The Australian finally publishes Mike Sandiford’s correction of the false claims from Plimer that The Australian published two weeks earlier:

Deliberately misrepresenting data or making it up is just not on.

Here’s an example. In a section from his new book, How To Get Expelled from School, as reprinted in The Weekend Australian recently, Plimer claims: “Antarctic ice core (Siple) shows that there were 330 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air in 1900; Mauna Loa Hawaiian measurements in 1960 show that the air then had 260ppm carbon dioxide.”

Plimer goes on to say: “Either the ice core data is wrong, the Hawaiian carbon dioxide measurements are wrong, or the atmospheric carbon dioxide content was decreasing during a period of industrialisation.”


The implication is there must be something terribly wrong with the orthodox climate science and we are all being taken for a ride.

The problem is that the primary data sources explicitly state the Hawaiian Mauna Loa CO2 measurements for 1960 were in the range 313-320ppm, and that Siple air of age about 1900 has a CO2 content of 295ppm, with the 330ppm concentrations having an estimated air age of 1962-83, entirely in keeping with Mauna Loa.

Who has been taken for a ride?

So why did The Australian take so long? It would be cynical to wonder if it was because the anti-science ideologues at The Australian are currently on vacation.

Comments

  1. #1 Michael
    January 2, 2012

    On the links, Plimer’s was in the Feature section, the correction of his lies was in the Opinion section.

    Would like to see the relative placement in the dead tree edition – the Oz has a tendancy to bury the admissions of guilt.

  2. #2 Bernard J.
    January 2, 2012

    >So why did The Australian take so long? It would be cynical to wonder if it was because the anti-science ideologues at The Australian are currently on vacation.

    Or they’re not on vacation, and decided to issue an appropriate correction of the egregious nonsense of the earlier piece, at a time when most readers aren’t reading…

  3. #3 AmandaS
    January 2, 2012

    Michael

    In the dead tree edition, the article was on the second page of the Inquirer section, down the bottom of page two, in a wall of text. My subscription hasn’t yet run out (actually, I think it has but they keep delivering the paper). I pay attention to the Oz’s (laughingly described) climate change coverage and I missed it until I saw the letters age today with responses (two sensible, two idiotic).

    They also had an article on starving polar bears, unlike a couple of weeks ago with the nonsense article re: polar bears. I’m subscribing to Tim’s theory of the loonies being on holiday.

  4. #4 SteveC
    January 2, 2012

    AmandaS

    I pay attention to the Oz’s (laughingly described) climate change coverage and I missed it until I saw the letters age today with responses (two sensible, two idiotic)

    Now that’s what I call balanced, which let’s face it is what the OO prides itself on. Clearly then, since there is no majority within the populace on the matter, it would be foolhardy and arrogant to do anything to combat (Combet?) climate change. Also, JuLiar.

  5. #5 V. infernalis
    January 2, 2012

    Can anyone find an online version of Graham Adams’ article on environmentalism in the November 2011 issue of the New Zealand magazine North and South? I happened to read it while vacationing in New Zealand and was horrified to find it gormlessly repeating every climate skeptic talking point and crank ranging from citing the Oregon Petition as evidence against the scientific consensus to comparing Christopher Monckton to Isaac Newton. IIRC, the only “scientist” they talk to is Chris de Freitas. I had to check the cover of the magazine again to make sure I was reading a serious publication.

    It’s really deserving of a letter to the editor, but it would help to have a copy of the article for reference.

    The only web presence the magazine seems to have is their Facebook page.

  6. #6 V. infernalis
    January 2, 2012

    Also, feel free to move my previous comment to the open thread – I posted it just before Tim created that new one.

  7. #7 Ark
    January 2, 2012

    @ AmandaS, 3

    You are being too generous. I counted three idiotic letters (in the online edition):

    1. “It is the trend that matters and both data sets [GISS and HADCRUT] indicate that the rapid global warming of the 1970s and 80s has ceased.”

