On Warming, a Cold Splash From Across the Pond

Carbon dioxide has a friend. Christopher Monckton came all the way from the U.K. to stand up for the much-maligned
Carbon dioxide has a friend. Christopher Monckton came all the way from the U.K. to stand up for the much-maligned "harmless and beneficial trace gas." (By Jennifer Graylock -- Associated Press)
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By Al Kamen
Monday, March 16, 2009

One of the foremost proponents of the view that global climate change is a myth, the Right Honorable Christopher Walter Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, was in town last week warning a House Ways and Means subcommittee that adopting a cap-and-trade system or another such tax plan to reduce pollution is unnecessary and would pretty much destroy the country.

And it was a great show as Monckton, who has been a newspaper reporter and an adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, prefaced his remarks at a hearing on the impact of climate change on the poor by intoning: "I bring you warmest fraternal greetings from the Mother of Parliaments to the Congress of your great athletic democracy, and I pray that God's blessings may rest upon your councils." Athletic? What happened to the obesity epidemic?

Then, in a magnificent 428-word sentence, Monckton said that the leading proposals on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide -- "a harmless and beneficial trace gas" -- would "threaten" the lives of poor people, "gravely . . . diminish liberty," maybe "render . . . unlawful the pursuit of happiness" and lead to "fiscal incontinence." Yikes! There would be more poverty and higher birth rates, he said, and thus even more carbon dioxide as more people exhale.

"The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are thickening. The Sahara is greening. There is no 'climate crisis,' " he said. So the "correct policy . . . is not to cap or tax carbon dioxide emissions. It is to have the courage to do nothing."

His lordship later blamed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's enviro efforts for "the mass exodus" from that state and warned that the contemplated tax ideas to reduce warming would "drive your nation into bankruptcy."

By the end of Monckton's low-key opening statement, and despite his use of a little Latin and French -- such as "soi-disant," meaning "so-called" or "self-styled" -- the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), got the drift.

"Well, I guess we could mark you down as doubtful," he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd.

(For those who missed the testimony, Monckton will be discoursing for folks on the Hill at a lunch today sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition. It's at noon in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building.)


Our former colleague Anne Schroeder, now at Politico, reports that former FEMA director Michael Brown updated his Facebook status on Friday with the following note about his activities:

"Michael D Brown is looking around at New Orleans Intl Airport. Last time I was in here we were treating patients and evacuating people."

Times change.


Just because there's still a Justice Department investigation rattling around you doesn't mean lobbyists can't contribute to buying a portrait for you to hang in your congressional committee's hearing room. But don't reach for those checkbooks. The effort to raise $30,000 for a portrait of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), former chairman and now ranking GOP member of the House Appropriations Committee, has met its goal, we hear.

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