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Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven + Earth’ — Checking the Claims - page 17 / 64





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84. p. 409: New Orleans sunk rapidly by about 1 metre in the three years before Katrina struck. This time (unlike page 303, item 57) a reference is cited: by Dixon and others Na- ture, 441, 587–588 (2006) from radar satellite altimetry. They report a three-year average


5 6 ± 2 5 mm/year, with a maximum of

29 mm/year (negative values indicating

subsidence). They note that if the motion is interpreted as purely vertical, the mean and maximum subsidence become 6.4 mm/year and 33 mm/year.

  • 85.

    p. 411: Carbon dioxide is a colourless odourless non-poisonous gas. If taken literally, this is dangerously misleading. Some of the relevant toxicity data from Chemwatch #1003

    • (1999)

      19 are:

7% to 10%: unconsciousness within minutes; 5% fatal dose for inhalation; 2% adverse pulmonary effects; and various adverse effects from continuous exposure at lower concentrations around 1%.

86. p. 412: Plimer notes that limestone contains 65,000,000 billion tonnes of carbon (i.e. 65,000,000 GtC) forgetting that his own figure of 200 GtC per year in CO2 from volcanoes would imply that limestone sediments are, on average, being turned over every 325,000 years. (Since the carbon is not accumulating in the oceans at such a rate, not accumulating in the atmosphere at that rate, and plant carbon is not growing at 10% per annum, re- deposition in sediments remains the only possibility.)

  • The 200 GtC/year figure is from

sceptical look at greenhouse, by Ian Plimer in

The Skeptic20, vol. 13, pp 11-17, 1994.

In Heaven + Earth, Plimer seems to evade the issue of giving an estimate of volcanic C O 2 e m i s s i o n s , b u t o n p . 4 1 3 s a y s o l c a n o e s p r o d u c e m o r e C O 2 t h e n t h e w o r l d cars and industries combined — [DK, TL]. — and s

o l c a n o e s a d d f a r m o r e C O [DK]. — and 2

to the oceans and atmosphere than humans (p. 328)

h p. 472: massive volcanic eruptions (e.g. Pinatubo) emit the u m a n C O 2 e m i s s i o n s i n a f e w d a y s . N o c i t a t i o n i s g i v e n .

equivalent of a years’ ctual data shows that

the CO2 growth rate declined after the Pinatubo eruption

  • [TL].

  • http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2009/s2772906.htm gives the (transcript and link to vodcast) of the debate broadcast by the BC (noted in item 76) which in- cludes Plimer being questioned on his claims about undersea volcanoes contradict- ing detailed studies by the US Geological Survey.

87. p. 413: untrue.

n i m a l s p r o d u c e 2 5 t i m e s a s m u c h C O 2 a s c a r s a n d i n d u s t r y . I r r e l e v a n t a n d

common irrelevant argument used by doubt-spreaders.

nimal CO2


doesn’t affect climate because it is putting back carbon taken out of the atmosphere by plants. However 25 by 7 GtC/year is exaggerated. Even if no plant material decayed directly to CO2, or decomposed by bacteria or burnt by wild-fire, Plimer’s figures would

19The summary is for illustrative purposes. Health and Safety issues should be addressed by reference to the full chemical data sheets. 20Publication of the ustralian Sceptics Society.


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