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The Australian must be held to account

During the week, the increasingly ridiculous Murdoch rag, The Australian, published yet another article by the Coalition’s tame climate change denier, Ian Plimer.

This article hit peak crazy and has been torn apart by experts on Climate Feedback.

Plimer claims that there are no carbon emissions because, if there were, “we could not see because most carbon is black.”

Willem Huiskamp, Postdoctoral research fellow at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said that was “So absurd as to almost defy comment.”

“Humans are burning coal, petroleum products, and natural gas. Very basic chemistry tells us that a bi-product of this is the creation of carbon dioxide gas.”

As Tony Abbott so eruditely reminded us, carbon dioxide is colourless and odourless.

Mark Richardson, Research Assistant, UCLA/NASA JPL, said the article “uses nonsense logic, is clueless about the science, and says things which are wrong. Some of these false statements have been obviously wrong for years.”

“One example is claiming “[i]t has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming.” This shows cluelessness about decades of important research. Direct measurements show that more atmospheric CO2 is causing enough heating to explain the observed warming, and we know that the CO2 rise is caused by us. Those studies are two of hundreds that have built the overwhelming case that human CO2 emissions are now driving global warming.”

Plimer claimed that “[t]he role of the sun and clouds was not considered important by modellers”.  That is “completely fake” according to Mr Richardson, who said climate modelling very much takes these factors into account.

Plimer’s assertion that “Great Barrier Reef bleaching has been occurring for hundreds of years” is based on a paper that has been described by experts as “the worst science to be published in a reputable journal in many years”, with demands from the authors of all of the datasets they misused for it to be retracted.

“We’ve had reefs on planet Earth for 3500 million years. They came and went many times. The big killer of reefs was because sea level dropped and water temperature decreased,” says Plimer.

Mark Eakin, Scientist, Coordinator of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, responded by saying that reefs were actually lost during major extinction events caused by high levels of CO2 and runaway warming.

“When they went away during periods of mass extinctions, they were gone for millions of years. Is Mr. Plimer suggesting doing away with the GBR for millions of years is an appropriate price to pay for short-term fossil fuel profits?”

Plimer referred to “unsubstantiated claims polar ice is melting” despite the fact that we can literally see the Arctic sea ice decrease and have satellite measurements showing a decline in Greenland and Antarctica ice mass balances.

He also subscribes to the conspiracy theory that there was “fraudulent changing of past weather records”, apparently because he is too stupid to understand the completely transparent process of homogenisation of weather records to remove biases and to account for changing surroundings at measuring stations.

According to Plimer, “We are not living in a period of catastrophic climate change. The past tells us it’s business as usual.”

Alexis Berg, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University, disagrees.

“Absent emission reductions, global mean temperature will likely rise by 3 to 5 °C by 2100 or so. That’s not business-as-usual. It’s a change of geological proportions, almost instantaneous on geological timescales.”

As does Katrin Meissner, Professor, University of New South Wales.

“Current CO2 concentrations have not been encountered by Earth for at least 3 million years. Last time the climate was in equilibrium with today’s CO2 concentrations, sea levels were much higher (order of magnitude of 10 meters).  The rates of change are unprecedented. Current rates of change in CO2 are at least 10 times faster than in any records of past climate.”

Many other experts have weighed in on Plimer’s rubbish contribution.

Peter Landschützer, Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology: “The entire article is just a list of inaccurate and false claims made by the author, contradicting the best scientific evidence (e.g. from measurement records) we have today.”

Martin Singh, Postdoctoral Research fellow, Harvard University: “This article is a mixture of misdirection, misleading claims, and outright falsehoods.”

Twila Moon, Research Scientist, University of Colorado, Boulder: “This article is a laundry list of falsehoods, misleading examples, and facts taken out of context. It is appalling that such a blatantly false article can be published in any credible news outlet today.”

Alexis Berg, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton University: “Just like previous pieces by the same author, this piece is an unorganized collection of the same old misleading “arguments” from climate change deniers that have been addressed thousands of times before.  It is frankly appalling that any newspaper that would like to retain some credibility would continue to publish such pieces.”

It’s time The UnAustralian was held to account for their deliberate and destructive campaign to mislead the Australian people about this existential threat.

If we want to talk about “ensuring integrity”, then the Murdoch media would be a great place to start.

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38 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    The obvious genetic absurdity of these Plimer comments is likely designed to attract attention to his mentally deficient self-serving self.

