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Posts Tagged CFACT

Prat Watch #4: Foundation and Empire Gareth Renowden Mar 20

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While the noble Lord, Viscount Christopher “I’m no potty peer” Monckton tours the USA and Canada at the behest of his friends at the Heartland-lite Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (aka the Billionaire Liberation Front), his Australian admirers, led by former Climate Sceptic Party candidate Chris Dawson, have announced the creation of… wait for it… The Monckton Foundation. This remarkable institution is set to “open its doors” this month, and has, as you might expect, some laudable, if long-winded goals:

The Lord Monckton Foundation shall conduct research, publish papers, educate students and the public and take every measure that may be necessary to restore the primacy and use of reason in science and public policy worldwide, especially insofar as they may bear upon the rights of the people fairly and fully to be informed, openly and freely to debate, and secretly by ballot to decide who shall govern them, what laws they shall live by and what imposts they shall endure.

It has a vision too — it may be having them still — issued by the charter of Monckton himself:

The Lord Monckton Foundation stands as the wall of the West, the redoubt of reason, the sentinel of science, the fortress of freedom, and the defender of democracy.

Or perhaps a pied-à-terre for a pompous peer? For an organisation spawned in a former colony, the Foundation has a high opinion of Australia’s former rulers:

With the British Empire, governance became truly global for the first time. The world, said the philosopher Santayana, never had sweeter masters.

The Foundation has questions. Lots of them:

Is science dead? Must reason fail? Shall objectivity be slaughtered again on the pagan altar of mere ideology? Is life now objectionable, liberty deplorable, the pursuit of happiness a crime? Has the nation had its day? Is the globalization of governance really a public good? Can democracy survive it? Should not the use of the ballot-box be extended? Should not every supranational and global institution of governance be elected?

Meanwhile, back in the USA, the good Lord demonstrates the full extent of his grasp of reason, objectivity, ideology and the primacy of the ballot box by publicly endorsing “birther” claims that President Obama was not born in the USA and therefore not entitled to be President:

I have watched Sheriff Arpaio’s press conference in AZ and have examined some of the evidence directly. It is clear — as Alex Jones rightly said on the day when Obama first put up his faked ’long-form birth certificate’ on the White House website — that a fraud has been committed, and that, absent a valid official record of Obama’s birth or a very good explanation of the anomalies in the published version, he is not qualified to stand for re-election as President.[…] This is beginning to look like a widespread, high-level fraud.

These frauds are everywhere: hockey sticks, birth certificates, hidden declines. Whatever next, one wonders? A conspiracy to put Monckton in front of any legislature daft enough to have him? Funnily enough

At the invitation of Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, Monckton is coming to Sacramento March 21 to speak to the Legislature, but said that he expects a ’stormy session.’

Not surprising, given his opinion of the sunshine state:

’But flaky la-la-land California will go on pursuing this senseless [climate] policy right into insolvency and bankruptcy,’ Monckton said. ’State expansion will stop. Cap and trade will collapse. And Democrats will be forced out of office, hopefully not to be replaced by the soggy Republicans which have dominated the party for some years.’

And finally: John Abraham, the engineering professor at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, who famously attracted the ire of the potty peer by having the temerity to tenaciously, and devastatingly debunk a Moncktonian peroration, is profiled in a recent St Thomas Magazine. All the 1,000 plus people who signed the Hot Topic post supporting John against threats of legal action by Monckton should read the article. It shows just how much support he received from his university, and what real academic freedom is all about. Perhaps a new campaign? John Abraham for head of the Monckton Foundation! Who better to defend science, objectivity and reason against ideology?

[Build Me Up Buttercup]

How Heartland lied to me and illegally recorded the lies cindy Mar 15

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4 a.m. Bali, December 2007, the first Tuesday of the two-week UN climate talks. My phone rings, waking me up. Blearily, and a little crossly, I answer it.

I was in Bali to run Greenpeace International’s media for the meeting. The caller was someone called “John” who said he was an intern for a US NGO that I had never heard of. It was a small NGO, he said, who couldn’t come to the meeting, but “john” asked me for a copy of the UNFCCC’s media list for the meeting.

I confirmed I had a copy but refused to give it to him – he appeared a little suspect. The conversation ended when I put the phone down – the caller clearly wasn’t bothered that he had woken me at 4 am, which was odd, as an NGO colleague would have apologised and hung up immediately.

