Ian Plimer’s performance in his debate with Monbiot has to be seen to be believed. Rather than admit to making any error at all, Plimer ducks, weaves, obfuscates, recites his favourite catch phrase, tries to change the subject and fabricates some more. When confronted with the fact that the USGS says (backed with scientific papers) that human activities emit 130 times as much CO2 as volcanoes, Plimer claims that the USGS doesn’t count underwater volcanoes. When told that the USGS specifically said that they do count undersea volcanoes, Plimer invented a story about how the nature of the rocks under the ocean proves that there must be unobserved emissions. Needless to say, this is not acceptable conduct for a scientist.
The University of Adelaide’s code of practice on research misconduct states:
Misrepresentation : A researcher or reviewer shall not with intent to deceive, or in reckless disregard for the truth:
(a) state or present a material or significant falsehood;
(b) omit a fact so that what is stated or presented as a whole states or presents a material or significant falsehood.
Elsewhere, James Randerson interviewed Plimer and
found him to be one of the most difficult and evasive interviewees I have spoken to in my career, frequently veering off on tangents rather than answering the question I had put.
Randerson has an another example of Plimer refusing to admit to even the most blatant error:
Elsewhere in the book, Plimer appears to have conflated a US temperature record and the global average temperature. On page 99 he writes “Nasa now states that [...] the warmest year was 1934.” The Nasa dataset he is referring to covers the US only but he seems to be referring to the world average.
Again, Plimer does not appear to accept that the world is warming. But in fact, the hottest year on record is 1998 and eight of the 10 hottest years ever recorded have occurred this century.
When I put the mistake to him he responded: “The 1930s in North America and probably the rest of the world were a hot period of time.” But what about increased global average temperature since then? “That has been disputed by many of my colleagues who I have a great regard for because they’ve been the people involved in putting measurements together … I do dispute that as do many other people who are far more qualified in atmospheric sciences than I.”
Bob Burton tracks down the story of how the AAP reported Plimer’s speech before it happened. As you might have guessed, the journalist did a cut and paste from a press release put out by a PR firm.
On Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald printed a report from Copenhagen by Ian Plimer on a news page. My letter to them:
Please cancel my subscription to the SMH.
The SMH simply does not care about the accuracy of what it publishes. You obviously did not bother to check whether there was any basis to Ian Plimer’s dishonest smears of climate scientist, allowing him to falsely accuse them of fraud and “mafia-type thuggery”.
I don’t know why you think your business model should involve deceiving your readers, but I’m not buying it or your paper any more.