URGENT: Skeptic Breakfast Hacked!

December 10, 2009

This entry was cross-posted at Climate Progress and linked at the Washington Post’s Post Carbon.

Explosive, Breaking News!

One of the stranger features about this Copenhagen conference is that so many people involved in the climate debate, from many sides, are all in the same town, all at the same time. Among the people inside and outside of the COP, the skeptic community has come to town.

Yesterday, they held a raucous offsite conference of their own. You can watch some footage from that conference, and a momentary youth protest, here. (You may notice from the video, for instance, that there are very few non-protesters in the room.)

This morning, as I sat down to breakfast wearing my trench coat, sunglasses, and a Groucho Marx nose, my interest was suddenly piqued by a voice over my shoulder.

“Nice to see you, professor.”

Naturally, as a professor, I turned to fix on the voice, wondering who the kind professor in question might be. I had no idea. Moi?

No luck. He was an older gentleman, distinguished looking. I got the sense from the speaker’s deferential tone that he was important. The speaker and the professor then sat down at the table next to me. As I was alone and dressed in my ludicrous disguise, I could not help myself from listening in on their conversation. Turns out, the two were discussing climate change, and their rather pronounced skepticism of it.

What unfolded then, I believe, will go down in history as my first dalliance in secret agency. As the morning continued, questions and conversations morphed into positions, platforms, and condemnations…all revealing, I think, a nefarious campaign to sow misunderstanding; a clever trick aimed to confuse even the most astute “believer in science.”

The private breakfast conversation was troubling, offering clear and indisputable evidence of attempts by the highest members of the climate denier community to manipulate the truth, shout down debate, silence dissent, hide data, initiate a political coup, deliberately conflate theoretical terms, isolate and mock the weak, cover up known facts, obfuscate good science, and wimper.

Who, pray tell, was in attendance?

Present at the breakfast were Godtfred Høpner Petersen, retired professor of marine biology from the University of Copenhagen; several aides from the office of Godfrey Bloom, MEP; Godfrey Bloom, MEP, himself; and then, fifteen minutes into the conversation, the eminent Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Yes, that Lord Monckton. The same buttoned-up gentleman in the video calling climate protesters “Hitler youth.” His wife, or his mistress (or Bloom’s wife, or Bloom’s mistress — one can never be sure nowadays), also joined the cabal.

As it happens, I was sitting at breakfast with my computer open, working on something else. What to do? Oh, what…to…do?

I flipped the switch on my parabolic microphone.

What follows is a rough transcript from this morning, interspersed with commentary revealing a plot to distort and manipulate. To confirm the identity of those around me, I spoke near the end of the conversation with an aide to Godfrey Bloom. So as not to leave a Googlefootprint that will forever sully her good reputation, I’ll refer to her by her initials, LF. I never bothered to get the names of the other aides. If you write to Bloom’s office, I’m sure she’ll be happy to confirm that that the conversation occurred and that the quotes are true to their utterers. For clarity, I have numbered the quotes. Here, I’ll interpret them for you.

1) LF to Petersen, referring to Monckton’s offer to debate Gore, and Gore’s resistance to this offer: “Refusing debate just shows that there’s something suspicious and fraudulent.”

Indeed, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Refusing to debate does show that there is something suspicious and fraudulent. I hereby make an open invitation to Godfrey Bloom, MEP, or Lord Christopher Monckton, to debate me, a lowly and unintimidating philosophy professor, about Kant’s second critique. I suspect that both Bloom and Monckton are in deep violation of Kantian moral principles. Should they not take me up on my offer to debate about ethics, it is not unreasonable to take the pair as frauds and shams — no-goodnicks of the highest order. Why else would they not want to debate ethics and morality with me?

2) At one point, reaching across the table, LF handed Petersen a document: “Do you want to see your agenda?” she asked.

This agenda could be nothing less than a political agenda, a secret list of talking points and directives from the right-wing commissariat. Within moments of beginning the breakfast, the context of this discussion was becoming clear: science was getting its marching-orders straight from the political cubicles of the European Parliament. Thanks to my clever disguise and weeks of planning, I had stumbled on irrefutable evidence that politicians in the most powerful global offices were in bed with reputable scientists like Petersen.

