Answering “the moron’s question”

Review by Andrew L. Urban.


By Ian Plimer
Connor Court Publishing, paperback, 435 pp approx., $39.95
ISBN 9781925501629

Stop it, Australia, or you’ll go blind …. but Ian Plimer’s latest book offers vision correction to policy makers who are blinded by the self gratifying process driving ‘climate change delusion’.

The book is both factual (complete with 520 citations and references, but no index, sadly) and opinionated. His critics, who are unlikely to read it, might denigrate his somewhat flamboyant style – for a scientist – and some may dismiss the book as a compilation and expansion of all that surrounds the ruling climate orthodoxy, just brought together in one book and right up to Finkel Report date. (Finkel is not spared.) It is, nonetheless, a cry from both the heart and the mind for an honest/better informed energy policy and a handbook on how this climate sausage was made. “US climate research has received more than US$73 billion … over the last two decades. And what do we have? Suspect data.”

Plimer’s call to action “How to stop the rorts” is a 44 page political hand grenade – followed by a couple of pages addressing the question, “What can I do?” He tells readers to “force a political change”. That’s a call for peaceful revolution and he gives plenty of reasons for it. And don’t ask him “Do you believe in climate change…”; he labels this “the moron’s question”. He provides a potted history of the many climate changes over the millennia.

But Plimer begins by blasting under-informed politicians, agenda-driven activists and scientific fraudsters for having conned us to such an extent that we are in an energy crisis, despite being a world energy superpower. An impassioned scholarship propels his writing: we can almost hear him speak, insistent, energised, frustrated. By page 10, Plimer is in full professorial flight, directly contradicting the ruling CO2 orthodoxy: “In the past there has been no relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. To claim that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming is fraudulent. The data shows the exact inverse. When temperature increases after glaciation, atmospheric carbon dioxide increases at least 800 years later.”

This, of course, is at the very centre of the entire global warming fiasco. In the accompanying chart, Plimer shows that warming is cyclical. “Reconstruction of temperature from Vostok (Antarctica) ice cores shows that the current interglacial (period) is not as warm as past interglacials.”

Plimer plunges the dagger of logic into the heart of the matter: “Annual human emissions (3% of the total) of carbon dioxide are meant to drive global warming. This has never been shown. If it could be shown, then it would also have to be shown that natural emissions (97%) don’t drive global warming.”

Over and over he refers to “homogenised” temperature records as fraud. “In science, raw data is sacrosanct.”

He is propelled by a need to convince, which leads him to extensive editorialising. He spews about “policy disasters administered by the inept” and lays the blame for a failure to “kill the monster at birth” on the wrapping: environmentalism to save the planet.

The book takes the reader through a wide range of relevant scientific and historic (often fascinating) climate information. You don’t have to be a world class geologist like Plimer to understand the chart that demonstrates the correlation between sea level changes and solar cycles, for instance.

His reference to indulgences that the 16th century Catholic Church once sold to absolve sinners is colourful. “Martin Luther argued that indulgences led Christians to avoid true repentance and sorrow for sin by purchasing an indulgence certificate.” You can see where he is going with this … “so too with the modern green religion. Adherents purchase indulgences such as rooftop solar panels, electric cars, carbon credits, renewable energy certificates and try to reduce their modern comfortable Western lifestyle (i.e. inward punishment for sin).”

The 140 page central chapter, Electricity, is a detailed argument for coal as the primary source of cheap and reliable electricity, and Plimer expands on this to show how wind and solar are unreliable, expensive – and perhaps controversially, that they produce more emissions than coal fired electricity. “Wind industrial complexes emit monstrous amounts of carbon dioxide in their construction and maintenance. Furthermore, carbon dioxide emitting coal-fired power stations need to be operating for when the wind does not blow.” Plimer is saying that if carbon dioxide emission reduction is your goal, wind farms are counter-productive. Then there is the toxic radioactive waste by-product of the rare-earth minerals needed, as seen at Bayan Oho in China.

He also takes the reader on a snapshot energy tour of India, China, US, UK and Australia, explains the nature of coal, the nature of coal seam gas, the process of carbon capture, the largely misunderstood fracking process, nuclear energy, hydro, battery power and the failures of solar and wind, among other things. It’s a book within a book.

Plimer can’t resist sarcasm, notably when disparaging the peer review process. As proof of their vulnerability, he gives a few hilarious examples. Two US academics (Boghossian and Lindsay) had a peer reviewed hoax paper published in 2017 in a social sciences journal, arguing that a penis is not a male reproductive organ but merely a social construct responsible for climate change.

Another was by a mythical author from a mythical institute based on a whole episode of Seinfeld (The parking garage, 1981). References were hoax citations using the names of Seinfeld characters. It was peer reviewed and published. “Now just tell me again about the gold standard peer review process,” he sneers.

As for the infamous consensus on warming, he refers to a discredited paper by Cook et al (2013), claiming 97.1% of scientists agree that man had caused at least half of the 0.7C global warming since 1950. Plimer calls it the zombie statistic because it won’t die. Of the 11,944 papers studied, only 41 (0.3%) authors explicitly stated that humans caused most of the warming. “In the physical sciences we would call Cook’s work fraud. In the social sciences it is career advancement,” he quips.


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