Tributes to the late Professor R M (Bob) Carter

Fred Singer - I feel so privileged to have known and worked with Bob and to have shared the panel talks last month in Paris.   “He died with his boots on.”

Lord Christopher Monckton - We will remember him. He was our clearest voice of truth.

James Delingpole - We all loved Bob; we’re all going to miss him. He smiled as he fought and as Fred says he died with his boots on. What those of you who missed hanging with him in Paris last December should know is that he was on splendid form – hail, happy, looking like he was going to go on forever. Good old Bob with his dark Satanic beard and his impish smile. What a hero! What a friend! Just the kind of guy you want in the foxhole next to you!

Tom Harris International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) - Professor Carter was a very fine man — compassionate, intelligent and still hard working long after most people have retired. He will be sorely missed by many people. Bob was a great supporter of me and ICSC in general, helping providing the solid, rational science foundation to our work to bring climate realism to the general public. I feel privileged to have known Bob in the last few years of his life. I also feel privileged to have spent some time with him in Paris, DC, Chicago, NY and here in Ottawa when he was on a speaking tour of Canada.

Anthony Watts - To say that he was a man of good cheer and resilience would be an understatement. He not only bore the slings and arrows thrown his way by some of the ugliest people in the climate debate, he reciprocated with professionalism and honor, refusing to let them drag him into the quagmire of climate ugliness we have seen from so many climate activists. His duty, first and foremost was to truth.

Marc Morano at Climate Depot - Bob was a man of great courage, intellect and wit. I am deeply saddened by his passing. He easily seemed a decade younger than his 74 years with his youthful looks and energy level. the world of science has lost a true champion.

Willie Soon, Astrophysicist - …a true gentleman scientist and a friend and colleague that will be sorely missed … Bob has given everything he got in trying to educate the world on the danger of
CO2 scare factor and a true champion of science …personally, he has taught me many, many things on Earth sciences … knowing and working with him has to be among the most special and happy times I have experienced in science …

Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC, MP - Bob was a brave and delightful man, who made a hugely important contribution to the climate debate at considerable personal cost. He will be greatly missed.

David Rothbard at CFACT - Science lost a champion and we lost a friend. In 2010, then Czech President Vaclav Klaus wrote a fitting tribute to Bob titled, “Thank heavens for Bob Carter.”  We do thank God for Bob.  We will miss him terribly.

Joe Bast at Heartland Institute - Bob was the very embodiment of the “happy warrior” in the global warming debate. He was a scholar’s scholar, with impeccable credentials (including a Ph.D. from Cambridge), careful attention to detail, and a deep understanding of and commitment to the scientific method. He endured the slings and arrows of the anti-science Left with seeming ease and good humor and often warned against resorting to similar tactics to answer them.
Bob never failed to answer the call to defend climate science, getting on planes to make the long flight from Australia to the U.S., to Paris, and to other lands without complaints or excuses. He was a wonderful public speaker and a charming traveling mate. He was not an easy man to edit, though – he kept wanting to put unnecessary commas, “that’s,” and boldfacing back into his manuscripts — but the great ones never are.

Joanne Nova - One of the best things about being a skeptic are the people I’ve got to know, and Bob Carter was one of the best of them, sadly taken far too soon. He was outstanding, a true gem, a good soul, and an implacably rational thinker. A softly spoken man of conscience and good humour.
Bob was a man who followed the scientific path, no matter where it took him, and even if it cost him, career-wise, every last bell and whistle that the industry of science bestowed, right down to his very email address. After decades of excellent work, he continued on as an emeritus professor, speaking out in a calm and good natured way against poor reasoning and bad science. But the high road is the hard road and the university management tired of dealing with the awkward questions and the flack that comes with speaking truths that upset the gravy train. First James Cook University (JCU) took away his office, then they took his title. In protest at that, another professor hired Bob immediately for an hour a week so Bob could continue supervising students and keep his library access. But that was blocked as well, even the library pass and his email account were taken away, though they cost the University almost nothing.

It says a lot about the man that, despite the obstacles, he didn’t seem bitter and rarely complained. He dealt with it all with calm equanimity. Somehow he didn’t carry the bad treatment as excess baggage.  The only one in the chain at JCU who would always put science before politics was Professor Robert Carter. He was a rare and remarkable man, and I will keenly miss his wisdom and philosophical good nature.

