But the chances of much civility appear to be somewhere between zero and naught, given their delegate Lord Christopher Monckton’s latest outpouring of bilious, conspiratorial anti-environmentalism.
The cleanest form of energy on the planet? Monckton tells host Ginni Thomas, it’s “coal”.
The fact is that if we allow our fossil fuels to be interfered with or priced out of the market, so as to subside futile, bird-killing, bat-slicing windmills, or these ridiculous solar panels, then all we do is cut of our nose to spite our face
Now the trouble with this is, that it’s actually fossil fuels that are receiving the bulk of subsidies. According to that famous left-wing environmental organisation, the International Energy Agency
, fossil fuel industries received $409 billion in 2010 (up from $300 billion in 2009).
Monckton tells Thomas that he “likes to speak for freedom". Actually, Monckton also likes to threaten to sue people who disagree with him, which isn’t quite speaking for freedom.
Lord Monckton also attacks plans being discussed in the state of Maryland for a more sustainable future. If implemented in full, Monckton says the plan will take the state “back to the stone-age but without even the right to light a carbon emitting fire in your cave.”
Actually, caves as housing options aren’t mentioned in Maryland’s plan
, but it does talk of the utter evils of a "range of housing densities, types, and sizes... for citizens of all ages and incomes”.
The plan also states how quality of life can come through “universal stewardship of the land, water, and air resulting in sustainable communities and protection of the environment”.
Elsewhere in Lord Monckton’s tirade, he says that raising CO2 levels “would hugely increase yields of crops - the extra carbon dioxide is tree food”. He adds that “if you want to green the planet, then what you want is more carbon dioxide and not less”.
I asked Associate Professor Ros Gleadow of Monash University and President of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists, about this common meme that CO2 is merely "food for plants" and that increasing it would just raise crop yields.
She told DeSmogBlog that under enhanced CO2, the nutritional quality and protein levels of most plants decreases. This could affect plants such as wheat, where protein levels are vital in bread making. Because protein levels would fall, this reduction could also affect the ability of humans to tolerate cyanide, which gets released when foods such as cassava – a staple in Africa - are eaten.
She added because plants grown in higher CO2 regimes need fewer leaves to grow, this would also impact on animals which ate those leaves.
For Australia, this means koalas. Just before Lord Monckton came to the land of koalas for a mining-industry sponsored tour earlier this year, he compared the country’s former climate policy adviser Professor Ross Garnaut to a Nazi
and used a picture of a large swastika next to a quote from Professor Garnaut to ram his point home.
On arriving in Australia, Monckton issued an apology – of sorts – saying he had been “catastrophically stupid and offensive
” and that he had written to Professor Garnaut to withdraw the comment “unreservedly”.
But in his interview with Ginni Thomas, Monckton now claims his previously “catastrophically stupid” statement was actually “very mild”.
You don’t actually hear Ginni Thomas at all during the interview, so at no point does she even attempt to restrain or challenge his stataments.
But perhaps the most conspiratorial part of the interview, comes when Monckton claims that Google had been paid “something like a quarter of a million dollars” to publish bogus pages on the internet in order to push a video of him down the search engine’s page ranking. Without this intervention, Monckton claim modestly the video would have "gone to 20 million" and been "unstoppable".
A Google spokesperson told DeSmogBlog
Google ranks websites to deliver the best possible results for users. We rely on a fundamentally algorithmic approach because this is the most scalable way to answer more than a billion search queries each day. Search rankings are completely unrelated to Google’s paid advertising services and other partnerships, and there is absolutely no way for a webmaster to pay money to increase search rankings.
According to research by MediaMatters
, CFACT has received more than $2million in funding over the years from ExxonMobil and foundation’s chaired by Richard Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon family’s oil, banking and aluminium businesses.
In addition, CFACT also received $160,000 in 2010 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation, according to the foundation’s latest annual report
For the record, SSF also gave $250,000 to the George C Marshall Institute, another promoter of climate science misinformation, and $600,000 to the Heritage Foundation, which heavily downplays the need to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and argues against scientific consensus. The Allegheny Foundation
, also chaired by Richard Scaife, gave $1.25 million to Heritage last year.
Given their funding, CFACT can obviously afford to stick Lord Monckton on a plane to Durban to attend a UN conference. Let's hope he doesn't run into any more of those "Hitler Youth ".