Flat White

A quick science story for today’s school strikers

21 May 2021

12:01 PM

21 May 2021

12:01 PM

Geologist and author Ian Plimer was the special guest on Paul Murray Live on Tuesday, in to talk about hydrogen as a potential energy source to replace coal with fill-in host Corey Bernardi. Plimer prefaced his remarks dampening enthusiasm for hydrogen by reminding viewers that the premise of our needing alternative energy was based on the falsity of the underlying assumption that carbon dioxide was driving global warming — the old battle cry of the warmists. 

But, he said, it has never been shown that it is so — sending regular panellist Nicholas Reece into a fit of derisory laughter. Reece interjected that “tens of thousands of scientists” think that it is indeed so. 

This surreal moment of national television shows in a nutshell what has gone wrong, nay, what was always wrong from the beginning in the climate wrangle. Reece, a former advisor to former prime minister Julia Gillard and now Deputy Mayor on Melbourne City Council — a political operative who speaks in the language of propaganda, politics and activism — derides the scientist who speaks in the language of learning, study and research.


Plimer challenged Reece to show him just five scientific papers which demonstrate that carbon dioxide, (which makes up 0.04% of the earth’s atmosphere, of which 3% is man-made), drives warming — and offered a wager “of a substantial sum” if he could. Reece can search among the “tens of thousands of scientists” but it is what we call a safe bet.

Reece’s guffaws and dismissive response to a well credentialled and experienced scientist is a stark demonstration of what ‘the science’ means to those who, like Reece, don’t even know basic facts about the actual science, yet have had and still have, some influence on public policy formulations that impact on resources and living standards.

[It bring to mind another such memorable moment was also on national television last year when Alan Jones asked Tanya Plibersek if she knew how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere, seeing how she and her Labour party were hell bent on reducing it. She didn’t.]

Reece displayed the unquestioning confidence of the truly ignorant. But he knows he is not alone. Sadly. 

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