Craig Idso - I had the privilege of knowing and working with Bob for the better part of the past decade. Along with Fred Singer, I served with Bob as a Lead Author on several volumes of work produced by the NIPCC. Putting together those volumes was always a Herculean task and Bob was an integral part of their success. He was a master of scientific knowledge and had an incredible talent of sharing that knowledge with others.

Bob had a long and storied career. For those who knew him best, it was not his career that kept his heart, but his dear, sweet companion Anne, who was always at his side and accompanied him to nearly every work-related conference and meeting he attended.

Steve Hyland - It was a privilege to be one of Bob’s undergraduate students in the mid 1980s at James Cook University. I will always remember how he reinforced the importance of scientific method, which I probably didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I certainly do now in these ‘post modern’ times in science.

Steve McIntyre - In 2003, when I was unknown to anyone other than my friends and family, I had been posting comments on climate reconstructions at a chatline.  Bob emailed me out of the blue with encouragement, saying that I was looking at the data differently than anyone else and that I should definitely follow it through.  Without his specific encouragement, it is not for sure that I ever would have bothered trying to write up what became McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) or anything else. He was always full of good cheer, despite continuing provocations, and unfailingly encouraging.

Viv Forbes - Bob Carter was a shining light to those of us in Australia who benefitted from his leadership in the Earth Sciences. A great geologist, a sound scientist, a good friend, a superb speaker and illustrator, the sort of pedantic editor I appreciate, and good company. His leadership and advice in the great climate debate will be sadly missed, especially here in the Sunshine State.

Don Aitken (Former Chair of the Australian Research Council) - Bob was a lovely man. He was appointed to the Australian Research Grants Committee in 1987 when I was its Chairman, and stayed on in the Australian Research Council’s Earth Sciences group when the ARGC became the ARC. He was a feisty fighter for his discipline. As was common, he got to the position of assessing requests for money by having been a highly successful seeker of research funds himself. When I became interested in global warming ten years ago, Ian Castles, a great and former Australian Statistician, suggested that I should read his take on the issue, and Bob and I became in close contact again. Over the last ten years he has been one of the world’s best sceptics in this awful field of ‘climate change’. He writes well, bases himself on what is known, is alert to error and does not exaggerate. His passing is a great sadness to me, and will be to thousands of people he never met.’

Donna Laframboise - The first climate skeptic gathering this journalist attended was a 1-day event in 2009. There were numerous speakers, but Bob Carter’s calm, sensible, persuasive presentation was the one I most talked and thought about afterward. Having shared a stage with Bob twice in the past six months, I can say with perfect sincerity that he was kind, charming, and a gentleman.

Professor of Physics, Peter Ridd, Marine Geophysics Laboratory - Bob was truly one of the major influences in my life since he set up the Marine Geophysical Lab at JCU in the 80’s. I learnt so much about the perspective that only a geologist can bring – and a brilliant one at that.
 I can assure you that in addition to old post docs like me, there is a tribe of ex students who are very saddened by this news but grateful that they came under Bob’s spell for some of their formative years. He will be missed.

Bill Gray - What a great professional and personal loss for so many of us AGW critics with the news of the death of Bob Carter.  Bob gave so much of himself in recent years to holding the line against the false arguments and propaganda that has been so extensively advanced by global warming advocates.  We should all admire Bob’s courage and his insightful climate understanding which he so skilfully brought to bear to up-hold the integrity of science.  He leaves behind a most admirable legacy which will continue to inspire me and I’m sure many others to keep up our efforts to bring truth to the warming question….

Mark Steyn - Bob was no caricature of a wild-eyed denier, but in any almost any discussion invariably the most sane and sensible man on the panel. … A great scientist and a courageous and honorable man, he was full of joy and steel-spined, exactly the chap, as James Delingpole said, “you want in the foxhole standing next to you”.

