Bob Carter Dies

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 pm, January 23rd, 2016 - 13 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, science, sustainability - Tags: ,

Veteran Climate Science Denialist Bob Carter Dies of Heart Attack

Bob Carter has died. To most members of the general public, the name of that Australian geologist and paleontologist will barely register a flicker of neurons in the temporal lobe. But to the global community of professional and amateur climate science denialists, misinformers and opponents of climate policy, Carter was an influential giant. He died, aged…

lprent: This post was published by Graham Readfearn at Desmog. I personally brought the right to republish it on this site because it resonated with my opinion on the man, as both with Earth Sciences degree and as someone who has had a heart attack with the consequent effects on family and friends.

While I regret the effects of his death on family, I’m somewhat less charitable about Bob Carter’s later career than Graham Readfearn. I’ve read many of Bob Carter’s rants and ‘papers’ on climate change both in my usual reading, and when the ‘deniers’ post links to them here and that I’ve examined while moderating. His evidence and interpretation failed to be even remotely convincing. It seemed to be designed to fool idiots and to provide scientifically illiterate journalists with a good story. It was just silly PR.

I can’t see how in the hell he could have largely ignored the clear evidence vindicating the theory of anthropomorphic climate change over the last 35 years since I first read about it as an undergraduate. Back then it was the theory without substantive evidence. But since the mid-1990s it has evident that there was enough clear evidence of it occurring that it become the severe risk to our entire civilisation. It destroys the technological underpinning of the agricultural systems and food production systems that have sustained the steady growth in human populations for about 10,000 years.

For Bob Carter to have gone into the intellectual convolutions described in this post to deny a theory that has been steadily became more and more supported by evidence over the decades has been astonishing to me. Especially since he had to use so much of the evidence of the palaeoclimatology in a contorted form to support his various denialistic stances over the decade since I started reading his ideas.

In my view it was either an article of faith for him, or ego, or he just liked the money funnelled directly or indirectly to him from the owners of fossil carbon. Either way, to me his ‘scepticism’ appeared to have little to do with earth sciences and more to do with the personal failures of the man himself.

I’m sure that current and future generations will curse him and others like him for delaying the early changes that would have reduced the sustained climatic damage of the recent Anthropocene

13 comments on “Bob Carter Dies”

  1. lprent 1

    Bit irritating the way that Desmog interfered with my excerpt. I guess that is just another thing I will have to fix if we want to put any more of their posts up.

  2. Macro 2

    I too echo your thoughts entirely.
    I believe that those academics such as Carter, Linzden, Spencer, et al that go down this road of opinion rather than face the evidence head on, where they use their scholarship in ever contorted ways to justify their view, when Occams razor should be applied, do so in a form of academic vanity – because they have taken a position in the past and need to constantly defend it. It’s sad in a way, but it’s also very dangerous, particularly when they have a keen audience who want to hear this point of view from vested interest.

  3. RedLogix 3

    I recall reading once that the great Mendeleyev who first discovered the Periodic Table of the elements, spent much of the later part of his career storming out of scientific conferences in high disgust with the new-fangled ‘Copenhagen’ group promoting what is now understood as quantum mechanics.

    There is nothing new about this phenomenon, and it stands as a cautionary tale for all of us; science is a harsh mistress and she will brook no man claiming a monopoly on her attentions.

    Still history will remember Mendeleyev for his accomplishments, the inspiring story of his life and remain generous to him death. I think this is how it should be.

    • lprent 3.1

      As I said in the post, I’m somewhat less charitable. The implications of the risks to our civilisation of what looks to me like an average 5-6 degree rise by end of the century go far beyond the implications of most scientific endeavours.

      If Bob Carter had actually managed to contribute to the scientific debate in any meaningful way, then that is one thing. But in my view he didn’t even seem to try to. His objections appeared to have consisted largely of “it can’t be humans”, and then never seriously looking for something that could be affecting the abrupt rise in temperatures (that he eventually seemed to concede) that wasn’t caused by humans.

      His attempts to explain it away consisted of mechanisms that were all in much larger time scales than the observed global changes, and usually seemed to point to the opposite effect – a global cooling.

      I just found it weird.

    • Poission 3.2

      Considering Mendeleev died 2 decades prior to the CI that would have been a remarkable achievement.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        Ahhrg … the perils of relying on memory. Delete the Copenhagen bit.

      • lprent 3.2.2

        I think that he was referring to the disagreements of Mendeleev with the sub-atomic physics bods who were busy knocking off bits of atoms to create odd-ball atomic weights (like rutherford) or finding radioactive elements (like curie).

        Found several references to it on the net, but I seem to remember that there were some pretty stormy conferences with theories about how that activity fitted into the periodic table and what it all meant in the late 1890s and first decade of 1900s.

        Mendelev died in 1907

    • Andre 3.3

      Or maybe the memory of Bob Carter will be closer to how Edward Teller is remembered. For all his impressive basic physics contributions, most of the few people that would recognize his name link it to the bomb and Reagan’s “Star Wars” nutjobbery.

  4. sad for the people that will miss him and I agree with this

    “I’m sure that current and future generations will curse him and others like him for delaying the early changes that would have reduced the sustained climatic damage of the recent Anthropocene”

  5. Richard Christie 5

    “Science advances one funeral at a time.”

    – Max Planck

    The news isn’t surprising given most AGW denier scientists are rest home escapees and retired geologists.

    • Macro 5.1

      The news isn’t surprising given most AGW denier scientists are rest home escapees and retired geologists.
      Yes I was quietly musing on that point just this morning. Geologists, who are in their dotage, grew up with this period and that period separated by naturally occurring warm and cold periods, which in most case happened over long periods of time. With this background, they then want to think that the process that is happening now can be explained in terms of natural cycles etc. But of course it can’t. They feel left out of the game, this is their field of expertise, “You people don’t now what you are talking about”, they say.
      I think the new term “Anthropocene” is a vital one for geologists to adopt, because it places the emphasis squarely where it needs to be. Humans are changing the the shape of the Earth more rapidly than natural processes.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    I have met many, many man-made climate change deniers over the past few years and without exception everyone of them has been male, white and over 30.

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