Adam Spencer’s heated interview with climate change sceptic

702 ABC breakfast presenter Adam Spencer hung up on Lord Christopher Monckton yesterday morning, after Monckton accused him of being ‘childish’ and told him to ‘shut up’. Tensions in the interview began within minutes, as Spencer challenged the legitimacy of Monckton’s inherited membership to the House of Lords, and raised the false claims that he is a Nobel laureate. Spencer has a scientific background.


Lord Monckton has become controversial in Australia recently, as the climate change sceptic was invited to give a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, causing many of the country’s academics to publically complain.

After being hung up on, Monckton called the station back 20 minutes later. In the first part of the interview he accused the ABC, including Spencer, of being politically leftist. Last month Monckton also labelled former Climate Change advisor to the government, Ross Garnaut, as a “fascist”, and accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of “socialism”.


“It’s my understanding you’ve never held any academic position at any university or any research institute attached to any science connected with climate science,” said Spencer in the first part of the interview. He then pursued Monckton about alleged misrepresentations in his work.

Monckton replied: “You say you’re not taking a position; it’s clearly a position which is deliberately hostile; you’re entitled to do that, it’s what the ABC is infamous for on this debate.”

After Spencer gave examples of scientists who said they had been misrepresented by the climate change sceptic, Monckton replied: “I am actually going to try and get a word in … so you shut up and listen.”

Then, after several minutes of arguing about Monckton’s work, the interview was terminated by Spencer, after Moncton insisted on finishing an answer, despite Spencer saying he was pressed for time and wanted to raise other points.

At the end of the interview’s second part, Lord Monckton told Spencer, “[the interview] wasn’t very pleasant … don’t do that to anyone again.”

Spencer said it wasn’t very pleasant for him or the listeners either. Monckton declined to continue the interview off-air for Spencer to put it online later, saying he had other engagements.

During the interview, Spencer spoke for five minutes cumulatively, approximately one-third of the interview.


Comments on the interview by listeners on Spencer’s ABC webpage were mixed.

One listener posted: “I thought I was going to hear a decent debate about the climate and all it was was an attempt to discredit the man. Why bother to advertise a discussion with Monckton? Why invite him to debate and then interrupt him constantly? SO annoying and unjust! Like science, the interviewer surely has to be objective and it was clear within the first sentence that it wasn’t going to be so. Adam’s own agenda ruled the whole “discussion”. Bad journalism!”

Another remarked that they “…[couldn’t] believe we are still funding the media arm of the Greens/ALP!”

Others were far more sympathetic: “I think this was an excellent interview. Asking hard questions and persevering for reasonable answers. As stated above, if “Lord” Monckton is going to put himself out there as a public figure then he should expect to have his credibility questioned, especially when he is questioning the credibility of others…”


On his Twitter page Spencer apologised for hanging up, but stood by the substance of his interview. At the end of the show he posted the tweet: “Many opinions out there. Promise no hanging up tomorrow.”


An amusing Twitter comment from Wil_Anderson on the subject drew together links with the Murdoch owned News of the World phone hacking scandal in a rebuff to a News Limited columnist saying: “Miranda Devine is upset that Adam Spencer hung up on Mr Monckton. She should get Rupert Murdoch to tap his phone as payback… #lordspence.”


Listen to the interview and see listener comments at the link below.