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Heaven and Hell

A new book by Professor Ian Plimer is published today.


Summary: The recent papal Encyclical was on climate and the environment.  This book criticises the Encyclical and shows that we have never lived in better times, that cheap fossil fuel energy has and is continuing to bring hundreds of millions of people from peasant poverty to the middle class and that the alleged dangerous global warming is a myth.  

 I have great respect for the Pope’s sincere wishes to end pollution and poverty. We all share the same sentiments. The solution is to use cheap coal-fired electricity and not to demonise coal and other fossil fuels. The Industrial Revolution and the growth of East Asia and India shows that with cheap coal-fired electricity, people are brought out of poverty. It has happened to hundreds of millions of people over the last 20 years.

 Burning coal releases CO2. This is the gas of life. Plants are fertilised by CO2 and use less water and there has been a greening of the Earth with the slight increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The food for all life on Earth has been demonised as a pollutant.  

 It has yet to be shown that CO2 drives global warming and all models of future climate based on CO2 have failed. Despite hysterical predictions based on models, planet Earth has not deteriorated due to an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Nature and humans add traces of a trace gas CO2 to the atmosphere.  

 The planet has not warmed for more than 18 years, models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and a predicted hot spot over the equator does not exist. The models are not in accord with measured reality and are rejected. The science on climate change is far from settled, there is no consensus and there is no overwhelming evidence of human-induced global warming.  

 In the past when the Earth had a high atmospheric CO2, there was no tipping point, no run away global warming, no accelerated extinction and ecosystems thrived. When the past atmospheric CO2 content was up to 1,000 times higher than now, there were ice ages, no acid oceans, no correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 and no correlation between atmospheric CO2 and sea level.

This high atmospheric CO2 content was removed into sediments and life and eventually sequestered in sedimentary rocks. There has been no compelling case made for the reduction of CO2 emissions by humans, models of future climate have overestimated the projected rate of warning and have totally ignored the possibility of global cooling. Geology and history show us that global cooling kills people and destroys ecosystems.

 The Pope’s promotion of renewable energy shows that he was not well advised. The Pope has only listened to a small group of green left environmental activists and atheists, some who are in a warm embrace with communism. Wind, solar, wave and tidal forces do not have the energy density to keep modern society alive. Construction of wind and solar industrial complexes release more CO2 than they save and are inefficient, unreliable and need back up all day and all night from coal, gas, nuclear of hydro. In order to try to make renewable energy more competitive, governments have increased the costs of conventional electricity to the point where there is fuel poverty in Western countries and employment-generating businesses are closing down or moving. The Pope’s solution to perceived problems is agrarian socialism using wind and solar power.

 No Third World country trying to escape from poverty can afford renewable energy and it is only Western countries that use renewable energy because they are wealthy. Wealthy countries didn’t become wealthy overnight and centuries of the evolution of free trade, democracy, creativity, resource utilisation and property rights made wealth creation possible. Governments, collectives or international treaties did not create this wealth. Individuals created it. By denying poor countries access to fossil fuels, Pope Francis condemns them to permanent poverty with the associated disease, short longevity and unemployment.

 The Pope seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker the new environmental religion that competes with Catholicism. The Encyclical is an anti-development, anti-market enthusiastic embrace of global green left environmental ideology and much of the Encyclical is a denunciation of free markets dressed up as religious instruction.

 Most Encyclicals are about hope whereas Laudato Si’ is actually a depressing doomsday view of the future without evidence, science and discussions about uncertainty. The Pope shows concerns for the poor yet only offers constraints that would make the poor poorer. There are no scientific references in the Encyclical even though much of it is about science and it attempts to use science

 Global living standards have improved, people are wealthier, fewer people live in abject poverty and more people have access to sanitation, clean water and electricity. There is still a lot to achieve. The toll from diseases has decreased, people live longer, fewer people are killed from extreme weather events and there has been no increase in economic damage from extreme weather events.

 All in all, the world is a better place. A slight increase in CO2 in the atmosphere had increased crop yields and has increased forest area and productivity. The net impact of a slight increase in atmospheric CO2 has been beneficial to the biosphere.

