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Plimer vs. Monbiot

I watched the Ian Plimer versus George Monbiot debate on Lateline the other evening – my initial response was at John Quiggin’s blog – and find it incredible that anyone attaches any credibility at all to the views of Professor Plimer.  Indeed, one wonders what Plimer is doing in a university if his responses during this program mirror his attitudes. Monbiot’s response and a telecast of the program is here.

Plimer must be aware of the extensive and compelling refutations of his claim repeated many times in his book that warming ended in 1998. I discussed the refutation of these claims here.  His other claim that most CO2 emissions occurred as a result of volcanic activity has also been comprehensively refuted.

I am not suggesting that Plimer needs to accept these refutations but he must address them.  In my view the Plimer analysis cannot be rescued and is false – his claims regarding the scale of volcanic emissions cite evidence that is simply incorrect.  But continuing to not address the substance of these objections leaves Professor Plimer exposed to the claim of being an evasive liar and a fraud. 

The claims Plimer continues to expouse are potentially extremely damaging to the global environment.  Plimer’s current stance is inexcusable. If he is wrong he must recant his false views, saving face in this situation is too costly. If he does have arguments to defend what seem to be false claims he must advance them.

13 comments to Plimer vs. Monbiot

  • observa

    Careful Harry when you say- ‘The claims Plimer continues to expouse are potentially extremely damaging to the global environment.’ That assumes AGW is proven and as the poxy proxies from Jones, Briffa, Mann et al demonstrated, that is far from the case now. It might be a ‘travesty’ that those proxies called into question the whole carefully selected time period shaft of their hockey stick, but no amount of tricks or hiding the decline can change that. That is where Plimer is coming from overall.

    However if he is wrong on specific points of science or deliberately misquoting other’s findings to build some further weight of argument against a now unproven theory, then he should be rightly be castigated on those points. It’s not up to skeptics on AGW to prove the negative, but for adherents to prove the positive, or rather now to try and mend their broken hockey stick imperative. Plimer like many others simply say climate change, as distinct from this new kid on the block in AGW, is in the rocks in the ground not the rocks in your heads chaps. Let’s face it that’s what we all learned at school. Hot, cold, hot down the ages. Down at Hallett Cove in Adelaide, Govt signboards tell me sea level rose 130feet after and ice melt and stopped aboriginals walking on land across the Gulf and south oF Kangaroo Island. A week ago I learn the Mediterranean probably filled in a couple of days rather than the 200000 years thought previously. That would have put the mockers on great grampa Ogg’s coastal RE prices I’d imagine, unlike his stubborn descendants.

    You simply have to be an agnostic to appreciate the hissy fit over Plimer’s selection of ‘it’s been cooling since 1998’ Big deal! What the hell do you think that stage managed, tub thuming, tin rattling carpetbagger Al Gore that you all worshipped has been doing for years and your response was exactly what? He was always your chief third toilet salesman. You know how it is folks? It can be shown that brighter children come from homes with two toilets, so howsabout a third toilet? After all no caring parent wants dumb kids eh? Which didn’t stop them abusing the kiddies in our schools with all their crap.

    And just what was their crap that we all saw so scintillatingly displayed at that great taxpayer funded kneesup in Copenhagen? There they all were, the usual suspects,in all their mindboggling splendour, trying to organise a piss up in a brewery and stay out of the cold, whilst demonstrating to the world exactly how their new world order would pan out if we ever gave them the opportunity. Nothing could have scared the living daylights out of the little people better than that, not that they weren’t getting bloody nervous before that as the vision splendid got down to tin tacks. Still you can’t say they weren’t warned and it wasn’t just a half intelligent agnostic blowing smoke up their backsides-

    Couldn’t have put it better myself and while I’ll remain an agnostic on AGW for now (not yet proven ice hockey fans),I’ll never listen to their hidden agenda, duplicitous crap on amelioration. Any AGW agnostic would have serious doubts they really believe their own doomsday rhetoric. The day Kev and Penny come out and state, as a shining example for us all, no publicly paid person will be airconditioned on their watch and the affected multitudes applaud in one great outpouring sorryfest, is the day I’ll believe they’re all fair dinkum. We won’t have to worry about global warming then because that’ll be the day Hell freezes over.

    Can I interest anyone in Plan B?

  • MAGB

    “…Professor Plimer exposed to the claim of being an evasive liar and a fraud”.

    Rubbish Harry – the leaked Climategate emails show that the fraud is all on the side of the climate change zealots. The weight of the scientific evidence is clearly with Professor Plimer.

    And your language exposes you to accusations of unprofessional behaviour. Do you know what ad hominem means?

