has since proven to be the case. His Lordship had contended that in the 1980s climate scientists had first borrowed feedback formulism from control theory, but had misunderstood it. They had assumed that at the temperature equilibrium in 1850 the 8 K direct warming by preindustrial noncondensing greenhouse gases had driven the 24 K feedback response, chiefly through more water vapor in warmer air, so that for every 1 K of direct warming by greenhouse gases one might expect 4 K of final or equilibrium warming after allowing for feedback response. Lord Monckton is correct that at any given moment (such as 1850) the feedback processes then acting upon any dynamical system, such as the climate, must perforce respond not only to the perturbation signal (which, in climate, is direct warming by greenhouse gases) but also to the base signal (which, in climate, is the 255 K emission temperature that would prevail on Earth even if there were no greenhouse gases in the air at that moment). Therefore, Lord Monckton is correct in stating that the correct formula for the system-gain factor derivable on the basis of data for 1850 is not 32 / 8 = 4, as numerous climatological papers have erroneously stated, but (255 + 32) / (255 + 8) > 1.1. Therefore, on that basis, each 1 K of direct warming by greenhouse gases can be expected to engender not 4 K but 1.1 K of final warming. The Institute is concerned that the “Climate Feedback” website’s operators should have dismissed Lord Monckton’s formula as an “invented formula” when none of the editors or reviewers in question possessed any relevant expertise or practical experience in control theory. Their false statement that His Lordship’s was an “invented formula” shows a reckless disregard not only for His Lordship’s reputation but also for any of the Institute’s principles.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website, in attacking Lord Monckton for having said there had been no global warming for seven and a half years, had deliberately withheld all mention of the actual dataset on which Lord Monckton’s series of monthly articles is based – the University of Alabama at Huntsville dataset. That dataset indeed shows a zero least-squares linear-regression trend for seven and a half years. Withholding that fact was calculated to mislead the website’s readers.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website acts in breach of the principles by withholding the email address of the “guest editor” in charge of the piece attacking Lord Monckton.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website acts in breach of the principles by withholding the email addresses of the two “reviewers”.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website, in not replying to two requests from Lord Monckton for a right of reply, has acted in breach of the principles, which require those certified by the Institute to make sure that corrections are promptly published. Significantly, neither the website nor the two “reviewers” challenged the point-by-point refutation sent by Lord Monckton. Inferentially, they realized they were in the wrong, but were unwilling to admit their errors.
- The Institute finds that the two “reviewers” of the piece attacking Lord Monckton were under a general obligation to reply to his email to each of them drawing attention to their errors. Their failure to reply was a serious breach of the principles, and is not to be repeated.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website’s choice of sources and presentation of material on the climate question, both in the attack piece against Lord Monckton and generally, are breaches of the principles.
- The Institute finds that the entire basis for the “Climate Feedback” website’s attack piece against Lord Monckton was defective, in that that piece did not make sufficiently explicit the fact that the least-squares linear-trend analysis used by Lord Monckton – and used correctly – by His Lordship – is a standard method of analysing time-series data. Furthermore, the attack piece withheld all mention of the UAH dataset that was the chief focus of Lord Monckton’s article, inferentially because that dataset verifies the truth of Lord Monckton’s assertion. In essence, the hit piece sought to maintain that Lord Monckton was obliged to mention every dataset, including ocean-temperature datasets, even though the subject of his articles was global mean surface air temperature. That is not fact-checking: it is prejudice. The operators of the “Climate Feedback” website, committed to what, on the evidence, is a non-existent “overwhelming consensus” as to the magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution to the small warming over the past century, tried and failed to hold Lord Monckton to account by saying that they preferred to rely upon data that suited their own belief, and that Lord Monckton was not entitled to present, or to draw conclusions from, data that ran counter to their belief. That was an abuse of the process of fact-checking in science, and one which, if it is repeated, will lead to the permanent decertification of the “Climate Feedback” website.
- The Institute finds that the failure of the operators of the “Climate Feedback” website to consult anyone with sufficient expertise in control theory to comment fairly or competently on the research by Lord Monckton’s team concerning climatologists’ application of control theory to temperature feedback analysis was a particularly serious breach of the principles. One cannot state that a scientific fact is incorrect if one has not consulted anyone with sufficient scientific knowledge upon which to found any such statement. Particularly having regard to this ground of complaint, the Institute has instructed the “Climate Feedback” website’s operators to apologize to Lord Monckton and to retract their attack piece, which contravenes the principles in multiple respects.
- The Institute finds that the “Climate Feedback” website has failed to respond properly or at all to Lord Monckton’s complaint, and that it is accordingly in breach of the principles. If, therefore, the website’s operators will not give His Lordship the right of reply to which he is in the circumstances fully and fairly entitled, the Institute instructs them to display this statement in full and in perpetuity, and to keep it prominently displayed and directly (one-click) linked from the homepage for as long as “Climate Feedback” remains certified by the Institute. failing which the Institute will, without further notice, decertify the “Climate Feedback” website and flag it as unreliable.