Spot the recycled denial III – Prof Ian Plimer

Update: Review of Plimer’s book “Heaven and Earth” is here:

http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/

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In this series, I aim to teach you to recognise the recycled denialism that is rife in the public arena these days.

I don’t refute this nonsense by constructing a new argument each time which, point-by-point, shows why their claims are not supported by the evidence. This is pointless, since the majority of non-greenhouse theorists (‘sceptics’) blithely ignore any such counterpoints and simply repeat the same arguments elsewhere. Instead I rebutt by hyperlinking to some of the wealth of explanatory material out there on the world wide web. For reasons of general accessibility, the articles l link to are predominantly pitched for a lay audience – but they are consistent in linking to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature (sometimes I’ll link straight to the journal papers). I focus primarily on the science content of the piece, except where non-science arguments are clearly false and demand correction.

Update: For a direct response to two of Ian’s points, raised in a recent debate I had with him, see this post: Two denialist talking points quashed.

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After being relentlessly urged by various colleagues to do a Spot the Denial profile piece on Prof Ian Plimer, I have relented. Ian is, like me, a member of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide (he is also a joint member of the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering). He’s a nice bloke, friendly and genial, and we get on well. But of course we fundamentally disagree with respect to our interpretation of the evidence for the enhanced greenhouse effect being the primary determinant of recent global warming.

The piece I have used is rather familiar to me. It was published in the Independent Weekly in March 2008, and a press clipping of it that was stuck on a noticeboard has beckoned to me to retort each and every day I pass it whilst walking down the corridors of the Mawson Laboratories to my office. It was actually a story written by a journalist, Bill Nichols (with no axe to grind one way or another), but it is about Ian’s viewpoint on climate science and includes many quotes from him. They are the ones I’ll hyperlink here, along with a few other points of background.

This is also timely because Ian and I will be having a back-and-forth debate (22 min each side, 2 turns each) on day two of the upcoming Skeptics National Convention 2008 on 12 October 2008, to be held at the Norwood Concert Hall, Adelaide. We’ll then be fielding audience questions for 45 min. It should be interesting!

But for now, here’s my hyperlinked dissection of that story…

Don’t hold your breath on CO2

(Journalist: Bill Nichols)

Sinful, guilty humans are not responsible for global warming.

This was the highly unpopular message delivered by the outspoken Professor of Geology at Adelaide University, Professor Ian Plimer, addressing the Paydirt Uranium Conference at the Hilton this week.

Even though he was talking to a crowd of investors, managers and fans of uranium mining companies, the subject matter seemed particularly awkward.

There was hushed silence as if he were blaspheming – which of course he was – against our new religion of global warming.

Ask any plant how it feels about carbon dioxide,” Prof Plimer said. “As you’re hugging a tree think about how it wouldn’t even be there if not for plenty of carbon dioxide in the environment so they can get access to the carbon.”

Prof Plimer, author of six books, a teaching geologist at Adelaide University as well as pragmatic director of a Broken Hill mining company, reckons Australians are being totally misled by the new global warming religion.

He believes that pseudoscientific pedlars of bad news don’t take any notice of the fact that the amount of solar energy hitting earth is not a constant. This is because the sun is not the gravitational centre of the solar system and goes through a lot of gravitational wobble.

The result is an elliptical path which produces variable doses of cosmic radiation.

Over geological time, high cosmic radiation doses are coincidental with the four periods of glaciations on earth – including the present glacial situation,” Prof Plimer said.

Then there are 11, 80, 200 and 1500-year cycles so that the solar constant is not constant.”

Prof Plimer said man is not the main supplier of carbon dioxide and most of it arises from volcanoes (86 per cent of which were beneath the sea), earthquakes, intrusions of plutonic rocks (Kamchatka), the pulling apart of the ocean floor, hot flushes from the earth’s core, ocean degassing and comets.

Human contribution to carbon dioxide, which is really a trace gas, is .117 of one per cent,” Prof Plimer said.

Prof Plimer also said that measurement techniques were flawed. If you measure the temperature from a certain place, such as Los Angeles, the development of the past 200 years has made the city much warmer because of all the buildings and roads absorbing solar energy – and naturally the temperature trend is upwards. On the other hand Plimer cited evidence that rural centres used to record long-term temperatures, mostly tended downwards.

