Climate scientists debunk prominent contrarian Christopher Monckton’s congressional testimony

A group of five scientists solicited responses from more than twenty world-class climate scientists to the May 6th testimony by Christopher Monckton to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. These climate scientists “…have thoroughly refuted all of Mr. Monckton’s major assertions, clearly demonstrating a number of obvious and elementary errors,” the report says. “We encourage the U.S. Congress to give careful consideration to the implications this document has for the care that should be exercised in choosing expert witnesses to inform the legislative process.”

The report examines claims from Monckton’s testimony in nine major areas and corrects and refutes each of them. Among those areas, two are relevant to ocean acidification.

– Ancient corals and other life forms were able to adapt to high carbon dioxide concentrations because they have had millions of years to react to slower, natural climate change. Monckton ignores the vast difference in the rate of these changes compared to the present rate; he incorrectly argues that the present rapid increase in carbon dioxide is harmless.

– Paleo-climatologists understand that the rate of change of carbon dioxide concentration is more important than the overall levels of carbon dioxide for plant adaptation. Monckton claims a single benefit of higher carbon dioxide levels – increased yields on selected crops (which he appears to have exaggerated) –but fails to mention the wide-ranging negative consequences for plant species and agriculture as well as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns. 4) The fact that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is driving ocean acidification is based on “experimental results, field observations and our fundamental understanding of physical chemistry going back hundreds of years.” The responses to Monckton’s claim that “if ocean acidification is occurring then CO2 is not, and will not be, the culprit” provide a compelling example of Monckton’s lack of understanding of basic science – in this case of ocean chemistry.

Full report available on the Skeptical Science web site.

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