the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on January 10, 2010

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

Smart enough to talk reasonably, dumb enough to not care that she has no idea what she’s saying. Links to the answers to her questions:

28 Responses to “Guh….Yup.”

  1. P Gosselin said

    I like that quote by Winston! Great one!
    Here’s another quote he made when at a tea party hosted by one of his enemies:

    She said: “Winston, if you were my husband I’d put poison in your tea”.
    Winston replied: “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

    I highly highly recommend the following book:

  2. Jim said

    This is a great example of protesting without understanding. I wonder if I could get some of them to join my movement for the banning of dihydrogen monoxide.

    At about 00:56, Lord Monckton says: “The UN, in its calculations, shows that in all but the last 20 years, we could not have had any effect on the climate. It’s a very recent effect that we might have had.”

    I’ve only been reading up since Climategate, but I’m surprised I haven’t heard about this, which sounds like a very interesting point. Can anybody explain, or point me to a reference?

  3. Sordnay said

    Then you will agree with this:
    She might be brainless, but her vote counts the same as Lord Monckton. Unless you propose any other better system, oh! Enlightened absolutism does not count, we already tried that it did not work, wouldn’t work now either. I think our best chance is to promote inteligent and fair people into politics, and to get rid of biased and corrupt ones.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #3, I don’t like the pielke post at all. It’s clear that the authors consider themselves superior to the public and are looking for a fine line to modify democracy whilst still supporting it. The last sentence gives it away.

    Therefore, today’s China cannot serve as a model. Climate policy must be compatible with democracy, otherwise the threat to civilization will be much more than just changes to our physical environment.”

    Consider for a moment, just how stupid we would have to be to turn ourselves into a human rights abusing communist country. The only reason they have any economic success is the continued marketing of dollar an hour labor. They are exporting their laborers lives to the democratic world. We support their economic existence, without us they would be as poor and starving as viet-nam (which is working on the same policy).

    They make it sound like an in between China and the US is appropriate. In my opinion, it’s motivated by foolishness, a euro-socialist upbringing and a separation from the real world of business ownership.

    As to policies for voting, I wouldn’t mind an ignorance check before voting e.g. which of these five policies are the policies belong to each candidate or what are the branches of government. I also like the proposal that if you take more money from the government than you give, you cannot vote.

    In the end, the policies of the old US showed the way, it’s up to us to figure out how to get there again and do a better job of staying there. There are too many regulatory hurdles, lawsuits and unions to make small business work. California and Michigan are prime examples of leftism driving business away.

    In the meantime, it’s hard to imagine anything more destructive to humanity than the green policies proposed by these scientists and IMO a complete lack of action is actually the correct action. Democracy is working well this time – except for the idiot above.

  5. […] Democracy, what democracy?, […]

  6. PeterS said

    As another saying goes “we get the government we deserve”. Sad but true.

  7. Mike said


    “She might be brainless…”

    She isn’t. She converses in a foreign language, and she has the politeness and good sense to hear Monckton out and answer him straight up, even though it puts her in an awkward situation. She simply has not looked for information that would have questioned her beliefs, but you get the feeling that she really might change that.

    We all take a good part of what we consider our knowledge on somebody else’s authority, and on occasion we will be fooled by it.

  8. luca turin said


    I agree entirely. She strikes me as decent, reasonable and brave. Monckton is close to condescension all the way through but in my opinion never crosses the line, and overall I found the dialogue makes me come to the exact opposite conclusion to that unpleasant Churchill quote. The great man must have said that after losing an election.

  9. Jeff Id said

    #8 and #7

    I agree the woman was brave. What you are missing IMO is the fact that she took her personal time to go and campaign to teach the world about global warming without taking the time to read any facts. She actually stood up to Monkton and said all the greenpeace party lines without understanding a single one.

    And one final point, she’s dumb enough to miss all the other facts and actually join greenpeace in the first place.

  10. Sordnay said

    #7 you are right, English is also foreing language for me, I meant to say that “even if she is brainless”,
    In particular, I think that her answers are pretty much correct whith what she believes, the only one is when Monckton ask somethink like “If I can prove you all this, would you consider you have been mislead” proved that, I think she should had to answer that yes.

  11. Magnus A said

    In the Greanpeace team she was in she deserve the Nobel price or something?

  12. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said


  13. vsaluki said

    I’m not sure that I like Christopher’s approach of pushing the no warming trend out to 15 years by attaching “no statistically significant” to it. Let’s just go with 12 years of no warming, period, and leave the “statistically significant” out of it. I don’t want to game people. I think we win this fight without stretching what we have. I appreciate Christopher taking the fight public, like he is doing, however. His energy and enthusiasm are great.