Humans have adapted to life on earth ranging from ice sheets to mountains to tropics and have survived far warmer and far colder climates than currently being experienced or forecast by the climate doomists,” Prof Plimer said.

“We need to be far more realistic and educative about where the CO2 comes from that we blame as the causative factor behind global warming.

“Few people realise that water vapour in the atmosphere provides 96 per cent of the greenhouse effect, raising temperature from minus 18 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius.

“Until we know how climate changes naturally, then it would be folly to make structural changes to the economy based on incomplete scientific data.

“The Greens opt to pressure democratically elected governments to reject a large body of science in favour of authoritarianism and promote policies which create unemployment and economic contraction.”

There is a more recent piece by Prof Plimer, published on 26 August in the Independent Weekly, which I will also cover in due course. This will require a different approach to the Spot the recycled denial… series. Stay tuned.

EDIT: For a detailed refutation of Prof Plimer’s main points, see Le Rayon Vert (hat tip to Stu).

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44 Comments

  1. I had Ian as a lecturer in Geology several decades ago, and I agree with Barry that he is a pleasant and congenial man. I especially appreciated his scathing criticism of Creationism, and have regarded him as a careful sceptic, so it was with some bemusement that I watched his commentary on climate change unfold over the years, even taking into account his vested interests.

    Although I cannot know for certain what transpires in the mind of a man, his case recalls a recent thread at RealClimate.

  2. It might be worth adding a layer; your links go to good information but much of this either badly edited or intentionally vague.

    > Human contribution to carbon dioxide, which is really a trace gas, is .117 of one per cent,” Prof Plimer said.

    I’d guess he’s getting this number as a change from baseline to current CO2 in parts per million.
    Financial presentations use the same trick all the time to minimize changes they want stockholders to ignore.
    Pollution increased by 0.00001, changing from 0.00001 to 0.00002 of total volume production.
    Pollution produced doubled.
    If it doubles again next year, how long til there’s a real problem?

  3. Though I do hope you webcast the debate in some manner, I’ve often found a problem with these debates (at least if conducted honestly) is that they turn on citations, data, etc which really can’t be checked in the limited amount of time available during the debate, so they turn into people flatly denying each other’s facts.
    I’d be curious to know if you have an answer to this problem. Perhaps you and Ian could pre-write your first 22 minute speech and supply each other with copies so that references can be checked and authoritative rebuttals made, if necessary?

  4. Hank, agree, but the sceptics are also notoriously vague, so sometimes I have to guess their implied meaning (e.g. re: Sun’s wobble – that was a new one to me, so it’s not all recycled!)

    re: 0.117 percent, I’m not sure how he derives this. In terms of biosphere and ocean fluxes, anthropogenic CO2 equates to 2-3% of the CO2 going into the atmosphere each year, not 0.117%, so it can’t be this.

    In terms of total atmospheric CO2, human contribution = 387-280 = 107 ppm = 0.0107% of atmosphere, so he can’t mean this either.

    In terms of our yearly contribution, 1.5ppm/387ppm, the addition in 2008 is ~0.39%. This is closest to his figure, so perhaps he means this?

  5. James, it is likely to be rather more impromptu than that. I suspect my take on the debate won’t be about the evidential support for human contributions to global warming (there may be some of that, but little). It will be in the nature of the ‘pretend debate’ and the veracity of alternative arguments – but I won’t be Gish Galloped either.

  6. It’s a little ironic that you would have missed the barry, er, barycenter argument. :) Seriously, it has been around for awhile, although I think avoided by respectable denialists since it’s oh-so-close to astrology. That being the case it’s a bit surprising to see Plimer pick it up like this.

    As I understand it, the basic argument is that the Jovian planets control the sunspot cycles, and that these in turn influence climate. Of course both ends of that argument collapse. But note that Plimer conflates it with a couple of other solar-cosmic ray crackpotisms.

    As far as I can tell Rhodes Fairbridge was responsible for popularizing the barycenter-climate idea, although later on it was promoted by the likes of Theodor Landscheidt. In the present Google finds lots of hits.

