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Plimer vs Plimer: a one man contradiction

Posted on 9 December 2011 by John Cook

On 30 October, Ian Plimer wrote to The Weekend Australian, lamenting that noone had explained to him how anyone could be concerned about carbon dioxide given that most of its sources were supposedly natural. However, a thorough explanation of how we know humans are causing the increase in CO2 levels can be found on pages 414 and 415 of a 2009 book on climate change. The book is called Heaven and Earth. The author, Ian Plimer.

Plimer contradicting Plimer is not an isolated incident. One of his pet arguments is that carbon dioxide has been much higher in the past, without the Earth going into meltdown. He concludes that carbon dioxide can't have much of a warming effect. There's a major flaw in this line of thinking. The further back in time you go, the cooler the sun gets. If it wasn't for the warming effect of carbon dioxide, the Earth would've been a frozen iceball throughout much of its history.

The question that has long burned in my mind was how could Plimer, a geologist, not know that the sun has been steadily warming throughout Earth's history. A proper understanding of greenhouse warming over geological timeframes requires considering both CO2 levels and solar activity. You would expect this kind of over-simplified misinformation from a blogger sourcing their information from other blogs but from a professional geologist? Well, at this point, the mystery deepens.

It turns out Plimer is aware that the sun has been steadily warming over the Earth's history. In his 2001 book A Short History of Planet Earth, Plimer explains how the warming effect from CO2 kept our planet from freezing into an ice age when the sun was cooler (emphasis mine):

The early Sun had a luminosity of some 30 per cent less than now and, over time, luminosity has increased in a steady state. The low luminosity of the early Sun was such that the Earth's average surface temperature would have been below 0°C from 4500 to 2000 million years ago. But, there is evidence of running water and oceans as far back as 3800 million years ago. This paradox is solved if the Earth had an enhanced greenhouse with an atmosphere of a lot of carbon dioxide and methane.

If you're confused at this point, you're not alone! Which Plimer are we to believe? The Plimer who considers the full body of evidence and comes to conclusions consistent with the scientific consensus that increased greenhouse gases causes warming? Or the Plimer who cherry picks the data, withholds vital pieces of evidence and misleads the public. I know which I prefer.

Perhaps Plimer had a change of heart between 2001 to 2009? After all, a bloke is allowed to change his mind (although changing your mind in this case means going from considering all the evidence to ignoring any inconvenient evidence). But no, such a kind interpretation is not possible with Plimer. When you flick through his 2009 book 'Heaven and Earth', self-contradictions abound.

On page 121, Plimer tells us that in the Earth's past, a rise in CO2 caused a 4 degree temperature rise. But on page 165, we're told CO2 doesn't drive climate. 21 pages later, the warm temperatures of the Cretaceous period are attributed to elevated CO2 levels. But flip forward to page 278 where he tells us that temperature and CO2 are not connected. If you're the type of person who likes to jump to the end of the book, you'll find on page 411 that CO2 keeps our planet warm.

And that's just on the topic of the warming effect of CO2. The contradictions cover a range of issues. We're told that El Nino lasts for a month or so, then 2 pages later, it lasts for 1 to 2 years. We are informed that 650,000 years ago, CO2 levels fell as low as 185 parts per million (we're currently at 390 parts per million). And yet later in the book, Plimer claims that CO2 has never been as low as current values in thousands of millions of years.

And returning to the subject of rising CO2 levels, Plimer provides several pages of quality exposition on the different types of carbon atom (called isotopes), explaining the multiple lines of evidence indicating that humans are responsible for the rise in CO2. Yet a few pages earlier, he'd stated that volcanoes produce more CO2 than humanity. If you want to read a good debunking of the "volcanoes are responsible for the rise in CO2" myth, flip to pages 414 and 415, where the man who said it mercilessly shreds himself to pieces.

Is Plimer the climate version of Harvey Dent (aka Two Face from Batman), flipping a coin to decide which side of the science to present? Or perhaps enlightenment comes from the saying, "the best lies are always at least partially true". Embedding weeds in amongst the truth is unfortunately an effective strategy, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. 

So how does the average layperson, lacking the time to dig through peer-reviewed references, tell the difference between accurate science and misinformation? A useful resource is the 64 page critique by Professor Ian Enting from the University of Melbourne. Enting provides a comprehensive, point-by-point examination of Plimer's book, exposing the inconsistencies and misrepresentations.

