Yesterday I mentioned an article in The Gibraltar Chronicle, about how Christopher Monckton’s PR man had tried to bully the editors into publishing a libelous letter (“Chronicle Refuses to be Bullied by Monckton PR Man,” Oct. 20, 2012). The libelous letter was precipitated by two letters to the editor by prominent citizens of Gibraltar, who objected to the Chronicle publishing a number of articles casting Monckton in a favorable light. The letters to the editor are not in the online edition of the paper, but I was able to obtain a copy. Here they are.
The on-going campaign by the Chronicle against Al Gore and the parallel promotion of the views of Lord Monckton is hard to understand. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, elected on four occasions to the US Senate and deprived of the Presidency by a biased US Supreme Court, can hardly be placed on an equal footing to an obscure climate sceptic who represents nobody, as the Chronicle seems to be attempting to do.
A cursory search on the internet reveals a few interesting facts about Lord Monckton. This gentleman, a hereditary peer, has attempted, unsuccessfully, on four occasions to be admitted to the House of Lords, receiving zero votes on each occasion. He is currently a member of UKIP and stood for parliamentary election in 2011, receiving 1.1% of the vote. Though Monckton has no scientific qualifications, he has proclaimed himself to be an authority on climate change and, while accepting that there is a greenhouse effect, he strongly refutes that this man-made phenomenon is responsible for accelerated climate change. He is a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute›s Conference on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is a rabidly right-wing institution heavily subsidized by oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, among others with vested interests. Some of its views include questioning the link between second-hand smoke and health risks, blaming ‘slackers’ for unemployment, arguing against universal health care and so on. This gives a pretty good idea of the kind of audience that Monckton is in sync with.
Monckton has also made a lot of noise regarding errors or inconsistencies in Al Gore’s film/book “An Inconvenient Truth”, for example the emphasis on the melting of the Arctic and the danger posed to polar bears, the flooding of low-lying islands in the Pacific, the threat to Greenland’s ice cap. Recent data about these developments strongly support Gore’s views and expose the vindictiveness with which his adversaries have acted. What really matters is that Gore alerted the world to the dangers and put environmentalism on the map. The general thrust of his arguments have been found to be correct by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. There is near universal acceptance (apart from “flat-earthers” like Monckton and at least one Chronicle opinion writer) of the impact of human activity on the world›s climate. If one thinks about it, it’s logical, reasonable, inevitable but, hopefully, not irreversible.
The views of Al Gore and Juan Verde are worth listening to and the Government is to be congratulated for giving us the opportunity to hear them first hand.
Editor’s note: Representing a diversity of views does not in our view amount to a campaign. Our readers in our view are able to make these judgments for themselves only if alternate views are presented.
On the 16th October, your newspaper touted Christopher Monckton as a “climate change science expert”. In science, the term “expert” is customarily reserved for scientists who have made an important contribution to their study subject via PhD theses and publication in journals that operate the standard scientific practice of rigorous peer-revision. Monckton is not a trained scientist and the lists of his publications that we have seen do not include papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, his claims about being Margaret Thatcher’s science adviser, including specifically on climate, appear to be exaggerated. In addition, his arguments are not supported by scientific consensus on climate change. That means that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, i.e., trained scientists who publish extensively in peer reviewed journals – “experts” – in the conventional sense – disagree with his views.
Monckton appears to be a publicity hungry sensationalist and is therefore guilty of some of the same accusations that he levels against Gore, albeit as a member of the opposite camp in the climate debate. An independent newspaper such as yours should research the background of all individuals – Monckton, Gore or any other – before making assertions about them.
Dr. Alex Menez
Dr. Keith Bensusan