Winner of climate change denial’s premier award revealed by George Monbiot

22/1/2010 Guardian  Christopher Booker prize 2009 offered for producing clap-trap about climate change.


So now ladies and gentlemen, the moment you have all been waiting for. I am
about to unveil the winner of one of the 300 most prestigious awards in
environmental journalism: the Christopher Booker prize, awarded for falsehoods
about climate change.
The winner will receive this stylish trophy, lovingly fashioned by master
craftsmen in mid-Wales, which, believe it or not, is made entirely of recycled
Even more exciting is the super soaraway holiday of a lifetime (possibly the
final holiday of a lifetime) which the winner will be encouraged to take, and
which the Guardian is assisting with a fabulous THREE bars of Kendal mint cake.
The intention is to help persuade the lucky recipient to take a one-way solo
kayak trip to the north pole, to see for him or herself the full extent of the
Arctic ice melt.
The rules of the competition are simple: the award goes to whoever in my opinion
— assisted by climate scientists and specialists — managed in the course of 2009
to cram as many misrepresentations, distortions and falsehoods into a single
online article, statement, lecture, film or interview about climate change.
The first contestant was the man after which this beautiful trophy was named,
the famous strangler of facts, the Telegraph Terror, Christopher Booker. In just
one short column in the Sunday Telegraph, he managed to drop six and a half
clangers. I thought that would set a high bar for the other contestants. How
wrong I was.
From total obscurity a new challenger rode out. In his very first attempt John
Tomlinson, a columnist for the Flint Journal in Michigan, almost tripled
Booker’s score: knocking out a fantastic 18 errors in an article of just 486
words. In doing so he set what might have been a world record hit rate: one
misleading statement every 26 words. Not that it was to last for long.
I cast around in vain for someone who could match the Michigan Mauler’s
extraordinary performance. But even the likes of Melanie Phillips, James
Delingpole and George Will couldn’t take him on. David Bellamy, the Bearded
Bungler, soon weighed in, and for a while his challenge looked promising, as he
knocked out eight barmy statements in the first two minutes and 20 seconds of a
video interview with the Daily Express. But then the fight just seemed to go out
of him, and he tailed off with some quite sensible statements about other forms
of pollution.
By now it seemed to me that only one contender could take on the Mauler: the
Discount Viscount, Lord Monckton. In fact there’s a fair chance that Viscount
Monckhausen could have come out in front with one of his online lectures, which
are riddled with crazy assertions and shocking misrepresentations, but the
thought of spending a day inside his mind made me feel physically sick.
Then Tomlinson, the Michigan Mauler, made what turned out to be a definitive
move. In response to my exposure of his howlers, he wrote another column in
which, amazingly, he more than doubled his previous score, with a stunning 38
howlers. He even beat his own putative world record for error-density, with a
score of one per 21 words.
No one now had a hope of beating him. Or, to be more accurate, I wasn’t prepared
to go through all that again. Recording and rebutting 38 falsehoods was so
time-consuming and soul-destroying that I didn’t want to find another
challenger. I’d had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
How did he manage it? By cobbling together just about every well-trodden climate
change myth he could find on the web and compressing them into the smallest
possible space; rather like those people who try to write a book on a postage
So the winner, ladies and gentlemen, of the 2009 Christopher Booker prize is
John Tomlinson!!!!
This week I will be sending him the stunning trophy and the three bars of Kendal
mint cake which will hopefully encourage him to embark on the holiday of his
lifetime. With the help of this amazing prize, a fabulous career of even greater
obscurity awaits him.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. There won’t be a 2010 Christopher
Booker prize, because I can’t face the thought of wading through all that
rubbish again.
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