The Tea Party and Global Warming

They sure chew on more than biscuits at those Tea Parties.

Charlie Petit goes into the belly of the beast and files an amusing report that definitely sounds as if Lyndon LaRouche-ies have reanimated into Tea Party-iers.

After his Tea Party lead-in, Petit gets to the big story on the Arctic front. Of the news he has helpfully aggregated, Petit notes:

It got picked up widely, largely reported straight and without much attention to what climate contrarians might say about it. That is, very little false balance evident in popular media. The lead angle, most places, is the report’s global implications for sea level.

26 Responses to “The Tea Party and Global Warming”

  1. Ed Forbes says:

    LoL…. try about 3mm/yr for sea level rise. O’no…the  sky is falling !!!

    It is the difference between using real data and using fake data (models).

    “..Since August 1992 the satellite altimeters have been measuring sea level on a global basis with unprecedented accuracy. The TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) satellite mission provided observations of sea level change from 1992 until 2005….”

  2. StuartR says:

    Petit contrasts a Tea Party meeting in a Pizza restaurant against a new climate report of the pretty standard “worst then we thought” alarmist type, and claims the fact no other serious commment is offered in the mainstream media is a breakthrough in reporting it straight.
    Petit’s attitude has all the hallmarks of coming from a weak position. When I hear science reports of an extraordinary nature I prefer to hear how assumptions had been sought, tested, challenged and answered, but that kind of language is alien and unwelcome in climate science nowadays isn’t it?

    Maybe we should wait to hear what happens after

    <blockquote>[the report is] discussed by some 400 international scientists at a conference this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.</blockquote>

    Or maybe not? Maybe we should just get this message?

    <blockquote>”I’m not sure what is more alarming, the glacial pace of Congress to reduce carbon pollution or the astounding rate of melting Arctic ice,” Lou Leonard, climate chief at the World Wildlife Fund, said of the new report.</blockquote>

    I think my layman discomfort here is not an isolated case, I think a lot of people know how this “straight reporting” works already 😉

  3. hunter says:

    When it is clear that Greenland and the arctic are not going to contribute to *climate doom*, will you join Monbiot and reject magical thinking?

  4. Hannah says:

    After last night I am convinced that anybody in any way associated with the Tea Party are completely bonkers. I went to a screening of “Cool it” and at the reception afterwards Lomborg got lambasted by Lord Monckton (wearing a bowler hat) and a guy insisting that the Earth might very well be cooling. Surreal.

  5. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Hannah, to be honest, you sound “completely bonkers” to me.  How could you possibly justify dismissing everyone who is “in any way associated with” anything based on something like that?

  6. Keith Kloor says:


    I pretty much dismiss anyone associated or identifying “in any way” with the asinine Monckton.

  7. kdk33 says:

    Well, that about wraps it up.

  8. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Keith Kloor, I don’t see relevance of your comment.  As far as I can tell, neither you, nor Hannah (nor anybody else) has claimed the Tea Party is associated with Monckton, much less that everyone associated with the Tea Party is associated with him.

  9. lucia says:

    I don’t think Monckton is associated with the Tea Party.

  10. PDA says:

    Guilt by association rarely ends well.
    Play the argument, not the man.

  11. Keith Kloor says:

    Well, just to clarify: I’m not dismissing anyone associated with the Tea Party. I recognize that Petit’s experience was anecdotal and should be taken as such.

    As for Monckton, I consider him a charlatan of the first order and so I’ll rephrase: regarding climate change issues, it’s hard for me to take anyone seriously who takes Monckton seriously.



  12. thingsbreak says:

    I don’t think Monckton is associated with the Tea Party.


  13. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    thingsbreak, a person speaking at a gathering of people from a particular group doesn’t mean he is associated with that group.  Mikhail Gorbachev spoke in front of my high school class, and nobody would suggest he was associated with me or my school.
    Incidentally, your blog post is wrong to say Monckton had doubts about Obama’s citizenship.  The quotes you offered do not indicate such.

  14. thingsbreak says:

    @13 Brandon Shollenberger:
    a person speaking at a gathering of people from a particular group doesn’t mean he is associated with that group.
    It’s not a one-off thing. Monckton is a fairly regular tea party speaker.

