Given the dogmatic fervor of global warming proponents, and their intolerance of skeptics who dare to question the latest commandment (see: cap-and-trade) in the green scripture, it is perhaps no coincidence that the environmentalist movement sometimes seems to have more in common with theology than with science. If that is true, then the logical word to describe those scientists who have challenged environmental hysteria and extremism is “heretics.” In a series of profiles, Front Page’s Rich Trzupek will spotlight prominent scientists whose “heretical” research, publications, and opinions have helped add a much-needed dose of balance and fact to environmental debates that for too long have been driven by fear mongering and alarmism. In a field that demands political conformity, they defiantly remain the heretics. Previous profiles in the series include Steve Milloy, Dr. Craig Idso, and Dr. Roy Spencer. – The Editors
Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount of Brenchley, is a legend within the global warming skeptic community. The erudite Englishman was an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when climate change theories were in their infancy. In recent years, he has been one of the most eloquent and vocal critics of Al Gore and those who echo Gore’s alarmist cries.
Thatcher is often identified as the western leader most responsible for promoting the theory of man-made climate change that would explode into full-blown hysteria soon after she left office. This, Monckton says, is a misleading characterization. He recalled raising the issue with Thatcher as a possible concern, since carbon dioxide is indeed a greenhouse gas, but after studying the issue with leading scientists, the Prime Minister and Monckton concluded that any potential warming would be insignificant compared to natural factors. Monckton re-entered the climate-change fray in 2006, writing two pieces in the Sunday Telegraph criticizing global warming alarmism. The articles caused an immediate stir.
“There were 127,000 hits at the Sunday Telegraph website within the first two hours of my article hitting the site,” Monckton recalled. “There was so much traffic that they actually crashed the site. It was the first time that had happened. I believe it’s still the only time that happened.”
In a world hungry for understandable, reasoned explanations of climate science, Monckton’s greatest gift is his skill as a communicator. Though he is not a climatologist, he is well versed in both the basics and the nuances of the issues surrounding climate change. Typical of his style is this video of Monckton politely explaining the realities of global warming theory to a member of Greenpeace during the Copenhagen climate conference in December.
Monckton is one of the few to address one of the tragic, unintended consequences of the world wide rush to produce biofuels as means of combating global warming: mass starvation in some of the world’s poorest nations. Between 2002 and 2008, world food prices more than doubled, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. With the United States leading the way in turning cropland previously used to grow foodstuffs to support energy crops, world food supplies have dropped, both raising food costs and leading to an unprecedented number of food riots throughout the third world. Long before an earthquake ravaged Haiti, Monckton witnessed firsthand the turmoil that the world food crisis had caused in that impoverished nation.
Many Haitians, Monckton found, regularly consume mud pies – literally: dirt and water pies that are sometimes (but not always) sprinkled with a modicum of something that might be actually nutritional. “It’s quite extraordinary that this should happen in the 21st century,” he said. “This [global warming alarmism] is causing mass starvation, but nobody seems to care. They’re too busy worrying about every icicle purportedly melting in Greenland.”
The former newspaperman places a great deal of the blame on the media. He argues that the press has championed a theory formulated by a couple of dozen scientists, refusing to reconsider any evidence that may challenge it. “The press, having nailed their flag to the mast of this sinking ship, have no stomach to go through the not inconsiderable embarrassment of admitting that they were wrong,” he said.
While Monckton was pleased that industrialized nations did not sign onto a Copenhagen treaty he believes would have effectively created a world government, he was not as upbeat as many others were about the result. Pointing to the establishment of a high-level panel to address global warming and the establishment of a green fund to transfer money from the first world to the third, he sees Copenhagen as yet another step down a gradual, yet slippery, slope. “They know now that they can’t do it all in one go,” he explained. “They tried, but that didn’t work, so they’ll try to do it incremental, almost imperceptible, steps.”
One video from Copenhagen shows Monckton shedding his customary genial air, as he takes young members of the group SustainUS sternly to task, calling them “Hitler youth” over and over again. Intrigued, I asked Monckton what about this seemingly harmless, naïve group of college-age kids so incensed him. The back story explained it all. At the time, Monckton was in the company of his Danish wife and three German citizens. All four were part of families that had suffered under Nazi rule and had been well-schooled in the tactics that the Nazi Party used to harass and intimidate their way to power. So, when SustainUS invaded a meeting of Americans For Prosperity that Monckton was attending, the sight of young people shouting slogans and attempting to stifle free speech shocked and frightened Lady Monckton and their guests.
“They said this is what the Hitler youth did,” Monckton recalled. “They came in and started shouting and pretty soon no one dared to ever have a meeting again. I was just horrified to see the distress on the faces of my wife and our German friends. Some of them were crying.”
But, despite all of the shouting and deal making, Lord Monckton believes that the global warming movement cannot sustain itself much longer. “They’ve cried wolf once too often,” he said. “The Australian Liberal party just sacked their leader for going along with this, and I think Republicans in America will be the next to go. So far Republicans have been fighting it based on the cost, but I think most now realize that they will have to kill it on the science. In very short order, the majority of the electorate is going to say: we don’t buy this rubbish.”