3) There was a brief discussion about Godtfred’s first name. “Could it mean ‘freed by God’?” LF asked.

The implication was clear: Prof. Petersen had been freed by god to dispute climate science, only to be thwarted from further publication after having sent a simple letter to members of parliament expressing doubts about climate change (and retiring from academia). What else could it mean?

Indications of church involvement in this conspiracy were becoming clear. Later in the conversation, LF mentioned that both Godtfred Petersen and Godfrey Bloom had etymological roots in divine liberation.

Then, as the conversation grew more intense, it got scarier, injecting overtones of colonialism. Before Bloom and Monckton arrived, LF and Petersen shared an acidic disregard for a nearby “collaborator.”

4) LF nudged Petersen that she always says “that the ‘French brought a bit of civilization to England.'”

Talk about throwing England under the bus! Explosive stuff here.

I learned later that LF was a Belgian French woman, working for a UK MEP. It was evident at this point that her private-most intentions were to usurp control of the UK’s influence in the EU.

There’s more:

5) Opening with discussion of his area of specialization, Prof. Petersen mentioned that he was a fish biologist, that he had retired years ago, and that he was at one point publishing two or three papers per year. One of the unnamed aides asked if Petersen’s specialization “differs from marine biology.”

Simply profound. There was no agreement between the breakfast eaters about Petersen’s most important area of focus. At this point, the edifice of skepticism was beginning to crack. How could there be this much uncertainty among the acolytes of skepticism? He responded politely, “Something like that, it’s related,” willing to twist scientific credibility to score a few political points with the obstreperous aide.

6) “How did you come to form you opinions?,” the same unnamed aide asked.

How did you come to countenance such brash disregard for your facts, little girl?

I daresay I would’ve stood up and been done with the conversation…but no. Prof. Petersen had a little fight in him. Bravo, sir! There must have been some payoff for Petersen, as any scientist of integrity would not stand for such ridicule. Opinions? Harrumph!

7) Petersen began to present his evidence of an alternative theory: “The only thing that really matters is the polar night,” he said. “If you know all about the polar night, you know all about high tide and low tide and where you are. At that point, you know something… they will not see the sun again until the beginning of January and then the midnight sun will happen in the summer. That sun will never come above the horizon.”

What you read above is close to verbatim.

I confess; Petersen’s is a compelling theory. Maybe someone like Peter Sinclair would like to take it on. I lost the thread then, as his convoluted numbers-and-science-talk confuses a philosopher like me. Here are a few more snippets:

7b) “If you have an activation of snow in Seattle, you will never get enough heat to compensate for the heat loss during the polar night.”

7c) “It was -15 to -24 in that part of Greenland.”

7d) “The polar night covers the whole part of the globe for six degrees north.”

7e) “Now we have the sun and they have summer.”

Obviously, these deeply decontextualized snippets from his breakfast conversation are alone compelling evidence for Prof. Petersen’s polar caps theory. Can we ignore these decontextualized scraps purloined from a private breakfast conversation? Ought we to? On my read, we mustn’t. We should look at them for what they are, not try to understand them in a broader context.

8 ) Following nicely on the heels of the Greenland discussion, LF asked this clever question: “Given this position of the earth, how come Greenland was Greenland?”

Phew! This is a very difficult question indeed. I waited anxiously for a reply. Clearly, LF is up on the literature (in the philosophy of language). Why was Greenland Greenland? What makes Greenland Greenland? This is my kind of conversation! I had to restrain myself from piping in.

9) “The position of Greenland has always been close to the North Pole,” quickly answered Petersen.  “The sea ice will always be in place because of the density.” An aide then snidely remarked how ridiculous it was that they show the polar bear breaking off and floating away. “They always show the polar bear standing on a tiny bit of ice. No way they could float away.” There was laughter.

Yes. Ha ha. That is very funny how they positioned that polar bear to float away on that fake bit of ice.

Then the others began to arrive. A small naked boy with a bugle ran out to announce their presence. Doves fluttered over my head.

10) Lord Monckton came to the table, introducing himself by saying: “Isn’t this climate treaty rather like communism? The similarities are too many for comfort.”