  7. In the post on Le Rayon Vert it states that the burning of fossil fuels deplete 13C in the atmosphere and the oceans and that deforestation does.

    My understanding is that the addition of any organically derived carbon including the so called fossil fuels does not deplete 13C in the atmosphere. It changes the ratio of 12C/13C. Surely carbon contained in vegetation, which is almost devoid of 13C, if released into the atmosphere will also change the ratio.

  8. If I may pick another nit, I think “Prof Plimer also said that measurement techniques were flawed” refers to temperature measurement, not CO2 measurement. Of course, you cover that interpretation in other links, so there’s no harm done.

  9. How can someone who calls himself a scientist come out with such nonsense? He seems to be very new to the subject.

    Perhap this is why he attacks the Greens rather than actual scientists.

    For example…

    “Few people realise that water vapour in the atmosphere provides 96 per cent of the greenhouse effect…”

    That may be true UNLESS he is talking about climate scientists. Or even anyone who’s spent more than 5 minutes browsing the IPCC reports.

    And this…

    “He believes that pseudoscientific pedlars of bad news don’t take any notice of the fact that the amount of solar energy hitting earth is not a constant.”

    Again, maybe true UNLESS he’s referring to climate scientists. (Or, again, even casual IPCC report readers.)

    And this…

    “Until we know how climate changes naturally, then it would be folly to make structural changes to the economy based on incomplete scientific data.”

    … is maddeningly silly. He should wander over to the economics faculty and borrow a book on risk management. I mean, does his mining company not start digging until it knows exactly what’s under the ground to the nearest ounce? There is a degree of certainty you need to reach before you act, but we’ve clearly reached that with climate change.

    It’s so disappointing when people who should be able to assimilate the facts appear so determined not to.

  10. I don’t know Plimer either, but I don’t think its sensible to judge
    a person by their personal charm or demeanor. Judge them
    by the impacts on the world. When Malcolm Fraser
    was in power, I thought him a [...expletive deleted by author],
    these days he is wonderful, coming out in support of those who need
    support on many occasions. Back in the early 1990s I spent
    many days rescuing crippled ducks left behind by
    duck shooters at Bool Lagoon in the South
    East. On one such occasion Malcolm Fraser was present and
    shooting. Duck shooters leave wounded and crippled birds as
    an unavoidable consequence of shotgun ballistics. So Fraser,
    like many other people, is capable of both compassion and
    extreme cruelty. Somewhat similarly, many people, Plimer and
    myself included, are capable of both rationality and its opposite
    and the reasons will be at least as mysterious as in Fraser’s case.

    That said, Plimer’s recent Independent Weekly article
    didn’t say much worthy of refutation, but his claim
    that climate scientists ignore contrary evidence (shall we
    call these “inconvenient truths”) was simply false and shows
    that he either doesn’t read the literature or
    doesn’t mind saying things which are clearly false.

  11. MontyA,
    re the link to my blog. The part you are referring to was a quote from the NOAA website. What you say about Carbon 13 is correct, but they also say that Carbon 14 can be used to distinguish fossil fuels from deforestation (I would think that it would be possible to estimate these directly as well though I’ve not looked into it).

  12. Re:#13 Are you suggesting estimating deforestation emissions? If so
    then you will have to go back a very long time. Ruddiman in
    “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” gives data based on the Domesday
    book estimating that England was 85% deforested in 1089. He reckons
    he can see deforestation’s impact on the climate record a very,
    very long time ago.

  13. Geoff, I was thinking more along the lines of estimating the relative contributions of carbon from deforestation & industry in the modern era. I was just pointing out that the source quoted on my blog does say that analysis of carbon isotopes can distinguish between these, but in addition, I was just suggesting that I expect there would be an independent line of evidence that could verify the results as well.

  14. Stu
    Yes 14C is present in very small amounts in living biota – being produced in the upper atmosphere when a neutron and 14N combine to produce 1H and the unstable isotope 14C.

    14C decays to 14N and has a half life of around 5730 years, and it is this decay rate that forms the basis of carbon dating. Fossil fuels are so ancient that for all intents and purposes they contain no 14C. I assume that geological sources of CO2 in the atmosphere are also deficient in 14C thus allowing atmospheric CO2 from deforestation to be measured.

