There is only one climate sceptic in the world. His name is Christopher Monckton. This is the only conclusion you could draw from Rupert Murray’s film, Meet the Climate Sceptics,  broadcast on BBC4 tonight.

The film portrays Monckton single-handedly attacking the entire global scientific establishment, sabotaging any possibility of climate legislation in the USA, and thereby demolishing any possible global deal on emissions-reduction through the UNFCCC process. Along the way he destroys Kevin Rudd’s administration and the Australian ETS… In Murray’s fantasy, Christopher Monckton is to climate scepticism what James Bond is to the UK.

The film belongs to a strand on BBC TV, called Storyville. But Rupert Murray doesn’t just tell a story, he constructs a mythology. Says Murray, introducing his film:

I don’t know about you, but over the past few years, I’ve been quite frightened by all the media stories about global warming. Even the British government mounted an ad campaign to try and scare us and our children into acting on CO2.

I thought like quite a few people, that we humans were heading for disaster. I was scared we were going to lose our freedoms, because our free-wheeling lifestyle was going to have an impact.

I was worried for my children. What kind of world were they going to grow up into?

Then one day I came across this film, and the more I watched, the better I felt. my guilt for being human began to evaporate as leading sceptic, Lord Christopher Monckton seemed to demolish many of the key predictions of doom.

If the sceptics were right, we could all celebrate. But what if they were wrong, and by listening to them, we were gambling with millions of peoples’ lives and our future?

I set aside my own green beliefs and any preconceived ideas I might have had. I wanted to hear their side of the story, to find out if they had the answers we’re all looking for.

But Murray doesn’t meet them. He doesn’t hear their side of the story. And he doesn’t set aside his green beliefs and preconceptions; he brings them with him on his journey following Mockton across Australia, the USA. With the footage, he weaves a story that is transparently intended as some kind of moral pornography for liberals.

This journey shows Monckton at the same time affable and charismatic in bed with a nasty, reactionary audience: elderly and religious conservatives, the Tea Party movement; Glen Beck; Fox News; bizarre conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones; the Republican Party; and a bigoted homophobe who claims to agree with what he imagines as Monckton’s attitude to gays:

I endorse your stand on homosexuals and Aids {sic}… They should be locked up they should be exterminated.

This is all Murray wants to say about Monckton — he’s in bed with the baddies. We learn almost nothing about Monckton’s argument. This demonstrates that as hard as Murray pretends he aimed to understand the sceptics, and to have put his prejudices to one side, he couldn’t create a film which accurately portrayed the thesis of just one of them, in spite of spending a great deal of time with him. All we see is small, disconnected fragments of argument, devoid of any context. The superficial attempts to portray Monckton’s ideas are counterposed by much longer expositions of strong and at times shrill, opinion from the likes of Kevin Trenberth, Andy Pitman, and David Griggs, to which Monckton is denied the opportunity to answer.

This is a pity, because it precludes proper criticism of the argument Monckton actually makes. It instead takes issue with the image of Monckton that Murray invents.

I’ve seem Monckton’s presentation, and I do not find it convincing. At the risk of annoying visitors here, my criticism of sceptics in general is that the dependence on scientific arguments fails to challenge the eco-centric politics that precedes it in the environmentalists case. Thus, scepticism makes a concession to environmentalism: all you need is the right science, and then you’ll know what to do. Scepticism almost accepts environmentalism’s premises, and so fails to criticise it, leaving the debate to oscillate according to the latest scientific discovery. All it would take to make climate alarmism and the political changes it demands legitimate, then, would be for some new scientific discovery.

However, a film which made a serious attempt to understand Monckton’s argument would be interesting, and likely would reveal weaknesses in the alarmist’s case, even if it wouldn’t be conclusive. Many films are made about scientific controversies, featuring strong personalities, outlining their thesis, allowing critics to give their perspective. Such a film could be made in a matter of days, with a fraction of the carbon budget…

But Murray, the film-maker, prefers cheap shots and expense accounts that take him across the globe. Instead of giving us Monckton’s own account of his argument, he has created a snide character assassination, taking advantage of unguarded moments, and moments from the fringes of Australian and US politics. Murray wraps them all up so that the viewer can have a good old titter to himself about what fools the rest of the world are. And he does it for a transparent purpose: to maintain the perception of the debate as one divided into scientists on the one side, and foolish ‘deniers’ on the other.

This is reflected in a short review of the film on the Guardian’s TV page:

Storyville: Meet the Climate Sceptics
10pm, BBC4

Despite – or because of – the scientific consensus that man-made global warming is a tangible hazard, a fringe of vociferous opinion holds that the danger has been massively overstated; that global warming is an environmental equivalent of the millennium bug. Rupert Murray’s film introduces leading climate change sceptics, attempting to understand their arguments and motivations – are they misguided, are they opportunists, or do they have a point? Their cause is possibly not aided by having as spokesman the hereditary peer Christopher Monckton, who recently needed to be told to stop referring to himself as a member of the House of Lords.

The film really does not feature ‘leading climate sceptics'; it features only Monckton. And Monckton is not the spokesman for climate scepticism.

Yet again, it is the reaction to climate scepticism which tells us much more about political environmentalists than scepticism. There is a need to explain the failures at COP15 and 16, there is a need to explain the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, there is a need to explain the failure of the green movement. Thus the myth of Lord Monckton, attacker of science, destroyer of progressive climate policies… Because that, fundamentally is the only way the failure to turn climate alarm into political authority can be explained. It is only by creating what appears to be a whole, powerful, enemy — an other — can the likes of Murray begin to explain environmentalism’s discombobulation, so as to start to give it identity as an alternative to the sheer nastiness depicted by the myth.

