Ian Plimer Watch: Update - Debate set with George Monbiot

Update: In the face of a challenge from UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot, Ian Plimer has agreed to answering a series of specific questions about his (highly questionable) new book - as a rn-up to a face-to-face debate with Monbiot. BProf. Plimer. I can’t wait to read your answers. (And thanks Brian D for the tip.)

Denier darling Ian Plimer, author of the thoroughly debunked book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - the Missing Science, has done a runner in the face of a challenge to participate in a climate change debate with UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot.

Plimer had originally challenged Monbiot to a face-to-face debate, and Monbiot declined. These are the sorts of publicity stunt that deniers are often keen to initiate because they can stand up and say any darn thing they please, putting at a real disadvantage a debating partner who is committed to telling the truth about science.

But Monbiot later reconsidered and said, sure, let’s debate twice - once face to face and once on line, in a forum that allows for questions to be recorded and answers to be vetted by impartial third parties. That’s when Plimer checked out.Monbiot’s account of his correspondence with the unaccountable Plimer is here. As he says, Plimer has made no effort to correct, apologize or account for the numerous errors and lavish overstatements in his book. Why should he when journalistic ingenues like Jonathon Manthorpe are swallowing Plimer’s palaver as if it was actual science. Admitting that his text is flawed from front to back would surely undermine his (currently mindless) support.


Richard, Plimer reconsidered and agreed to Monbiot’s request. Monbiot posted the mere 11 questions he will have Plimer answer, in writing, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/05/climate-change-scepticism. Should be interesting, since now Plimer will have to declare and defend his position beforehand.

Their conclusion (minor): risks lurk around every corner. Their conclusion (major): Our failure to recognize and regulate those risks is not based on a lack of knowledge

classic games

But of course you all realize that Monbiot is just a fancy variety of denier himself. It’s all talk as he admits himself.

from a quick check at wikipedia we get this:

“Monbiot wrote: ‘flying across the Atlantic is as unacceptable, in terms of its impact on human well-being, as child abuse’.[22] Later he conceded that he did himself fly ‘hypocritically or paradoxically, depending on your point of view’.[23] Accused of hypocrisy by Julie Burchill, Monbiot defended himself in a column, ‘Hypocrites unite!’

(end quote)

Words are just words. Actions show the real person and the deep down belief of every individual. All of us are actors and very few of us really fear climate change. It’s just the truth.

Rick James wrote: “But of course you all realize that Monbiot is just a fancy variety of denier himself. It’s all talk as he admits himself.”

You should have read the original sources. In the first article (ref. 23), Monbiot quotes the philosopher Kierkegaard: “This is the way I think the world will end — with general giggling by all the witty heads, who think it is a joke.”

And his reply to Julie Burchell (ref. 25) ends with these words:

“In reality it is people like Julie Burchell — who is incidentally far richer than almost any green I’ve met — who treat the poor with contempt. So that she can revel in what she calls “reckless, romantic modernism”, other people must die. But at least you can’t accuse her of hypocrisy: she cannot fail to live by her moral code, because she doesn’t have one. Give me hypocrisy any day.”

This question of hypocrisy is a troubling one. I believe there’s merit in “walking the talk.” But, as Monbiot points out, it often seems that fossil fuel use by people they call “warmists” is the only form of hypocrisy that matters to Denialists.

It also occurs to me that ending this particular form of hypocrisy would curtail the ability to push for general reductions in CO2 emissions. Al Gore, for example, would have to stop flying all over the world. Are videoconferences as effective as face-to-face meetings? I doubt many “movers and shakers” would agree. (For the record, Gore has made his house far “greener” than it was a year or so ago.)

If everyone who warns about global warming minimized their carbon footprint, their warnings would soon be heard no more. Those who think global warming is a joke would no doubt be delighted.

It makes for a strange world when the climate breakdown folks (the term “climate breakdown” is from Monbiot) have no choice but to burn excessive jet fuel and the doubters like me maintain a minimalist carbon footprint.

Very strange. I’ll have to think that one over. At some point I think the movers and shakers will have to make due with internet technology and drop the jet fuel thing.

Monbiot has just noted Plimer’s reply.
FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt for those unfamiliar with the expression. An old sales tactic when the client seems to prefer the other chap’s bid.)
Plimer has replied with a set of exam-like questions, but absolutely no response to the many objections to his book. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/12/climate-change-climate-change-scepticism

Monbiot had painted Plimer into a corner and Plimer knew it.

Whether Plimer answered Monbiot’s questions truthfully, or dishonestly, the anti-science in ‘Heaven and Earth’ and Plimer’s reputation would collapse like a house of cards.

Plimer’s only escape was to attempt to distract attention by asking questions unanswerable by a journalist as a diversionary tactic. If his deceitful book is any guide, I suspect that Plimer couldn’t answer them honestly either.