The man has a point. The climate treaty really is a rather like communism. I hadn’t thought of that before. When you bring 34,000 people from all over the world, from all over the political spectrum, to a single location, that is just like communism. When you give them access to the political process, encourage them to engage delegates, and have discussions about integrating justice and human rights into a treaty that will require the consent of all, that is also just like communism. When you think about it, this treaty is very much like a political ideology that proposes that the modes of production be held in common. The resemblances are uncanny.

11) Lord Monckton again, adding: “A lot of people are saying this. The people don’t believe it anymore. Only the ruling class believe this stuff now.”

Yes, m’lord. Do tell. Tell me more about the ruling class. Maybe you could ask the parliament member to your left. I’m sure he’s well read on the plight of the disenfranchised. Or maybe you could just canvass the plebes in Brenchley.

(Cognitive dissonance is a powerful intoxicant.)

12) Lord Monckton’s wife (or Lord Monckton’s mistress, or Bloom’s wife or mistress) noted that when her father was in Copenhagen during the war, there was Nazi propaganda all over the streets; and then added “Now it’s climate change propaganda all over Copenhagen. Frightening. It’s a disgrace, really.”

First let me remark that this was a poignant comment about Nazism, coming on the heels of Monckton’s apt comparison of the climate treaty with communism.

Second, the propaganda everywhere is a total disgrace. The communist nazis have put up more propaganda than you can fathom. Siemans is disgusting. I’m positive that the Gentlelady will do her damnedest to see to it that billboards across Europe be removed immediately.

13) Lord Monckton: “The people who have seen through this conference… at least in those few countries that remain at least a little bit democratic, they will start to lose faith in the politicians.”

I think it’s pretty clear, by this point, that Monckton hates Europeans, as they are not members of democracies. I think any astute reader will agree that these comment’s reveal Monckton’s intentions to muscle in on the plot to overthrow the British government.

14) Getting excited Monckton then said: “We are enough people to start a new party.”

Go for it. Smoking gun stuff here.

15) Bloom: “And that’s probably going to have to happen soon, because we’ve already got the independence party in the UK that doesn’t go along with the climate nonsense. Once people discover that we have a sound scientific case against this… a lot of people will vote for us because nobody else is making sense.

Bloom is on board. Watch out, parliamentarians! The EU doesn’t stand a chance against the buoyed self-importance that will lift this breakfast table over the mountaintops of tyranny.

And then it started to get really interesting.

16) Aide to Monckton: “Should I take the picture?” speaking of Petersen.  Monckton to Aide #2 “Can you get out of the picture?”

Bam! Another smoking gun. To really understand how damning this is, you must get a bit of the context. Prof. Petersen was sitting in his chair beside Aide #2. Monckton wanted a picture of Petersen, but concerned about the political implications of showing Petersen beside the Aide, he deliberately fudged the image, crowded out features of the image that he didn’t like, manipulating the scene to portray the picture that would be best for him and his burgeoning insurgency.

That was it for me. I had to leave. It had gotten too dangerous. I took a last sip of coffee and slowly packed up my computer.

The remainder of the conversation revolved around religion and breast cancer, and how Japanese women don’t get breast cancer at the same rate as American women, or something like that. It didn’t make much sense.

There was a time when it was a mark of near insanity to be a conspiracy theorist, but skeptics are fast making an art of the conspiracy theory. They conspire, at breakfasts such as the one you read above, to concoct conspiracy theories. I hope that all readers of this blog will spread word of this hacked breakfast conversation widely. Indeed, it is too explosive not to get attention from the highest levels of the mainstream media. I will soon be posting the full transcript on a secret Russian server.


  1. French, actually, rather than Belgian. The give away was probably when she made the jest about the French bringing culture. Or was geography not your strong point?

    I’m sure they’d love to debate with you but of course you have proved yourself rather a greasy slime ball unsure of your own beliefs and confidence in your debating skills so you might back out.

    Still, you can carry on making pointless remarks about people you don’t know having affairs when they’re not from the safety of your keyboard.