There are many climate sceptics Murray could have chosen to interview. But none that lend themselves so easily to creating this picture of the debate. There are climate sceptics from across the political spectrum in both houses of Parliament. There are climate sceptics in other public and civil institutions, think tanks, campaigning organisations, and universities. An interesting film that sought to make sense of climate scepticism could be made, even by a critic of environmentalism. Murray is not that film-maker, and now, after two cheap, partial and crass films in the space of just one week, it’s probably time to ask if the BBC is even capable of commissioning a film that gives a sobre, honest account of the debate.

The BBC now has to cope with the fact that an editorial agenda appears to be at work more than ever, long after it has been accused of this, and long after it made statements that it would behave otherwise. The BBC gives succour to Monckton at the expense of its own credibility, just as it did a week earlier. By making a caricature of Monckton, Delingpole, and climate scepticism, the BBC reveals itself as the same kind of beast it attempted to slay: given to dogma, unwilling to countenance either debate or dissent, and failing to reflect on its function as an impartial broadcaster. It could be all the things it mocks in Murray’s film. It could be Fox News. It could be the homophobic bigot. It could be the religious zealot.

55 Responses to Mythologising Monckton

  • Was that Lindzen commenting on the range of predicted temps from different models depending on feedbacks?
    Blink and you might have missed him,but I suppose if more had been shown he would have gone on to caution about affording too much credibility to such calculations.
    As it was the casual viewer could have thought he was merely explaining the variances whilst broadly supporting their suppositions.
    A right “stitch-up”.

  • It seems the makers went after Delingpole and Watts too.

    Sceptics all three, and high profile too. But not scientists.

    You would think someone actually interested in finding out about the weakness of the AGW theory might actually talk to a scientist!

  • My impressions on watching this film were almost identical to the views you express above. I was hoping for a sensible discussion of the sciences, but what we got was a character assassination of Lord Monckton, and by association, all other sceptics. I was surprised that it didn’t attempt to imply that all climate sceptics were all Holocaust deniers too, as frequently implied in the media. It should have been entitled “Meet Christopher Monckton”. More of the biased reporting I have come to expect from the BBC recently.

  • Brilliant post, Ben. Especially this par:

    “At the risk of annoying visitors here, my criticism of sceptics in general is that the dependence on scientific arguments fails to challenge the eco-centric politics that precedes it in the environmentalists case. Thus, scepticism makes a concession to environmentalism: all you need is the right science, and then you’ll know what to do. Scepticism almost accepts environmentalism’s premises, and so fails to criticise it, leaving the debate to oscillate according to the latest scientific discovery. All it would take to make climate alarmism and the political changes it demands legitimate, then, would be for some new scientific discovery.”

    It can’t be stated often enough. The AGW debate has been framed in such a way by the warmists that they can never lose on “the science” because they have very carefully posited their theory in such a way that is impossible to falsify. And even when it has – to all intents and purposes – been falsified, they simply change the rules. eg Kevin Trenberth’s new idea that from henceforward, the onus should be on “sceptics” to prove that AGW is not happening, rather than that it is; the new flurry of revelations that, far from being something which we will soon see no more in our lifetimes, snow is yet another sign which proves global warming; etc.

    This is why it’s so important to expose the underlying politics informing what is essentially a massive worldwide scam exploiting probably the biggest outbreak of mass hysteria in history. It will never be settled through “the science” because it never was about “the science.”

  • Commentator Mac on one of the Bishop Hill threads quoted Mark Twain: “The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.” Which kind of sums up the stratagem employed in Horizon and Storyville – single out and discredit the “head bull goose loony” (as per Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and all the others will be compliant.

    And the wrongness of this is something that Rupert Murray, Paul Nurse et al don’t seem to get; for them, it’s as if once the public have their false authority figures (James Delingpole, Christopher Monckton) taken away – like removing the kingpin from a log jam – the true authority figures (scientists) will be able to step into the vacuum and communicate the important issues such as climate change clearly and in words that even the slowest will understand, and all will be well – then the urgency of the situation (“every country on the globe faces tough decisions over what to do about climate change”) will translate itself into universal “action”, as if by magic, somehow bypassing politics altogether.

    Below, however, a not very marvellous or coherent example of recent communication from a scientist (back to Paul Nurse in Horizon):

    “When a scientific issue has important outcomes for society, then the politics becomes increasingly more important. So if we look at this issue of climate change, that is particularly significant. Because that has effects on how we manage our economy and manage our politics. And so this is become a crucially political matter, and we can see that by the way that the forces are being lined up on both sides. What really is required here is a focus on the science, keeping the politics and keeping the ideologies out of the way.”

    It’s all a bit of a muddle. I’m not sure even he knows what he’s trying to say.

  • James – The AGW debate has been framed in such a way by the warmists that they can never lose on “the science” because they have very carefully posited their theory in such a way that is impossible to falsify.

    Right… ‘The Science’ and ‘The Consensus’ seem to stand in a discussion about climate change for whatever the person making the argument wants it to stand for. But all those ‘thousands of the world’s top scientists’ haven’t been able to create a coherent, definitive consensus statement. Thus, in any debate, to take issue with anything is to take issue with a completely nebulous, shifting, and incoherent argument. ‘The Consensus’ just means “I’m right, you’re wrong. Nerr nerr ner nerr ner”.

    I think we should be careful of the word ‘scam’, and ‘science’. I’m not fazed by the idea that ‘climate change is happening’, except that the expression doesn’t mean anything. But if it is happening, and it means something, then I’m still not wetting myself, because alarmists can’t tell the difference between a foot of sea level rise over a century and a mega-tsunami. It’s their indifference to humanity that makes it so, in spite of their claims otherwise. This is demonstrated by Murray’s total failure to understand your point about human life improving, and being about something worth living for. Environmentalists can only see the sea level rising to overwhelm whatever exists there now because innovation and adaptation are anathema to their own perspective. People could move, defences could be built, just as they are in the Netherlands and London. But to this, we just hear that this is a ‘technofix’, and that poor people won’t be able to afford it. Environmentalists NEED there to be poor people. They NEED inequality. They can’t stand the possibility of the entire world enjoying western (and now much eastern) standards of living.