    2. “Sandiford could have assisted the debate by offering an analysis of past climate changes, or do we await the next ice age unprepared?”

    3. “With ocean thermal expansion also at negligible levels and the CERN experiments likely to confirm the link between solar activity and clouds in the near future, the climate alarmist house of cards is starting to crumble.”

    When I see such staggering amounts of stupidity condensed onto one page, I sometimes wonder whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first. Are there so many misinformed people out there because of the constant stream of anti-science propaganda from News Ltd and The Australian, or do these outlets simply adopt their anti-science stances to cater for an audience of the misinformed?

  8. #8 AmandaS
    January 3, 2012

    Ark @7

    I do apologise. I skimmed over the first letter and misread it. So yes, 3 idiotic and 1 sensible letter. And the 1 sensible letter was in the Last Post section and 1 line long (it can be paraphrased as “at last a sensible article on climate change”).

    But The Oz is catering to its audience and its audience does not let it down. The stupidity usually encapsulated in comments on any article (climate change or otherwise) in The Oz is quite painful to deal with but utterly predicatable. Nonetheless, I enjoy the fact that they continue to deliver The Oz to me, despite the fact that I’m not paying for it. I wonder how long it will take them to notice…

    A

  9. #9 Chris O'Neill
    January 3, 2012

    News Ltd and The Australian, or do these outlets simply adopt their anti-science stances to cater for an audience of the misinformed?

    According to a former News Limited journalist, “catering for the audience” is one of the things that makes a good paper.

  10. #10 bluegrue
    January 3, 2012

    @V. infernalis
    Looks like you found most there is to find. The wikipedia page has a link where you can order back issues
    < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_%26_South_%28magazine%29>

  11. #11 Donald Oats
    January 3, 2012

    It would be interesting to get Mike Sandiford’s view as to how the Oz treated him/interviewed him; whether he wrote the piece and submitted it as is, or whether they asked him for comment first.

    As to the cynicism with respect to publishing the correction now, it is tempting to take that road, but it really does depend upon when Mike Sandiford submitted his review.

  12. #12 Michael Ashley
    January 3, 2012

    AmandaS@8

    I wonder if that “sensible letter” was mine? I tried to find it in the on-line letters but couldn’t.

    What I wrote was:

    “Finally, a sensible article on climate change (“Cherry-picking…”). I’m guessing here, but it is interesting that its publication had to wait until the Editor in Chief was presumably on leave.”

    Meanwhile, I note an irrational letter from Plimer this morning. Just bizarre.

  13. #13 AmandaS
    January 3, 2012

    Michael Ashley @12

    Yes, it was your letter. They only published the first sentence. It can be found [here](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/last-post-monday-january-2-2012/story-fn558imw-1226234411311)

    The Plimer response published today is as embarrassing for him as always.

  14. #14 TrueSceptic
    January 3, 2012

    12 Michael,

    “Irrational”? Perhaps Plimer is not just a crank but is actually barking mad? That would explain a lot.

  15. #15 Lionel A
    January 3, 2012

    AmandaS

    ‘Yes, it was your letter. They only published the first sentence. It can be found here’

    Only for those willing to give Murdoch more wonga (is that Aussie’ slang BTW) or know somebody who is.

    As for Plimer’s response, I’ll have to continue to guess the gist, for which there is plenty of previous to go by.

  16. #16 AmandaS
    January 3, 2012

    Lionel A @15

    Actually, the Letters section of The Oz remains free-to-click, so you only supply a hit to the page. No money required. You can no longer comment on the letters, though. Probably for the best, as the comments were starting to head (well, gallop) towards the libellous before they shut them off. It also seemed appropriate to show Michael Ashley where his letter could be found, as he was looking for it.

    Wonga – never heard of it. Not Aussie slang in my life/regions.

    The text of Plimer’s letter, for those with a general “click on The Oz” distaste:

    “RATHER than an ad hominem attack, Mike Sandiford (“Cherry-picking contrarian geologists tend to obscure scientific truth”, Inquirer, 31/12-1/1) should have addressed some basic science to support his case.