  2. I am pretty terrible. I wasn’t aware that sliminess was a criterion that would disqualify me from debate. I would think the contrary: that if someone doesn’t want to debate me because they think me vile, they should do so anyway in the interest of keeping it all above-board, so as not to look like a fraud and a sham. No?

    And let’s not give away too much of my informant’s identity, shall we? Wouldn’t want to spoil her political ambitions.

  3. Dear Ben,

    Jut a few things. Indeed I am French and no I am not worried about the Brits’ position in the EU (at least it made me laugh) secondly my only ambition in life is to avoid treason that I consider as Man’s worst flaw. Social cohesion being based on trust. There is a big diffence between listening to a conversation and actually recording it is ). I am happy to know you are willing to debate on the subject I think that this is what we started doing in a rather civilized way at least that’s what I thought and I thoughroughly enjoyed it.
    I cannot say I am upset that you are mentioning our breakfat interview epecially by quoting my wonderful comment on censorship and fraudulent science( am I not
    clever?)but saying that I have a political ambition is based on your assumption.
    Now let’s have a bit of fun. Given your interest in Philosophy what do you think of the following: ” Is spying ethical?” Looking forward to reading you very soon. By email if you please.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    Being used never feels good epecially by someone you thought was nice and intelligent.

    PROF Petersen’s area of focus is polar nights and their influence on the globe’s temperature ( he studied in Greenland for two years). Also Corral reefs, a life time passion. He says it is not disappearing.And the evolution of species, their adaptation to the climate and so on…

    • Thanks LF, for the comments. Indeed, apologies for the skewering. I felt a little bad about it, as I also thought you quite nice upon talking to you. I trust you appreciate my little jabs. It’s all in good fun. Goes to show, of course, that people who are not all that terrible can easily be made to seem so with a wee bit of uncharitable interpretation.

  4. I look forward to the complete transcript. lf’s credulousness regarding Petersen’s retirement hobby is something to behold. Whatever happened to the French intellectual tradition?

  5. armed response to climate gate question (Copenhagen)

    • Interesting. I wish I’d known this presser was going on. It would’ve been great to witness… one thing about this video, in particular, would’ve been the video sans the short clips. But yeah, I get the overall point: looks like the interrogated speaker didn’t feel very comfortable with that question.

      I went up to the Oxford/East Anglia table to ask if they had any formal response that they could distribute, but the dudes at the table gave me a “no comment” to my question. I suspect they’ve gotten legal coaching not to answer questions.

      Incidentally, the guards are around all the time, and the people with the microphones are just random folks with the microphones. They’re tasked with ensuring that every person with a question has an opportunity to ask that question.

      • Dr Schnieder is a real peach

        In the 1970s Professor Schneider was one of the leading voices warning the Earth was going to experience a catastrophic man-made ice-age. However he is now a member of the UN IPCC and is a leading advocate warning that the Earth is facing catastrophic global warming. In 1971, Schneider co-authored a paper warning of the possibility of a man-made “ice age.” See: Rasool S., & Schneider S.”Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141 – Excerpt: ‘The rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

        how’s that for a 180? Global cooling, imminent ice age from CO2 to global warming, imminent catastophic heating.

        Kind of like a guy who fathers a family of 10 and then decides he’s gay

        I feel so secure knowing he’s a lead author of the IPCC

      • “Kind of like a guy who fathers a family of 10 and then decides he’s gay.”

        Your logic is unimpeachable.

      • just a metaphor brother

        it’s comforting this doofus was sure CO2 caused cooling and is now writing IPCC AGW warming theory right?

      • it’s comforting this doofus was sure CO2 caused cooling and is now writing IPCC AGW warming theory right?


        your reading skilz are as impeccable as your logic.

        Schneider was saying if aerosols increased by a factor of 4 it would cause significant cooling, overwhelming CO2 warming. Tell me, did that happen, or did the industrial nations reduce their production of polluting aerosols? What was the effect on global temperatures?

        I notice below, you quote Schneider sans the concluding caveat that he hopes scientists would be honest.

        Tell me, why do those who cling with such religious desperation to an ethos of denial rely so heavily and frequently on misrepresentation, selective quotation and cherry-picked statistics?