Or for those who lack the time (or attention span) to pore through Professor Enting's thorough document, I've created a more visually stimulating resource - a two column comparison of quotes where Plimer contradicts himself. The resource is titled, appropriately, Plimer vs Plimer. It's by no means comprehensive as it only includes content from two of Plimer's books - I have yet to include any of his articles, interviews or lectures. But it presents a clear picture of the internal inconsistency of Ian Plimer: a one man contradiction.

To refer people to this resource, the short URL is http://sks.to/plimervsplimer or if that's not short enough, you can also use http://sks.to/pvp (and if that's not short enough, then tough, that's as far as I'm going). 

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Comments

Comments 1 to 42:

  1. It's a Monkton Maneuver Moment
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  2. Its is a fundamental problem with the whole 'sceptic' position, it is just a morass of contradictory and often vague assertions.
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  3. Plimer contradicting Plimer is not an isolated incident. One of his pet arguments is that carbon dioxide has been much higher in the past, without the Earth going into meltdown. He concludes that carbon dioxide can't have much of a warming effect. There's a major flaw in this line of thinking. The further back in time you go, the cooler the sun gets. If it wasn't for the warming effect of carbon dioxide, the Earth would've been a frozen iceball throughout much of its history.


    Curiously, Joanne Codling reproduces a screed by Gina Rinehart saying the same thing.

    I was gobsmacked to see that Codling reproduced Rinehart's points 1 and 2 in immediate succession, without apparently even blinking at the inherent internal contradiction of Rinehart's propaganda.

    Well, perhaps not gobsmacked. Codling long ago proved that she has no demonstrable grasp of science, for all her vaunted involvement with scientific education of children.
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  4. The Plimer on the left has better hair, so I'm believing him!
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  5. The thing that stands out most starkly to me,is that deniers will mercilessly mock and nitpick Al Gore,despite the fact that he got most of his facts right,but never ever,ever,ever,examine criticize,or retract obvious mistakes and contradictions that come from their spokespersons.How can they reconcile such gross hypocrisy?
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    Moderator Response: [John Hartz] Because most deniers are ideologues. Their ideology blinds them to reality.]
  6. Bernhard, look at Rinehart's #5:

    "Over the last 120,000 years, there have been 25 periods of warming where temperature rose by up to 8 deg C. These were not driven by human emissions, were natural and were neither irreversible nor catastrophic."

    What the????!! 25 times of 8*C change during the last 120,000 years, which was mostly a glacial period? Where do they get this nonsense? I remember seeing a similar thing on a Neil Boortz thread a few years ago. I think it may have come from Plimer ultimately.
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  7. tmac57: I suspect there is a great deal of compartmentalized thinking going on. Everyone is capable of, and indeed I am sure everyone engages in it once in a while. The problem here is that climate contrarians let themselves get carried away.
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  8. Composer99-I absolutely agree that we are all capable of confirmation bias.It is a human trait to try and avoid cognitive dissonance as much as possible.What I observe in these pseudo-skeptics though,is willful disregard for objective facts,that is indistinguishable from outright lying.Maybe that's just my own bias talking.
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  9. @Robert Murphy 6
    I think he is talking about Dansgaard Oeschger events
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dansgaard%E2%80%93Oeschger_event

