DP: I need to introduce to you yet another highly prominent scientist from around the world who has so much important data to give to us about the, what is called global warming, or has been now metamorphosed into climate change since it may not be warming. So now any change is regarded as the harbinger of disaster for humanity. My guest is in Australia. He is professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, Ian Plimer. Is it Plimer, sir?
IP: It’s Plimer.
DP: Plimer, yes. Professor Plimer has, is one of the most prominent of Australia’s scientists in this area. I read about his book, and I read it to you, and it is titled Heaven And Earth, and it is about, as described, one of Australia’s foremost earth scientists. The book is 500 pages, 230,000 words, 2,311 footnotes, and decades of research. Professor Plimer, welcome to the Dennis Prager Show in America.
IP: Thank you very much. Good morning.
DP: Well, thank you, sir. Is your book coming out in the United States?
IP: Yes, it’s coming out very soon by Medicine Books. It’s a book that’s written for the average person. It’s written in a language for the average person, and it’s written at three levels, asking a few basic questions about how climate works, then a summary at every chapter, and then the text of the chapter. And if you really want to chase after references, there’s a lot of work to do with the 2,300 odd references.
DP: How long is the book out in Australia?
IP: It’s been out for just over a week. It was on the top of the bestseller lists in two days. It’s into its third reprint, and it’s really fulfilled a gap, because the average person out there is very much of the view that they’re not quite being told the truth. They’re not fools, and this is a compendium of all of the arguments they need to answer all of the global warming arguments put up. And it sold exceptionally well because a lot of people are out there who are disenfranchised, and they feel helpless, and they need something to support those arguments.
DP: How has your book been received by that part of Australian public opinion, and I don’t know how dominant it is as in the United States, the Al Gore world? Have they responded at all?
IP: The Al Gore world here in Australia responded the day before the book was released. Now I don’t know how they were able to respond to it, but they started to make some noise and criticize the book, which I find quite amusing that people who haven’t read a book are able to comment on it. And they’ve been fairly quiet, because it’s a fairly comprehensive demolition using about 80 major arguments to show that everything we’re being told is not correct.
DP: When did you begin to suspect that “everything we are being told is not correct?”
IP: About fifteen years ago, and I put out a small book on this, and it was very well received. And I thought I’m going to write a bigger book that is an international book using examples mainly from the Northern Hemisphere, mainly from the Arctic, and mainly from the Antarctic to show that the science does not support the position that humans create climate change. The only way you can support that position is to ignore all of history, and to ignore everything that happens in the cosmos to take the atmosphere out of the whole Earth system, and to view the atmosphere by itself.
DP: So you have had this view for quite some time. Why do you feel, this is to me one of the unanswerables, or to, unanswerable. I’m sure it is to others. Why, if it is so much nonsense, why do so many scientists sign onto it?
IP: We have fads and fashions in science. There isn’t much funding for research work, and that group of scientists that can frighten us witless can actually get more research funds if they give us a catastrophist story. And so there’s been twenty years of people trying to frighten us to death. Nothing has really happened. We haven’t fried, we haven’t been drowned by rising sea levels. And the average person out there is getting very skeptical of the hype that they’re given. But it’s been a wonderful party for atmospheric scientists to frighten us to death.
DP: So you feel that a lot of scientists have sold their souls?
IP: Oh, very much so. It’s a case of following the money. It’s a case of following the fashions and the fads. It’s a case of getting the fame and the fortune which comes with something like this, and we’ve seen it before in science, and we’ve seen at times that science has made some monumental errors which have been corrected. There is a self-correcting process in science. But it’s got a lag to it, and it takes some time before you can actually get the science corrected by new science.
DP: Well, we’re in real trouble. If the social sciences have been corrupted, which I believe they have entirely in the Western academic world by political agendas, there was always the belief that if there’s one place where truth was dominant, it was in the natural sciences. And you’re telling me that’s not the case.
IP: I think the natural sciences have now been corrupted. I think they’ve been totally politicized. I think the natural sciences now, I’ve driven by two groups. One group who go outdoors, who collect the new evidence, who try to integrate and use interdisciplinary science to try to understand how the planet works. There’s another group who don’t collect this information. They sit next to their computer, model someone else’s data, and come up with a conclusion. And then they go outside and they find it doesn’t work. That’s what we’re up against now. The models are dominating natural sciences, and the models that they create are totally unrelated to reality.