Three days later I was again woken by the phone, with the information that the right wing think tank the Heartland Institute had just issued a press release slamming the UN for working with environmental NGO’s. Heartland’s press release posted a link to a recording of the 4 a.m. conversation earlier in the week.

Hang on, let’s get this clear:

Someone from the Heartland Institute:
 – called me at 4 am, lied to me saying they were an intern for a US environmental NGO 
- recorded that conversation without my knowledge or my permission, and released the audio of the telephone conversation to the media, again without my permission.

Sound familiar?

This calls into question Heartland’s bleatings about being misled by climate scientist Peter Gleick, and its threats to sue him for using false credentials to obtain information. They seem happy to use underhand tactics to get information for themselves, yet slam Gleick for doing similar.  CEO Joseph Bast called it a “serious crime”.

So I’ve written to Joseph Bast reminding him of this incident:

To recap, the Heartland Institute used a false organizational identity in order to obtain an internal document. It also surreptitiously recorded a telephone conversation (illegally, I believe, if it was done from your home state of Illinois) then posted it online to attack me in the same sort of privacy invasion you’ve been complaining about.

Does any of this sound familiar? It should, not only because your organization did all this, but it recorded itself doing exactly what you’ve been howling about was done to you. I’m calling on you to show the same level of post-action forthrightness of Dr. Gleick, admit what you did, and re-post the audiotape of the full conversation.

I haven’t yet heard back from Bast.

DeSmogBlog has more examples of Heartland’s history of deception, including leading someone to believe that a video they were being interviewed for was for the Discovery Channel rather than a climate denial video.

Given my first-hand experience of Heartland, and having also witnessed the theft of thousands of emails between climate scientists and Heartland’s thousands of words about them (often willfully taking them out of context) in Climategate, I find it breathtaking that Heartland has suddenly become all ethical about the leaks of its documents.

These are documents that show plans to mislead children about the science of one of the most important issues in their future: climate change.

Also attending the Bali meeting was the right wing think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), that had brought its crack team of climate deniers, including Lord Christopher Monckton, whom I’d seen hectoring journalists in the media centre.

Monckon was registered on the CFACT delegation but the UN media list itself confirms Monckton’s attempts to register himself as a journalist, listing his email contact as Tom Swiss (Heartland’s PR man), as with another denier, Will Alexander, whose email contact was another Heartland email address.

CFACT has received a total of $2,509,285 from fossil fuel funders ExxonMobil, the Koch Foundations and the Scaife Foundations since 1998.

We now know that Heartland had paid for a number of the deniers who were part of the CFACT team. Heartland money went to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition that year, and NZCSC members, Owen McShane, Bryan Leyland and Vincent Gray were also on the CFACT team, along with a number of Australian deniers, Prof Robert (Bob) Carter, David Evans and Joanne Nova.

Desperate for the attention they weren’t getting, CFACT even offered free Balinese massages to people who attended their event.

Why didn’t I sue Heartland at the time?  Simple: they would have loved the attention – and I had better things to do with my time, as the 192 governments who had already accepted the science of climate change worked towards agreeing the Bali Mandate.

As it was, no media covered Heartland’s outraged press release and the whole incident served as an opportunity for me to talk in detail to a number of journalists about the climate denial industry and its funding by the fossil fuel industry.

My one failing is that I cannot recall the name of the NGO that the caller pretended to be an intern for.  I didn’t write it down at 4 am and, given that I’m not from the US, I didn’t recognize the name the caller gave me. But he definitely didn’t tell me he was from – or acting on behalf of -  the Heartland Institute.

And given that I am one of the co-founders of Greenpeace’s Exxonsecrets website, launched in 2004 to track money going from ExxonMobil to think tanks including the Heartland Institute for their campaign to promote climate denial, every alarm bell would have gone off if I’d received a telephone call from The Heartland Institute, no matter what time of day or night it was. I knew this organization and its peddling of climate denial very well.

I would certainly have remembered if they said they were taping the call, let alone agreed to that – and its subsequent broadcast.
This blog has been cross-posted from Polluterwatch, where Greenpeace is conducting a series of ongoing investigations into the Heartland documents. My letter to Bast is available here.

