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Mark Steyn

Ave atque vale

A Principled Man in a Corrupted Field

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Professor Robert M Carter, one of my co-authors on Climate Change: The Facts. Bob had a heart attack at his home in Queensland and never recovered consciousness. He was an indispensable voice in the battle for climate sanity, and his chapter in our book exemplified his ability to make an important point easily graspable:

The reality is that no scientist on the planet can tell you with credible probability whether the climate in 2030 will be cooler or warmer than today. In such circumstances the only rational conclusion to draw is that we need to be prepared to react to either warming or cooling over the next several decades.

Given that no-one can say what the climate in 2030 will be, erecting a vast global bureaucracy with an inflexible monolithic commitment to reverse what may never happen is worse than nuts, it potentially diminishes our ability to react to what may actually occur. It was characteristic Carter: He was no caricature of a wild-eyed denier, but in almost any discussion invariably the most sane and sensible man on the panel.

In the way of many of his generation, Bob Carter was an Anglo-Kiwi-Aussie who started out in the Mother Country and then struck out for the Antipodes. He was a professor at the University of Otago and eventually head of earth sciences at James Cook University. Along the way he was consulted by Ministers of the Crown, made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and garlanded with all kinds of other honors. Moving from Britain to New Zealand to Australia was one thing, but Bob's sin was following the science, no matter where it led. And when it led him to conclude that the alarmist "consensus" was not supported by the evidence, he paid a steep price. Bob was yet another distinguished scientist to discover how merciless and petty the Big Climate enforcers can be when you cross them. A third of a century at James Cook University ended with them taking away his office, his unpaid adjunct professorship, and eventually his email address and library card.

Why?

Because his "views on climate change did not fit well within the School's own teaching and research activities" So much for James Cook University's commitment to genuine scholarly inquiry. In that sense, like Lennart Bengtsson and Roger Pielke Jr and others I referenced in my testimony to the United States Senate last month, Bob Carter fell victim to the climate of fear that the global warm-mongers have inflicted upon science. Half-a-century of distinguished scientific achievement, recognized in such honors as the New Zealand Geological Society's Outstanding Research Career Award, counted for naught with the hacks and mediocrities who run James Cook University - because he dared to question Big Climate.

If he was bitter about it, it didn't show. At the Heartland Institute's conference last year in Washington, he was on sparkling form, on-stage and off-. As readers know, Michael E Mann is currently suing me for calling his "hockey stick" fraudulent. In my own speech at Heartland, I mentioned that in fact I'd called Mann's stick fraudulent in publications all around the world, from The National Post in Canada to The Sunday Telegraph in Britain all the way to Hawkes Bay Today in New Zealand. The last time I used that line, I added, "Anybody here tonight from Hawkes Bay?" And there being none, as you might expect, it got a laugh. So I used it again at Heartland in Washington: "Anybody here from Hawkes Bay?" And from Bob's table there came a loud "Yes!" I'd forgotten that he was traveling with his wife Anne, and his in-laws, who, if memory serves, hailed from Hawkes Bay.

He was pleased by the success of our book, and I was hoping to see him somewhere en route during my Aussie tour next month. A great scientist and a courageous and honorable man, he was full of joy and steel-spined, exactly the chap, as James Delingpole said, "you want in the foxhole standing next to you".

More from Jo Nova and Anthony Watts.

from Ave atque vale, January 19, 2016

 

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