British climate change sceptics who travelled to the Vatican interrupted by 'papal heavies' half-way through making their point

They are attending the summit in Rome with scientists from the Heartland Institute, a think-tank backed by the US philanthropist Charles Koch

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The Independent Online

Two prominent British climate change sceptics travelled to the Vatican seeking to convert the Pope to their cause – only to be interrupted by “papal heavies” half-way through making their point.

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a hereditary peer, and James Delingpole, a right-wing commentator, were in a group that attended a papal climate conference ahead of Pope Francis’s eagerly awaited climate change “encyclical” – a letter to clergy in which he is expected to advocate action against global warming.

They are attending the summit in Rome with scientists from the Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank backed by the petro-chemical billionaire Charles Koch.

Viscount Monckton said Vatican press officers intervened in the discussions

Climate sceptics and US conservatives are concerned that the Pope’s letter could lend further credibility to the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is real and caused by human activity. But Mr Delingpole complained that not everyone was getting a fair hearing.

“Papal heavies shut down an awkward question at a Vatican press conference,” the former Daily Telegraph columnist said of a press conference at the summit, hosted by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. Mr Delingpole said that Marc Morano, the founder of the sceptical Climate Depot website, tried to ask Mr Ban if he had anything to say about Heartland’s mission.

“Before he could finish, the conference hosts interrupted to ask which organisation he worked for, then directed the microphone to a more tame questioner, while a secretary guard came over to mutter in Morano’s ear ‘You have to control yourself or you will be escorted out of here’,” Mr Delingpole wrote on his blog.

The Pope’s climate-change letter is due to be published in the summer.