Home > Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Science, Skepticism > Monbiot Challenged To Debate – By “Chill”‘s Peter Taylor

Monbiot Challenged To Debate – By “Chill”‘s Peter Taylor

On the heels of the Plimer debacle, deep among the comments to one of Monbiot’s blogs our own Geoff Chambers has “discovered” this new invitation for a debate, by Peter Taylor, author of “Chill, A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory: Does Climate Change Mean the World is Cooling, and If So What Should We Do About It?

PeterTaylor

18 Sep 09, 5:04pm

George – I’m an old and seasoned environmentalist, older than yourself, and so I should not be surprised or disappointed when political zeal over-rides science and the quest for truth – but I am, and most particularly by your continued reference to critics as ‘sceptic’ and ‘deniers’ – suggesting some quasi-religious or psychological failing, and thus enabling you not to actually take seriously any of the scientific arguments they may raise.

In this latest blog, you presume to arbitrate on areas of science you know little about (along with the IPCC who classified knowledge of natural variability – for that you can read ‘cycles’, a bit of a bogey word, as ‘very poorly known’). Yet despite the poor science, you and the IPCC presume to know that the recent warm period was not naturally driven.

I understand that Professor Plimer has not met your request for a debate. I am willing to step in. My arguments are laid out in my recent book

Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory

If you would do me the courtesy of reading the book, and taking advice on its arguments from acknowledged experts in each of the fields I cover – natural cycles, polar ice, cosmic rays, satellite data etc., and on my conclusion that the global warming signal that is currently being ‘masked’ by natural cooling, was also first amplified by the same natural cycles peaking – leaving an 80/20 split natural/GHG – then I would gladly debate with you. It is my only condition.

To encourage you, I quote from W.Jackson Davis, author of the first draft of the Kyoto Protocol (and former colleague of mine on UN committees regarding ocean pollution), who has endorsed my book:

‘Taylor raises issues and questions that must be addressed conclusively before global warming can be genuinely regarded as ”truth”, inconvenient or otherwise. The book is a must-read for everyone on all sides of the climate change issue’

If I am right – and recent science suggests I am – then CO2 from industrial and consumer emissions represents less then 15% of the driving force. If you cut it by half, you affect 7-8% of the driver. This will have virtually no effect on what the climate does on any policy-relevant timescale. Vast sums of money aimed at mitigation will be misdirected.

It would not matter so much if that money was put to good use and was not needed elsewhere – but if I am right about the prospects for cooling (which the Latif paper only touches the surface of, then that money is needed for adaptation. Great suffering is ahead. The renewable energy programme for biofuels heads in entirely the wrong direction, adding to food supply issues.

These are debates and arguments that we could usefully have. I want to change your mind and to change government policy. But for that you need to have an open mind – open enough to read my book. It took three years to write and is based entirely on peer-reviewed science, with full references. As a committed environmentalist I would not have spent that time if I thought there was not much at stake and that the truth needed to direct policy.

“Chill” is reviewed at HarmlessSky. I haven’t read that review as yet.

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  1. Marc-Andre
    2010/10/15 at 00:38

    If I may:
    Why are people so obsessed with putting tags on people/ideas and creating dichotomies that contaminate any rational process? Anyone who knows history well would know that institutionalization has been the catalyst of all civilizations decays and that all major progress has been initiated by people who were called names.

    False dichotomies (science vs conspirators, bad vs evil, etc.) sterilize all mental process because reality is a continuum. If you are stuck in a science vs woo dichotomy, you’re judgment will be contaminated by your most likely inability to clearly define what is science and what is woo. The reality is that historically most of what we nowadays call old scientific facts have been through a woo phase and that the institutionalization of science has made institutionalized science less and less efficient in its ability to guide us toward truth but rather toward profit.

    Science is a method. Someone who claims to be interested in the science of ecology or whatever is not intellectually honest to dismiss another one’s claims by name calling or saying he does not believe. If you are honest you consider his claims in a scientific way.

    Respectfully,

    Mark

  2. Marc-Andre
    2010/10/15 at 00:37

    If I may:
    Why are people so obsessed with putting tags on people/ideas and creating dichotomies that contaminate any rational process? Anyone who knows history well would know that institutionalization has been the catalyst of all civilizations decays and that all major progress has been initiated by people who were called names.

    False dichotomies (science vs conspirators, bad vs evil, etc.) sterilize all mental process because reality is a continuum. If you are stuck in a science vs woo dichotomy, you’re judgment will be contaminated by your most likely inability to clearly define what is science and what is woo. The reality is that historically most of what we nowadays call old scientific facts have been through a woo phase and that the institutionalization of science has made institutionalized science less and less efficient in its ability to guide us toward truth but rather toward profit.

