Bob Ward on Plimer

Bob Ward reviews Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth in The Times:

It is easy to see why this book has attracted attention, particularly from right-wing commentators who have long believed that man-made climate change is a conspiracy theory. But this book is so full of errors that readers who believe its content could be seriously misled about the causes and consequences of climate change. ...

Possibly the funniest howler in the book also occurs in the first chapter. It is a graph that is supposed to show the global temperature record since 1880, with a marked and highly exaggerated phase of cooling between 1940 and 1975. Again, no source is cited for this figure, and it cannot easily be found in any textbook or scientific paper. However, one eagle-eyed blogger pointed out soon after the book was published in Australia that the graph was identical to one in The Great Global Warming Swindle, broadcast on Channel 4 on March 8, 2007.

The makers of the programme, which was subsequently ruled by the broadcast regulator Ofcom to be biased and inaccurate, conceded after its first showing that the graph had been extended by taking an original figure showing temperature up to the mid-1980s and stretching it to make it look as though it went up to the time of the research. They also acknowledged that the original figure was obtained not from an acknowledged scientific paper but from a pamphlet posted on a US website set up in 1999 to collect signatures on a petition against the Kyoto Protocol.

The book is littered with mistakes. Professor Plimer appears to believe that geologists have been ignored by all those assessing evidence on climate change. But even those chapters that deal with past climates, which are supposedly the author's strongest areas of knowledge, contain mistakes. For instance, he suggests that "by AD300, the global climate was far warmer than at present", with temperatures between two and six degrees Celsius higher than today. A supporting footnote references a book published in 1977.

Unfortunately for Professor Plimer, the study of ancient climates has progressed in the past 30 years and the latest research suggests that the last time global average temperatures were more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for a sustained period was three million years ago. Maybe he should have read the chapter on palaeoclimatology in the last assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.

Plimer will, of cause, respond by calling Ward names and claiming that Ward is nit-picking. He isn't. The errors are Ward highlights are a fundamental part of Plimer's thesis that human emissions of CO2 do not cause warming.

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Remember how Ian Plimer claimed that he could not recall where his dodgy figure 3? Well now he has resorting to lying about the source. In a talkback radio debate (about 4 minutes from the end) with Steven Sherwood, Plimer claimed that the graph came from page 21 of Klimafakten, a book published…
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…
(Via William Connolley). Ofcom, the UK media regulator has ruled that The Great Global Warming Swindle was unfair to the IPCC, David King, and Carl Wunsch and breached a requirement of impartiality about global warming policy. The full report is here. The complaint is a thorough demolition of all…
The Australian has a printed a response by Plimer to some of the criticism he has received. Plimer opens with: In Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science, I predicted that the critics would play the man and not discuss the science. Then he proceeds to play the man and not the ball…

>Unfortunately for Professor Plimer, the study of ancient >climates has progressed in the past 30 year

And the present climate, the reference, has warmed too.

Bob Ward has a first degree in Geology, and an unfinished PhD. He seems to have spent most of his career in public relations for the organisations he has worked with.

Nothing wrong in all of that, however. But how come you think he is some kind of authority on climate change?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 22 Aug 2009 #permalink

Well, Dave, it proves that you don't need to be a climate researcher to recognise the fundamental flaws in Plimer's book!

Re: Dave Andrews #5

You don't have to be an authority on climate change to appreciate that Heaven & Earth is the tombstone for Plimer's credibility.

Anybody who can understand a graph can see the problems straight away.

Anybody who can look up a reference can find the multitude of problems where Plimer says one thing, and the reference he gives
says either nothing relevant or the opposite.

Anybody with more than a few neurons should realize that the sun isn't made of iron (H&E, page 116), that volcanoes don't emit large quantities of chlorofluorocarbons (page 217), that CO2 levels weren't higher in 1942 than they are now (page 416), and so on.

Here's a clue: if you agree with H&E, then you don't have sufficient understanding to analyze any scientific argument.

And as for Bob Ward's unfinished PhD. I found it refreshing that he admits that. Contrast that with Plimer who claims to have published numerous articles on climate in peer reviewed journals - can anyone find a single example?

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 22 Aug 2009 #permalink

@Dave Andrews

Wait... surely that can't have been... a *dreaded* Ad Hominem??? But... but... I thought only CRAZY LIBERAL WARMISTS pulled that kind of dishonest shtick!


your comments show you refuse to apply basic understandings of climatology to your arguments. Go away.

