Pass this along!
I generally hate to stretch the bounds of “Fair Use policies”, but I’m indulging my personal paranoia and quoting the entire article from the Milwaukee-Wisconson Journal Sentinel, on the off chance that this opinion piece should suddenly vanish. I really appreciated the point of view discussed, as did The Guardian Environment in the UK that provided the link to this article. Think of this as a sort of electronic “clipping” of an article I thought was worth keeping for future reference.
By the way, many of us out here refer to Christopher Monckton, as “Lord Crazy-pants”. Here’s a snippet from a backgrounder :
Christopher Walter Monckton is a retired British international business consultant, policy advisor, writer, and inventor. He served as an advisor to Margaret Thatcher and has attracted controversy for his public opposition to the mainstream scientific consensus on global warming and climate change. He is not a scientist and has no formal science background. Instead, his educational background is in the classics and he holds a diploma in Journalism from the University College, Cardiff.
In 1982 Monckton became a policy advisor for Margaret Thatcher. In 1986, he became assistant editor of the newly established, and now defunct, newspaper Today. He was a consulting editor for the Evening Standard from 1987 to 1992 and was its chief leader-writer from 1990 to 1992.
Although he has in the past stated that he is “a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature,” Monckton has never been a member of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons.
Sensenbrenner’s little piece of political theatre was only able to survive with collusion from his like minded conspirators within Congress. In my opinion, none of them are worthy of the titles or offices they occupy, and their behaviour is worthy of censure from the respective bodies. But that’s not how politics is “played” these days, logic and reason seem to have no place in the US Legislature any longer. See the post that I’m ranting about below:
Testimony wasn’t about science
By Ray Weymann, John Abraham, Barry Bickmore, Michael Mann And Winslow Briggs
Recently, 26 highly respected scientists submitted a document to Congress that responded to the testimony of Christopher Monckton before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) is a member of the committee. The report reaffirmed that humans are causing substantial changes to the Earth’s climate.
Why would these scientists take the time to submit a lengthy report in response to a single congressional witness? The answer is that by inviting Monckton to testify, Sensenbrenner – making the invitation on behalf of the minority party on the committee – made a mockery of the time-honored tradition of inviting expert testimony to inform legislative decisions. Monckton is not distinguished by his scientific credentials (he has none), nor by the many peer-reviewed articles he has written on the subject (he has written none). Nevertheless, he was invited to testify to Congress as an “expert.”
Monckton’s testimony was in sharp disagreement with many major scientific organizations and the vast majority (more than 95%) of climate scientists. What does Monckton know that climate scientists don’t? The answer is not much. In fact, the report outlined nine key errors of Monckton’s testimony in stark detail. From start to finish, Monckton’s misunderstanding of even basic scientific principles was evident.
Witnesses should not be invited based on ideology; invitations should be based on the quality of their scientific work. Monckton’s appearance in the halls of Congress is an embarrassment to our Congress and our nation.
Unfortunately, Sensenbrenner and a number of his colleagues have a history of ignoring scientists with relevant backgrounds in favor of easily debunked pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. On Dec. 4, 2009, for example, Sensenbrenner stated that scientists “found a trick to hide the decline in temperature data.”
Later, Sensenbrenner read the text from the supposed “offending” e-mail. The text did not indicate that scientists hid a “decline in temperature data” as Sensenbrenner suggested. In fact, the e-mail was written in 1999, on the heels of the warmest temperatures on record. The author of the e-mail was referring to a well-known problem that had been described more than a year earlier – that certain tree-ring records do not provide reliable information about temperatures in recent decades.
The e-mail was discussing the fact that recent temperatures were rising faster than those tree rings suggested.
There is a larger point that goes to the heart of what it means to have a truly honest discussion of the science. By focusing on, and misrepresenting, a single phrase cherry-picked from one of thousands of stolen e-mails, Sensenbrenner conveniently avoided acknowledging the subsequent body of work by the scientific community over the past decade, including a thorough review of climate research that allow temperatures to be known many centuries back in time.
That review, conducted by a board of the National Academy of Sciences, completely vindicated the work alluded to in the aforementioned 10-year-old e-mail. It establishes that the rise in global temperatures over the past century is unprecedented for at least the past thousand years and likely far longer. Such findings are just one small part of a much larger and compelling body of evidence that humans are causing the climate to change in ways that are dangerous to future generations.