    Science is a method. Someone who claims to be interested in the science of ecology or whatever is not intellectually honest to dismiss another one’s claims by name calling or saying he does not believe. If you are honest you consider his claims in a scientific way.

    I do not know much about Peter Taylor but I know that when you listen to people that show courage you are never disappointed.

    Respectfully,

    Mark

  3. Tory Cameron
    2010/06/06 at 15:24

    Taylor debating Monbiot would be like a scientist debating a shaman. If Taylor’s book contains anything reliable it should be peer reviewed by scientists that know their stuff, not debated with Monbiot, who isn’t a scientist.
    Taylor does us all a disservice by lecturing on the conspiracy convention circuit rather than trying to get his book read by scientists. What we need is science not waffling with treehuggers as the scientists are in a position to influence governments whilst Monbiot is merely a columnist.

  4. Robert Maclennan
    2010/05/27 at 09:50

    I wonder if Peter Taylor ascribes global warming to the homeopathic properties of plutonium, since he’s so big on that idea?
    Taylor is an embarassment to anyone that seriously wishes to question global warming alarmism.

  5. Garry Axholme
    2010/05/26 at 11:44

    Peter Taylor is a woo merchant, a pseudo scientist, and a crank, like Lord Monckton. Read this:

    http://www.alastairmcintosh.com/articles/2010-Peter-Taylor-Climate-Reviews.htm

    I reckon his book, Chill,will suffer greatly under scientific scrutiny.

  6. 2010/02/20 at 10:06

    Odd that there is some assumption that those that perennially seek the media glare are necessarily worthy to be listened to. I think Taylor and Monbiot are equally suited to each other. Doesn’t help the rest of us, though.

  7. Jack
    2009/09/25 at 19:30

    Oh yeah, I’m also more or less banned from CIF, hehe…

  8. Jack
    2009/09/25 at 19:28

    Hi, I’ve been biased to AGW since about as soon as I was aware of it, always with some skepticism as have I still… for reasons too complicated to go into here (call it baggage if you wish… I’m predisposed to the ‘sky is falling in’ scenario, I have little faith in current activities of humankind, on many levels) I have, as I say considered the AGW very likely.

    Even so, I’m keen to see that contrary evidence, arguments, etc are given the appropriate consideration i.e. A good televised documentary presentation, say, of Peter Taylors Chill.
    I don’t know that a debate between Peter Taylor and Monbiot would be much good – Monbiot has gone to some trouble to explain why he prefers not to debate the issue now (Gallup Gish or whatever you call it, basically summing up his position) he also said that he was not qualified to answer Pilmers questions but an expert, or experts, in that area of science stepped in.
    I think Monbiot would prefer to have Taylor’s thesis disseminated (as I am in no doubt will be, with fervour) by specialists in the field. I’m pretty sure Monbiot will concede on any points he can’t refute, or find peer reviewed refutations, as I understand it, that would be entirely in keeping… as with his turn on nuclear.

  9. 2009/09/23 at 21:40

    Geoff Chambers

    The ‘offending’ post was wiped very quickly-I don’t know their system of moderation but it seemed very effective and aimed mostly at sceptics. I will give it another go.

    tonyb

  10. geoff chambers
    2009/09/23 at 17:31

    Tonyb
    You report, and the moderator decides. If you could automatically delete, there’d be total wipeout in seconds.
    Monbiot’s new article (still on about Plimer and the Spectator) is at
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/sep/23/spectator-plimer-climate-change-sceptic
    Do get over there. Several of us have got the discussion on to Taylor and his challenge. I linked to the Harmless Sky thread, and it’s is going quite well, I think.

    • 2009/09/23 at 17:40

      He’s still giving Plimer free publicity…when I write my own book, I’ll make sure to say a couple of things Monbiot won’t like!!

      • AhmNee
        2009/10/01 at 20:01

        That’s just sound business sense. 😉

  11. 2009/09/23 at 16:15

    Geoff Chambers

    I seem to remember you could ‘report this comment’ which then would take the relevant offending post out of the system. I never saw them re-appear.

    I will see if things have changed if you will prove a direct link to whatever climate scare Monbiot is currently worrying about.

    tonyb

  12. JamesG
    2009/09/23 at 12:00

    David Bellamy has impeccable green credentials too and look how he is treated.

  13. 2009/09/22 at 12:37

    I am the person who wrote the review of ‘Chill’ referenced earlier

    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=220

    I have only met Peter Taylor once, very briefly, when I attended a talk of his in Torquay prior to publication of Chill.

