A brick through Australia's AGW window

This article from the Sydney Morning herald came with the message from Bruce saying:  “a brick through the AGW window in Australia”. After reading it, and seeing that it is based on a book Heaven and Earth soon to be released by prominent Australian geologist Dr. Ian Plimer, I’ll have to agree. But as usually happens, he’ll probably be labeled a “denier” or an “advocate” as Gavin calls them, and ignored. Still, it is worth reading, since the journalist that has written it seems to question his own past writings. – Anthony

Beware the climate of conformity

Paul Sheehan Sydney Morning Herald

April 13, 2009

What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let’s see.

The subject of this column is not small. It is a book entitled Heaven And Earth, which will be published tomorrow. It has been written by one of Australia’s foremost Earth scientists, Professor Ian Plimer. He is a confronting sort of individual, polite but gruff, courteous but combative. He can write extremely well, and Heaven And Earth is a brilliantly argued book by someone not intimidated by hostile majorities or intellectual fashions.

The book’s 500 pages and 230,000 words and 2311 footnotes are the product of 40 years’ research and a depth and breadth of scholarship. As Plimer writes: “An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.”

The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia’s most eminent geologist. As such, he thinks about time very differently from most of us. He takes the long, long view. He looks at climate over geological, archaeological, historical and modern time. He writes: “Past climate changes, sea-level changes and catastrophes are written in stone.”

Much of what we have read about climate change, he argues, is rubbish, especially the computer modelling on which much current scientific opinion is based, which he describes as “primitive”. Errors and distortions in computer modelling will be exposed in time. (As if on cue, the United Nations’ peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)

Plimer does not dispute the dramatic flux of climate change – and this column is not about Australia’s water debate – but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time. “It is little wonder that catastrophist views of the future of the planet fall on fertile pastures. The history of time shows us that depopulation, social disruption, extinctions, disease and catastrophic droughts take place in cold times … and life blossoms and economies boom in warm times. Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age.”

If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years. The ice caps of the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland are geologically unusual. Polar ice has only been present for less than 20 per cent of geological time. What follows is an intense compression of the book’s 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:

Is dangerous warming occurring? No.

Is the temperature range observed in the 20th century outside the range of normal variability? No.

The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and redistribution of solar energy. Despite this crucial relationship, the sun tends to be brushed aside as the most important driver of climate. Calculations on supercomputers are primitive compared with the complex dynamism of the Earth’s climate and ignore the crucial relationship between climate and solar energy.

“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. Yet when astronomers have the temerity to show that climate is driven by solar activities rather than CO2 emissions, they are dismissed as dinosaurs undertaking the methods of old-fashioned science.”

Over time, the history of CO2 content in the atmosphere has been far higher than at present for most of time. Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise. CO2 is not a pollutant. Global warming and a high CO2 content bring prosperity and longer life.

The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology. “But evidence no longer matters. And any contrary work published in peer-reviewed journals is just ignored. We are told that the science on human-induced global warming is settled. Yet the claim by some scientists that the threat of human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech. It has no mathematical or evidential basis.”

Observations in nature differ markedly from the results generated by nearly two dozen computer-generated climate models. These climate models exaggerate the effects of human CO2 emissions into the atmosphere because few of the natural variables are considered. Natural systems are far more complex than computer models.

The setting up by the UN of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 gave an opportunity to make global warming the main theme of environmental groups. “The IPCC process is related to environmental activism, politics and opportunism. It is unrelated to science. Current zeal around human-induced climate change is comparable to the certainty professed by Creationists or religious fundamentalists.”

Ian Plimer is not some isolated gadfly. He is a prize-winning scientist and professor. The back cover of Heaven And Earth carries a glowing endorsement from the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Numerous rigorous scientists have joined Plimer in dissenting from the prevailing orthodoxy.

Heaven And Earth is an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.