  15. I saw Plimer’s first foray into the climate change arena about a decade ago when he took part in a debate/discussion at a Science at the Pub event at Stewarts in Carlton opposite Anne Henderson Sellers. He was the skeptic, she the convinced scientist. At the time he said he didn’t know much about greenhouse but that all theories needed a healthy dose of skepticism. Nothing wrong there.

    Sadly, Ian is little better informed today. I think part of the issue is that he has a mechanistic view of the world and does not understand complex systems with feedbacks. This was clear in his book A Brief History of the Earth where the hard rock history was excellent, but as soon as he got onto geobiology cracks began to appear. His summary of the Tertiary and Quaternary leaves a lot to be desired. In the end, he had to talk up the threat of asteroid strike in order to downplay the threat of climate change as the principal geoscience risk.

    The most appropriate one line review of that book (which won an award for science communication) is that it improves with age.

    A mechanist will argue that albedo driven climate changes cause greenhouse gases to rise thus amplifying temperature, while arguing that greenhouse gases themselves cannot do so. This is presumably because the camshaft on the Earth machine is bolted on in the other direction. And the physics of the atmosphere? It’s beyond straightforward mechanics, so forget it.

    The other egregious error is to argue that because climate has changed continually in the past, one shouldn’t worry about it in the future. Why then, would one worry about asteroid strikes? It’s all about vulnerability and risk, two items that don’t often rise high on the agenda of economic geologists.

  16. Just a suggestion on presentation.

    I think a more effective method might be for a little call out box to appear where possible with a pithy one line refutation for each of the denial points when you place your mouse over the highlighted text… and that you can still follow the link by clicking on a link within the box.

    Although meticulously hyper linked… there are too many links and people will not follow them… as people may quickly tire of either hitting “back” or right clicking -> new tab.

  17. Re: the pithy one-liners SP, you are right I think – it just takes more time, but is probably necessary based on the feedback I’ve got so far. So I’ll try that for my next candidate in the ‘Spot’ series.

  18. Pingback: Spot the recycled denial IV – climate case built on thin foundation « BraveNewClimate.com

  19. Pingback: Spot the recycled denial V – Prof Bob Carter « BraveNewClimate.com

  20. RealClimate has an interesting new short essay which makes a neat comparison between the discredited idea in Evolutionary Biology called “Lamarckian inheritence” and the position of climate contrariansim as the so-called suppressed scientific heroes.

    Ian Plimer – legal defender of evolution by natural selection – should take note. At a recent ‘debate’ I had with him, he compared climate science to creationism and the IPCC 4th Assessment Report to the Holy Bible. That gives some idea of his distorted thinking on this issue.

  21. Did anyone watch the series on SBS “Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on trial” in 2 parts. It was about the attempt by the school board in Dover (USA) to introduce a “Creationist” viewpoint to the school science curriculum. To get over the US constitution regarding the ban on religion into the education system they eagerly adopted the new kid on the block “Intelligent Design” same old creationism to you and me!. The case was won by the school science teachers and “Intelligent Design” dismissed as not being science. I mention this because it appears that the current deniers of AGW are reading from the same “how to do” manual on how to confuse, intimidate and muddy scientific knowledge and to misrepresent it to “Joe Public”.

  22. Barry @22, that’s really ironic. During a debate that I spectated last year, Plimer’s mode of argument reminded me very strongly of strategies employed by creationist advocates.

    The modus operandi is to
    1) set up the Popperish straw man of needing only one fact or observation to falsify a scientific theory
    2) find some inconsequential divergence between theory and observation (e.g. that last month was cooler than average; an extreme example to illustrate the point)
    3) triumphantly announce that this renders the entire edifice of AGW/Darwinian theory invalid
    4) imply that the alternative (sunspots/natural variability/creationism) must be correct.

    Note that none of this involves equivalent scrutiny of said alternative paradigms. This is where naive Popperism falls down in the realm of complex systems such as earth and life sciences. In these instances it’s much more apposite to talk about competing system models and which best fit reality across a suite of observations, otherwise you just end up in an infinite loop of falsification.

    I distinctly remember thinking during the debate I saw that Plimer might have spent a little too long grappling with creationists, so redolent were his arguments of theirs.

