Tim Lambert: How I "wiped the floor" with Monckton

I have just watched the meat of the Monckton v Lambert debate: the initial presentations, the questions to each other, and the five minute summing up. The Sky News version did not include the Q & A session from the audience (no great loss, I would expect, given it was a lay audience).

Monckton was far the better presenter, confidently and forcefully making his points. Lambert, on the other hand, looked edgy and uncomfortable. Admittedly, with Alan Jones as a moderator, it was always going to be difficult for Lambert, but I feel it makes up for the thousands of Lateline interviews conducted by another Jones, Tony, and of course Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report, where any number of sceptics were battling the presenter before they even started.

Lambert, who lacked confidence in his presentation, nonetheless swaggers back to the comfort of his own blog, Deltoid:

You know that famous scene in Annie Hall where a bore is going on and on about Marshall McLuhan’s work and Allen produces McLuhan who tells the bore that he got McLuhan all wrong? Well, that’s kind of what happened in my debate with Monckton. Based on what he had identified as his most important argument in previous talks I was pretty sure he would argue that climate sensitivity was low based on his misunderstanding of Pinker et al Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?. And sure enough, he did.

You remember how I called Lambert’s blog “smug”? It must be great to be him – arrogant, cocksure, and of course, always right, never conceding anything – the antithesis of a proper scientist, of course, who should be always cautious, questioning, doubting, dare I say it, sceptical. And his adoring warmist fans in the comments reassured him he’d done a great job and he’d won comfortably and Monckton was a charlatan. As he modestly puts it himself:

The folks I talked to afterwards (which may, perhaps, be a biased sample [Really? – Ed]) say that I wiped the floor with him. Which is a pretty good result since I’ve never done anything like this before. (source)

“Wiped the floor”? I am amazed that Lambert is ungracious enough to crow about such things on his blog, even if it was said by others. I imagine many more of the audience said similar things to Monckton, but I cannot for a minute see him gloating publicly about it.

Certainly on the Pinker paper, Lambert appeared to have a point that needed further investigation. But Monckton will go away and look at the paper again and no doubt come back with a response (which I will post), because that is the way in which scientific discourse progresses. Elsewhere in the debate, Lambert was unconvincing, recycling the usual warm-mongering rhetoric that we’re so used to, relying heavily on GISS data and temperature sets to show warming, when the satellite record shows stasis since 2001. It was a shame the satellite/surface dichotomy was not explored further.

[UPDATE: I should also add that Lambert’s five minute sum up at the end was particularly weak (actually lasting about two minutes), allowing Monckton really to cash in with a far more powerful conclusion. You can watch them here and make up your own mind – Ed]

If the science is so settled and Lambert was so right and Monckton so wrong, it certainly didn’t show. The debate isn’t over.


  1. Louis Hissink says:

    This is a good summary of the debate and particularly the Pinker issue. I noticed on Lambert’s comments that Cohenite pointed to another comment made by Pinker which balanced her previous gone, effectively giving Monckton the benefit of the doubt.

    I queried Monckton about the outcome of the debate, and basically confirmed the impression put on this post. Even Lambert’s supporters had some admiration for CM’s professionalism.

    Odd that there is no YouTube video of it.

  2. @ Louis: Have added a link to an SMH video of the conclusions. Cheers.

  3. lambert couldn’t take on Mezmer, let alone Moncton.

  4. monckton is a far better public speaker than lambert. that does not mean his science is correct. going by his incorrect assertion that there was an ‘explosion ‘ of land plants during the cambrian period his science is obviously dead wrong. he pours scorn on nasa and then offers data that has been rejected by the scientific consensus and cannot be verified. likewise his claims that the polar cap ”almost disappeared” during the regional medieval warming is also totally absurd ,as ice core studies show. to have alan jones a fervent denier, anywhere near proceedings also undermines the debate. all in all, the debate proved nothing and was largely a waste of time, regardless of the subjective judgements of who won or lost

  5. Yes, this is an extremely powerful nine minutes. I particularly like Monckton’s emphasis that repeated recent calculations of climate sensitivy from measurements instead of models are finding a low sensitivity. And of course, his emphasis at the end on poverty, which was the crux of the eruption at Copenhagen.

  6. Black Duck says:

    When I was a youngster over 50 years ago, I would occasionally tell my father how well I had done at something. His reply from long ago applies very much to Tim Lambert today.

    “Son, self praise is no recommendation.”

  7. papertiger says:

    likewise his claims that the polar cap ”almost disappeared” during the regional medieval warming is also totally absurd

    Regional medieval warming?

    The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Northern Patagonia
    Reference: Sepulveda, J., Pantoja, S., Hughen, K.A., Bertrand, S., Figueroa, D., Leon, T., Drenzek, N.J. and Lange, C. 2009. Late Holocene sea-surface temperature and precipitation variability in northern Patagonia, Chile (Jacaf Fjord, 44°S). Quaternary Research 72: 400-409.

    Does it help Tim Lambert when the one guy in his corner has to tell lies to support him?

  8. Jose Veragio says:

    Is it more a generational thing ?

    You know the irreverent blogger meets the accomplished debater who he secretly admires.

  9. plimers assertion that there has been extreme climate change in the past and moncktons claim that climate has low sensitivity contradict each other. high sensitivity is required for dramatic climate change. again this shows the weakness of moncktons scientific argument . he certainly is no scientist and neither is gore . but then again, gore does have the scientific consensus to back him up ?

  10. Does anyone know where we can watch the whole debate?
    It would be interesting to see it all in context.

  11. @gary: There is no contradiction. Climate sensitivity can be high in respect of one particular driver and low in respect of another. And sorry, but it’s just laughable to compare Monckton to Gore. Monckton has a huge understanding of the science – Gore has none (in fact, less than none). And P.S. Science isn’t about consensus.

  12. Sabretruthtiger says:

    Lambert was wrong on every point from what I can gather. Number 1, inferring high CO2 climate sensitivity in the little ice age from the fact that there was low CO2 during that period is fallacious and erroneous. Solar activity is the primary driver of climate change and corresponds precisely with all the minimums and maximums over large time scales, CO2 does not correspond precisely and lags by 800 years.
    His argument was akin to saying that because a drunk teenager crashed her car into a tree and her spare tyre was missing, missing spare tyres cause crashes.

    Also Gary Read, you’re wrong on every point, number 1 the midiaeval warm period was global and yes, ice core studies show the ice caps were indeed severely compromised, go to co2science.org to get an education.
    There was an explosion of plant growth in Cambrian times due the large amount of CO2, now you’re just lying.
    His data can be verified and is available on the net in many places, NASA for one.
    The scientific consensus offers no valid refutation, like you, they are politically compromised and are either immoral or fear for their jobs.

  13. Sabretruthtiger said:
    “The scientific consensus offers no valid refutation, like you, they are politically compromised and are either immoral or fear for their jobs.”
    First, there is no scientific consensus, in the sense of a formal agreement. Hundreds of scientists have independently found that their research findings are consistent with AGW theory. The obvious reason is that AGW is probably happening. Only you people look for conspiracy. I’m a recently retired climate scientist. So, I have no job to fear for and have no political involvement to be compromised. I have never been considered immoral by anyone able to walk after saying it. Yet, in spite of refuting all your conditions, I still know that AGW is the most likely explanation for numerous very strange changes in global climate over the past 30 years. By about 2050, we will have to do something. It will cost much more if we wait, and probably people will die because of it. But, if you have your way, that’s what will happen. Personally, I don’t care, I’ve done what I can.

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