This is a guest post by Greenpeace USA's Kevin Grandia, former DeSmog Managing Editor.
Christopher Monckton, well known for his wacky behavior attempting to deny the scientific realities of climate change, has now moved on to look into the conspiracy theory around whether US president Barack Obama was actually born in the United States!
Monckton, decked out in an American flag shirt, fire arm on his hip and a cowboy hat, tells the interviewer that:
My purpose in being here [in Arizona] is to have a further look into whether the president of the United States is the president of the United States. Now you might say, what has this got to do with someone from Britain… I am here because I am curious. As a peer of the realm I am allowed to stick my long aristocratic nose into anything I want to stick it in.
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Here is the video:
A recent posting on The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media website linked to a very long piece regarding climate change by Christopher Monckton.
As a practicing scientist, I recognize and value the role that The Yale Forum plays in furthering civil discussion on this topic. As a society, we have too few venues of this type where ideas can be discussed, solutions proposed, and our preconceptions challenged.
It is not difficult to appreciate the dilemma faced by editors of sites like The Yale Forum when submissions such as that cited are offered, particularly when, as here, the respondent is addressing an earlier posting in which he or she was specifically named.
On the one hand, sites such as this want to encourage vigorous and candid debate. On the other, they must be mindful of the very extreme views taken by some participants in this discussion. Inclusion of the most extreme views may not advance the purpose of the site.
So, how does Monckton’s post fit into the category of extreme views? That, really, is the easy part.
BACK in July last year in a boardroom of a western Australian free-market think tank, the extrovert British climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton was holding court.
The topic for discussion? How to better capture the Australian media to help push a right wing, free-market and climate sceptic agenda. At the time, Lord Monckton was in Australia at the behest of a mining association and Gina Rinehart to deliver a series of talks on climate change and spread his conspiracy theories that human-caused climate change is a left-wing plot to bring down the West.
At one point during the tour, Monckton told a boisterous partisan crowd: “So to the bogus scientists who have produced the bogus science that invented this bogus scare I say, we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.”
Lord Monckton had been invited to Australia by the iron and coal mining boss Rinehart, the country’s richest woman with a rising personal fortune in the region of $20 billion.
Hosting the meeting was the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a group chaired by mining “Hall of Fame” member Ron Manners to promote free-market ideals and low government intervention.
Manners is also a member of Gina Rinehart’s lobby group ANDEV, which has been joined by the Institute for Public Affairs to lobby for a separate low-tax low regulation economic zone for the north of Australia to make mining projects easier to develop.
It would be safe to presume, given Manner’s background in mining and the make-up of his staff, that this aim to lower government intervention would include any regulations and taxes on mining.
The image of Monckton dropping from the sky, eyes closed, destined to decry his well-worn “U.N. world-domination conspiracy” is just priceless. Witness the great non-Lord's descent unto the masses, assisted by a hunky “paratrooper” to guide him to dry land since he couldn't bear to watch himself:
TO followers of the climate change policy debate, the extreme conspiratorial rhetoric is all too familiar:
Climate change is a hoax. Environmentalists are just communists in disguise. The United Nations is using efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions as a smokescreen for installing a world government. Greenies are actually reds. Eco fascists want your freedom.
Such rhetoric is daily bread for many neo-conservative commentators, some climate change deniers and even the occasional elected representative. The language is divisive, often becomes abusive and – regrettably – has become a feature of the manufactured debate over the risk posed by human-caused climate change.
The manifesto of Norwegian terrorist and Christian fundamentalist Anders Behring Breivik, currently facing trial for the massacre of 76 people, shows what can happen when the unhinged take the language of the far-right to its ultimate ends.
In the 1500-word document, published online under his Anglicised name Andrew Berwick before the brutal bombing and shootings in Norway, Breivik reveals a hatred for Islam and socialism.
But the manifesto also echoes the beliefs of many climate change deniers and cites the work of Lord Christopher Monckton, Alex Jones and Steve McIntyre.