By Roger Jones (not verified) on 22 Aug 2009 #permalink

In fact, as even the US government's NOAA admits, there were virtually no weather records in Africa, quite a hot continent, before 1900, which means that all global base line temperature data before 1960, when finally global coverage reached 80%, were biased by absence of records from hot places like KInshasa, Kampala, Lusaka, and Dubai.

could someone please explain to him how the grid and anomalies work? he doesn t understand how temperature records are walking at all!?!

hepl! there are not enough stations in the antarctic, which is cold! global temperature is much too hot! help!

OK enough's enough I think ..... Tim this is a request to please put tiddles (Tim Curtin) back in his playbox in his own thread. I assume he's travelling and that his posting IP is not his normal one. He seems to think he's being clever and getting away with it. Please just ask him to either admit the charge and get back in the box voluntarily, or deny that he (tiddles) is also known as Tim Curtin. If he won't deny it then back to the TC thread with him, please.

If you _do_ deny it tiddles then I'm calling you a liar. Why do people want you confined to your own thread? - because you're a mendacious mental mess-up and evil troll, that's why. Nothing intelligent to add, no manners to ask honest questions of people who could help you, and ineducable on the subjects you pontificate about. The best permanent placing for you would be in the encyclopedia, illustrating "Dunning Kruger effect".

PS _that_ for those of you without a clue was how _ad hominem_ looks :)

Atmospheric carbon dioxide in and of itself creates no heat at all. If it did, BP and the like would be the first to harvest it.

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

'To the extent that there is warming, it is wholly due to to the increasing global utilisation of energy from all sources, including wind and solar, in accordance with the First Law of Thermodynamics, that use of energy creates heat. It follows that even if all human use of energy derived only from wind and solar sources, there would then be just as much global warming as there is now,.'

Haahahahahahhaahahahah ha

I knew there was a reason, it was so simply, just like TC.

My friends, I say this once more: the Debate⢠over the severity, the causes, and the responses to climate change has become so Polarizedâ¢, that a Voice of Civility and Moderation⢠is sorely needed.

Certainly, Bob Ward cannot be that voice, because

1. either he is not an expert in climate science, and therefore his proclamations on Plimer's work have no value; or
2. he is an expert in climate science, and the forces of groupthink, peer pressure, and need for government funding prevent him from doing climate research in an unbiased fashion.

Therefore, my friends, to maintain our Civilityâ¢, Reasonâ¢, Rationalityâ¢, Open-Mindednessâ¢, and Freedom from Authorityâ¢, we must strive to prevent ourselves from being tainted by any of Ward's writings, or indeed any mention of Ward's writings. For if we fail to do so, then we will have sunk ourselves to the same level as the global warming denialists, and we will have become our own enemy.

I want the climate activists to win. I genuinely, honestly want the climate activists to win. Being the honest person that I am, I proclaim in all honesty that my honest statement was completely honest. However, I realize that while Bob Ward is on my side, what he's doing is Clearly Wrong⢠-- and I Know™ this while being free from any knowledge of what he's doing.

17 bi-IJI,

It is clear that _all_ experts on the subject must be ignored because of group-think, bias, peer pressure, etc. The only neutral observers are those with no formal expertise in the subject, or indeed any related subject. Anyone who mindlessly applies so-called established physics or mathematics is automatically disqualified.

Blog Science is the only reliable and trustworthy arbiter.

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

OK enough's enough I think ..... Tim this is a request to please put tiddles (Tim Curtin) back in his playbox in his own thread. I assume he's travelling and that his posting IP is not his normal one. He seems to think he's being clever and getting away with it.

Frankis, tiddles is Tim Curtin. Not only are his bizarre subjects and his style dead givings-away, but [Curtin himself told us](…) that he would be in Europe in August.

This is the same trip upon which he suggested that he might present his ideas to an audience at Jeff Harvey's institution, but where, after being pressed on the organisation of such a talk, Curtin retreated with lame excuses and no attempt whatsoever to make it so.

Curtin was told weeks ago to [think about the conditions](…) that affect local climate expression, but he failed to respond. As to he understanding of thermodynamics, well, [it is absent](…).

I note though that our esteemed host has finally [pulled the pin](…). Can't say that I'm sorry, although I hope that we have the opportunity to rebutt Curtin if and when his 'paper' on CO2 [comes out in October](…).

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

It is also abundantly clear that Toddles / Tim has not the slightest idea of what is meant by Talib by the term "black swan". A black swan is a very high magnitude but unpredicted event. The claimed lack of warming at Mauna Loa is certainly not a black swan; a sudden, dramatic shift in the climate would be such an event.

