Vancouver Sun Gushes Over Denier Book Eviscerated by Climate Scientists

Wed, 2009-07-29 14:09Mitchell Anderson
Mitchell Anderson's picture

Vancouver Sun Gushes Over Denier Book Eviscerated by Climate Scientists

Editor’s note: feel free to go to Jim Hoggan’s response to this ridiculous op-ed and add your voice to the conversation.

Global warming is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.”

That remarkable quote was the conclusion of an op-ed published this week in the Vancouver Sun that gushes over a denier book by Australian mining professor Ian Plimer called Heaven and Earth.

The over the top article is so enamored with Plimer they almost describe him as a Christ-like figure, persecuted by 21st century eco-Pharisees:

Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy.”

In contrast, here’s the book reviews by real scientists of Plimer’s pot-boiler. Imagine if these found their way onto the back cover…

“Naive, and reflected a poor understanding of climate science, and relied on recycled and distorted arguments that had been repeatedly refuted.” - Professor Barry Brook of Adelaide University’s Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability. He also described the book as a case study “in how not to be objective”.

Given the errors, the non-science, and the nonsense in this book, it should be classified as science fiction in any library that wastes its funds buying it. The book can then be placed on the shelves alongside Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, another science fiction book about climate change with many footnotes. The only difference is that there are fewer scientific errors in State of Fear.” - David Karoly, a meteorologist at Melbourne University and a lead author for the IPCC

“Largely a collection of contrarian ideas and conspiracy theories that are rife in the blogosphere. The writing is rambling and repetitive; the arguments flawed and illogical.” - Michael Ashley, an astronomer at the University of New South Wales

Fails to establish his claim that the human influence on climate can be ignored, relative to natural variation.” - Ian G. Enting, a mathematical physicist at University of Melbourne

A cacophony of climate skeptic arguments that have been discredited by decades of research… statements that are at best ambiguous and in many cases plain wrong are repeated, figures purporting to demonstrate climate change is all natural are erroneous, time and spatial scales are mixed up … the list goes on. Plimer’s thesis of inaction is a course we follow at our peril ” - Chris Turney of the University of Exeter’s Department of Geography, a past winner of the inaugural Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal for his research into prehistoric climate change.

“Sloppy…not a work of science; it is an opinion of an author who happens to be a scientist.” - Dr. Kurt Lambeck, president of the Australian Academy of Science

Strange that the Vancouver Sun would gush over a book that was unabashedly eviscerated by the scientific community. It is certainly not the first time that their parent company CanWest Global has taken utterly irresponsible editorial position on climate science.

This mindset of ideology over objectivity might explain why their stock price is now hovering around $0.14.



Mitchell you are completely disingenuous. Prof. Plimer is a Geologist. He is most definitely NOT a mining professor (

Give him his due expertise or get off the case.

He still has no research background in climate science. So regardless whether he’s a mining professor or a geologist he still is not an expert on the subject. Just because someone’s a scientist, it does not make them an expert in every area of science - that’s why you go see a Cardiologist for heart problems, not a Dermatologist.

Plimer is more qualified to speak on climate change that James Hansen. Do you know why? It is because Plimer understands the processes affecting climate change over geological time scales which is something that Hansen does not and one of the reasons people like Hansen cry wolf so much. They cry wolf because they do not understand that climate change is part of the earth system and this current episode is not even particularly notable as a climate variation.

In short. Plimer is qualified. And he is at least as qualified as Hansen (who is NOT a climatologist), Michael Mann (who is NOT a climatologist), Patchauri (head of the IPCC who is an ECONOMIST), Rahmstorf (who is NOT a climatologist) and anyone else at real climate (none of whom are climatologists).

If I wanted advice on climate problems why would I go to an economist (Patchauri) for advice, or an astrophysicist (Hansen) etc.

Have You Read Ian Enting’s Demolition of Plimer’s so-called science?

My only complaint is one needs a copy of Plimer’s anti-scientific garbage to see how bad Plimer’s lies and deceits actually are.

The intention is that the most recent version of ‘Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven + Earth’ — Checking the Claims’ can be downloaded from:

Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven + Earth—GlobalWarming: The Missing Science, claims to demolish the theory of human-induced global warming due to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Overall:
# it has numerous internal inconsistencies;
# in spite of the extensive referencing, key data are unattributed and the content of references is often mis-quoted.
Most importantly, Ian Plimer fails to establish his claim that the human influence on climate can be ignored, relative to natural variations.
Ian Plimer’s claim that the human influence on climate can be ignored, relative to natural variations, seems to rest on three main strands of argument:
a: the extent of natural variability is larger than considered in ‘mainstream’ analyses;
b: changes in radiative forcing from greenhouse gases have less effect than determined in
‘mainstream’ analyses;
c: the IPCC uses a range of misrepresentations to conceal points a and b.
Among the many errors made in attempting to establish these claims, are cases where Plimer:
# misrepresents the content of IPCC reports on at least 13 occasions as well as misrepresenting the operation of the IPCC and the authorship of IPCC reports;
# has at least 17 other instances of misrepresenting the content of cited sources;
# has at least 2 graphs where checks show that the original is a plot of something other than what Plimer claims and many others where data are misrepresented;
# has at least 6 cases of misrepresenting data records in addition to some instances (included in the total above) of misrepresenting data from cited source.
Details of these various types of flaw can be obtained via the relevant entries in the index.
A guide to how readers can independently check my claims is given on page 33.