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Dr. Plimer [from the article]:
“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science.”
Which is why those arguing the AGW/CO2 hypothesis are reduced to making ad-hominem attacks instead of debating the science. They lack the facts necessary to support their increasingly far-fetched CO2/runaway global warming conjecture.
It looks like Dr. Plimer’s book will be well worth reading. Here’s one of his 10-minute lectures: click

pete

Anyone have a reference for what this quote is referring to?
“As if on cue, the United Nations’ peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)”

MarcH

The Geologists were right! We’ll never listen to Prince Tim again…
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2532992.htm

chad

“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science”
This is totally a strawman. This isn’t describing the science at all. The forcing charts in the IPCC reports don’t simply contain “co2”.
“Despite this crucial relationship, the sun tends to be brushed aside as the most important driver of climate.”
Another strawman. Noone has brushes aside that it’s the most important driver over thousands of years – the IPCC report again contains this info. However the evidence is *currently* against it being the most important driver of climate in recent decades.
“Calculations on supercomputers are primitive compared with the complex dynamism of the Earth’s climate and ignore the crucial relationship between climate and solar energy.”
Which is? To claim scientists are ignoring some aspect sounds nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Why would (or rather *how* could) scientists worldwide for decades ignore some aspect of the physics which this guy claims to know about?
“Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise.”
This is classic school-boy error. Please direct him to Lindzen and Roy Spencer who will correct him.

James Griffin

Anthony,
Can you send this article to the Catlin Expedition?
I am sure it would cheer them up no end!

David L. Hagen

Ian Plimer provides the rare qualities of common sense and perspective in climate change. See: The Inconvenient Professor
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 1 of 5)
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 2 of 5)
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 3 of 5)
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 4 of 5)
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 5 of 5)
With 2,311 footnotes I hazard a guess that Plimer provides some scientific backing to his arguments!
For a fascinating perspective see:
It’s the Climate Warming Models, Stupid! Gregory Young, March 31, 2009

Compounding the problems of inaccuracy in climate models is their subsequent and de facto publication, virtually assured if the study is favorable to AGW. Reporting in the journal Energy and Environment, Volume 19, Number 2, March 2008, Evidence for “publication Bias” Concerning Global Warming in Science and Nature by Patrick J. Michaels has found significant evidence for the AGW penchant in his survey of the two premier magazines, namely Science and Nature. Astoundingly, he found that it’s more than 99.999% probable that Climate studies’ extant forecasts are biased in these two publications.

citing:
Evidence for “publication Bias” Concerning Global Warming in Science and Nature, Michaels, Patrick J. Energy & Environment, Volume 19, Number 2, March 2008 , pp. 287-301(15)

Abstract:
The climate research community believes that published findings on global warming will have an equal probability of raising or lowering forecasts of climate change and its impact. This is a testable hypothesis based upon the recent literature and the assumption that extant forecasts are themselves unbiased. A survey of Science and Nature demonstrates that the likelihood that recent literature is not biased in a positive or negative direction is less than one in 5.2 × 10-16. This has considerable implications for the popular perception of global warming science, for the nature of “compendia” of climate change research, such as the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change, and for the political process that uses those compendia as the basis for policy.

Mike Bryant

Speaking of Australia, Jennifer Marohasy has this:
http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/04/fossil-fuels-fail-to-explain-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-levels/#more-4778
“Most CO2 from fossil fuels is emitted in the northern hemisphere and it takes at least six months to spread to the southern hemisphere, which means that concentrations in the northern hemisphere should go up before they do in the southern hemisphere. In fact, they go up simultaneously, which suggests that manmade CO2 emissions are not the only contributor to the rise in global CO2 and there must be some other source.”

This follows my views quite well. Natual variability is without question much greater than the small change we’ve seen. Claims of faster than ever are ludicrous because we don’t know what the temp was 200 years ago.
The IPCC would cease to exist if they found global warming to be false, not dangerous or easily solved. Its very formation guaranteed that these three questions would be answered, its man made and real, it’s very dangerous and it’s very expensive to fix.
If any of those 3 items were missing, the IPCC would have to close its doors.

Greg

Chad,
Given that all of your quotes follow the words: “What follows is an intense compression of the book’s 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:”
Wouldn’t it be worth waiting for the actual book to come out before passing judgment? I am sure the 500 pages condensed by a journalist may contain some errors. As to whether the actual book contains “classic school-boy errors” remains to be seen.

gary gulrud

“An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.”
And amalgamation, itself, might be thought a talent, or collection of same, which varies between individuals of equivalent intelligence, e.g., the ability to see that a belief in one discipline impacts a belief in another.

jack mosevich

Chad: I believe the IPCC reports/predictions are based on model runs assuming a doubling of CO2 and that may be what Plimer is refering to. Do you know if they also perturb other variables? e.g. TSI?

