Climate change – is the ‘missing science’ really missing?

The now infamous skeptic Professor Ian Plimer  launched his seventh book last week, titled “Heaven and Earth, Global Warming: The Missing Science“. Apparently Plimer, a Professor of Mining and Geology from the University of Adelaide is aiming to ‘refute every scientific argument that humans are responsible for global warming’. Remember that this is the same Professor who believes that “… the Great Barrier Reef will benefit from rising seas, that there is no correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature, that only 0.1 % of carbon dioxide emissions are due to human activities, and that 96% of the greenhouse effect is due to water vapour.”

Professor Plimer said his book would “knock out every single argument we hear about climate change”, to prove that global warming is a cycle of the Earth.

“It’s got nothing to do with the atmosphere, it’s about what happens in the galaxy.

“You’ve got to look at the whole solar system and, most importantly, we look back in time.

“There’s a lot of talk out there that there isn’t any science that supports my view, but I have 2111 scientific references in this book.”

Following the booklaunch, the Australian newspaper published an entertaining read titled ‘Climate sceptics ready to storm heaven with earth’s geological history‘, detailing the plight of Dr Barry Brook, who as the head of Adelaide University’s Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to academic debate (apparently Dr Brook is ill-fated enough to share a hallway just metres away from the good Professor Plimer)

Defending climatologists and thousands of other scientists, Barry Brook, who heads Adelaide University’s Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, poured cold water on Professor Plimer’s book and said his colleague had only used “selective evidence” when quoting more than 200 scientists and from peer-reviewed papers.

Professor 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”, he said.

“Plausible to conspiracy theorists, perhaps, but hardly a sane world view, and insulting to all those genuinely committed to real science.”

Is the ‘missing science’ really missing? Over at Brave New Climate, Professor Brook systematically dismantles Plimer’s arguments:

Ian Plimer’s book is a case study in how not to be objective. Decide on your position from the outset, and then seek out all the facts that apparently support your case, and discard or ignore all of those that contravene it. He quotes a couple of thousand peer-reviewed scientific papers when mounting specific arguments. What Ian doesn’t say is that the vast majority of these authors have considered the totality of evidence on the topic of human-induced global warming and conclude that it is real and a problem. Some researchers have show that the Earth has been hotter before, and that more CO2 has been present in the atmosphere in past ages. Yes, quite — this is an entirely uncontroversial viewpoint. What is relevant now is the rate of climate change, the specific causes, and its impact on modern civilisation that is dependent, for agricultural and societal security, a relatively stable climate. Ian pushes mainstream science far out of context, again and again.

Perhaps most telling is the following ABC radio interview with Kurt Lambeck, Professor of Geophysics at Australian National University, and the President of the Australian Academy of Science. Lambeck was extensively cited by Plimer in one of the chapters of “Heaven and Earth, Global Warming”, and he doesn’t appear to be very happy at how Plimer has interpreted his work:


Seems like Plimer has adopted the Bob Carter obfuscation approach to climate skepticism. I’m surprised that his words carry so much weight, and echo Lambeck’s concern that “Heaven and Earth, Global Warming” has ‘… the potential to derail any political commitment to action on climate change in Australia’.

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