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4.0 out of 5 stars Plimer sets out a convincing but self-evidently controversial argument, 6 July 2009
This review is from: Heaven And Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science (Hardcover)
Ian Plimer has had a distinguished career in academia, presently holding the position of Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, where he was Professor and Head from 1991-2005.

At almost 500 pages (and 2311 footnotes), Plimer takes the reader through a geological and environmental history of the planet. His recounting of geological history is linked closely to human societal trends, where he makes the close link between climate and the relative successes and failures of human society. He asserts that periods when the climate was "warm" were ultimately positive for societies, with colder periods linked to population declines, wars and, in some cases, extinction of whole civilisations.

Plimer argues that climate change is not occurring, or at least that any climate change that is occurring is not directly attributable to man. He argues that the climate today is in fact "cooler" than in more recent periods, such as the times when the Roman Empire was emerging and was at its cultural and economic peak.

Plimer sets out a convincing but self-evidently controversial argument, attacking declarations about carbon pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, the evidence presented in the UN's IPCC reports and the questionable benefits of emission-trading and carbon reductions systems. His argument centres on climate being far more sophisticated and complex than some have asserted. He argues that looking at atmospheric climate alone, without proper consideration of the entire environmental system, is flawed.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2009 10:02:03 BDT
Objectivist says:
If what this reviewer were true, Plimer's book would be useful. However, looking at the '2311 footnotes', Plimer's claims fall apart.

One severe problem with Plimer's arguments as set-out in his book, is that he refuses to answer reasonable questions in a format that forces him to answer the points and stops him from changing the subject. Like other climate science quibblers, as soon as an interviewer challenges a claim, he changes the subject, again and again. This is a dishonest tactic. If Plimer wants to be taken seriously, he must answer the questions. George Monbiot demanded the ability for cross-examination, effectively preventing the dishonest tactic of evading the question.

Plimer has made a series of excuses about why he can't or shouldn't need to answer Monbiot's questions.
After-all, if Plimer is right, what has he got to lose?
If Plimer is proved right about his claims, then we have a right to know.
If Plimer is being dishonest [comparing the evidence with Plimer's claims, it's hard to conclude otherwise], we have the right to know.
Until then, Plimer has destroyed any shred of his own credibility.

Sample question
'2. Figure 3 (page 25) is a graph purporting to show that most of the warming in the 20th Century took place before 1945, and was followed by a period of sharp cooling. You cite no source for it, but it closely resembles the global temperature graph in the first edition of Martin Durkin's film The Great Global Warming Swindle. Durkin later changed the graph after it was shown to have been distorted by extending the timeline.

In your book it remains unchanged.

Tim Lambert has reproduced the graph here.

a. What is the source for the graph you used?

b. Where was it first published?

c. Whose figures does it use?

d. How do you explain the alteration of both the curves and the timeline?'

To learn about the questions, search for:
'Let battle commence! Climate change denialist ready for the fight' Monbiot Guardian

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2009 17:06:16 BDT
R. B. Dennis says:
Professor Ian Plimer is not a denialist - he is a realist. In the final analysis, what he is actually saying in the book is that it is just ridiculous to blame one single factor in a highly complex equation (that contains many other variables) for a specific outcome.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2009 05:44:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2009 11:07:14 BDT
Objectivist says:
Only the dishonest and the ignorant claim that climate is driven by a single factor. This kind of argument has served the denialists well, because the public rarely appreciate the dishonesty involved.
This is a straw man argument - fallacious reasoning used by the unprincipled to win an argument by deception.
Recommended reading: Straight and Crooked Thinking

If anyone had read the IPCC reports then they would know his claim was untrue.

What the IPCC says:
Chapter 1
Page 96
Frequently Asked Question 1.1
What Factors Determine Earth's Climate?
'There are three fundamental ways to change the radiation balance of the Earth:
1) by changing the incoming solar radiation (e.g., by changes in Earth's orbit or in the Sun itself);
2) by changing the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected (called `albedo'; e.g., by changes in cloud cover, atmospheric particles or vegetation); and
3) by altering the longwave radiation from Earth back towards space (e.g., by changing greenhouse gas concentrations).
Climate, in turn, responds directly to such changes, as well as indirectly, through a variety of feedback mechanisms.'

Search IPCC AR4 report Historical Overview of Climate Change Science

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2009 15:40:17 BDT
A word count on the scientific section of the IPCC AR4 reveals scant mention of Albedo, emissivity or indeed of the Stefan-Boltzman equation.
What is revealed is that the relationship between CO2 ppm and temperature is calculated using the derivitive Arrhenius equation which assumes constant Albedo and emissivity. It here that the IPCC dupes us all for it is a manifestly untrue assumption and totally contrary to scientific methodology. Plimer, in his book, righfully places the CO2 influence on climate in perspective and effectively demolishes the IPCC stance.

Posted on 6 Mar 2010 18:40:45 GMT
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