There comes a point …
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Those of us who have raised questions about the magnitude of Man’s influence on climate have become used to the expensively funded, often carefully co-ordinated campaigns of personal vilification organized by adherents of the Climatist Party Line. Occasionally we growl a little. More often we refuse to be distracted. We carry on.
The purpose of these relentless attacks on us is not only to do us down but also to frighten off third parties who might otherwise find the courage to speak out and express their own doubts about the Party Line.
But there comes a point when it is necessary to take action. I hope no one will disagree that that point is reached when allegations of lying or fabrication are made; when the allegations are unquestionably false; when they are persisted in despite requests to cease and desist; and when they are widely disseminated in a manner calculated baselessly to cause maximum reputational damage.
Recently a commenter at Jo Nova’s blog posted several comments to the effect that I had “faked” a graph. I quickly asked Jo to replace them with a note to say legal proceedings were in train. Enough, I had decided, was enough.
Here is the diagram I was supposed to have “faked”:
This surely blameless diagram appeared alongside an article I had written for the Sunday Telegraph on 5 November 2006, the first time I ever went public on the climate question. The article went live on the internet at midnight on a Saturday night. Two hours later theTelegraph’s website crashed, for 127,000 people had tried to access the article.
Now, it is not the custom of UK newspapers to ask their contributors to illustrate their articles. As usual, I was not consulted and offered no advice on the matter, and had no hand in their production and no foreknowledge that they were to be used. The graphs are not labeled as having been sourced from the IPCC (indeed, one of the graphs has the shadow of a hockey stick overlaid on it and marked as the “IPCC ‘hockey stick’”, making it blindingly obvious that it is not an official IPCC’s graph).
The Telegraph’s graphs are simple and, it seems to me, harmless schematics illustrating the difference between the representations of 1000 years’ global temperatures as they appeared in the IPCC’s 2001 (top) and 1990 (bottom) reports.
The graph from p. 202 of the IPCC’s 1990 report now looks like this:
With the article I supplied some background material for Telegraph readers on its website. In that material, the IPCC’s 1990 graph also appeared, mistakenly captioned as 1996 rather than 1990. The graph as I reproduced it looked like this:
What I had not realized until very recently was that for several years allegations had been circulated all over the place to the effect that I had fabricated the graphs that had appeared in the Sunday Telegraph article. Yet not one of those who had made these allegations had ever contacted me to verify the facts. And not one of them had said what was wrong with the Telegraph’s graphs anyway.
Perhaps the worst of the many allegations of dishonesty against me appeared on a “science education” website, where an entire section under the bold heading “Misuse of scientific images” was devoted to the Telegraph’s graphs.
The offending section contained the following untruths:
- Ø that in that article I had “disputed the concept of climate change” (Not that old chestnut again! I had accepted the concept but queried its likely magnitude);
- Ø that the Telegraph’s graphs were instances of “poor use of graphical displays” that “can confuse and obscure data” (No, they neatly showed the main point: in 1990 the medieval warm period and little ice age were shown clearly, but by 2001 both had gone, and a sharp uptick in the 20th century had been added);
- Ø that I had “created the  graph on the bottom using different calculations that did not take into account all of the variables that climate scientists used to create the top graph” (No, I had not created either graph or done any calculations for such a graph);
- Ø that I had deployed “common techniques used to distort visual forms of data – manipulating axes, changing one of the variables in a comparison, changing calculations without full explanation – that can obscure a true comparison” (No, none of the above); and
- Ø that the article had been published in the Daily Telegraph (No, the Sunday Telegraph, and that suggests the website had never seen the original article but had picked up the libel from somewhere else).
I only discovered that this spectacularly inaccurate and profoundly damaging infestation of allegations when the commenter at Jo Nova’s site who had accused me of “faking” the graph mentioned on his own blog that I had not objected to the libel as it appeared on the science-education website. I had not objected because I had not known about it. No one at that website had thought to check any of the facts with me, or, as far as one can tell, with anyone else.
In short order a letter before action was sent to the website, which promptly did the right thing and took out the entire section, though there are indications that attempts are being made in some quarters – unsuccessfully so far – to get them to put it back up again.