    I was enormously impressed by his grasp of the subject and that he was able to string together a strong narrative thread despite having no notes, was speaking on two subjects, answering questions from the audience, and dealing with a fire alarm that semed deternined to interrupt his flow every ten minutes.

    A link to the books blurb is contained in the link above, and in turn that leads to a resume of Peters career. He is unusual in as much he has impeccable green ‘credentials’ and in this respect alone would be seen as the equal of Mr Monbiot. As far as Peter’s knowledge of the subject goes, that is far superior to Monbiot.

    I suspect that Monbiot would be reluctant to debate with a ‘green’ with such an excellent grasp of the science, especially as he is also so aware of the politics and idealogy helping to drive the AGW bandwagon.

    As regards the ancillary remark about Monbiots’ columns; I have posted sceptical comments at various times, with links to scientific papers or references to historic events demonstrating that climatically we have been this way before. They are invariably deleted within minutes by one of the two or three fervent warmers. Some comments never appeared at all.

    It would be my view therefore that the Guardian blog, as it is presently constituted, does not provide the vehicle for a serious open debate.

    tonyb

    • geoff chambers
      2009/09/22 at 18:39

      TonyB says:
      “… about Monbiot’s columns; I have posted sceptical comments at various times, with links to scientific papers or references to historic events demonstrating that climatically we have been this way before. They are invariably deleted within minutes by one of the two or three fervent warmers”.

      You surprise me. Much as I hate being ”premoderated” on Guardian CiF, my contact with their moderators has always been civilised, and I had the impression of people “just doing their job”.
      Other commenters can’t delete comments directly, and I’m surprised at any comments being deleted within minutes. Premoderation, as it works here on Omniclimate, is fine, but on a thread like Guardian CommentisFree, with dozens of comments per hour, it’s an effective form of censorship.
      Though you may be right that “… the Guardian blog, as it is presently constituted, does not provide the vehicle for a serious open debate”. It seems to me important to use the platform it provides to bring the debate to a wider audience. A snappy sceptical comment sometimes attracts hundreds of “recommendations”, suggesting the presence of thousands of readers. If the 28 readers who recommended Taylor’s challenge had all written in supporting a Taylor/Monbiot debate, Monbiot wuld have been put in an impossible position.

  14. PKD
    2009/09/22 at 11:23

    That should be following not preceding…ah well!

  15. PKD
    2009/09/22 at 11:22

    On the heels of the Plimer debacle…

    You mean the debacle where Plimer refused to answer the written questions he agreed to field? And thereby lost the chance to proceed to the verbal debate preceding?

    Yes, what a debacle that was! You’d think the man would be able to answer basic questions about his *own* book!

  16. geoff chambers
    2009/09/21 at 21:50

    It’s interesting to observe the direction of the debate in the 3 days and 400-odd comments following Taylor’s challenge (well, interesting to obsessive Monbiot-watchers like me; not necessarily interesting to normal people).
    I’m under premoderation, which means my comments appear after a delay of several hours, if at all, and on a back page which no-one will ever read. I believe most regular sceptical commenters are under similar constraints, since only one – the admirable AGWSceptic – is posting regularly. Many frequent contributors to the sceptical debate have been entirely absent.
    27 readers pressed the “recommend” button, indicating that they approved of Taylor’s challenge. Three commenters – all sceptics – have expressed themselves in favour. One commenter (a fervent warmer) has come out against a debate.
    The majority of comments in the past three days have been from a half dozen regular contributors – fervent Warmers all – who ignore the Taylor challenge and spend their time patting each othe on the back (not to use a more anatomically intimate metaphor). I’ve sent in a comment asking why sceptics are in favour of a debate and warmers are against, but I don’t expect it to be published.
    No comment from Mobiot, of course.

    I see Manacker has commented here. What’s his situation with respect to Guardian moderation/censorship?

  17. manacker
    2009/09/21 at 19:10

    It will be very interesting to see whether or not George Monbiot rises to the challenge to debate Peter Taylor.

    I believe that he will find various reasons (technical, administrative, what-have-you) to avoid this direct confrontation, but I very much hope that this will not be the case.

    Max

    • Lonny Eachus
      2010/07/07 at 17:08

      Monbiot isn’t a scientist. And Taylor is a new age tree hugger that thinks a meta analysis amounts to a hypothesis. Both are irrelevant. We need to get someone like climatologist Wibjorn Karlen to debate a warmist scientist. Then we’d get an interesting debate, and the people that can be convinced that GW isn’t going to be a Roland Emmerich disaster movie, will get a good argument against CAGW.

  18. Klem
    2009/09/21 at 18:45

    The greens do not debate climate change science. You are wasting your time.

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