 The Third World and the developing countries desperately need to escape from poverty. The Pope’s concern for the world’s poor will amount to nothing unless they can have safe drinking water and affordable and reliable electricity for heating and cooking. No longer should the poor die from the smoke emitted by burning dung, leaves and twigs in huts.

 Only when Third World children can do homework at night using cheap coal-fired electricity can they escape from poverty. Abundant cheap electricity can be used to pump water and treat sewage. Separate reticulated water and waste water systems have saved more lives on Earth than any other invention.



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Reader Comments (33)

Re "When the past atmospheric CO2 content was up to 1,000 times higher than now". Is the 1000 a typo, it seems high?

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Power

...And maybe, just maybe, the young men of the poor countries would not have formed themselves into a huge army of invasion to enter Europe had the west not starved their homelands of investment in coal fired power and modern infrastructure. Maybe.

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

I will have to add another shelf to my climate bookcase! Perhaps I might offer this title to my local book club for discussion ? Well done to Professor Plimer for his timely response to religious propaganda.

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterIantanyrallt

The Pope’s promotion of renewable energy shows that he was not well advised.
OK. That sounds reasonable
The Pope has only listened to a small group of green left environmental activists and atheists, some who are in a warm embrace with communism.
OK. That sounds crazy.
This is where the wider audience is lost entirely.

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:33 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The Pope has faith in climate scientists despite the absence of proof, and ignores the plight of the poor and hungry, to put the needs of Climate Scientists first.

Meanwhile, climate scientists expect us to put our faith in the power of the sun, moon and winds for power, which the Pope has no control over, according to climate science.

The loop of logic seems to consist of unlinked arrows, pointing money to the bank accounts of climate scientists. Blind faith leads nowhere. This is top quality joined up climate science thinking. No logic required, or evidenced.

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jesus said the poor will always be with us. The Pope is trying to make sure that cheap fossil fuel and technology don't make that just one more dud prediction.

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

M Courtney

It's unlikely that that "wider audience" would buy or read the book anyway.

The cult of eco-ism has a coating that allows it to slip though the critical processes for evaluating threats to human well-being that has been exploited by political movements for some time. It's a bit of a universal useful bolt-on / add-on and Francis is busy exploiting it driven on by some questionably motivated guys dressed in scarlet.

I find it interesting to compare this Francis with his namesake (gentle friend to animals and nature, happy in his life of eccentric poverty) showing up at the 5th Crusade in Egypt.....

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:51 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I agree with Prof Plimer that the Pope was not well advised on the scientific aspects of climate, but I think his further comments that the encyclical was anti-market and anti-development are misplaced. The document calls for a dialogue between many competing interests. It does this not because it supports one side or the other, but because it sees that central to one's thinking should be a care for our fellow men and for our common environment. Selfishness and greed, ignoring the needs of those about you are what are condemned. Patience, self-discipline and generosity in dialogue is what is asked for, from both sides of whichever ideological divide you wish to construct.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ronan

The Catholic Church’s mission is to save souls, it has never been a strong promoter of economic development for its own sake as a comparison of the post-European colonisation histories of North and South America shows.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Ban the pope.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

CO2 Alarmism does seem to degrade everyone who partakes of it, and so once great institutions can abandon reason and descend into facile alarm-speak and the support of fatuous, intensely damaging schemes in the same of 'sustainability', a codeword for suppressed development and central planning on a scale not seen outside of the former Soviet Union. The Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London fell, as did the Institute of Physics. The leader of the Bank of England has fallen, as has the Pope. The new blog on the block, Climate Scepticism features an article reminding us that much of higher education is also in the same mire. Plimer's book is therefore most welcome. A howl in our modern intellectual wilderness perhaps, but as the good folks in Tesco say, every little helps.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:15 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

@ DocBud

Jesus said the poor will always be with us. The Pope is trying to make sure that cheap fossil fuel and technology don't make that just one more dud prediction.

Cheap and abundant fossil fuels powered Britain's industrial revolution. In the United States they helped to make the country both rich and powerful. In neither case did they abolish poverty.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Heavens, will this idiocy ever end? I despair!

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I agree with Joe Ronan.

There is nothing especially contentious in this encyclical outwith the climate bit. It restates the Church's longstanding teaching on man's relationship with his environment and the natural world and his treatment of other people.

