Climate Changes, But Facts Don’t: Debunking Monckton

On the 19th of July in 2011 the National Press Club of Australia held a debate on climate change. In this video I will be analysing the claims Monckton made during the debate and if they are correct or not.

The reason I’m doing this is that Monckton challenges his critics to check his sources, or like he put it in this debate “to do your homework”. I’m going to follow him up on this to see if the scientific literature, and other available sources, corroborate what he’s saying.

Video description

On the 19th of July in 2011 the National Press Club of Australia held a debate on climate change. I will be analysing the claims Monckton made during the debate and if they are correct or not.

In this section I give my impression of the debate, how it was received, and how factually correct Monckton was.


After watching this debate people tend to point to Monckton as the winner, it was especially hailed as such among the so-called sceptics on the internet. If you had watched this debate in its entirety before this analysis you might have walked away with the idea that global warming isn't something you should worry about. Or it would probably have made you more wary about the prevailing views and scientific findings.

This is something I can fully understand. Monckton is bold, assertive and well spoken. He's sure of his argumentation and brings them with a certain flair. During these debates he's able to cite papers and bring out other supporting materials for his position. In short, he's a very good debater and is truly in his element in such debates.

However, a debate does not lend itself well to fact-checking what the participants say. Opponents, or the audience, will not be able to look up your sources and check if they confirm what you say. Even after a debate it's not easy to verify statements and arguments for audience members. Anyone who wants to attempt that for this debate would be faced with the herculean task of going through about 30 minutes of video for just one of the participants.

Most people simply do not have the time to go through all the arguments presented, or trace down all the materials cited and read up on what is written in the scientific literature. As I've actually done this I can assure you this is a very big project, even if you're already familiar with the subject.

After undertaking this journey I'm shocked at how incorrect Monckton was. I've tried, truly tried, to find sections where he is correct or where I agree with his conclusions. But, as you might have already surmised, there are just a few instances where this happened.

Even when Monckton has a point, or is factually correct, he often gets something wrong. The best example of this is when he made the point that GM crops are safe for human consumption. This statement is correct as it is the consensus in the literature. But then he uses a rice variant that isn't a GM crop to support his argumentation and gets the date of when GM crops became available wrong by decades.

This was one of the biggest surprises for me during this analysis as I agreed with Monckton when he made this point. I never expected that I would end up pointing out major flaws in his argumentation.

Things like this are indicative of the problems he has with having a good and correct understanding of the science on climate change. The same goes for his railing against the scientific consensus on global warming. As a scientific consensus is based on evidence, it reflects our best understanding of the subject at hand. Basically for every question in science and scientific discipline there is a consensus.

The current consensus for global warming is that it is real, that predictions are coming true, and it's not uncommon that they are worse than expected by scientists. The vast majority of them say we need to take action to avoid the worst case scenarios so that we do not create a vastly different world. The often flawed arguments and statements made by the so-called sceptics like Monckton do not change this.

I'm also not the only person who did his homework on Monckton's claims and argumentation; there are many more out there. And all of them show huge problems and mistakes. Because of this I don't see Monckton as a reliable source for information. The very basic mistakes he often makes can, in my opinion, be used to outright dismiss anything he says. I would not recommend accepting anything as true without some due diligence and fact-checking.

Suffice to say that Monckton isn't a reliable source for correct information on climate change and global warming. Simply based on the amount of errors he made during this debate should have meant that he had lost the debate.

I hope you have found this analysis interesting and maybe even enjoyable. I hope you will at least walk away with a greater understanding of the different arguments and what they are based on. No matter which position you have.

Media resources

  1. phantasy of phinishing a phd by Eric Brochu
  2. DNA extraction by International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
  3. CHR_4447 by IRRI Images
  4. Skeptical Science - Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

Climate Changes, But Facts Don’t: Debunking Monckton