Here’s a little piece of the climate debate that deserves more attention: One of the world’s leading climate change “skeptics” – who by implication contends that almost all the scientists in the world are involved in fraud—enjoys pulling a fast one himself.
The British “Lord” Anthony Monckton likes to use his “rank” to great effect, including aristocratic insignias on his powerpoint presentations—as if we’re better off trusting our betters than our scientists on the future of life.
But as reported by The Guardian, Monckton has been ordered to stop claiming to be a member of the UK’s House of Lords.
The clerk goes on to confirm that Monckton cannot be stopped from calling himself “Lord Monckton” because, having inherited the title from his late father, he is “the Right Honourable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.” But he may not claim to be a member of parliament.
So, if anyone from Brenchley or anywhere else in this star-struck world wants to genuflect for this fellow, go right ahead. But please note that his use of the title does not somehow give him or his global warming position credibility.
It’s quite a position, to be sure. Recently, as part of a global speaking tour, he told the National Press club in Australia that the government there should halt a plan to cut carbon emissions “because there is no need to take any action about carbon dioxide at all.” Monckton doesn’t dispute some warming, but claims that human activities play almost no role.
This, of course, plays well with those who have a strong disincentive to change their own behavior, including, notably, companies in or dependent on the fossil fuels industry. And, to be sure, Monckton is a confident and lively articulator of a position that can find few star advocates.
Monckton, incidentally, is a member of the Knights of Malta, another “highly interesting” outfit obsessed with titles and ranks—that has labored throughout the centuries for conservative establishment interests and notions, including the most reactionary Vatican elements. (We wrote about the Knights recently—see this.)
Now, one would not want to take this matter of personal exaggeration and lord it over Viscount Monckton. But it would make sense to try and do more, concretely, about global warming. Also, to be a little more skeptical—of hot air from non-experts on this complex and urgent (no, way-beyond-urgent) issue.