    Perhaps News Ltd could be branded a terrorist publication and banned from Australian jurisdiction. Certainly as a corporation owned by a citizen of the USA (United States of Apartheid) the defection to effect the purchase of a US publication where the majors must be owned by US citizens to protect the national interest. Why has Australia failed to follow this sensible mandate?

  2. Kaye Lee

    “Ian Plimer, Non-Executive Director at Atlas Iron, currently serves as an independent non-executive director on the boards of the unlisted Roy Hill Holdings, Queensland Coal Investments, Hope Downs Iron Ore, Hancock Beef Food (Shanghai), Hanrine Exploration and Mining Ecuador and HPXploration and the listed companies Lakes Oil NL (ASX:LKO) and Niuminco Group Ltd (ASX:NIU). He has previously sat on the boards of the TSX/ASX-listed Ivanhoe Australia Ltd, AIM-listed Kefi Minerals plc and Angus and Ross Plc and ASX-listed CBH Resources Ltd, Kimberley Metals Ltd, Silver City Minerals Ltd, TNT Mines Ltd and Sun Resources NL.”

    http://www.atlasiron.com.au/site/company1/Director-Profiles

    Not that he has a vested interest or anything….

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks Kaye, as always.
    Hard to believe that Plimer is actually a geologist and former professor. Yep, a scientist! And aparently he’s also on the boards of several mining companies. Isn’t it strange how a person can be clever and yet very, very silly at the same time? Let this be a lesson to us all: beware the dread self-interest – it makes a mess of one’s ability to think straight.
    I googled Plimer’s article – couldn’t resist – and upset myself good and proper. This remark takes the cake. ‘There are no carbon emissions. If there were, we could not see because most carbon is black. Such terms are deliberately misleading, as are many claims.’ Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  4. Jon Chesterson

    TIME TO MAKE THE UN-AUSTRALIAN AUSTRALIAN NEWS RAG EXTINCT – NOT US

    The unAustralian gutter press strikes again with its false news, lies and Ostriches in the sand; and for every believer and follower of this Murdoch rag, we are all one step closer to the grave. Once destroyed the Great Barrier Reef may grow back in the next couple of million years in some shape or form, but be quite sure of this fact – Once humans are gone we will not. We will be extinct for ever. The unAustralian perpetuates dangerous myths and lies and we should be insisting that no-one in Australia reads it, and no coffee shop, library or waiting room supplies it, free or otherwise. It is not just a national disgrace, it is a serious threat to national security and identity, to humanity.

    Who’s in?

  5. Kaye Lee

    Kate, I couldn’t bring myself to link to it.

    I wish I could laugh, thinking all Australian people would do likewise, and then I remember that Craig Kelly and George Christensen actually increased their vote last election.

    Look at the connections between Plimer, the IPA, Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch, the Minerals Council. Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, donated $2.3m to the IPA in 2016 and $2.2m in 2017. Keith Murdoch was one of the founders of the IPA. The IPA published a book called “Climate Change: The Facts 2017”, co-written by Plimer and the other usual suspects.

    I used to think Aussies hated to be bullshitted.

  6. John OCallaghan

    The really really utterley frightening part is there are probably millions of people out there who actually believe this shit….. and they vote! ………………….

  7. Matters Not

    Re:

    … and facts taken out of context

    And yet we have those who demand – just give us the facts – (as though delivery of same will be a panacea) which is obviously far too simple and therefore dangerously misleading. Science for all its benefits has political problems which are largely unsolvable because they are inherent – within the nature of the beast. Scientific conclusions are always tentative, never absolute, not about truth – yet we live in a world where politicians claim to speak the truth – and in large part they make those truth claims because the voters demand it. Politicians rarely (if ever) say I don’t know or it might be because politics isn’t about doubt. Rather it’s about certainty; truth; right answers and the like.

    Seems we have a problem and it might just be us – the citizen voter.

  8. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    Context gives facts meaning. It is a fact that CO2 levels have been this high before. Without the context of that accompanying mass extinction events and sea levels 10m higher and a hugely different planet, the fact does not inform.

    Jon,

    It’s not just the free papers in places like McDonalds, Murdoch also gives free subscription to Fox to all politicians and it is broadcast at places like airports.

    Craig Laundy was talking about the Canberra bubble before Scott adopted it as his deflection line.

    “The part that gets missed for people outside Canberra … is when you are in Parliament House, our side of politics spends their whole time in their offices with Sky News playing in the background, and you are watching colleagues going head-to-head with Labor on policy, but once it gets to 6pm, it goes from panel-style shows to commentary shows.

