Ian Plimer

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Ian Plimer
Born (1946-02-12) 12 February 1946 (age 68)
Residence Australia
Nationality Australian
Fields Earth Science, Geology, Mining Engineering
Institutions University of New England, University of Newcastle, University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide
Alma mater University of New South Wales, Macquarie University
Thesis The pipe deposits of tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth in eastern Australia (1973)
Notable awards Eureka Prize (1995, 2002), Centenary Medal (2003), Clarke Medal (2004)

Ian Rutherford Plimer (born 12 February 1946) is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne,[1] professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide,[2] and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies.[3] He has published many scientific papers, six books and is one of the co-editors of Encyclopedia of Geology.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Ian Plimer grew up in Sydney and attended Normanhurst Boys' High School.[6] He earned a B.Sc. (Hons) in mining engineering at the University of New South Wales in 1968,[6] and a Ph.D. in Geology at Macquarie University[7] in 1976.[8] His doctoral thesis (from 1973) was titled, The pipe deposits of tungsten-molybdenum-bismuth in eastern Australia.[8]

Career[edit]

Ian Plimer started as a tutor and senior tutor in Earth sciences at Macquarie University from 1968 to 1973.[9][10] After finishing his Ph.D., he became a lecturer in geology at the W.S. and L.B. Robinson University College of the University of New South Wales at Broken Hill from 1974 to 1979.[9][10] Plimer then went to work for North Broken Hill Ltd. between 1979 and 1982, becoming chief research geologist.[6][9][10] Due to his publication of a number of academic papers, he was offered a job as senior lecturer in economic geology at the University of New England in 1982.[6][9][10] After two years, he left to become a professor and head of geology at the University of Newcastle through 1991.[3][6] Plimer later served as professor and head of geology of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne from 1991 to 2005.[3][6] He was conferred as professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne in 2005,[2] and is a professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide.[1][3][11]

He is a member of the academic advisory council for the Global Warming Policy Foundation,[12] a member of Australians for Northern Development & Economic Vision (ANDEV),[13] and was an allied expert for the Natural Resources Stewardship Project.[14]

Plimer is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy;[7] an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London;[7][15] a member of the Geological Society of Australia, the Royal Society of South Australia, the Royal Society of New South Wales and the Royal Society of Victoria.[7]

Business career[edit]

Plimer is the former non-executive director of CBH Resources Limited from 1998 to 2010, former non-executive director of Angel Mining plc from 2003 to 2005, former director of Kimberley Metals Limited from 2008 to 2009, former director of KBL Mining Limited from 2008 to 2009 and former director of Ormil Energy Limited from 2010 to 2011.[3][16]

He is currently the non-executive deputy chairman of KEFI Minerals Plc since 2006,[17] independent non-executive director of Ivanhoe Australia Limited since 2007,[18] chairman of TNT Mines Limited since 2010,[11][19] non-executive director of Niuminco Group Limited (formerly DSF International Holdings Limited) since 2011,[20][21] and non-executive director of Silver City Minerals Limited since 2011.[3][16][22][23][24] Plimer was appointed director of Roy Hill Holdings and Queensland Coal Investments in 2012.[25]

According to a columnist in The Age, Plimer earned over $400,000 (AUD) from several of these companies, and he has mining shares and options worth hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars.[26] Plimer has stated that his business interests do not affect the independence of his beliefs.[22] He has also warned that the proposed Australian carbon-trading scheme could decimate the Australian mining industry.[6][27]

Views on climate change[edit]

Carbon dioxide has an effect on the atmosphere and it has an effect for the first 50 parts per million and once it's done its job then it's finished and you can double it and quadruple it and it has no effect because we've seen that in the geological past, and we've seen it in times gone by when the carbon dioxide content was 100 times the current content. We didn't have runaway global warming, we actually had glaciation, so there's immediately a disconnect. So carbon dioxide is absolutely vital for living on earth; it's plant food, all of life lives off carbon dioxide. To demonise it shows that you don't understand school child science.

Ian Plimer, interviewed on ABNNewswire, June 2009[28]

Plimer accuses the environmental movement of being irrational, and says that the vast bulk of the scientific community, including most major scientific academies, is prejudiced by the prospect of research funding. He characterised the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as: "The IPCC process is related to environmental activism, politics and opportunism" and "the IPCC process is unrelated to science".[29] He is critical of greenhouse gas politics and argues that extreme environmental changes are inevitable.[citation needed] Scientists in the field say that his writings misrepresent climate data and display numerous other errors.[30]

Volcanoes and CO2[edit]

Plimer has long argued[31] that volcanic eruptions release more carbon dioxide (CO2) than human activity; in particular that submarine volcanoes[32] emit huge amounts of CO2 and that the influence of the gases from these volcanoes on the Earth's climate is drastically underrepresented in climate models.[33] The United States Geological Survey has calculated that human emissions of CO2 are about 130 times larger than volcanic emissions, including submarine emissions.[34][35][36] The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that Plimer's claim "has no factual basis."[37] This was confirmed in a 2011 survey published in the Eos journal of the American Geophysical Union, which found that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are 135 times larger than those from all volcanoes on Earth.[38]

