Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flatearthing VI - Ian Plimer

A former Australian Prime Minister launched a children's book at the Sydney Mining Club by Professor Ian Plimer on the evening of December 12th 2011. The book is described as "an anti-global warmist manual for the younger reader" and is a follow-up to Prof. Plimer's Heaven and Earth.

James Randerson, a Guardian columnist who interviewed him about that work writes: "I found him to be one of the most difficult and evasive interviewees I have spoken to in my career, frequently veering off on tangents rather than answering the question I had put." and that Plimer dismissed critisicms of his book as "pathetic nit-picking". He points out that the first diagram in the book has two major errors, whch this reader understands to mean that the whole tenet of the book is basically wrong. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/dec/14/climate-change-sceptic-ian-plimer

Barry Brook, head of Adelaide University's Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability writes:
"In short, my view was that Ian’s assertions about man’s role in climate change were naive, reflected a poor understanding of climate science, and relied on recycled and distorted arguments that had been repeatedly refuted."

The Australian (April 23 2009) quotes him as saying " [Plimer's] stated view of climate science is that a vast number of extremely well respected scientists and a whole range of specialist disciplines have fallen prey to delusional self-interest and become nothing more than unthinking ideologues", and "Plausible to conspiracy theorists, perhaps, but hardly a sane world view, and insulting to all those genuinely committed to real science."

The Australian Science Media Centre has a collection of critiques of Palmer's Heaven and Earth, all from reputable scientists. Here are a few extracts:

"Plimer’s book has many errors in it. Below I draw particular attention to his misinterpretation of sea-level changes and their significance, and comment on his misrepresentation of the IPCC."
Professor Colin Woodroffe

“In 2008 I debated Ian Plimer on one of Sydney’s top rating radio stations about the facts and fiction surrounding climate change. All of what he had to say was either patently untrue or horribly misleading. "
Professor Matthew England

"The most disappointing aspect of this book is the wide use of subjective and often emotive text, unbecoming of a scientific treatise..."
Dr Graeme Pearman

In previous publications Plimer has expressed the viewpoint that the present warming is principally due to ‘natural’ forcings rather than anthropogenic CO2. The evidence included in the 2007 IPCC Report explicitly refutes this.”
Dr Harvey Marchant

“I have also twice debated climate change in public with Ian Plimer. His position is a combination of sound geological knowledge which is irrelevant to the debate about climate change, and a wilful misunderstanding of recent climate science.
Professor Ian Lowe

Wikipedia also has a few things to say about the learned professor, including:
"Scientists from many disciplines have reviewed the book, and have accused Plimer of misrepresenting sources,[34][35] misusing data,[36][34][37] and engaging in conspiracy theories.[38][39] They describe the book as unscientific,[40] and containing numerous errors from which Plimer draws false conclusions."

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that Plimer's claim [that undersea volcanoes emit huge amounts of CO2] "has no factual basis."

Wikipedia also mentions that Palmer is a director of three Australian mining companies and an associate of the Institute on Public Affairs.

And as a footnote, former PM John Howard is not the first prominent Australian Liberal Party member to lionise Ian Palmer.

"I think that in response to the IPCC alarmist — in inverted commas — view, there've been quite a lot of other reputable scientific voices. Now not everyone agrees with Ian Plimer's position, but he is a highly credible scientist and he has written what seems like a very well-argued book refuting most of the claims of the climate catastrophists."
Tony Abbott, leader of the Opposition, Sydney Morning Herald 2009

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