  23. Well said Mark and I agree, esp. regarding complex systems and falsification. Indeed I wrote a paper about this very topic recently and published it in BioScience.

    Elliott, Louis P & Brook, Barry W. (2007) Revisiting Chamberlin: Multiple Working Hypotheses for the 21st Century. BioScience, 57: 608-614.

    Abstract
    The method of multiple working hypotheses, developed by the 19th-century geologist T. C. Chamberlin, is an important philosophical contribution to the domain of hypothesis construction in science. Indeed, the concept is particularly pertinent to recent debate over the relative merits of two different statistical paradigms: null hypothesis testing and model selection. The theoretical foundations of model selection are often poorly understood by practitioners of null hypothesis testing, and even many proponents of Chamberlin’s method may not fully appreciate its historical basis. We contend that the core of Chamberlin’s message, communicated over a century ago, has often been forgotten or misrepresented. Therefore, we revisit his ideas in light of modern developments. The original source has great value to contemporary ecology and many related disciplines, communicating thoughtful consideration of both complexity and causality and providing hard-earned wisdom applicable to this new age of uncertainty.

    Keywords: BAYESIAN STATISTICS; HYPOTHESIS TESTING; MODEL SELECTION; PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE; STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

    I’ll be happy to send you the PDF of the full paper (or anyone else that is interested).

  24. I would also like to second Mark Duffet’s observations at #24, and Perps’ at #23.

    I too watched the Dover doco, and the similarity between Creationists and Denialists is uncanny. Ironically our ‘friend’ cohenite tried to put AGW proponents in the same place as the dover defendants in a thread at Deltoid: it fascinates me that he doesn’t understand why it is that he has an inverted take on the whole AGW/evolution comparison.

    Oh, and I’d love to stick my hand up for a copy of the PDF if that’s OK Barry. Sounds like a very interesting paper.

  25. Pingback: The Solar Fraud « BraveNewClimate.com

  26. Pingback: Le Rayon Vert » Geological Timescales and the Effects of Climate Change

  27. Further on the Plimer thing, I debunked some claims that evidently were based on Plimer’s book at Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd’s blog, and repeated the main ones at my personal blog. Since I haven’t read the book, I’m ready to be corrected but since no one has so far, I assume the person I was correcting was quoting correctly from the book.

    I’d appreciate it if someone who has read the book would mosey over to Opinionations and let me know if the comments I quoted are an accurate representation of the book. If so, it’s pretty shocking; this is stuff someone has quoted to support their argument that climate change is a hoax and made a right fool of themselves.

  28. Pingback: Vancouver Sun: Perpetual Motion Works, Earth is Flat! « Greenfyre’s

  29. It is notable that denialist Ian Plimer has been playing silly games regarding George Monbiot’s response to Plimer’s own challenge.

    Following Ian Plimer’s error-strewn article in ‘The Spectator’, George Monbiot in ‘The Guardian’, slated Plimer’s errors ‘Spectator recycles climate rubbish published by sceptic’.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/jul/09/george-monbiot-ian-plimer

    Plimer challenged Monbiot to a face-to-face debate:
    Monbiot responded in ‘Why can’t the champion of climate change denial face the music?’
    “Last week I wrote to Professor Plimer accepting his challenge, on the condition that he accepts mine. I would take part in a face-to-face debate with him as long as he agreed to write precise and specific responses to his critics’ points — in the form of numbered questions that I would send him — for publication on the Guardian’s website. I also proposed that there should be an opportunity at the debate for us to cross-examine each other.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/03/ian-plimer-climate-change-denial

    Plimer then responded by rejecting a debate under Monbiot’s conditions.

    Plimer reconsidered and accepted the challenge:
    ‘Let battle commence! Climate change denialist ready for the fight’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/05/climate-change-scepticism

    But now, true to form Plimer hasn’t answered Monbiot’s questions, because he realises that whether he answers truthfully or dishonestly, Plimer’s anti-science will be revealed as a tissue of lies and deceptions.

