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December 17th, 2009

This Lateline featuring Ian Plimer and George Monbiot has to be seen to be believed. More from Tim Lambert and from James Farrell at Troppo.

Update I must say the response of those on Plimer’s side of the debate has been thoroughly disappointing. Tribal loyalty might perhaps justify silence in the face of an embarrassing performance like this. On the other hand, no one appears to have the cheek to suggest that Plimer came out looking good, and few on the delusionist side are willing to admit that the most prominent scientist on their side came across as a total fraud.

So we get two lines (a) It was really mean of Jones and Monbiot to keep on demanding that he answer the questions (which had been supplied in writing long in advance) (b) It’s too hard to tell. This is truly pathetic.

And, as I’ve said before, this style of dishonesty, originating with the tobacco lobby’s attempts to obfuscate the health effects of smoking, now permeates right wing discussion of any issue you care to name, from the Iraq war to the Global Financail Crisis. It’s hard to see how any kind of political discussion can be sustained in the face of this kind of thing

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  1. Fran Barlow
    December 24th, 2009 at 15:33 | #1

    @Freelander

    It could be a cultural thing — he doesn’t like the cultural implications of accepting mitigation policy and because he knows (like Luntz all those years ago) that the science, if accepted, will found what he deems objectionable, he feels the need to refute the science with whatever comes most easily to hand.

    When you’re fighting a war, you don’t have to be ethical. The end is all that matters. History never condemns winners of wars — only losers. The spreaders of the filth merchant agnotology have pretty much conceded that this is where they are, which is why they are trawling through emials and repeating long debunked nonsense in a desperate attempt to hang on to the world as they prefer it.

    I suspect that this is where TonyG is too. I don’t regard him as stupid — at least not in the sense that one usually uses the term. Annoying people is probably a bonus because it generates noise rather than signal and that hurts our cause more than his. What he and those like him want most is FUD because if they can get that, policy resolve is subverted and if people become demoralised or see mitigation as too late or futile or impracticable thjey may become fatalistic and give up.

    There are all sorts of ways to win battles, and sapping the resolve of the other side is not the least of them. We need not to give him what he wants. When he repeats his drivel, let us simply give it the short shrift it deserves. This is our blog — not his. We ought not to let him and those with similarly misanthropic cultural intent set the agenda.

  2. Donald Oats
    December 24th, 2009 at 16:58 | #2

    Even sillier is that fact that the “1998 was the hottest year” meme is incorrect; in fact, 2005 holds the honours. While some may dispute this, have a look at how Bob Carter (IPA, marine sedimentary geologist, AGW and natural global warming denier) has dealt with this recently.

    In an article for the Australian dated 2006-11-03, we have this statement:

    For instance, participants at a recent international climate conference in Stockholm were told that the hockey-stick depiction of temperature over the last 1000 years, an IPCC favourite, has been discredited; that pre-industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were higher, and fluctuated more, than is indicated by the averaged ice core measurements; that global temperature has not increased since 1998, despite continuing increases in carbon dioxide; that the Arctic region is no warmer now than it was in the 1930s; and that climate models are too uncertain to be used as predictive policy tools.

    Note that back in 2006 he was running the “cooling since 1998″ meme as hard as he could.

  3. Donald Oats
    December 24th, 2009 at 17:00 | #3

    @Donald Oats
    Dang! I was in the middle of editing that and slipped the mouse onto the “Submit” button. I’ll try again.

  4. Ken
    December 24th, 2009 at 21:06 | #4

    @KJ
    If this is a serious question you could try looking at the various measures of global temperature and the interpretations of them by those who study climate, (you won’t get that from Plimer) but, sorry I can’t consider it more than a misleading rhetorical question. A hot spike in a long term warming trend is the foundation of arguments that it’s been cooling? It’s like saying one exceptionally hot spring day means summer is cooler than spring. Complete nonsense. But this is the quality of arguments that climate denialism is based on; no-one should be surprised that derision is a common response. Like CO2 coming from undersea volcanoes (for which there is no evidence and which is contradicted by actual evidence), it sounds good only as long as it doesn’t get close scrutiny. What does deserve scrutiny is the willingness of so many to take such arguments as genuine even after the flaws are clearly pointed out and the capacity to casually disregard the real work of multiple scientific institutions conducting multiple lines of research.

  5. Chris O’Neill
    December 25th, 2009 at 07:51 | #5

    the recent data blows away the contention that there has been no further warming.

    Tony G thinks that statement is ambiguous and could mean the recent data shows there’s been no further warming. What an idiot.

  6. Chris O’Neill
    December 25th, 2009 at 07:57 | #6

    Tony G:

    Environmentalism is a religion where its main tenet is “raw nature” as god-like, and Mankind as a plague infecting it. If you support environmentalism, the fact is that you’re supporting an ideology that promotes the destruction of Mankind – and concretely, that includes yourself and everyone you care about.

    Tony G is mentally deranged.

  7. Ken
    December 25th, 2009 at 08:07 | #7

    @Ken
    I should clarify that I meant that the rise in atmospheric CO2 being attributed to undersea volcanoes rather than human emissions has no factual basis – some CO2 does come from volcanoes, terrestrial and undersea, estimated at 1/130th what humans emit, that being a major error by Plimer.

  8. Donald Oats
    December 25th, 2009 at 15:20 | #8

    @Ken
    And since Ian Plimer has made that same error in two UK interviews, two Lateline interviews in Australia, and a book, all of which has been pointed out either in the interviews or in review(s) of the book, to call it a major error by Plimer is being polite^fn1.

    Fact: Plimer has had ample opportunity to go “Oh, is that right? I’ll go to the libraries and review the recent literature on undersea volcanoes and their atmospheric CO2 contribution. If I’m in error I’ll correct both the public record and the book with the true situation.”

    Fact: No action after five opportunities to do exactly that, nada.

    Footnote 1: These five I know of because I’ve either read them or watched them; not much doubt this has occurred in some of his other interviews and seminars too.

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