DP: The models, as in computer modeling, that we’re told will happen in forty years. Is that what you’re referring to?
IP: Well, very much. They can’t even get it right with a couple of years in advance. For example, the modeling that was done in 1990 did not tell us about a huge event where we shift a massive amount of heat around the world, and that was the El Nino of 1998. It didn’t tell us that in this century, it started to cool down. Now just over a few years, those models were absolutely and totally wrong. So what hope have they got of predicting anything that might be happening in thirty or fifty years time?
DP: Well, this is what a lay person such as myself would argue. I mean, and the…perhaps simplistic, and if it simplistic I don’t want to cite it, but when it comes to weather matters and climate matters, people know that predictions are notoriously wrong for the next day, let alone for forty years from now.
IP: Well, your problem, Dennis, is you’re using logic, and your intuition is killing you, for based on your experience that these models don’t work. Now we’ve all experienced that, and yet the whole community seems overwhelmed with modeling. The financial modelers never told us that there was going to be a massive economic crisis. No government had that in their budgetary agenda. The insurance modelers never told us that two jet airplanes were going to hit the World Trade Center. And now we seem to accept models that are going to tell us that we’re going to fry or freeze or die or whatever. And we’re very much aware that there’s a very limited amount of information you can put into a model. That limited amount of information is based on our limited understanding of the Earth. And then coming out the other end of the model is information which we treat with great reverence. Well I’m sorry, it doesn’t work.
DP: Let me raise the most popular notions with regard to so-called global warming, or now climate change, and have you respond to them. The one that is raised the most often is pictures of Arctic and Antarctic ice melting. How do you respond to that?
IP: The ice sheets wax and wane all the time. They expand and they contract. It’s rather like having a Christmas pudding. If you put your fist into it, then some of the pudding will move out of the bowl and will rise. In Greenland, and in Antarctica, the ice actually fills basins. It flows uphill to get out of those basins. That flow is not related to temperature. It’s related to building up of more ice in the center of these land masses. And then we push ice over the edge of these land masses, it drops into the ocean, and these become the great icebergs that float out to sea. We have a history of iceberg armadas, and the greatest armadas of ice occur in cold times, not in warm times. So in fact those pictures of carving ice sheets coming out from Greenland or Antarctica and giving us icebergs are telling it’s a process that started thousands of years ago. It’s a process very normal.
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DP: Do you have a title for your book when it comes out in the United States?
IP: It’s exactly the same title coming out by Medicine Books, and it’s also being printed in England. It’ll come out next week in England as well.
DP: Okay, well that’s up at www.pragerradio.com, my friends. This is exactly the book that you need to have, and to give to others as he’s a preeminent scientist in his field, decades in the making, 2,000 footnotes. And it’s at www.pragerradio.com at the blog, Heaven And Earth. Now Professor Plimer, we were talking about, Professor Plimer believes that it is largely nonsense as we have argued. And remember, folks, remember please what we say when we’re talking about largely nonsense, or perhaps entirely nonsense. And the problem with nonsense not that people believe in nonsense. I’ve never cared if people believe silly things. I only care if they believe silly things, and then they change the world and they force others to change their behaviors based on that. That’s the problem that we now have, as the economy of America and elsewhere will be changed because of a belief in nonsense. It begins with humans are causing global warming, global warming is happening at a terrible rate, and third, it is happening so badly that it will lead to catastrophe on Earth. Professor, I reported just the other day a poll in America. One out of three pre-teens in America is, actually believes that in his or her adult life, the Earth will self-implode because of global warming. This is the extent in America of the hysteria. Is it that way in Australia?
IP: Yes, very much so, and it’s rather tragic that young people have such a negative view of the future, because the rates have changed, and the amount of change that we’re measuring today is far, far less than anything we see in the past. We’re actually living in very benign times.
DP: Yes, exactly. That’s what it would seem. So let’s go back, this is really critical, the ice issue. So this notion of ice melting, what you’re saying is it’s, this is utterly normal for both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
IP: It’s quite normal, and we’ve had ice sheets squeezed out. As they get thicker and thicker, ice actually moves as a result of pressure, not as a result of melting. And we have very deep ice cores in both Greenland and Antarctica, and that shows that in the last 34 million years in Antarctica, although we’ve had very warm times, the ice hasn’t melted. Greenland shows the same.