Bob Carter was a great man. His greatness was located in something that we all recognized; his intelligent courage, perceptive kindness and an exuberant love of life. Here was a man who showed everyone how to stand up to bullying and cowardly malice with elegant dignity.
I think Bob understood human weakness without cynicism but he was baffled by the evasiveness of his opponents in the climate debate. How could they not see the truth, and why wouldn’t they face him openly? He felt that tribal allegiance or group think anxiety were at the heart of what passes for thought in our society.

John and Ingrida Spooner - Ingrida and I are grateful to have called Bob and Anne our friends. A conversation with Bob could range from politics to science and fine art. He always had sympathetic care for family life. In fact, he seemed to have a loving embrace for us all. He will be missed dreadfully by all who knew him.

John Roskam at Institute for Public Affairs - Bob was a scientist to the core and it goes without saying a true gentleman. I regret that he will not to see an end to the unscientific “global warming” madness that has gripped the world. This is a huge loss. I am resolved to continue the good fight in his memory.

We have lost a great scientist and a very fine person. I first met Bob soon after I started as Executive Director of the IPA in 2005. Bob was then a professor at James Cook University in Queensland. I don't have a science background and what struck me immediately about Bob was the way he could put the most complex scientific questions into understandable terms. The other thing that hit me was his passion. He was passionate about science, about communicating about science, and about the benefits that science could bring to humanity. As is so often the case, the most passionate people are the most enthusiastic and most cheerful, and Bob was no exception. Bob's passion, enthusiasm, and cheerfulness was infectious.

Bob had an incredible record of contribution to science through his public communications and his outstanding academic record across the fields of geology, palaeontology, marine science, and of course climate change. His work was recognised in numerous awards and honours including as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and through the Outstanding Research Career Award of the Geological Society of New Zealand.

Bob was an immensely valued colleague and friend to all of us at the IPA. He will be very sadly missed.

Joanna Hill, AEF Board Member -  Bob’s passing is indeed a great loss to all of us.  Bob was an inspirational scientists and campaigner for evidence based debate on global warming. He will be sadly missed by many and the Australian Environment Foundation members in particular.    

Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer - I first met Bob as the newly appointed Professor and Head of Earth Sciences at James Cook University of North Queensland (JCU).  During his time as Head of Department (1981-1998) at JCU, he led from the front, mentored hundreds of young people, grew the Earth Sciences department from an ore deposit specialist department to one with numerous disciplines of international repute, published scores of leading edge “soft rock” geological papers, opened up new institutes and put JCU on the map internationally. This was not without many internal battles within his Department, Faculty and University which Bob handled with great guile. The university bureaucrats feared him because he was always well-prepared, used knowledge, common sense and logic.

All Bob wanted in climate debates was common sense, repeatable validated evidence and scientific reasoning. He was not prepared to accept a popular concept, poor reasoning or concocted statistics and valued validated evidence over models. He was fearless and suffered because of it. He dared to use scientific training to analyse and criticise claims made by taxpayer-funded global warmists. In response to numerous crank calls, political pressure and complaints from those with vested interests, JCU withdrew his office facilities, unpaid adjunct professorship, his email address and library access.
Bob was a gentleman of passion, a fighter and died with his boots on. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude and it was a privilege to know such a great man. We will miss him terribly. His wife Anne was always at his side and supporting him and our condolences to Anne and their family.

Jennifer Marohasy, Senior Research Fellow at IPA - Professor Carter did not like the term sceptic, he considered himself a rationalist, and popular usage of the term ‘climate change’ a tautology. As he wrote frequently: the geological record tells us that climate always changes. In Professor Carter’s passing we have lost a person who believed in value-free science.

Professor Carter was a real expert on climate change. He was director of the Australian Office of the Ocean Drilling Program which was an international cooperative effort to collect deep sea cores. From these cores past climates for specific regions have been reconstructed.

In the preface to his first book ‘Climate: The Counter Consensus’ Bob encouraged us to all to “trust authority less and our own brains more” as we assess the likely dangers of both known natural and hypothetical human-caused global climate change.

“Nobody,” the Professor would joke, “lives in a world climate”. Putting in place policies and plans to mitigate the dangers and vagaries of natural climate change must occur on a regional basis. Putting in place policies and plan to prepare for natural climate change, would, Professor Carter argued, make us ready for human-caused climate change, should it ever become manifest. Even with generous funding for the implementation of national hazard warning and disaster relief schemes, Bob concluded his book with comment that this would cost orders of magnitude less than those associated with the introduction of unnecessary and ineffectual emissions trading schemes.

