Climate Consensus or Con?

About three years ago, Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount of Brenchley, issued an open challenge to Al Gore to debate the issue of global-warming. Not surprisingly, Gore has never responded to that challenge. Gore’s personal grasp of the scientific issues involved in so-called climate change varies from “non-existent” to “vague”. Monckton, who has emerged as one of the leading voices, if not the leading voice, advocating sanity in an increasingly skeptical world would mop the floor with the former vice president were that contest to happen. Yet, if we are never to enjoy that particular debate, we do have this one: Monckton joined three skeptical colleagues in a debate against four alarmists held before England’s Oxford Union Society. The motion put forth was: “That this House would put economic growth before combating climate change.”

Monkton was joined in support of the motion by Lord Lawson of Blaby, Margaret Thatcher’s former finance minister; James Delingpole, a blogger for The Daily Telegraph; and Lord Leach of Fairford, whom Margaret Thatcher appointed a Life Peer for his educational work. On the other side, Zara McGlone, Secretary of the Oxford Union; Lord Whitty, a Labor peer from the trades union movement and former Labor Environment Minister in the Upper House; Rajesh Makwana, executive director of “Share The World’s Resources”; and Mike Mason, founder and managing director of “Climate Care” spoke in opposition, that is to say, in support of conventional “climate change” wisdom.

An audience of about 250 undergraduate students served as the jury for this debate. Given the overwhelmingly liberal climate that permeates institutions of higher learning, one could reasonably expect that the majority of such an audience would be predisposed to accept climate change orthodoxy. Monckton and his compatriots faced an uphill battle: convincing a group of idealistic young students that predictions of climatic disaster that their teachers and the mainstream media have advanced so confidently weren’t grounded in scientific fact, but rather represent an obscure and increasingly unsupportable theory.

The climate change proponents weren’t able to enter any scientific facts that supported their position into evidence.  McGlone, Whitty and Mason all pointed toward “scientific consensus” regarding climate change as “proof” that global warming is a problem that requires emergency action. At one point, Lord Whitty declared that 95% of scientists agree that mankind’s influence on the climate would result in catastrophe if left unchecked. Challenged by Monckton to offer evidence of this assertion, Whitty revised the figure downward a bit, to 92%, but never was able to come up with a source for either number. This is climate change advocacy at its best, or rather at its worst. Proponents of the hypothesis grab entirely unsupportable, ridiculous numbers out of thin air and eventually such twaddle is repeated and referenced enough that it becomes a “fact” in the eyes of those who desperately want the doomsday scenario to be true.

Monckton was at the top of his game. When his turn came to speak, his cummerbund somehow came undone. Knowing Monckton this was a rather unlikely “accident,” but rather a bit of theater designed to make a point. He held the garment up to the audience and said:

“If I asked this House how long this cummerbund is, you might telephone around all the manufacturers and ask them how many cummerbunds they made, and how long each type of cummerbund was, and put the data into a computer model run by a zitty teenager eating too many doughnuts, and the computer would make an expensive guess. Or, you could take a tape-measure and… measure it!”

Indeed, actual measurements haven’t been too kind to alarmists as compared to the dire predictions of their increasingly unreliable climate models. Makwana, for example, repeated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s prediction that the average planetary temperature would rise by seven degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. A decade into the twenty first century, the actual temperature rise has been 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, which is basically baseline noise in the grand scheme of things. McGlone said that Bangladesh is in danger of disappearing beneath the waves of encroaching seas. Yet, Professor Niklas Nils-Axel Mörner, a prominent oceanographer from the University of Stockholm who has spent forty years studying the oceans, says that sea levels have been stable for the last thirty years. In fact, speaking in Copenhagen at the most recent IPCC conference, Mörner strongly criticized the “very weird” climate models that predict massive flooding in Bangladesh, saying that those predictions were utter nonsense and incompatible with basic principles of physics.

