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Lord Monckton attacked from all sides... by climate sceptics

  • 10 Feb 2011, 14:10
  • Christian Hunt

Prominent climate sceptic and hereditary peer Viscount Christopher Monckton has been attacked by fellow climate sceptics who claim his "faux scientific certainty" and "over-inflated ego" make him an 'easy target' for debunking.

But while some sceptic commentators are criticising the UKIP deputy leader for his over-the-top arguments, another group believe Monckton is vulnerable to ridicule because he accepts basic physics.

The third Viscount of Brenchley recently failed to secure an injunction to stop the broadcast of BBC4 Storyville Meet the Climate Sceptics. The programme included extensive criticism of Monckton's scientific claims by leading researchers. This follows last year's detailed refutation of Lord Monckton's arguments by 20 leading scientists, and the publication of a dedicated "Monckton Myths" section on the website Sceptical Science.

Now, in the fallout from the programme, Lord Monckton has been left fighting a rearguard action against fellow sceptics. He is attacked on Dr Richard North's EU Referendum blog for being too over-the-top in his claims. Dr North is a former member of UKIP where Lord Monckton is now deputy leader, but there appears to be no love lost between them. Dr North writes:

"Monckton is not the only climate sceptic in town - he does not represent 'us', whoever 'us' might be, and many people with sceptic views feel uneasy about his bombast and his faux scientific certainty.

But it is classic BBC tactics to pick on the easiest target, create a straw man and knock it down."

He adds:

"The BBC has an unerring ability to spot the 'swivel-eyed loon' and build them up. The 'mark', usually with an over-inflated ego, is invariably flattered and falls for it every time. Monckton fitted the bill admirably, and the hatchet job proceeded apace."

But ironically, Lord Monckton has also come under fire from another group for not being sceptical enough about basic physics.

In leaked emails circulated among climate sceptics including Lord Lawson, Christopher Booker of the Sunday Telegraph and Andrew Montford of the Bishop Hill blog, Monckton is roundly attacked for conceding that carbon dioxide emissions cause some global warming.

Hans Schreuder, of I Love My Carbon Dioxide, claims carbon dioxide will cause climate cooling. He lays into Monckton, saying: "Even more luke-warmers will be borne from this man's incorrect views of reality.

"Has he read the latest papers on the extra cooling that is the only logical effect that can be ascribed to atmospheric carbon dioxide?"

He then apparently argues that it's Monckton's acceptance of the basic link between CO2 and warming which makes him easy to debunk:

"Little wonder than that this man is heralded by the BBC as the 'voice of climate scepticism' - it suits them well as his arguments are easy pickings."

Lord Monckton finds himself caught in the middle - North attacking him for being too over-the-top, Schreuder for not being extreme enough.

Whether these spats will harm Lord Monckton's considerable influence remains to be seen. He enjoys a devoted following in the USA and Australia, has given evidence to the US Congress about global warming, and written for leading media outlets including The Australian and the Daily Telegraph.

But with friends like these…

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Updated Feb 14th - link fixed. Thanks Niel!

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