    But I think the 8C warming is local to Greenland.
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  10. I wasn't familiar with this Plimer dude, so I did a google scholar search on him (plimer i r). Looks like his background is in hard rock geology and mineralogy. In the first 5 or so pages of google scholar hits, I did not see a single peer reviewed paper that appeared to have anything to do with paleoclimate. His papers have titles like "Tourmalinites from the Golden Dyke dome, northern Australia;" "Exhalative Sn and W deposits associated with mafic volcanism as precursors to Sn and W deposits associated with granites;" "The origin of the albite-rich rocks enclosing the cobaltian pyrite deposit at Thackaringa, NSW, Australia;" etc. If there's a climate connection in any of them, I hope someone will point it out. Google scholar does, of course, include his "Heaven and Earth--Global Warming: the Missing Science." I would bet that this book was not subject to rigorous peer review. I will concede that he must be quite knowledgeable on geology - particularly minerals & rocks - but his specific area of expertise seems quite disconnected from what he writes about in his popular book. I contend that "the Missing Science" is the fact that nothing on his own CV suggests any stature or relevant research experience in the paleoclimate field.
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  11. A promotional flyer (http://www.iaq.com.au/images/Event%20Flyers/2009/IAQ%2023%20june%202009%20Flyer.pdf) states that Plimer "rejects the unscientific idea that the explanation of climate change can be reduced to one variable (CO2)..." Gee, last time I checked, scientists' consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report was that [anthropogenic???] radiative forcing was attributed to CO2, CH4 (methane), nitrous oxide, and CFC's. CO2's radiative forcing is ~1.5 W/m2. Sum of all the others is ~0.9 W/m2, so not insignficant at all. CO2 is a big one, but clearly it is wrong to suggest that the scientific community is reducing climate change to "one variable (CO2)." The flyer further states that "He [Plimer] rightly assumes that humans will be able to adapt to any future coolings or warmings." Funny how they have verified this assumption already, when we're just getting started with the warmup. I do agree that as a species, we will adapt and survive. However, I also believe it is wrong to assume that profligate dumping of greenhouse gases into the global atmosphere will be without serious consequences and costs to society. I believe it would me much more cost-effective, prudent, and conservative to be proactive on this issue: reduce energy demand, and adjust our energy portfolio by increasing non-polluting sources, and decreasing polluting sources.
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  12. Bernard (#3),
    I took a look at that posting, and it caused me pain.

    "Irreversible"? Well, yes, over thousands to millions of years. Over the course of a human lifetime or two, umm, no. But, the readers there jump all over the first 'yes', and conveniently ignore the fact that a reversal will not come soon enough for the great-great-...-great-grandchildren of anyone alive today.

    Sites like that are gathering places where people are free to make up their own facts, disregard others, overlook logical inconsistencies, and call well-established science "mantra". In that environment, there is no convincing someone to change their mind, because there is nothing tying them down to reality.

    People that get along there could come to sites like this one, but would quickly get frustrated by being restricted to claims that are relevant and can be substantiated. People from here could go there, but when they put out information that can readily be verified, and contradicts the information provided there, they are mocked, and the mockers receive applause.

    So, there are these fortresses that occasionally lob shots at one another, but for the most part, people in one don't communicate much with people in the other. And, meanwhile, the uncaring, unknowing masses proceed with BAU.
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  13. With regard to past atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures, a graph of the time series data over the past 800,000 years from Antarctic ice cores may be interesting. Below is a version (reduced from 609 pixels to 450 pixels wide) of Fig.1 in a paper by Alexey V. Byalko on the paleoclimate published in the journal Priroda [in Russian] (No.12, 2009, pp.18-28). The entire issue is downloadable as a pdf file (5 Mb).

    The x axis in the graph is time in thousands of years ago. In other words, "now" is zero on the left and the oldest data is on the far right. This is backwards to most graphs, which show "real" time (or "calendar" date) increasing from left to right. The green curve is a plot of methane (CH4) concentration in ppb, the blue curve is carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in ppm, and the red curve is a plot temperature deviation from the current average global temperature in degrees C.

    These plots may suggest how often atmospheric CO2 concentration exceeded 300 ppm during the past 800,000 years, how often and for how long the average global temperature was higher than it is now, and so on. I suppose the temperature decrease from about current temperature to -2 at the exit from the most recent deep ice age was associated with the Younger Dryas. This event seems clearest in the CH4 data, where a decrease from about 700 to about 550 ppb is seen.

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    Moderator Response:

    [Albatross] Fixed image width.

    [DB] As an FYI, the highest CO2 excursions in the ice core records is 298.7 ppm.

  14. Thank you for the post John. Nice of you to remind Plimer since he seems to have a memory deficiency… If it’s any consolation; he has not made the impact with us yanks as he has down under. BTW, I hope you and the others that made it had a nice time up here on the left coast this week.
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  15. I believe the term is kettle logic.
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  16. Mercury Scientist @ 11 writes – “I do agree that as a species, we will adapt and survive.”

    That depends on the speed with which change occurs. According to Hansen and others, what we can expect by 2100 is 4-5 metres rise in mean sea level and an increase of 4-6°C in average global temperature. And no one should think that this will be an equilibrium position. Sea level and temperature will continue rising long after 2100.