  • >>Mooloo says:
    >>February 1, 2011 at 9:13 am
    >>It seems the makers went after Delingpole and Watts too.
    >>Sceptics all three, and high profile too. But not scientists.
    >>You would think someone actually interested in finding out about the weakness of the AGW theory might actually talk to a scientist!

    Trouble is, there’s only a handful of scientists who can be approached for a sceptical view – and they only question part of the theory and don’t buy into the “massive worldwide scam” gibberish.

    So, when there are no scientists to talk to, the sceptical movement keeps returning to the non-climate scientists like Monkton and Delingpole and Watts.

    And this leads us further towards the binary path of “climate science” vs “massive worldwide scam”, polarising the debate even further.

  • Red Lake says:
    February 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm
    Not quite accurate. There are many scientists who doubt AGW, there are none that doubt climate change but they all have jobs and are all subject to their work and paymasters and many of them are coherent, precise and knowledgeable and all are easy o find through Google. The problem is that they were apparently not approached and those skeptics that were refused the blanket BBC contract. Lord Monckton must have read the contract, must have known the consequences but, by the sound of it, thought he could control Murray and the BBC through his agreement to a repost of 3 minutes at the end of the film. Sadly and predictably this repost was used against him by editing as (in)appropriate. He lost the court case for his reply today because he did not insert his demand in the contract. I’m fraid and deeply sadened that the BBC has begun the final phase of the self destruction of it’s reputation for impartiality. Moncton should have known better.

  • Here in the America, our new Republican US House representatives are presented with a huge opportunity to question AGW, not only though a re-examination of the underlying science, but also through hard scrutiny of the smear of skeptic scientists – something that, in my impression, is a topic they largely don’t know about. Please see my latest article about this: “Does a huge lapse in mainstream media reporting allow the global warming crisis to stay alive?”

    Excerpt: The new US House GOP committee chairmen aren’t just presented with a ‘witch hunt’ opportunity to score a few points on the ClimateGate scandal, conservatives everywhere now have an unprecedented opportunity to expose the far-left agenda once and for all. Yes, doctoring temperature data is bad, but when people pushing an ideology resort to portraying critics as villains using an unsupportable accusation, solely to distract us from seeing the IPCC’s highly questionable claims about humans causing global warming, we have a huge problem. When an entity as globally influential as the mainstream media fails to seriously question any part of it, and actually joins in on the push, then we have a monumental problem.

    The central figure of my articles is American anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan. How many of you across the pond know that his accusation phrase against skeptic scientists, seen in Al Gore’s movie full screen just before the 1 hour 13 minute point, is also found in a learn-to-speak-English BBC program? I discovered a 2004-ish Canadian “Quirks & Quacks” radio show archive at, of all places, the Abu Dhabi Men’s College: which apparently got their material from “BBC English: Listen and Read”. Go a bit more than halfway down the web page to the “Global Warming Listening Activities” and its #4 “Global warming listening” section to hear the MP3 file for the Canadian radio show. Then marvel at the way Gelbspan accuses skeptic scientists as being corrupted by big coal and oil industries. Click on my name above for the articles in which I detail myriad problems with his unsupportable accusation.

  • This post gives a really insightful discussion of the program.
    Thank you!

  • Storyville?

    From Wikipedia “Storyville” entry:

    “…The District was set up to limit prostitution to one area of town where authorities could monitor and regulate the practice. In the late 1890s, the New Orleans city government studied the legalized red light districts of northern German and Dutch ports and set up Storyville based on such models.”

    Maybe not exactly the place for Murray’s hit-piece, but…..

  • JD, “The AGW debate has been framed in such a way by the warmists that they can never lose on the science…”

    Agreed, but even if it is impossible to refute the warmist’s scientific claims, it is still worthwhile asking what they would like to do about it. For if the recent discussions on shifting weather patterns are anything to go by, it is also impossible to distinguish the impacts of AGW from those due to natural catastrophe. Given that the latter are a cast iron certainty, why would anyone choose to react to the potential impacts of AGW by reducing our ability to deal with every catastrophe? Let alone our ability to deal with hunger, poverty, disease, war and tyranny. It is simply not reasonable.

  • Could have been worse. It might have been ‘Christopher Monckton meets Louis Theroux.’

  • This is all very sad. – And James, by the way, you have shown yourself very human over this last couple of weeks, weeks in which, on the one side, extraordinary things are happening in the world and, on the other, an incestuous, vacuous establishment, tries to assasinate with pretty inaffectual redicule (except for those whose emptiness wishes to be unchalleneged)those they find impossible to debate. All very sad.
    But what they fail to understand is that which is symbolised in the almost total agreement, as witnesed here, on this issue, of James Delingpole and Ben Pyle, two people from very different backgrounds, just as the pathetic impotent windbags of the US and UK political establishment, and media outlets, like News 24, fail to realise what’s going on in other parts of the world. This, I believe, is what is both extremely profound and hopeful.

  • I would have thought Monckton would have realized that it would be a stitch up, he should have demanded a copy of all the footage so he could re- edit his own version of the programme.

    AL Gore is savvy enough not to debate and not to be followed around like this.

    Storyville is a great strand, top of the tree regarding docs, the commissioning editor really let himself down on this biased film, was he leant on.

  • The green-left bias of public broadcasting organisations across the Western world makes them occupational refugee camps for middle-brow verbalists fleeing the market economy. What possible justification remains for publicly funded broadcasters anyway? I say, Drain the Swamp! Privatise the BBC, ABC and the PBS. Most left-leaning media mastheads in the US are financially stricken, so how long would it be before the undergraduate opinion set felt the cold wind of economic reality howling through the hole in their ideology? Why do we carry these monkeys so willingly on our backs?!!

