Heartland Denial Conference: Special Guest Lord Monckton Goes Birther, Admits He Has ‘No Scientific Qualification’

Monckton watches the protesters outside Heartland's conference.

With the Heartland Institute suffering from a public relations disaster that caused 11 donors to abandon financial support, one might think the organization would attempt to moderate messaging tactics at its climate denial conference this week.

Or maybe even find an expert who doesn’t freely admit that he “has no scientific qualification” to challenge the science of climate change.

Not quite.

After comparing people who understand global warming with serial killers in a billboard campaign, the organization featured a presentation yesterday that called into question the legitimacy of President Obama’s citizenship.

Enter Lord Christopher Monckton, Heartland’s “mystery guest” who popped in to the conference Tuesday to perform a quirky stand-up comedy routine for a couple hundred eager attendees.

His presentation peeled back yet another layer on the conspiratorial beliefs of many within the climate disinformation community.

Monckton, a man frequently held up as an expert among deniers, started his speech off by boldly admitting his lack of scientific qualifications. He thanked the attendees for having the “courage” to challenge climate scientists, explaining: “It is particularly hard, if like me, you have no scientific qualification to do so.”

Monckton then joked about what he needed to do in order to build his credibility in America.

“I have concluded what one needs to have is a freshly minted Hawaiian birth certificate,” he said, referencing the belief among “birthers” that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged. He displayed a picture of a Hawaiian birth certificate with his personal information filled in. The crowded erupted in laughter.

“I was born at a military hospital. What is marvelous is that this [birth certificate] is just as genuine of that of the President of the United States,” said Monckton.

Even with the release of official documents and the repeated confirmation from Hawaiian officials, Monckton is an outspoken believer that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged. The conspiracy has gotten so ludicrous in the face of documentary evidence, the Washington Post labeled remaining birthers “crackpots” who “live for their pet conspiracy theory.”

Explaining that his forged birth certificate prepared him to run for President of the United States, Monckton presented Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast with a freshly minted campaign button. Bast shook Monckton’s hand, jokingly saying he would endorse the candidacy.

The opening skit raised resounding laughter and applause throughout the room.

Monckton, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, has become a form of comic relief for the climate disinformation community. Australian satirists did a hilarious interview with him in which they “mistook” him for an act by Sacha Baron Cohen. But Monckton has also said those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists. He travels around the world making grossly inaccurate presentations filled with peculiar jokes poking fun at climate scientists, who he labels “bullies” and “liars.”

However, the scientists he attacks have done nothing more than factually debunk, point-by-point, every single argument that Monckton has laid out throughout his career as a climate disinformer. (In fact, Monckton is one of the most widely discredited figures among the community of widely-discredited deniers).

Then again, Monckton himself admitted up front in yesterday’s speech that he has no “scientific qualification.”

In the wake of Heartland’s unibomber billboard campaign, 11 donors representing roughly 35% of the organization’s funds for 2012 pulled support, according to the advocacy organization Forecast the Facts. The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly said such tactics “were not consistent” with how the company “engages in public debate.”

Helping spread the fringe conspiracies of birthers probably isn’t the best messaging strategy for the Heartland Institute right now.

Ironically, Monckton’s birther routine came directly after a speech from Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who alluded to the billboard campaign by saying “we can continue to win these debates out of the strength of our arguments, without recourse to unsavory tactics that only serve to detract from our message.”

Sensenbrenner’s message at the conference: Carbon dioxide is a “natural gas” that couldn’t possibly harm the planet. “Does this mean that all of us need to put catalytic converters on all our noses?” he asked the crowd, which chuckled at his suggestion.

27 Responses to Heartland Denial Conference: Special Guest Lord Monckton Goes Birther, Admits He Has ‘No Scientific Qualification’

  1. Dennis says:

    All this would be laughable were it not for the fact that so many elected officials actually believe these guys. Instead, that makes it scary.

  2. Sasparilla says:

    Very true Dennis – at this stage of the game the denier powers have won the day (they control the GOP and some Dem votes on fossil fuels and nothing will happen in the U.S. with half of the political system bought & scared off).

    Things will have to get pretty bad in general america, and obviously be from climate change, to push that well funded and planned blockage in the heart of the GOP out of the way – seems a long way from here.

  3. Lisa Boucher says:

    The adults in the room applauded the Monckton, whilst the “youth” gave him a stiff-armed salute.

  4. Some European says:

    And they’re still being taken seriously by many media outlets:

  5. Tom L says:

    That’s a photo of our lord gazing at himself in the mirror. Yes, be very afraid.

  6. BillD says:

    It almost sounds to me that Lord M and participants in the meeting realize, deep down, are marginalized they are.

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Some say Monckton has been crafted into an unwitting double agent, intended to make his cause look ridiculous.

    Whatever; the net result is the same regardless of intentions.

  8. caerbannog says:

    I had the “privilege” of seeing Monckton do his song-and-dance routine a couple of months ago.

    I drove to the campus where he was appearing, found a parking-spot, and set about locating the lecture hall where Monckton was appearing. I knew that I was getting close when I saw a car with a “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” bumper sticker.

    Saw some other (ahem) “interesting” bumper-stickers as well. Most were boilerplate loonball stuff. One that caught my eye, however, was a variation on the ecumenical pro-tolerance “Coexist” bumper-sticker. Instead of spelling out “Coexist” with various religious symbols, this bumper-sticker had “Coexist” spelled out with assault-weapons/machine-guns.