    “Look that’s [Sky’s] business model, it isn’t sour grapes, they are entitled to do this, they are trying to go the Fox News, US-style controversial rightwing shake-it-up … and a lot of my colleagues take what they say as gospel.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/25/craig-laundy-i-saw-the-worst-of-politics-i-had-a-ringside-seat

  9. whatever

    I say this all the time, but we need to get this ‘Yellow Journalism’ trash out of our Public, School and University libraries. Just cancel the subscriptions.

  10. Matters Not

    Re:

    Context gives facts meaning.

    Maybe for some but for me it’s humans that make and give the meaning(s) – taking a whole range of ‘factors’ into account. No humans – no meanings. Meanings don’t have lives of their own. So, Plimer gives a particular and peculiar meaning. Others, including me, give another.

    Then again, I see that people (even insane ones) create their own reality. And sometimes they are ‘mugged’ by their creation. Plimer …?

  11. Kaye Lee

    It’s interesting how things all tie together.

    When Angus Taylor was a partner at Port Jackson Partners in 2012, he produced a report for the Minerals Council suggesting labour costs in Australia need to be lower.

    “Policy decisions made now can create or destroy an economic opportunity equal to more than five per cent of the Australian economy in 30 years, with lower minerals industry growth quickly translating into poorer economic performance,” the report said.

    The report outlines measures that could be adopted, including halting spiralling wage costs by deploying skilled immigration and sending workers in manufacturing jobs on the east coast to mining jobs in Western Australia.

    It was produced when Angus Taylor was seeking preselection for the Liberal party.

    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/work/minerals-council-warns-of-labour-costs/news-story/ad906159878b75bc4e2fdcad4861c523

    MN,

    You get too esoteric for me at times. I’m a maths and science girl. Even as a kid, I would always say “prove it”, much to the annoyance of everyone. Some things are a matter of interpretation. Some are not.

  12. moneytalks

    Strictly commercial academia.

  13. One Foot In The Grave

    That ugly octogenarian in New York reassured us only days ago that there were no climate change deniers “around here,I can assure you”.Obviously his garbage publications didn’t get the memo,or are they all just liars like him? A lot of us have thought of Murdoch as one of the most dangerous and destructive people on the planet for many years,and advancing age with the prospect of mortality appear to be making him worse.His approaching demise will be lamented by no one.

  14. Kaye Lee

    OFITG,

    There was a time when his own journalists stood up to Murdoch.

    After the dismissal of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government in 1975, the Australian’s journalists went on strike during the subsequent election campaign over what they saw as the newspaper’s biased coverage.

    A letter from journalists to management took issue with the “deliberate and careless slanting of headlines, seemingly blatant imbalance in news presentation, political censorship and, more occasionally, distortion of copy from senior specialist journalists, the political management of news and features, the stifling of dissident and even palatably impartial opinion in the papers’ columns…”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/may/10/australias-murdoch-moment-has-news-corp-finally-gone-too-far

  15. johno

    The Unaustralian has disgraced itself again.

  16. Kram

    You have to be joking, climate is a complex science, you people think that is caused by an increase in carbon are fools. Look into the science and you will see that most credited climate scientists don’t believe this rubbish.

  17. John Hermann

    This particular climate change denier is trading on his reputation as a geologist. And I have noticed his association with mining companies, suggesting a potential conflict of interest between his writing on this issue and the powerful vested interests that he represents. His article in The Australian reveals that he possesses little, if any, knowledge of climatology. He is a geologist, not a climate scientist, and should stick to what he knows, instead of commenting on issues that are not within his field of expertise.

  18. John lord

    Tony Abbott, as I recall, made the same comment years ago.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Kram,

    I would love for you to provide a link to any “credited climate scientist” who disagrees that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not lead to global warming.

  20. Kate Ahearne

    John Hermann,
    If we had to be experts before we were entitled to express an opinion, nearly all of us would be disqualified to express an opinion on anything at all.
    Kram,
    Yes, climate science is complex, and carbon gases and particulates in their various forms are not the only culprits. Nevertheless, there are some basic questions that need to be asked. To my mind, this is the core question: ‘Do we really expect to continue to pollute the planet and its atmosphere and expect that there will be no repercussions?’

  21. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I don’t think there are any links.

    Don’t you just hate it when opinions can’t be backed up with facts?

