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.
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 clip Monckton claims that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than it currently is, and that the IPCC abolished this from their reports. He also mentions that involved scientists are now under criminal investigation for "for defrauding taxpayers by tampering with data and results".
I'll be looking into these claims and what the IPCC report says, the science behind it and the events surrounding this claim.
The sort of questions that you might have asked and perhaps should ask in a free country are these; you might have asked I wonder why the usual suspects cry consensus when it is so clear, in the history of science, that consensus is not the way science is done.
Why does official climate science still pretend the Middle Ages were not warmer than the present, when the fabricators of the 2001 UN reports purporting abolition of the medieval warm period are now under criminal investigation for defrauding taxpayers by tampering with data and results?
The Medieval Warm Period Monckton is referring to was between 950 and 1250AD. And it is indeed a reference to a warm period in our planet's history.
However, our current understanding is this wasn't a global phenomenon, it was predominantly in the northern hemisphere. And even though this warming was most pronounced in the northern hemisphere there were also places in the northern hemisphere that were significantly colder than today.
We know this because of the work done by for example Michael Mann who used more than 1000 tree-ring, ice core, coral, sediment and several other temperature proxy records to create a global temperature record spanning 1000 years. This record spans both hemispheres and the temperature graph very clearly shows that globally it wasn't warmer than today. Compared to todays temperature records, in red, it is quite clear that it is now much warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period.
This is the graph that is known as the hockey stick graph. And it has been under heavy fire by people like Monckton who say it's flawed. Problem is, there is now a team of hockey stick graphs all telling the same story. And confirming the groundbreaking work Michael Mann did with his original research.
Now the “abolishment” Monckton is referring to is that in earlier reports this warm period was shown as a global warm period. A reflection of our then current understanding in science and the available temperature reconstructions. When the reconstruction of Mann became available it showed this wasn't a global phenomenon, and the 2001 IPCC report just reflected this new scientific knowledge.
There is also a second claim made by Monckton, which is the following:
[...] when the fabricators of the 2001 UN reports purporting abolition of the medieval warm period are now under criminal investigation for defrauding taxpayers by tampering with data and results?
What he's implying is that these scientists are being investigated by an law enforcement agency for some scientific misconduct and subsequent fraud. But I hadn't heard of anything like this, so I asked Monckton what he was referring to.
Before I start with his answer remember this date: 19th of July, 2011. This was when the debate was held, you will see why this is important.
And this is what Monckton said to me:
The Attorney-General of the State of Virginia announced some time ago that he was investigating the role of the University of Virginia and of at least one scientist there, whom he named, under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act 2000 in that State.
The investigation Monckton is referring to is the “Attorney General of Virginia's climate science investigation” initiated by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. It was a civil fraud investigation of five research grant applications by former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann.
The reason Cuccinelli started this was because he thought that the climategate e-mails showed scientific fraud. To further investigate it he issued a demand to the University of Virginia to turn over records relating to Michael Mann and his grants. The Judge dismissed this case on 30th of August in 2010, as Cuccinelli didn't give any evidence that there might have been fraud involved.
Furthermore, 4 of the 5 grants couldn't even be prosecuted under the 2003 Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act as they preceded its enactment. Cuccinelli has resubmitted his request, now with just the one grant being mentioned, but basically with the same wording.
Now the problem is, as he's using the same wording again, is that there have been 8 investigations into the climategate e-mails. None of them found any evidence for scientific fraud in the hacked e-mails. Monckton is technically correct in saying that there is a fraud investigation in the case of Michael Mann; however this is the only one, and there is just one person involved, so his claim that “the fabricators of the 2001 UN reports ... are now under criminal investigation for defrauding taxpayers by tampering with data and results” is not entirely correct.
All of this was already known before the debate that Monckton held. So had to be aware that the case as is wouldn't be a strong one. Considering this case was already dismissed in 2010 and the 8 investigations that already showed that the scientists did their work correctly.
And as I expected the last remaining case was ruled in favour of Michael Mann on the 12th of March in 2012. With the Virginia Supreme Court saying that Cuccinelli did not have a case and didn't have the authority under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act to make civil investigation demands.
Monckton did also mention something else he sees as fraud, a statistically fraudulent technique, but I'll talk about that when he mentions it in the debate.
- Mann et al. 1999 - Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitation
- Mann et al. 2009 - Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly
- NOAA merged land air and sea surface temperature dataset
- National Academy of Sciences Report on Climate Reconstructions. - SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LAST 2,000 YEARS
- Moberg et al. 2005 - Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data
- Mann et al. 2008 - Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia
- IPCC Third Assessment Report.
- The Independent Climate Change Email Review
- Science and Technology Committee
- Report of the International Panel set up by the University of East Anglia to examine the research of the Climatic Research Unit.
- The Pennsylvania State University - RA-1O Final Investigation Report Involving Dr. Michael E, Mann
- EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate Science
- Department of Commerce Inspector General independent review report
- National Science Foundation investigation report
- Timeline: Legal Harassment of Climate Scientist Michael Mann
- What do the 'Climategate' hacked CRU emails tell us?
- Cuccinelli’s Defeat Against U Va and Mann is Not Enough
- Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Civil Investigative Demand CID No. 2-MM, issued 23 April 2010
- Michael E Mann
- Arpingstone - Tree rings
- NASA ICE – Ice Core Vitals
- USFWS Pacific - Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge
- Wessex Archaeology – seabed sediments
- IPCC – TAR hockey stick
- lwpkommunikacio - Investigation Discovery
- Gage Skidmore - Ken Cuccinelli
- Gage Skidmore - Ken Cuccinelli
- Mike Renlund – Supreme Court
- Gage Skidmore - Ken Cuccinelli
- S.E.B. - Supreme Court