  • Mark

    So, MAGB, if the weight of the scientific evidence is clearly with Professor Plimer, why has he not addressed refutations of his claim that that most CO2 emissions occurred as a result of volcanic activity.

  • observa

    If I were you Mark I wouldn’t be worried about ‘his claim that that most CO2 emissions occurred as a result of volcanic activity.’ but rather the volcanic eruptions occurring everywhere with the Climate Changers and the mad panic as they head for the exits as the tectonic fault lines are spreading. As Mann tries desperately to blame it all on Palin while distancing himself from Jones, et al in editorials, the UK Met has switched from trust us and the nice homely lady with the big computer in the background, to besides lots of signed up scientists do, to in any case it will take us at least 3 years to sort this lot out, to here have what we’ve got and don’t blame us cos EAU are responsible for the bloody land temp record-
    Sweet Jesus, read the headless chooks trying to backpeddle all over the place with their Questions and Answers about the data and methodology and the massive contradictions. Basically it’s throw the mob a bone and hope like hell they don’t get trampled to death in the frenzy. Copenhagen has been their erupting Pompeii and it’s every Climate Changer for himself now.

  • Mark

    So, why has Professor Plimer not addressed refutations of his claim that that most CO2 emissions occurred as a result of volcanic activity?

  • observa

    Well Mark let’s just say Plimer’s a social climber compared to the folks over at Climate Audit and Watts Up With That.

    Meanwhile the good folk at the UK Met have released a Xmas present for them all with the usual warnings for all the kiddies-

    “These station records were produced by the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre.”

    “This code is provided to enable users to make gridded fields and calculate a global average annual temperature anomaly time series from the station data provided here. Release of this code does not necessarily confer any particular status on any results obtained using it and is provided at users own risk.”

    And in the mood of the Season- Peace on earth and goodwill to all men and may all your barbies be carbon neutral and smoke free for now.

  • Ken Miles

    let’s just say Plimer’s a social climber compared to the folks over at Climate Audit and Watts Up With That.

    Nah, Plimer, CA and WUWT are all just a pack of dishonest clowns who cherry pick and misrepresent in order to promote a pseudoscience with all of the credibility of young earth creationism.

  • rog

    Here is another fellow traveller – Bob Carter

  • Tom Reagan

    (edited) ……Monbiot made an idiot of himself and now you are following his example. It was Monbiot who refused to answer any questions on climate science. Whereas Plimer wrote a book on the matter and answered the questions in the book. He also answered the questions during the debate when he could get a word in edgeways.

    Plimer, during this rigup, made it quite clear where his estimate for volcanic CO2 was coming from. From the chemistry of sedimentary rocks. This was his proxy.

    The Monbiot/Jones claims were total idiocy. It was outrageous. Since Monbiot and Jones, and this ought to be a sackable offense for Jones, chose to make gospel a 1991 study that claimed that sub-sea volcanic emissions and open air volcanic emissions were roughly similar. A self-evidently ridiculous contention in 2009.

    Did you not notice Harry, that it was George Monbiot who would answer no questions? …… Did you not notice that it was Monbiot who merely deflected the fact that it was he who would answer no questions, by claiming it was Plimer who would not answer any questions?

    All Monbiot did was refuse to answer questions and claim frantically that it was Plimer who was doing this. In other words this was a frantic leftist reversal from Monbiot.

    Plimer gave us enough facts for anyone with a brain to see that the Monbiot and Tony Jones claim was utter idiocy. Since there are 240,000 underwater volcanoes, and 68000 kilometres of volcanic underwater rift zones.

    So if industrial activity was to release 130 times as much CO2 as volcanoes. If this were the case as Monbiot and Jones, being complete idiots and liars, had claimed, this would be more than the CO2 output of a hypothetical 31, 200 000 underwater volcanoes and more than the equivalent of 8,840,000 kilometres of underwater riftzones. That many riftzones ringing endlessly around the globe in such a way as we could never get away from volcanic activity.

    So it was Monbiot, Tony Jones and anyone who fell for their charade, shown to be idiots on this matter and not Plimer. Anyone with any affinity for science would have understood that.


    The fault was all Monbiots and Jones’. And Jones ought to be sacked over this.

  • Tom Reagan

    “So, why has Professor Plimer not addressed refutations of his claim that that most CO2 emissions occurred as a result of volcanic activity?”