    St. Paul October 2009
    Knoxville April 2010
    DC April 2010
    Northshore LA February 2011

    Incidentally, your blog post is wrong to say Monckton had doubts about Obama’s citizenship.
    “I have no idea where he was born,” said Monckton.
    I have an idea, as do other sane people: Hawaii. Why are you defending such idiocy?

  15. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    PDA, your response is ridiculous.  Monckton didn’t even ask any questions.  If you want to criticize someone, have the decency to read what the say and address it. Don’t just provide links to things which are vaguely related.
    thingsbreak, maybe he is, and maybe you could even argue he is associated with the Tea Party.  However, you’ve done nothing to advance that argument.  It doesn’t matter if a speaker appears as a “one-off thing” or if he appears a dozen times.  It especially doesn’t matter if his appearances are before only portions of the group.  Association implies some sort of joining, and you’ve not demonstrated such.
    As for your quote, there is an enormous difference between not knowing something and doubting it.  I don’t know the inclination of the moon’s orbit, but that doesn’t mean I doubt the value.  In the same way, “I have no idea” is an idiom which means, “I don’t have enough information to make a definite statement.”  In other words, Monckton doesn’t know enough to give an answer.  There’s nothing wrong with that position.
    As for your concluding question, what is your aim?  Your question is so leading I couldn’t possibly give a real answer.  Do you just like throwing out insults, or do you actually think something of value could come from such a horrendous question?

  16. PDA says:

    PDA, your response is ridiculous.  Monckton didn’t even ask any questions.
    Brandon, you raise a good point. None of the things Monckton is quoted as saying ends in a question mark. Wow, I withdraw my comment. There’s no way what Monckton did can be compared to the rhetorical trick of raising issues as questions without explicitly making assertions.
    I can’t even imagine what I was thinking.

  17. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    PDA, if not for the sarcasm, that response would have actually been appropriate.

  18. Barry Woods says:


    I doubt that many people in the UK know or CARE where Obama was born… ie Monckton thinks it is irrelevant to him..

    There is a world outside of the USA

    They might even think, that any USA citizen, wherever they were born is elligible for President. ie the American dream, land of immigrants…

    No such restrictions on who is UK Prime Minister (going to Eton helps though 😉 ) (sarc off)

  19. Jeff Norris says:

    I hope you are just having some fun and not taking the LaRouchies = Tea Partiers to heart.  I researched Mr. Folkens a bit and he seems like a local player on the Bay Area circuit and can’t help but wonder if Mr. Petit and him have a history.  I have looked at various Tea Party websites in the Vacaville area and did not find any obvious “Black Helicopter” type connections.  In general the Tea Party seems to have a concern about the current oxymoronic mentality of “We are from the Government We Are Here to Help” that many people have.  If all you are doing is engaging in a little satire of an opposing ideology that is fine, just want to know if there is something deeper.

  20. kdk33 says:

    Monckton is hilarious.  I don’t know where he was born.  I wouldn’t vote for him, but I don’t think he’s running.  I assume he drinks tea, being british with that funny accent and all.

    2 meters of sealevel rise in the next 90 years – that’s 22 mm/yr by my calculation.  And Monckton(?!) is a charlatan.

    Okee Dokee.

  21. Hannah says:

    Brandon, I can see that my sense of humour has, once again, got me into trouble :o) the comment was meant to provoke no more than a smile at the image of Lomborg (in T-shirt and sport shoes) and Lord Monckton (in an immaculate suit and clutching his bowler hat) debating each other at a rather swanky reception. Sorry for not clarifying this before but I went out for a rather nice lunch Friday that turned into a stroll around London in the sunshine so didn’t see your comment before now. I rarely dismiss anybody and certainly not by association. Having said that if you check Monckton’s Wiki page then you might agree that at least some of his views are”¦well, bonkers? :o) FWIW, you are one of only two people who have ever suggested to me that I might be a bit mad, so while I cannot completely rule it out and are happy to admit that there might be some room for improvement, then I think it is fairly unlikely that I am “completely bonkers” :o)

  22. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Hannah, I get the reaction to Monckton.  I just didn’t (and still don’t) understand the comment about the Tea Party.  You saw a movie, saw Monckton and Lomborg (and others), and that made you draw conclusions about the Tea Party…?
    By the by, I didn’t (and don’t) think you are completely bonkers.  Sounding crazy doesn’t make a person crazy.  I assumed there was something missing in your comment, or something I was misunderstanding.
    But yes, I would have enjoyed seeing Monckton and Lomborg debate each other like that.  Bowler hats are funny, after all.

