DR Russell McKenzie, an associate professor at Southeastern Louisiana University Department of Management and Business Administration, is rather pleased with the guy he has secured to speak to students and the public about the economic cost of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are honored to have someone of his stature speaking,” he told an online university community newspaper. In another story, Dr McKenzie added: “It’s not every day you have the opportunity to have a world renowned speaker to come to Southeastern”.
So who is this global powerhouse on climate change and economics? Sir Nicholas Stern, perhaps, author of the UK government's “Stern Review”? Could it be James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and famed climate scientist?
No. The “world renowned speaker” appearing at Southeastern Louisiana University on 2 October is none other than Lord Christopher Monckton, the British hereditary peer who believes climate scientists are part of a plot to introduce a socialist world government.
Apparently, the university is “honored” to host a man who told told climate scientists through a partisan crowd that “we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up”.
Honored to have someone who compared former Australian government climate policy advisor Ross Garnaut to a Nazi? Honored to have someone who tells young climate change campaigners that they are the “Hitler youth”? Honored to be in the presence of a person shown to have misrepresented climate science (repeatedly) and yet is promoted by coal mining magnate and world's richest woman Gina Rinehart?
And yes, honored to host a man who has written that the chances of Barack Obama having been born in the US are ”no better than 1 in 62,500,000,000,000,000,000”.
The lecture in question has been well promoted through official university channels and through a university-based website for student journalists which has written not one, but two stories promoting the event. Between 75 and 120 people are expected to attend.
News went out earlier this week to staff and students via the university's weekly newsletter and on a 21 September daily bulletin, which included a link to a flyer promoting the event. The fawning newsletter article provided a potted biography of Lord Monckton
Monckton is a businessman, newspaper editor, the inventor of “Eternity” puzzles, of the Sudoku X puzzles and of a promising new treatment for infectious disease… Credited with discovering evidence that a group of scientists, officials and politicians had manipulated data to exaggerate the threat of global warming, Monckton has authored more than 100 papers on the climate issue for layman. He is currently writing a book entitled “Climate of Freedom,” which is expected to be a worldwide bestseller among his millions of followers on YouTube and Facebook.
Monckton, who has no science qualifications, may very well have written more than 100 papers on the climate issue but not a single one of them has been through conventional scientific peer review process, a fact you would think pertinent to a public university.
So how did Lord Monckton get the gig? In a statement to DeSmogBlog, made through the Department of Management and Business Administration interim head Dr Toni Phillips, the university said it had been contacted by another group “to see if we wanted him to speak here while he was in the area. Some faculty expressed an interest, so he was scheduled to speak.”
That group was the “Northshore Tea Party”.
“He is speaking as an individual who has knowledge of, and presents talks on, CO2 mitigation,” the statement said, adding the university was not paying any expenses to Lord Monckton.
I also asked if Lord Monckton would be covering his latest pet conspiracy in his lecture - you know, the one about President Obama lying about his birthplace and faking a birth certificate.
“His topic is Is CO2 Mitigation Cost Effective?” the university replied.
Not everyone at the university has swallowed the Monckton propoganda. The university's Professor of Philosophy is Barbara Forrest, a director of the National Center for Science Education, a not-for profit organisation campaigning to keep creationism and climate change denial out of classrooms. She told DeSmogBlog that Monckton had no scientific legitimacy to speak on the issue and should not be considered an authority “on anything”.
Lord Monckton is to the issue of climate change what the creationists at the Discovery Institute are to the issue of evolution. Neither is a credible source on the issues, concerning which, they seek to influence public policy. Lord Monckton, like the Discovery Institute, is trying to influence public opinion and public policy by distorting the science.
Monckton has no earned expertise in the relevant climate science but commands attention because of his aristocratic status and affiliations which, to uninformed laypersons, give him an air of legitimacy. Few people actually know the nature of his Science and Public Policy Institute, which purports to provide “research and educational materials dedicated to sound public policy based on sound science.” One look at this page, “Proved: There is No Climate Crisis,” on which Monckton says, “Perhaps, therefore, there is no ‘climate crisis’ at all. … The correct policy approach to a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing,” dispels any idea that he speaks with scientific legitimacy. What the science actually shows about climate change is a separate issue from what should be done as a matter of policy.
Lord Monckton is clearly trying to influence public policy. However, he is attempting to do so by making claims that undermine the science. And the ridiculous claims he has made with respect to other things — such as wanting to quarantine AIDS patients for life, and falsely claiming to be a member of the House of Lords — means that no one should consider him an authoritative voice on anything.
The Discovery Institute, in case you hadn't already guessed, is an anti-evolution “think tank” which aims to promote the teaching of “intelligent design” in schools. Professor Forest has been studying and battling the intelligent design and creationist movement for at least the best part of a decade.
Coincidentally, at the conference when Lord Monckton was showing pictures of Nazi swastikas next to quotes from climate policy advisors, he shared the speaking duties with one of the Discovery Institute's senior fellows, Wesley J. Smith.
You have to wonder who the university will have the “honor” of hosting next? Perhaps Mr Smith will oblige? Or maybe these guys have someone available?