    There hasn’t been a refutation. Do you not know what a refutation is? Plimer has an estimate based on a single proxy. It cannot be judged as the gospel since for that you would need three or more convergent proxies. But its a valid estimate. It ought to be taken seriously until a better estimate comes along. Let me know if you find one. A valid estimate isn’t some leftist getting hold of the USGS site, and taking a foolish 1991 study that has no valid estimate, and using that for purposes of plausible deniability. Plimer and Jones put their fraudulent claim together purely on hearsay and with great care for Monbiot to maintain plausible deniability. It was the most disgraceful and transparent rigup I’ve ever seen. Monbiot now claims not to know the name of a journalist that he was pretending to rely on.

    Until we get a better estimate the Plimer estimate ought to be considered the best one we have. Any estimate that claims that sub-surface volcanic CO2 release and above water release are roughly equivalent must be rejected as pure idiocy. Get yourself a plausible estimate before you wrongly contend that Plimers estimate has been bettered. Lets get this straight. Plimers estimate is not going to be refuted so you can forget about that nonsense talk. But certainly Plimers estimate is open to improvement. Being a single proxy estimate.

  • Mark

    There are other lines of evidence that the net CO2 flux in recent years has been from atmosphere to ocean.

    Must rush, I’m going on holiday!

  • observa

    “Nah, Plimer, CA and WUWT are all just a pack of dishonest clowns who cherry pick and misrepresent in order to promote a pseudoscience with all of the credibility of young earth creationism.”
    Oh yeah and what’s the state of play? The UK Met have jumped ship from the climate catastrophs, fooling noone as they duck under the cover of Xmas, to get back to their traditional brief on meteorology and weather. Their past utterings and shifting stances are now in complete tatters and Steve McKintyre is totally vindicated as he awaits Jones and Co spin the dog ate their homework. Meanwhile the past victims of The Team are piling into their emails and code with relish, demonstrating how all their past criticisms were completely justified.

    As for creationism, none are better than The Team of enviro doomsdayers at it. Remember Global Warming morphing into Climate Change so that any weather event could be seized upon as more evidence of their Sodom and Gomorrah recipe? Never mind the travesty of their broken hockey stick, their high priest was already busy anticipating any ugly facts and rallying the religious here-
    Notice how suddenly CO2 gets relegated behind soot and everything else these new spiritualists can think of to stir their fire and brimstone message. Only 40% now eh Big Al? And this pearler statement from one of The Team faithful-

    “He is one of the only politicians that takes the time to actually talk to scientists who are producing the cutting-edge stuff and he comes in with questions. He doesn’t ask us how our results impinge on a particular policy he actually asks about science,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who spoke to Gore along with colleagues four or five times for the book. “Nobody that we have dealt with has ever taken as much time to understand the subtlety of the science and all the different complications and what it all means as Al Gore.”

    Climb up the Goracle’s backside anymore Gav and you’ll have trouble cleaning your toenails. Who do these disgusting political hacks sycophants think they’re kidding anymore? And as for the Gruesome Greaseum they were really supporting, Copenhagen opened the eyes of a lot of the environmentally empathetic to what was really going down with these true believers. At last their hidden agenda and vested interests are being exposed, nowhere better than carbon credits for dummies-
    There’s even an impressive time line poster for MSM dummies now to follow the antics and rise and fall of these political hacks and carpetbaggers. Al Gore’s internet is slowly but surely tearing his religious feifdom and quackery apart along with all who worship so fervently with him.

  • Oksanna

    The Monbiot Plimer debate on ABC was notable for more than Monbiot’s ad hominem attacks and Plimer’s poor memory. Tony Jones the Australian ABC TV host gets an honorable mention for another hatchet-job on non-compliant scientists. He previously smeared Prof. Frederick Singer but unforgivably gave him no right of reply, in the prelude to the “Swindle Debate” featuring four skeptics and eight warmists, which it appears was stage-managed by panelist Robyn Williams, the ABC’s climate science gatekeeper.

    In the Monbiot Plimer debate, both were given roughly equal time of reply. HOWEVER: Monbiot interrupted Plimer an astonishing eighteen (18) times. To which Jones intervened only twice after the event. Jones himself interrupted Plimer three (3) times. This behavior does NOT show up in transcript, only in the footage. Plimer interrupted Monbiot once. Both called the other side fraudulent, only Monbiot called Plimer a liar. Both Jones and Monbiot had the look of cats who had drunken their fill of milk after the mauling. Monbiot’s interruptions with adjudicator Jones’ complicity ensured Plimer could not get a reply in edgeways.

    So to sum it up, it was Tony Jones of the ABC whose abyssmal performance stands out, followed by Monbiot for lack of any social grace. Plimer, reeling, but integrity intact, would have won by default, but for the star performer whom only the alert audience would have observed: the live footage of icy weather on the white snow-covered streets of Copenhagen behind Monbiot’s satellite screen.

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