    Why didn’t he declare that there are some 1500 terrestrial volcanoes that emit small amounts of carbon dioxide, yet there are more than three million submarine volcanoes that emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide?

    Why didn’t Sandiford declare that the geological record shows no relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature? Why did he not acknowledge that there is a close relationship between the Earth’s climate, the sun and the Earth’s orbit?

    Why didn’t he state that there have been six major ice ages and all were initiated when atmospheric carbon dioxide was higher than now? Ice core measurements show that after natural warming events, atmospheric carbon dioxide increases 800 years later.

    …Why did he not declare that the atmospheric carbon dioxide content has been decreasing for hundreds of millions of years because of natural sequestration in sediments?

    Why didn’t Sandiford state that in historical times there have been warmings (Roman, medieval) and coolings (Dark Ages, Little Ice Age) when there was no relationship between temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide? Or do we just ignore the past? Why didn’t he declare that for the past 150 years there have been three warmings and three coolings and that there is no relationship between these events and human emissions of carbon dioxide? Why didn’t he show that the effect of a minor greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is minuscule compared to the massive effect of water vapour?

    Oceans contain far more heat than the atmosphere and have a profound effect on climate. Why did Sandiford choose to ignore that sea surface temperatures have been declining? He didn’t even call upon his area of expertise, tectonics, to show that heat is also added to the oceans from below and that climates change enormously with shifting continents.

    Sandiford was quite happy to quote NASA. He also just happens to omit that in the 20 years since the global warming scare was launched, human emissions of carbon dioxide have risen by 50 per cent and yet global temperatures measured by NASA satellites are only 0.1C warmer than the average throughout the 32 years since satellite measurements began.

    Ian Plimer, Professor of mining geology, University of Adelaide, SA”

    I would suspect that Mike Sandiford didn’t “declare” or “state” those things are most of those things are (a) wrong, (b) irrelevant or (c) deceptively worded.

  17. #17 Robert Murphy
    January 3, 2012

    @16
    Plimer vs. Plimer:

    “Why didn’t Sandiford declare that the geological record shows no relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature?”

    “Ice core measurements show that after natural warming events, atmospheric carbon dioxide increases 800 years later.”

    No relationship, except when there is.

  18. #18 KiwiInOz
    January 3, 2012

    I’ve just emailed them a letter reminding Plimer that it would be ad hominem to conclude that his arguments have no merit because he was a contrarian. But it is not ad hominem to conclude that he has jumped the shark because of his dissembling of climate science.

    Probably won’t be published though.

    I take it as wilful ignorance that he requires a linear (i.e. simple causal relationship) between temperature and CO2 concentrations when dealing with a complex system with multiple causal pathways and feedbacks and multiple scales. System Dynamics 101.

  19. #19 TrueSceptic
    January 3, 2012

    16 Amanda,

    Wonga is well known slang for money in the UK. Oddly, though, a search in Wikipedia brings up

    Wonga is an Australian English word of Aboriginal origin. It may refer to:

    Wonga pigeon

    Wonga vine

    Wonga Park suburb in Victoria

    Aboriginal elder Simon Wonga

    Wonga Beach township, Queensland

    It is often also used as a slang term for money in certain parts of Britain, gave its name to a contest on UK television show The Big Breakfast, and Wonga.com.

  20. #20 AmandaS
    January 3, 2012

    Hi TrueSceptic

    Yes, there are many uses of the word Wonga in Australia (personally, I’m a bit of a fan of the Wonga pigeon) but I’ve never heard it used as a slang term for money.

  21. #21 spottedquoll
    January 4, 2012

    Not to forget the magnificent Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana), but as far as using it in conversation, no never heard it.

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    January 4, 2012

    >…but as far as using it in conversation, no never heard it.

    I heard it on the news a fews weeks ago – “Penny Wong gave a speech at the Melbourne Press Club…”

  23. #23 spottedquoll
    January 4, 2012

    Now that you remind me, there is the phrase “What could possibly go wonga?” (besides my delivery?).

