Global Warming Science -


Monbiot’s Problem with God


[last update: 2010/12/06]



George Monbiot accuses the Christian God of trying to prevent a climate deal.





Monbiot wonders: “Is the divine presence a Republican? Or is He/She/It running an inter-galactic fossil fuel conglomerate? As His name doesn't feature on the exxonsecrets site, the Congressional funding database or any of the other sponsored denier lists, we'll never know, but whatever the explanation may be, the Paraclete appears to be as determined as any terrestrial corporate frontman to prevent a successful conclusion to the climate talks.




December 2010 – COP 16 (Cancun)


According to Monbiot: While the rich parts of the world are covered in snow and ice, the rest of the world cooks … every time anyone gets together to try to prevent global climate breakdown, He swaths the rich, densely habited parts of the world with snow and ice, while leaving obscurer places to cook.


The following figure shows the Northern Hemisphere snow cover (left) and departure from normal (right) on December 2, 2010 [].




I’m sure all the people in Mongolia and Siberia will be glad to know they are rich, while those in New York and Los Angeles will be saddened to know they are now poor. OK – so Monbiot was actually referring to Europe – the main area where snow is unusual the first week of December (figure above right).


The following figure shows the temperature anomalies for December 1, 2010 from the NOAA ESRL []. Not much “cooking” going on.




Monbiot also has a misunderstanding of “densely habited” parts of the world. The following figure shows population density []. I guess he means Europe is the densely populated area.




Monbiot must figure that playing loosely with facts is OK when you are trying to save the world.




December 2009 – COP 15 (Copenhagen)


According to Monbiot: During the climate talks in Copenhagen last December, a band of hideous weather was aimed with surgical precision at Denmark, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and the US. Everything above and below this band was unseasonally hot: in the case of the Arctic, 7.5C above the monthly average.


He provides the following link: [

&year1=2009&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg], which displays the map shown below (temperature data as processed by NASA/GISS).




He didn’t mention that Siberia had a larger cold anomaly than the rest of the Arctic’s warm anomaly. The above map is based on processing that assumes any station within 1200 km represents the grid. This is how areas with no data get interpolated. The same website also provides 250 km interpolation (shown below) giving a more honest indication of where data are actually missing.






The following figure shows the same data as above, processed by NOAA/NCDC showing land data (each dot represents a 5x5 degree grid) – areas without dots have no temperature data. (Both GISS and NCDC start with the same NOAA GHCN dataset and perform different adjustments.)





The following figure is the same as above but includes a processed land / ocean blend.




The following shows a comparison of the Arctic for the above GISS (top) and NCDC (bottom) land / ocean blends.




The following shows a comparison the area of the “surgical precision at Denmark, the UK, Germany, France” for the above GISS (left) and NCDC (right) land / ocean blends.







According to Monbiot: “No one missed the fact that Powys, Wales, was struck by an Arctic -17C, but scarcely anyone was aware that, on the same day, Narsarsuaq in Greenland was basking in a thoroughly unseasonal +12C.


The following figure shows the mean and absolute temperatures for Narsarsuaq for the period 1961 – 1990 []. A red dot has been added representing +12C indicated by Monbiot.




But weather should not be confused with climate (and Monbiot later provides the caveat). According to the same study cited above (based on data from 1958 to 1999), “The main conclusion is that despite global warming over the past few decades, the SW marginal areas of southern Greenland seem to have actually cooled, especially daytime temperatures in winter. … This may be related to a stronger NAO, which yields warmer conditions over NW Europe while strengthening cold northerly winds over Greenland.” Once again alarmists confuse natural cycles with CO2.


Some of the statistics for Narsarsuaq (from the above cited research paper):


Mean Temperature

Mean Daily Max T

Mean Daily Min T

Cold Days (< -10C)

















So while the climate of Greenland is not unprecedentedly warm, Monbiot likes to use it to represent warming (see:






According to Monbiot: “perhaps in the throes of one of His Old Testament rages, He would rather you didn't know [which areas have warming]. God, alongside half the corporate world and many of its most powerful legislators, has declared war on the climate talks.


Apparently Monbiot doesn’t believe in the Christian god, since He is supposed to be all-knowing. Monbiot is also apparently not an eco-religionist (See: regarding the eco-religion practiced by many environmentalists), as he states in a different article: “To me, the need to protect the environment springs not from “a sense of the sacred”, but from social justice.” []


The term social justice is used to mean wealth redistribution. Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development, stated: “For climate change is a defining global social justice issue for our generation. If we do not take the necessary action, we risk condemning the world’s poorest people to generations of poverty.” []  


According to the United Nations report on social justice: “social justice is a relatively recent concept, born of the struggles surrounding the industrial revolution and the advent of socialist (and later, in some parts of the world, social democratic and Christian democratic) views on the organization of society.” And: “Social justice is not possible without strong and coherent redistributive policies conceived and implemented by public agencies. … Official development assistance (ODA) to poor and developing countries is a manifestation of redistributive justice at the international level, and various proposals for taxes on global transactions derive from the same objective of promoting fairness and solidarity.” []


The same UN social justice paper admits: “the call for greater equality in the distribution of world income at the international level is weakened by the observation that technological and other innovations vital to the health of the world economy originate in the most affluent countries.” Although the same enviro-socialists who promote “climate justice” as a means of redistributing wealth and also want the destruction of capitalism, the UN paper observes: “Economic justice has unquestionably grown as the basic principles and practices of the market economy have become more prevalent and pervasive”. (See also:


Monbiot has more in common with Christian Evangelicals than he would like to admit: “A passion for environmental action and social justice is spreading in what some may consider unexpected places … Northland, A Church Distributed—an evangelical megachurch in Florida. After the church showed the film “The Great Warming,” featuring National Association of Evangelicals spokesman Richard Cizik, they wanted to take action. When they were finished assessing the congregation’s waste, they created a 140-page audit of the church’s solid waste, energy management, landscaping, and water use, which formed the basis of Northland’s strategy for lowering its carbon footprint.” []



Washington Post, Nov 29, 2010: