Prof. Brian O'Brian: frightened at the exaggerations

Professor J. Brian O’Brian, a respected Australian rocket scientist, interviewed by Richard Fidler on the ABC, on his contribution to Apollo 11 mission, the nature of moon dust, caving, and the corruption of science by climate change.

But the funding for climate change research was only going to what you’d call ‘true believers’, when that happens you inevitably you get a bias”. The sad situation a of professor of physics told me Brian I completely support what you’re saying, but I have 65 researchers in my laboratory and the only funding I can for them to get their PhDs is greenhouse funding from Canberra or wherever.

His submission in 2000 to the joint standing committees on the Kyoto Protocol is a damning indictment worth reading. First he recounts the history of failed prediction by the CSIRO:

In any event, the scientific scenarios of global warming for Australia are such that, in 1988, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research predicted [it used the word “predicted”] that Australia would warm by between 2oC and 4oC by the year 2030. In 1990 my monograph Postponing Greenhouse described such figures as exaggerated. In 1992 CSIRO halved the estimate, thus “postponing” the year in which such a warming would occur. In 1996 CSIRO reduced the figure again, further “postponing” the benchmark warming of 3oC until about a century and a half after their original target year of 2030. International estimates have similarly been “postponed”.

On the propaganda role of the IPCC:

Uncertainty is not the chief concern, for in principle that could be removed by further research. But the IPCC reports show that this has not yet been done. The more serious worry is the ease with which the prose text of documents such as these can be divorced from fact and real-world numbers by the ubiquitous word processor, with the danger that particular conclusions about greenhouse impacts will retain their currency and force even when the assumptions on which they are based have been changed or rendered irrelevant.
This in turn raises the concern that the greenhouse problem is not merely an inverted pyramid of knowledge based on a handful of facts, but that the facts may now be buried in a pyramid of much-manipulated reports. Indeed, the documents circulated in June, 1990 may represent the last identifiable connection between the supposed greenhouse impacts and the facts.

Choice words on scientists behaving badly:

….the scientific community has more cause for blame than credit in much of the chicanery to date. The word “science” comes from the Latin “scientia” – knowledge. One of these days, scientists must once again rejoice in imparting knowledge, not fear. They may then, of course, lose their research funds provided by pragmatic politicians.

And on the government:

Consequently, the Australian community is not only not informed reliably about greenhouse, it is actively misinformed by governments, both the present government and the previous governments.

Prof. O’Brian spent 3 weeks or so with the fundamental papers and “got frightened at the exaggerations that were going around” embarking on a series of critical reviews of the science. According to todays leading academics and researchers at The Conversation he should be numbered among the ‘deniers of overwhelming scientific evidence’.

Thankfully a few of the old school scientists are still alive.


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