The issue of climate change has become so politicized that no substantial action has been possible. Meanwhile, the Earth is rushing toward a point of no return.
We believe that people on both sides of the political spectrum need to act quickly, and together, in order to take effective action. Conservatives must realize that denial of scientific results that do not conform to ideological or political positions should not be a litmus test for their representatives. They also need to realize that the science behind climate change is well-established among the real scientists. Continued denial of climate science likely will become a political liability in the near future.
Liberals must recognize that many of their conservative counterparts have deep-seated, and in many cases, well-reasoned fears about regulation-based solutions. They also must realize that not all conservatives are anti-science and anti-environment. The discussion we need to have is, “What is the best way to move forward?”
Ray Weymann is from Carnegie Observatory and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. John Abraham is from University of St. Thomas. Barry Bickmore is from Brigham Young University. Michael Mann is from Penn State University. Winslow Briggs is from Carnegie Institute for Science and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
I just climbed off an airplane at Boston’s Logan Airport. The day began in Monterrey, Mexico — and though I was tired, I was also feeling pretty good. Our big day of action on Oct. 10 has been building to a crescendo: Yesterday we broke our record from last year, registering more than 5,500 actions for the big Global Work Party.
But I’d barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: Have you seen this? “This” was a gross video making its way around YouTube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It’s been pulled down from the website of its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but it hasn’t been pulled down from YouTube.
Climate denier Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website is assailing it as the latest example of eco-fascism. Morano and other climate skeptics are right to crow. It’s the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side, reinforcing in people’s minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we’re out-of-control elitists. Not to mention crazy, and also with a completely misplaced sense of humor.
We at 350.org are spreading the word that we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t see it till it had made its way around the web, and as soon as we did, we let people know we thought it was disgusting. We’ve known the creators for years — they put out a statement apologizing for their lapse. But it’s the kind of mistake that will haunt and hurt efforts.
What makes it so depressing is that it’s the precise opposite of what the people organizing around the world for Oct. 10 are all about. In the first place, they’re as responsible as possible: They’ll spend the day putting up windmills and solar panels, laying out bike paths, and digging community gardens. And in the second place, they’re doing it because they realize kids are already dying from climate change, and that many, many more are at risk as the century winds on. Killing people is, literally, the last thing we want.
There’s no question that crap like this will cast a long shadow over our efforts, and everyone else who’s working on global warming. We’re hard at work, as always, but we’re doing it today with a sunk and sad feeling.
Well Bill, I suppose I can grasp your feelings and position. And I have to say, I don’t think it matters.
Yes, it got all the usual suspects all steamed up and chasing after us all again. So what’s new about that? Compared to ClimateGate, and GlacierGate, this was NOTHING.
Some people felt it was over the top, grisly and horrible. I know you probably don’t have time to watch much TV, but have you looked at the programming most people consume these days? The mini-movie fit right in.
My first reaction to seeing the film was “this is exactly what would cause a buzz with my kids and grandkids!” I watched it again, and realized that it was perfect as British humour. And I think it’s the sort of message that is needed. Why?
Because us old curmudgeons are getting in the way.
The “No Pressure” video was perfect in many ways. It caused a buzz. It got people’s attention. It started conversations. And it started them in places that we haven’t been able to get them started for any length of time. We NEED those conversations. We must capture everyone’s attention.
The historic dimensions of the 10/10/10 work day, a symbolic global action, is needed and I would hope it would be welcomed by nearly everyone. Those sorts of actions are great, they’re epic. But without a hook, will be largely ignored. Again.
The situation has gotten well past desperate. We don’t need to convince the folks in the Maldives, or Tuvalu that we’re teetering on the edge of disaster. The people we’re trying to reach are the ones that influence the economies. The sound bite, change shocked masses that are looking for a diversion. Petitions and grand gestures have had limited effect. We have got to change the tone, and the rhythm of this discussion. 10:10 just did a great job of it, we should take advantage of it.
[Edit 03 Oct 2010: Based upon recommendations from people in the UK, I’ve pulled back down my copies of this video, and will desist from using the 10:10 No Pressure video as an example since it may do harm to 10:10’s activities, an outcome I very much wish to avoid.]
I’m putting the video up on my YouTube channel, my Vimeo channel, and other places. They’ll all be under my Tweetingdonal handle. And I’ll be reminding people that they’re there. I can only hope that there will be more!