Ian Plimer caught out again: “CO2 is magic” argument, continues to “lie” about volcanoes

Repeated enough times, it becomes a "fact"

Chief scientist for the denial movement, Ian Plimer, continues to actively disseminate false information. Viz a recent interview on one of the ABC’s rural stations, Bega 2550. Plimer seems to spend his time plying his agenda in rural areas, as the Age profile some months ago highlights. Plimer makes all kinds of false and misleading statements:  

“Professor Plimer, a prominent critic of the theories of carbon-related human causes for climate change, is enjoying nature’s show of power through volcanic activity.  

“I think it’s wonderful.  

“It isn’t an issue, because carbon dioxide is plant food, and the more than we get in the atmosphere the better it is for agriculture and the better it is for forests growing.”  

No one has ever questioned that Co2 is necessary for plant growth. Plimer simply recycles one of the denial movements well worn canards. We’ve already addressed the same argument used by Jo Nova.

It’s a silly argument, no mainstream scientist questions the role of CO2 in plant growth.  

Plimer also continues to make his false claim:  

“Professor Plimer says volcanoes emit far more carbon gas into the earth’s atmosphere than human’s 3 per cent annual carbon release….”  

Plimer has been told again, and again that he is wrong. But he refuses to admit it. Skeptical Science easily dismisses his argument:  

Volcanoes emit CO2 both on land and underwater. Underwater volcanoes emit between 66 to 97 million tonnes of CO2 per year. However, this is balanced by the carbon sink provided by newly formed ocean floor lava. Consequently, underwater volcanoes have little effect on atmospheric CO2 levels. The greater contribution comes from subaerial volcanoes (subaerial means “under the air”, referring to land volcanoes). Subaerial volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Morner 2002).  

In contrast, humans are currently emitting around 29 billion tonnes of CO2 per year (EIA). Human CO2 emissions are over 100 times greater than volcanic CO2 emissions. This is apparent when comparing atmospheric CO2 levels to volcanic activity since 1960. Even strong volcanic eruptions such as Pinatubo have little discernable impact on CO2 levels. In fact, the rate of change of CO2 levels actually drops slightly after a volcanic eruption, possibly due to the cooling effect of aerosols.  

This is a classic tactic used by both the creationists and denial movement: cite some statistics and hope no one checks your references. He was called on this in the ABC debate with George Monbiot. And still, he clings doggedly to it.  

As well as the old “we’ve never seen this before argument”:  

“We have not yet seen experience of we humans changing global climates….”  

Yes, because until a few hundred years ago there was no industrial civilisation digging up, burning and emitting carbon into the atmosphere. As it’s been said before, humanity is conducting a gigantic experiment. We should be very concerned about the possible results of this “experiment”.  

One continues to wonder what happened to Ian Plimer.  

A scientist who fought the good fight against creationism is now reduced to mimicking their tactics.

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6 thoughts on “Ian Plimer caught out again: “CO2 is magic” argument, continues to “lie” about volcanoes

  1. rogerthesurf says:

    Here is some interesting info re world co2 levels

    For some reason the IPCC and associated agencies and scientists in their graphs of atmospheric CO2 are using proxies til 1957.
    Proxies as you are no doubt aware, are in this case, the calculation of CO2 by examining ice cores or tree rings. Obviously subject to an unknown margin of error.
    An example is
    http://www.whrc.org/resources/online_publications/warming_earth/images/Fig2-CO2-Temp.gif “Global Temperature & CO2 Concentration Since 1880. Data from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) & Oak Ridge National Laboratory.” (Note the use of ice core proxy until 1957)

    Surprisingly there appear to be authorative data of world CO2 levels scientifically recorded directly from as early as 1812

    Here are the direct measurements of atmospheric CO2 taken since 1812. http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/co2-1812-2004-chemical.jpg

    Notice a few “minor” differences?

    Here is a summary of the paper explaining the direct measurements. http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/180_years_accurate_co2_chemical_methods1.pdf

    Note the stark difference in the measurements.

    Question: If these data has been available all along, and there can be no doubt that the accuracy has to be infinitely superior to that of proxies, why are they not used by the IPCC?

    Hope you find this interesting

    Cheers Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    • Derecho64 says:

      Criminy. More of Beck’s CO2 nonsense. Incredibly wild swings in CO2 from ~1800 to 1957, and then the numbers magically completely stop their gyrations.

      Do you have an explanations, Roger?

  2. rogerthesurf says:

    Email is iic.geof@xtra.co.nz or publish the full reference here.

    Cheers

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      References are here, if you follow link to Skeptical Science. Here it is again:

      “Volcanoes emit CO2 both on land and underwater. Underwater volcanoes emit between 66 to 97 million tonnes of CO2 per year. However, this is balanced by the carbon sink provided by newly formed ocean floor lava. Consequently, underwater volcanoes have little effect on atmospheric CO2 levels. The greater contribution comes from subaerial volcanoes (subaerial means “under the air”, refering to land volcanoes). Subaerial volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Morner 2002)….”

      Paper (Morner 2002) is here. Citation:

      Carbon degassing from the lithosphere, Global and Planetary Change 33 (2002) 185–203

      [See Table 3 page 191 specifically]

      Also, interesting graph comparing CO2 emissions from Mauna Loa and those tracked from volcanoes:

      Comparison CO2

      Note: from same Skeptical Science article.

  3. rogerthesurf says:

    ” Subaerial volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Morner 2002).”

    Your reference appeares insufficient for me to be able to locate it.

    Could you please send me a more precise reference.

    Cheers

    Roger

  4. manuelg says:

    > A scientists who fought the good fight against creationism is now reduced to mimicking their tactics.

    That is why being aware of cognitive biases is not sufficient to prevent them. There has to be a dedication to adopt disciplines of argumentation that make those biases impossible.

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