Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My advice to Topher Field - take the money and run!

Sou | 7:39 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

Topher Field managed to fleece tens of thousands of dollars out of gullible and hopeful science deniers.  Now he seems to be making the mistake of trying to defend his dumb video and the lies it contains.

If he had any sense he'd take the money and run, not stick around to be shown up for so grossly misrepresenting climate science and climate economics.

Topher Field made a comment on HotWhopper about my initial response to his utterly nutty Australian election video about quadrillions of dollar coins looping around Neptune and the sun.  He implies he thinks he got it right.  Topher wrote in part:
It's incredibly kind of you to dedicate so much time to trying to 'take me down',

I replied, among other things:
I wrote the above article in a very short time. I don't care about you one way or another although I've formed an opinion about your political ideology, from this and other videos you've made, and your scientific and economic illiteracy. Your ideology explains your motivation for spreading disinformation, which speaks to your lack of ethics. But I'll grant you that you may merely be supremely ignorant. A veritable example of Dunning and Kruger. Or you could just be trying to make a crust and, like some people, are willing to sacrifice integrity in the process. Any or all of those could be the driving force or none of them. It doesn't matter. Therefore I'll skip the speculation as to what drove you to spend other people's money producing utter nuttery. 
What I'll address in a future article is the content of your video and that of Monckton's ridiculous pdf file that I gather you've used as the basis for your nonsense claims.
Topher doesn't want to know what's wrong with his video or Monckton's mathurbations, saying"
Anyway, that's all from me, I've learned long ago not to argue with those who prefer to believe their own reality rather than the one in front of them.
What a plonker!  Does he really think his silly cartoon bears any resemblance to reality?  While Topher takes my advice and runs, but back into the arms of the marks he conned, there may be other stray readers who'll venture here from a google search for "topher" or for "monckton".  This might get them started on thinking critically about science and/or the economics of climate change.  Or at least make them pause before deciding wannabee cartoon producers and potty peers know more about climate science and economics than specialists who've spent their lives researching those subjects.

So let's get going.

Because this post is very long, I've put in a break.  Click here to open to the full article if you're on the home page.

Topher is wrong from the outset: there is no "IPCC central estimate" of 3º Celsius a century

In a comment, Topher wrote:
I clearly stated that I as accepting the IPCCs central AR4 estimate of 3deg per century warming, the using Stern to find out the cost of that 3 deg. I even gave the page number from Stern where I found the information in black and white.
There are a number of things wrong with the above.

Firstly, IPCC's "central AR4 estimate" is not three degrees of warming "per century".  If Topher is interested in the "per century" projections in the last IPCC report, he needs to read Chapter 10 of WG1. He also needs to take notice of the pathways on which the projections are based.  They do not include the continued burning of fossil fuel advocated by Topher.

Which leads to the second point.  The IPCC didn't conceive of a world that Topher and his backers want.  The IPCC projections don't allow for the world being so dumb as to not reduce fossil fuel emissions at any time or at all.  Therefore, since Topher's video advocates no attempt to reduce carbon emissions, he needs to look at projections higher than business as usual.

Topher wasn't sufficiently familiar with Stern to tell me the page number in his comment (see below).  While he claims to have "found the information" it turns out it wasn't Topher who didn't find the information at all.  It was Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

What is so Dunning-Kruger about all this is that Topher thinks he can pick an item from a single page in the 662 page Stern report, combine it with a fake "3 degrees a century" (or 3 degrees a decade) and jump to the ludicrous conclusion that it will cost 80% of GDP to rein back fossil fuel emissions.  What a nutter!

Not only that - but he appears to jump to to the even more ludicrous conclusion that people will readily "adapt" to a rise of three degrees each century.  If his projection were true, in just over three hundred years the earth would be ten degrees above pre-industrial and much of the planet wouldn't just be uninhabitable, it would be un-enterable.  There would be large areas of earth where no-one could go and expect to survive more than a few minutes or hours.  They'd die from heat stress.

