Lawson and Monckton row over climate science campaigning

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Conflicting accounts of climate denier Viscount Monckton’s influence over Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation charity

Lord Lawson’s climate denial charity attempted to distance itself from Viscount Christopher Monckton this weekend after the eccentric peer claimed he personally persuaded them to attack climate science rather than just the Tory-led government’s carbon mitigation policies.

Monckton claims he played an important advisory role in the establishment of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) – telling Lawson to hire his director, Dr Benny Peiser, attending meetings, and impressing on the new team the importance of challenging the scientific consensus on climate change. 

The aristocrat admits that any public-facing role would have made the GWPF appear too “political”, but says that behind the scenes he rowed with Lawson about the focus the charity should place on science – and won important concessions. The comments are published ahead of the Conservative party conference early next month.

Monckton told a reporter: “Nigel and I had several rows about this. We had lunch at the Beefsteak one day, and I said, ‘you’ve got to do the science’ and he said, ‘I don’t want to do the science, I want to do the economics’. He said, ‘the economics is a no-brainer, you know, I know, we all know it doesn’t make any economic sense to do this; in fact, the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has now admitted this’. He said ‘we can win that argument’.” 

He added: “[Lawson] eventually realised and Benny [Peiser] realised it too and they gradually started feeling their way.” Monckton claimed that Lawson and the GWPF then went on to persuade the Economist to run a story in March 2013 attacking climate science

Political Campainging

During a separate interview at the 2012 Heartland Institute’s climate change conference in Chicago, Monckton said: “I work very closely with [the GWPF] but I don’t belong to it…I go to their meetings…I know Nigel quite well and he told me he was setting it up, and he said, ‘who should we get to direct it’ and I said, ‘oh, Benny Peiser’.”

And he explained why his involvement with the GWPF had not been public: “They know that if they want to try to argue this in the UK, having someone like me there makes it look as though this is just another organisation that is doing some kind of political campaigning.”

Dr Peiser said yesterday: “We have never worked with Christopher Monckton, never mind ‘very closely’. He is falsely taking credit for something he never had any involvement with.” In a previous interview in April 2013, Peiser said: “Lord Monckton, Christopher Monckton, has had no, absolutely no, contact with me or Lord Lawson. Zero.”

The latest revelations will prove embarrassing for Lawson because we will not want his charity publicly associated with Monckton’s more maverick public performances. Lawson will also be concerned that his GWPF will become associated with the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the right wing rivals to his Tory party.

Rudimentary and Amateurish

Monckton drafted the climate change policies of the Conservative’s right wing rivals, UKIP, while deputy leader, and before falling out with the leadership and leaving under a cloud. 

Last week, DeSmog UK revealed that Lord Vinson was a GWPF funder and had flirted with UKIP – his wife making a £10,000 donation shortly after he threatened to defect over Europe.  

The climate policy adopted on the advice of Monckton caused serious concern among members of UKIP. Marta Andreasen, who left the party to join the Conservatives, said last year: “The policy was very rudimentary and their position was very amateurish.”

Monckton is adored by the climate deniers at the Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow in the United States for his brilliantly funny rhetoric, but he has lost credibility in Britain over the issue of climate change. 

Eco-Fascist

During a long-standing row with the House of Lords, Parliament has issued repeated statements saying that the peer’s claim to be a member is simply not true. Buckingham Palace has also asked the landowner to stop using the Queen’s portcullis on his paperwork.

Monckton stunned even his enemies when he attacked a Jewish student campaigning on the issue of climate change by calling him a “Nazi youth”. He later called the Australian chief climate change advisor an eco-fascist while displaying a Swastika as part of his presentation.

Monckton once served as a junior member of the Cabinet Office Policy Unit under the Conservative Margaret Thatcher and has made unsubstantiated claims that he first persuaded the Prime Minister to investigate the issue of climate change – lifting his credibility as a commentator on the issue.

Lawson’s son, Dominic Lawson, the newspaper columnist and climate denier, is married to Monckton’s sister, Rosa. Monckton further claimed that he is close to Lawson personally and that they meet at traditional family occasions.

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