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« International Disinformation Agency | Main | Worse than we thought »

Dealing with The Heretic

Richard Bean's play The Heretic has been causing a few ructions in Australia ahead of its opening in Melbourne. Richard forwards this email, which was sent to him by Andrew Glikson, a scientist at the Australian National University.

Mr Richard Bean
Melbourne Theatre Company

Dear Mr Richard Bean

As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience and more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, I suggest the show “The Heretic”, which I have not seen but about which I have read, can only lead to trivialization and further denial of what the scientific world regards as the greatest threat humanity and nature are facing.

I suggest the show plays into the hands of those who support the use of the thin terrestrial atmosphere (breathable thickness of less than 10 km) for further carbon emission on top of the 350 billion tons of carbon already emitted since the 18th century and >150 billion tons carbon released by land clearing, fires etc.. As shown in my enclosed paper, the pace of CO2 rise over the last 40 years, recently reaching >2 ppm CO2/year, has now exceeded any recorded for the last 65 million years, while the atmospheric level of 394 ppm CO2 is now near that of the warm Pliocene era some 3 million years-ago. Our empirical evidence is based on direct observations of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system by the world’s climate monitoring bodies - including NOAA, NASA, NSIDC, Hadley-MET, Tyndale, Potsdam, CSIRO, BOM and other.

Opinion and "belief" are no substitute for evidence. Those who doubt the basic laws of nature and empirical data are always welcome to submit research to peer review journals where their papers will be treated the same as any other. In so far as their propositions are upheld, anyone who is able to demonstrate as if:

  1. The Earth's climate is not warming, or
  2. The anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming

is bound to receive the highest accolades.

I wonder whether such a show, if concerned with denial of the holocaust of world war II, would have been conceived?

I suggest that, given the threat of anthropogenic global warming to the terrestrial climate and to marine ecosystems, a theatric show making mockery of the gravity of the climate issue for future generations can only be seriously mistaken.

Yours sincerely


Andrew Glikson
Earth and paleo-climate scientist
Australian National University

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Reader Comments (125)

Looks like they don't like any straight-shooters at ANU.


May 16, 2012 at 2:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

Oh dear,

As an Earth and paleo-climate scientist of some 45 years-long experience

Looks more like 3 years' experience, 15 times over.

CO2 levels have been measured to be in excess of 400 ppm in the past 200 years. Doesn't Glickson read any literature with which he disagrees?

May 16, 2012 at 2:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

Reminds me of a time in Vietnam, when the Communists confiscated my DVD of Hunt for Red October, and offered me, as compensation, a choice between Let's Enrich the Communist Economy First with Rice, I Love an Unmarried, Disabled Soldier and The County Party Chief Secretary.

I read a book instead.

May 16, 2012 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Glikson's nonsensical letter and the references to 'Yes Minister' above reminds of a long-ago acquaintance who won a position of undersecretary to a Minister in the NZ parliament; when I queried him about similarities between his position and TV's 'Yes Minister', he said
"Very similar, except the dialogue in the parliamentary offices are not nearly as clever."

May 16, 2012 at 3:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

"...which I have not seen but about which I have read..."

Says it all, doesn't it?

May 16, 2012 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I bet that Glikson would rather gargle battery acid than watch this play and have to endure people laughing at climate alarmism.

May 16, 2012 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Mr Glikson
In so far as their propositions are upheld, anyone who is able to demonstrate as if:

The Earth's climate is not warming,

Well here you go

Well we won that one LOL (Of course hell see it through his AGW googles and yes its warming LOL

May 16, 2012 at 5:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Scary, downright scary, next letter to the Green authorities is: "with regard to the play's author opinions and thoughts, how can he be allowed to breathe and release out so much anthropogenic CO2 in leaving in such denial? Time for a termination commission meeting at the earliest convenience. Or should we even consider?"

May 16, 2012 at 5:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomRude

With the runaway success of Richard Bean's latest play - "One Man, Two Guvnors" - I doubt whether he will give two hoots about this rant from Andrew Glikson.

Interesting to see Mr Glikson pull that old trick - "I've published a lot of papers so I must be right". Well Mr Glikson, two can play that game - Richard Bean has written a lot of plays and knows a good target for comedy when he sees one - and it's great for the rest of us that you, Mr Glikson, are such a wonderful object of mirth.

Meanwhile, Mr Glikson, you should think about the "two guvnors" that you are clearly serving - apocalyptic environmentalism and science - and wonder which of those uncomfortable bedfellows is occupying your mind most at the moment.

May 16, 2012 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Edwards

Ask him if he supports nuclear power. I bet not.

May 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterNZ Willy

Jo Nova was all over Mr Glickson when he tried to debate her.