Tim's determination to use concepts without understanding them defies belief. Talib's book is even available in my local, chain bookstore on special offer, so there is no excuse. Incidentally, the book itself is somewhat unimpressive, in my view.

By GWB's nemesis (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

Bob Ward #6,

I wouldn't disagree. But by the same token one does not have to be a climate scientist to recognise flaws in papers and books published by the aforementioned.

Climate Audit has numerous examples as I'm sure you are aware.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

RE: Dave Andrews #22

Climate Audit has made no significant contributions to the science.

The flaws that they have found in papers are unimportant. No conclusion has been affected. E.g., the hockey stick is robust, as is obvious from looking at the data.

By contrast, the flaws in Plimer's work are fundamental. Once you remove the flaws, there is nothing left.

He thinks that the Sun is mainly composed of heavy elements such as iron. How much more ludicrous does Plimer have to be before the denialists realize that something isn't quite right?

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

TrueSceptic, Janet Akerman:

Thank you very much for your kind words, Sir and Madam.

At this point, I must also praise Mr. Dave Andrews for being such a staunch defender of Freedomâ¢, Reasonâ¢, Rationalityâ¢, Common Senseâ¢, Open-Mindednessâ¢, Balanceâ¢, and Moderationâ¢. By ensuring that he's seraphically free from Bob Ward's writings, he has shown himself to be the most open-minded, balanced, and even-handed person on our planet since Galileo.

Why drag Galileo into it?

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 24 Aug 2009 #permalink

When more apt comparisons would be to Erich von Daniken, Wilhelm Reich and Gavin Menzies.

By Jim Eager (not verified) on 24 Aug 2009 #permalink

Ah, it looks like my reference to Galileo has touched a raw nerve in Dr. Quiggin's elitist Inquisition-like psyche!

Indeed, extremists on Both Sides⢠of the issue of climate change, such as Ian Plimer, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Ward, and John Quiggin, have unfortunately hijacked the Debate⢠and caused it to become Polarizedâ¢. This is where I, the Honest⢠Brokerâ¢, comes in -- for only I, the skeptical ignorant onlooker, can cast off all Preconceived Notions™ and all Prior Assumptions™ to provide an Unbiased View⢠of the state of climate science.

And this is also why, again, we must free ourselves from any knowledge of Bob Ward's writings.

bi -IJI.

Thanks for the acknowledgement, but it would be far better if you stayed with your scantily clad women.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 24 Aug 2009 #permalink

Paul @ 30, thanks for the link to another well-executed demolition job by RC. Should keep Ray, Dave Andrews & co busy for a while (if they bother to read it...)

By Steve Chamberlain (not verified) on 24 Aug 2009 #permalink

> Bob Ward has a first degree in Geology, ...

> Nothing wrong in all of that, however. But how come you think he is some kind of authority on climate change?

> Posted by: Dave Andrew

What's Plimer's degree in again, DA?

@me #26 and subsequent comments

I think my subtle allusion to Whistler might have been missed here.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink


Although it may not account for much (in your eyes) at least Plimer has got his PhD and has been a Professor at two Universities.

I've nothing, per se, against people who work in PR like Bob Ward, but now and again you do have to wonder.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink

Steve Chamberlain,

I often read RC but dislike their tendency to censor posts that question them, and often to 'take their ball away' when the going gets bit tough.

Do you ever read CA, by the way?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink

Dave Andrews:

I often read RC but dislike their tendency to censor posts that question them

No they don't you liar.

Dave Andrews @36,

Are you seriously trying to claim plimer has the authority of science and is up against the power of PR?

Plimer who can't even cite his sources and is backed by PR lobby groups such Heartland and the IPA. Versus the national accadamies of science in every major nation, the top journals, and the top scientist in the feild.

Ehm... grit those teeth Dave, even you might find that hard to swallow.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink

I think your reference to Whistler was a bit too subtle, Prof Q (at least till you made it explicit), but Jesus, that's beautiful on so many levels!

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink

Dave Andrews:

at least Plimer has got his PhD and has been a Professor at two Universities

Thank you for your argument by supposed authority.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Aug 2009 #permalink

> Although it may not account for much (in your eyes) at least Plimer has got his PhD and has been a Professor at two Universities.

Please answer the question, DA:

What is Plimer's degree and PhD in.

Dave Andrews (36): "Do you ever read CA, by the way?"

No. Why?
1) See the first part ofDirk Hartog's post.

2) In the unlikely event I was interested in CA propaganda I can just read your summaries.

By Steve Chamberlain (not verified) on 30 Aug 2009 #permalink