U.S. House Committee to Hear from the Lord Haw-Haw of Climate Science

When the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming holds a hearing today on the “Foundation of Climate Science,” Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) will be hearing from leading climate science experts.  The minority on the panel will be hearing from … Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Who exactly is Lord Christopher Walter Monckton?  And why is the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley a witness?

The independent Politifact gave Monckton a “Pants on Fire” rating for falsely claiming the Copenhagen climate treaty would

sign your freedom, your democracy, and your prosperity away forever — and neither you nor any subsequent government you may elect would have any power whatsoever to take it back again.

Monckton is also on record as calling for leading climate scientists to be put on trial – even though they have been cleared by repeated reviews.

What’s more, Monckton has claimed that NASA blew up a monitoring satellite in order to perpetuate the “myth” of global warming.  

And as our good friend Kevin Grandia from DeSmog Blog points out:

While Monckton's educational background is in journalism, he has recently been touted by many think tanks as an expert in the field of global warming.

Christopher Monckton and the Heartland Institute

Monckton is listed as a "Global Warming" expert for the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based freemarket think tank. The Heartland Institute frequently attacks the scientific evidence for human-caused climate change. The Heartland Institute has received over $791,000 from oil-giant ExxonMobil since 1998.

The tobacco industry has also been a regular funder to the Heartland Institute, with at least $190,000 coming from Philip Morris since 1993. The Heartland Institute maintains a smoker's rights section on its website called "The Smoker's Lounge."

Christopher Monckton and the Science and Public Policy Institute

Monckton is listed as a "Chief Policy Advisor" for the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI). The SPPI was until recently managed under the name "Center for Science and Public Policy Institute" by another freemarket think tank called the Frontiers of Freedom.

The Frontiers of Freedom has received over $1 million in funding from oil-giant ExxonMobil.

More recently, Monckton made headlines for referring to a Jewish climate change activist as “Hitler Youth.”  That might be dismissed as a meaningless “one off” comment  if Monckton had not also that “‘misplaced belief in climate change’ is killing more people than Hitler.”  

But let’s give Monckton the benefit of the doubt here and not dismiss him as some paper-thin caricature from Monty Python.   

(Yes, let’s not do that despite this curious - and actual - photo of Lord Monckton apparently performing “Putting on the Ritz” at his home in Scotland, found on Guardian.co.uk.)

OK.  So he's fudged some climate facts and exhibits an eclectic style of dress. But he's a British Lord, right? That's gotta be worth something.

Ah, no. He ran for the House of Lords. But contrary to his claims, he is not a member of the British House of Lords.

Well, Monckton's website claims  his role correcting a table in the 2007 IPCC report "earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate". But his explanation that his Nobel Prize Pin - "made of gold recovered from a physics experiment" -was awarded by "the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York, USA" does seem odd. Last time I checked, the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York, USA was not the one responsible for handing out Nobel Prizes. 

Monckton's claim was rejected in no uncertain terms by Nobel Committee secretary Geir Lundestat who told The Punch:

The claim is ridiculous," said Lundestat. "He is not a laureate - no way, no way.

For the record, Monckton did backtrack on his Nobel claim in January of this year, telling reporters that "it was a joke, a joke." But I guess he hasn't had time to update his websites yet, where the claim still appears.

What's no joke are the outrageous and unfounded claims Mr. Moncton makes about global warming and the platform he is provided by committed denialists. He reminds me of another propagandist - Lord Haw-Haw.  During World War II, the Germans used to broadcast to England a program featuring a posh-sounding announcer whom the Britons dubbed Lord Haw-Haw because they knew his role was to spew misleading and demoralizing propaganda to weaken the Allied war effort.

Perhaps those who invited to today’s House hearing Lord Monckton did not take the time to check him out first.  Or, maybe this is just a concession that when it comes to debunking climate science, “Lord Haw Haw” is the best that they can come up.

About the Authors

Pete Altman

Director, Climate & Clean Air Campaign, Climate & Energy program

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