Ian Plimer


Ian Plimer


  • Ph.D. Macquarie University (specializing in “tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth deposits”). [1]
  • B.Sc.(Hons) University of New South Wales.

Source: [2]


Ian Plimer is a professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Plimer has two climate science denial books. The first, which has been referred to as the “denier's bible,” was Heaven and Earth. The second, published in late 2011, was called How To Get Expelled From School: A guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters.

Plimer has been a director of numerous mining companies including Ivanhoe Australia, a subsidiary of Bob Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines, CBH Resources, Kefi Minerals, Silver City Minerals, Ormil Energy Ltd, TNT Mines, Niuminco Group and Lakes Oil.

Plimer was appointed to the boards of Roy Hill Holdings and Queensland Coal Investments by mining magnate and climate skeptic promoter Gina Rinehart on January 25, 2012. [3]

As non-executive Director and Deputy Chairman of Kefi, he owns 3.6 million shares which would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in today's market. 

In an article titled “Why I'd put global warming on ice,” Plimer claims that his commercial interest in mining “does not colour his arguments, which he says are based on pure science” and “does not affect the independence of his beliefs.” [4]

Stance on Climate Change

According to a presentation by Plimer with the Friends of Science: [5]

”- [The] Earth['s climate] always changes
- Climate change is normal
- Climate change occurred well before humans were on Earth
- The rate of climate change today is no different from thousands, millions or billions of years ago
- >80% [of the] time, Earth has been warmer and wetter than at present
- Ice is rare
- Just because [climate] change occurs in our lifetime does not mean that we humans are driving the change”

Key Quotes

“Climate has always changed. It always has and always will. Sea level has always changed. Ice sheets come and go. Life always changes. Extinctions of life are normal. Planet Earth is dynamic and evolving. Climate changes are cyclical and random. Through the eyes of a geologist, I would be really concerned if there were no change to Earth over time. In the light of large rapid natural climate changes, just how much do humans really change climate?”

“There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly thirty years of temperature increase.” [6]

Key Deeds

December, 2014

Ian Plimer is a contributor to the book Climate Change: The Facts published by the Institute of Public Affairs and featuring “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [39]

The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributors including the following:

According to Editor Alan Moran in a post at Catallaxy Files blog on Climate Change: the facts 2014, Ian Plimer “examines the politics behind the pseudo-science. He notes that many Western governments have a politically popular ideol­ogy involving human emission increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) bring­ing warming, possible catastrophic ‘tipping points’ and a need to phase out fossil fuels as the only means of stopping this. He dismisses the possibility of the catastrophic consequences, drawing from geological history and points to the adverse economic outcomes of attempts to drastically reduce fossil fuel based energy usage.” [40]

May 30, 2014

Plimer publishes, “Not For Greens: He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon,” through Connor Court Publishing. A summary on the publisher's website, describes the book as follows:

“The processes required to make a humble stainless steel teaspoon are remarkably complicated and every stage involves risk, coal, energy, capital, international trade and finance. Stainless steel cutlery has taken thousands of years of experimentation and knowledge to evolve and the end result is that we can eat without killing ourselves with bacteria. We are in the best times to have ever lived on planet Earth and the future will only be better. All this we take for granted.

Greens may have started as genuine environmentalists. Much of the green movement has now morphed into an unelected extremist political pressure group accountable to no one. Greens create problems, many of which are concocted, and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and environmental degradation and they don’t achieve their ideological aims. Wind, solar and biomass energy emit more carbon dioxide than they save and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions does nothing to change climate and only empties the pocket. No stainless steel teaspoon could be made using green “alternative energy”.

This book argues that unless the greens live sustainably in caves in the forest and use no trappings of the modern world, then they should be regarded as hypocrites and treated with the disdain they deserve.” [38]

December 12, 2011

Plimer published the “anti-warmist manual,” How to Get Expelled From School: A guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters, which was reviewed by numerous sources and found to be scientifically inaccurate, containing flawed or undocumented diagrams, and sloppily edited. [7], [8], [9]

The book has been billed as the “anti-warmist manual for the younger reader” [10] and was launched by free-market think tank Institute of Public Affairs. Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard launched the book in Sydney.

The Australian Government responded with “Accurate Answers to Professor Plimer’s 101 Climate Change Science Questions” (PDF), saying the questions posed in Plimer's book are “misleading and are based on inaccurate or selective interpretation of the science.”

The Government report was created to “provide clear and accurate answers to Professor Plimer's questions. The answers are based on up-to-date peer reviewed science, and have been reviewed by a number of Australian climate scientists.” [11]

July 2011

Plimer spoke at a private luncheon hosted by billionnaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Crikey reported that in the audience were several high-powered politicians and diplomats, including Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett, the state's environment minister Bill Marmion, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Chinese Ambassador Chen Yuming. Rinehart described Plimer as “one of the leading sources of reasoned and factual information in Australia on global warming and climate change”.

May, 2010

Plimer was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 2010 International Conference on Climate Change. [12]

DeSmogBlog found that the sponsors for Heartland's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change had collectively received over $47 million from oil companies and right-wing foundations.


Plimer Published Heaven and Earth in 2009. The book asserts that the temperature changes we have observed in the 20th century are within the “normal range of variability,” that significant global warming is not happening and that there is negligible human impact on warming.

His book was received critically, having been debunked numerous times by scientists. [13], [14]

Some critics have even accused Plimer of plagiarism. [15]

In his review of Heaven and Earth for The Australian, astronomer Michael Ashley wrote: [16]

“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…[that] argues that the sun isn't composed of 98 per cent 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.”

