The environmental Nazi hunter

This post originally appeared on The Drum.

As a sort of “grand finale” to a presentation at a conference earlier this month in Los Angeles, climate “sceptic” Lord Christopher Monckton displayed on the giant conference screen a large Nazi swastika next to a quote from Adolf Hitler.

A few seconds later came another quote, next to another large swastika – an emblem still offensive to most people seven decades after the end of WWII.

The quote this time was from Australia’s climate change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut, which suggested that “on a balance of probabilities, the mainstream science is right” on human-caused climate change.

Professor Garnaut’s opinion was, according to the presiding hereditary peer, a “fascist point of view”. This paranoia sits beside Lord Monckton’s regularly expressed view that environmentalists are communists in disguise.

The conference was organised by the American Freedom Alliance, a think-tank which is currently involved in a long-running legal battle with a California science education centre. The AFA wanted to screen a documentary which featured scientists attacking Darwin’s theory of evolution in favour of intelligent design, but the education centre cancelled the screening.

One of Lord Monckton’s fellow speakers at the Los Angeles conference was Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute – a think-tank and major promoter of the theory of intelligent design. One of the Discovery Institute’s projects aims to support research “developing the scientific theory known as intelligent design” (Lord Monckton even shared transport with Mr Smith during the conference).

As Guardian journalist Leo Hickman pointed out, it appears that Lord Monckton and other climate change “sceptics” at the conference were happy to rub shoulders with proponents of intelligent design and Islamophobia.

Next week, speech notes in hand, Scotland-based Lord Monckton will take another international flight – this time to Australia – courtesy, in part, to an Aussie mining industry group, for a nationwide tour.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, which lobbies on behalf of small and medium-sized resources companies in Australia, has granted Lord Monckton a 90-minute slot in its three-day annual convention which will be officially opened next week in Perth by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Alongside other mining industry figures, speakers include independent MP Rob Oakeshott, mining boss Andrew “Twiggy” Forest and experts from government agencies CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

So how did Lord Monckton manage to grab a spot at an Australian mining conference to present for an hour longer than any other speaker?

AMEC chief executive officer Simon Bennison told me that “a number of our members were keen to hear from him”. And who was paying for Lord Monckton’s trip?

“We will be contributing to some of his costs,” Mr Bennison said, but declined to elaborate on the amount of funding or what it would be used for.

“A number of people are financing [Lord Monckton’s] trip,” he said, but it was “not anyone’s business” to know who those people were.

Independent media website Crikey has reported this week that since learning of Lord Monckton’s appearance, CSIRO has asked to be removed as a main sponsor.

After the speech at the AMEC conference, Lord Monckton will deliver an invitation-only “Lang Hancock Lecture” sponsored by Hancock Prospecting at Notre Dame University in nearby Fremantle.

Australia’s wealthiest individual, Hancock chairman Gina Rinehart, offered a donation to cover Lord Monckton’s costs during a 2010 speaking tour of Australia and made a member of her staff available to help organise the Perth leg of the tour.

Professor Chris Doepel, Dean of the university’s business school, said the cost of hosting the invitation-only event was covered by an endowment from Hancock Prospecting which was received many years ago. The lecture series had laid dormant for a few years, he said, but had been revived for Lord Monckton’s visit to Perth.

In deciding which speakers were chosen, Prof Doepel said: “It’s a matter of discussions with the donor”.

“Under the terms of the endowment the requirement for the speaker is someone who speaks on promotion of free enterprise,” he said.

“What Lord Monckton is doing is presenting a view on public policy and governments’ public policy positions on climate change. The blurb we have is that he will look at the antithesis of the freedom ideal and the authoritarian consensus that he believes grips academia and politics today.”

Some 3500 invitations were sent out to students, alumni, university supporters and sponsors, and between 200 and 300 people are expected to attend.

On leaving Perth, Lord Monckton will embark on a tour taking in venues in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

One of the tour organisers, Anthony Cox, said ticket sales were “going well” and added there was “no sponsorship” from mining companies for the east coast leg of the tour.

Earlier today, the Australian Academy of Science endorsed a new campaign calling for respect for the scientific process, and for scientists. The issue is a live one: it has recently been revealed that many climate scientists have been enduring a long-running campaign of abuse and threats.