DP: Now I was just reading the other day, because they, you make the point, and I don’t know if they were responding to you or just responding generally, now you make the point that we have had just as much time, what is it, in the geologic time that you measure, we have had half the time with ice caps in the Arctic, and half the time without them?
IP: The figure’s a bit less than that. It’s about 20% of time we’ve had ice. The rest of the time, the planet has been warmer and wetter, and it’s been a wonderful, volcanic world, because every time we’ve had high carbon dioxides, we’ve had thriving of life on planet Earth. It’s when we have a low carbon dioxide content, and that’s as it is today in geological history, that we have life that seems to struggle a little bit.
DP: So let me get this straight for my layman’s brain. You’re telling me that 80% of recorded time, or of time that we…not recorded, but really of time that we can measure of Earth’s history, 80% of the time there was no ice in the Arctic?
IP: That’s correct.
DP: I’m picking up myself from the floor, that’s all. That’s the only reason for the silence, because we…these are things that we are never taught. When was the last time, how many years ago, was there no ice in the Arctic?
IP: We’re currently in an ice age. Ice appeared in Antarctica 34 million years ago, and ice appeared in the Arctic nearly 3 million years ago. And the ice sheets are waxing and waning, and they’re almost a bit like a yo-yo. When it gets very cold in Antarctica, it’s a little bit warmer in the Arctic, and vice versa.
DP: Well, so they would argue, well folks, we’re sure Professor Plimer is right, but if it’s happening for the first time in three million years, it’s no coincidence that it’s happening at the same time we are emitting so much carbon dioxide. That would be their response.
IP: Except that we’ve had ice ages in the past. If we go back into the distant past, when the carbon dioxide content was much, much higher than now, ten times or a hundred times higher, yet we had ice ages. So there’s absolutely no correlation between the appearance of ice and carbon dioxide. And that’s the disconnect, and so in science, you only need one piece of evidence to show that your hypothesis is wrong, and you have to throw out the hypothesis. And what surprises me is that this hypothesis has not been thrown out despite the fact it’s demonstrably wrong.
DP: All right, so again, I have to review this for my sake and my listeners’ sake, that in the past, there have been times of far greater carbon dioxide amounts in the atmosphere of Earth, and it was not hotter, and ice was not melting.
IP: That’s correct, and in fact, we had a number of big ice ages that lasted for tens of millions of years when we had high carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
DP: So they’re simply not related.
IP: Not related at all.
DP: so what is…what do you make of the whole notion of greenhouse gases?
IP: Well, the major greenhouse gas in the air is water vapor. The other greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, which once it’s got up to about twenty or fifty parts per million, it’s done its job, and you can double or quadruple or triple carbon dioxide and it makes very little difference to temperature. That’s why we’ve been able to have very high carbon dioxide contents in the past and not have a runaway greenhouse, or not have…
DP: So they’re not…okay, so they’re not even related even in the other way. I was told, or I thought I was told, that we simply have the cart before the horse, that hot temperatures increase carbon dioxide, and not carbon dioxide increases temperatures. But you’re saying they’re not related at all.
IP: There is a relationship that when the planet warms up, we release carbon dioxide out of soils, and out of the oceans. But carbon dioxide is a follower. It doesn’t lead, and it doesn’t drive climate. It follows the natural climate changes which occur for many, many reasons.
DP: Is it possible to have too much carbon dioxide?
IP: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It’s plant food. And every time we’ve had high carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we’ve had a thriving of life on Earth.
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DP: All right, I would like to take some calls if you have any skepticism on this. To me, this is only the latest hysteria. I have lived through so many in my lifetime, that I don’t believe a single one has actually panned out. I was told that people will, there will be so many people by the Year 2000 that the Earth will not have any food for them. Earth’s food production, actually, of course, increased. The only reason for starvation on Earth is because of human evil in the form of corrupt governments and war. And then the hysteria over heterosexual AIDS in America, millions were predicted to die from it, Newsweek and Time were culprits there as they so often are. The popular media are spectacularly irresponsible, because hysteria sells and non-hysteria does not sell copy. The indictment is deeply severe. I have said all along that I believe that the credibility of all of these people, including myself, should be on the line here. If it turns out that global warming is a tragedy, then so I should be so judged. In the meantime, the President and others should be judged because they are transforming the American economy and therefore the world economy based on drivel. It’s a frightening scenario. Professor Plimer’s not alone among scientists, but he has perhaps written right now the most exhaustive book on the subject. There is a waxing and waning of ice. They already have changed the name to climate change. Why did they change the name? And did you note that in your book that it went from global warming to climate change?
