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Lord Monckton participation ruffles feathers at mining gabfest

The CSIRO asked to be removed as a principle sponsor of a mining industry conference after organisers booked notorious climate change denier, the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Christopher Monckton, to deliver the keynote address.

Both the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia are listed as “session supporters” of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies’ annual gabfest, kicking off at the end of the month at Perth’s salubrious Burswood Casino. The CSIRO has donated the equivalent of $3,000 by providing a free speaker at the closed-to-the-public event, which also boasts speeches from opposition leader Tony Abbott and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest.

Crikey understands that when news of Lord Monckton’s keynote began to circulate, senior CSIRO staffers requested its involvement be downgraded from a general sponsor to something less auspicious. The organisation was then asked by AMEC to provide a counterpoint speaker, but the CSIRO refused to be drawn into a facile back and forth on a debate it considers settled.

Monckton’s address is entitled “How many beans make five? Math lessons for climate-crazed lawmakers”, however that includes a “TBC” disclaimer, suggesting the House of Lords wannabe is still mulling his attack angle. Other stars on the bill include Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott, whose vote is crucial to the passage of the Gillard Government’s Minerals Resource Rent Tax through parliament and WA Liberal Senator Matthias Cormann.

CSIRO’s view on climate change is well known, with its head, Megan Clark, speaking out in defence of climate change scientists last year and noting that the science behind global warming was beyond doubt. The organisation has since produced a handy book, Climate Change: Science and Solutions for Australia, a cut down version of which will be circulating at the casino.

In addition to the AMEC get together, the Monckton trip, auspiced by the fringe Climate Sceptics party, includes stop offs at prestigious locations such as the “German Club” in the Melbourne suburb of Windsor and the Starlight Room in Wests New Lambton, a suburb of Newcastle. The Lord’s co-speakers at the regional fixtures, entitled “A Carbon Tax will Bankrupt Australia: the science will not justify it”, include Dr David Evans and Jo Nova, who both believe the earth is cooling.

In Perth, Monckton will also give the Hancock Free Enterprise Lecture at the private Notre Dame University. The lecture has atrophied following its set-up in 2000 using cash from Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, but the iron ore heiress was apparently keen to resurrect it this year with the Lord’s assistance.

It follows his inaugural visit last year, when Monckton was feted by mainstream broadcasters like the ABC’s Fran Kelly and Deborah Cameron thanks to the efforts of crack PR outfit Jackson Wells.

A spokesperson for the CSIRO, Bob Chamberlain, told Crikey that the CSIRO “…were not really interested in debating with people like Lord Monckton”.

We did make a judgement call on whether we would or should be there but we thought the value to the industry of our involvement was worth more than the sort of things you’re suggesting [our participation] might be perceived.”

Chamberlain said the sessions were there to “help the exploration industry. We’re not there to argue or debate climate change”, noting that because AMEC was the peak body for small explorers it was vital to help them access new technology.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Geoscience Australia said the body had been involved with the AMEC convention for the past couple of years. But the participation of Monckton had come as a shock.

We accepted an invitation to be one of the sponsors of the AMEC Convention 2011, and at that time the speakers’ list had not been finalised. Geoscience Australia was neither consulted about the choice of speakers, nor do we endorse their views.”

AMEC is the major lobbyist for small and medium-sized miners and explorers. It has emerged as a furious opponent of the Gillard Government and the $7.4 billion MRRT and last year spent $273,000 on attack ads claiming that everyday Australians would get “whacked” by the PM.

The group is expected to be central to a mooted High Court challenge to the draft MRRT legislation if it passes federal parliament later in the year, arguing the impost would impact unfairly on emerging iron ore players like Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group.

A spokesperson for AMEC declined to comment, saying they didn’t disclose commercial arrangements with sponsors.

21
  • 1
    paddy
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Ooh those nasty climate scientists.
    Why won’t they hug those poor struggling miners? :cool: :D

  • 2
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Quite embarrassing that we have to import people like Monckton, I would have thought that as a mature, proud nation we would have plenty of our own loonie fringe elements to call on.

  • 3
    Peter Evans
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    How about full disclosure from these shills on who’s funding them? Who pays for Monckton and his fellow tools to ponce about ignoring the evidence and refusing to acknowledge the actual facts? The CSIRO is right to fully disassociate themselves from these charlatans.

  • 4
    Michael James
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    So the CSIRO gets the opportunity to attempt to demolish Monkton’s arguments in front of an audience of major players in a range of industries but refuses to.