Michael Smith - In 2006 I must have been a part of the target market for Al Gore's monster money-spinner "An Inconvenient Truth".  Gore's movie moved me so much I remember looking at the kids coming out of the theatre thinking "you poor buggers, we've stuffed the earth up and you are doomed".   I was working with a lot of very very smart people at the University of Queensland as the Chairman of the Business School's advisory board.  The business school was quite entrepreneurial and responded like a flash to demand for skilled leaders the world needed if we were to tackle global warming.   I spoke at conferences to promote the University's carbon accounting finance courses and the like - and I put my heart into it as a true believer.

That is until I spoke with Bob.   Bob changed my life.   He was the person who opened my eyes to the way facts can be manipulated.   More than anyone else, Bob demonstrated the quiet truth about our susceptibility to power and big lies repeated often.

I remember interviewing Bob on Radio 4BC and I made the error of asking Bob for his opinion after my perfect opening monologue.   Bob said, "I don't have an opinion.   I am a scientist.   I don't deal in opinion.  I deal in facts. Observable, proven facts.  I deal with the scientific method,  making observations, doing experiments and arriving at conclusions.   Your starting point seems to be an unproven hypothesis based on computer projections.  Do you have any facts to back up your claims about global warming?"

Bob changed me in a fundamental way.   He was courageous in a way I'd not experienced at close quarters.  I never saw or heard anyone successfully challenge Bob on questions of fact, nor on the product of his application of the scientific method.   But he wasn't trendy.   He wasn't fashionable.   And in academia in Australia in the time of global warming, he was sure-fire poison for any university's government funding tree.

The late Professor Bob Carter was a wise man.  Thank you for your service to science - and much, much more.

Paul Gammon, Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada - Bob was a gentleman through and through and I have always been very grateful to have been lucky enough to have him as my PhD supervisor. Bob taught me a lot, not only about science. The world would be a much better place if there were many, many more people like Bob. Holly and I will raise a toast to Bob’s life tonight,

Susan Crockford - Bob was the kind of scientist the world needs more of. I will miss him very much.

Cate and Mark Stewart - Indeed, your Bob certainly did make the most of every minute in this world, and how wonderful that he chose his life with you beautiful lady. We are the privileged ones to have had Bob and you in our lives, for this, we can never say thank you enough.

Dr. Christopher Essex, Professor at the University of Western Ontario - It is a real blow to lose such a fine thoughtful scientist, who showed such admirable steady courage in defending our scientific values often against the odds and  his best personal interests. 

Craig Fulthorpe - Bob had an enormous influence on my career and I’ve always been so grateful for the guidance he provided when I was just starting out. Marge and I will also always fondly remember, and be thankful for, the wonderful hospitality that both you and Bob provided when we moved to Townsville and during our time there.

Luboš Motl - Bob was not only a scientist with the thinking I found terribly enlightening and close to my heart but primarily a wonderful man.

Vincent Courtil - I had the privilege and pleasure to exchange with Bob and found his analyses very accurate and profound. As a geoscientist at the boundary between geophysics and geology myself, I found it exceedingly important to have the views of a leading geologist on climate topics. The solid Earth interface had been too often forgotten and he re-established some balance. I think it would be important for GWPF and its scientific council to post a statement in Bob's honor.

Rex and Jane Galbraith - I was such a close friend to Bob, especially at school at Lindisfarne where we were "best friends" and soul mates, seemingly with so much in common growing up together. Then again at University in Dunedin where we shared a flat and many experiences, including our joint 21st birthday party -- and other experiences that I would never have had without him. And I can still remember your wedding day in Invercargill.  And ever since then seeing you and Bob whenever you came to the UK. I saw him this time last year in Sydney when we met for a meal. Then, as always, we still conversed in the same close way that we did at school, as if we had met every day since. I will always miss him as a friend.

Chris de Freitas - Bob was a committed defender of common sense and honest science reporting in the climate change debate. He was also a good friend. He will be greatly missed.