  22. Keith

    Kram

    Have you taken into account all the data collected by satellites … real data produced by a respected source.
    Pages2 takes a large component of the denier the catalogue of deniers by destroying the myth that the Roman and Medieval periods were warmer than now.

    Honestly, haven’t you ever thought about how fossil fuels are sequestered for millions of years, and the by products are released into the atmosphere in a nano second in comparison to how long they were created.

    Can you produce any references Kram?

    Do you believe in Physics and Chemistry?

  23. David Evans

    Must be where craig kelly MP gets his vast scientific knowledge from?.. What a load of crap these clowns come up with.

  24. wam

    beauty kate keep it simple a billion white people got rich fucking the earth with land clearance, toxic waste and returning green house gases to the atmosphere that nature took billions of years to sequester. That must upset the natural processes as shown by the visible the effects of seas rising, glacial ice, sea ice and permafrost melting
    Not only can we no longer risk exacerbating the earth’s trauma but the other 6 billion human’s cannot get rich without power.
    QED renewable energy is worth billions.
    Albo whilst he is kicking angus’ arse could have a slash at the lnp cuts to the csiro which could have seen Australia the world leader in renewables
    ps
    anyone hear penny mention 10 years ago and have a go at the screamers?? Will she next mention the diludbransimkims by name.
    ps sorry michael I agree about facts but opinions by definition
    a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
    “that, in my opinion, is right”
    synonyms: belief, judgement, thought(s), school of thought, thinking, way of thinking, mind, point of view, view, viewpoint, outlook, angle, slant, side, attitude, stance, perspective, position, standpoint; More

  25. Patagonian

    Polluting nano-particles, like the size of Pilmer’s brain, are invisible to the naked eye.

  26. wam

    My records don’t go back as fae as lord’s but:
    letters@theaustralian.com.au>
    Date: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 3:06 pm
    Labor proposed a cap and trading scheme in 2008. Abbott’s reaction was ‘why not just tax everyone’. Both the greens and the coalition voted the trading scheme down in the senate. Now with the greens still speaking on ‘a tax’ and abbott squealing ‘tax’, confusion still reigns. The crux is the young support action on climate change and the horror is that climate change science is 200 year old, in 1895 Arrhenius calculated the temp would rise 5 or 6 degrees. In 1938 science linked human activity to global warming and by 1958 science began to measure the effect and by 1988 the UN was involved. Why are we still discussing the the existence of global warming? Why are the impractical greens and an intransigent Abbott still allowed to cloud the issue?
    A bipartisan approach is needed and a conscience vote is needed on a trading scheme to put an end to “tax’ speculation.
    wam moir
    darwin

    ps Kaye ant idea when these were your words:
    While the rest of the world recognises the critical threat of climate change, and moves towards global action to address it, we remove carbon pricing, dismantle all climate change bodies, change environmental protection laws, and move away from initiatives like Marine Parks and the Murray-Darling water buyback
    We have condoned human rights abuses in Sri Lanka and West Papua, been caught spying on Indonesia and East Timor, infuriated China by taking sides with the US, and Indonesia by our boat tow/buy back rhetoric, ignored the UN by siding with Israel, refused to address whaling with the Japanese, and in general, vacillated between tough guy and fawning friend at a rate that would make your head spin?

  27. Matters Not

    Re Plimer. Might be worth going back in time and considering why he might now advocate as he does.

    Ian Plimer, the Australian professor of geology who has fought a five-year court battle against a Christian preacher’s claims to have found ‘scientific’ evidence for Noah’s Ark in Turkey, has lost his bid to overturn a judgement made against him last June.

    … Outside the court, Roberts said Plimer had “sought to stifle our voice”, and declared “a victory for freedom of belief and expression”. Plimer admitted his “pockets now rattle after the appeal”, and said he will file for bankruptcy.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/37426

    Perhaps an explanation, an excuse or whatever? Should imagine that bankruptcy tends to focus the mind towards – cynicism?

  28. Wobbley

    There’s only one language that we the people have not used to defend ourselves from these traitors against humanity and I’m absolutely sure that if push came to shove they would have no hesitation in using weapons to “reclaim sanity”, business as usual. If this absolutely criminal situation continues we have only one avenue to pursue and that is unfortunately similar to a Point in Frances history some two hundred and something years ago.

