Snowe and Rockefeller Criticized for Opposing Free Speech

Published December 18, 2006

(Chicago, Illinois – December 19, 2006) In a pointed letter sent Monday to Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-MA), Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, challenged the senators to resign over their October 30 letter demanding ExxonMobil stop assisting scientists and organizations who are skeptical of catastrophic climate change scenarios.

Monckton decried what he sees as an “internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds” to question the alleged unanimous agreement over the implications of global warming.

James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy for The Heartland Institute, applauded Monckton’s effort. “One would think,” said Taylor, “500 years after Copernicus and 400 years after Galileo, western governments would understand the tremendous societal damage that can be done when government attempts to intimidate and stifle scientific research and debate.”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Taylor pointed out, is revising its estimates downward. “Its ‘worst-case’ temperature predictions have been reduced by more than 25 percent compared to its 2001 scenarios, and sea level rise will likely be merely one foot or less over the course of the entire next century, less than the average over the past 10,000 years.” These revisions, according to Taylor, are at least in part a result of “skeptical” voices in the scientific community.

Taylor called the senators’ attempt to prematurely close the debate on climate change using intimidation “deplorable.”

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is The Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for environment policy and managing editor of Environment & Climate News. He can be reached for further comment on this issue at 941/776-5690 or email [email protected]. For more information about The Heartland Institute call Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000 or email [email protected].