    Sad that they are so insecure in the strength of their convictions that they run for cover instead.

  • 5
    Tim Malone
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Surely you mean that as a matter of principle, Principal Sponsor CSIRO declined its former role.

  • 6
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    There is no need for a debate. Monckton’s balderdash-garnished, non sequitor riddled, sciency pontifications do a great job of demolishing his own arguments single-handedly.

  • 7
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Who’s “Cousin Jethro” breaking bread with? Will he be giving one of those key hole speechs too?

  • 8
    LucyJr
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Good on CSIRO for declining sponsorship but thumbs down for not putting up a speaker.
    Hardly surprising though, after seeing Monckton in action. You’d need an Olympian spin doctor challenger to blast the misquotes, half-truths and complete lies off the podium.

  • 9
    sleuthhound
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Alan Jones has his nose out of joint because AMEC has bumped him as Monckton’s tour manager on this visit?

  • 10
    Lorry
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I love how you are all so threatened by Lord Monckton - feeling a little exposed that he will shatter your religious beliefs!!!

  • 11
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Lorry, cant speak for the others but for my part I think you might be mistaking fear for bemusement…..

  • 12
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I think he fell off the back of a truck?

  • 13
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Lord Monckton has disqualified himself time and again from being taken seriously. Here’s a few examples of his ideas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duxG4lyeSlc

  • 14
    wothers
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Dr John Abraham from University of St Thomas in US gives a very good presentation demolishing a presentation Monkton’s gave last year.

    Monkton peppers his talks with a lot of references to scientific papers Monkton claims backs his argument that global warming is a fabrication.

    Unfortunately for Monkton, Dr Thomas took the time to contact all these supposed supporters and all of them told Dr Abraham that Monkton had misunderstood their work and most were pretty worried about the effects of global warming.

    Check this out at http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

    It is very sad that Australia appears to be one of the few countries that pays any attention to Monkton.

    D Wothersoon

  • 15
    rubiginosa
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s heartening to see IRL learning that you shouldn’t nurture trolls.

  • 16
    Salamander
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    If ever there was a sitting duck it is this charlatan. Never mind the CSIRO - get The Chaser onto him.

  • 17
    Barry 09
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Lorry , the pommie truck , is home from school. Have a look at the guy (monck toon ) , its all stand up comedy and you idiots think he is serious ?

    Sleuthhound , A.J is a little too girlie for the Miner’s Party Show.

  • 18
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    If I was an investor in the Australian mining industry I would be rather concerned that the executives to whom I have entrusted my money are listening seriously to the disgraced rat-bag Monckton in preference to serious peer reviewed science.

    I hope they don’t develop an enthusiasm for alchemy or the healing properties of crystals…

  • 19
    Meski
    Posted Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
    George Bernard Shaw

    This quote might have been made for this situation. CSIRO have nothing to gain and everything to lose by debating with the ‘pig’

  • 20
    Flower
    Posted Friday, 24 June 2011 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Good stuff and I’m up for another giggle. And what a “coup” for the forked tongued AMEC, having secured as speakers, the self-proclaimed rocket scientist aka David Evans and Mrs Rocket Scientist accompanied by head charlatan, Monckton, whose claim to fame was ‘adviser’ to Margaret, a vocal proponent of moving quickly and meaningfully on the challenge of our time, that being ‘human-caused global warming’:

    1989: Margaret Thatcher on Global Warming:

    The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices so that we do not live at the expense of future generations”.

    And I’m reminded that the House of Lords sent a letter to Monckton stressing that “he should not refer to himself as a member of the House of Lords, and nor should he use any emblem representing the portcullis.”

    Tsk tsk – conducting his affairs under false pretences eh?

    However, in fairness to the self-appointed Nobel Laureate I daresay all would agree that the following oration was indeed his finest moment?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBzR0-j0O0o

    And Mr Monckton says his fondest possession is that medieval pear of anguish? Hmmm? Eat ya heart out Alan Jones.

  • 21
    Bill Parker
    Posted Sunday, 26 June 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I have been reading about this Monckton bloke all afternoon. According to Wikipedia his career has spanned journalism, owning a shirt shop and inventing a geometric puzzle. Great grounding for someone professing to know it all about climate change.

    I just wonder who funds him? And its himself - why? Why does he persist in the face of all kinds of justifiable criticism?

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