Hamish Campbell - Will miss Bob so so much. His intellect was stunning and he was fun personified. In my mind few people engender such wonderful memories and such joy in life as Bob does...or did. This world owes him a spectacular farewell.

Robyn Stutchbury and Noel Tait- I am truly devastated - Bob has always been an inspirational and dear friend. Noel and I pass on our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

John & Ann Rhodes - Bob’s intellect, incisiveness and clarity in communication have been a beacon. If he passed on a fraction of his abilities, his grand-kids are destined to make their marks!
It was in 1978 that we met, when our family came to Dunedin and I joined Doug Coombs’ department as a hanger-on. Many people, both students and staff, made me welcome; but none more so than Bob. As well as sharing many field trips, we visited you at 1 Queens Drive. Among much that I learned from Bob was the power of the 35 mm transparency as a teaching aid, which now seems a little quaint. And over the years since I’ve hugely appreciated his continued communication and visits, although I confess it was hard to feel other than inadequate in his presence. (That was my problem, not Bob’s).

Steve Welcenbach, Reality News, WI - Being just a regular guy from midwestern Wisconsin, I've been so blessed to have had the incredible pleasure of meeting Bob, sharing drinks and ideas with him, besides listening and learning from his incomparable presentations that I could watch over and over again forever.

Please know our family is with you in your sorrow and we will thank God with you for him touching our lives and being the brave, ferocious warrior of truth that he was. We all loved him a lot. Besides being possibly the warmest person I have ever met, he was truly the greatest scientist of my lifetime. And that is saying a whole lot.

Professor Stewart Franks, University of Tasmania - Not only was Bob a true scholar, he was a very caring man. On our recent IPA book launch trip we hit some turbulence – he could see I was on the point of tears, being a very timid flier – he reached down and held my hand through it! He will be greatly missed by all that worked with him

Noel James – Bob’s passing has robbed us of not only of a charming and erudite man but deprived our science and social conscience of a true champion – an independent thinker whose loss will only be recognized with time.  Condolences Anne – I am heartbroken!

Lionel and Sue Carter - Sue and I are deeply saddened by Bob's death. It is very hard to come to grips with the passing of a friend and colleague  who was so much larger than life.  We cannot imagine the loss you feel after decades of married life with all its adventures around the world.
When Nick Shackleton passed away, Bob wrote notified me that a mighty totara had fallen in the forest of Tane. Today another mighty totara has fallen.

Lorna and Ron Bahnisch - Bob seemed so full of life and had so much to give the world. We are thinking of you Anne. You have been very special friends.

Case Smit – Bob’s passing is such a huge loss of a friend and indefatigable warrior for truth in science.

Terry Dunleavy - I am literally in tears as I send you my sincere condolences, and those of us in New Zealand to whom Bob had become such a loyal and wonderful friend, and a wise and ever-willing counsellor. Just as it will be for you in such a poignant and personal way, life will not be the same for us without Bob.

I feel it especially, because I am a non-scientific layman, and Bob understood my many predicaments in the climate debate, and went out of his way, usually by return email, to guide and advise me.  It was truly a privilege to know him as a friend, colleague and fount of wisdom, and I know that this is a feeling that will be shared right around the world.

I’m too upset to say more, but can only think that God must have come to the conclusion that He needed someone at first hand to help Him unravel the whole unscientific mess that the climate debate has become.

Bill Kininmonth - It was with great sadness that I read of Bob’s passing. Over recent years I came to know Bob as a generous friend and colleague. He was always true to himself and this was manifest in his stand in regard to science and policy issues. He will long be remembered for his fearless defence of unbiased analysis and his public criticism of those who attempted to manipulate science for their ideological purposes.

Brad and Sue Pillans - Sue and I were devastated to hear the sad news last night. Bob was a wonderful colleague and friend. Although we will not be able to attend the funeral next week, our thoughts are with you and your family.

David van Gend - Bob has been an inspiration and an excellent teacher to me and to so many. We will not see his like again, but we will not give up his battle for scientific integrity and sanity in public policy.

