Global Warming Skeptic Challenges Gore to Debate

July 7, 2008 - 8:06 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A British skeptic of global warming "alarmism" on Tuesday challenged climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore to a debate on the issue.

"Global warming is not a crisis," Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley declared in an ad published in the Washington Post Tuesday. The ad, also scheduled to run in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, directs readers to a website in which Monckton challenges Gore to a debate in Oxford, England at a date of the American's choosing.

Monckton was once an advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He points out that like Gore, he is not a scientist or economist, although he has written several essays challenging the idea that global warming is a crisis.

The ad campaign and debate challenge are being sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based non-profit group that seeks to "discover and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems," according to its website.

"Al Gore has become the world's most recognized advocate of the theory that human greenhouse gas emissions are altering the world's climate and could cause catastrophic damage if not arrested and reduced," Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast said in a statement. "But Al Gore refuses to debate those who say global warming is not a crisis."

Bast criticized Gore for "refus[ing] to debate Lord Monckton, just as he refuses to debate a growing list of prominent scientists, economists, novelists, and policy experts" who question catastrophic predictions about the effects of global warming.

In his Oscar-winning film, "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore illustrates what he says are likely effects of global warming including massive coastal flooding and intensified hurricanes.

He has repeatedly stated that scientific findings confirm his predictions about climate change's causes and effects. In his testimony before Congress March 21, Gore said the scientific community has "confirmed that the evidence of warming is 'unequivocal.'"

"Global warming is real and human activity is the main cause," Gore told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "The consequences are mainly negative and headed toward catastrophic, unless we act."

Gore added in his testimony that "there is no longer any serious debate over the basic points that make up the consensus on global warming." He refers to skeptics of his predictions as "global warming deniers."

In a recent statement, Monckton declared, "A careful study of the substantial corpus of peer-reviewed science reveals that Mr. Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, is a foofaraw [a fuss over a matter of little importance] of pseudo-science, exaggerations, and errors, now being peddled to innocent schoolchildren worldwide."

The British peer wants to debate Gore in the historic library of the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the venue of a famous 1860 debate on evolution between Darwinist T. H. Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.

A spokeswoman for Gore did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the debate challenge.

Mike Van Winkle, a spokesman for the Heartland Institute, said Gore has refused similar challenges in the past.

Nonetheless, Van Winkle told Cybercast News Service the group remains "optimistic."

"He says the debate is over," Van Winkle said of Gore, "and we don't necessarily feel the public has ever really been given the debate. His interest [in accepting the challenge] would be ... giving the public the serious and measured discussion that they need to make a good decision about public policy."

While Gore has not accepted Monckton's challenge to debate and is unlikely to do so, the two have squared off before in a series of articles published in London's Sunday Telegraph in November 2006.

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