  24. #24 SteveC
    January 4, 2012

    TS @ 19

    Wonga is well known slang for money in the UK. Oddly, though, a search in Wikipedia brings up…

    I still occasionally use wonga but whereas I suspect it’s English slang (likewise dosh, moolah, spons, wedge), Wonga has a different root and meaning over here. Thus the common names Wonga Wonga vine (Pandorea pandorana) and Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) are (probably) anglicised corruptions of the Aboriginal.

    / o/t

  25. #25 Fran Barlow
    January 4, 2012

    I’ve just emailed them a letter reminding Plimer that it would be ad hominem to conclude that his arguments have no merit because he was a contrarian.

    True, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with something being ad hominem. What makes it fallacious is whether the matter introduced is germane to evaluating his witness.

    Rupert Murdoch can and does recommend his own movies on Twitter, but it’s legitimate ad hominem to point out his conflict of interest.

  26. #26 Jeffrey Davis
    January 4, 2012

    re: 25 and “legitimate” ad hominem

    Ad hominem is a logical fallacy. There isn’t a legitimate logical fallacy. To use your example, it’s possible to imagine a very good Murdoch-produced bit on entertainment. (c.f. The Simpsons or Arrested Development). Murdoch could tout them to the sky and that wouldn’t make them better or worse bits of entertainment.

    It’s useful to know who is paying whom when it comes time to allocate scarce resources to evaluate scientific problems — we can’t afford to do everything and track records are fairly good at projecting future work — but the facts of an issue would be unchanged regardless. It may be useful to know that Richard Lindzen denies a link between cancer and smoking, but that factoid would be irrelevant in understanding his “Iris” mechanism which he suggests damps global warming. It doesn’t, but his denialism regarding smoking and cancer and even his history of so-so climate studies doesn’t effect the truth or falseness of any proposition he proposes. Each must be evaluated separately.

  27. #27 bill
    January 4, 2012

    In theory, yes; in practice there is not a human being on the face of the earth who does not regularly use the ad hominem fallacy in order to evaluate the credibility of sources of information.

    ‘Oh him; he’s wrong about everything!’ Who doesn’t think it? Who could get through life without thinking it?

    We are almost literally drowning in information in the 21st Century. Do I really have to spend my time evaporating every droplet of the tidal wave of nonsense gushed-forth by, say, Monckton? Bolt? Heartland? The GWPF? IPA?

    Crucially; where is the end-point for this process?

    And what if if my decency is actually being exploited? If objections are not being made in good faith, or are being made for the most selfish of motives – particularly if the object of making them is to delay taking action – am I not in fact falling in with my opponents’ schemes if I refuse to simply grasp the nettle and decide that while it may indeed be possible that information from a particular source is correct, it is certainly not likely?

    Is this failure to simply renounce and denounce propaganda rather than becoming endlessly bogged-down in refuting it not actually an ethical failure on my part? Fool me once, etc. …

  28. #28 Chris O'Neill
    January 4, 2012

    in practice there is not a human being on the face of the earth who does not regularly use the ad hominem fallacy in order to evaluate the credibility of sources of information

    The boy who cried “wolf” was ad hommed.

  29. #29 Jeremy C
    January 5, 2012

    >Why didn’t he declare that there are some 1500 terrestrial volcanoes that emit small amounts of carbon dioxide, yet there are more than three million submarine volcanoes that emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide?

    That is quite a jumping of the shark. How in his wildest dreams did Plimer come up with 1500 on land verses more than 3,000,000 not on land!!!?!

    Do you think Plimer ever reads his stuff back and does a Basil Fawlty style cringe?

  30. #30 Fran Barlow
    January 5, 2012

    Jeffrey Davis says:

    Ad hominem is a logical fallacy

    No, it isn’t, though it can be deployed fallaciously, as your remarks on Lindzen show.

