The BBC documentary, “Meet the Climate Skeptics,” a 2011 BBC documentary that includes interviews with University of St. Thomas engineering professor Dr. John Abraham, will be shown for the first time in the United States at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in the 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The program, free and open to the public, is sponsored by St. Thomas’ Green Team and is part of the university’s Earth Week events that will run from April 14 to 22.
The program will open with comments from Paul Douglas, a Minnesota meteorologist and founder of WeatherNation Television. Douglas, who has been a meteorologist for KARE, WCCO and the Star Tribune, is the author of “A Republican Meteorologist Looks at Climate Change” that appeared recently on the Huffington Post and Minnesota Public Radio websites.
Abraham, the St. Thomas engineering professor interviewed for the BBC program, will moderate the April 18 program.
One of the climate-change skeptics featured in the documentary, and one of the world’s most prominent global-warming skeptics, is Scotland’s Christopher Monckton.
Why the BBC decided to interview Abraham for the documentary can be traced to a 2009 lecture that Monckton gave to the Minnesota Free Market Institute. In his talk, Monckton maintained that scientists are wrong about warming temperatures, rising sea levels and a host of other climate-related problems.
Abraham saw a YouTube video of Monckton’s lecture and spent months researching his claims. The St. Thomas professor of mechanical engineering, whose field involves fluids and heat transfer, prepared an 83-minute video that he put online in May 2010.
“I knew I needed to respond,” Abraham said. “I could not let that go unanswered, and I asked myself, ‘If I don’t, who will?’”
Abraham’s rebuttal eventually led to an international series of news accounts, fueled in part by Monckton’s verbal attacks and frequent threats of lawsuits. He called Abraham a “wretched little man,” St. Thomas a “half-assed Christian Bible college,” and Father Dennis Dease a “creep of a president.”
Monckton did not actually file a lawsuit against St. Thomas and Abraham, and he failed in a legal effort to block the BBC from showing the documentary.
Abraham went on to help establish an international “Climate Science Rapid Response Team” of more than 140 scientists, as well as a legal-defense fund for climate scientists threatened with legal action.
An article about Abraham and Monckton, “John Abraham Takes a Stand,” appears in the winter 2012 issue of St. Thomas magazine. The article includes links to Monckton’s 2009 speech to the Minnesota Free Market Institute and Abraham’s online rebuttal.