Science deniers adore a potty peer

Now for some false assumptions and flawed reasoning we'll turn to Monckton's silly "paper", which Topher says he used for "all 50 to 1 sources and maths"! (Refer archived Topher page here and Monckton's paper I've stored here.)  To get some idea of the "quality" and intended audience, here is how Moncton presents his nuttery:

The crown at the top is to remind the adoring audience that Monckton is a peer, therefore his silliness has been "peer-reviewed" - by no other than Monckton himself.  Some Americans and a few Australians still regard British peers as next to royalty (even if they've only had the "peerage" for a generation and those who bestowed it couldn't conceive of Lord Monckton senior having progeny like Monckton junior) and probably just an angel shy of godliness.

Monckton starts off badly, telling lies

Monckton starts off badly with this misrepresentation:
Fraction of world CO2 emissions abated: Over ten years, the tax, which its inventor, Professor Garnaut, said in 2013 had failed, cannot now abate more than 5% of predicted CO2  emissions. Australia emits 1.2% of world emissions (derived from Boden et al., 2010ab). The tax will thus abate 5% x 1.2% = 0.06% of world emissions.
He provides no reference for Professor Garnaut saying that the carbon pricing scheme had failed so we'll take that as a no unless someone has a reference.

Monckton then claims that it "cannot now abate more than 5% of predicted CO2 emissions".  More educated readers will be aware that the scheme is intended to reduce emissions by at least 5%, which is quite a different aim altogether.  As stated here,  the aim is relatively ambitious:
If Australia takes no action by 2020 our carbon pollution could be 20 per cent higher than in 2000, not 5 to 25 per cent lower as the Australian Government intends. The Australian Government's targets are equivalent to a reduction in every Australian's carbon footprint of nearly one third to one half.
Whether it is sufficient to reduce Australia's emissions to 5% below those of 2000 is another matter.  Monckton provides no evidence that Australia cannot do this.

Monckton then makes a magical leap to this ridiculous statement:
CO2 concentration abated: Without the tax, CO2 concentration after ten years would be  410 μatm (IPCC, 2007), up by 20 μatm on the 390 μatm (Conway & Tans, 2011) at the outset. With the tax, after ten years CO2 concentration would be 410 μatm less 0.06% of the 20 μatm growth: i.e. 409.988 μatm.
Let's look at Monckton's over-riding assumption:- the only means of reducing CO2 emissions is via the carbon pricing scheme introduced in Australia.  Nothing any other nation on earth can do will make the slightest bit of difference according to Monckton's logic, either through increasing emissions or decreasing emissions.

I'm also curious as to why Monckton uses μatm as the unit for CO2.  I presume he is referring to the partial pressure of CO2 at sea level but he doesn't say that. In any case, most people use ppm (parts per million) or ppmv (parts per million by volume) when discussing CO2 concentrations, which applies to the atmosphere in the troposphere as a whole and is more relevant in this context to my way of thinking.

Finally, Monckton cites a paper: "Conway and Tans (2011), Recent trends in globally-averaged CO2 concentration".  I can find no such paper.  He links to this page on the NOAA website, which shows the recent global monthly mean CO2 and other data. The page provides no predictions or projections of CO2 emissions.  It's showing past atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  So we can only conclude that he made the numbers up out of thin air or by extrapolating of the current rise in emissions.  But he doesn't say.  So we don't know.

What about 730 μatm CO2-equivalent?

I'll skip the next few nonsensical bits and go to another of Monckton's false claims.  Monckton claims the Garnaut Climate Change Review (2008) "talks of keeping greenhouse-gas rises to 730 μatm CO2-equivalent".  This struck me as ludicrous.  Nevertheless, I did a search of the Garnaut review and found only that the number "730" was written twice, and neither was in regard to "keeping greenhouse-gas rises to 730 μatm CO2-equivalent".  So again, Monckton is making up stuff out of thin air.

