By Paul A. Nuttall, a historian, author and a former politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019 and was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.
As world leaders prepare to fly to Scotland to attend COP26, climate-change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton exposes what he sees as the myths about global warming and tells RT why he thinks pursuing net zero is a bad idea.
Lord Monckton is known as one of the world's most vociferous climate-change sceptics. He has published many papers on the climate question and spoken extensively about the issue over the past 15 years. A policy adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, he has worked as a journalist, and was the inventor of the mathematical puzzle Eternity. In an exclusive interview, Lord Monckton spoke to RT about next week's COP26 conference and explained why he believes much of what is said about climate change is hot air.
Before I go any further, I must declare that I have known Lord Monckton for over a decade and succeeded him as the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in 2010. However, prior to the gathering in Glasgow, I believe it's important his views on climate change are heard.
Lord Monckton begins our interview by pointing to areas where mainstream and climate sceptics agree. "Burning coal, oil and gas returns some CO2 to the atmosphere from which it originally came," he says. "Some warming is likely to result. The world has warmed by about one degree in the 170 years since 1850. Some of that warming is attributable to us."
However, he goes on to tell me, "There has been no global warming for seven and a half years."This statement alone contradicts everything we see on the mainstream news, and also the increasingly wild apocalyptic pronouncements of the likes of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion.
To support his theory, Monckton evokes the past, arguing that we have experienced more extreme warming, even in recent times: "In the 40 years from 1694 to 1733, the Central England temperature record - the world's oldest regional record - showed warming at a rate equivalent to 4.3 degrees per century. There has been no warming as fast as that anywhere in the world in recent decades."
Moreover, he claims, "Deaths from adverse weather have been declining for a century, not least because warmer weather is better for life on Earth than colder. That applies even to polar bears: there are now seven or eight times as many as there were in the 1940s." That's certainly not what we hear from Sir David Attenborough on his much-fêted BBC wildlife programmes.
In fact, Lord Monckton suggests the stories we are fed about the rise in extreme-weather events are largely false. He states, "The imagined disasters from warmer worldwide weather are imaginary. Floods show no trend. The land area under drought has been declining for 30 years. Forest fires are less frequent and less severe than they used to be. Hurricane activity has shown no trend in a century."
He is also not overly concerned about claims of rising sea levels, asserting, "Sea levels are rising at a rate equivalent to four inches per century - about half the 20th-century rate. Between 11,000 and 4,000 years ago, it rose 130 feet - equivalent to an annual rate more than five times the present rate. The Antarctic has actually cooled over the past 30 years, and the sea-ice extent there has grown, so there is little trend in global sea-ice extent. Northern-Hemisphere snow cover shows little change. Above all, the world has warmed at a rate one-third of what was originally predicted in 1990."
So, I ask, if this is the case, why, in recent years, has UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson been converted from a climate-change sceptic to one of its leading cheerleaders? A dismissive Monckton responds, "Mr Johnson has allowed his current wife to sway him. Like most of the governing class, he altogether lacks sufficient intellect and knowledge even of elementary science and its language, mathematics, to be able to evaluate scientific information presented to him. He has been fooled. To lead the lemmings over the cliff is not to lead at all."
He is sceptical that any good will come from next week's COP26 meeting beyond a lot of hot air and photo opportunities. He says, "Boris Johnson and others will strut and fret their hour upon the photo op and then be heard no more. The pandemic greatly reduced economic activity, but the CO2 concentration in the air went up at exactly the same rate as before. They should remember King Canute, who set up his throne on the seashore, stretched out his hand and told the sea level not to rise. The sea paid no attention, and he got the royal tootsies wet."
So, will Monckton be attending COP26 himself? He tells me he will and, indeed, will be "speaking at a sceptical gathering of the clans: the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the Heartland Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the European Institute for Climate and Energy, and others. We shall be giving the true science - which says alarm about global warming was based on an elementary error of physics, and that nothing need or should be done about it except to enjoy the sunshine."
I ask Lord Monckton what future generations will think of us if Western leaders persist in their drive towards net-zero carbon emissions. He first points me to the costs involved, which are eye-watering. He tells me that, according to Britain's grid operator, it will cost the UK $4.2 trillion to achieve Boris Johnson's target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The UK emits only 1.2% of global emissions, but the international cost of abating the three degrees' warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts the world will experience by 2100 will be $2.8 quadrillion, he says. And that, Monckton says, is "an immense cost."
He believes that, even if the West does embark on the net-zero path, the results will be negligible. He says, "The economic damage from global-warming abatement is targeted only at the West, which accounts for just 20% of global emissions. Even if the whole of the West went net zero, which we won't, the warming forestalled would be only 1/13 degree." He claims the approach makes even less sense for the UK because it accounts for such a tiny percentage of global emissions. Indeed, the UK's net zero would abate only 1/220 to 1/550 degree of global warming by 2050, by his calculations.
I believe that all voices should be heard on this issue, even sceptical ones like Lord Monckton's. I also take issue with the term ‘climate-change denier', which is used to dismiss people such as Monckton, who has published numerous scientific papers questioning the extent to which human activity is changing the climate. It is particularly important that voices like his are heard when we are about to embark on a policy that will cost an astronomical amount of money and alter how we all live our lives. Surely it is sensible to listen to all sides of the debate, especially when there is so much at stake?
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.