  23. Hannah says:

    Brandon, let’s break it down:
    1.      You do not associate Monckton with the Tea Party. Fair enough. I do to some extent associate Monckton with the Tea Party having read articles about how he is applauded at their meetings and judging by the comments on the thread I am not alone but this may be wrong.
    2.      Your comment re Mikhail Gorbachev is apple and pears. There is a big difference between a political movement and a High School in who they invite to come and speak to them. A school will normally try (or they ought to) to introduce their pupils for different people and views in order that they can form their own opinion. Political movements/parties? Much less so. Can you see the Democratic Party invite Sarah Palin to their next convention in order that they can hear some opinions that are totally different from theirs? Not really. You pretty much invite people who express opinions that you agree with.
    3.      So are Monckton telling people from the Tea Party something on climate change that they agree with? Well, they sure ask him back a lot (Thingsbreak #15) but this of course doesn’t mean that all of them agree with all or indeed any of his opinions.
    4.      Monckton, as we have agreed, is a bit bonkers and therefore, bowler hat and all, an easy target. He has in the past been used to ridicule climate change “sceptics” (in lack of a better word) as in making his view on climate change “THE sceptic view” and then saying “look, if HE represents sceptics, how can anybody possible take them seriously?” which is, of course, unfair in that I should think that quite a few people who would describe themselves as “sceptics” do not hold the views that Monckton does but people get lumped together sometimes. I recently met a person who thought that Lomborg and Monckton held the same views on climate change.  
    5.      I think that what you are missing in my comment is the sort of mock post-ironic twist. I do think that Monckton is bonkers and it is a bit hard for me to take anybody serious who takes Monckton’s views on climate change (and a couple of other things) serious but on the other hand there is also a nod to the ridiculousness in drawing the above (4) conclusion thereby making my own “anybody in any way associate with the Tea Party” equally ridiculous. 
    6.      Anyway, this whole thread has made me think about humour and irony/sarcasm in particular. Over the weekend I read Edward St Aubyn’s “At last”. On irony he writes: “It is the hardest addiction of all. Forget heroin. Just try giving up irony, that deep-down need to mean two things at once, to be in two places at once, not to be there for the catastrophe of a fixed meaning”. A friend of mine who did his doctoral dissertation on humour has told me that according to the old Greeks, irony is considered to be of its highest order, whilst its relation sarcasm is considered to be bow-wow level because sarcasm breaches the golden mean by being offensive. I normally find both of them quite amusing but def worth thinking about :o)
    Disclaimer: if the above doesn’t make any sense or there seem to be something missing then it is possibly because I am trying to prepare for court as well as posting this rejoinder :o)

  24. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    First things first, I need to say something.  I no longer get the reaction to Monckton.  I heard so many criticisms of him from such a variety of people (from all sides) I never bothered to look into any of it.  I made a comment about not really knowing much about Monckton, and someone provided me a link to a Skeptical Science page on him.  I’m not saying Monckton is good, but reading that site’s commentary on him has destroyed my trust in people’s criticisms of him.
    As for associating Monckton with the Tea Party, I still don’t get it.  As far as I have seen, each time he has spoken before the Tea Party, it has been before a single chapter.  Moreover, it seems each chapter has been part of the Tea Party Patriots.  That means he’s spoken before a handful of chapters in one subsection of the Tea Party.  Extrapolating from that to make comments about the entire Tea Party is nonsensical.  Nevermind that nobody has bothered to discuss what Monckton actually said to the Tea Party.  It is possible for a person who has some crazy beliefs about a subject to give a perfectly sensible speech.
    Of course, since all of this stemmed from an attempt at humor, I shouldn’t be surprised by a lack of rigor in it.

  25. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    By the way Hannah, the example I gave wasn’t meant to be an exact parallel.  It was just designed to show a flaw in reasoning.  A person speaking in front of a group doesn’t mean the group is associated with that person.  Even if there is shared views, it is quite possible for the overlap to be limited.  In other words, we need more information before drawing a conclusion.
    As a side note, your response is somewhat humorous.  The only democratic party gathering I went to in high school was when Henry Bellmon (a former republican senator) was invited.
    Not that any of this really matters.

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