And so the debate went, back and forth, featuring conjecture and hysteria on one side, while Monckton and his allies relied upon common sense and science. I have long held that if you put an unbiased, open-minded group of ordinary people in a room and let both alarmists and skeptics present their cases for a sufficient period of time, there is no doubt that the vast majority of such an audience would quickly realize what utter nonsense climate change alarmism is. But, the jury at the Oxford Union Society could hardly be described as “ordinary.” This was group of earnest, young students who still live in a sheltered world in which educators have all the answers and those who disagree with those answers are fools at best, or greedy, self-serving liars at worst. It’s hard to imagine the skeptical – realistic – point of view prevailing among such a group. So what was the final tally when all the votes were in?

In favor of putting economic growth before combating climate change: 135.

Opposed: 110.

If we could only find a way to convince the United States Congress to educate themselves about this issue even half as much as the students of the Oxford Union Society did last week.

  • Al Barrs

    Good shoo ole man!

    It appears from the data and historic trends that the Earth is in more danger of a coming cold spell, if not an ice age, more than a global warming period. Plus, carbon dioxide is essential for vegetation growth and without vegetation's expelled oxygen animal life would suffer in more ways than one…food shortages and life would be put in danger. Plus, to those who believe carbon dioxide is warming the Earth, which is in question, it may partially counteract the coming cooling of the Earth.


  • iyzablue

    The major problem with global warming is that they have changed the name to climate change so that no matter whether warm or cool… they can still fool the fools who choose to believe that we have any control over it.

    • Democracy First

      And their toady media unquestioningly go along with the name change.

  • Rangerdgd1

    I've lived here in the desert (Las Vegas Nv) for over 10 years now..From the years 2000-2005,we experienced very hot summers,with consecutives days of 110 degrees or hotter very common..In one stretch in July of 2005, a record temp of 117 degrees was recorded,with 2 weeks of heat topping between 112-117 EVERY day..Since then all people here can talk about is how COOL the summers have been..It's May 28,and last week we got SNOW on MT Charleston,45 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip..Don't try telling me about this fraud of Global Climate change unless you're talking about it cooling

  • ciccio

    I am not enough of a scientist to make any judgement on global warming but as I was sitting in tropical Canada this winter praying for just a tiny little bit of warming I did go through the stats of the Canadian met office, did not get much warming but one hell of a surprise.

    The published readings go back to 1953, hourly every day at dozens of stations. The first surprise was that most of the met. stations are at airports. With their miles of tarmac runways and acres upon acres of paved parking and huge buildings not only are they notorious heat sinks but are the one location that has suffered more than most from the urban sprawl since 1953. In 1953 Toronto airport was a little runway in the middle of nowhere, today it is smack bang in the middle of a totally built up area. It is the same for all other airports in Canada. Another peculiarity of airports is that they try situate them as far away as possible from normal Canadian conditions, i.e. lots of lakes, rivers and forests, all of which has a very ameliorating effect on the weather. I hear it every day, temperature today 30 degrees,(this is from the airport where Toronto's temperature is measured) five degrees cooler near the lake. Bear in mind that most of Canada's towns are situated on lakes, rivers or oceanfronts and the spread of those towns is firstly along the shore before it goes inland.

    So anyway, on this nice sunny minus 20 day in December I get the idea it is colder than ever and I decide to check the 12 noon temperature for that day for the last 56 years. The figures they list are the raw readings, no adjustments for the massive urban build up since they started. I decided to average every ten years, it happens that one year may be colder or warmer than another and this would give me a reasonable measurement. The results are startling. The 90's were almost one degree warmer that the 50's, this decade it is a small fraction of a degree, all without counting the effect of the urban heat sink. I can safely conclude that the only extra heat is the hot air generated by the likes of Gore.

    In 1950 there may have been enough land and water for everybody and the world is facing massive shortages today. The reason is very simple and one no one has dared to address.
    There are today nearly four times as many people as then. The West seems to have realized this instinctively, population growth has seen a massive downturn. It is places like Africa where the population has gone from 200 million to a billion that seem to have no thought for tomorrow and blame the West for their fecundity.