  14. Magnus A said

    Vsaluki. I don’t think it is to stretch anything when you mention a period without statistical significance.

    Lindzen did that. The physicist Lubos Motl has a post about this. Watts’ post about Lindzen:

    If you say 12 year, you will get the standard reply, that the reason is El Nino 1998 (maybe increased variability because of El Nino enables lack of statistical significance for 15 years, but that’s irrelevant for the math, and El Ninos are natural phenomenons). Anyway, I don’t think there is no need to be “polite about facts” beyond what facts says.

    Btw, my own post with diagrams and links for this dialog between Monckton and this woman from Greenpeace:

    But one shall be humble, and I think Monckton is (but I don’t like when let themselves get interviewed by Alex Jones, Corbert Reports, or other conspiuracy theorists).


    The fact is that low level cloud decreased several percent between 1992 and 2002, so that albedo decreased 2 percent and thus the energy on the Earth’s surface increased as much as it due to IPCC theoretically can be increased by all the CO2 emitted since the start of industrialization. This is something no AGW proponent I’ve discussed with has gived a good answer on. This facts shows that the reason for temperature increase in the 90s was something else than CO2, and that is damaging for AGW. I think they understand this, and the answer use to be that Svensmark is completely wrong, and has not shown any correlation. That’s utterly wrong, and I think that these AGW proponents (AGW activists with blogs) just know they lies. Reference:
    Palle et al: “The Earthshine Project: update on photometric and spectroscopic measurements”.

  15. Jeff Id said

    #13, Calling it a game or attempt to trick is a misunderstanding. I flatly refuse to do that as there is no point, the data is the data.

    Currently there is an argument that the cooling isn’t relevant because it occurs naturally inside a series with the noise level of the temperature data. This argument was made at Tamino and Real Climate several times. The problem is that the argument cuts both ways and the statistically significant lack of warming is along the lines of the same argument. It means the small uptrend is perfectly capable of occurring in a long term trendless dataset with this noise level just as is the downtrend. Of course in the link above, the downtrend cut the lower bound at certain points so it’s nearly a statistically significant downtrend for a few periods – not that it changes anything. The downtrend is just as real as the uptrend and your eyes can see it without any fancy stats.

  16. vsaluki said

    “Currently there is an argument that the cooling isn’t relevant because it occurs naturally inside a series with the noise level of the temperature data.”

    I would rather deal with that argument directly rather than stretch the trend time, as I do here:

    It looks as though many of the arguments that the alarmists use to dismiss the current flat trend are contained in a new paper here:

    I don’t know if Geophysical Research Letter has published this, but obviously that is what they are trying to achieve. The paper has many obvious problems. I intend to put up a post pointing some of them out later today.

  17. TempGauge said

    Monckton is just a cusp away from being a bully here, and that’s not a good advert for sceptics. If you are going to persuade people to your side, however correct, this kind of tactic is counter-productive. The women was talking in a foreign language better than most speak their own. She is clearly intelligent. Breaking down her blind faith in global warming is a process of patience and tolerance – and that might seem frustrating and seemingly slow, but there is no alternative. If debates reach the level of slanging matches, or door-stepping like this, sceptics will be seen as bullies.

    A further worry is the constant identification of sceptics with the extreme right and believers to the left. In fact it is NOT a party or idealogical debate, but one of seeking truth. Sceptics do themselves a disservice by labelling every believer as “left” and warmists likewise labelling every sceptic as “right”. This is a crass notion. It is the duty of every sceptic to argue with simplicity and sophistication, and not to make general assnmptions about other people’s position on the political matrix. Stick to the truth and science, calmly and consistently. That is the only way to make progress.

  18. Magnus A said

    Jeff Id. In some work it’s mentioned that even if the data has no significant trend filtered data has such a significant trend. The result is that there is no significant trend, but the trend of the foltered data is mentioned. I think Knorr mentioned this in his study on airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2; it was used as argument when the study was discussed.

    Line up scattered dots, and – tada! – significant trend; how convenient! Maybe I’m too suspicious? But e g to normalise trends before significance test I guess is okay if it’s motivated.

  19. Jeff Id said

    #18, the serial autocorrelation correction for significance attempts to correct for filtering effects. If the AR value get’s really large, a different method might be preferred.

  20. RB said

    Same old earth is 4 billion years bit. Stating something which is correct but not relevant to the arguments made. Monckton comes out as the semi-informed idiot — something that he’s trying to make his interviewee to be– believing that “earth has sometimes warmed and sometimes cooled” makes his insinuation about no human-induced warming to be correct.