  • Marc, is there really a left/right dimension to the broadcasters’ treatment of climate change?

    In the UK, at least, it’s very hard to identify a left/right split, not least because all the main parties and their politicians have bought into the climate agenda.

    In fact, the green left would probably be more critical of the broadcasters/’MSM’ as being merely ‘Green Right’.

    Furthermore, is it really possible to detect a difference between public/private media on climate change?

    Rupert Murdoch, Chair/CEO of News Corp. (which owns Fox) said the following:

    We’re starting with our own carbon footprint. Not nothing. But much of what we’re doing is already, or soon will be, little more than the standard way of doing business. We can do something that’s unique, different from just any other company. We can set an example, and we can reach our audiences. Our audience’s carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours. That’s the carbon footprint we want to conquer.

    There are few straight lines in the climate debate.

  • What else would you expect from the BBC, as a state broadcaster in a country with a political consensus that AGW is proven, it’s fully signed up to the AGW agenda. Don’t watch the BBC is my solution. Get your news elsewhere.

  • You have completely missed the point of a conspiracy/religion/bunch of lies unravelling.
    We want this programme shown on BBC 1 on primetime.
    This was not shown in a vacuum and it now undermines the warmist religion.
    They have brilliantly controlled the message until recently: THAT ALMOST NO ONE DISBELIEVES THEIR RELIGION. THAT THEIR ‘FACTS’ are facts.
    The sight of anyone who passionately disbelieves them coupled with the vast crowds in Australia and The USA have stunned the people who have until now been daily and hourly brainwashed that there are no real dissenters, certainly not big numbers.
    This is a massive own goal for the warmists. We should rejoice that the truth is coming out.
    little hinges control big doors. But little hinges hate people to notice how tiny they are compared to how big the door is.
    We should ask The BBC to show it on primetime on BBC 1.

  • Ben this is the best summing up of the situation I have seen for some time. And add in James’ point about the argument being framed in such a way that the alarmist are never wrong and you have it in one.

    When Ian Plimer was in London back in 2009 for his spectator talk, someone asked him when he thought AGW and alarmism would end. His answer was simple and one I agree with. He said “when the money runs out”

    When and only when the people of the UK realise that we are now technically broke, and wake up to the fact that in addition to the 1.2 trillion dept we have we must add a further 3 trillion of unaccounted public sector pension liabilities will they start to insist that our politicians manage the country correctly and ditch all the expensive greenery and get back to driving the country forward again.

  • Peter, I half agree with IP… Alarmism will end when it’s no longer politically useful. I suspect that it will take a new form, however, and the climate issue will be replaced by optimum population/peak resources. I.e. the eco-centric perspective will remain, but the issues will change.

  • Having watched the programme, I thought there were a lot of positives to be gained from it from a climate realist point of view. As was mentioned in an earlier comment it was very revealing that large crowds were listening to Monckton, both in the USA and Australia. The science in the programme was non-existent, which highlights the weakness of the alarmist case. I take away from it that the science is far from settled – despite the best efforts of the programme makers to insert scary images of floods and droughts.

  • The programme was never intended to be a fair appraisal of the reasons for a person to be espousing AGW sceptical views. It used all of the more obvious out-of-context editing tricks to portray Monckton as a lone voice, overwhelmed by ‘serious’ climate scientists. It also used selections of background music such as extracts from Gilberr and Sullivan to suggest a less than rational basis to Monckton’s views.

    This is no nore than can be expected from BBC, as it has no intention of giving balance on this subject. However, this is not a criticism of BBC, but a recognition that the subject of global warming is too big and too complex for BBC to handle. The broadcast media has been exposed by newer Web media of in fact never being an authoritative source of journalism, even though a few decades ago we might have been in praise of it as such. Also, BBC has few if any journalists with any scientific training. Therefore, we can only expect low level, unprofessional, documentaries from BBC on this subject.

    We can never get as deep, nor balanced a view from BBC or other TV channels due to the limited nature of that media, as we can from using the Web. Unless someone from BBC can take up the challenge and show that the subject is not too big or involves too much scientific knowledge for them to handle.

  • While I have not seen the production yet, and am not a scientist, what I am interested in is the politics.
    In democratic countries, politics is about getting the voting numbers and obtaining power. As more and more people are able in the West to leave religion and become secular without penalty, the power of the churches to influence the result of elections has waned. The Green movement has thus become more powerful as it has filled that vacuum of the third force which usually influences the final result of many elections.

    In Australia, the distribution of third party preferences at an election is vital as to who wins power. After the election, if the Greens win seats, they can be the kingmaker in a close result (as has happened in Australia and UK).

    So the major parties are loath to offend the Greens, but try to outgreen them if possible in their own policies so the Green parties won’t grow any bigger. There is in all the major parties, many intelligent people. It defies logic that these people are really hoodwinked by the AGW theory. However, they want power, and if the way to power is to pay lip service to these ideas, then that is what they will do.

    Cleverly, the greens have pinched the rhetoric of the churches, and cloaked their policies under a cloak of morality. The pronouncements of religion used to make us feel guilty. Now the moral pronouncements of the Greens make us feel guilty. Their morality has become law in many smaller things, such as penalties for not putting the right rubbish in the correct container, and now they are moving on to bigger things.
    To break this is going to take a long time, as many people agree with conservation ideals. Most of us want a nice leafy green environment with plenty of wildlife around. Who can argue with that ideal?

    Christopher Monckton is the one person who early and consistently exposed the political objectives of the people who want world government. He was the first to point out the aims of world government in the lead up to Copenhagen and I remember many people were skeptical of him, until he found the wording of the document to be signed on the UN website. Monckton is also someone who, like many of us older generation, remember the cold war and the evils of socialism and communism. It is not vague history to us. He is friends with the founder of the Greenpeace, who resigned from it saying that Greenpeace has been taken over by extreme socialists.