  31. #31 chek
    January 5, 2012

    “yet there are more than three million submarine volcanoes”

    Perhaps putting his familiarity with them all to good use, Plimer could be commissioned to name them all. That should keep him out of mischief for the next few thousand days.

  32. #32 bill
    January 5, 2012

    He should also be asked nominate the scheme whereby he can identify ‘a submarine volcano’ consistently with the manner in which ‘a terrestrial volcano’ is identified, and counted.

    Note that he’s conceded in his letter to the Oz that the terrestrial variants emit only a ‘small amount’ of CO2, leaving him with only these hitherto-unidentified gazillions of sea-vents to somehow overwhelm human CO2 production!

    ‘Good luck with that’, as they say…

  33. #33 Richard Simons
    January 5, 2012

    there are more than three million submarine volcanoes that emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide

    Why did they suddenly all start up in the last century or so?

  34. #34 Vince Whirlwind
    January 5, 2012

    …and where is the human-emitted CO2 going?

    Hang on, we know the answer to that – isotopic analysis shows us that Plimer is full of shit.

  35. #35 Lionel A
    January 6, 2012

    Vince wrt ‘…Plimer is full of shit’, I prefer ‘anally retentive’ but occasionally displaying evidence of suffering from the ‘wet gripes’.

  36. #37 Bernard J.
    January 6, 2012

    Gentlemen, gentlemen (and ladies lurking)…

    …they’re very small submarine volcanoes.

  37. #38 Mercurius
    January 6, 2012

    yet there are more than three million submarine volcanoes that emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide?

    How ridiculous. Everybody knows it’s three bajillion squillion googity-go gazillion submarine volcanoes, and they emit more CO2 every second than ever existed in the entire universe.

    It’s sad that warmists won’t stick to the facts.

  38. #39 KiwiInOz
    January 8, 2012

    Listen to the scraping sound emanating from the Australian, and Liberal Party Headquarters, as the goalposts are shifted now that China has announced its intentions regarding a price on carbon.

    The focus is now on comparing Australia’s price of $23 per tonne with China’s putative $1.55 per tonne.

    Given that the State of China owns most of the enterprises emitting greenhouse gasses, and going off 2009 data, it is imposing a cost on itself of some $11,952,050,000. Not small change (although obviously the devil is in the detail).

  39. #40 Acacia
    January 11, 2012

    For every intelligent article in The Australian there are bound to be at least 10 stupid ones such as Imre Salusinszky’s ['Congratulations on beating global warming'](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/congratulations-on-beating-global-warming/story-e6frg71o-1226241105031),
    >”The most significant area of below-normal temperatures in 2011 was in northern and central Australia, where temperatures were up to 1C below average in places . . . Other regions to experience below-normal temperatures in 2011 included the western United States and southwestern Canada, and parts of east Asia.”

    >Last year was the sixth coldest since 1997, which shows the catastrophic scenarios of recent times are no longer looming over us.

    I presume that Imre hasn’t heard of [La Niña](http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/change/20120104.shtml). BOM tells us that ‘Eight of the last nine years with sustained La Niña conditions recorded a cooler than normal Australian average temperature, with four of those years experiencing very cool conditions.’

    Anyway confusing weather with climate, it is a stinker of a day here in Queensland so I say global warming is real.

  40. #41 Bernard J.
    January 11, 2012

    >Last year was the sixth coldest since 1997, which shows the catastrophic scenarios of recent times are no longer looming over us.

    Heh.

    Last year was the coldest since 2010, so global warming must have been a hoax all along.

  41. #42 Mercurius
    January 11, 2012

    The last 6 minutes have been the coldest of the last two hours.

    GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX!!!!!

  42. #43 Wow
    January 11, 2012

    > yet there are more than three million submarine volcanoes that emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide?

