Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. blog comments powered by Disqus

Bob Carter (1942-2016): Timing of death outdoes Kim Philby

Bob Carter is dead. On January 19, 2016, the world lost Robert Merlin Carter, author of the widely-ignored Climate: The Counter-Consensus, co-author of the generally disregarded NIPCC Report and also co-author of the comic book graphic novel Taxing Air (1). Bob Carter stood out among Australian denialists by actually publishing scientific papers on climate (well really only one paper (2) and a correction that failed to address the issues identified in a comprehensive rebuttal (3)).

In February 2016 it was globally 1.35
oC warmer than the average February during the usual baseline period of 1951-1980, according to NASA data (4). This was the highest monthly anomaly on record.

Few other individuals have had their deaths marked by such a spectacular raspberry, although there was a reported darkening of the Sun following the death of Jesus of Nazareth circa 32 AD. In 2005, the death of Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man, led to cut in income tax for the Australian people, but this had a more direct causal link. While is is a truth universally acknowledged that tax cuts for the rich are a cure for all economic woes, Mr. Packer's continued existence stood as a barrier. The fear was that any government that cut taxes would be greeted the next day with newspaper headlines along the lines of "$200 million tax handout to Kerry Packer". After Mr Packer's death in December 2005, the government was able to reduce maximum tax rates for the following year from 47 cents in the dollar to 45 cents in the dollar.

A more dramatic epitath on an individual's life work was given to Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby (1 January 1912 – 11 May 1988). Philby spent his career spying for the Soviet Union, while working for British intelligence, before defecting to Moscow. On December 26, 1991, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence.

There seems to have been a family history of well-timed death. Philby's father, explorer Harry St John Bridger Philby, died in September 1960, shortly after an official inquiry had (wrongly) cleared his son of accusations of spying for the Soviet Union, and a few years before Philby Jr. defected to Russia.

The Philby's deaths only a few years before their illusions would be shattered is impressive, but pales before Bob Carter's achievment of dying the month before the record temperatures that he predicted would not happen.

In Australia, the question is: "what now for the surviving denialists?" Some of Australia's leading denialist
right-wing nut jobs, del-cons (5), Senators Cori Bernardi (6) and George Christensen (7), have been able to busy themselves denouncing proposals for same-sex marriage (8). Among the others, Sophie Mirabella (9) is trying to regain her parliamentrary seat and Cardinal Pell (10) is embroiled in the Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children.


Prof Dr Moritz Lorenz.

Sarah Palin School of Geography, Economics and Quantum Computing,
University of Narbethong,
West Island Campus, NZ