    Several hundred people showed up (possibly as many as 500) to the Monckton performance. Most appeared to be, shall we say, a couple of cans short of a six-pack. A few folks were handing out “beware of UN black helicopters” material and stuff like that.

    This wasn’t Oklahoma or Alabama, BTW — this was San Diego. Coastal/central San Diego is pretty cosmopolitan, but much of East San Diego County is pretty retrograde. Culturally, you can literally go from San Francisco to Selma, Alabama in a 30 minute drive.

    The same county that boasts UCSD, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Salk Institute, etc. is also home to some of the most backward, willfully ignorant crackers this side of Mississippi.

  9. Mike Roddy says:

    Monckton recently gave a performance in San Diego, where they had to rent out additional space for paying customers who saw him only on video. Meanwhile, Michael Mann, as knowledgeable and articulate as they come, spoke before a sparse audience in Long Beach around the same time.

    We have a ways to go, since people appear to be not quite ready for the truth.

  10. Toby says:

    Christopher Monckton was NOT a “policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher”. He worked in the No. 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister’s Office) Policy Unit. Any advice he gave was filtered through his peers. And it had nothing to do ith science – he got the job through a supposed expertise on housing.

  11. Cugel says:

    Monckton actually got his Downing St job through his relationship with Lawson, the Chancellor – who lived in No 11 Downing St, of course. His “expertise in housing” is newly minted, based on his claim to have invented the policy of council house sales (which everybody else thinks was down to Keith Joseph, who really was one of Thatcher’s mentors).

    Curiously, Thatcher was the first politician to bring AGW onto the global stage, at a time when Monckton claims to have had Her ear on so many matters. Monckton is very peculiar sort of chap.

  12. bill says:

    The latest birth certificate claim was dreamed up by Joe Arpaio’s ‘team’ (of all people – and no great surprise, I’m sure!)

    What these geniuses have managed to identify is a scanning artifact: whoever scanned Obama’s long-from birth certificate to PDF for the version on the White House website appears to have used some sort of OCR software, that has randomly ‘recognised’ a few bits and blobs, and separated them into ‘layers’ that show up in Adobe Illustrator.


    I scanned an old insurance bill and a bit of a map using OCR – rather than a straight image scan – and got a similar result.

    IIRC the ‘team’ claim 6 months of research on this. It would appear no-one bothered to look for any disconfirming evidence in that period of time.

    Anyone surprised?

    There must be some very uncomfortable dawnings going on for many deniers right now as they realise just what a complete circus they’ve run away from reality to join. Some will only double-down on the crazy, of course, but I reckon more than a few will be slinking off quietly to lick their (self-inflicted) wounds…

  13. PJMD says:

    Seriously, these people all have personality disorders. They are, at the very least, extreme narcicists. There’s no other way to be so dismissive of the inevitable suffering of so many, so that they can cling to their ridiculous belief system. They are DSM certified.

  14. Ozonator says:

    So this explains the extremist media outlets featuring Czech President Václav Klaus with his glorious image and various facets of why he is a “gooder” scientist. I am waiting for the visually impaired wing of the GOP elephant to feel him out and declare him soft and mushy.

  15. NJP1 says:

    Monckton uses his own wind to fill his own sails.
    He is naturally overjoyed at the quirk of commercial insanity that gave him the opportunity to build a career out of denialism.
    Tis a pity that genuine scientists have to waste time refuting all his nonsense

  16. bill says:

    Don’t forget that previous ICCC that made James Delingpole feel ‘like a rock star‘.

    You can tell a lot about a movement by the people it raises to prominence.

    And this one is clearly a circus, over-supplied with clowns, of that type where the results will be anything but funny.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When alien intelligences pick up our electronic broadcasts in future ages, and study our deliberate self-destruction, the figure of the proptoptic Baron Monckhausen will surely have them deciding that humanity had been infiltrated by some alien race, bent on clearing the planet for their own occupation. After all, Europe did it to much of the New World. However, the question as to just why the human population allowed the alien genocidaires to wipe them out will probably prove unanswerable.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Humanity is in the home stretch, in the Apocalypse Handicap, with Imbecile leading Dunning-Kruger by a neck. Braindeath is finishing fast, followed at a considerable distance by Rationality and Humanity, both labouring under the immense handicap of science and the Enlightenment.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He’s a confabulator. I’ve met many, all bonkers to one degree or another. Few, -no, none- are anywhere near as wantonly destructive as this creature and his fellow inmates of the denialist Bedlam.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What!? More methane pollution?

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Charles Manson fancied himself a type of rock star, too, with his ‘interpretations’ of Beatles’ songs. Sorry-I’ll take that back. It’s insulting to Manson.

  22. Why would anyone believe that deniers “actually believe” the nonsense? It’s far more likely that they’re simply saying so for monetary reasons.

  23. Desertphile says:

    So what…. they finally made Mr. Monckton a lord? Then why did the House of Lords tell Mr. Monckton to stop claiming to be a lord?

  24. Rakesh Malik says:

    Then we should stop calling them “deniers” and give the more accurate label of “traitors.”

  25. Rakesh Malik says:

    I think that when aliens see our broadcasts, they’ll be flabbergasted that such a society so mentally handicapped actually managed to pull off science and invention, because no rational society capable of developing advanced technology would be so incredibly stupid as to destroy itself for an ideology.

  26. morgansher says:

    I’m all for that!

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He’s known as ‘Lord ‘elpus, of that Ilk’.