Aron

The IPCC would cease to exist if they found global warming to be false, not dangerous or easily solved. Its very formation guaranteed that these three questions would be answered, its man made and real, it’s very dangerous and it’s very expensive to fix.
The internet was invented to bring scientists together so they could collaborate. There has been a deviation from that goal because of the selfish egotistical political activists.
The IPCC for all its faults has become more and more realistic and doubtful as each year passes even if it is just a little bit at a time. When the AGW house of cards falls they’ll simply move on to being a panel devoted to preventing disasters caused by natural climate change. That’s a good reason for its existence everyone can all get behind. Scientists should not be divided by the political aspirations of the few.

Carbone

chad,
sure… and who are YOU?

crosspatch

“Which is why those arguing the AGW/CO2 hypothesis are reduced to making ad-hominem attacks instead of debating the science. They lack the facts necessary to support their increasingly far-fetched CO2/runaway global warming conjecture.”
The thing is that it doesn’t matter what is thought by the people that actually dig into the subject and with a little research come to learn that the whole AGW problem is a marketing scam … what matters is what the huge majority of people who get their news from Facebook and MTV believe.
AGW is about collecting votes to propel a certain political agenda. It isn’t really about climate or the environment at all. So it doesn’t matter if the entire thing is exposed as a fraud …. after their people have been elected to office and funneled the funds to their cronies.

Jeff

Just pre-ordered it, prepublication discount was $10 with $9 shipping to USA.

David L. Hagen

In his lecture Prof. Plimer provides an excellent summary of
the “simple” solutions to climate change.

It’s easy to stop climate change.
All we have to do is:
* STOP bacteria doing what bacteria do
* STOP ocean currents changing
* STOP plate tectonics and continent movement
* STOP orbital changes to Earth
* STOP variations in energy released from Sun
* STOP orbit of Solar System in Galaxy
* STOP surpernoval eruptions

See: Part 5 of 5 at 4:51/7:38

David L. Hagen

YouTube link correction?
Human Induced Climate Change – Ian Plimer (part 5 of 5) at about 4:51/7:38

Douglas DC

How can one make ANY conclusions without reading the book-I plan to get one.
as the snow falls lightly outside my humple cottage in the Blue Mtns. of NE Oregon…

Ellie in Belfast

“…a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.” Good phrase. Most ordinary people I know who believe in AGW to at least some extent are happy to do the first, but the reason they believe is because the possible existence of any ideology or subversion has gone totally over their heads.

Mark
Ian Schumacher

chad (13:31:36) :
Well at least you didn’t prove his point by jumping immediately to insults and attacks … oh wait …

Thanks for posting the review; this looks like something I’ll want to read when it comes out.

Just Want Truth...

5 minute video speech from Ian Plimer :

James P

Good summary. I hope the book gets the exposure it deserves.

Dermot Carroll

Anthony,
Perhaps you can let us know when the book is available online?

Jeff Id: “The IPCC would cease to exist if they found global warming to be false” Any bets?
I am sure it wouldn´t. It is not about climate and It was not from the beginning.

What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits?
That’s a rather graceful way for someone to concede they might have been wrong in the past. I somehow or other think that rather a lot of people will be looking for similar words very soon.

Dermot Carroll (15:09:09) :
I already signed up in Amazon for it. They will sen me an email when available.

Graeme Rodaughan

Current zeal around human-induced climate change is comparable to the certainty professed by Creationists or religious fundamentalists.”

Heaven And Earth is an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.

Love those comments above pointing out the similarities between the AGW Movement and fundamentalist religeous belief (of any persuasion), and the appeal to evidence over conformity to Orthodoxy.
AGW Belief = Mind Slavery.

Chuck Rushton

” Mark (14:48:21) : RealClimate.org is not too keen on geologists. ”
Well, even those of us with *lowly* B.S. degrees in Geology aren’t necessarily all that thrilled with RealClimate.org either. A mutual admiration society ?
🙂
Geologists tend to take a really L-O-N-G view of all things related to the Earth – 10 or 100 or 1000 years is hardly a blip on the scale of time – and change.

