I agree with Barry Brook that Ian Plimer’s approach to climate science in Heaven Earth is unscientific. He starts with his conclusion that there is no “evidential basis” that humans have caused recent warming and that the theory that humans can create global warming
is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archeology and geology.
He accepts any factoid that supports his conclusion and rejects any evidence that contradicts his conclusion. For example, he blindly accepts EG Beck’s CO2 graph. And remember Khilyuk and Chilingar? The guys who compared human CO2 emissions with natural C02 emissions over the entire history of the planet and concluded that human emissions didn’t matter. As I wrote earlier:
their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn’t care whether what they write is true or not.
Plimer doesn’t cite them once he cites them three times.
And what of evidence that contradicts his conclusion? For example, the fact that the stratosphere is cooling contradicts his theory that the sun is the cause of recent warming. What does Plimer say about this in a 500 page book with a 70 page chapter on the atmosphere? Nothing. It’s not mentioned at all.
And look at Plimer’s figure 3 that he presents to prove that CO2 doesn’t cause warming because of all the cooling in the “post-war economic boom”:
Plimer doesn’t tell you the source of this graph, but it comes from Durkin’s Great Global Warming Swindle and omits the last 20 years of warming. Even Durkin admitted it was wrong and changed it, but it lives on in Plimer’s book.
Compare Plimer’s Swindle graph with the one from the IPCC AR4 Summary for Policymakers below. Plimer doesn’t print this but tells his readers that it “showed cooling for 100 of the last 160 years”.
The problems with the Swindle graph were given wide publicity. It was one of seven major misrepresentations that 37 scientists asked Durkin to correct. On page 467 Plimer addresses their request claiming they did so because that deemed Swindle to present an “incorrect moral outlook”, so he was well aware of what was wrong with the Swindle graph but used it anyway.
Here are the notes I made on some of the other problems with Plimer’s book. These are nowhere near exhaustive — this is just what leapt off the page and assaulted me.
Update: See also Ian Enting’s extensive list
p11 No source given for figure 1 but is based on a graph in AR4WG1 Technical Summary. The massive drop in temperatures comes from using the temps for the first half of 2008 to represent all of 2008. It looks very different if you graph the actual 2008 temp, added in red below:
p14 Claims IPCC has no evidence to support its conclusion of 90% certainty that at least half of recent warming is anthropogenic. Nowhere does he even admit the existence of the evidence in Chapter 9 of AR4 WG1
p21 Repeats SEPP smear of Santer
p22 Claims hockey stick is a fraud
p25 Figure 3 is infamous graph from the Great Global Warming Swindle. Graphs ends in 1987 but horizontal scale makes it look like it goes to 2000. Even Swindlers had to fix this one.
p26 Figure 4: Start point of graph is cherry picked to mislead
p87-99 claims hockey stick is a fraud and the NRC panel that vindicated it was a cover up.
p99 False claims that GISS was forced to withdraw claims about global temperature. Plimer confuses USA temperatures with the global ones.
p131 Figure 15 Dodgy sunspot temperature graph from GGWS. Ends in 1980, if continued sunspot-temp correlation goes away.
p198 claims Arctic sea ice is expanding
p198 claims drowned polar bears were actually killed by “high winds”
p198 claims polar bear numbers are increasing
p199 claims malaria is common in cold climates. No cite!
p217 Claims Pinatubo eruption released “very large quantities of chloroflourocarbons, the gases that destroy the ozone layer.” Cites Brasseur and Granier who actually say the opposite:
after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the input of chlorine to the stratosphere was probably small.
p281 Claims alpine glaciers are not retreating. Cited source actually says that glacial retreat is not accelerating.
p286 Claims the IPCC has “no evidence” to support its statement that glaciers are retreating.
p322 Cites Morner on Maldives.
p325 Says that even if we burn all fossil fuels we won’t be able to double atmospheric CO2.
p349 the hockey stick is “infamous”
p366 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!
p367 Confused about by the fact that the Earth warms the atmosphere and asks how this means GHGs can cause warming. How does he think a blanket works?
p370 Claims 98% of GH effect is H2O. No footnote!
p371 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!
p376 Claims that if temperature measurements are rounded to the nearest degree, the average of many measurements is only accurate to the nearest degree.
p377 Claims that surfacestations.org proves that temp measurements have a warming bias
p378 Implies that surface record does not include measurements in the oceans
p381 claims molten rocks significantly warm ocean. No cite!
p382 “In fact, satellites and radiosondes show that there is no global warming.” Woohoo! at last a cite. Trouble is, it says exactly the opposite of what Plimer claims
p382 claims hockey stick is a fabrication
p388 claims no such thing as an average temp, citing Essex and McKitrick nonsense
p391 claims Hadley Centre has shown that warming stopped in 1998. Hadley says:
Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand.
p391 claims IPCC ignores 2/3 of the cooling effect of evaporation citing Wentz et al, but Wentz says no such thing
p413 claims volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans. No cite! This one was in GGWS. Plimer’s a geologist. You’d think he would at least know something about volcanoes.
p420 figure 52 is Beck’s bogus CO2 graph
p421 claims only 4% of CO2 in atmosphere is from humans. No cite!
p425 claims anthropogenic CO2 produces only 0.1% of global warming. No cite!
p425 claims IPCC have exaggerated CO2 forcing 20 fold.
p437 “Chapter 5 of IPCC AR4 (Humans Responsible for Climate Change) .. is based on the opinions of just five independent scientists”. Wrong chapter number, chapter title, and it has over 50 authors.
p442 claims Lysenko parallels the global warming movement
p443 repeats Monckton’s claims about An Inconvenient Truth without mentioning that most were rejected by the court
p444 claims IPCC reports are written by just 35 scientists who are controlled by an even smaller number
p452 cites Oregon petition
p452 cites Peiser’s false claims about Oreskes
p467 claims that the 38 scientists who asked Durkin to correct the errors in GGWS did so because that deemed it to present an “incorrect moral outlook”. One of the error that they wanted Durkin to correct was the bogus graph that Plimer puts on page 25.
p474 claims hockey stick is dishonest
p477 quotes Khilyuk & Chilingar whose thesis is that humans aren’t responsible because our CO2 emissions, measured over the history of the planet, are less than that of volcanoes. Also cited on p479 and p492.
p484 claims IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM “showed cooling for 100 of the last 160 years”
p485 claims Montreal Protocol used precautionary principle to ban CFCs but we didn’t ban chlorination even though chlorine destroys ozone!!! [Not in the stratosphere it doesn't]
p486 cites false WorldNetDaily claim that Gore buys offsets from himself
p487 cites Melanie Philips as an authority on the hockey stick, asserting it is the “most discredited study in the history of science”
p472 claims Pinatubo emitted as much CO2 as humans in a year. No cite! And obviously wrong if you glance at Mauna Loa data.
p472 termite methane emissions are 20 times potent than human CO2 emissions. No cite!
p492 false claim that DDT ban killed 40 million