Prat Watch #1: columnated ruins domino Gareth Renowden Dec 12

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Being the first in an occasional series in which we monitor the wilder excesses of climate denial. Warning: reading and/or viewing the original material referenced herein may cause uncontrollable mirth. Hot Topic accepts no responsibility for any adverse effects that may result, but recommends a good micro fibre cleaning cloth for removing coffee/tea/wine from computer screens…

However gloomy I may be about the prospects for serious international action to reduce carbon emissions, I did find a few things to enjoy amongst the events in Durban, not the least of them being the fact that the only way Mark Morano and potty peer Christopher Monckton could draw attention to their CFACT-sponsored trip was by jumping out of an aeroplane in an attempt to attract the attention of the world’s press.

From the CFACT web site:

Multiple media outlets showed up to record the event, including the AP, BBC, and South Africa’s national news network. It was a huge success! Climategate 2.0 can not be ignored!

Shows, I suppose, just how desperate the denial campaign is to make mileage out of yesterday’s emails. But Monckton and Morano weren’t finished…

The vituperative viscount is well-known for his ability to misread and misrepresent UN negotiating drafts, but he outdid himself in an “analysis” that was met with glee at µWatts and Treadgold’s place. Here’s a sample of his wisdom, culled from Durban — the insanities the mainstream media conspire not to report:

Here — and, as always, you heard it here first, for the mainstream media have conspired to keep secret the Madness of King Rajendra and his entire coterie of governmental and bureaucratic lunatics worldwide — is what the dribbling, twitching thrones and dominions, principalities and powers of the world will be asked to agree to.

For the full gory details you’ll have to go and read it at the above link, but if you do, note how Monckton claims that the Central England Temperature record is “quite a good proxy for global temperatures”, and rediscovers an attempt at world government — all leavened with much Moncktonian rudery: “the mentally-challenged Durban droolers”, “the staring-eyed global-village idiots”1, and much, much more. Swallowed whole by the twitocracy he serves, of course.

[It seems unfair, at this point, to refer to (yet another) excellent Monckton debunk by potholer54 -- but I'll do it anyway.]

Meanwhile, CFACT communications director Mark Morano was issuing his own A-Z of climate denial Climate Reality Check2, which rather disappointingly turns out to be little more than an index to the many and various fevered distortions already featured at his Climate Depot blog.

Far more worthy of attention is a post-Durban press release from the International Climate Science Coalition, featuring the work of three New Zealanders — Bob Carter, Bryan Leyland and Terry Dunleavy. According to the ICSC:

International Climate Science Coalition Rejects Durban Agreement to set New Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets — No ’Climate Debt’ is owed to developing countries

Nobody is much interested in what the ICSC has to say, except perhaps Treadgold and the reader of the Rock River Times3, but you have to give them credit for trying. Here’s Carter, dissembling heroically as usual:

Science has yet to provide unambiguous evidence that problematic, or even measurable, human-caused global warming is occurring. Consequently, any agreements–Durban, Cancun, Copenhagen or Kyoto–to reduce humanity’s greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions are utterly futile.

And here’s Bryan Leyland getting things ass backwards, as usual:

Expensive and ineffective alternative energy projects such as wind turbines and solar cells are receiving massive government support, in the belief that they will reduce GHG emissions which are wrongly blamed as a cause of dangerous global warming. Meanwhile, the conventional power sources that we rely on for our very survival, let alone the economic progress we need to create a better world, are deliberately starved of support. This is a very dangerous situation.

Fossil fuels deliberately starved of support! Sorry Bryan, the International Energy Agency‘s latest report (press release) puts subsidies for fossil fuel consumption at $409 billion, and subsidies to renewable energy (all forms) at $66 billion. A positively Moncktonian effort at spin, I will admit4

And finally5, it will come as no surprise to aficionados of the denial choir that Christopher Booker is still bonkers. Complaining about the global warming episode in the latest BBC/Attenborough nature documentary6, he states:

Sir David’s dramatic shots of Greenland may have tried to convey that its huge ice cap is rapidly melting. But a detailed study five years ago estimated the proportion of its ice lost by melting around its periphery at only seven thousandths of 1 per cent of the total, suggesting that it could make little significant difference to sea levels for thousands of years.

Do try and keep up Chris. The latest Arctic Report Card puts last year’s Greenland melt at a loss of 430 Gigatonnes of ice mass, sufficient to increase global sea level by 1.1mm. But I suppose a five year old paper is more to your liking.

[Columnated ruins = falling peers/piers. Delphic, moi?]