Heaven and Earth[edit]

In 2009, Plimer released Heaven and Earth, a book in which he says that climate models focus too strongly on the effects of carbon dioxide, and do not give the weight he thinks is appropriate to other factors such as solar variation.[39] Critics of the book have accused Plimer of misrepresenting sources,[40][41] misusing data,[40][42][43] and engaging in conspiracy theories.[44][45] Some critics have also described the book as unscientific,[46] and argued that it contains numerous errors from which Plimer draws false conclusions.[47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54]

Copenhagen Climate Challenge[edit]

During the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15), Plimer spoke at a rival conference in Copenhagen for sceptics, called the Copenhagen Climate Challenge,[55] which was organised by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow[56][57] and attended by 60 people.[55] According to The Australian newspaper, Plimer was a star attraction of the two-day event.[58] In closing his speech, Plimer stated that "They’ve got us outnumbered, but we’ve got them outgunned, and that’s with the truth."[55]

El Niño, earthquakes and sea levels[edit]

Plimer has stated that El Niño is caused by earthquakes and volcanic activity at the mid-ocean ridges and that the melting of polar ice has nothing to do with man-made carbon dioxide.[59] Plimer told Radio Australia that Pacific island nations are seeing changes in relative sea level not because of global warming but quite commonly due to other factors, such as "vibration consolidating the coral island sands", extraction of water, and extraction of sand for road and air strip making.[60]

Political influence[edit]

In 2009, Plimer was cited by the leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, Tony Abbott,[61] in dismissing the IPCC and its findings:

I think that in response to the IPCC alarmist — in inverted commas — view, there've been quite a lot of other reputable scientific voices. Now not everyone agrees with Ian Plimer's position, but he is a highly credible scientist and he has written what seems like a very well-argued book refuting most of the claims of the climate catastrophists.
 
— Tony Abbott, The Sydney Morning Herald

By 2011, Abbott had modified his position and stated that climate change is real and humanity makes a contribution to it.[62]

In early 2010, Plimer and Christopher Monckton toured Australia giving lectures on climate change,[63] and Plimer's views came to be associated with Monckton's claim that the international left created the threat of catastrophic global warming. On this association, left-wing columnist Phillip Adams commented: "Praise the lord for Lord Monckton! For Ian Plimer! For [conservative columnist] Andrew Bolt! Not only does this evil axis of scientists tell lies [about the Greenhouse Effect] but they've also doctored the weather to frighten people with huge droughts, cyclones and tsunamis to prove what they now call "global warming"."[64]

Critic of creationism[edit]

Plimer is an outspoken critic of creationism and is famous for a 1988 debate with creationist Duane Gish in which he asked his opponent to hold live electrical cables to prove that electromagnetism was 'only a theory'. Gish accused him of being theatrical, abusive and slanderous.[65]

In 1990 Plimer's anti-creationist arguments were criticised in Creation/Evolution journal,[66] in an article titled "How Not to Argue with Creationists"[67] by skeptic and anti-creationist Jim Lippard for (among other things) including false claims and errors, for "behaving poorly" in the 1988 Gish debate, for misrepresenting the views of Michael Denton, author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis in that debate, for making unsupported (and false) claims about alleged financial fraud involving the Australian Creation Science Foundation (CSF), which led to an apology for Plimer's remarks by the magazine Media Information Australia, for falsely claiming on Australian national radio that the CSF had not submitted financial reports for 1986, 1987, or 1988, a claim which led to an apology by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and for writing a letter to a creationist following the debate with Gish in which Plimer offered unsupported sexual innuendo about Gish.[66]

Book: Telling Lies for God[edit]

In his book Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism (1994), Plimer attacked creationists in Australia, in specific the Queensland-based Creation Science Foundation (now called Creation Ministries International or CMI), arguing that claims of a Biblical global flood are untenable.[68] In the book he also criticised aspects of traditional Christian belief and literal interpretations of the Bible, with chapters titled "Scientific Fraud: The Great Flood of Absurdities" and "Disinformation Doublespeak".[65] The ministry published a rebuttal criticising the arguments made in the book.[69][70]

Court case[edit]

In the late 1990s, Plimer went to court alleging misleading and deceptive advertising under the Trade Practices Act 1974 against Noah's Ark searcher Allen Roberts,[68][69] arising from Plimer's attacks on Roberts' claims concerning the location of Noah's Ark. Before the trial, Plimer was forcibly ejected by police from public meetings at which Roberts spoke.[65] The court ruled that Roberts had indeed made false and misleading claims on two of 16 instances cited by Plimer, Plimer had failed to show the other 14, and the two were minor enough to not require remedy, so Plimer lost the case,[71][72][73] and was ordered to pay his own and Roberts' legal costs estimated at over 500,000 Australian dollars.[74][75][76]

Awards[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Stewart, Robb M. (18 April 2012). "Ivanhoe Australia names Plimer interim chairman". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Selley, Richard C.; Cocks, L. Robin M.; Plimer, Ian R., ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Geology. Academic Press. ISBN 9780123693969. 
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    Updated at TalkOrigins
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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Lesley Joy Rogers
Clarke Medal
2004
Succeeded by
Mark Westoby