    We may well be able to adapt and survive such outcomes but in vastly reduced numbers and certainly not in our present socio-economic condition - but for how much longer beyond 2100? I for one do not share the optimism of Mercury Scientist. Unless we rapidly curb greenhouse gas emissions and do it now our ability to survive at all beyond 200 years or so is highly questionable.
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  17. I'm very much in agreement with the thrust of your remarks Agnostic but I don't think we should become too wedded to the 4-5m mean SLR/4-6°C rise in average global temperature by 2100 scenario.

    On the best data we have about likely human responses over the next decade, this scenario is plausible, and perhaps as likely as not. The broader point you make is that human interest doesn't stop at 2100 and whether humanity gets there by 2100 or 2200 is neither here nor there. Unless we can turn the rend around, sooner or later there will be a very much diminished biosphere for the probably more than 9 billion people living on Earth. In an inequitable world, we know how that narrative goes.

    To wink at this and talk of the possibility that over geological timescales, the biosphere will recover, is to take a reckless and sociopathic attitude to the welfare of billions of human beings and human progress itself. It's astonishing that people who speak this way are not condemned as the the scary radicals in this conflict.
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  18. John, page 121 of Plimer's book makes no mention of a 4 degree temperature rise due to CO2 - that page concerns mainly the Suns energy output.
    On page 186 Plimer comments that "The global warmth of the Cretaceous has been attributed to elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere". But, he follows on with the comment "However, there are some suggestions that the Cretaceous climate was decoupled from the CO2 content of the atmosphere".
    On page 278 when he states "Temperature and CO2 are not connected" this followed from the observation that "At 800,000 and 600,000 years ago, CO2 dropped below 180 ppmv yet temperature was unchanged".
    Plimer agrees CO2 in the atmosphere has a warming effect so his remark that it warms the planet does not seem contradictory.
    The logarithmic effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere coupled with the feedbacks (positive or negative) seem to be the contentious issues.
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  19. In agreement with #16, that it depends on the speed if we humans can adapt. I doubt that current biosphere can adapt at the same speed, so the humans left will run short on almost everything for the next couple of millions year.
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  20. Ross at #16, the quote about a 4 degree rise due to CO2 is referenced as on p. 121 of A Short History of Planet Earth. The reference is unclear in this post, but the Plimer vs. Plimer page shows it clearly.

    Amazon won't show me all of p. 278, but you are even wrong that "Temperature and CO2 are not connected" is said to follow from the 180 ppmv numbers. After the CO2 numbers, there is a full stop, and a new sentence, the entirety of which is "Temperature and CO2 are not connected." No attempt is made to show that these two points in time prove the general statement; it is just given as given. (But see the graph in #13 above to see just how correlated T and CO2 actually are, and how wrong Plimer is.) Of course the point is not what evidence he uses, but that in the same book he says that temperature and CO2 both are and are not connected.
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  21. In Fig. 3 in the paper referenced in #13 above, the time-lagged cross-correlations of CH4-T, CO2-T, and CH4-CO2 are plotted as a function of the time lag. The highest value of the CH4-T correlation is about 0.88 with CH4 slightly leading the temperature (T) in time. The highest CO2-T correlation value is about 0.82 with CO2 concentration following T with a time lag of about 2000 years (plus or minus 500 years).
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  22. @John Cook:

    Re the first sentence of the final paragraph of your article, how would one "...pore through Professor Enting's thorough document..."?
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    Moderator Response: [JH] I'm wiping the egg off my face. For my entire lifetime, I thought the phrase was "pour through." I guess I've never seen it in print before now.
  23. More for the Mill:

    On the burning of fossil fuels:
    Plimer A: “If humans burned all the fossil fuels on Earth, the atmospheric CO2 content would not even double”. Heaven and Earth, p293

    Plimer B: “The total amount of carbon in known fossil fuel could only produce 11 times the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere”. Heaven and Earth, p325
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  24. Mat L at #23.
    "Plimer B "The total amount in known fossil fuel could only produce 11 times the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere".

    I note from the book p325, prior to the quoted sentence, that Plimer states "In order to permanently double the the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere and keep the oceans and atmosphere balanced, the atmosphere needs to be supplied with 51 times the present amount of atmospheric CO2." He then follows with the comment "Unless we change the fundamental laws of of chemistry and change the way in which oceans work, humans do not have enough fossil fuel on Earth to permanently double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere."