  1. Which some might think involved pots being rude about kettles.
  2. Exec summary here, full pdf if you really must, but I’ve done it so you don’t have to.
  3. In which Bob Carter — in all seriousness — says the world would be better served by dropping the IPCC and instead using the NIPCC as the fount of all wisdom.
  4. Though it was trivially easy to prove you wrong. Please try harder next time.
  5. As Trevor McDonald used to say.
  6. Anybody know when it will be broadcast in NZ?

Monckton goes bananas Gareth Renowden Dec 08

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Scrotum is laying low it seems, so (as yet) I have no inside information on the doings of the the good Lord Monckton in Mexico beyond his own words, but they are extraordinary enough to demand a post. Monckton is in Cancun with Roy Spencer (satellite temperatures a speciality), the pair acting as emissaries for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a Scaife-funded organisation devoted to the usual denial. Monckton is helpfully providing regular updates on his doings via another of his fossil-funded US sponsors, the SPPI blog. It appears he’s gone bananas

Dr. Spencer and I decided to try banana daiquiris instead. After a good 20 minutes — well, this is the Mañana Republic — the head waiter hovered along to our table and told us our daiquiris would be along in a minute. He had hardly made this ambitious promise when the wine waiter shimmered in and explained that there would be no banana daiquiris because — yes, you guessed it — ’we have no bananas’.

Lacking the necessary fruit, the sceptical pair settled for frozen margaritas. My experience with said drink usually involves two headaches — one on the way in, as the cold explodes in my sinuses, and one the morning after — but in the noble lord’s case it seems to have caused a major episode of sceptical revisionism. Apparently, poor old Dick Lindzen is suffering because his papers are not impressing his peers:

Within months, a savagely-phrased and deliberately-wounding rebuttal was published by one of the most prominent of the Climategate emailers. It was one of those tiresome papers that pointed out one or two supposed defects in Professor Lindzen’s analysis, but without being honest enough to conclude that these defects could not and did not alter the Professor’s conclusion.

Monckton rather glosses over the serious methodological problems with Lindzen’s paper that meant his conclusions could not be supported by the evidence he provided. But let’s not let the facts stand in the way of a good tale. It appears that Douglass and McKitrick have suffered equally badly, and it’s nothing to do with any “supposed defects” in their work, it’s all the fault of that mean old IPCC.

Perhaps it was the lack of bananas, or an excess of tequila, that drove the Viscount Brenchley to liven up the “sombre” proceedings at Cancun by gatecrashing a green business luncheon attended by Nick Stern, Richard Branson and assorted Mexican billionaires. John Vidal of the Guardian was there:

Holding forth in the centre of the UN climate conference lunch party, he claimed that man-made climate change was not happening and businesses should hesitate before investing in green energy.

Most people steered clear, but Monckton had no hesitation in barging in on conversations, reeling off statistics and arguments that, he said, proved not only that the world was not warming but that “certain newspapers” were not reporting the reality.

Eventually the patience of the organisers wore thin, and he was asked to leave — but not before Vidal had recorded a short exchange with the potty peer. It’s well worth a listen.

Monckton appears to concede that 2010 was a year of record setting warmth, blaming it on El Niño, but then later claims there’s been no warming since 2001. The rest of his patter is a glib Gish Gallop of standard Monckton nonsense. But there’s more… The CFACT crew have been conducting more merry japes — here’s Monckton introducing a short Youtube video nominating the CFACT “Kook of the Week” (an unlucky NZr). I leave it to the reader to decide who might be the real “kook”.

[PS: In his latest Mexican missive, he reveals he's working on a dramatic new piece of scholarship:

I have recently been preparing a learned paper for the Econometrics Journal on the so-far-unaddressed but surely not-unimportant question of how to determine the amount of ’global warming’ that might actually be prevented by any proposed strategy to mitigate future ’global warming’ by taxing or regulating carbon dioxide emissions, or by adopting alternative technologies.

I expect it will pass peer review, because he's the only peer who will read it.]

[Harry Belafonte (& friends)]

Monckton goes BP in Bonn Gareth Renowden Apr 15

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This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

Beyond parody, that is. I mean, this has to be a spoof, doesn’t it? Scaife-funded CFACT sent the potty peer to Bonn, and this is what he delivered in return. If this is the best the inactivists can do, then the world is safe. Watch: it’s side-splitting…

[Hat tip: µWatts, where this is taken seriously, it seems.]