  21. vsaluki said

    “something that he’s trying to make his interviewee to be– believing that “earth has sometimes warmed and sometimes cooled” makes his insinuation about no human-induced warming to be correct.”

    No, I think that this is a counter argument to all of the implications coming from the AGW side that simply because it is warming it means that it must be human induced. The fact that it was warming up to 1998 means nothing. But so many of the alarmists seem to want to take is as a sign of human guilt.

  22. RB said

    “implications coming from the AGW side that simply because it is warming”

    Sorry – it is not useful to use the uninformed public’s version fo AGW and implying it to be the scientific one. Pointing to a salesman’s lack of technical knowledge is just a form of playing to the cheapshot gallery – if a purported expert does it, it reflects quite poorly on that person.

  23. Jeff Id said

    #22, if the salesman is selling a radical change in our system of government and the flat theft of a trillion dollars a year, the salesman better know a couple details about what she is selling. Monkton did fine and the first version of this post got deleted because I’ve got no patients with the willingly ignorant.

    I don’t know you well but I already know you wouldn’t be caught dead supporting a protest or public event about which you have no knowledge. I can’t possibly comment on all posts here but I read them. IMO, you would first learn then make your point public, as you have done here several times. Monkton was the interviewer, sure he’s smarter and has more knowledge, but he didn’t stand in public and demand an ignorant solution to a problem which is poorly defined.

  24. Chris D. said

    Kudos to her, however, for her poise and adherence to civil discourse. I did not expect that from a Greenpeace representative – people who shoot arrows and ram boats. She represented her organization well in this regard. I agree that Monkton cherry picked a bit, but did enjoy seeing the warmer shift to the skeptic. “I would need to see it for myself.”

  25. Black Flag said

    She is brave.

    And I appreciate Monckton too – the end of the interview, she asks his name

    “Christopher Monckton” … not “LORD Monckton” ….

    Could you image Mann just saying “I’m Micheal Mann”

    They’d really say I’m “DOCTOR Micheal Mann”

  26. TempGauge said

    It’s a shame no-one has picked up on the “right” and “left” issue raised in my post above. Monckton has done a great service in debunking the absurdities of the evangelical warmists’ panic stricken nonsense, but what we need is several prominent people who are party apolitical, or even some from the left, who are willing to come out of the closet. The fact is that most of the UK electorate has moved to the centre right from their former positions on the extreme right or even mid-left. Many mass-media publications such as the Guardian point blank refuse to budge from their warmist faith merely because they do not wish to be identified with people like Monckton, whose general views they find distasteful.

    If the global warming issues could be released from the banalities of left-right arguments and be seen as an examination of FACTS, not political prejudice, then the sceptic movement would almost overnight gain momentum. This can be illustrated anecdotally: Many of my friends who are centre-left simply refuse to cross the warmist divide because they do not wish to be associated with what they see as right-wing agendas. yet it IS possible to be left-leaning and still regard alarmist propaganda as ludicrous – it just requires those who are on the left of centre, or neutral in terms of social and economic policy (ie the vast majority of the electorate who support a mixed economy and fair capitalism with proper safeguards and regulation)to realise they have political allies who are not warmists.

    To that end we sorely need a few sceptic bloggers who are NOT promoting any agenda OTHER than they disbelieve the warmist theories. There are precious few of them.

  27. RB said

    #26, check out comment #12 here : Eugene Gordon as a way of background could, among things, claim partial credit for the CCD invention. Freeman Dyson has also spoken out for development in India and China. Me personally – I wouldn’t call myself allied with the sceptics, but I’m sceptical on policy or its efficacy. I believe the optimal thing for governments to do is to sign agreements and not enforce them. Game theory simulations by a professor came to the same conclusion .

    #23, thanks for the kind words, but when Monckton went around talking “stochastic”, “I ran a least squares fit” etc to some activist girl, I thought that if he talked to a real climate scientist, he would be the one looking stupid.

  28. RB said

    On the other hand, check out what Judith Curry has to say because this addresses what the other side of AGW frequently implies – that this is about a redistribution of wealth bias amongst scientists:

    “Re political leanings of climate researchers, they are all over the map. I am an Independent with Libertarian leanings. Bill Gray has traditionally voted democrat, and Kerry Emanuel has traditionally voted Republican (i think this was pointed out in Storm World). Jim Hansen (warmer in chief) is staunchly and publicly against carbon cap and trade (as am I). I am definitely worried about perverse incentives that make carbon traders rich (the same masters of the universe that brought us the financial meltdown) and don’t reduce CO2.”

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