Prat Watch #4: Foundation and Empire

While the noble Lord, Viscount Christopher “I’m no potty peer” Monckton tours the USA and Canada at the behest of his friends at the Heartland-lite Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (aka the Billionaire Liberation Front), his Australian admirers, led by former Climate Sceptic Party candidate Chris Dawson, have announced the creation of… wait for it… The Monckton Foundation. This remarkable institution is set to “open its doors” this month, and has, as you might expect, some laudable, if long-winded goals:

The Lord Monckton Foundation shall conduct research, publish papers, educate students and the public and take every measure that may be necessary to restore the primacy and use of reason in science and public policy worldwide, especially insofar as they may bear upon the rights of the people fairly and fully to be informed, openly and freely to debate, and secretly by ballot to decide who shall govern them, what laws they shall live by and what imposts they shall endure.

It has a vision too — it may be having them still — issued by the charter of Monckton himself:

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How Heartland lied to me and illegally recorded the lies

4 a.m. Bali, December 2007, the first Tuesday of the two-week UN climate talks. My phone rings, waking me up. Blearily, and a little crossly, I answer it.

I was in Bali to run Greenpeace International’s media for the meeting. The caller was someone called “John” who said he was an intern for a US NGO that I had never heard of. It was a small NGO, he said, who couldn’t come to the meeting, but “john” asked me for a copy of the UNFCCC’s media list for the meeting.

I confirmed I had a copy but refused to give it to him – he appeared a little suspect. The conversation ended when I put the phone down – the caller clearly wasn’t bothered that he had woken me at 4 am, which was odd, as an NGO colleague would have apologised and hung up immediately.

Three days later I was again woken by the phone, with the information that the right wing think tank the Heartland Institute had just issued a press release slamming the UN for working with environmental NGO’s. Heartland’s press release posted a link to a recording of the 4 a.m. conversation earlier in the week.

Hang on, let’s get this clear:

Someone from the Heartland Institute:
 – called me at 4 am, lied to me saying they were an intern for a US environmental NGO 
- recorded that conversation without my knowledge or my permission, and released the audio of the telephone conversation to the media, again without my permission.

Sound familiar?

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Prat Watch #1: columnated ruins domino

Being the first in an occasional series in which we monitor the wilder excesses of climate denial. Warning: reading and/or viewing the original material referenced herein may cause uncontrollable mirth. Hot Topic accepts no responsibility for any adverse effects that may result, but recommends a good micro fibre cleaning cloth for removing coffee/tea/wine from computer screens…

However gloomy I may be about the prospects for serious international action to reduce carbon emissions, I did find a few things to enjoy amongst the events in Durban, not the least of them being the fact that the only way Mark Morano and potty peer Christopher Monckton could draw attention to their CFACT-sponsored trip was by jumping out of an aeroplane in an attempt to attract the attention of the world’s press.

From the CFACT web site:

Multiple media outlets showed up to record the event, including the AP, BBC, and South Africa’s national news network. It was a huge success! Climategate 2.0 can not be ignored!

Shows, I suppose, just how desperate the denial campaign is to make mileage out of yesterday’s emails. But Monckton and Morano weren’t finished…

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Monckton goes bananas

Scrotum is laying low it seems, so (as yet) I have no inside information on the doings of the the good Lord Monckton in Mexico beyond his own words, but they are extraordinary enough to demand a post. Monckton is in Cancun with Roy Spencer (satellite temperatures a speciality), the pair acting as emissaries for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a Scaife-funded organisation devoted to the usual denial. Monckton is helpfully providing regular updates on his doings via another of his fossil-funded US sponsors, the SPPI blog. It appears he’s gone bananas


Dr. Spencer and I decided to try banana daiquiris instead. After a good 20 minutes – well, this is the Mañana Republic – the head waiter hovered along to our table and told us our daiquiris would be along in a minute. He had hardly made this ambitious promise when the wine waiter shimmered in and explained that there would be no banana daiquiris because – yes, you guessed it – “we have no bananas”.

Lacking the necessary fruit, the sceptical pair settled for frozen margaritas. My experience with said drink usually involves two headaches — one on the way in, as the cold explodes in my sinuses, and one the morning after — but in the noble lord’s case it seems to have caused a major episode of sceptical revisionism. Apparently, poor old Dick Lindzen is suffering because his papers are not impressing his peers:

Within months, a savagely-phrased and deliberately-wounding rebuttal was published by one of the most prominent of the Climategate emailers. It was one of those tiresome papers that pointed out one or two supposed defects in Professor Lindzen’s analysis, but without being honest enough to conclude that these defects could not and did not alter the Professor’s conclusion.

Monckton rather glosses over the serious methodological problems with Lindzen’s paper that meant his conclusions could not be supported by the evidence he provided. But let’s not let the facts stand in the way of a good tale. It appears that Douglass and McKitrick have suffered equally badly, and it’s nothing to do with any “supposed defects” in their work, it’s all the fault of that mean old IPCC.

Perhaps it was the lack of bananas, or an excess of tequila, that drove the Viscount Brenchley to liven up the “sombre” proceedings at Cancun by gatecrashing a green business luncheon attended by Nick Stern, Richard Branson and assorted Mexican billionaires. John Vidal of the Guardian was there:

Holding forth in the centre of the UN climate conference lunch party, he claimed that man-made climate change was not happening and businesses should hesitate before investing in green energy.

Most people steered clear, but Monckton had no hesitation in barging in on conversations, reeling off statistics and arguments that, he said, proved not only that the world was not warming but that “certain newspapers” were not reporting the reality.

Eventually the patience of the organisers wore thin, and he was asked to leave — but not before Vidal had recorded a short exchange with the potty peer. It’s well worth a listen.

Monckton appears to concede that 2010 was a year of record setting warmth, blaming it on El Niño, but then later claims there’s been no warming since 2001. The rest of his patter is a glib Gish Gallop of standard Monckton nonsense. But there’s more… The CFACT crew have been conducting more merry japes — here’s Monckton introducing a short Youtube video nominating the CFACT “Kook of the Week” (an unlucky NZr). I leave it to the reader to decide who might be the real “kook”.

[PS: In his latest Mexican missive, he reveals he’s working on a dramatic new piece of scholarship:

I have recently been preparing a learned paper for the Econometrics Journal on the so-far-unaddressed but surely not-unimportant question of how to determine the amount of “global warming” that might actually be prevented by any proposed strategy to mitigate future “global warming” by taxing or regulating carbon dioxide emissions, or by adopting alternative technologies.

I expect it will pass peer review, because he’s the only peer who will read it.

[Harry Belafonte (& friends)]

Monckton goes BP in Bonn

Beyond parody, that is. I mean, this has to be a spoof, doesn’t it? Scaife-funded CFACT sent the potty peer to Bonn, and this is what he delivered in return. If this is the best the inactivists can do, then the world is safe. Watch: it’s side-splitting…

[Hat tip: µWatts, where this is taken seriously, it seems.]