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Monckton stirs the pot with a cheap shot, and the media obediently perform

Posted By Joanne Nova On June 23, 2011 @ 11:53 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

By now every person in the climate debate knows that Monckton used a swastika on a slide in LA.

UPDATE: By the time I wrote this, Monckton had already been roundly condemned for his unnecessary hyperbole, and unreservedly apologized. I couldn’t see much point in joining in the chorus. Yes, I agree,  he did the wrong thing. The ends doesn’t justify the means. We can hardly complain about namecalling, if we do it too. I’m just trying to add perspective on the magnitude of the crime. People are suggesting we exile the man for  — as far as I can tell — one clumsy joke and one very poor choice of slide.

None of this would be necessary if the media had reported information from both sides of the story.

I groaned when I saw it. The fascist comment has been used many times before (and Garnaut is advocating ad hoc extensive government control over business). The Nazi swastika, though, is a new low in rhetorical excess. Definitely not one I would have used, and I’m glad Monckton has apologized so quickly, and won’t be using it again — it’s a cheap shot.

This is a very dirty war. There are 2.3 million references to “climate denier”, with You-are-a-Nazi-Sympathizer-and-Holocaust-apologist implied at large. It’s a dehumanizing label and a demeaning insult that’s meant to bully people into silence. Rudd, Gillard, and Garnaut have all used it. Where is the outrage? (Where is their apology? )

Monckton’s apology:

“Let me begin with an unreserved apology. In a recent lecture, I should not have described the opinions of Professor Ross Garnaut, the Australian Government’s climate economist, as ‘fascist’. I apologise humbly.

Will there be similar apologies from those who have called us ‘climate deniers’ or ‘denialists’, or who say we should be tattooed with our opinions, or imprisoned, or barred from Australia, or tried for ‘high crimes against humanity’?”

The cheap shot makes most skeptics uncomfortable, and rightly so. It sinks to the level of the average alarmist. I dryly note that Monckton gets his message in the media. [Herald Sun, The Age, The ABC]. You can rightly ask if that’s worth the price? It’s not the kind of media we want, but along with the apology, this, the real core of the debate, will appear tomorrow:

Professor Garnaut’s carbon trading scheme will cost $11.5 billion a year, rising at 4% above the annual rate of economic growth. He wants another $2.5 billion a year – again, rising at 4% above the growth rate – spent on “renewable” energy and “innovation”. And the Climate Change Department is already spending $1.6 billion a year. These are not the only costs, but let us assume they are.

Applying Professor Garnaut’s own discount rate of 2.65%, the cost of his policy over the next ten years will be close to $200 billion, with the aim of forestalling 25% of Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions, which in turn represent 1.2% of global emissions, which – if the policy worked at this cost – would accordingly fall by just 0.3%.

In the absence of any mitigation, CO2 concentration by 2020 would be 412 ppmv, but Australia’s near-$200 billion of spending would cut this to 411.934 ppmv, forestalling 1/2750 of a degree of warming by that year – less than 1% of the threshold below which modern methods and instruments cannot measure any global temperature change.

If the whole world were to pursue Australia’s proposed policy, the cost of forestalling each degree of warming would be $545 trillion, or $18,500 from everyone on Earth. Preventing the 0.24 Cº global warming predicted to occur by 2020 would cost $130 trillion, or 18.3% of global GDP over the period.

The cost of the climate damage from doing nothing, however, would be just 1-4.1% of global GDP. Doing something would cost more than four times as much as doing nothing.

We can and should take the moral high ground, but for all our purity, it can take years to be heard. There are better ways than being reduced to an own-goal-ad-hom, but note that after Monckton overstepped the mark (and apologized immediately) the media have performed right on cue. I’m relaying messages asking for radio interviews to him today. (BTW You can probably hear him today in Melbourne interviewed by Bolt.)

In a perfect world, skeptic’s arguments would be heard without the performing circus and theatrics. But witness the difference between the Monckton tour and the Watts tour of 2010. I’m in the Watts camp — in the sense that I play it straight, and say reasonable things — but what happened when the Anthony toured Australia? Here’s a man who’d set up an extraordinary project,  coordinating hundreds of volunteers to audit a national institution (which had a $4 billion dollar budget) and he’d found egregious failings, yet despite all that, the media in Australia went out of their way to ignore him. Watts was too “dangerous” for his normalcy.

One radio station in Perth was very interested in talking to Watts, but gutless. They wouldn’t interview him without also interviewing “someone from the other side”, presumably for fear of being labeled “deniers”. And the local university, UWA — which doesn’t even have a climate change specialty department, and sends out a psychologist to break laws of reason –  o-so-conveniently announced they had no one who could do it. So Perth listeners were denied the chance to hear Anthony speak on radio and many were unaware of his lecture. (The venue was still nearly full, but for a man like him, it should have been packed.)

Compare that to the Monckton tour of 2009. The day Monckton arrived he told me  the media were falling all over themselves to interview him. The ABC especially, were lining up to “showcase” him every which way they could. Why were they so keen to hear Monckton and not Watts? Because they thought they’d make Monckton look like a fool. They’d read the ad hom attack pieces, and were duped by the caricature. Instead of an easy target, Monckton took all those opportunities, and savaged their unresearched questions with humor and grace. His detailed research, thanks to years spent bed-ridden with Graves disease,  meant he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the science and the history.  The crowds filled every venue, lining up in queues til the venues overflowed. People were turned away in disappointment. The ABC had inadvertently played right into his hands. The dismayed recriminations flowed afterwards.

He doesn’t get everything right, (please, let’s avoid the Nazi theme and baseless insulting hyperbole) but he’s a very well informed commentator, and he’s taken nearly every insult under the sun. No that doesn’t excuse it, but it puts it in perspective.

Monckton is drawing attention to the double standard. Those who call us baseless insulting names on a daily basis suddenly get up in arms when someone throws baseless insulting names back at them. Don’t mistake me. I want us to stick to higher standards.

Ultimately the term “denier” has to stop. We can’t start talking science until the name-calling ends. It even hurts the so-called mainstream-science team, tricks them into underestimating their critics time and again, and twists their mindset so much they could waste hundreds of thousands of dollars making a movie advert that was supposed to be funny, but instead they graphically blew up children in  the marketing disaster of the century.

Eco-fascists with grand ambition

BTW: How apropos, this comment below was posted on this blog two days ago. Note my highlight. This fascist doesn’t just want control of our businesses, he wants our children too.

From Tim.

We were having a good laugh at the posts at work (from both sides of the “debate”) so keep it coming. I though we ( the under 30′s at work anyway) should make you aware that no matter what side is right those in the “skeptics” camp are being change managed. You will go through many stages of this but will most likely not make it to the end state of acceptance before you die. Chin up though, we have your children and will make sure they live in a carbon constrained economy. Also take comfort that they will not want to smoke cancer-sticks, they will tolerate non-white australians and refugees, they will not pray to Jesus to save them and they won’t believe in an intelligent designer of the universe. Please dont let this stop you from “going down” screaming, we’d have to start reading dilbert or something or *heaven forbid* work in your businesses. Love and kisses … ;)

Dear Tim, if you want to brainwash kids, you’ll have to grow up and have some of your own.  (Rest assured tho’, we’ll do all we can to save them from your eco-fascist future.)

There are some interesting comments at ClimateMadness.

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Menzies House has dug out versions of Nazi insults thrown at John Howard and compared the “condemnation”.

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