IP: Yes, very much so. And I think it’s again showing the complete lack of history. If you can take history out of the equation, you can frighten people even more, because over the history of time, climates have always been changing. They never stop changing. Sea levels are always changing. But if you can change the language and omit history, then you can really come up with any answer you want. And I think if you ignore history, you do it at your peril.
DP: So let’s go back to the beginning term of global warming. Is, has the Earth been getting warmer?
IP: It’s been getting warmer, and it’s been getting cooler. In the last century, it was warming up until 1940. Then it was cooling until 1976. Then it was warming up to 1998. It was static for a little while, and then it’s been cooling since 2003. So it both warms and it cools.
DP: And what causes this, primarily, if anything?
IP: It is that great ball of heat up there in the sky called the Sun. That’s the main driver of shifting energy in the atmosphere, and shifting energy in the oceans, and cooling and warming the Earth. There are other factors, and when you combine a couple of these together, then you get a rapid, massive climate change.
DP: All right, we’re going to take some calls here. Cleveland, Ohio and Greg, you’re on with Professor Plimer and Dennis Prager, hi.
Greg: Hi, Dennis, it’s an honor to speak with you. I have a question…
DP: Thank you.
Greg: …for your guest here. So I’m a young scientist in a field that has nothing to do with global warming. I do biology research. And I follow from time to time the mainstream scientific literature such as Science & Nature, which are the big two, and they have quite a few articles sort of discussing today’s issues. And I’ve noticed that global warming really has been neglected, particularly in these two publications. And when they occasionally do touch on global warming, for example, in my hands right now I have the March, 2009 issue of Science. There is an article by Mr. Richard A. Kerr that starts out, “global warming is causing trouble for polar bears. No doubt about that.” So where’s the disconnect here where mainstream science isn’t touching on the issues that you’re bringing up?
DP: All right, we’ll have a response from Professor Plimer when we come back.
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DP: By the way, there was a questioner, and then we’ll go back…I’ll summarize the last caller’s question in a moment, Professor, but there was someone who called from somewhere in America but has hung up in the meantime who wanted to know, and I’m sure you get this a fair amount, and I’m going to get it as well. Well, you are a professor of mining geology. What does that have to do with climatology?
IP: Well, the answer to that question is that in geology, you read the rocks, and you look back in time seeing sea level changes, seeing climate changes. And the only way we can understand the present is to understand the past. And that is why geology is the major mechanism of understanding where we are and what’s happening today. Climatology is a very narrow science that doesn’t look at what’s happening in the heavens, such as with cosmic radiation from the Sun, both of which drive climate, and matters of earthly processes such as volcanoes and earthquakes, which have a significant effect on climate.
DP: All right, now to summarize and expand on the last questioner who was himself as he identified a young scientist, where are the peer reviewed scientific articles on our side, the side of the skeptics on this? Why is it almost unanimous the literature that’s published in support of the global warming hypothesis?
IP: There is a huge amount of literature that is contrary to the global warming hypothesis. It does get published in Science, and it does get published in Nature. And Nature and Science also have opinion pieces. This is what’s picked up by the popular press, and opinion pieces vary with time. For example, in the 1950s, the opinion pieces were telling us that the weird weather was due to the atomic bomb. In the 1970s, it was telling us we’re going to have an ice age. In the 1990s, it was telling us we’re going to fry in a global warming. So opinion pieces are picked up by the popular press and run very hard with it, but science is constantly dynamic, it’s constantly changing, because the evidence is always accumulating.
DP: All righty, let’s go then to some more of our calls. And by the way, I just want to repeat here, I would assume then from your perspective, we are in a particularly good time for human and other life?
IP: This is the best time to be alive. We live longer, we have better health, we are wealthier, there is less disease, we are able to combat pollution, which we were not able to do hundreds of years ago. We couldn’t live at a better time.
DP: Right. And in regard to climate as well, I’m specifically that, because…
IP: Oh, it’s a wonderful time to live…
IP: …because five hundred years ago, we had depopulation. We had famine. We had cannibalism. We had starvation, because we were in a little ice age. We had the same in the dark ages between 535 and 900 A.D. We had loss of civilizations 4,200 years ago because of very cold climates. If you want to stress a community, give them a cold climate. If you want a community to thrive, give them a warm climate.