My post here.
Simon
Australian Climate Madness

John Edmondson

Benjamin Disraeli said in the 19th Century “there are lies, damned lies and statistics”
Now we have lies, damned lies, statistics and the IPCC climate model.

Louis Hissink

Pete,
I would be grateful if that reference is found – IPCC admitting fault publicly doesn’t seem easy to find. Perhaps Anthony could highlight it as a separate thread.
As a geologist who studied under Plimer, I can but agree with him totally.
Incidentally Plimer is scheduled to deliver a lecture on this in Perth. Western Australia, later this year under the auspices of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists; I am the AIG News editor.

sky

One would think that thermodynamics, especially its Second Law, might have found a place in the long list of sciences that Plimer considers requisite for understanding climate. Nevertheless, I look forward to reading his book.

Robert Wood

idlex @15:34:44
Only the early “transposers” will be able to hold their head high, legitimately. The rest will be just camp followers and bandwagoners.

Robert Wood

There are lies, damn lies, statistics and computer models.

Chad….Chad, Chad… [snip] Chad…
“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science”
This is totally a strawman. This isn’t describing the science at all. The forcing charts in the IPCC reports don’t simply contain “co2″.
Other factors are used in the IPCC report but this criticism was not leveled at the IPCC, but rather the mitigation efforts proposed by Activists (like my friend Chad here) target CO2 because it is weighted by content to be the main driver in climate and the primary forcing mechanism to reach the “fabled” tipping point to generate run-away feedbacks.
“Despite this crucial relationship, the sun tends to be brushed aside as the most important driver of climate.”
Another strawman. No one has brushes aside that it’s the most important driver over thousands of years – the IPCC report again contains this info. However the evidence is *currently* against it being the most important driver of climate in recent decades.
Actually Chad the IPCC does brush solar influence away as a driver in modern times, and by drowning out the influence of solar forcings with GHG forcings and positive feedbacks as being dominant they attribute a rather small portion of warming to solar variance at all. They contend that it has limited to no influence on modern temperatures beyond being a constant input.
“Calculations on supercomputers are primitive compared with the complex dynamism of the Earth’s climate and ignore the crucial relationship between climate and solar energy.”
Which is? To claim scientists are ignoring some aspect sounds nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Why would (or rather *how* could) scientists worldwide for decades ignore some aspect of the physics which this guy claims to know about?
The point here is that the literally thousands of coupled factors in the climate system cannot be represented by the relatively primitive computer models that we use to predict climate. There is not enough known about the coupled systems to accurately represent them via a model. Much of the “physics” as you call them are clearly shown by the IPCC to be in the realm of poorly understood.
“Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise.”
This is classic school-boy error. Please direct him to Lindzen and Roy Spencer who will correct him.
I am not sure what school boy error you mean unless it is the ice core data that clearly shows this pattern in CO2 behavior, or the numerous studies that show a warming ocean and non-foliaged land mass releases more CO2 than it absorbs? I do not recall this statement refuted by by the Scientists in question, If I am mistaken please direct me to Lindzen and Spencer’s comments directly about CO2 and past changes where CO2 concentrations were a driver of these changes.

wws

Interesting to note that the warmist trolls now monitor this blog and try to respond quickly to any posts that they see as a threat to their orthodoxy.
Congratulations Anthony! You’re on their radar screen!!

Rachelle Young

I’ve asked Amazon to send me alert when this book is available, but if you can arrange to list it on your website with a link to Amazon I will buy it through you. It’s only right since you brought it to our attention. Have a look at Hawks anthropology weblog,
http://johnhawks.net/weblog
He gets a little extra money by recommending good books on his site.

Jon Jewett

Did you ever see the movie Peter Pan?
Towards the end Tinkerbelle drinks the poison meant for Peter and is dying.
Peter turns to the audience and says: “if you believe….if you really believe enough, clap your hands and Tinkerbelle will live!”
Boys and Girls, if you don’t believe and if you don’t clap your hands, Al’s Fairy Tale is going to die!
Regards,
Steamboat Jack

Rathtyen

It is important to note that The Sydney Morning Herald is the mainstream politically left newspaper in Sydney. It, together with its Melbourne based stable-mate, “The Age” have pretty much led the CO2-Global Warming Disaster hysteria in the Australian press.
The article itself isn’t that significant, it’s the fact that it’s in a bastion on one-eyed narrow-mindedness, particularly when it comes to any topic relating to the climate.
Given the cool temperatures we are getting in this “heating world”, all that pesky ice at our “ice-free Poles”, and rain in our “never-ending droughts”, perhaps the SMH is finally starting to see the bleeding obvious!