Yet if Lord Monckton’s arrival is anything to go by, it appears that as forces are marshalled to attack climate science and attack plans to price carbon, there will be little restraint, let alone respect.

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Author: Graham

Graham Readfearn is a Brisbane-based journalist. Go to the About page in the top navigation for more information.

18 thoughts on “The environmental Nazi hunter”

  1. You could look on the light side of things and invoke Godwin’s Law, but this guy is serious and a nutter. His denigration of Garnaut and hence the findings of his report is another example of an easy ad hominem attack rather that a serious attempt to debate the climate science.

  2. Gina Rinehart’s gigolo…Lord Monckton….paid to say what the mining barons want to hear…and Abbott is right behind them all……

  3. Monckton was over the top and an apology is in order.

    It is ironic though, that poster Tony #1, correctly highlights the ad hominem nature of Monckton’s ill-considered comment, yet in blind disregard of our host blogger’s many, many attack of a similar nature. The column above is rather benign in that regard, limiting itself to describing him as paranoid. A search of this blog though reveals disgraceful ad hominem attacks on sceptics ranging from Monckton’s appearance [a symptom of Grave’s Disease] to numerous descriptions of sceptics from “nutters” [Tony’s description] to the disgraceful Holocaust analogy of “deniers”. Our blogger is a past master.

    Tony – have a look at Monckton’s presentation here. Unlike, say, Al Gore’s fanciful science fiction movie, he relies on simple data telling it as it is. I commend it to you – all 90 minutes of it. A comprehensive rebuttal of what is purported to be “mainstream science”. All intelligent people with an interest in the topic should be sceptics.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zOXmJ4jd-8&feature=relmfu

  4. Not sure I’m up for viewing your extended presentation by Monckton; it would be 90 minutes of swivel-eyed mania I’d never get back (http://www.spectator.co.uk/rodliddle/5619853/swivel-eyed-maniacs.thtml).

    Arnie, you are both a fool and credulous in the extreme if you think Monckton can provide any sort of comprehensive rebuttal of anything to do with climate science.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton_Myths_arg.htm

    http://www.fool-me-once.com/2010/09/temperatures-are-below-projections.html

    “Intelligent people with an interest in the topic” are indeed sceptical mate … but of Monckton himself.

  5. Foolish? No.
    Credulous in the extreme? Hardly.
    I guess the difference between us is that I read and listened to both sides of the debate, Chris, and formed a view on the strength of the available evidence.

    As for credulity – pot, kettle, black. Can I ask whether you opt for the 1 metre sea rise this century argument, Al Gore’s 6 metre one or the 100 metre one that Robin Williams and Tim Flannery have trotted out on occasions? How about some demonstrable untruths sold to the gullible in recent years? For example:
    . Flannery’s assertion in 2005 that Sydney’s dams would be dry by 2007, Adelaide’s by 2009, Brisbane’s by 2011
    . Flannery’s claim earlier this year that 2011 “ may be the Arctic’s first ice-free year” – when in fact Arctic ice has increased by about 10% this year
    . the claim in Al Gore’s movie that anthropogenic climate change increased the frequency of hurricanes – when the inconvenient truth is that there is no proof of any link
    . the IPCC’s claim in its 2007 Report that glaciers could melt away by 2035 – when the inconvenient truth is that the IPCC was caught out in 2010 and admitted the claim is unfounded.
    . the 2009 so-called ClimateGate scandal in which a hacker did the world a favour by exposing the duplicity of lead IPCC authors in manipulating, destroying and concealing data.
    …. and the list goes on.

    All readily available information on the internet. All that’s required is an open mind and a willingness to question one’s blind faith.

    If you swallow that, son, I have a bridge you might be interested in buying.

  6. Arnie.

    The fact that you trot out that list of rubbish above is prima facie evidence that you’re deficient in an important personal skill – (as they say in the classics) you don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between sh*t and shoeshine.

    With just a brief cruise around the estimable Skeptical Science site I could find a few links which use primary sources and which address some of the dreck you posted at 12:24 …

    Sea Level:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-predictions.htm

    Climategate:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/A-retrospective-of-the-Climategate-retrospectives.html

    Glaciers melting by 2035:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Himalayan-Glaciers-Wrong-Date-Right-Message.html

    … I could go further and spend more time locating more links for you but I think I can safely presume that that would be a complete waste of my time. You could easily find them for yourself but, clearly, *nothing* will stand in the way of you believing whatever bilge denialists like Monckton, Carter, Plimer et al serve up to you.

