I had intended to catch a replay of the debate between Lord Monckton and Professor Denniss on ABC24 last night. However, they decided to instead show the British parliamentary inquiry into the phone hacking scandal. Given the enormity of the issue, that is fair enough, yet it concluded pretty quickly and instead of then showing the debate, they just went to the news. I have since seen it on Youtube and want to make some comments about Denniss’ presentation.
- He tries to paint the issue as one of science versus optimism (better than science versus shock jocks, anti-science, deniers ect.). He later contradicts this by acknowledging there are scientists who disagree, but dismisses them because they are in the minority.
- He likes the term “overwhelming consensus”, and makes this assertion continually, in the face of Monckton’s argument that this means nothing. He even suggests that if you don’t believe NASA’s stance the climate, you should throw away your GPS.
- He subtly mocked skeptics by implying that we are a bunch of conspiracy theorists, as if that is the only way someone could come to the conclusion that human influence on climate is minimal.
- There were the constant references to an insurance policy and the precautionary principle, which are certainly no substitute actually looking at the evidence.
- He questions why skeptics don’t attack the opposition’s direct action policy. I don’t know where he gets this impression. I think that this approach is useless and a desperate attempt to seem to be ‘doing something’ without endorsing a carbon tax/ETS. If the coalition were in power, there would certainly be much more uproar about it.
- He misrepresents the debate in the scientific community over climate sensitivity by suggesting it is a “matter of decimal places”. There is a big difference between the IPCC’s 3C per doubling and 1C, not just decimal places.
- When Monckton referred to two papers which suggest a low sensitivity, Denniss implied that because these were in the minority, they should be disregarded, instead of evaluating the evidence they presented.
Denniss presented his case well, yet was unconvincing from my point of view by arguing his case on flawed concepts (consensus and the precautionary principle), without even touching the science. Monckton on the other hand was quite solid, even if some of his jokes may have been aimed at the wrong audience.
Most of the journalists in the room would have been warmists, and many would certainly be less convinced about this position. I do hope that they check much of what they had heard yesterday, as both presenters suggested, and become more balanced in their reporting of the issue in the future.