Not-Recommended Bad Books
Read + Reviewed (most recent first)
Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing
recommended not recommended not
recommended not recommended
recommended not recommended
by Ian Plimer
- I stumbled onto "Heaven and Earth: Global Warming the Missing
Science" while browsing for research material on
Milankovitch Cycles and volcanoes. Since this book
was written by a professor (BSc/PhD) of geology at Adelaide University, and contained
more than 2300 references spread across 500 pages, I decided to buy it
without reading any reviews (a big mistake)
- I first read the material on Milankovitch Cycles then decided to read
the material on volcanoes and this is when warning bells went off for me.
Why? Plimer states that volcanoes release more CO2 (carbon
dioxide) than humans. However, other books I've read indicate it is just the
opposite. This link:
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php indicates that humans
release 130 times more CO2 than volcanoes.
- USGS quote: Scientists have calculated that
volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million
tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach,
1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine
volcanoes, about in equal amounts. Emissions of CO2 by human activities,
including fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring,
amount to about 27 billion tonnes per year (30 billion tons) [(Marland, et al., 2006) - The reference gives the amount of released
carbon (C), rather than CO2, through 2003.]. Human
activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by
volcanoes--the equivalent of more than 8,000 additional volcanoes
like Kilauea (Kilauea emits about 3.3 million tonnes/year)! (Gerlach et.
- Ian Plimer made some good points when shows that human civilizations
appear to do better when the climate is warmer (Roman and Medieval warmings).
I suspect this may be a personal opinion of a sun-loving Australian because science has
- Warm climates are much more dangerous for human health. For example,
northern and southern climates rely on cold cycles to exterminate disease
bearing pests (malaria bearing mosquitoes come to mind). But we all know
that the warming planet is changing the climate on the sides of cool
mountains which bring disease bearing insects to higher altitude humans.
With regards to Plimer's thesis, weren't the medieval warmings also
filled with bubonic plague (carried by fleas inside rats), tuberculosis,
cholera and typhus?
- Warm bodies of water are much less healthy for aerobic life. Why?
Cold water contains the highest levels of oxygen while warm water
releases dissolved gasses (think of a warm beer). This is why salmon,
trout, and char continue to migrate closer to the poles. Many scientists
believe that four out of last five mass extinction events occurred as a
result of high temperatures leading to a condition where oxygen
producing microbes are replaced with anaerobic. When this happens oxygen-breathing land animals then go extinct.
- When Plimer finally declared that higher temperatures would be good for
coral, I decided to search for some online reviews. Here are just three of
many I turned up via Google:
- No Science in Plimer's Primer
- Quote: If Plimer is right and he is able to
show that the work of literally thousands of oceanographers, solar
physicists, biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, and snow and
ice researchers during the past 100 years is fundamentally flawed, then
it would rank as one of the greatest discoveries of the century and
would almost certainly earn him a Nobel prize. This is the scale of
- Quote: While the text is
annotated profusely with footnotes and refers to papers in the top
journals, thus giving it the veneer of scholarship, it is often the case
that the cited articles do not support the text. Plimer repeatedly veers
off to the climate sceptic's journal of choice, the bottom-tier Energy
and Environment, to advance all manner of absurd theories: for example,
that CO2 concentrations actually have fallen since 1942.
- The Sceptic's Shadow of Doubt
- Quote: Some of his critics say they are surprised that a former head of the University
of Melbourne geology department, with more than 120 published papers to his
name, would include unsourced graphs in his book. Asked where he found one graph
showing temperatures across the 20th century differing markedly to the data used
by the IPCC or the world's leading climate centres, Plimer says he can not
- Quote: David Karoly, also an IPCC author, says there are other examples of misleading
use of data. The first graph in the book contrasts temperature over the past two
decades with climate models used by scientists, but averages the models
together, removing the variation they factor in.
- Quote: Professor Charlie Veron, former chief
scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, says every
original statement Plimer makes in the book on coral and coral reefs is
incorrect. He says many of the contextual diagrams and references used
in the book are accurate, but "when it comes to attacking climate change
science, Plimer changes tack. We are served up diagrams from no
acknowledged source, diagrams known to be obsolete and diagrams that
combine bits of science with bits of fiction."
- Heaven + Earth - review by David Karolya
audio file (10:20 minutes)
from The Science Show, Australian Broadcast Company
- Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven +
Earth’—Checking the Claims
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Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.