Certainly there are parts that non-Catholics will disagree with or have reservations about; it would be surprising if they didn't because all essentially Christian teaching is based on the presumption of an after-life which we are obliged to make at least some effort to "earn". If you don't believe in an afterlife then you hardly likely to warm to those bits!

I was in no way surprised that Francis came down on the side of the Climateers. As I have said before, in this matter the devil (to paraphrase William Booth) "has all the best tunes", or at least he promotes his view of the climate better than we do!

Plimer is right to say that Francis' advisers came from a very limited range of climate views — ie one!; you're only allowed one on that side, remember. With all of them singing from the same hymn sheet (sorry about the continuing religious references!) and almost certainly sympathetic to that stance in the first place what else was he going to say?

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:56 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

'that cheap fossil fuel energy has and is continuing to bring hundreds of millions of people from peasant poverty to the middle class '

And that is the real reason the greens hate , for it prevents what to them is golden mythology of some past perfect time in a rural ideal . For years 'before ' AGW the greens made it clear that they consider energy both too easy to get and too cheap in nature , CAGW just give them a vehicle to hitch their ideologically wagon too. And you could bet if tomorrow if your devise a pollution free why of generating power , that has cheap and easy to access , the first to find reasons to oppose it would the greens.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

What an excellent synopsis - says it all. I would only add that the high CO2 levels of the carboniferous age (yes they are reported to have been many times more than today) are evidenced by the high vegetation growth that is today's coal) and that the small increase in atmospheric CO2 since post-war industrialisation has led to wheat, world wide, going from shortage to surplus.

Oct 23, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

If the Pope won't sanction contraception, it is upto Malthusians to keep infant mortality high.

When communities have the technology to turn a light on at night, birth rates decline.

The Pope's message to the world gets a bit confused. If the Pope encouraged the provision of electric lighting, Malthusians would become extinct. Therefore Malthusians oppose electric lighting. Is that right?

Oct 23, 2015 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Give poor people cheap electricity to lift them out of poverty and dependency and they cease to remain dependent on others. Result: one step further away from being servile to religion.

Oct 23, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

CheshireRed, thank for the clarification. I knew I was missing a bit of Papal logic somewhere. Lower birth rates equals less use of church facilities for hatches, matches and dispatches.

Oct 23, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Vernon - yes the Carboniferous was a good time for trees etc, but iirc the reason the coal fields developed was not because of the increased growth rates but because various fungi had not yet evolved to make use of the dead wood. And while I agree that increased atmospheric CO2 levels are good for plant growth, I think the increased post war production of wheat and other crops is largely due to improved plant varieties and agricultural mechanisation and inputs.

As for the Pope, he has been very poorly advised, and his comments on climate change and ruinable energy are extremely ill-considered. I was annoyed enough when he tried to tell me how to vote in the Scottish referendum; if religious leaders want to get directly involved in politics they should stand for election.

I think if he was asked directly (about climate change) he should have declined to comment - or taken Father Ted's advice and just said "that would be an ecumenical matter".

Oct 23, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Lord Deben was a rather pious catholic when he was John Gummer but has now moved to the Green religion.

Oct 23, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

M Courtney

"A small group of green left environmental activists and atheists, some of who are in a warm embrace with communism"

Pray tell which of the following Papal advisers is excluded from that description

Gina Mc Carthy
not including his heretical Cardinals and Bishops who have drank from the cool aid fountain.
A good source is :-
This from Mark Morano - a practising Catholic.

Joe Rohan and Mike Jackson

I would dearly love if us left footers all sang from Mikes Hymn sheet, but from where I am kneeling it is too blurred.

Mike "outwith the climate bit"

I find the whole tenure and bullet points of Laudito Si are straight out of Strong and Gorbachevs' Earth Charter.
Even the ostensibly religious bits are cloaked in green gaian paganism.

If, like me, you are concerned at the direction Rome is lurching please read up on the present shenanigans from the ongoing Synod . Catholictruth Scotland is a useful primer.

If other bloggers on here worry about the slant of this (religious) discussion, let me remind them we are looking at Ian Plimers book on the Popes Encyclical.

Just in case you gentlemen think this old wrinkly is a bit paranoid, I suggest you have a butches at:-

Then let me know in which direction Rome is headed.


Oct 23, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

patrick healy, my comment was not related to realities but to perceptions.