Jerry Bour, Toowoomba  - Thanks to Bob Carter I got a much clearer picture of the “world” around climate change and that one should be very careful accepting just about any “science” that was produced. He was a man who could put the whole climate change debate into some clear pictures and I thank him for it. He and his family can be proud of his courage’s stance  in respect to climate change and his valuable contribution to it.

Dr Mark Grigoleit - In 2007, when I was trying to muddle through the confusing messages of Climate Change (as it was known then) I watched a video on YouTube by him. It was that passionate presentation, among others, that helped me understand the truth of the issue. I think the graph in question looked like a roller coaster ride over millions of years, and we were near the end of the ride, with the little bumps that many thought were the end of the world.  Yes, he could explain the complex in simple terms. Truly a great scientist, in that regard.

Terry Krieg -  Bob Carter will be sadly missed and his passing has come as a shock. The rest of us must quote him at every opportunity in the ongoing climate change [global warming] debate.

Peter Meadows - Bob was such a glorious person. He was a true scientist; and unfortunately there are now very few of those in the climate debate.  I attended the seminar he was part of last year in Sydney and both Dot and I were entranced by his wit, his knowledge and his ability to get the message on a complicated issue out to us lesser mortals.
He was a warrior for our cause, and he will be sorely missed as we struggle against the "consensus". Unfortunately, now that Turnbull is at the helm, that will become even more difficult, and with Bob gone, we will need to redouble our efforts.

Dr Len Walker, Executive Chairman, Ascot Energy Holdings - We share your sadness and will shed a tear tonight over a toast to Bob in quality shiraz.

Walter and Meredith Starck - Words can't convey our sadness and sympathy at your, and the rational world's, great loss. Bob was a truly rare scholar and gentleman. 

Gerrit & Marianne van der LIngen- Bob has been a huge power in countering the man-made climate change religion. But I also remember him as a geologist, first while he was in Otago. I remember his concept of the “Marshall Paraconformity”. I took part in a 1986 discussion on this concept. And then his involvement in the Deep Sea Drilling project. I was involved in the early days of that. So many good memories! We’ll treasure them.

Cam & Margaret Nelson - Bob was such a supportive and stimulating colleague of mine in so many ways over several decades, including his interest and enlightenment of me in several topics of common research interest, his active and insightful collaboration in occasional co-authored articles with me, and the kind words he provided for me in a number of references over the years. I am saddened that he passed away so abruptly, and without a chance for me to personally thank him again for the encouraging role he played in my own scientific and professional career.

Heartland has certainly prepared a great bio synopsis on Bob's career, and I know that in due course others will follow suit, including the Geoscience Society of New Zealand. Bob was such an influential player in the geoscience field in the wider Southwest Pacific region his passing will affect a huge number of people.

Mike and Heather Gagan - It was a real privilege and honour to have known Bob. He will be so sorely missed. He was such a wonderful man, and a real inspiration.  I know I speak for all his students in saying that every one of us still enjoy the great benefits of his mentoring.  We'll all miss him.

Paul Dreissen - from the day we met, I always thought Bob was one of the most knowledgeable, interesting, jovial and just plain fun people I knew. I always felt honored to know him and always enjoyed our times together.

Bob was a wonderful, witty, brilliant fellow, and he has left us far too soon. But like you I have many treasured memories of him that will be with me for the rest of my days. Being just a half dozen years younger than he was, I am also much more mindful of how important it is to fill our time with family, love, productive work and enjoyment of this grand world that God has blessed us with, while we are still here. Bob did all of that, and more, and I shall always use him as an inspiration, along with my parents who also embodied those traits.

I'm so grateful for the times we shared, and so glad that Heartland gave Bob its lifetime achievement award. It was richly deserved, and a fine way to recognize the amazing legacy he left behind.

Dave Sivyer - I write to express my profound sadness at Bob's passing. He was my touch stone on issues such as media mendacity on the subject of our changing climate.

I live in Narrogin, WA, and have met Bob twice in Narrogin as well as several times in Perth. That he, along with Anthony Watts and David Archibald, gave up valuable time to address a small audience in a country town speaks to his sincerity, integrity and dedication to the promotion of science as it should be.
For More of Bob's great works, put 'Prof Bob Carter' into this blog's search box.