IT'S DIFFICULT to really know where to start in describing Lord Christopher Monckton, one of the planet's most outspoken deniers of the risks of human-caused climate change.
You could say he's the leader of the Scotland branch of a fringe UK political party, for example.
But earlier this week, Lord Monckton gave himself another title.
In an opinion column about how climate change had nothing to do with the deadly superstorm Sandy, Lord Monckton wrote how he was “an appointed expert reviewer for the forthcoming “Fifth Assessment Report” to be published by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
Now that's pretty impressive stuff. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gathers and summarises the world's research on climate change.
I wondered how one might be “appointed” as an “expert reviewer”, so I asked the secretariat at the IPCC about the process.
Here's what they told me (my bolding).
Anyone can register as an expert reviewer on the open online registration systems set up by the working groups. All registrants that provide the information requested and confirm their scientific expertise via a self-declaration of expertise are accepted for participation in the review. They are invited to list publications, but that is not a requirement and the section can be left blank when registering. There is no appointment.
Hang on. No appointment? But Lord Monckton just.. but he says that he.. right there, he just said he was appointed, all official like.
Now there are some appointed spots within the IPCC report-writing process. Lead Authors and Contributing Lead Authors are approved by the IPCC bureau, as are Review Editors. Contibuting Authors are generally invited by the Lead Authors.
But reading the response from the IPCC, it sounds as though even I could get a gig as an “expert reviewer”. It would make a cracking addition to most people's CV.
Anyone out there who might be thinking about applying for a job that you just know in your heart of hearts you're not qualified to do, might want to think about asking Lord Christopher Monckton for a bit of guidance.
Because when it comes to puffing out your CV, the non-Member of the House of Lords is highly skilled.
His modus operandi (aside from speaking Latin in interviews) appears to be that the more spectacular the claim, the less likely people are to disbelieve you. Like climate change science being a plot to “shut down the west”, for example.
So here, just a small handful of some of Monckton's greatest hits.
- Claimed to be a member of the House of Lords, even after House of Lords officials told him that he's not a member of the House of Lords.
- Claimed to be a Nobel Peace Laureate, when he's not.
- Claimed to have penned an article during the Falkland's War which was read out by the BBC's World Service Argentinian broadcasts, when the BBC World Service didn't have an Argentinian service or do any Argentinian broadcasts.
- Claimed he was forced to sell his home in order to pay $1 million prize money tied to a board game he had designed. He later admitted he made up the story to boost sales.
- Claimed not to have known who had contributed funds to his speaking tour around Australia, despite the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies admitting they had covered some of his expenses and organisers saying the visit was initiated by mining magnate Gina Rinehart.
For lists of this stuff as long as one of Robert Wadlow's arms, visit Monckton Myths, Barry Bickmore's Monckton Rap Sheet or look at Peter Hadfield's Monckton Bunkum video series (watch the first one below).
Perhaps there'll be more to add to these lists next year when Lord Monckton returns to Australia in February 2013 for another speaking tour. His 2011 visit was marred in controversy after he branded a prominent Australian government climate policy advisor a Nazi, prompting venues across Australia to cancel.
There's some confusion about who is organising the tour. There are reports that the fringe political group the Democratic Labor Party, who's single Federal Senator is the anti-abortion climate sceptic John Madigan, are paying for his visit.
But the “Lord Monckton Foundation” has claimed it is organising the visit. Regardless, I really can't wait.