A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Lambert’s Pinker-tape “ambush”: PR stunt

Lambert has claimed a major win over his use of a voice recording (Monckton’s McLuhan Moment). As usual, it all sounds incredibly clear cut and impressive until the bluff gets hit with a 5 minute test…

The bottom line? The infamous “Pinker tape” turns out to be a reenacted piece of cherry-picking exaggeration, where lines are taken out of context to imply something important, or to frame it as if it was significant.

It’s true Monckton did get Pinker’s sex wrong (golly), and there was a point about fluxes being at the surface vs top of the atmosphere, but nothing Pinker or Lambert said makes much difference to the point that matters: climate sensitivity. (When the top of atmosphere problem emerged, Monckton recalculated the climate sensitivity on the spot; it changed from  “very low” to “even lower”.)  Pinker herself acknowledges that Monckton’s approach is reasonable.

Monckton has over the years pointed to many reasons why climate sensitivity is low. The Pinker paper is just another one of these corroborating pieces (and it looks a doozy). Using satellite measurements, Pinker shows that more sunlight is reaching the surface of the Earth (possibly due to fewer clouds over the ocean).  Over the [...]