    Further to Johnny Vector comment at #20, Plimer is of the view that at current CO2 levels, the majority of the warming occurs in the first 100ppm and that any warming after that is too small to be significant. (You also need to read all of page 278!).
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  25. Mat L, what is the context on these? Does it include rock weathering, time scales, etc?

    As unlikely as it is, (pretty much impossible in fact) I would not be surprised if Plimer made the argument that, even if all the crust' carbon was released in the atmosphere (and that would be 11 times the quantity currently present according to him), some processes would remove the excess carbon so that atmospheric concentration would remain only at twice pre-industrial levels.

    I have not read the book myself (and I will not spend money to acquire it), so I have to rely on others' accounts. Plimer has held a lot of undefensible positions on this but nonetheless any accusation of self contradiction must be carefully weighted. In Monckton's case, it is obvious that he says whatever sounds plausible at the moment to meet the need of the argument. With this particular Plimer's pearl, it could be part of an internally consistent form of reasoning; as removed from reality as it may be, it would still be more honest than Monckton's spur of the moments falsehoods.
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  26. re: survival of the species

    People say such things in the hope that they'll sound bold and optimistic, but the question isn't of survival of a species. What a terrible criterion. "Civilization may founder. Millions or billions may perish, but if enough hominids survive the destruction, well, keep up the good work. Carry on. As you were. Don't tax the carbon."

    Loons. We're surrounded by loons.
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  27. Re #24, 25, 26.

    Thanks Ross and Philippe, on re-reading the passage, you're both correct and I retract my accusation. It looks like I've been doing some cherry picking myself!
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  28. I see the good prof is writing books for kiddies now:
    ABC: Howard launches 'anti-warmist manual' for kids

    Anyone working on a collection of answers to his 101 questions?
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  29. @28

    I've tracked down the contents of Plimer's latest contribution to education:

    Table of Contents

    FOREWORD
    PREAMBLE FOR PUPILS, PARENTS AND PUNTERS
    INTRODUCTION

    1. HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE: WHY I AM SCEPTICAL
    A short history of planet Earth
    What warming?
    Follow the money
    Corruption, fraud and porky pies
    Snow, ice, floods and cyclones
    Fellow travellers

    2. SCIENCE
    The process of science
    Evolution of scientific ideas
    Models, predictions and adaptation
    Anti science

    3. CARBON DIOXIDE, WATER AND ICE
    Planetary degassing and carbon dioxide
    An innocent trace gas
    Another innocent trace gas
    Water and ice
    Sea level

    4. TEMPERATURE
    How do we measure global temperature?
    Urban effect
    Adjusting of measurements
    Hottest year on record

    5. HOW TO GET EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL
    Background
    Is climate change normal?
    One hundred and one questions.
    A guide for teachers, parents and punters

    REFERENCE

    I bet we could write this book by picking the relevant sections from the climate myths on this site and inserting them.

    I hope that the educators in Australia take umbrage at both Plimer's and John Howard's insulting excursions into the creationist's model of teaching science.

    Needless to say Jo Nova is giving P.limer's book a plug

    (Maybe SkS needs a section on the rogues gallery on Plimer called say "The Plimer Primer")
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  30. I find it very sad that Plimer, who made his public name with a stinging rebutal of creationism now is using creationist tactics as a play book. His strategy is, you don't need to convince the scientists if you can convince the public. And now, apparently, you don't need to convince adults if you can convince children. The less educated, the less well informed people are on the topic, the more Plimer wants to talk to them.

    The obvious reason is, the well educated and truly well informed will not be taken in by his brand of snake oil.
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  31. And I'm surprised that John Howard should surface out of retirement to support this rubbish. Regardless of his ideolocal background and political posturings I rather stupidly thought he had a better grasp of science than he is now demonstrating by helping Plimer launch this garbage.
    Interesting that they use the excuse of combatting the ideological indoctrination of children by themselves ideologically indoctrinating children.
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  32. There again it is easier than making your case against erudite and qualified professionals in the climate science community.
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  33. Stevo@31
    I too wonder why Plimer and Howard think it is acceptable to exploit children, let alone for such a transparently political one. I hope they get the parental backlash they surely deserve.