Edward Mitchell

@CHAD
You post using skeptic terminology, but you respond with logical fallacies of your own. Your responses include:
– an “Appeal to belief”
– an “Appeal to Authority”
– an “Appeal to Popularity”
– an “Appeal to Ridicule”
– “Begging the Question”
– “Biased sample”
– As well as “Ad Hominem” and “Ad Hominem Tu Quoque”
Any skeptic worth his salt will use more then a biased sources, they look at “ALL” sides to form an opinion. In the future CHAD, do your homework, look at non-biased sources, and yes, spelling and grammar count in a written debate.
Logical fallacies list with definitions, source 1
Logical fallacies list with definitions, source 2
Logical fallacies list with definitions, source 3

Just Want Truth...

This man is yet more prestigious name in science that is speaking up!
Clearly the tide is turning in the scientific world. It’s turning slow as the Queen Mary, but it’s turning. And all the yelling from the environmentalists and politicians can’t stop it.
BYW, has there been any converts to the alarmists side? I haven’t heard of any names in a long time who have changed over to the alarmists side.
But I have seen there’s a second edition of the Hockey Stick which is just as flawed as the first. The picture of the graph seems to pop up every where in Google anyway when you type in the words “Medieval Warming Period”. There must be some people burning the midnight oil posting that graph high and low in the internet.

Keith Minto

Paul Sheehan is a thoughtful and respected journalist and author and his comments on Ian Plimer’s book should stir some discussion. Have a look at any letters in the SMH in the days to come.

Ian Castles

There is no evidence that Disraeli ever referred to ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’. Mark Twain made this attribution in his Autobiography, published 25 years after Disraeli’s death.
One early use of a version of the phrase (though still made more than a decade after the death of Disraeli) was in an address by Robert Giffen, the chief statistician at the British Board of Trade to the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science meeting at Hobart, Tasmania in 1892:
‘An old jest runs to the effect that there are three degrees of comparison among liars. There are liars, there are outrageous liars, and there are scientific experts. This has lately been adapted to throw dirt upon statistics… There are lies, there are outrageous lies, and there are statistics. Statisticians can afford to laugh at and profit by jests at their expense.’

Steve Schapel

You know what’s the best thing about this? It’s that Paul Sheehan has demonstrated himself to be a man of quality and a man of integrity. He has
provided an example of how to handle being provided with information that does not support his beliefs. This is unlike so many AGW alarmists who, presented with increasing evidence over recent years that CO2 is not a significant factor in dangerous climate change, have responded with increasing irrationality. It is tremendously heartening to see someone being willing to open their minds to another point of view, and report it so clearly and professionally.

Edward Mitchell

Why do a lot of these “new hockey stick” graphs state that the “Medieval Warming Period” was a warm period, but the zero point is set during that time, the warming data is “flattened”, as well as the LIA data?

Neville

Plimer’s doesn’t seem to be the only ‘thunder from downunder’ on global warming. It seems there’s another book called Air Con being released shortly:

Don’t know whether it’s coming here but Amazon have it listed too:
http://www.amazon.com/Air-Con-Seriously-Inconvenient-Warming/dp/0958240140/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239671078&sr=1-4

Neville
Robert Bateman

If the Earth was capable of storing excess Solar Energy in the form of fossilized or liquid biomass once, it’s capable of doing it again.
The only other form of energy on Earth that is not related to the Sun is weak nuclear, which was formed not in our Sun, but in a nova from a larger star.
Even gravitational is primarily forced by the Sun (tidal) and the Moon.
From the standpoint of Astronomy, there is no other force acting upon Earth that surpasses the Sun. For man to usurp a star’s influence is preposterous and unimaginable, yet some still cling to it like Epicycles. Give it up. Copernicus showed the way a long time ago.