    Plimer has instead posed questions for Monbiot to answer. This is clearly a diversionary tactic.
    ‘Plimer resorts to attack as the best form of defence’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/12/climate-change-climate-change-scepticism

    Hat-tip to Tim Lambert at Deltoid.
    ‘Plimer chickens out’
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/08/plimer_chickens_out.php

  30. I am not a scientist. I am a farmer and a student of history. I note that the comments above are all rather dismissive of Ian Plimers approach. However two fundamental questions remain unanswered. Perhaps you learned gentlemen could provide the answers.
    One. Since 1998 the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased yet global temperature has reduced. The models predicted that they would both rise in unison.
    Two. Increased CO2 in greenhouse tests have resulted in more vigorous plant growth. In fact CO2 concentrations far above current amounts have had no deliterious effects on plant growth only positive ones. After all we are all part of the carbon cycle and it seems strange to demonise the basic building block of life as we know it. Increasing populations will require additional food. The UN estimates we will need to grow 70% more food by 2050 to cater for increased population and to bring substandard diets up to an acceptable level. To accomplish that we may well need more CO2 in the atmosphere because current levels are quite low by historical standards. Comments please.

  31. Lawrie,
    One reason why people dismiss Plimer’s Heaven + Earth, is because his claims of ‘the missing science’, [the subtitle of his own book] is missing from his own arguments.
    Another reason is that Plimer has destroyed any shred of credibility with his refusal / inability to answer George Monbiot’s entirely reasonable questions.

    As for your claim: ‘Since 1998 the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased yet global temperature has reduced’

    First of all temperatures continue to increase. Your selection of 1998, a super el-nino, shows you cherry-picked a particular year.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif

    Secondly, no-one with any sense claims that CO2 is the ONLY driver of climate. There numerous factors, but CO2 is currently the most important one.

    Thirdly, there is the chaotic weather fluctuation. We are talking climate. Climate is long-term trends, 30 years is the standard. The warming over decadal periods is too small to show through the weather ‘noise’.

    Regarding your claim: ‘Increased CO2 in greenhouse tests have resulted in more vigorous plant growth’.

    CO2 starvation is NOT a limiting factor in plant growth outdoors. However the predicted climatic effects will include shifting patterns of rainfall and temperature. Either of which can severely curtail plant growth.
    The available evidence does NOT support more CO2=increased agricultural output.

    What the future holds for us is uncertain.
    We know that:
    CO2 is causing warming,
    the warming will disrupt natural systems
    the CO2 is man-made
    Population is growing, but the planet’s capacity is finite.

    While we do not know everything [we never will], we know more than enough to know we must stop emitting CO2. Population must be stabilised.

    I doubt very much that your ‘innocent’ question was indeed as innocent as you suggest.

  32. Ian Plimer’s views feature on the front page of the Daily Express
    http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/143573

    ‘CLIMATE CHANGE ROCKED’
    Wednesday December 2,2009
    By John Ingham

    ‘THE scientific consensus that mankind has caused climate change was rocked yesterday as a leading academic called it a “load of hot air underpinned by fraud”.

    Professor Ian Plimer condemned the climate change lobby as “climate comrades” keeping the “gravy train” going.
    In a controversial talk just days before the start of a climate summit attended by world leaders in Copenhagen, Prof Plimer said Governments were treating the public like “fools” and using climate change to increase taxes….’

    He said carbon dioxide has had no impact on temperature and that recent warming was part of the natural cycle of climate stretching over billions of years.

    Prof Plimer told a London audience: “Climates always change. They always have and they always will. They are driven by a number of factors that are random and cyclical.”

    Professor Plimer said climate change was caused by natural events such as volcanic eruptions, the shifting of the Earth’s orbit and cosmic radiation. He said: “Carbon dioxide levels have been up to 1,000 times higher in the past. CO2 cannot be driving global warming now.

    “In the past we have had rapid and significant climate change with temperature changes greater than anything we are measuring today. They are driven by processes that have been going on since the beginning of time.”

    He cited periods of warming during the Roman Empire and in the Middle Ages – when Vikings grew crops on Greenland – and cooler phases such as the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850.

    No mention was made of his Directorship with Ivanhoe mines and the fact that Plimer therefore profits from coal mining. Some people might draw the conclusion that Plimer’s observable lack of objectivity regarding climate science is compromised by financial gain.

