More climate delusionism and questionable science

Poor Bob. Looks like no-one is taking him seriously these days, according to a recent post over at Jennifer Marohasy’s blog:

“PROMINENT scientists with long publications records, such as Bob Carter, are routinely described by the media as not being climate scientists and really not reputable scientists at all if they aren’t on the alarmist bandwagon”

On his website, Bob defines himself as a palaeontologist, stratigrapher, marine geologist and environmental scientist”. A quick search of the Web of Science database for publications shows that RM Carter has indeed had a pretty prolific career for a scientist since 1970, publishing 74 papers in scientific journals. The vast number of these are indeed focused on Bob’s background – geology and stratigraphy. But how would this qualify Bob to be a ‘climate scientist’? The vast majority of Bob’s claims of  ‘expertise’ seems to come in the form of opinion pieces, letters to newspaper editors and media relationships (warning of ‘Global Cooling‘, or giving lectures on ‘the myth of dangerous human-caused climate change’). There’s a reason no-one will take Bob Carter seriously – his ‘long publication record’ doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, and there is a complete lack of understanding or science to back up the majority of his anti climate change statements. In other words, take his opinion pieces (such as the usual crap published in ‘quadrant’ magazine) with a pinch of salt.

Speaking of other paid shills, it seems that the Brisbane Institute is trying it’s best to lose all credibility by inviting the infamous Jay Lehr to give a seminar on climate change:

The Brisbane Institute is holding a public seminar featuring Dr Jay Lehr, Science Director of the Heartland Institute, whose visit to Australia is being hosted by the Australian Climate Science Coalition.

If the Heartland Institute sounds familiar, this is the same institute that set about to muddy the waters in the Tobacco debate as funded by tobacco lobbyists (Phillip Morris), and sets up annual “International Conferences on Climate Change” to promote dubious science as funded by Exxon. Spot the paid agenda? Here’s what the Brisbane Institute has to say on Jay Lehr:

Dr Lehr is a powerful, entertaining speaker who focuses on describing the impact of advancing technologies on the local, regional, national, and global economy.  An economist and futurist, Dr Lehr combines five decades of expertise and experience in agricultural economics, agronomy, environmental science and business administration with great enthusiasm for the future.

He has spoken to hundreds of groups, seminars, major news networks, radio programs and has written nineteen books to dispel what he believes are the unfair and inaccurate claims made by environmental advocacy groups.  Dr Lehr is an economist and environmental scientist who believes that the course of action provided under the CPRS Bill is a folly, which Australians should reject.

Doing a little digging, it seems that Jay Lehr is a self proclaimed internationally renowned speaker, scientist and author who has published over 900 journal articles. 900! Seem incredible? Too incredible to be true – at best I could find 25 (16 as first author). Most of these are focused upon mainly on ground and waste water, and several of them appear to be in questionable journals (Texas Banking, Proceedings of the National Waste Processing Conference amongst other highlights). Unsurprisingly, none of them are related to climate change. He’s also published a few books of little relevance (my favourite is “Fit, Firm & 50 A Fitness Guide for Men and Women over 40“).

Lehr proclaims to have “…on 36 occasions has testified in congress to explain the realities of environmental issues as it related to pending legislation”. What you won’t find on his webpage is that Lehr is actually a convicted felon in the US, imprisoned by the US government and fired from several positions / associations for defrauding the EPA! So exactly where is the evidence that Lehr is either an economist or environmental scientist, or that his opinion on climate change is worth a damn? Either way, i’m sure The Australian newspaper will have a field day given their complete lack of objectivity and balanced reporting (read here for more). I’ll sign off this post with words from my colleague John Quiggin, who untill a few weeks ago was an active supporter of the Brisbane Institute:

Even judged against the low bar set by climate delusionists in general, the Heartland Institute is a disgrace. Its most notable achievement was the publication of a list purporting to be of scientists whose work contradicted mainstream climate science. Such lists, common in the delusionists attempts to deny that they are pushing fringe science, usually contain large numbers of name with few or no relevant qualifications. The Heartland list was different. It contained the names of lots of genuine scientists, but misrepresented their position. Even when scientists protested against this misrepresentation, Heartland refused to take their names off the list on the basis that they (a bunch of rightwing hacks with no qualifications whatsoever) were better placed to interpret the results of scientific research than were the authors of that research.

