By Brendan Montague and Kyla Mandel in Vatican City, Italy
The clowns of the climate denial travelling circus pitched their tent in Vatican City today to demand Pope Francis ignore the dangers of global warming.
The increasingly eccentric Lord Monckton played ringmaster to Dr Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance and Marc Morano from CFACT in a curious performance hosted by the Heartland Institute.
These groups have all been funded by “dark money” from the secretive Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund , which have in turn been funded by the oil billionaire Koch Brothers.
The circus has arrived to catch a free media ride on the official delegation meeting the head of the Catholic Church at the Vatican, including Ban Ki Moon from the United Nations and the economist Jeff Sachs.
Lord Monckton, a lifelong Catholic, has already attacked Pope Francis claiming his approaching encyclical is “a climate-Communist” text.
Just nine journalists made up the audience at Heartland's press conference. Photo by Brendan Montague
He has previously attacked a climate change policy advisor and a young Jewish student as Nazis and used a swastika in a presentation to illustrate his point. He has also claimed only religious people, and preferably Christians, should conduct climate research.
The one-time junior Tory party advisor attended the Conference of the Parties climate talks in Doha paid for by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), only to be permanently banned for impersonating an official UN delegate.
Morano runs Climate Depot which regularly publishes the emails of climate scientists, prompting a barrage of hate mail and death threats. He has said of climate scientists: “I seriously believe we should kick them while they're down - they deserve to be publicly flogged.”
Climate Depot is a project of CFACT, which has received more than $4.1million in funds from the Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund in the decade to 2011 - and a further $582,000 directly from ExxonMobil during a similar period.
Beisner, who has a Phd in Scottish history, fears environmentalists are “the greatest threat to Western civilisation” as it unites “the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad.”
He is the founder and spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance, a project of the James Partnership. The partnership received more than half of its $340,000 in funding from the Donors Trust, which in turn has benefited from the generosity of the Kochs.
More information about the deniers travelling circus can be found in these background briefing papers prepared for journalists by DeSmogBlog and DeSmog UK.
Photo: Catholic Church England and Wales via Flickr