The Guardian's George Monbiot criticized Plimer's book, saying “Since its publication in Australia it has been ridiculed for a hilarious series of schoolboy errors, and its fudging and manipulation of the data.” Plimer responded by challenging Monbiot to a public debate. [17]

Monbiot then challenged Plimer to give a set of “precise and specific responses” to his critics' points. Plimer rejected this challenge. [18]

Monbiot called Plimer “a grandstander, who wants nothing more than to make as much noise as possible in the hope that it will drown out the precise refutations published by his book's reviewers.” Plimer subsequently reversed his earlier refusal, saying he would answer the questions in return for a live debate. [19]

Instead of answering the questions that Monbiot posed, Plimer responded with his own set of questions. No official debate was actually held. [20]  

The two did debate, however, on ABC's Lateline in December, 2009. Monbiot concluded that Plimer had “used evasion and distraction when faced with straight questions,” and that the overall view was that “Plimer had been soundly thrashed.” [21]

December, 2009

During the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15), Plimer spoke at a rival conference in Copenhagen called the Copenhagen Climate Challenge, which was organized by the climate change skeptic group Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). [22]

Among Plimer's arguments at the conference is how carbon dioxide is “not a pollutant, it is plant food.” See footage of Plimer here. [23]

While the UN's conference attracted 33,200, the skeptics attracted only 60 people. “They’ve got us outnumbered, but we've got them outgunned, and that’s with the truth,” Plimer said at the conclusion.



According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Plimer has published more than 40 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, mainly on the subject of ore deposits.


  1. Board of Directors,” TNT Mines Limited. Accessed January, 2012.

  2. Ian Plimer,” Profile at the School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide. Archived July 9, 2009.

  3. Andrew Burrell. “Gina brings climate sceptic on board,” The Australian, February 2, 2012.

  4. Penelope Debelle. “Why I'd put global warming on ice,” The Advertiser, May 28, 2009.

  5. Ian Plimer. “Human-induced global warming: Why I am sceptical” (PDF), Friends of Science, Calgary, May 16, 2011. Retreived February 2, 2012, from friendsofginandtonic.org.

  6. The natural history of climate change,” IPA Review Article. Accessed February 2, 2012.

  7. RAPID REACTION: Ian Plimer launches new book on climate change – experts respond,” The Australian Science Media Center, December 9, 2011.

  8. Lexi Metherell. “Howard launches 'anti-warmist manual' for kids,” ABC News, December 13, 2011.

  9. I.G. Enting. “Comments on 'How to Get Expelled from School' by Ian Plimer” (PDF). Retrieved February, 2012, from the Australian Science Media Centre.

  10. Clare Peddie. “'How to get expelled': Climate sceptic recruits kids,” news.com.au, December 13, 2011.

  11. “Accurate Answers to Professor Plimer's 101 Climate Change Science Questions,” (PDF), Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

  12. “4th International Conference on Climate Change” (PDF), The Heartland Institute. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from University of Hartford web server.

  13. The science is missing from Ian Plimer's 'Heaven and Earth',” Deltoid, April 23, 2009.

  14. John Cook. “Plimer vs Plimer: a one man contradiction,” Skeptical Science, December 9, 2011.

  15. Tim Lambert. “Plimer the plagiarist,” Deltoid, October 25, 2009.

  16. Michael Ashely. “No science in Plimer's primer,” The Australian, May 9, 2009.

  17. George Monbiot. “Spectator recycles climate rubbish published by sceptic,” The Guardian, July 5, 2009.

  18. George Monbiot. “Let battle commence! Climate change denialist ready for the fight,” The Guardian, August 6, 2009.

  19. George Monbiot. “Why can't the champion of climate change denial face the music?,” The Guardian, August 3, 2009.

  20. George Monbiot. “Plimer resorts to attack as the best form of defence,” The Guardian, August 12, 2009.

  21. George Monbiot. “Ian Plimer's volcano claims vaporise under questioning on Australian TV,” The Guardian, December, 2009.

  22. Giles Parkinson. “COPENHAGEN CALLING: Bolstering Barack,” Business Spectator, December 9, 2009.

  23. Matthew Knott. “Climate Change skeptics stage rebel Copenhagen conference,” Crikey, December 10, 2009.

  24. NRSP People,” The Natural Resources Stewardship Project. Archived February 6, 2007.

  25. People & associates,” Institute of Public Affairs. Accessed January, 2012. Archived by WebCite® at <http://www.webcitation.org/658snItLT>.

  26. Academic Advisory Council,” The Gobal Warming Policy Foundation. Accessed January, 2012. Archived by WebCite® at <http://www.webcitation.org/658vkk8Y4>.

  27. Heartland Experts: Ian Plimer,” Accessed January, 2012. Archived by WebCite® at <http://www.webcitation.org/658wnGs7A>.

  28. About Us,” Australian Climate Science Coalition. Accessed February, 2012.

  29. Nick Evans. “Gina Rinehart appoints Prof Ian Plimer to two boards,” PerthNow, February 1, 2012.

  30. Board of Directors,” Ivanhoe Australia. Accessed January, 2012.

  31. “Mines and Money London: Australia Day Presentation” (PDF), Mining Journal Investor Seminars, December 5, 2011.

  32. Company Directors,” CBH Resources Limited. Archived March 1, 2009.

  33. Ormil Energy director takes up rights,” Business Spectator, November 4, 2010.

  34. Board of Directors,” Kefi Minerals. Accessed January, 2012.

  35. Ian Plimer,” Wikipedia Entry.

  36. Ian Plimer,” SourceWatch Profile.

  37. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Ian Plimer.

  38. Not for Greens: He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon,” Ian Plimer, Connor Court Publishing, May 30, 2014. Archived May 8, 2014.

  39. Institute of Public Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 27, 2015.

  40. Alan Moran. “Climate Change: the facts 2014,” Catallaxy Files (blog), December 16, 2014.