UPDATE: Controversial climate sceptic Christopher Monckton has launched a scathing attack on the media for labelling him a “climate change denier”.
Lord Monckton, who told a mining conference at Burswood this morning the earth was cooling and a carbon tax would be costly for little impact on climate change, came under fire recently for likening Federal climate advisor Ross Garnaut to a fascist.
He reiterated his “humble and complete apology” today but accused the media of using a similar slur against him.
“I have been called a climate denier, which accuses me of being on par with that nastiest form of facism: the holocaust denier,” he said. “There’s clearly a nasty double standard here.”
He also hit back at 50 academics who signed an open letter to Notre Dame University, where he will speak tonight, asking them to cancel the event because Lord Monckton misrepresents the work of scientists.
The letter, organised by University of Western Australia postgraduate student Natalie Latter, says the academics - which include UWA Professor Ullrich Ecker, Sydney’s University of Technology Professor Cynthia Mitchell and Dr Iain White, from the University of Manchester - says the academics are "deeply disturbed" that Notre Dame intends to host the lecture.
It accuses Lord Monckton of "propounding widely discredited fictions about climate change and misrepresenting the research of countless scientists".
"With zero peer-reviewed scientific publications, he has declared that the scientific enterprise is invalid and that climate science is fraudulent," the letter says.
"He stands for the kind of ignorance and superstition that universities have a duty to counter."
While conceding he had no scientific or academic qualifications, he said most academics in a free county would support his right to speak, even if “the view I express is not necessarily currently fashionable with the ruling class or the media”.
“Academic freedom requires that both sides of a case should be freely heard,” he said.
“The letter has been circulating for several weeks, I understand, so if there are only 50 names, academia in Australia is better than in other places.”
Notre Dame Business School Dean, Chris Doepel, said that while Lord Monckton’s views had attracted attention, the university had been assured there would be nothing offensive in his presentation.
Professor Doepel said the lecture’s format would allow questions and he expected Lord Monckton to be "vigorously challenged".
Curtin University Professor of Sustainability, Peter Newman - a signatory to the letter - said it was a disgrace any university associated itself with "someone who has clearly got no academic credibility".
Another signatory, Australian Professorial Fellow at UWA’s School of Psychology, Stephan Lewandowsky, said he strongly endorsed Lord Monckton’s right to free speech "for example in a pub or on a soapbox or in a circus arena".
While Ms Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting sponsored the lecture, titled The Climate of Freedom, it did not fund Lord Monckton’s three-week Australian tour.
South Australian farmer Leon Ashby, president of the Climate Sceptics Party, said his organisation had contributed $30,000 in donation to Lord Monckton’s trip.