    So the ocean should look like a freshly-opened bottle of lemonade…

  43. #44 Wow
    January 11, 2012

    > There isn’t a legitimate logical fallacy

    Then explain why this:

    > Rupert Murdoch can and does recommend his own movies on Twitter

    is either

    a) Not ad hom

    or

    b) wrong to use

  44. #45 John
    January 11, 2012

    Imre’s revelation that it’s cold sometimes has blown the lid off our obvious scam forever. We were fools to think we could keep the truth about the impending ice age secret. Fools!

  45. #46 zoot
    January 11, 2012

    Should I break the news to Imre that where I live (Perth), and despite La Nina, we had the hottest year on record?

  46. #47 ianam
    January 11, 2012

    True, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with something being ad hominem. What makes it fallacious is whether the matter introduced is germane to evaluating his witness.

    You’re confused. ad hominem is short for “argumentum ad hominem”, which is a type of fallacious argument. Simply talking about someone is not “ad hominem” unless you’re speaking Latin and using it to refer to simply talking about someone.

  47. #48 ianam
    January 11, 2012

    In theory, yes; in practice there is not a human being on the face of the earth who does not regularly use the ad hominem fallacy in order to evaluate the credibility of sources of information.

    ‘Oh him; he’s wrong about everything!’ Who doesn’t think it? Who could get through life without thinking it?

    No one with any semblance of rationality thinks such a stupid thing. Is there really some person P whom you think is wrong that 1+1 = 2 just because it’s P who thinks it? Not even fortune cookies are necessarily wrong, but it is no fallacy to deny credibility to fortune cookies. That’s not what the ad hominem fallacy is about; it is of the form “F(X) -> not(P)”, where F(X) is some attribute of X and P is some claim that X has made.

  48. #49 ianam
    January 11, 2012

    his denialism regarding smoking and cancer and even his history of so-so climate studies doesn’t effect [sic] the truth or falseness of any proposition he proposes.

    Indeed it doesn’t, but per Bill it does affect our judgment as to his credibility and how much attention we should pay to him.

    Each must be evaluated separately.

    Nothing requires that we evaluate the arguments of Lindzen or or anyone else. If you deny this, then I’ll have you reading the entirety of Stormfront and Free Republic before you can reject the legitimacy of their claims about Jews, blacks, liberals, etc. And you won’t be able to justify a distinction between them and Lindzen without depending on the same sort of credibility argument yourself.

    Fallacies are invalid forms of inference such that some truth claim — the conclusion of an deduction — does not necessarily follow from the premises. Fallacies do not in any way pertain to our actions or judgments; they do not tell us who we have to listen to.

  49. #50 MikeM
    January 29, 2012

    M.G.Kile, a frequent correspondent to The Australian Financial Review [claims](http://afr.com/p/opinion/climate_and_market_links_46w0WYKwubSy9XZGYw7ywK) (gated) that climate science is “too uncertain to claim the status of a law of nature, or to allow precise determination of future surface temperatures”. It is true that climate science cannot predict the date when snow will permanently cease falling on the Snowy Mountains, or even whether there will ever be such a date.

    However, climate science does have predictions that are established as laws of nature, as a recent letter signed by 245 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences points out. These include that the “planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere” and that “(m)ost of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.”

    That letter has an interesting history. It was submitted to The Wall Street Journal in rebuttal of [an opinion piece](http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop) signed by 16 scientist, that claimed that there is “no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy”. (The gist of the piece was [reported as news](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/carbon-tax-alarmism-doesnt-fit-facts-scientists-warn/story-e6frg8y6-1226256747962), “Carbon tax ‘alarmism’ doesn’t fit facts, scientists warn”, in The Australian. Surprise!) The Journal rejected the letter, preferring to stick to its previous position. The letter [subsequently appeared in the prestigious journal Science](http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5979/689.full.pdf).

    If people depend on The Wall Street Journal opinion pages for their science news they may yet discover that the Earth is flat or that at the very least, scientists disagree on its shape.

  50. #51 Marco
    January 30, 2012

    MikeM, ask M.G. Kile what he thinks of evolution and its status in the scientific community. Watch him either dig a hole for himself or being blatantly and obviously hypocritical.

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