No-one in their right mind would advocate 730 ppm CO2, which is what Monckton appears to be suggesting.  In case you think I've misrepresented Monckton (on the basis that no-one could be that dumb), Monckton equates 730 μatm CO2-equivalent with "450 μatm above 280 μatm CO2".  Monckton falsely claims that 730 μatm would "hold 21st-century warming .. to  2 Cº".  In fact, world leaders decided that 450 ppm CO2, not 730 ppm, would be the number they would aim for so as to to "hold 21st century warming" to 2º Celsius.

No, Christopher(s) - Australia is not the only country in the world!

Monckton wanders off into various watts/square metre calculations to "prove" that a carbon price in Australia will make no difference to global warming and concludes that nothing will make a difference.  He implies that even if the entire world were to take steps to reduce emissions it wouldn't make any difference or would be too costly.

What Monckton does next is truly fanciful.  He compares Australia's investment in reducing carbon emissions with a global abatement of warming.  Again as if Australia is the only nation to have an impact on warming.  It's ridiculous.  This is where he gets his quadrillion dollar coins from and where Topher gets his loopy loop around Uranus.

And Monckton does this for a ten year time horizon.  He cons his readers into thinking firstly the IPCC has a projected temperature rise over a ten year period - which is patently ludicrous.  Climate change happens over a longer time horizon than ten years.  IPCC projections for different scenarios are longer term than ten years.  Not only that but they stop short of projecting the sort of future than Monckton and Topher advocate, one in which the world goes overboard and burns more and more fossil fuel.  Even the worst IPCC scenarios assume some level of action to reduce emissions.

How Monckton/Topher turns 3º Celsius a century into 3º Celsius a decade

As for Topher claiming that he provided the "page number" in the Stern review report for Monckton's mathturbations, the Monckton one-pager does reference page vi of the 662-page Stern report, but it has no relationship to Monckton's con.  I went to page vi and found what is probably the most relevant paragraph and it's a long way from what Monckton writes.  Compare this (my bold italics):

From Stern page vi:
Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more..
In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.
So Stern found that if we keep pouring out CO2 with gay abandon, then the cost of not acting is equivalent to a loss of 5% of GDP now and forever.  By contrast, the cost of acting could be limited to 1% of GDP - provided we act soon enough.  Compare this to Monckton's nonsense:
The benefit: Stern (2006, p. vi), estimates that the avoided-cost benefit of abating the 3 Cº 21st-century warming  expected by the IPCC will be  0-3% of  21st-century global GDP.  Since warming of 0.14 Cº/decade observed in the 23 years since 1990 (HadCRUt3gl, 2011) is less than half the IPCC’s 3 Cº/decade central estimate, a fair avoided-cost benefit is 1.5% of GDP.
What rubbish.  Monckton decides to take no notice of the Stern review when it comes to the cost of taking no action, and ignore what the climate models do project and then decides to fake some numbers.  He takes a number from the outdated HadCRUT3, using a cherry picked start date, suddenly decides that the IPCC is predicting "3 Cº/decade" rather than what he earlier claimed, 3º Celsius a century and then makes up a number faking that it bears any relation to what is written in the Stern review.

Monckton has no shame while Topher Field probably doesn't have the wit or education to check anything Monckton wrote (nor to understand it).

Where did Monckton find his 80%?

The real idiocy is in Monckton's 80% vs 1.5% fallacy.  Do you want to know how he derived his 80%?  Here he abandons any pretence at agreeing with the Stern review and throws all reason out the window. What Monckton does is pick the smallest number he thinks he can get away with, divides it by an equally meaningless largest number he thinks he can get away with, and pulls his rabbit out of the hat.

