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UK noble to senators: Apologize to Exxon or resign

RAW STORY
Published: Monday December 18, 2006
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A member of the United Kingdom's nobility, who is also a vocal skeptic of global warming, has called on two senators to apologize to oil giant ExxonMobil or resign from the US Senate, RAW STORY has learned.

In a lengthy letter dated December 11th, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley criticized Senators Jay Rockefeller (D - WV) and Olympia Snowe (R -ME) for a letter they sent to ExxonMobil. In the letter, Rockefeller and Snowe compared the major oil company's funding of scientists skeptical of global climate change caused by human activities to the tobacco industry's support of discredited science questioning the link between cigarette smoking and negative health effects. They also told ExxonMobil that no credible scientific study in recent years doubted the connection between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and changes to the planet's climate.

Lord Monckton's response to the senators' letter offers a lengthy rebuttal of their claims about the link between climate change and human activities. It also warns the senators that their actions are restricting the right of ExxonMobil and its executives to freedom of speech. "You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials' who disagree with your opinion," Monckton writes.

He then adds "You are elected officials yourselves. If you do not believe in the right of persons within the United States to exercise their fundamental right under the world's greatest Constitution to petition their elected representatives for the redress of their grievances, then you have no place on Capitol Hill. You must go."

Monckton's letter has been posted on the website of Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative Virginia-based group that has sponsored a campaign through its Center for Science and Public Policy to prevent Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth from being added to science curricula in the country's schools.

Frontiers of Freedom was founded by former US Senator Malcolm Wallop, who according to Wikipedia is himself a first cousin of the current Earl of Portsmouth and an uncle of the Earl of Carnarvon. The website SourceWatch reports that the organization has received funding from ExxonMobil, as well as from tobacco companies.

In a column in the British newspaper the Guardian, George Monbiot criticized Monckton for the vocal nature of his criticism of climate science, especially in light of his lack of scientific credentials. "He has a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism and, as far as I can tell, no further qualifications," Monbiot wrote in November.