Vale Professor Bob Carter.
Bob earned his Honours B.Sc in Geology and his Ph.D. in Palaeontology. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and winner of the Outstanding Research Career Award of the Geological Society of New Zealand, he authored over 100 academic research papers in the fields of palaeontology, geology, marine science and climate change. His positions included Director of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University and Director of the Australian Office of the Ocean Drilling Program, but it was on the subject of climate change that he became one of the leading voices in the world.
Bob referred to himself as a “climate rationalist”, emphasising the importance of the scientific method. As he wrote for the Institute of Public Affairs in 2003 , “To the extent that it is possible for any human endeavour to be so, science is value-free. Science is a way of attempting to understand the world in which we live from a rational point of view, based on observation, experiment and tested theory. Irritatingly, especially for governments, science does not operate by consensus and it is often best progressed by mavericks. The alternative to a scientific approach is one based on superstition, phobia, religion or politics.”
Bob could eloquently describe, for audiences ranging from town hall meetings to Parliamentary committees, how modern temperatures are not unduly warm, how levels of carbon dioxide are currently low in the context of the planet’s history and how the “warming” effect of CO2 suffers diminishing returns – that is, as more CO2 enters the atmosphere, the less effect it has. Bob never resiled from calling out the lies and academic failures of the climate campaigners as he was first and foremost a scientist, presenting facts based on researched evidence, and his passion for imparting knowledge was clear to all.
As Bob pointed out, 99.55% of the greenhouse effect has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans, and the addition of 50 ppm of CO2 between 1981 and 2010 fertilised an 11% increase in plant cover.
Bob was one of those rare individuals who combined a passion for informed science with a rare ability to communicate – all while maintaining a sunny disposition. Despite the spiteful nature of the attacks he endured from climate-change campaigners, he was not one to be cowed, nor was he angered – his enthusiasm for sharing scientific learning was as enduring as his cheerful demeanour.
He will be sorely missed.
I dedicate this essay (Climate Change: The Burden of Proof) to the memory of Prof “Bob” Carter, my fellow-panelist, NIPCC co-author, and travel companion in Western and Eastern Europe, China, and all around the USA.
“He died with his boots on.”
Tribute by S. Fred Singer. Professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and a founding director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
Professor Bob Carter was a seeker of truth. He had guts. He followed the evidence and not the crowd.
There are many people who call themselves scientists who follow the grants, the political drum and the media plaudits. Then there are those with the right stuff.
Tribute from Andrew Bolt.
Here is the video of one of Bob’s appearances on The Bolt Report: http://youtu.be/s9voS5MJSuM
9 March 1942 – 19 January 2016
“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.”
Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.