Thursday, 12 March 2009

Carbon Emissions

I have had an exchange of emails with Prof. Ian Plimer of University of Adelaide (see March 6th entry).His controversial views on carbon dioxide emissions are shortly to be published in a book - Heaven and Earth.

As editor of a peer-reviewed scientific journal for the past 21 years, I have seen quite a bit of bad science, and have developed a high degree of scepticism towards unsubstantiated theories and conclusions. I have always suspected that the claim that climate change is man-made is dubious, and not based on solid evidence, and Prof. Plimer's article in Materials World seems to provide clear evidence to counter this claim.

I remember when I was at University in the ‘60s that we were about to enter a new ice age, as the world had been cooling since the beginning of the century. Temperatures started to rise shortly after that, but as Prof. Plimer points out, there has been only a 0.75C rise in temperature since the start of the industrial revolution (although I am also sceptical about the consistency of measurement of these temperatures over such a long period).The media love climate change and carbon footprints, researchers love it because of the highly lucrative grants available and politicians equally love it as it provides good reasons to impose green taxes and restrictions on just about everything, as highlighted by the UK’s plans to turn off lighting on hundreds of miles of motorway despite an admission from the Highways Agency that a small increase in crashes is likely to result! The measure is being introduced primarily to reduce carbon emissions but it will also save the agency several million pounds a year in electricity cost (The Times March 13th). I wonder if the latter could really be the primary reason?

To challenge what are considered to be generally accepted views is tantamount to heresy but carbon emission controls are highly expensive and damaging to industries such as ours. A great website for the pros and cons is at and I invite the views of mineral processors and others in the mining industry.

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