New Zealand-based academic and climate sceptic Dr Chris de Freitas has been caught using material from US lobby groups in lectures to first year university Geography students.
Students who listened to the “Geography 101” lectures on climate from Dr de Freitas, an associate professor at The University of Auckland’s School of Environment, admitted to being “quite convinced” that a scientific debate was still raging over the causes of global warming.
A report in the New Zealand Herald highlighted how Dr de Freitas had ignored key texts, ignored recent extreme weather events and argued that climate change was almost entirely down to natural variations.
In the lecture notes, published by author Gareth Renowden on his Hot Topic blog, one student wrote in the margins that “CO2 has a lot of beneficial effects… don’t believe the propaganda”.
This is following Monckton’s interview with Australian Radio earlier this month. When ABC Sydney’s Adam Spencer asked whether Monckton was a member, Monckton answered “yes, but without the right to sit or vote,” and later repeated clearly “I am a Member of the House.”
Clerk of Parliaments David Beamish sent the letter to Monckton last Friday, declaring “you are not and have never been a Member of the House of Lords. Your assertion that you are a Member, but without the right to sit or vote, is a contradiction in terms.”
Beamish concludes the letter as follows:
I must therefore again ask that you desist from claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication, and also that you desist from claiming to be a Member “without the right to sit or vote”.
I am publishing this letter on the parliamentary website so that anybody who wishes to check whether you are a Member of the House of Lords can view this official confirmation that you are not.
In yet another brutal take-down of ‘Lord’ Christopher Monckton’s claims to royalty and relevance, Bob Ward at The Guardian exposes the fabrications Monckton has whipped up to endear Margaret Thatcher fans to his own ‘work’ as a climate skeptic.
Ward, who is policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, was inspired to write the piece after reading Monckton’s outlandish claims in a blog posted on Anthony Watts’ blog.
In his guest blog on WattsUpWithThat, Monckton claims that, among all the advisers to Margaret Thatcher in the mid-80s, he was “the only one who knew any science.”
Monckton is not a scientist by any stretch, he holds a journalism degree. Apart from his recent paid speeches at tea parties and climate conferences as an anti-science crusader, his career in daily news and tabloid journalism has had nothing to do with science. But that hasn’t stopped him from pretending to be one. He’s like the fake doctor in the 1940’s advertisements who really, really wants you to trust him that cigarettes are safe, and it’s okay to spray DDT on your kids.
This week and next week, prominent climate sceptic blogger Anthony Watts is touring Australia to help promote the country’s newest political party, the Climate Sceptics party. Single issue parties are not unusual in Australia, and the Sceptics have been working to create a “new centrist party” to push for a “truthful, common-sense approach to [climate change] and all issues.”
The Climate Sceptics turned heads in January when they had to beg their members for an extra $20,000 to pay Christopher Monckton’s stipend as part of $100,000 in tour fees. This begs the question: where does the cash come from to pay for the speaking tours of Australia?
DeSmogBlog asked the Australian Electoral Commission if the party had registered itself yet and reported on any income. Unfortunately, as a new party, they do not need to file their finances until October. Furthermore, the sceptics party website clearly lists all the rules about what donations need to be disclosed and which ones do not (donations less than $11,200 can be anonymous under Australian law.)
Watts’ tour is being billed as a tool to fight the Australian government’s weak and industry-friendly Emissions Trading Scheme, which it recently put on hold for about 3 years. Leon Ashby, the president of the Sceptics party, says “these presentations will make you think hard about the gap between the facts, public perception and where our political leaders want to take us.”
Climate deniers often like to talk about “global warming profiteers,” some mysterious breed led by Al Gore who, so the story goes, are out to make the big bucks off scaring people about climate change. But if there’s anyone making money off lying about global warming these days, it is “Lord” Christopher Monckton, who continues his globetrotting tour to hawk confusion and misinformation at the Bonn climate talks this month.