Obituary Notice: John Lawrence Daly, 1943--2004

John Daly was born in Bournemouth, UK, on 31 March 1943. His father was subsequently killed when his merchant vessel, Lancastrian Prince, was sunk by German U boats off Newfoundland with the loss of all who were on board. John never saw his father.

After the war, John's mother, Mary Daly, was faced with the financial difficulties of raising both John and his sister Nicky in post-war Britain. Consequently, John was sent to live with his uncle in Cobh, Southern Ireland, and grew up surrounded by his cousins. Later on he was able to return to England to live with his mother and to study to become a ship's radio officer.

He went to sea at the age of 17 for the Blue Funnel Line, where he travelled the world's oceans, with extensive shore visits to many countries. At sea he became an autodidact, teaching himself through omnivorous reading, and developing his powers of analysis. A merchant seaman is always concerned about the weather, and a radio operator is always receiving weather reports. Thus John was able to study weather, climate and astronomy while actively observing them. Thus began his lifelong interest in climatology.

After three years at sea, John was successful in securing a position as a civilian radio officer for GCHQ, Cheltenham, (the successor to the famous Bletchley Park intelligence organisation). In this job, however, he found himself 'bored out of his mind' and resigned after only 2 years. After a further 2 years in the merchant navy with Bibby Line, he met Amy Taylor, (his best-friend's wife's sister) and after a two-week courtship they were married in 1969 at a registry office in Manchester. This was the beginning of a strong and devoted partnership, which lasted until his death.

John and Amy then settled at Milford Haven, Wales, where John worked as a radar service engineer for Decca. During this period in Wales, two daughters, Emma and Rachel were born. Intellectual restlessness, however, took him to the university at Aberystwyth where he took out an honours degree in economics. He also had an active role in University politics, holding elective positions in the Student's Guild during each of the three years he was there.

In 1980, the Daly family emigrated to Launceston, Tasmania, where John established a company manufacturing the two marine electronic devices he had invented (Daly Bilgeguard and Daly WatchGuard). Although this was commercially successful, by 1992, he found it intellectually insufficiently challenging. So the business was sold and John, having already moved into teaching electronics and economics, became a full-time senior-secondary college teacher.

It was at this time he became particularly interested in the global warming issue. His first public foray into this issue was a 1989 monograph The Greenhouse Trap published by Bantam Books, which is still relevant to the debate.

In 1995, he established his Website 'Still Waiting For Greenhouse' ( He was one of the earliest pioneers in the use of the Internet to disseminate information and arguments concerning one of the most extraordinary episodes in the history of Western Civilisation, that is, the attempt to de-carbonise the world economy on the grounds that increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in climatic catastrophe.

John was concerned that the legitimacy of these de-carbonisation campaigns was based solely on scientific theories that were both highly questionable and unsupported by empirical evidence. Although self-taught, John was a gifted scientist. He was particularly talented at presenting complex scientific climate data in a format that was easily read and understood by the layperson. As a result, his Website appealed to those who wanted to gain understanding of the various scientific arguments pertaining to the greenhouse effect in order to be able to contribute to the political issues surrounding the global warming debate.

The Website acquired a huge readership from all over the world; a readership which included many well-qualified academics and scientists of repute, who have publicly recognised his scholarship and his scientific acumen. The non-scientists also appreciated John's Website both for its content, and because it represented the voice of an independent and gifted scholar who saw something seriously wrong with establishment climatology, and took it upon himself to demonstrate why it was wrong.

Since the birth of the Website, more than two million hits have been registered. Although his talents and achievements were recognised abroad, particularly in the US, his antagonists in university and government science circles within Australia rarely lost an opportunity to refer to him as a 'school teacher'; they often addressed him, with mock deference, as Dr Daly; and in their submissions, usually referred to the unanimity of 'elite scientific opinion' concerning their predictions of global warming and its anthropogenic causes.

The achievement in which he took greatest pride was his work on the survey benchmark chiselled into a cliff face at the Isle of the Dead, a small two-acre island inside Port Arthur that was used as a cemetery by the prison authorities a century and a half ago. The eminent Antarctic explorer, Sir James Clark Ross, had this survey mark inscribed in 1841 to indicate zero point, or the mean level of the sea (MSL). The survey mark was re-measured in 1888, subsequent to severe earth tremors, and found to be 34cm above MSL This mark is still clearly visible, but its position is now just over 12 inches (31.5 cm) above today's MSL, suggesting a rise of less than 3cm over an entire century. The IPCC, however, claims that, during the 20th century, sea levels have risen between 10 and 20 cm globally, a claim not supported by actual tidal data from the National Tidal Facility (NTF) in Adelaide, which indicate a maximum rise of only +0.3 mm/yr (equivalent to a rise over a century of just 3 cm).

John Daly studied both the science and the history of the Ross benchmark and came to the conclusion that there has been very little rise in sea level at the Isle of the Dead. This was a serious problem to his antagonists at the CSIRO (the government science agency), who published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) which argued that the benchmark demonstrated that sea levels had risen at the Isle of the Dead by 13cm, a result which was in accordance with the IPCC estimates of 10-20 cm sea level rise during the 20th century.

John's rebuttal of their arguments was refused publication in the 'peer-reviewed' GRL, and the documentation justifying this refusal demonstrates, with considerable force, that the term 'peer review' now means 'mate's review', and that peer review has become an instrument of filtering out critical arguments which would damage the global warming 'consensus'.

The history of science is replete with examples of the abuse of power by those whose authority and prestige in the scientific world were threatened by critics from outside. Today the situation is more critical than in the past because those in power usually control massive research budgets funded by the taxpayer and, more importantly, control the information flow to political leaders who have no time to master other sources of information in order to be able to contest the issue with their official advisers.

The global warming debate is as much a religious as it is a scientific issue, which is why it is conducted with such passionate intensity. John Daly always conducted himself with good humour and courteous civility. The Internet has very recently provided the means whereby those outside the corridors of power can speak truth to each other, wherever they might live around the world and because, in the end, the corridors of power cannot be sealed off from the rest of the world, the truth will permeate into those corridors.

Just as the invention of the printing press destroyed the capacity of the ecclesiastical and political authorities of the 16th century to control what was written and spoken, the Internet has made possible open, independent, uncensored forums to be established, and for unfettered debate to occur outside official circles. One of John's great legacies is the use of the Internet to publish scientific articles that had been rejected through the 'peer-review' control system.

Because of the Internet, the spectre of public nakedness now haunts the global warming establishment. This is due in no small part to the long hours which John Daly spent in his tiny study in Tasmania, corresponding around the world with admirers, interlocutors, and detractors, and preparing the next material to be loaded onto 'Still Waiting For Greenhouse'.

About midday on Thursday January 29, 2004, after being interviewed for English TV, John Daly was suddenly struck down by a heart attack. As news of his death was sent around the world, condolences to his family and tributes to his massive contribution poured in. His life is testimony to the fact that one person, if armed with intelligence, energy, perseverance and a commitment to the truth, can change events. John Daly was above all valiant for truth and his memory will long endure.

Ray Evans & Rachel Daly

Lavoisier the Man
Bio and Image
Click above for latest SOHO sunspot images.
Click here for David Archibald on solar cycles.
Where is that pesky greenhouse signature?
Click here for David Evans's article.

Website designed and powered by Fergco Pty Ltd.
Copyright in the materials on this site resides with The Lavoisier Group Inc.