In the U.S., we have our own little group of global warming deniers.
They include George Will, Rush Limbaugh, Robert Samuelson, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and the aptly named Marc Morano, all of whom go about hacking schoolbooks, science and the thinking public’s sensibilities to extort the facts and figures they need to support their decidedly uninformed viewpoints.
Down under, in Australia, they have their own little coterie, and their dash to the rear is currently being led by Professor Ian Plimer of Adelaide University, whose newest book – Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing Science – is over 500 pages long and, according to reviewer Paul Sheehan, “a product of 40 years research”. Plimer, a geologist, says that 96 percent of the greenhouse effect is due to water vapor.
Sheehan, a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, promotes “miracle water” cures for auto-immune diseases. In his book review, Sheehan cites an endorsement by Czech President Vaclav Klaus (printed on the back cover of Plimer’s book) as though this were a good thing.
Klaus is an economist who assumed EU presidency not through popularity but because of enforced rotation. He compares global warming activism to Communism, and freely admits he isn’t a climatologist, so has confined his global warming attacks to the economic effect they may have.
Klaus’s own global warming denial tome (Blue Planet in Green Shackles – a book one Czech reviewer describes as a single-minded rant by an all-knowing, self-appointed freedom fighter, reflects Klaus’s disputatious nature; on Feb. 19, Klaus told the European Union’s parliament that it was “an undemocratic and elitist project comparable to Soviet-era dictatorships”.
Klaus reportedly advocates the precautionary principle when dealing with the global effects of climate change, though clearly he doesn’t understand the term. The precautionary principle, by definition, recommends action “to protect the public from exposure to harm where scientific investigation discovers a risk, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically”.
But back to Plimer, who is quoted as saying that the push behind global warming is a result of some UN scientists jumping on the global warming bandwagon to get themselves funded. Plimer himself is listed as an allied expert by the Natural Resource Stewardship Project, a non-profit that bills itself as a grassroots organization, though reliable sources confirm it is funded by the energy industry. Its founder, Tom Harris, refuses to divulge actual sources for funding. Can you say irony, Professor Plimer?
Plimer also ascribes global warming to volcanoes. In fact, studies show that, globally, volcanoes release a total of about 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2003 alone topped 26 billion tonnes.
Unfortunately, the damage done to global warming science from down under doesn’t stay down under. The opinions of Plimer, Sheehan, Dr. David Evans, John McLean and (more recently) Bob Carter spill north, like ocean debris following thermohaline circulatory patterns, polluting good science with speculation, hearsay and very bad science, and making it increasingly difficult to spot, refute or silence recycled denialism.