Ian Plimer is well aware that numerous serious errors of fact and interpretation have been exposed in his book but has yet to mount any kind of substantive response — all he has done is call his critics names. As a result James Delingpole leaves himself wide open when he writes an excessively credulous review of Heaven and Earth:
My tribe doesn’t believe in global warming! … Plimer has a sciency-looking book saying it’s all a big hoax! … the Australian government will collapse … Al Gore is fat!
OK, that was a paraphrase. Except for the bit about the Australian government collapsing.
George Monbiot takes advantage of the obvious opening.
In one of the gravest misjudgments in journalism this year, today the Spectator has made the book’s British publication its cover story, with the headline “Relax: Global Warming is all a myth”. Its story consists of a hagiography of Plimer by James Delingpole, a man who knows — and cares — less about science than I do about Formula One. Plimer’s book, he says, is “going to change forever the way we think about climate change”, as it demonstrates that anthropogenic global warming “is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history.” Delingpole takes the opportunity to cite the usual conspiracy theories about the “powerful and very extensive body of vested interests” working to suppress the truth, which presumably now includes virtually the entire scientific community and everyone from Shell to Greenpeace and The Sun to Science magazine. That took some organising.
I have come to expect this sort of rubbish from Delingpole but I’m amazed that the Spectator is prepared to run a story like this on its cover when a quick check would have shown that it’s utter nonsense.