The Heartland Institute has no legitimate place in public life and anyone who works for or with it brands themselves as a charlatan. It is to be hoped that the Brisbane Institute’s decision to promote Heartland’s lies is the result of a negligent failure to check on the credibility of their speakers rather than a decision to legitimise this body.

Monbiot succeeds in moving heaven and earth


Since the release of Professor Ian Plimer‘s book titled ‘Heaven and Earth‘ was published, a number of reputable scientists and authors including Tim Lambert, Ian Enting, Barry Brook, Michael Ashley, David Karoly, Kurt Lambeck and Charlie Veron have taken the book to task, pointing out a multitude of issues ranging from deliberate misquotes, paraphrasing journal articles and deliberately falsifying graphs. George Monbiot, a journalist with the british newspaper The Guardian summarised Plimer’s efforts:

“…seldom has a book been more cleanly murdered by scientists than Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth, which purports to show that manmade climate change is nonsense. Since its publication in Australia it has been ridiculed for a hilarious series of schoolboy errors, and its fudging and manipulation of the data.”

Since then, Monbiot has consistently (and correctly) attacked Plimer on the falsehoods of his book on his blog at the Guardian, which culimanated in Plimer challenging Monbiot to a public debate. Monbiot agreed to this, with the condition that Plimer first respond to the detailed critique as previously outlined (see ‘Why can’t the champion of climate change denial face the music‘ for the ensuing hilarity). Unsurprisingly, Plimer has rejected this challenge, although Monbiot doesn’t say why. Read the full article here (“Let battle commence! Climate change denialist ready for the fight“). I can only hope that Plimer does his best to answer the list of questions, as it would be entertaining to watch Monbiot nail Plimer to a wall… More updates as they come.

Fielding the hard questions? Not likely.


It seems like the Australian Senator Steve Fielding is a little confused.

THIS is the chart climate change sceptic Senator Steve Fielding hopes will convince Al Gore that global warming is not real.

Senator Fielding is trying to score a one-on-one meeting with Mr Gore, who is in Australia promoting several environmental causes, to prove to him that climate change sceptics are right. (Read More at

Just a quick recap: Senator Fielding, who apparently once believed that man made carbon dioxide emissions were the main cause of global warming, took a trip to the Washington DC (funded by the Heartland Institute – more on that here), and has somehow come up with a bunch of questions that have proved that Global Warming isn’t real. At this point, it’s abundantly clear that Senator Fielding isn’t a scientist, nor does he have a good grip on climate science. One of the best blog commentaries i’ve seen on the matter so far is this gem:

It was comforting to have Nobel laureate Peter Doherty‘s reassurance that climate change “is an enormously complex area and it’s difficult for people outside the area to understand the science” when he spoke at the recent University of Melbourne Festival of Ideas. Doherty includes himself as one of those challenged by this complexity.

I can sympathise when Steve Fielding says that he would “be letting down the Australian people if I didn’t properly research the issues”. But he is misguided in thinking that he’ll be able to do so. Steve needs to stick to his job, which is contributing to policy, and leave the scientific debate to the scientists. (Read More)

When dealing with an incredibly complex issue such as climate change, why does Senator Fielding expect the temperature vs CO2 relationship to be linear? And why is Senator Fielding cherry picking his graphs yet again? Here is what CO2 and Temperature look like over the last century:


Read on over at Skeptical Science for a detailed discussion on the CO2 / Temperature correlation over the last century:

The broader picture in this scenario is to recognise that CO2 is not the only factor that influences climate. There are a number of forcings which affect the net energy flux into our climate. Stratospheric aerosols (eg – from volcanic eruptions) reflect sunlight back into space, causing net cooling. When solar activity increases, the net energy flux increases. (Read More)

I wish people like Senator Fielding would appreciate the enormous amount of effort invested into climate change science, and not assume that they can derail or outsmart the entire process by a single graph (especially one concocted by big oil). On the other hand, i’m looking forward to hear Al Gore’s response – judging by previous efforts, it could be rather entertaining. Here’s what happened when Republican Marsha Blackburn challenged Al Gore during an exchange at a subcommittee hearing on global climate change legislation: