Monckton: this has to be a joke…

The-3rd-Viscount-Monckton-001 That is what I first thought when I saw a blog item saying that US Republicans have taken on Lord Monckton as a consultant/spokesperson on climate change. What next, I thought, HIV/AIDS policy advisor?  But no, it’s true: GOP Chooses Non-Scientist Lord Monckton as Sole Expert Witness at Climate Change Hearing.

House Republicans have chosen Lord Christopher Monckton, a non-scientist with a penchant for outrageous remarks, as their sole witness at tomorrow’s hearing in front of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) called the hearing in an effort to further restore public confidence in climate science, and to set the record straight that ‘Climategate’ was not the scandal climate deniers and the right-wing media tried to portray in the wake of the theft of private emails from scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

A press release announcing the hearing states that the scientists "will address the claims of deniers head-on."

The explanatory hearing will include testimony from Lisa Graumlich, director of the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, who served on the British panel that last month exonerated the CRU scientists of any malpractice.

Rep. Markey has also called three top American climate scientists to explain that climate science remains fundamentally sound and supported by evidence gathered by reputed scientific institutions around the world.  The three expert scientist witnesses were involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that have been attacked by climate deniers, including Lord Monckton.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the Ranking Minority Member of the committee, chose Monckton as the Republican’s sole witness at the hearing.

Of all the people in the world the GOP could call to testify, they chose Christopher (not-really-a-Lord) Monckton, a non-scientist with a diploma in journalism studies and a knack for trampling Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies

Suffice to say that Lord M has no scientific credentials in any field related to climate science, even remotely.

There are other bees in his bonnet as well.

Is there no end to the delights of his lordship Christopher Monckton, also known as Viscount Monckton of Brenchley? Or perhaps it would be accurate to ask: is there no beginning to the delights of Lord Monckton?

To the list of his eccentric views on climate change, Europe, HIV/Aids and … well, most things, we can add his public subscription to the "birther" cause: the idea that Barack Obama may have been born in Kenya and is therefore not the legitimate president of the United States of America.

The vigilant blogger David Weigel, now at the Washington Post,witnessed Monckton’s speech yesterday to tea party-ers at the Mall in Washington DC, at an event organised by FreedomWorks, the right-wing-funded astroturf (as in, fake grass roots) noise machine:

"America!" said Monckton at the start of his speech. "Land of opportunity! You can be born in Kenya and end up as president of the United States!"

That remark was well received in the crowd, if not as boisterously applauded as Monckton’s other jokes. After the speech … a reporter from USA Today and I both asked Monckton whether he was joking.

"I have no idea where he was born," said Monckton, who was working the crowd and signing autographs. "What I do find strange is that the public records of his Hawaiian birth have been sealed, and can not be obtained by the public. His lawyers have spent a lot of money trying to seal the records of his public life. All of those records should be open to the public, as they always were for previous presidents."…

Luckily for the Conservative party, it parted ways with Monckton some time ago. His lordship is currently a member of the UK Independence Party.

I wonder if perhaps Tony Abbott might consider Lord M as our next Chief Scientist, should the Libs get up in the 2010 election. I mean, why not? The talk-back crowd love him.

And that Penny Sackett person is proving so annoying.

Australia’s chief scientists Professor Penny Sackett has backed a group of eminent international scientists calling for urgent action on climate change.

Professor Sackett said governments everywhere needed to show more leadership on climate change action.

"Even if each one of us on the face of the earth stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, not another ounce into the atmosphere, the temperature would still rise," she told ABC radio on Friday.

"I would say that every delay makes it harder for ourselves in the future. I’d like us to also think about how much more difficult it makes it for the next generation."

In their open letter published in the journal Science, the group of 250 scientists called for rationale debate and not to have discussion deflected by extreme views.

That comes shortly after the federal government decided not to proceed with its emissions trading legislation at this stage.

Professor Sackett said she fully supported the call for urgent action based on the real and compelling evidence.

"We certainly need every technique that we can muster, and that will mean climate legislation in countries around the world," she said.

"There are many other things we can, and now I would say the urgency of doing those things is even stronger."

One signatory, Australian National University Professor Kurt Lambeck, said he was aware of personal attacks on individual scientists, and that was totally unacceptable from either side.

"It’s a call really for rational debate on scientific issues. That’s really what it’s about – to get the facts out, to be able to debate the pros and cons of arguments, and not have that discussion deflected by extreme views," he said.

See also the New York Times: Scientists Lash at ‘McCarthy-Like Threats’.

Scientists Climate Statement PDF