    Tom Curtis@30
    Precisely - it's gob-smacking coming from someone like Plimer, who shouted so loud and long against Creationism being given "equal time" in science classes about evolution.
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  34. Any chance of tackling Plimer's new book here at SkS? Soon? The fact that it's aimed directly at schoolchildren really concerns me (one suspects the caning H&E received at the hands of grown-up scientists may have had something to do with this!)
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    Moderator Response: [Rob P] Things are underway.
  35. Bernard J.@3: I read the article you linked and all I can do is cringe! As a non-scientist, the rabid Right must be treating me as if I were also a non-thinker.

    It is the blatancy of the misinformation from allegedly intelligent people like Rinehart, Plimer and Monckton which makes me despair of our civilisation. I'm not saying they are top of the class, but they are clearly smart enough in their own ways. At least John Howard has the excuse of only being a politician and thus susceptible to whatever little birdie last whispered in his ear, but a depressingly large number of parents might give Plimer's new book credence because Johnny helped launch it.

    As a species, we are showing nothing which fits us, or entitles us, to survival, present company excepted. Sad, really: I quite enjoy being alive and assume my descendants would have felt the same, given half a chance.
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  36. Stevo

    John Howard has never been someone who grasps science. Or anything else but basic legal matters and a relatively narrow political perspective on reality. Sad really. An extremely capable man who has such a narrow lens on the world. Plimer is speaking his idealogical language so he backs him.

    And unlike Paul Keating, Howard has never been able to articulate his views with passion and erudition. Rather he is a master of passion without erudition. How to put forward a strong story by appealing to the unspoken rather than the spoken. Never an orator, Howard was/is a master of finding the back-door, fumbling way into many peoples deepest senses of things. Not the great uneducated. Rather the great inarticulate. Which is not the same thing at all. And one of his great protege's is Tony Abbott. Lacking Howards rapier skill with the craft, rather a blunt instrument.

    Howards strength was appealing to the huge number of people who aren't stupid or uneducated, but for whom clarity of language expression is an alien world. Where everything is expressed through vague sub-text and what they seek is a sense of others who share the accepted sub-texts. For whom erudition is not just something they distrust. It is an alien mode of thinking.

    Never underestimate how many people can go through 12 years of education, learn their 3R's but still walk away from that with a sense that that was just 'book' learning, useful for some limited subset of life but not really relevent to 'what is important'. In fact seen as antithetical to 'what is important'.

    Many people, even some quite educated people, simply don't trust learning. Its not 'real' knowledge.
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  37. Glenn @ 36
    A good point, well made, sir. I must admit to seeing myself in the group of people who did not regard book learning as relevant to real life, until the day I was working to find the best power transmission solution for a client and found that if I'd paid closer attention in school to quadradics I'd have saved myself half a day's work and instead would have managed with just couple of minutes of calculations. For me that was a character building experience and led to a rethink about many of my old opinions.

    Certainly a reading of Howard's biography reveals an individaul who is primarily driven by ideology rather than altering his views in the face of emergent evidence.

    There again, rigidly adhering to one's policy is seen as political strength. Anything else will attract terms like back-fliper and flip-floper.
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  38. This Plimer guy is a bit of a berk really.

    There was an article by him the the Australian today:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/glacial-chill-ebbs-and-flows/story-e6frg6z6-1226224280587

    In it he states:

    "Antarctic ice core (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900; Mauna Loa Hawaiian measurements in 1960 show that the air then had 260ppm carbon dioxide.

    Either the ice core data is wrong, the Hawaiian carbon dioxide measurements are wrong, or the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was decreasing during a period of industrialisation."

    I looked up info on the CO2 record from that core:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/siple.html

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/siple-gr.gif

    Shows CO2 in 1900 @ 296 ppm approx. So, look to his source and he seems to be misquoting it.
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    Response:

    [DB] "Antarctic ice core (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900"

    The maximum CO2 concentration levels from any ice core record is 298.7 ppm.  Anyone who says otherwise will need to provide a linked citation to show that they are not simply making things up.  FYI.


    Edit:

    Per correction provided by the sage Tom Curtis below, my statement above lacked precision and thus accuracy.  My intended reference was that of any interglacial previous to the one we are in now.  Apologies.