    As such, Christopher Monckton, travelling the world with his warning message, is therefore, the legitimate top priority target of the Green fundamentalists who want power, to be brought down with ridicule, so that people will disregard his political message.
    Now who else is regularly exposing the political aims with devastating articles in a major newspaper? Delingpole.

    It is no coincidence that these two were the prime sliming targets of the BBC. Who runs the BBC? One of the biggest political green activists in the world.

  • The fundamental question deserving attention is: Should the public sector be engaged in broadcasting? My sense is that it should not. There may have been early technological/emerging industry reasons, and foreign policy reasons during the Cold War, for doing so. But these do not impress in the 21st Century. Now we are transitioning into Market States from Nation (welfare) States(cf Philip Bobbitt), surely citizens should be left to decide how to spend their income on communications? The continuing distortions evident in BBC (and other public broadcaster) programing are not remediable. Better surely for the State to spend on conventional health, education, defense, etc services than news and entertainment.

  • Ben, nice commentary. I felt uncomfortable watching it partly due to the obvious lack of impartiality of Murray, but mainly due to the comments and behaviour of Monckton e.g. with the acid on the rocks.

    This left it open for Murray’s most subtle coup – the continual use of the name Christopher, framing it (in my view) more into a documentary about someone with a mental health problem.

  • Russel C,

    I can’t figure out whether your post above was intentionally hilarious, a Freudian slip or simply an error.

    You say “I discovered a 2004-ish Canadian “Quirks & Quacks” radio show archive.”

    The correct title is “Quirks and Quarks,” but your version is funnier (and often more accurate). The show is still on but unfortunately the CBC preaches the same line as the BBC.

  • Rupert Murray positioned himself as someone really trying to take the middle ground, which I think stretched credibility immensely for even the least climate aware viewer. Which was good. This allowed him to end up putting together a lot of very badly thought out and unconvincing postures which amounted to a load of very revealing false dichotomies and non-sequiturs.

    I especially liked his putting the question “Should governments ration the amount of enegy we use?”, buttressed with a suitably authorative talking head saying we should “set democracy aside”. And then contrasting that thought with a puzzled “How will the right wing pundits react to a curtailing of democracy?”

    Gosh I don’t know, how silly of them!

    Speaking as a sceptic who has not previously felt drawn to follow Christopher Monckton’s work, after watching this program I actually find myself feeling more sympathetic to him. I also felt Rupert Murray was genuine when he said he grew to like him, which made the rather cobbled together coup-de-grace (my attempt at Monckton-like sprinkling confusing foreign phrases) all the more crappy, both in spirit and artistic execution.

    You know, this show could win an Oscar…

  • You may be winning Ben. I was surprised to see this in the liberal bastion that is the LRB:

  • Ben –

    I shan’t comment on what would appear to be a classic (and probably predictable) stitch-up by some tiresome Green Groupie with a camera and an editing suite, but I do rather question YOUR description of Alex Jones as a ‘bizarre conspiracy theorist.’ Brash, Texan, and impassioned he may be (ie distinctly un-British, My Dear) – but ‘bizarre’ ? I find nothing ‘bizarre’ in his heroic attempt over the years to anatomise the cruelty, the corruption, the gold-plated mendacity, and the nightmarish agenda of the globalist elite and its well-trained puppets (oops – went a bit ‘conspiratorial’ there – sorry !)- all supported by a mountain of documentary evidence and (credible) testimony from insider and informed observer alike.

    And I would hardly describe a man who successfully exposes the dark side of government and the death-throes of individual liberty and national sovereignty (don’t worry, Folks – it couldn’t possibly happen here, could it ?)a ‘theorist’ -much less a ‘conspiracy theorist’ (a term which tends to say more about its user than its target, I find). ‘Reporter’ will do just fine. Albeit one with a ‘bizarre’ taste for the Truth – inconvenient as it may be to the Panglossians among us.

    ‘Inconvenient Truth’ ? Someone should use that as a film title…………….

  • Martin – ‘I do rather question YOUR description of Alex Jones as a ‘bizarre conspiracy theorist.’

    I was being polite. I also think Glenn Beck is a bit odd. Conspiracy-theorists, both. Not being British has nothing to do with it.

  • Ben –

    Glenn Beck is NOT ‘a bit odd’.

    Glenn Beck is EXTREMELY odd – even if one allows for the challenging nature of working-for-Fox News, and the lovely Mr Murdoch !

    To be able to scoff at Climate Change Alarmists (wholly justified) AND ‘9/11 Truthers’ (wholly unjustified) in the same breath suggests a partitioning of Beck’s Hard Drive which borders on schizophrenia. Bizarre.

    As Alex Jones has suggested on more than one occasion, I believe. If you’ve the time, perhaps you’d care to explain what you MEAN by ‘conspiracy theorist’ – in so far as you choose to apply it to AJ (and I trust we’re not talking of that bird on ‘The One Show’)?

    It may have some ‘traction’ when applied to spotty youths in anoraks with girlfriend problems, and those sad souls still keening over the death of Princess Diana, but not (I would have thought) to serious investigative journalism – of the sort which, say, John Pilger (who is not infallible, either) undertakes.

    Contrary to received wisdom, the Truth can often be more ‘sensational’ than the mundane Lies which are deployed to disguise it.

    Something which any serious student of Real History (such as Alex Jones, Webster Tarpley, Antony C Sutton, G Edward Griffin et al) will attest to.

    Pure anathema, of course, to those who choose (mysteriously) to adopt the Accidentalist viewpoint of all human affairs – a perspective which itself often lends credence to the most absurd conclusions (eg that large steel-framed buldings ‘collapse’ as the result of minor conflagrations on the upper storeys).
    But that’s enough about Glenn Beck !

  • Martin, do we really want to have an argument about Alex Jones and the ‘truth’ about 9/11?