I gave the commenter at Jo Nova’s website who had accused me of “faking” the graphs several chances to retract and apologize. Instead, he and several others sneeringly doubled down by accusing me of “lying” when I had said the graphs at the Telegraph website had not purported to be, and had not been labeled as, IPCC graphs.
They also alleged that the graph in my background materials accompanying the Telegrapharticle was “not the same graph” as that from the IPCC’s 1990 report: in effect, that I had “faked” that one as well. Judge that for yourselves from the two monochrome versions of the graph above. There seem to me to be no material differences, and I think it would be hard for the defendants to convince a court that there were any.
So I am going to court. My lawyers say the libels are plain and indefensible. They comment additionally that no judge would regard the schematics in the Telegraph (whoever had drawn them) as significantly misrepresenting the difference between the 1990 and 2001 reports’ images of the past millennium’s global temperature anomalies. As far as they can see, there is not a lot wrong with the graphs in any event.
I have told this story not only because some commenters here have been unwise enough to repeat in threads here the allegations they have made elsewhere but also because I thought it might be time to reveal the steps we have to take on an almost weekly basis to try to stem the tide of false allegations directed at us.
Nor am I by any means the only victim. For years, this shadowy Propagandaamt has been tampering with Fred Singer’s Wikipedia page to allege that he believes in Martians.
Niklas Mörner, the sea-level expert, has had his page got at on the ground that he sometimes dowses for water or other underground treasure. My late father once did that for the Maltese Government, and found three lost Punic tombs and a fine marble head of Seneca from the first century AD. My drawing of it (in the day before digital cameras) is probably still to be found somewhere in the Museum of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge. But I never had the knack for dowsing myself.
A pressure-group founded and funded by Prince Charles is prone to intervene to try (unsuccessfully, the last time they tried it on me) to prevent the publication of skeptical scientific papers in British learned journals.
A team of paid hacks telephones the Chancellor and the Dean of the Faculty at every university at which skeptics are invited to speak. About half the time, they succeed in getting us disinvited.
Journal editors are sacked for printing papers by skeptics.
However much one might hope that scientific discourse can be conducted in an open atmosphere of sensible dialog, the truth is that on the climate it can’t, because the extremists won’t play fair. The Politburo are determined to keep the scare going for just a little longer, till they can get the Treaty of Paris safely signed by all nations in December 2015.
So I am going to court to defend myself and, in so doing against the constant barrage of falsehoods told in support of the Party Line. We went to court against Al Gore because his movie was poisonous political propaganda dressed up as science.
We won. Nothing else but a court case would have worked. It was only when the department of education in London were confronted with 80 pages of scientific testimony, and knew that that testimony would stand up in court against all their falsehoods and evasions, that they caved in and settled, paying $400,000 to the plaintiffs and undertaking to circulate 77 pages of corrective guidance to every school in England.
In the present case, the other side has blinked thrice. On the website of my defamer, there is a nervous little note that he will not give me his name and address unless I answer various impertinent questions of his. The court will have no patience with any nonsense of that sort.
And there are now various postings at the same blog, again rather nervous, saying that perhaps they could plead that I don’t have a reputation and they can accuse me of whatever they like.
They will be unwise to take that line. For if they say I have no reputation they have to be able to come up with evidence that any material detrimental to my reputation on which they may try to rely is true. And most of it is no more accurate than their accusations that I “faked” a graph that I had plainly not faked. If they waste the court’s time with point after point that has nothing to do with the case at hand, they will merely aggravate the damages they will have to pay.
Finally, the perp has been unwise enough to admit that at the time when he made his allegation of “fakery” he did not know whether I had “faked” the graph or not. In the courts, to make a damaging and untrue allegation not knowing whether or not it is true is as culpable as making it when one knows it is not true. And there is no defense once that admission has been made. It has been made.
There is a curious and touching notion among some skeptics that, since the truth will of course prevail in the end, we should persevere with the scientific argument but not take the defamers and the scamsters to court. The feeling is that using the courts somehow isn’t cricket.
Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to play hardball. Being Valiant for Truth is not for wimps.