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Sceptic spells doom for alarmists April 17, 2009

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Sceptic spells doom for alarmists

Professor Ian Plimer

Professor Ian Plimer

Christopher Pearson April 18, 2009
The Australian

NEXT Wednesday I will be honoured to serve as the master of ceremonies at the Adelaide launch of a book that promises to be a cause celebre. It is Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science.

I expect that when the history of global warming as a mass delusion comes to be written, Australia’s leading geologist will be recognised as a member of the international sceptical pantheon. As far as the progress of what passes for national debate is concerned, in all likelihood 2009 will be seen as the turning point and divided into the pre and post-Plimer eras.

Mind you, I think this year would have been a turning point in any event because global recessions have a way of forcing the great powers to behave pragmatically. Neither the US nor China is going to pay more than lip-service to global warming alarmism and even the bien-pensant Rudd Government has stopped pretending to accept the advice of its preferred adviser, Ross Garnaut, at face value.

But none of that detracts from Plimer’s achievement in giving sceptics a campaign document containing all the scientific ammunition they could want, packed into 493 eloquent pages. Heartened by it, perhaps some timid politicians in both main parties will at last feel at liberty to own up to their private reservations about warmist catastrophe and all those drowning polar bears we keep reading about in the Fairfax press.

One of Plimer’s gifts is a reassuring matter-of-factness. For example, he says: “The level of scientific acceptance of human-induced global warming is misrepresented. Furthermore, the claim by some scientists that human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech reflecting the speaker’s commitment to the belief.

“It has no mathematical or evidential basis. It is comparable to 100 per cent certainty professed by religious devotees that theirs is the one and only true faith.

“My experience of dealing with blindingly obvious arguments against creation ‘science’ was that data and logic were treated with anger, rejection and hostility. Scientific arguments were never addressed. With some rabid environmentalists, human-induced global warming has evolved into a similar religious belief system.”

He demystifies the use and abuse of models in climate science.

“The extensive reliance by global warmers on computer models impresses those with little scientific training. However, the significant manipulation of the source data and the lack of use of many known variables create uncertain outputs. Furthermore, scientific data yet to be discovered cannot be used in a model.

“It is very easy for the modeller to produce the predestined outcome before the model can be run. This is a common flaw in mathematical modelling. A model is not real. Models are not evidence. Models with simulations, projections and predictions prove nothing. All a model shows is something about the model itself and the modellers, normally their limitations. As the Talmud states: ‘We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.”‘

In the chapter on climate history he tackles warming’s anthropocentric delusion head-on. “The Roman warming, the Dark Ages, the medieval warming and the little ice age invalidate all arguments supporting human-induced global warming. This is because climates far warmer than the late 20th century warming existed before industrialisation and human emissions of CO2. The notion that climate change is tied only to human activity with known atmospheric and ocean feedbacks is a simple and erroneous explanation of modern and ancient climates.

“To argue that modern climate is driven by slight changes in a trace gas in the atmosphere (CO2) requires many non-scientific leaps of faith.”

Plimer was once involved in a high-profile dispute with fundamentalists over their claim to have discovered Noah’s Ark and he has a particularly sure grip on the role of unquestioning faith.

“The environmental religion embraces anti-human totalitarianism. Some environmentalists consider their ideas and arguments to be an indisputable truth and use sophisticated methods of media manipulation and public relations campaigns to exert pressure on policymakers to achieve their goals. Their argument is based on the spreading of fear and panic to declare the future of the world to be under serious threat.

“In such an atmosphere they continue pushing policymakers to adopt illiberal measures, impose arbitrary limits, regulations, prohibitions and restrictions on everyday human activities and make people subject to omnipotent bureaucratic decision-making.

“In science, we are in awe of nature. In religion, we are in awe of God. Yet the new environmental religion is in awe of nothing. It is spiritually vacuous and negative. Christianity has a long tradition of using music for worship. The music, especially from the time of Bach and onwards, underpins all Western music. The environmental religion has no music, no traditions, no scholarship, no nothing. The new environmental religion has no big questions. It has no unknowns.”

As well as being a nullity, eco-fundamentalism is atavistic in character.

“The environmental romantics have a loathing and fear of population increase, seek to return to the past and promote pagan superstitions. Well before the crunch of global warming appeared, the environmental romantics hated the modern world despite the fact that in industrial societies we live longer, we are healthier, the air and water are getting cleaner, the area of forests is expanding and we have far greater freedom than in past times. It is the energy-intensive communication systems of the modern world that allow the environmental romantics to spread the word.”

I have tended to concentrate on those parts of Plimer’s book that particularly appeal to me. In doing so I have failed to mention a lot of fascinating detail about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the falsification of climate history via the notorious “hockey stick” graph, the antics of influential warmists such as James Hansen and the skulduggery of British learned bodies under pressure from the Blair government and the likes of Nicholas Stern.

As well, there is a wealth of information on the various effects of the sun on climate and the advantages of considering climate variability from the perspective of geological time, all set out very cogently.

But there is one mystery that can’t be neglected and that Plimer attempts to address. How could such a solid-seeming expert consensus so quickly develop on such an absurd hypothesis?

Part of the answer lies in the pseudo-scientific pronouncements coming out of the IPCC, long captured by a small group of eco-fundamentalists, and particularly by its summaries for policymakers. The Nobel committee that rewarded IPCC panellists and Al Gore also has a lot to answer for.

The rest he explains by reference to Trofim Lysenko, an insignificant agricultural scientist but adept propagandist who, despite the complete lack of evidence, managed to persuade Joseph Stalin and his henchmen that he could triple or quadruple Soviet grain production. Plimer reminds us that “opposition to Lysenko was not tolerated. Mendelian geneticists were demonised as ‘fly lovers and people haters’ and between 1934 and 1940 numerous geneticists were shot or exiled to Siberia. Genetics research stopped. In 1948 genetics was officially labelled as ‘bourgeois pseudo-science’. The ban was lifted in 1965 but the USSR had lost 30 years of advance inagriculture.”

Plimer doesn’t pretend that the international scientific community today lives in terror comparable to the gulag, but he has some telling things to say about the politicisation and bureaucratisation of science.

Then there are the burgeoning numbers ofso-called climate scientists, all with research grants and vested interests in defending what they’ve come to think of as mainstream climatology.

Finally there are all the rent-seekers in the academy, in government departments and in commerce who expect to make a living out of regulating carbon emissions. It will be fascinating to watch when the smarter among them realise that the jig is up.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25348644-7583,00.html

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