    The argument on this blog is that the conspiracy theory of history and global warming alarmism misses the point which is the ebbing moral authority, identity, and political power of today’s politicians and their parties. There is no need to look for sinister connections; the vacuity of contemporary Western politics is visible at every move.

    If only there were a conspiracy! It would imply that at least there was some purpose to Western politics! Of course, in the Jonesian perspective, I-would-say-that-wouldn’t-I, etc. Does this make me an ‘accidentalist’? My argument is that to say that the environmental agenda has been created by a conspiracy credits the environmental movement and politicians with far too much agency, and environmentalism itself with far too much coherence.

  • “My argument is that to say that the environmental agenda has been created by a conspiracy credits the environmental movement and politicians with far too much agency, and environmentalism itself with far too much coherence.”

    And THAT, Ben, is precisely the point ! I do not seek to ‘argue’ – but to clarify.

    The moral degradation of Western ‘politics’ is as far beyond dispute as the Corruptibility of Man.

    But ever since Maurice Strong and friends began ringing all those ecological alarm bells in the United Nations back in the Seventies, the Green Movement has moved us inexorably towards a Global System of Taxation, the decline of Western manufacturing capacity, and the horrific prospect of Global Governance (nay, ‘Government’) as adumbrated in the draft Copenhagen Treaty.

    An outcome which powerful individuals (forget the political streetwalkers)have long considered desirable, and worked tirelessly towards. At least, that’s what THEY have been saying – albeit none too loudly.

    And all brought about by the use of quasi-scientific propaganda (ie good science cunningly mixed with bad)to bamboozle gullible politicians, lazy journalists, greedy academics, and a largely ill-educated public, trans-national agencies beyond the reach of ‘democratic’ control, and the placard-waving hysteria of New Age followers (many, if not most, of them well-intentioned but sadly deluded and mis-directed).

    That, of course, is to paint a picture with the broadest of brushstokes, I admit.

    But enough to suggest something pretty ‘coherent’, surely ?

    What may SEEM chaotic, accidental, arbitrary etc(choose your epithet) from a daily, short-term perspective often in fact acquires the very ‘coherence’ you (reasonably) question – when seen from the standpoint of historical development. And if that development was planned from the beginning, though not widely advertised, by what word should we describe the process ?

    It is, after all, the way in which much of our History HAS been fashioned – through Crisis-Creation, followed by Crisis-Management. Nothing fantastical there, and you can – I’m sure – select your own examples.

    And I suspect that the reason so many otherwise capable and intelligent writers feel compelled to drop the word ‘conspiracy’ into their prose is twofold: a) to give them the aura of an urbane sophistication manifestly lacking in the average Youtuber and b)to mask their own feelings of inadequacy at not having spotted the Bleedin’ Obvious sooner (unlike the average Youtuber, for example !).

    In this – as in everything else – I could, of course, be wrong.

    Nonetheless, I’m with Monckton on this one !

  • … the Green Movement has moved us inexorably towards a Global System of Taxation, the decline of Western manufacturing capacity, and the horrific prospect of Global Governance (nay, ‘Government’) as adumbrated in the draft Copenhagen Treaty.

    Here’s what I wrote at the time of COP15:

    Climate change sceptics have, for the most part, failed to recognise the political nature and social context of the debate, focusing instead on coming up with a definitive debunking of the science. Hence they have sought to explain the ideas they oppose as purposive, coherent, and organised, leading to speculation about political conspiracies and scientific fraud. But this credits the green movement with far too much. Just as their green counterparts dress up as historical figures, so sceptics pick fights with ghosts. Christopher Monckton, for instance, expresses concerns about Copenhagen being the work of socialists intent on establishing ‘an unelected global government’ (11). While Copenhagen was certainly undemocratic, it is much better explained as the consequence of No Order Whatsoever than the expression of a New World Order. Moreover, it is the most left-leaning countries – China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba – that stand most accused of scuppering the talks at Copenhagen.

    The desire for supra-national institutions is the expression of domestic political crises, not the emergence of a New World Order. This should be made obvious by the comprehensive failure of the would-be ‘global elite’ to create a global government out of the climate issue. If there really were an attempt to create a New World Order, rather than attempt to overcome problems of domestic political legitimacy, then it wouldn’t have collapsed. To the fact that any agreement would benefit rich and powerful people, or political elites, or the establishment, we can say D’uh!.

    What may SEEM chaotic, accidental, arbitrary etc(choose your epithet) from a daily, short-term perspective often in fact acquires the very ‘coherence’ you (reasonably) question – when seen from the standpoint of historical development.

    This is the danger of reading politics backwards. One imposes contemporary categories and cleavages over the view of it. Of course from this perspective history shows things cohering. It’s a bit like saying that the purpose of a puddle is the river Thames. Hence Monckton can’t see the difference between Greenpeace, Obama and Soviet Communism, and many of the scumbags who inhabit the prison-planet website see it also as zionism. This is over-association.

    he reason so many otherwise capable and intelligent writers feel compelled to drop the word ‘conspiracy’ into their prose is twofold: a) to give them the aura of an urbane sophistication manifestly lacking in the average Youtuber and b)to mask their own feelings of inadequacy at not having spotted the Bleedin’ Obvious sooner (unlike the average Youtuber, for example !).

    I avoid the conspiracy theory and the conspiracy theorists because there’s no need to develop conspiracy theories to explain what’s going on.

  • Did learn one useful thing. Why Monckton’s eyes bulge.

  • Apparently, Monckton made some headway in his court action forcing the BBC to remove half an hour of material, alter/remove 16 errors/unfairness. The BBC also had to pay sizeable costs, although Monckton had to reach into his pocket too.