  29. Wobbley

    Now we’ve got fucken right wing climate denying nut jobs infiltrating this site with they’re utter non scientific bullshit not only here but increasingly on other progressive news blogs. They’re not worried that the people might Cotton on to their crap are they? A bit like proselytising to a confirmed atheist. I hate to say it but everybody who “bites back” at these bullshit artists is giving them and their argument credibility, just ignore the nutjobs like you do me when I suggest something outrageous. Lol.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Chris Kenny, in the unAustralian, writes…

    “The campaigning to ignore the election result and adopt the defeated green-left agenda has only escalated. Politicians, activists and journalists have exaggerated, embellished and fabricated climate hysteria to justify the kinds of extreme climate policies rejected at the election.

    Undeniably, Energy Minister Angus Taylor used grossly erron­eous figures in a charged letter to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. But given the letter was inconsequential and the figures were a misquote of the mayor’s own figures back to her, it is difficult to interpret the hysterical reaction from Labor and the media except as an exercise in retaliation: Taylor must be punished for winning a climate election.”

    I must agree with Kenný’s son Liam who wrote of his own father….

    Kenny is a staunchly neo-conservative, anti-progress, anti-worker defender of the status quo. He is an unrelenting apologist for the Liberal Party. He was one of Alexander Downer’s senior advisers at the time of the Iraq War. He’s been known to argue for stubborn, sightless inaction on climate change. He spits at anyone concerned with such trivialities as gender equality, environmental issues or labour rights from his Twitter account on a daily basis. Recently, he characterised criticism of the lack of women in Tony Abbott’s Cabinet as a continuation of the Left’s “gender wars”. He is a regular and fervent participant in The Australian’s numerous ongoing bully campaigns against those who question its editorial practices and ideological biases. The profoundly irresponsible, dishonest, hate-filled anti-multiculturalist Andrew Bolt has recently referred to Kenny on his blog as “a friend”.

    https://junkee.com/in-defence-of-the-chasers-picture-of-my-dad-having-sex-with-dog/19967

  31. Graeme Thompson

    “Plimer claims that there are no carbon emissions because, if there were, “we could not see because most carbon is black.””

    Technically this statement is true. Perhaps we (climate change believers) need to start to be more specific in our choice of words and phrases so that people like Plimer cannot manipulate what we say and people agree with him. It is the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and oxides of nitrogen that are the problem. Of course there is minimal actual carbon being emitted. We allow him to bend the truth because we (and I am one of these) are slack in what we actually say and our meaning can be manipulated. Just a thought. I know I am splitting hairs, but we need to careful.

    PS Now I will get my own name correct

  32. Kaye Lee

    Graeme,

    I understand and agree but they attack whatever language we use. Look at the silliness about the terms global warming and climate change. The term greenhouse gases seems pretty much self-explanatory – perhaps even better than just focusing on CO2 with the never-ending argument about plant food. Water is also essential for life – too much of it can kill you.

  33. John Hermann

    Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas released by human activities. Other major gases in this category include nitrous oxide and methane. These are released by a variety of mechanisms, including the use of nitrogen fertilizers for food crops, land clearing (deforestation) for the purpose of introducing grazing ruminant animals, the widespread use of waste landfills, the use of internal combustion engines for vehicles and other purposes, and more generally the burning of fossil fuels as sources of energy.

  34. Ross Barrell

    The Oz has no integrity. A bit like the Liberal party. That all went down the drain years ago. Neither does Plimer. Worse, he is actually, after all, a scientist. So he should know better. So that makes articles like his even worse. I stopped reading the Australian in the early 1990s because the right wing bias and blather was palpable.

  35. Zathras

    Trotting out that hired-gun mining lobbyist Plimer and giving his partisan delusions press coverage again – it’s no wonder The Australian didn’t win any Walkley Awards last Thursday.

    Is it reasonable that those 3% of scientists who oppose the overwhelming conclusions of the remaining 97% should get more than 50% of media coverage? Probably, if outrageous stories sell copies but it’s certainly not in the public interest. Likewise the frequent promotion of the views of anti-vaxxers has had unfortunate results in Samoa in the form of a measles epidemic with 53 fatalities to date.

    I was reminded of the comment made by Sacha Baron-Cohen that social media would sell space to Hitler under the banner of “free speech” if it was in their financial interests.

  36. Terence Mills

    My wife has pointed out to me that on the reverse side of our Woolies’ grocery docket is an offer to buy the Weekend Australian for $2 (half price).

    Things must be crook at Newscorp !

  37. John L

    Talking to my geologist son the other week, and he remarked how the only geologists he’s met who deny global heating is an issue, are petro-chemical and mining geologists……..just saying…….

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