Doomed Planet

Monckton in Australia

Monckton’s Tour of Australia – An Opportunity for Major Political Parties to Learn about Global Warming

It is very timely that Christopher Monckton (Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) is visiting Australia to deliver a series of lectures on the global warming issue starting in Sydney on January 27 and finishing in Perth on February 8. A former adviser to British PM Margaret Thatcher, and a person with considerable experience in both the political and scientific debates about whether or not governments should intervene to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, Lord Monckton is well armed and skilled to respond to almost any question that may be raised on the issue. Both the Government and the Coalition have an opportunity to tap into his expertise as they decide how to respond, in the case of Labor, to the Copenhagen fiasco and, in the case of the Coalition, to the recent change of leaders to an opponent of the Emissions Trading Scheme.

At the time of writing it appears unlikely that either party will make use of the opportunity. Why? The reason is that neither major party wants to be known to meet with an expert who is able to rebut, point by point, the claims that government action is needed and to explain that the correct policy response is to have the courage to do nothing because “global warming” is a non-problem. Despite the now enormous body of evidence that no scientific consensus exists on the supposed threat of dangerous warming, almost all major political parties around the world have locked themselves into accepting the consensus –and in many cases defending past statements to that effect.

Prime Minister Rudd has been a world leader in shackling himself to the case for action and he went out of his way in a speech to the Lowy Institute last November to ridicule Monckton for his opposing attitude. That of course provided yet another example of the juvenility and ineptness of Rudd’s approach to major international issues. The idea that such issues can be resolved through international meetings displays a naivety that illustrates Rudd’s failure to understand how international relations work. In the case of Copenhagen anyone with a smattering of understanding of the resistance to any form of emission restrictions by major developing countries would have recognised the futility of having a meeting after the many prior exchanges had made it clear that agreement between the major emitters was not obtainable.

Rudd has also made boo boos in so-called important speeches, such as that on neo-liberalism, and his attack on Monckton at Lowy failed to recognise that it is counter-productive to draw attention to a thinker who can answer back. This is exactly what Monckton did in a letter he sent to Rudd on 1 January pointing out several mistakes in Rudd’s assessment of Monckton’s attitudes on global warming. This included Rudd’s failure to acknowledge that an early draft of what had been intended as a binding Copenhagen Treaty included proposals for a form of world government and his assertion that Monckton is someone who argues that the market will magically solve the problem. The latter is a particularly strange comment given that Rudd is himself proposes the use of the market to reduce emissions.

With one or two notable exceptions, the press has similarly locked itself into acceptance of the view that governments have a responsibility to do something to “save the planet” but without undertaking any thorough analysis of the basis of the alleged consensus. The Australian has performed best in giving space to sceptics and dissenters but has stuck to the save the planet line in its editorials, some say because Murdoch said so publicly. Yet in a personal communication with Murdoch he indicated his scepticism to me. Last Friday’s editorial moved in the right direction when it called on politicians to question the science used by the IPCC but it has yet to endorse the call for an independent inquiry by a number of Australian scientists.

One striking example of the failure of Australian press is their treatment of Professor Ian Plimer, who will be accompanying Monckton on his lecture tour. Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth, which has now had three editions, did receive reviews here but in the United Kingdom in the lead up to Copenhagen he received front page treatment in the Daily Express, which quoted him as saying that climate change is a “load of hot air underpinned by fraud”. The fact that Plimer had to go to the UK to obtain such publicity illustrates the timidity of Australian media.

The locked in effect means that, when frustrated analysts like Monckton exaggerate descriptions of activist greens trying to disrupt meetings, the media use that to question the basis of his advocacy. This contrasts with the media’s failure to highlight the errors in IPCC report (many more than the latest bloop on glaciers) and the highly questionable role of IPCC head Pachauri, who is not even a scientist.

It remains to be seen how seriously the media will take Monckton’s lectures in Australia but it provides an opportunity to undertake a thorough examination of the theses being promulgated by the IPCC and the researchers involved in the Climategate affair who are advisers to that organisation. Although several commentators have innocently accepted views expressed by expert (sic) advisers to the IPCC that the hacked emails do nothing to change the consensus, it is now clear that temperature data has been manipulated by the IPCC and its advisers to show a warming trend when no such trend has existed (the IPCC’s manipulation of Australia’s temperatures is particularly marked). Without such a trend there is no substance to the claim that past and projected future temperature increases are due to increasing emissions of CO2.

So far the reaction of the media has not been promising, with the board of the National Press Club in Canberra rejecting an application by Monckton to present his case formally. However supporters of the two semi-retired engineers who invited Monckton, and who are financing his visit, have decided to hire the Press Club for a private function. These two engineers, who have independently arrived at the view that the whole premise on which propaganda about climate change is based is false, are symbolic of the rapidly spreading drop in public support for an ETS (down from 55 to 46 per cent over the last three months) and the rapidly increasing belief that the IPCC has exaggerated its claims about dangerous warming (up from 13 to 31 per cent over the same time). The two engineers are being supported by the NSW Farmers Federation through its hiring of the Press Club, by the Australian Climate Science Coalition (which is financing the luncheon being held in Melbourne) and by Gina Rinehart in Perth, as well as through individual donations. With the already well established Lavoisier Society and the Climate Sceptics group, Australia now has a number of active groups challenging the falsely claimed scientific consensus.

Lord Monckton’s visit will almost certainly add to membership of and support for these groups as well as providing a challenge to the major political parties, and to the media, to review their support for government intervention. 


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