  • I’ve put together a transcript of Storyville: Meet the Climate Sceptics. It may still have some errors and rough edges, but it is just about complete now:

  • Many thanks to Alex for the transcription, not simply because the programme isn’t available here, but also because only the written word can be analysed.
    I note that there’s infinitely more science here than in Nurse’s Horizon programme, with Murray giving a perfectly reasonable summary of the concept of climate sensitivity, and making some reasonable points as to what an unbiassed layman might think.
    Which makes his final words all the more confusing:

    Rupert Murray: “I’m willing to accept a curtailing of my freedom. In the end I trusted the scientists. I trusted their logical language and measured tones. I trusted the mechanics of science to allow the good ideas to rise to the surface and the bad ones to sink into obscurity”. 

    David Griggs [climate scientist]: Anybody who speaks on climate change, who doesn’t do it with the facts at hand, in an objective way, trying to uncover the truth, you know, is dangerous. 

    So he trusts the “logical language and measured tones” of those who say sceptics are dangerous?

  • IanW,

    I think we need state-funded media such as the BBC, because by and large people are not willing to spend their own income on news media.

    Once upon a time, I saw the Morning Star in a local newsagent (it’s a Communist newspaper, for the benefit of any non-Brits here). My first thought on looking at it was “what a rip-off!” But then I realized why it was so much more expensive per-page than other newspapers. It isn’t down to low circulation — local newspapers probably have similar circulation figures but aren’t inordinately expensive.

    The real reason why the Morning Star is so pricey per-page is because it doesn’t carry commercial advertising (being a Commie paper and all :) ), so the full cost of its material has to be met by the end user. If state media such as the BBC were privatized, they would almost certainly end up relying on advertising rather than user subscriptions to provide the bulk of their income , just as mainstream newspapers are funded mostly by adverts rather than by the person handing over money at the newsagents. Free newspapers of course take this process to its ultimate conclusion.

    When the media is funded primarily by advertisers rather than end users, the advertisers become the real customers while the readers are the product itself. One would therefore expect that the news disseminated by such media would be little more than pro-corporate propaganda.

    (To take another example, if the BBC was privatized, could Top Gear still judge cars objectively? More likely it would have to suck up to one or more car manufacturers for the sake of its advert revenue…)

  • George,

    I think your point is partly about distinguishing propaganda (in a general sense) from news. If we trust readers and viewers to do this for themselves, a newspaper which became too full of pro-corporate propaganda would start to lose its readers. It is a bigger danger with state-funded (and presumably pro-government) media where this feedback is not in place – particularly where the state-guaranteed income is so large that commercial competition may be overwhelmed.

    However, if we don’t trust people to distinguish propaganda from news, whom should we trust?

  • I think your point is partly about distinguishing propaganda (in a general sense) from news. If we trust readers and viewers to do this for themselves, a newspaper which became too full of pro-corporate propaganda would start to lose its readers.

    Perhaps that’s one reason why the right-wing agenda has ran rampant in the US in a way it hasn’t in the UK. The UK has about half a dozen national newspapers – a sufficient number to provide a reasonable range of viewpoints, and also to produce fierce rivalry on occasions (eg between the Sun and the Mirror).

    By contrast, in the United States national newspapers never really took off and the country is dominated by newspapers devoted to a specific city. Almost all of these newspapers are (local) monopolies, as the local market is not big enough to support more than one newspaper. This means that pro-corporate propaganda can go unchallenged due to lack of competition.

    It is a bigger danger with state-funded (and presumably pro-government) media where this feedback is not in place – particularly where the state-guaranteed income is so large that commercial competition may be overwhelmed.

    My assumption was that the pro-government bias of the state media and the pro-corporate bias of the commercial media would largely cancel each other out, if both types of media are present.

  • Its really funny seeing all the delusion and paranoia from the posters on forums like these. Its pretty clear the reason you don’t like documentaries like these is because they efficiently and articulately destroy your position as denialists. The reason most of these people are portrayed as slightly eccentric, irrational, unprofessional, bulgy-eyed nutcases, is because thats what most of them are. The narrator/presenter on the Storyville docu was as balanced, objective, and fair as he possibly could be without actually becoming one of these deniers himself. Perhaps if some of you lot exposed your own wacky ideas about ‘conspiracies’ and ‘shams’ to a fraction of the scrutiny you do the science of AGW, you might actually learn something about the science, instead of just evangelizing your own opinions. In the end all sites like these show is that sadly there seem to be far too many people in the world who want to spend more time arguing with science than doing science.

  • Aw… Well, it’s been a while since there’s been any overt trolling around here. I guess it was due.

    Trystan also sent this lovely message…

    are some of you really employed by universities? i find it staggering how quick people are to contradict science when it comes to something they’d rather not believe is true. what if the climate scientists ‘are’ right and you’re wrong? is that something you can even contemplate? being denialists i’m guessing you can’t and don’t

    I find it staggering that we’re getting criticised for our intellectual shortcomings by somebody who fails to capitalise the first letter of each sentence. Too lazy to reach the shift key? Too busy ‘one-handed typing’ (sounds about right)? Maybe it’s ‘style’.

    More seriously, however, Trystan gives us an opportunity to demonstrate, again, how much is hidden behind ‘science’.

    Trystan doesn’t identify the ‘science’ that he believes has been ‘contradicted’ or ‘argued against’, either in the post above, or elsewhere on the site. And he’d be hard pressed to.

    Yet he believes that nonetheless that ‘the science’ has been contradicted. What could he possibly be talking about?

    Isn’t there an irony, then, that the claim seems to be that this blog has somehow abused science?

    So tell us, Trystan, which science has been contradicted?

  • I asked Trystan:

    What science do you believe has been contradicted on the blog, Trystan?

    He has replied:

    Haha, how about the science behind climate change? ..I suppose its all just a ‘conspiracy’ right?


  • ‘Remarkable.’
    Nope. Entirely standard.
    But you knew that.

  • I asked Trystan again,

    You aren’t very bright, are you.

    What science has been contradicted by the blog? I suggest you aren’t so familiar with the science, yourself.