    You are being suckered mate. Monkton and co are having a lend of you but you’re so gullible you just lie back and take it with a smile.

    Chris W.

    PS: You want to sell me a bridge ? I’ll take one off your hands for free mate … considering you’ve already bought them all you probably don’t have enough storage space for your over-supply.

  7. Looks like Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, the most senior Republican in the House of Representatives in the US is also a – what was that moronic term you used Chris, to deflect a lack of rational argument – that’s right, a “denialist”. Him, along with the rest of the HofR, the Senate and even Prez Obama who’ve canned a cap in trade scheme as a waste of effort and money. Oh, and China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan and all our other trading competitors.

    This puts a lie to Gillard’s [and Garnaut’s] claim that Australia isn’t going it alone. Clearly we are unless you count the protectionist, half hearted scheme in Europe – and we all see how swimmingly that economic bloc is going.

    As for gullibility. Well, I am not the one being suckered into believing that a tax on everything in Australia can possible alter the world’s climate one iota. If you disagree, pray tell, let me know how and by how much. I can see that irony isn’t a strong point of yours. Have a Bex a cup of tea and a lie down – in a few years this will all be an embarrassing memory like Y2K Bet you were suckered by that one too, son! I am confident that this tax will not survive for long after the next election, [assuming it is passed] and no govt will have the audacity to ever try to scam us again in the same way.

  8. Arnie, … Arnie, … Arnie,

    And here I was thinking we were talking about about the *science* of climate change.

    The process of how we might go about mitigating some of the likely dire impacts of AGW without the economy going belly-up is another set of questions entirely. Carbon Tax, ETS, Direct Action ? Maybe a mix of all three will be required sooner rather than later … or later rather than sooner. But I shouldn’t digress; might leave them for another day.

    In the interests of keeping you focussed, lets get back to what you posted … ‘Monckton’s comprehensive rebuttal of what is purported to be “mainstream science”‘ and other twaddle about you being a sceptic etc. I commend that Conversation post by John Abraham to you (linked previously). Its a cracker.

    ” … Mr. Monckton claimed that “the medieval warm period was real, global, and warmer than today”. He showed a number of papers which reportedly support his claim. Well, I wrote to a number of these authors and they all agreed that Mr. Monckton had not accurately presented their work. For instance, Dr. Anil Gupta told me, “You are right, we never said the medieval warm period was warmer than today”. Another researcher, Dr. David Anderson, stated, “Your interpretation (of our work) is more correct”. Dr. Lloyd Kiegwin said that I was “absolutely right,” and Dr. David Frank stated, “temperatures now, are indeed much warmer than during medieval times”…. ”

    In true denier fashion the Viscount is a bit loose with the facts and from that article is certainly shown to be a serial misrepresenter of what various papers *actually* say. Seems a bit dishonest on the face of it doesn’t it Arnie … or is that sort of behaviour ‘all good’ as long as he bats for your team ?

    Is that the way it goes Mr. Sceptic?

  9. Phil M, Arnie doesn’t really care about facts. He just lies back with a dopey smile on his face and cops it sweet when the professional deniers spin their lies to him. He believes everything they say with absolutely *no* reservations because … well … because … jeez, I can’t really think why any adult human would soo enjoy being sucked in like that.

    He’s foolish, credulous, utterly clueless, and just keeps avoiding the hard questions: http://www.readfearn.com/2011/06/monckton_nazi_hunter/#comment-615

  10. Lol Arnie. You are entertaining if anything. I agree Chris, the denial is strong in this one.

    It’s funny about that Y2K thing isn’t it? Somehow nothing happened. Could it be that hundreds of thousands of people worked furiously to avert danger? Noooo, just somehow nothing happened.

    It’s a bit like the hole in the ozone. Miraculously it just stopped growing. But yeah, those conspiring scientists somehow couldn’t tell us exactly how much down to the millimeter each country affected the ozone? Clearly, China, the USA & Europe should have stopped while Australia & Africa should have been able to continue using CFC’s because of our 1% factor…….or, in a sensible parallel universe we just got everyone to stop…because hey, we all share the one blue globe. If it’s ruined, it affects us all. Rich & poor.

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