    Professor Plimer certainly isn’t making any efforts to get the science right or out to make friends, is he!

  33. I have enjoyed your work greatly. I often review the calculations here to determine whether I need to revise my opinion on solar PV (which I worked with for 5 years, and am aware of its shortcomings) solar thermal, and nuclear.

    I find your analysis in these areas insightful, and sound.

    Therefore, I was surprised to find NO mention of the purloined data from CRU, and the implications that can derived from its calculations, and its code and documentation.

    Remember, trenchant analysis should be applied against areas you agree with was well as those with which you disagree.

  34. One thing that always troubled me about Plimer in his previous incarnation as a creation science opponent, was why you would even bother. I remember a “creation science” conference @ UNSW in the mid 80′s. I don’t have a science degree, but when my un-lettered questions troubled these so-called scientists, they either walked away or changed the subject (in much the same way the good professor himself does these days). Surely here was a ready-made straw man for him to set ablaze. Such quixotic behaviour seems to be still very much in evidence, but this time the stakes are so much higher!

  35. I have no formal qualifications in science but as a member of the human race with children and grandchildren, I am passionately interested in this topic for obvious reasons. I am reading Prof Plimer’s Heaven and Earth and have to say I am shocked at what he has to say about the IPCC’s report which I had taken as gospel. I was looking for informed comment on his views which is why I am here. However nothing I have read above provides that informed comment, only nit picking on minor points as an attempt to destroy his complete work. Will have to keep looking

  36. “I am reading Prof Plimer’s Heaven and Earth and have to say I am shocked at what he has to say about the IPCC’s report which I had taken as gospel. I was looking for informed comment on his views which is why I am here. However nothing I have read above provides that informed comment, only nit picking on minor points as an attempt to destroy his complete work.”

    His work isn’t complete. it is flawed, his claims about the IPCC and the science are untrue. In-fact his claims about the science are suspect and are completey at variance with the science. Such as CO2 and volcanoes.

    There are a number of detailed debunkings of Plimer’s flawed arguments.

    Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven + Earth’ — Checking the Claims
    Ian G. Enting
    Available from:
    http://www.complex.org.au/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=91

  37. The Monbiot Plimer debate on ABC was notable for more than Monbiot’s ad hominem attacks and Plimer’s poor memory. Tony Jones the Australian ABC TV host gets an honorable mention for another hatchet-job on non-compliant scientists. He previously smeared Prof. Frederick Singer (fair enough) but unforgivably gave him no right of reply, in the prelude to the “Swindle Debate” featuring four skeptics and eight warmists, which it appears was stage-managed by panelist Robyn Williams, the ABC’s climate science gatekeeper.

    In the Monbiot Plimer debate, both were given roughly equal time of reply. HOWEVER: Monbiot interrupted Plimer an astonishing eighteen (18) times. To which Jones intervened only twice after the event. Jones himself interrupted Plimer three (3) times. This behavior does NOT show up in transcript, only in the footage. Plimer interrupted Monbiot once. Both called the other side fraudulent, only Monbiot called Plimer a liar. Both Jones and Monbiot had the look of cats who had drunken their fill of milk after the mauling. Monbiot’s interruptions with adjudicator Jones’ complicity ensured Plimer could not get a reply in edgeways.

    So to sum it up, it was Tony Jones of the ABC whose abyssmal performance stands out, followed by Monbiot for lack of any social grace. Plimer, reeling, but integrity intact, would have won by default, but for the star performer whom only the alert audience would have observed: the live footage of icy weather on the white snow-covered streets of Copenhagen behind Monbiot’s satellite screen.

  38. Interesting to note that there has been little comment since 2011 , everyone given up?
    The Troposphere is a self regulating phenomenon. ie Gases = all gas expands when warmed , troposphere therefore expands into stratosphere which is at -90 c , gases arriving there are immediately cooled .Reverse pertains when gases cool .
    Since oxygen and nitrogen expand quite magnificently when warmed and they represent 99% of the Earths atmosphere ,it is difficult to imagine that this PHYSICAL , Scientific effect is ignored and reference is made to just about every other bloody thing on the face of the Earth or Sun. Get over it , there has been zero warming , zero cooling , it is called weather and climate change.

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