May 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarkus Fitzhenry

Richard Bean will be pleased with all the ludicrous material being fabricated by ANU.
There are several plays aching to be written.
"Possums Under the Hat"
"Targeting Science"
"No Science Please, We're a University"

May 16, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

A famous Andrew Glickson quote:

"Studies from 3 million to 500 million years ago show that when volcanoes blow up or asteroids hit, CO2 levels rise and animals die"

Enough said.

May 16, 2012 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Glikson reminds me of an "oldie" but a "goodie" about the definition of an expert. An ex-spurt is just a drip! As to showing "The anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming". Has any other warmist "scientist " actually gone as far as this in seemingly unequivocally stating that it is the "primary factor" in global warming?

May 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterHillbilly33

Hillbilly33 - a minor correction if I may.

an expert = an ex-spurt = a drip under pressure

May 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

May 16, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Martin A

A further minor correction:
an ex- is a has-been
a spurt is a drip under pressure


expert = a has-been drip under pressure

May 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterEvil Denier

A saving grace for Dr Glikson was that he is one of the few climate scientists who have properly debated the global warming issue - with Jo Nova.
It is far more thorough than this letter. Like with any good exchange in the public are, the arguments sharpened.

May 16, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

Thanks Martin A and Evil Denier for coming to the aid of an eight-decade "young" failing memory. Perhaps I should enrol for retraining at the ANU (Anthropogenic Nutters University)!

Meanwhile, direct from the comedy centre of Australian PM Julia Gillard's highly paid Three Stooges, Tim (the flimflam man)Flannery, Lesley (horror horoscopes) Hughes and Will (we'll all fry) Steffen comes CAGW by suburb, courtesy of the Urban Heat Island effect..

For a great belly laugh perhaps tinged with sympathy for the idiotic attempted brainwashing crap we Aussies have to put up with, all funded by Giillard's gross wastage of millions of $ of taxpayer funds:
Google "Climate commissioner Professor Tim Flannery said temperatures on rise in Sydney's west ". The Daily Telegraph covers it well accompanied by some very pithy readers comments.

May 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterHillbilly33

As a science graduate of the ANU I can comfortably say that the physics department and associated post graduste research schools were and probably still are much better than this. So much so that my training meant that before dismissing Al Gore's propaganda film I bought a copy and watched it and the accompanying materials. It produced three reactions. Firstly I felt appalled that I had actually contributed to his income, extreme boredom and disbelief (scientific errors could easily be recognised on a first viewing) and my wife got annoyed that I spent so long watching such nonesense.

The ANU can and should be better than this.

May 17, 2012 at 1:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Warner

Good for you John. You obviously didn't absorb the Glickson method of '"don't look but condemn anyway"! I'm sure there are many more worthy graduates but we need them to speak up as you have. Best wishes for your future..

May 17, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterHillbilly33

On a credibility scale of 1 - 10, where does a guy fit who knows all about a play he didn't see?

May 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy Hogue

Let me see we. some how Glikson is able to refer back to the 1700's (18th century) to come up with anthropogenic 500 billion tons of carbon. Good job! OK. let's say that's true, then we need to add in nature's release of CO2 over that time. Conservative estimate ~16.2 trillion tons (that's 16.2 thousand billion) from oceans, forests etc .... If CO2 was causing warming then the culprit it would seem is nature ....
Now lets' look at his useless challenge ..

1. The Earth's climate is not warming, or
2. The anthropogenic release of >500 billion tons of carbon since the 18th century is not the primary factor responsible for global warming

1. the Earth's climate has been warming .... derrrrrrrr .... little ice age in the 1700's. Bound to be warming. I can't win that one.
2. No carbon has been released only CO2. Small point but worth clarifying. Since there is no empirical scientific evidence which links human CO2 emissions to any warming, I'd say it's pretty clear that human CO2 isn't the cause of warming. Besides it's incumbent upon you scientists to prove your null hypothesis, and not try and pull the reverse null hypothesis on us for it is you and your ilk who would have us destroy our way of life, tax us into poverty, destroy our childrens' future all in the name of a grand hoax. and that what's this is a great grand hoax.

Further Dr. Please don't call me a denier. I don't deny the holocaust. I don;t deny climate change. I find it disgusting that you denigrate me and people like me who take it upon ourselves to read the available science and conclude there is indeed NO evidence that human's cause out of control warming.

Just becasue you have a degree (I have 3) doesn't make you the authority you think you are.

May 18, 2012 at 7:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergbees

Andrew McIntyre does a good job here at Quadrant Online

He starts the article "This week started with an alarmist announcement in Sydney from the Gillard government's two stooges --- Will Steffen and Tim Flannery"

We now have 3 stooges ....

May 18, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergbees

"Our empirical evidence is based on direct observations of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system by the world’s climate monitoring bodies...."

Am I reading it wrong? He seems to be claiming that CO2 has been directly measured over the last 65 million years. Direct observations. No proxies? No data processing?

May 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoles

The purpose of art is be the servant of politics. Everybody knows that.

May 19, 2012 at 7:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

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