I have read Ian Plimer’s, Heaven and Earth and cannot recommend it on any basis. It is a rant – not a piece of scientific writing. According to Plimer almost all climate science is wrong and compiled by greenie environmentalists at the IPCC seeking research funds. The media according to Plimer have collaborated in this conspiracy. This is foolishness.
The analysis repeatedly states that warming has not occurred for the last decade – this is a misleading claim that has been repeatedly refuted. The analysis is also heavy on verbiage and in stating the obvious – ‘climate is dynamic’, ‘climate has always changed’ etc. which have no bearing at all on the case for AGW.
Pick a standard text on climate change – one of my favourites is by Sir John Houghton, Global Warming – The Complete Briefing – and not only are the facts different but the facts are written as science. There are no attempts to hector or ridicule. Houghton did Chair important Working Groups for the IPCC – the allegedly villanous group that Plimer identifies – but he is also professor of atmospheric physics at Oxford and a leading figure in world meteorology. He has 50 years of publication in the area of meteorology and climate science. There was no commotion when his book was published.
As I noted earlier, Plimer doesn’t seem to have any refereed papers in climate science. The conspiracy to suppress the truth must indeed be strong if a man with such striking views has been unable to get any of them published in refereed publications.
So I would not recommend to students or members of the public that they purchase the Plimer book. But others go further than this. I have no reason to disagree with them. A review of Plimer’s book by a Professor of Astrophysics at UNSW, Michael Ashley argues:
‘Plimer probably didn’t expect an astronomer to review his book. I couldn’t help noticing on page 120 an almost word-for-word reproduction of the abstract from a well-known loony paper entitled “The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass”. This paper argues that the sun isn’t composed of 98% hydrogen and helium, as astronomers have confirmed through a century of observation and theory, but is instead similar in composition to a meteorite.
It is hard to understate the depth of scientific ignorance that the inclusion of this information demonstrates. It is comparable to a biologist claiming that plants obtain energy from magnetism rather than photosynthesis.
Plimer has done an enormous disservice to science, and the dedicated scientists who are trying to understand climate and the influence of humans, by publishing this book. It is not “merely” atmospheric scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography, astronomy and statistics. Plimer’s book deserves to languish on the shelves along with similar pseudo-science such as the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky and Erich von Daniken’.
There is more commentary on this at Deltoid. It is not wrong to challenge orthodoxy anywhere but the work of Plimer is unscientific and both irresponsible and dangerous – he has provided a social diservice. The extensive publicity he has received has had an entirely undeserved impact.
Forget Plimer, read the science.