DP: So you have no fear of Florida, or for that matter, Sydney being inundated?
IP: No, I have no fear of that. I have fear of people making stupid decisions based on incorrect or partially correct information.
DP: When you hear that the United States Environmental Protection Agency is now pushing America to actually regard carbon dioxide emission as a dangerous almost toxin to the American people and to the world, how do you react?
IP: Well, it tells me that the science has been totally politicized. Carbon dioxide is plant food. We have it in all of our soft drinks. We have it in much of our cooking. It’s a very, very common gas. It is non-toxic. You cannot see it, it’s a gas that drives life on Earth. And if it’s regarded as a pollutant, then science has been totally politicized.
DP: All righty, let’s go to Long Beach, California, and Phil. Hello, Phil, Dennis Prager and Professor Ian Plimer in Australia.
Phil. Good morning to both of you, and my thanks for this subject. I just wanted to mention that Richard Fineman years ago, addressing one of the major universities in their graduation, warned most stridently that science was changing, that it was becoming driven by grants and money, and in fact, rather than experimenting in seeing what the results were, they were experimenting to get the result that they needed for further grants and so forth. And I find it most interesting that your guest had mentioned something along that line earlier in this program. And secondly, Dennis, I had told you a while back that Stephen Hawking, in a Brief History of Time, had said that it would be impossible to explain our universe other than a God designed it. I told you it was Page 63. It was on Page 73.
DP: Okay, thank you for that, and I mean it. Thank you very much. I will absolutely look that up. Any reaction on the Fineman quote, Professor Plimer?
IP: Yes, I think if you’re going to be a healthy scientist, where you’re at the boundary of what we know and what we don’t know, you cannot be dogmatic. You have to be skeptical. And you have to be absolutely and totally independent. Science now is not independent. It has been captured by ideology and by politics. DP: Yes, in fact, let me read to you what I was just, here, this is how Wikipedia describes it. Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near surface air and oceans since the mid-20th Century and its projected continuation. Global surface temperature increased about one degree Fahrenheit during the last century. The intergovernmental panel on climate change concludes that anthropogenic, meaning human-based greenhouse gases are responsible. All right, a final summary from Professor Ian Plimer.
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DP: Professor Ian Plimer, I was reading to you, sir, from a typical source on the internet which accurately describes what is happening, but your final comments on it. The intergovernmental panel on climate change concludes that anthropogenic, which of course means started by humans, greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th Century. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. So the indictment here, if they’re wrong, is very scary, isn’t it?
IP: Well, it is, because firstly, the IPCC is a U.N. organization, so by definition, it’s a political organization. There are many environmental activists as well as some scientists who have everything to gain by writing reports for the IPCC. It is absolutely incorrect that all the major industrialized countries have supported the IPCC’s views. Russia hasn’t. India hasn’t. China hasn’t. And there are numerous other countries which give equivocal replies to the IPCC. So that’s absolutely misleading. And the second thing is…
DP: Well no, no, it said major industrialized countries. The academies and science of the major industrialized countries. I mean, why isn’t there one scientific, and it’s not to challenge you, it’s just to state that it’s such an uphill battle for the rest of us. The national…
IP: It is an uphill battle. We’re in a world of political correctness. And if you stick your head up, you get it shot off. And that is the way that the politics have changed in dealing with what should be an independent way of looking at the world, and that is science.
DP: Are you familiar with Richard Lindzen, I believe that’s his name, at MIT?
IP: Yes, very much so. Yes. And he’s had his head shot off many times.
DP: Well yeah, I mean, there are major scientists who have signed on the other side.
IP: Well, I’m one of those. I’ve signed public advertisements in the U.S. and in Canada and many other countries. And immediately, your hate mail increases. In some weekends, I’ve had 5,000 e-mails from people who seem to think I should be shot.
DP: Well, they do, because after all, you are advancing a cause that if taken seriously would mean the end of the Earth.
IP: Oh, very much so. It’s the end of the game for them, and the Earth is actually very dynamic, temperatures going up and down. And if they can’t frighten us witless with this, what next are they going to frighten us with?
DP: Well, I wish you only continued success, sir, and we will certainly continue to publicize your book.
IP: Thank you very much, Dennis.
DP: Thank you very much, Ian Plimer, his book at www.pragerradio.com.
End of interview.