  39. Catamon, actually it is worse than you think... the value he cites for Mauna Loa is bogus too.

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  40. DB inline @38, as of 1985, Sipple ice dome showed a concentration of 328 ppmv for an ice date of 1891, which corresponds to an air date of 1962 to 1983. As you know, the reason for the difference between ice and air dates is that freshly fallen snow has many interconnecting air pockets which allows fresh air to continue circulating within it. That is why burying yourself in the snow if caught in a blizzard is a survival technique, not an invitation to suffocation. As more layers of snow are laid on top, the layer beneath are gradually compressed until the turn to ice, thus sealing the air pockets from further contact with the open air. At this stage, several decades after the fall of the original snow, a sample of air is preserved for the future. The air pockets within the ice can be dated using C14, or by careful measurements on site to determine the period required for the air pockets to become sealed at that location.

    Given this, Plimer's deceit regarding the Sipple data is to not acknowledge this well known information (among those who study climate change) and to treat the ice data as the air date. In contrast to this typical misdirection, his claim about Mauna Loa is bizarre. In 1960 the annual mean CO2 concentration was 316.91 ppmv, 57 ppmv more than he claims. The lowest monthly record in 1960 was 313.84 ppmv.

    His technique of misdirection is apparent in his article several times. His long discussion of Arctic sea ice extents in the Holocene Climactic Optimum completely fails to mention the high arctic summer insolation of that time. At a later point he mentions refrozen melt water discovered at the base of the East Antarctic ice sheet, and manages to suggest that it was recent melt water rather than melt water from millions of years ago (as it actually is, if memory serves).

    A man who deliberately targets these deceits at children is utterly contemptible, IMO.
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    Response:

    [DB] "Sipple ice dome showed a concentration of 328 ppmv for an ice date of 1891"

    Tom you are very correct.  My earlier statement lacked precision and thus accuracy.  My intended reference was that of any interglacial previous to the one we are in now.  Apologies.

  41. In describing Ian Plimner’s new book, How to Get Expelled From School: a guide to climate change for pupils, pundits and parents, John Howard referred to leftie science teachers as being the problem regarding proper debate in relation to climate change. The book is supported by the Institute for Public Affairs, and the comments were made at the book’s launch at a meeting of mining company executives. Ian Plimner, and his fellow IPA scientist mate Bob Carter, have attacked the scientific consensus related to climate change; that global warming is occurring and is causing climate change and is due to excess human emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. In trying to debunk this hypothesis, they have also attacked the integrity of world’s climate scientists. They have attacked the integrity of the national science academies of the world’s leading nations. They have attacked the stance made by many of the world’s leading companies. They have attacked the integrity of the scientific process and now, in publishing this new book, he and John Howard have attacked the integrity of the nation’s science teachers. Is there nothing and no one that these climate deniers will besmirch in order to deny the basic scientific hypothesis: “That carbon dioxide is increasing, average global temperatures are increasing and that climate change is occurring at an unprecedented historical rate and it is due to human activities”?

    However, Plimner and his IPA and conservative political mates like Howard, do not attempt to disprove the hypothesis, they simply deny it. They have conducted no scientific research related to climate change and they have published no scientific papers related to climate change in the recognized scientific journals for peer review and scrutiny by recognized climate scientists. What have they done? Nothing. Instead they publish their politically motivated scientifically distorted views in the public media because what they are saying is so scientifically inconsistent that the mainstream scientific media won’t print it.

    And how do they do it? Make statements like Plimner’s “undersea volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans do”. Do we see the research? Have we seen the Plimner undersea volcano survey with its CO2 measurements from a representative sample of volcanoes? No, we see Plimner’s estimates of what he thinks are the number of volcanoes and how much CO2 he estimates is emitted. Now this type of pseudo scientific research might be enough to fool the popular media but it will not fool reputable climate scientists.

    Like any good propagandists, deniers of the likes of Plimner (and Carter, Monkton, Spencer, McIntyre, and Lindzen et. al.) will use their scientific credentials gained in other fields and use most of the truth to appear credible but in doing so confuse the scientifically uninformed. In reality, they fail or neglect to clearly explain scientifically; how greenhouse gases can be increasing, how temperatures are increasing, how climate change is occurring, and is having significant impact on the biosphere that we all rely on for life and how all this is natural.

    Plimner might be a good mining geologist and mining CEO but as a climate scientist, he is a dud.
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  42. There is a new review of Plimer's latest in The Australian by geologist Mike Sandiford. He also has picked up on the many contradictions in Plimer's works, and a few fundamental errors. Well worth the read.
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