Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Professor of Mining Geology at The University of Adelaide, Ian Plimer.
Lelde Smits: Hello I’m Lelde Smits for the Finance News Network and joining me today at the Resources & Energy Symposium in Broken Hill is Professor of Mining Geology, Ian Plimer. Ian, welcome.
Ian Plimer: Thank you.
Lelde Smits: You’re known for your opposition to climate change but Ian what is your position exactly: Do you refute climate change exists or just man-made climate change?
Ian Plimer: Climates always change. I am sceptical that humans have anything to do with very large energy transfers on the planet, which is climate. I refute both of them because they’re both anti-scientific.
Lelde Smits: And can you explain why?
Ian Plimer: Science is married to evidence. The creationists ignore the past and that is geology. And the climate catastrophists ignore the past and that is geology.
Lelde Smits: Ian your latest book is out, How to get expelled from school, why did you write it?
Ian Plimer: I’ve spent my life in education and the best way to educate people is to ask questions. This is a book of 101 questions, most of which have no answer. And, these questions are to open people’s brains because the mine is like a parachute; it only works when it’s open.
Lelde Smits: So another question for you then: What are the main facts that underpin your sceptism of climate change?
Ian Plimer: I’m sceptical that humans influence climate because in the past we’ve had huge and rapid climate changes when humans where not here.
Lelde Smits: Could you give us an example of one?
Ian Plimer: We’ve had six great ice ages. Six out of those six ice ages started when we had more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere [than] now. And, we came out of those ice ages into periods of warming very, very quickly.
Lelde Smits: But Ian can you say definitively that man-kind and industry pumping heat trapping gasses into the environment has no effect on the planet?
Ian Plimer: It has a very slight effect, and that slight effect is not catastrophic. It’s less than a degree celsius and that and that’s the sort of temperature change you have when you move from room to room.
Lelde Smits: So Ian, how do you explain images of rising sea levels and melting ice?
Ian Plimer: Sea level goes up and down all the time. The ice sheets expand and they contract. That we’ve seen over the history of this planet. That doesn’t necessary mean we have warming. Under the Antarctic ice sheet we have volcanoes, they periodically erupt. Under the Greenland ice sheet we have a huge basin, the ice has to flow uphill. That’s not melting, that’s a totally different process.
Lelde Smits: Irrespective of these views, Australia’s carbon pricing scheme will be implemented from July: Why do you believe this tax has been introduced?
Ian Plimer: The carbon tax is not based on any validated science. The basis of the carbon tax is to raise revenue. It will not change climates. It will do nothing to the global temperature. This government is spending more than it earns and the way to balance the books is to increase tax. And, to increase tax where you play to people’s perceived guilt and their perceived interest in the environment.
No one is advocating that we poison the airways, the waterways or the soils, that’s pollution. But, carbon dioxide is plant food. Without plants we have no life on earth and to tax food for plants is bizarre.
Lelde Smits: So has the Australian public been duped?
Ian Plimer: The Australian public knows that they’re being duped, they’re not stupid and there’s an election coming.
Lelde Smits: The Minerals Resource Rent Tax is also set to be introduced by July: Who do you think is set to benefit the most and least?
Ian Plimer: The people who will benefit the most from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax will be the West African countries, Canada and other countries where exploration and mining companies in Australia will fly to. We will destroy the best industry we’ve got in this country.
Lelde Smits: And how will the mining tax impact Australia?
Ian Plimer: I think it’s very, very dubious if the mining tax will achieve what it set out to do. And the second thing is it will have a profound impact on Australia. It will close down operations, it will put people out of work and it will destroy our competitive base.
Lelde Smits: Can you foresee any benefits from the mining tax?
Ian Plimer: I see absolutely no benefits whatsoever for Australia and I cannot see the point in giving the current government more money which they will waste.
Lelde Smits: But Ian, these taxes are well on the way to being rolled out: Does the Australian public have any other option but to accept them?
Ian Plimer: The Australian public are not stupid. They are very much aware that these taxes are to fill a deficit. The Australian public is very much aware that the mining industry keeps this country afloat and the Australian public is just waiting for the next election.
Lelde Smits: Finally Ian, your criticism climate change has, by some, been labeled as alarmist conspiracy theories: What do you say to the critics?
Ian Plimer: I’ve never argued alarmism. I’ve never argued conspiracy theories. All I ask is for people to have a knowledge of history and geology and if you had that you would not have the current views about human induced climate change.
Lelde Smits: Ian Plimer, thanks for sharing your views.
Ian Plimer:Thank you
Ian Plimer is an independent non-executive director of Ivanhoe Australia Limited (ASX:IVA), Silver City Minerals Limited (ASX:SCI), Niuminco Group Limited (ASX:DSF), Kefi Minerals Limited (AIM:KEFI) and Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd companies.