Monckton has previously fudged 0.00005 degrees Celsius by attempting to work out what difference a 5% reduction in Australia's CO2 emissions would make in the world.  He then decides that any attempt to reduce emissions would require the ten times the annual budget for Australia's entire climate change and energy efficiency portfolio as at 2010-11, without of course allowing for any benefits accruing to the economy.  Then he fudges what he calls an "avoided cost benefit" by again ignoring the Stern review he previously favoured, and misrepresenting his mathturbations as being consistent with the IPCC.

Monckton's numbers make no sense whatsoever.  It's a transparent attempt to con people who are as dumb as Topher and his audience (assuming Topher really is that dumb and doesn't have a clue what he's saying in his video, which is hardly credible).

You'll recall Monckton does this sort of thing often.  For example in relation to Cook et al, Monckton keeps insisting that 3,896 is not 97.1% of 4014.  He insists till he's blue in the face that 3896 divided by 4014 equals only 0.003.  How he manages to persuade himself of this nonsense I cannot even guess.  All I can say is that he's obviously a real clod when it comes to numbers.

Take the money and run, Topher Field

I suggest that Topher shut up, take the money and run as far from his silly cartoon as he can, knowing that in some circles at least, any reputation he might have had for integrity is forever tainted.

If anyone has anything to add, or wants to correct anything I've written, go for it.  I'm quite prepared for the fact that I've not interpreted things properly.   But one thing's for sure, neither Topher Field or Monckton has interpreted things properly!

Monckton idiocy debunked

These days few people who've ever heard of Christopher Monckton of Brenchley pay him any mind.  I only do so because HotWhopper is devoted to demolishing disinformation.

Collin Maessen has done a grand job of debunking Monckton and made a video of it.  I heartily recommend it.

So has John Abraham, who also went into great detail.

And so has SkepticalScience.com.

Barry Bickmore has been quite merciless in his take downs of the clown.  He's even developed the Bickmore's Laws of Monckton.

The above are more fact-based and devoid of rhetoric, unlike HotWhopper.  I tend to snark and ridicule as well as debunking his idiocy.  After all, as Watching the Deniers points out, when even Andrew Bolt has had enough of Monckton...


  1. Topher's video needs a more catchy title like '50 Shades of Wrong' and the appropriate Dulux colour chart as a backdrop for its credits at the video's end. And those appearing in the video should have more interesting names like Topher Monckton, Hony Watts, Nne Nova-Codling, etc. Plus the closing black screen should carry a statement along the lines of 'This has been a fictional story and any resemblance of its characters to scientists, living or dead, is purely a coincidence.'

  2. I think the problem with climate science is that we get so much conflicting information. You berate Topher for using worst-case scenario. But that's what we are told and then you blame him for "misleading" everyone.

    This is from Global Warming Forecasts:

    "Carbon emissions are worse than expected because scientists incorrectly assumed that nations like China and India would choose to build cleaner low carbon emissions power plants instead of less expensive higher carbon emissions power plants. “[C]arbon emissions are not only still growing, they're growing faster than ever, and the outcome is even worse than scientists expected. The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are HIGHER THAN WORST CASE SCENARIO outlined by [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] climate experts just four years ago [2007]


    And then in order to reduce your emissions, you ship your coal to China.

    China's coal imports, excluding lignite, rose 26 percent in July from the previous month after two months of falls in shipments, as a drop in overseas prices led end-users to ramp up orders of Australian coal and restock for peak summer demand. The jump in imports was largely led by Australian coal, which rose by 3.59 million tonnes to 8.52 million tonnes, accounting for nearly three-quarter of the total volume increase.


    1. Make no mistake. I'm not berating Topher for using worst case information, I'm calling him out for telling straight up lies. I didn't see one iota of fact in his nonsense. He's promulgating what he should know is falsehoods and fakery from Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

      And don't confuse climate science with climate policy. They are two different things. Climate policy is the strategy that societies choose to address the problems that science has shown to be real and urgent.

      Yes, Australia and other countries ship coal to China. China is in the process of ramping up clean energy but is also grappling with growing the economy. It and other developing nations are voracious users of coal. Hopefully they will make the transition to clean energy sooner rather than later.