  • R.A. Smith

    Science is something I have loved since childhood. I went so far as to become an electrical engineer and worked in the field of nuclear radiation effects, teaching graduate physics for a year near the end of my career. I never thought that my love would be distorted and exploited to advance a political agenda as it has in the case of man-made global warming. We don't vote on science or theories; we prove them by careful study and review of the evidence, something it seems the alarmists are unwilling to do. I refer readers to Singer and Avery, "Unstoppable Global Warming …" for a more disciplined scientific review.

  • Alex Kovnat

    Its a shame that in the article above, the author doesn't mention what I believe is the major Elephant in the Living Room issue: Intellectual hatred of motorcars, of the businesses who make them, and of the common people who drive them.

    I've been saying for years that if you have this kind of hostility toward cars and our western way of life, you are going to have a heavy emotional and ego vested interest in the fundamental idea of the world coming to an end from global warming – and that the automobile is a major cause of it all.

    We should note that the same intellectuals who cry in their champagne over global warming are usually the same people who want to burden other peoples' cars with ever more stringent safety requirements, which lead to more weight, and therefore more difficulty in attaining high fuel economy.

    I wish Christopher Monckton and others, would address the underlying hatred of neurotic intellectuals for the automobile and our Western way of life.

  • TommyBoy52

    We're missing the point here. This isn't about climate change. The alarmism of Algore is merely a means to an end. That end would be the control of energy production in this country. Blow away the smoke and this is about power and money. You control the energy through "climate change" legislation and you will control the country. Algore and all the rest of these climate investors will make millions, billions of dollars. Obama and his Chicago pals will stand to make a ton of money. I'll just say, "Chicago Climate Exchange." Check it out.

    • Carolina Don

      Energy control, economy, banking, industry, now oil control as BO has ordered all new drilling to stop, and I know I missed a bunch of others. I fear that it will take another civil war to stop the power grab. That is why the Second Amendment was included by our founding Fathers. God help.

  • Alex Kovnat

    Tommy, I hear what you're saying: Those who promote the idea of global warming and such measures as cap and trade, have more than the emotional and ego vested interest I mentioned in my comment above. Some of them have a MONEY vested interest too.

  • brimp

    Here is the video of Monckton in action

  • Neil Craig

    I think such formal debates are indeed a very good way of exploring ideas. They are also entertaining as proven by the fact that some of the world's better minds found it so.

    Far more both enteraining & informative than the normal sort of politcial interviews we see on TV news where the speaker barely gets to complete a sentence.

    Does anybody else think that our political life would be far more reasoned if formal debates on the sort of subjects where there is a "consensus" of those in power would be very popular?

    Is anybody else so cynical as to think this is why events like this aren'televised?

  • USMCSniper

    Keith Lockitch writes: "The goal of environmentalism is not any alleged benefit to mankind; its goal is to preserve nature untouched–to prevent nature from being altered for human purposes. Observe that whenever there is a conflict between the goals of "preserving nature" and pursuing some actual human value, environmentalists always side with nature against man. If tapping Arctic oil reserves to supply our energy needs might affect the caribou, environmentalists demand that we leave vast tracts of Arctic tundra completely untouched. If a new freeway bypass will ease traffic congestion but might disturb the dwarf wedge mussel, environmentalists side with the mollusk against man. If a "wetland" is a breeding ground for disease-carrying insects, environmentalists fight to prevent it being drained no matter the toll of human suffering.

    • Ron Grant

      Man's worldview changed profoundly when he looked out at our little blue planet from the moon.Muchiboy

      • USMCSniper

        Muchiboy? I was a major player iand contributor in our nation's Space Program for almost 40 years and….. I also personally worked with Carl Sagan on the Viking and Science Team. Is this the worldview you mean? Watch it!