    Trystan continues:

    Ok, lets get into some science then. I sense a lot of confusion from denialists, many of whom don’t agree with each other. Some argue CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas, some admit that CO2 is warming the atmosphere but mankind has nothing to do with it. Then you get the more credible people who accept the basic principles of man-made global warming, but raise concerns about the sensitivity, about how much the atmosphere will warm due to human activity. People like Richard Lindzen fall into this category, they are the true sceptics, but they are not deniers. Lindzen doesn’t force his way onto the telly telling the public that climate change is a ‘hoax’, ‘sham’, ‘conspiracy’ etc. People like Monckton and Delingpole DO and thats why they feature heavily in documentaries. Maybe the reason for this is because people like him realise that doubting and scepticism are part of the scientific process and not justification for a mass-scale (and very aggressive) campaign
    of denial.

    The important thing to remember here is that nobody knows for certain what’s going to happen, there too many people claiming victory before the battle has been fought. But crucially, the science IS strong, and hasn’t been successfully rebuked yet. If you’re convinced it has been, then you need to tell us what the replacement theory is, whats happening to all the CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere and where its going.

    I’m not trolling, swearing, or abusing anybody, so don’t cry about it, tell me why I’m wrong.

    Trystan is struggling to answer the question.

    You have offered a couple of categories, but not explained to which one I or my blog belong and why. You then ask me to explain why I think you are wrong.

    You seem to get the point of argument on its head; you posted a comment to the blog, and a comment to me that claimed I had “contradicted” the science. It is up to you to show that I have contradicted science.

    It seems that the trouble you have is owed to the fact that you make your mind up about which category an argument belongs to before you have read it. It seems also that your mini taxonomy of scepticism exists to function not unlike any other prejudice.

    You say that you’re not tolling, but that’s what it looks like.

    Trystan replies,

    Well I wasn’t expecting much but come on, thats just waffle. I gave you plenty to start off with there, and you haven’t addressed any of it. Its simple enough – you obviously have a contempt for some of the science behind climate change, I’m interested to know what this is based on. It appears to me you want to just skip past the science and jump straight into the political side of the issue, sadly this is typical of denialists.

    It becomes apparent that Trystan knows very little about either this blog, or the science he believes it contradicts.

    You say that it is obvious that I have contempt for and contradict climate science, it should be easy, therefore, for you to demonstrate it.

    You obviously have not read anything I’ve written; your mistake gives you away as troll, and a bit of a dim troll, too.

    Trystan replies…

    Internet trolls tend to be illiterate and abusive, neither of which apply to me.

    How much simpler can I make the question? You run a site called ‘climate resistance’, in which you are clearly opposed to any action to mitigate the effects of man-made climate change. I’ve read the ‘mythologising monckton’ blog (as you know), and I’ve also read the front pages including your ’16 statements’ summarizing your position on this matter. In almost every statement you undermine or try to diminish the importance of the science concerning climate change, not to mention rubbishing anything to do with environmentalism. So what makes you so convinced that AGW isn’t going to be a problem for us or, more importantly, future generations?

    Its clear that you don’t want to get into a debate about the science, and I can’t say I’m surprised by that, but have a go anyway.

    The argument on this blog, if you’re still reading, Trystan, is that the politics of climate alarmism precedes the ‘science’. There are no claims on this blog that ‘climate change is not happening’.

    Unwittingly, you demonstrate the extent to which the politics really does precede the science. You have made your mind up about this blog that, because it takes a critical view of the politics, it must take a particular view of the science.

    I expect that the irony will be lost on you. But it will be familiar to the readers here. Here is my final email.

    I am not convinced by your claim that you are literate.

    Again, you need to identify which science has been contradicted. That I take a critical view of climate politics and political ecology is not in doubt; but neither is it equivalent to ‘contradicting science’.

    If you are literate, you aren’t at all bright. Or you are a troll. Yet you could still be both.

  • Trystan senses “a lot of confusion from denialists, many of whom don’t agree with each other.”
    Quite right. There’s no consensus among thinking people about anything more complicated than the time of day.

    “People like Richard Lindzen … are not deniers.”
    Wrong. Lindzen is on record as saying he is a denier, not a sceptic. True, he said it with a twinkle in his eye, probably to annoy people like you, who think their labels mean something.

    “Lindzen doesn’t force his way onto the telly … People like Monckton and Delingpole DO…”
    I think you’ll find that Monckton and Delingpole featured in recent BBC programmes because they were invited. Lindzen wasn’t (except for 3 seconds in the Murray doc on Monckton). The reason he is not part of “a mass-scale (and very aggressive) campaign” is because no one asked him. He featured in “The Great Global Warming Swindle” which was the object of a “mass-scale (and very aggressive) campaign” to get it censured by Ofcom.
    You see, there are a lot of people at the BBC, the Royal Society, in Universities like the LSE, and in the press, who really don’t want to listen to Lindzen. They’ll even write 80 page complaints to the authorities to try and keep him off the air. Some of us find that interesting – more interesting than estimates of climate sensitivity derived from untestable computer models.

    You say:
    “The important thing to remember here is that nobody knows for certain what’s going to happen, there too many people claiming victory before the battle has been fought”.
    I agree wholeheartedly there. No-one knows. And there are far too many people claiming victory.
    You did say “victory”, didn’t you? And you think you’re talking “science”?

  • Trystan has replied.

    …and he’s shit out already, again not that thats surprising. To be honest, questioning somebody else’s intellect probably isn’t the wisest thing to do coming from someone who refuses to engage in intelligent debate. I suggest you’re wasting your own time with all this denial nonsense, but i guess thats for you to work out in your own time.

  • Trystan’s rhetorical position is interesting to say the least: claim that science has been ‘contradicted’, yet refuse to explain what science that is and how it’s been contradicted, then saying to the impasse that it is me that ‘refuses to engage in intelligent debate’.

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