      Like I said in the other thread where you repeated the fact that Australia ships coal to China, Australia is no saint when it comes to adding CO2 emissions.

      The whole world has to work together to address this huge problem.

      People like Topher and Monckton don't want the world to address it. They scoff at notions like international cooperation. They are dead against doing anything to stop global warming. They have no regard for the future of humanity or the earth as a whole. Going by Topher's website he thinks that people working together to solve a common problem is an affront to his own personal liberty. To him, he is more important than anyone else in the world. He values individual greed and selfishness with no regard for others. It's his own personal ideology. He'd rather the earth went down the gurgler and suffers the sixth major extinction event than contribute as part of a team effort to social wellbeing and harmony or consider the long term well-being of earth and all its creatures.

      I don't imagine he is one for team sports like footy and soccer either. It would offend his sense of individuality.

    2. Sorry, climate science and climate policy are not two different things. The climate policy is based on the climate science. Why do you think the EU, US, China and other governments want clarification of where the science is at regarding the 15-year pause?

      Australia is like a drug dealer. Australia supplies the crack to China and in return Australia hopes that China will make the transition to clean energy. You want the whole world to work together, but it seems by working to together we are spending lots of money not to use our own fossil fuels and instead sending it to China for them to use. This makes sense how?

      In the previous link I posted from Global Warming Forecasts it was reported that China may be under-reporting its annual carbon emissions by as much as 1.4 billion tonnes a year—roughly the amount that Japan, the world’s fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), pumps out each year. According to the new study, which used more than a decade of official Chinese data, China’s carbon emissions could be 20% higher than previously thought.

      So we have the crack addict lying to the world about its emissions and we the drug dealers send them more crack. Again, how does this make any sense?

    3. Of course climate policy is different from the science. You're being absurd. There are a range of policy options to address climate change, but not a 'range' of choices in science.

      As for sending coal to China - I agree it doesn't make sense and is a bad thing. How many times do you want me to repeat myself?

      If you feel so strongly about this go convince the deniers at WUWT and elsewhere. Heck - go persuade the Chinese. Many of them feel exactly as you do but they'd be glad of the assistance. Or go talk to Australian politicians and the coal mining sector and get them to develop renewables more quickly.

      You're preaching (albeit off key) to the converted here at HotWhopper.

  3. kristy - September 4, 2013 at 4:20 AM
    "Sorry, climate science and climate policy are not two different things."
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    So basically kristy your premise is that if YOU, or we, dream it hard enough it can be true???

    Climate science is about understanding how our global heat distribution engine operates, it deals with basic clearly understood geophysical facts of reality.

    It is the thing we had better understand before anything we do will do anything constructive for our future generations!!!

    BUT... You are trying to say the politics and implications of the science are more important than understanding the real way our planet is behaving??? I find that mentality disturbing.

    kristy I would serious appreciate you sharing your opinion
    regarding my above assessment of your thinking. :- )

  4. Seems that Kristy won't rise to the occasion.

    ~ ~ ~ 

    Back to your post Sou,
    This caught my eye: "Topher Field managed to fleece tens of thousands of dollars out of gullible and hopeful science deniers."
~ ~ ~

Here again is an example of the real problem...
the unspoken problem... being faced these days.

    It's not the Moncktons or Whites or Watts that are the problem...


It is that God-Fear'n Public that demands to be fed story-telling, rather than hard learning, because they trust in a world where if you believe it hard enough - it can be true.


They harbor some vague resentment for this planet and see it as nothing more than a larder, there for the taking - " if'n your'n big'nuf to take it " and nothing more.

    Unfortunately, this crowd, thanks to their goal oriented ruthlessness, are also the ones who control all the levers of power that are going to dictate how the future will play out.

    How to reach that crowd and make them shed their childhood thing for adult realism... that's the challenge.

    ~ ~ ~ 


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