        • Ron Grant

          Regardless of our differences, USMCSniper, I salute you,for expanding our horizons into space.You are fortunate to have worked in such a fascinating field of study and discovery.And with such gifted men as Sagan.I watched the video.WOW!
          There is indeed so much in our little blue dot.Sort of reminded me of Conrad's Heart of Darkness,where all the evil and all the beauty that ever existed is contained within man's mind,just like on earth.And yea,we're all here on this lonely,little dot,Israeli,Palestinian,etc.and none outside the Earth knows or even cares.And we better look after it and each other,too,because it's all we got.Muchiboy

  • klem

    Dear R.A. Smith,

    I too have been a science guy all of my life, but I'm in the middle of my career now, not retired. And I have been devastated by how science, something so full of optimism and honest pursuit of truth, has been so twisted by money and corruption. I try to teach my kids science but I don’t think they should pursue it as a career, based on what I’ve seen over the past few years. I used to be an AGW Believer until the release of the UN IPCC Ar4 report back in 2007. It was heralded as the proof of AGW and that we needed to stop studying it and start doing something about it. I agreed, so I downloaded it and once I read it, I was astonished at how the report was all hype and no proof. It took me about 6 months of wrestling with it before I realized I was now a skeptic. And since then it has been one astonishing scientific outrage after another. Back when I was in undergrad science, my profs would have tossed me out on my ear for some of the claims we’ve been hearing from climate scientists over the past few years. I wonder what has happened to university science programs which have brought this about?

  • Wayne

    If CO2 is a devastating pollutant, why not just plant more vegetation?

    • Dave

      That was my response as well. There is plenty of open space around the world to plant more trees and put people to work doing it. I've planted six in my yard from seedlings sprouting up with very little effort or expense. The shade helps cool things down also.

    • Ron Grant

      "why not just plant more vegetation?"

      Someone would only chop it down again for firewood , furniture , farming or cattle.Muchiboy

  • "gunner"

    "I wish Christopher Monckton and others, would address the underlying hatred of neurotic intellectuals for the automobile and our Western way of life."
    a very good idea, in earlier times only the rich could afford to travel, ordinary folk were limited to where they could go on foot on a day's journey. the railroad, steamship and later the automobile broke that limit, putting travel, and escape from oppression within every man's reach, and ever since soi disant "elites" have sought to restore those ancient limits, just as a teen ager instinctively understands a car as freedom and parents seek to limit his use of it. the would be, self perceived "elites" hate that "the commons" enjoy all of the pleasures once enjoyed by the fortunate few, what joy in being a member of the "privileged" classes if the peasants enjoy all the same luxuries you have.

  • Ron Grant

    "An audience of about 250 undergraduate students served as the jury for this debate. Given the overwhelmingly liberal climate that permeates institutions of higher learning, one could reasonably expect that the majority of such an audience would be predisposed to accept climate change orthodoxy."

    So what was the final tally when all the votes were in?

    In favor of putting economic growth before combating climate change: 135.

    Opposed: 110.

    The same Union Society:

    The Oxford Union has long associated itself with freedom of speech, most famously by debating and passing the motion "This House would under no circumstances fight for its King and country" in 1933.

    Now,what was going on in 1933?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Al Gore saw the opportunity to corner co2 and make a fortune, which as I have
    read is already topping 100 Million on this scam alone. When it came out I was
    skeptical and then nervous at the financial implications for developed nations and
    now, well I am sure enough people understand that it was all hocum and we are
    safe from global warming. History reveals fluctuations in annual temperatures and
    it seems the only constant is a yearly crop of fraudsters, scam artists and
    rogue politicians playing on human fear………………William

  • Alan Lewis

    I was initially taken in by GW when we had those few really intense summers in the early 00's but then I remembered the 75-76 heatwave. Then I heard some chucklehead talking about "carbon credits" and how we should GIVE money away!! I don't think it's a "hoax" as much as a "bandwagon" where they all compete to outdo each other.

  • Democracy First

    "Bandwagon," rather than "hoax," is a good way of putting it.

    But it's more than that. Whole swaths of groups have become invested in global warming theory, from, of course, environmentalists, to corporations looking for government subsidies and profit from carbon credit trading, to academia winning huge grants not to study the theory, but to prove it.

  • TerraaGirl

    OK, so it was 135 to 110. the scary part is that 110 voted opposed! and these are what we call educated and critical thinkers? I think not. we are still fighting religion.