  6. And don’t overlook his famous commitment to truth in science:-

    “”To capture the public imagination,
    we have to offer up some scary scenarios,
    make simplified dramatic statements
    and little mention of any doubts one might have.
    Each of us has to decide the right balance
    between being effective,
    and being honest.”

    – Leading greenhouse advocate, Dr Stephen Schneider
    ( in interview for “Discover” magagzine, Oct 1989)”

  7. Just stop putting crap in the air and poisoning our oceans and soil. We can do better than this folks. The chemical and oil companies will survive, lets hope our children do. Pura Vida.

  8. Ben Hale had me laughing out loud when he told both his regular readers here that he has the balls to debate Monckton. Why not go straight to Monckton himself, and personally challenge him to an AGW debate in a neutral, moderated forum? Preferably televised. Instead of thumping his skinny chest on his own blog? Such academic bravery, it must make the boys swoon with passion.

    The reason Hale didn’t challenge the Viscount to a mano a mano debate like that is because he knows Monckton would bitch-slap him to the ground and rub his nose in the schoolyard dirt in front of the whole world. That’s why.

    Hey, girlyman, prove me wrong: challenge Monckton directly to an AGW True Believer vs Skeptic debate. You and him. In public.

    Go on, sissy. I double dog dare ya.

  9. Now why would I do that? I’m not interested in an AGW vs skeptic debate. I’m interested in a debate on moral theory. He probably won’t debate me on that, so I suspect he’s trying to hide something, possibly that he’s unethical.

    Charming logic, isn’t it?

    • So now it’s a ‘moral theory’ debate, huh?

      Got yer number, chickenboi.


    • If he wants to limit the debate to Kant’s second critique, I’m happy to do that too. I thought I’d widen the offer to give him as much latitude as possible.

    • On second thought, if Monckton wants to debate either the philosophy of science or political theory, I’d be happy to do that too.

      As I’ve said many times, I’m not a climate scientist, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to debate him on the climate science. I wouldn’t make a very good opponent in quantum physics either.

      OTOH, he’s not a climate scientist either, so it doesn’t make much sense for him to assert with such confidence the stands he does, but that’s another matter.

  10. […] Ben Hale guest blogs for the Wonk room at the Center for American Progress  (CAP) or he’s cross-posting from Climate Progress to his own site, I have to wonder if this is an implicit endorsement of […]

  11. а если 3 раза питаться по диете долиной3-х дневная фруктовая диетакоралловы центр беговая для похудениядиеты суп сжигающий жирычем вредна геркулесовая диетасалаты сидящих на диетекак похудеть и убрат живот за неделюдизбактериоз недостаток лактобактерий диетакак похудеть без диеты и без спортаева лонгория диетыдиета для яблокна сколько кг можно похудеть голодая 10 днейкакой километраж надо пробежать чтобы похудетьбады для похудения декамерон джульетта пастилки со вксом шоколада стоппетитбыстро эфективные диетызолотой шар для снижение весадиеты с золотой иглойдобавки для снижения весаправильная эксплуатация блока бесперебойного питаниядиета для похудания щадящую

  12. “..how’s that for a 180? Global cooling, imminent ice age from CO2 to global warming, imminent catastophic heating.”

    One possible definition of a scientist could be: ‘A person who has trouble maintaining a strongly held belief in the face of contradictory experimental evidence’.

    One could equally accuse Einstein of performing an embarrassing 1-80 because his opinion went from a fixed Newtonian universe to a relative universe during his annus mirabilis.

    An additional point of interest is that atmospheric aerosols have a very limited lifetime, of between hours and months. Therefore the cooling effect they generate is localised to by their concentration and elevation. While the extreme bulk of current evidence definitively shows a rise in global average temperatures, the complexity of the global weather dynamic and immaturity of climate modelling mean that no trustworthy predictions can currently be made about the severity of any deleterious consequences resulting from global warming.
    The fact that no trustworthy predictions can be made does not invalidate the possibility that deleterious consequences will result.

    Also, considering that restricting CO2 emissions and other industrial emissions primarily impacts the wealth of the people Monkton calls the ‘ruling elite’, but can have a positive effect on engineering and technological innovation, something that generally benefits younger and less wealthy individuals, one can understand why he might hold his current position.

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