The Times Comment on Ian Plimer's Heaven+Earth

Letter to the Times by Tim Curtin

Bob Ward's Review of Ian Plimer's sceptical climate change book Heaven and Earth (Hot air on climate change, August 22 2009) combines a pot calling a kettle black with failure to recognize a black swan when he sees it, like that in the adjacent comment on the same page by Daniel Finkelstein on Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book The Black Swan.

Ward finds errors in Plimer but creates his own, like his claim that "2008 was the tenth warmest year since records began in 1850". When David Livingstone reached the Victoria Falls c.1860, he did not find a fully functional meteorological station communicating its daily records by tom toms to the weather centres in England and America. In fact, as even the US government's NOAA admits, there were virtually no weather records in Africa, quite a hot continent, before 1900, which means that all global base line temperature data before 1960, when finally global coverage reached 80%, were biased by absence of records from hot places like Kinshasa, Kampala, Lusaka (until after 1900), and Dubai even later.

Ward's Black Swan is his failure to acknowledge that the absence of any correlation between the records of the rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa (in Hawaii) and the flat trend of temperatures at that very location is, like all Black Swans, a decisive refutation of any link between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global warming.

It is a matter of public record that both the US' NASA-GISS and the UK's HadleyCRUT data on global temperatures avoid all mention of temperatures as recorded at Mauna Loa's CO2 station.

To the extent that there is warming, it is wholly due to to the increasing global utilisation of energy from all sources, including wind and solar, in accordance with the First Law of Thermodynamics, that use of energy creates heat. It follows that even if all human use of energy derived only from wind and solar sources, there would then be just as much global warming as there is now,.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide in and of itself creates no heat at all. If it did, BP and the like would be the first to harvest it.

Tim Curtin