Breadth of Science
In Plimer’s public appearances he has made the claim that climate scientists are ignoring geology. This is untrue. Some of the geologists who are important in developing understanding of climate and climate change have been:
# Högbom – who worked with Arrhenius;
# Eric Sundquist of the USGS (with Sarmiento, resolved carbon budget ambiguity);
# the many geologists who have contributed to the paleo-climate studies that Plimer misrepresents;
# Henry Pollack, a borehole specialist, who has published an excellent book, Uncertain Science … Uncertain World, (CUP), pointing out that uncertainty about climate is much less than the uncertainty surrounding many other important decisions;
# and of course the American Geophysical Union which covers the gamut of Earth sciences – atmospheric, oceanic, solid earth, space sciences and most recently biogeochemistry — has strongly endorsed the reality of human-induced global warming: policy/positions/climate change2008.shtml

Anybody can make minor mistakes, but if the mistakes were genuine, one would not expect a consistent bias. The consistency of bias can only lead an objective reader to one conclusion: - that Plimer’s intent behind writing this book was to deceive the reader about the state of the science.

Likewise, anyone who promotes this book [remember that Heaven + Earth is being promoted as a scrupulous and scholarly analysis] is intending to deceive the reader, or is an idiot.

Which one applies to you, Richard Steckis?


Who is Ian Enting when he is around?

What are you trying to do with the apostrophe?

I use apostrophes to indicate ownership and to form contractions. I assume you are trying to avoid some sort of SQL-injection. What people can do is instead type “'”. That will show up as an apostrophe. However, a better solution would obviously be to automate this on the flip-side. That way people don’t have to learn that bit of html magic.

To the first bit. But CC wrote Enting’s. Still mystified.

Apostrophe was achieved by creating in another application.

climate criminal wrote, “Anybody can make minor mistakes, but if the mistakes were genuine, one would not expect a consistent bias. The consistency of bias can only lead an objective reader to one conclusion: - that Plimer’s intent behind writing this book was to deceive the reader about the state of the science.”

I have heard “skeptics” argue that no matter how many mistakes someone makes you can never (or at least rarely) conclude that they were being dishonest. Bull. Dishonesty is a matter of intent. Did they intend to deceive? Now such skeptics claim that you can never really know what is going on in another person’s head, and as such you can never judge their intent.

But you judge intent all the time. Every time you listen to what someone has to say or read what they wrote you are judging their intent, what it was that they sought to communicate. The use of language presupposes this.

As such, when one states that it is impossible to ever know the intent of another person, the statement - viewed as an act of communication - is self-referentially incoherent. If the statement were actually true it would be pointless to state it as anyone else would be entirely at a loss to understand what it was that you wished to convey.

Evidence for dishonesty may very well never be conclusive – but like the conclusions of science – the evidence for the conclusion that someone is dishonest is cumulative.

As you have pointed to Plimer’s own webpage (, you reveal him to be a professor in the University of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering. As we have seen from his work, he is not generally very civil. And he is certainly NOT an environmentalist. His PhD was in geology and his list of publications shows zero research on climate and a great deal of work (some of it of excellent quality) on issues relating to mining. I’d score this in Mitchell’s favour, regardless of how intemperate his tone. As for Plimer himself, you all should run to Deltoid ( for Tim Lambert’s general and specific debunking of “Heaven and Earth.”

“on issues relating to mining”

Wrong. Most of his work is on geological processes in mineral ore bodies (in particular the Broken Hill ore body). The geology of those bodies is particularly interesting for a geologist. This is quite different from saying his work is on issues related to mining.

Plimer is not a mining geologist. The site I cited in my post also says this about his research interests: “Characterisation of the stratigraphy, structure and alteration associated with the Broken Hill orebody.”

Those interests are only tangentially related to mining.

And Lambert is one of the more rabid pro AGW soothsayers in Australian academia at the moment (along with David Karoly and others). Lambert is a computer programmer and specialises in computer graphics. He is not a physical or natural scientist and his opinion on Plimer, his book and climate change is not worth considering. Most of his comments on Plimer’s book are wrong and border on lies.


Before writing the book, Plimer stated that El Niño is caused by earthquakes and volcanic activity at the mid-ocean ridges

Professor Ian Plimer

Position: Professor of Mining Geology

Incidentally, Richard, doesn’t “civeng” suggest to you that Ian’s interest in geology isn’t purely academic but applied? And what exactly is “applied geology”? Is it what is described in his stated position: Mining Geology?

CORRECTED LINK to scientific reactions:

Plimer Chickens-out on Debate with Monbiot

Monbiot realised that Plimer’s usual tactic of relentlessly bombarding his opponent with a stream of anti-science could be prevented easily by doing it as Monbiot suggested and apparently so did Plimer and the arch deceiver chickened-out.

This is especially the case when Plimer’s dodgy graphs, misleading citations and all the other problems as identified by Ian Enting and others would be exposed to the world for what they were – a tissue of deceits.
See: ‘Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven + Earth’ — Checking the Claims’ free download available from:

Monbiot Quote
Is Professor Ian Plimer a chicken? After I attacked some of the crazy claims he made in his book Heaven and Earth, the good professor challenged me to a face-to-face debate..,

To resolve these issues, we need to establish the facts and provide references. This is why I want him to answer them in writing; ideally in electronic format, so that people can follow the links. I was concerned that a face-to-face debate, with all its bluster and generalisations, would let him off the hook.

But then it struck me that there was no reason why we couldn’t do both. Last week I wrote to Professor Plimer accepting his challenge, on the condition that he accepts mine. I would take part in a face-to-face debate with him as long as he agreed to write precise and specific responses to his critics’ points — in the form of numbered questions that I would send him — for publication on the Guardian’s website. I also proposed that there should be an opportunity at the debate for us to cross-examine each other.
This morning I received a message from Professor Plimer, rejecting my challenge. So much for his enthusiasm for debate.

Original lead from Tim Lambert Deltoid