It doesn't matter if the statement "A small group of green left environmental activists and atheists, some of who are in a warm embrace with communism" can be justified.
It matters if it can be readily accepted.

For a wider audience, it can not be readily accepted. And with it's immediate rejection no-one would research the rest.
Therefore it was unwise to include it.

Oct 23, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

It is worth noting that IPCC Climateers sought the Pope's assistance in getting the Catholic Church to believe in climate change. They did not seek the Catholic Church's prayers to request God to fix the problem.

It takes faith to believe in climate change, but faith can't fix it. Climateers hold other's faith in contempt, but expect us to trust them, on faith.

Science that depends on faith, is not science. I trusted climate science once. Never again.

Oct 23, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

M Courtney:
This is where the wider audience is lost entirely.

Anyone with any respect for the historical record, let alone the "wider audience", who reads claptrap such as you cite does indeed roll his/her eyes to the ceiling instanter and moves on.

Assuming that Pope Francis's politics are even relevant to the climate debate, he is notorious not because he hobnobs with "green left environmental activists and atheists, some who are in a warm embrace with communism" but because he collaborated with the military junta more than many Argentinian citizens thought wise back in the day.

I haven't read the book under discussion but, if Plimer's own summary of it is accurate, I'd respectfully suggest he writes a bit less and reads a bit more. The politics of the AGW movement are complex.

Oct 23, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

M Courtney, I'm afraid Ian Plimer has previous. I wasted the best part of £20 on his book "Heaven an Earth" the writing was poor and it desperately needed an editor to sort it out, I ploughed through it as the underlying science was well researched and sometimes illuminating.
The final quote in the book is from Pope Benedict XVI, this is then followed by Plimer's last sentence:- "Human stupidity is only exceeded by God's mercy, which is infinite".
As that climate-cardinal Dr Raymond Bradley once said of a Pope-Mann missive..."Excuse me while I puke.."

Oct 23, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPMT

To non-Catholics, the Pope is nothing, just as to non-Muslims, Mohammed is nothing. They are holdovers of the ancient past, when god-kings ruled by "divine right". Neither them nor any other "king" today (i.e., any so-called "leaders" who consider themselves laws unto themselves, such as Barack Obama) has any moral, much less intellectual, authority over mankind, and the separate and competing dogmas that give them power (moral, intellectual, or "legal" by personal fiat) over millions of their followers, are utterly bankrupt and obsolete, to anyone who has learned to think for him- or herself. As the childish dogmas of history strut forth yet again to assert themselves, as they did of old, over all mankind, they merely show ( to everyone in the world who has gone irretrievably beyond their hold, by virtue of the long, hard lessons of history) their hoary, bloody age and the danger of religious coercion, particularly in the arbitrary judgments of any one man, raised over all other men. Mankind has learned the absolute necessity of individual freedom and individual responsibility, and it cannot go back, however much the unlearned children who "lead" today may want to. Pope Francis thinks he is a servant of God; he needs to learn he is but a servant of his flock, not their ruler.

Oct 23, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

"Nature and humans add traces of a trace gas CO2 to the atmosphere."

Nicely put.

Oct 23, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

patrick healy, the Pope is paving his path with good intentions, and I'm fond of reminding people that the Road to Heaven is also paved with good intentions. Absorbed with his foot path, he's not watching the road signs.

Oct 23, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

"As that climate-cardinal Dr Raymond Bradley once said of a Pope-Mann missive..."Excuse me while I puke..""

Plimer has once again taken to channelling Mister Creosote.

Oct 23, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

kim: I think you will find that it is the road to hell that is paved with good intentions...

Oct 23, 2015 at 8:23 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Well, Roy, of course it's all relative. Most of those supposedly living in poverty in the UK today have a much higher standard of living than I had as a child growing up in the sixties. If poverty is measured relative to mean or median income, even in a society comprised of millionaires and billionaires, some will be classed as being poor. While there are a very tiny number of people in the UK living below the absolute poverty line, mainly due to inadequate mental health care provision, poverty in any true sense of the word has almost been completely eradicated. Much of what is viewed as poverty is due to personal choices.

Oct 24, 2015 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Both roads, RR, but you must pay attention to the roadside signs.

Oct 24, 2015 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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