British Lord Demands End to Climate Science Censorship

Published February 1, 2007

Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley and a member of the Upper House of the British legislature, has sent a letter to Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) excoriating them for attempting to strong-arm ExxonMobil into cutting off support for public interest groups that question global warming alarmism.

Rockefeller’s home-state newspaper, the Charleston Daily Mail, called the senators’ efforts, consisting of an open letter to ExxonMobil hinting at future congressional action if the company continues to fund scientific debate on the issue, “an intemperate attempt to squelch debate with a hint of political consequences.”

Monckton, a former science and technology advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also assailed officials in the British government for similar “attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature,” to question global warming alarmism.

Monckton’s open letter, edited for length, appears below.

Uphold Free Speech About Climate Change or Resign
From: The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
December 11, 2006

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of free speech. It is inappropriate for elected Senators such as yourselves to suggest that any person should refrain from exercising that right, as you have done in your letter of October 27 to the CEO of ExxonMobil.

That great corporation has exercised its right of free speech–and with good reason–in openly providing support for scientists and groups that dare to question how much the increased concentration of CO2 in the air may warm the world. You must honor the Constitution, withdraw your letter and apologize to ExxonMobil, or resign as Senators.

You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to “senior elected and appointed government officials” who disagree with your position. You are elected officials yourselves. If you do not believe in the right of persons within the United States to exercise their fundamental right under the world’s greatest Constitution to petition their elected representatives for the redress of their grievances, then you have no place on Capitol Hill.

Science Repudiates Extremes

The UN’s 2001 report estimates our greenhouse effect compared with 1750 AD as 2.43 watts per square meter. Its new report will cut that figure to 1.6 watts, little more than 1 percent of the 150-watt natural greenhouse effect.

The UN will also reduce its high-end estimate of sea-level rise to 2100 from 3 feet to just 17 inches.

All other imagined consequences of climatic warming are more likely to be beneficial than harmful. Warmer is better than cooler. An unusual heatwave in France a couple of years ago killed 3,000 old people. As is now customary, global warming was blamed, though the real cause was a naturally occurring “blocking high.” Last winter’s cold snap in the UK killed 25,000. The former event attracted many times more publicity than the latter.

There is no evidence that global warming causes more frequent hurricanes. Neither the three previous UN reports nor the forthcoming report argues for this.

Skepticism Essential to Truth

Skeptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, “obfuscate” the issue: They assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the “consensus” argument, and they compel necessary corrections such as the impending and highly significant more-than-50 percent cut in the UN’s high-end projection for the increase in sea level to 2100.

You commend Britain’s Royal Society, once a learned body and now a mere Left-leaning political pressure-group, for having clumsily attempted to interfere with ExxonMobil’s funding of groups that are skeptical of what you inaccurately call a “consensus” to the effect that climate change is a “global problem.”

The Royal Society, by the intervention to which you refer, goes beyond its remit. The Society’s long-standing funding by taxpayers does not ensure any greater purity of motive or rigor of thought than industrial funding of scientists who dare to question whether “climate change” will do any harm.

You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate skeptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretense to uphold or cherish academic freedom.

Consensus a Myth

You say, “While deniers can easily post something calling into question the scientific consensus on climate change, not a single refereed article in more than a decade has sought to refute it.” Far from it. In rebuttal I could cite hundreds of refereed articles, but need cite only one: the recent paper by Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006), On Global Forces of Nature Driving the Earth’s Climate–Are Humans Involved?

The authors answer the title-question in the negative. A brief summary of the paper is attached.

Like hundreds of similar papers in the scientific journals, it casts doubt upon your assertion that there is “an insurmountable scientific consensus on both the problem and causation of climate change in almost every country of the globe.” Given the major downward revisions of the UN’s estimate of the human impact and of the future rise in sea levels between its 2001 and 2007 reports, the “consensus” that you pray in aid does not even agree with itself.

There is a consensus that there is more CO2 in the air than there was; that humankind may be to blame; and that some warming may result. That is all. There is no consensus on how fast the world will warm, or when or even whether any “disastrous” consequences will ensue.

Earlier this year, 61 leading climatologists and scientists in related fields, among them tenured professors, wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister as follows:

“‘Climate Change Is Real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate change catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes occur all the time due to natural causes, and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from the natural ‘noise.'”

No Alternatives Offered

You demand that ExxonMobil should stop funding independent debate on climate change, which you excoriate without citing evidence as “pseudo-science.”

You say you are ready to work with ExxonMobil to “expand the use of clean, alternative, and renewable fuels.” The scientific consensus is that the only such fuel that could satisfy projected global energy demand in the absence of fossil fuels is uranium, of which proven supplies will last thousands of years. Anyone who believes in the supposed “consensus” on climate change and yet is not willing to countenance the immediate reintroduction and widespread development of nuclear energy as the most important and essential mitigative measure available to us cannot expect to be taken seriously.

Windmills and waterfalls, on their own, are costly and environmentally damaging. They cannot come close to replacing fossil fuels. Only nuclear power can give us the energy we need.

Concerted Censorship

Finally, you may wonder why it is that a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature, wholly unconnected with and unpaid by the corporation that is the victim of your lamentable letter, should take the unusual step of calling upon you as members of the Upper House of the United States legislature either to withdraw what you have written or resign your sinecures.

I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call “disastrous” and “calamitous” consequences.

Leftist Pressure

Let me give just two examples from this side of the Atlantic:

The Institute for Public Policy Research, a Leftist pressure-group, has stated that public bodies should act henceforth as though there is no debate among scientists and should assume that “disastrous” and “calamitous” climate change will be a fact.

The British “Foreign Secretary,” one Beckett, responded to a recent newspaper article by me that questioned the science behind the soi-disant “consensus” on climate change by demanding during an otherwise paralyzing speech on terrorism that the news media should treat climate skeptics as though they were spokesmen for Islamic terrorism and should deny them column inches or air time.

Al Gore wrote a reply to my article saying that I should not be discussing these matters in the Press. He said I should rely on peer-reviewed research in journals such as Science, Nature, and Geophysical Research Letters.

Within 12 hours, I had published a 24-page refutation of his scientifically inaccurate article, citing more than 60 references in learned journals. Twenty-five of the citations were from the three journals he mentioned.

Respect the First Amendment

[L]et me quote the First Amendment to you:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the Press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I call upon the pair of you to live by these great words, or to leave.

Yours truly,

Monckton of Brenchley