Reply To: Sceptics on global warming a baby-boomer, yuppie thing etc


I remember David Bellamy as an iconic figure of natural history tv; up to his thighs in bogs, he’d expound on plantlife in the big booming voice beloved of mimics – who also took to his immense beard. He even lectured at my first univ, tho I never saw him around there (I wasn’t in botany dept).

Later, when he came to Hong Kong, Bellamy pronounced that China could use 100 cities like Hong Kong, which to me seemed odd, as would hold over 600 million people, and Hong Kong is no model of sustainability. Wondered: has the chap been given too many meals by folk connected to big business.

Recently, come across Bellamy pronouncing on global warming as being “poppycock”. Turns out this was two years ago, in Britain’s Daily Mail, in an article that included:

Global warming – at least the modern nightmare version – is a myth. I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world’s politicians and policy makers are not.

Instead, they have an unshakeable in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement. Humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide – the principal so-called greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up.

They say this is global warming: I say this is poppycock.

you can read the full text of the article on the site called (I’m not making this up) junk science:
Global Warming? What a load of poppycock!
– and maybe note that Junk Science has a major aim of debunking environmental science, and is linked to Exxon funding: googlefight

I tried googling for refutations of Bellamy’s baloney; at first unsuccessul, but today come across guff from UK journalist George Monbiot; entertaining, including an exchange of letters, and Bellamy’s points re warming – even his ill-founded and since retracted idea that glaciers are on the whole advancing – indeed refuted.
Monbiot had a go at Bellamy in Goodbye, Kind World:

Like almost all the climate change deniers, he based his claim on a petition produced in 1998 by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and “signed by over 18,000 scientists”. Had Bellamy studied the signatories, he would have discovered that the “scientists” include Ginger Spice and the cast of MASH.(10) The Oregon Institute is run by a fundamentalist Christian called Arthur Robinson. Its petition was attached to what purported to be a scientific paper, printed in the font and format of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, the paper had not been peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal.(11) Anyone could sign the petition, and anyone did: only a handful of the signatories are experts in climatology,(12) and quite a few of them appear to have believed that they were signing a genuine paper.(13) And yet, six years later, this petition is still being wheeled out to suggest that climatologists say global warming isn’t happening.

this prompted letter from Bellamy, and letter from Monbiot, then letter from Bellamy, another from Monbiot; Bellamy for some reason mainly covering pros and cons of wind power and not much re global warming:
Correspondence with David Bellamy
Monbiot followed up with another article:
Junk Science
Climate change denial, as David Bellamy’s claims show, is based on pure hocus pocus

this begins:

For the past three weeks, a set of figures has been working a hole in my mind. On April 16th, New Scientist published a letter from the famous botanist David Bellamy. Many of the world’s glaciers, he claimed, “are not shrinking but in fact are growing. … 555 of all the 625 glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland, have been growing since 1980.”(1) His letter was instantly taken up by climate change deniers. And it began to worry me. What if Bellamy was right?

He is a scientist, formerly a senior lecturer at the University of Durham. He knows, in other words, that you cannot credibly cite data unless it is well-sourced. Could it be that one of the main lines of evidence of the impacts of global warming – the retreat of the world’s glaciers – was wrong?

So last week I telephoned the World Glacier Monitoring Service and read out Bellamy’s letter. I don’t think the response would have been published in Nature, but it had the scientific virtue of clarity. “This is complete bullshit.”(3) A few hours later, they sent me an email.

“Despite his scientific reputation, he makes all the mistakes that are possible”. He had cited data which was simply false, failed to provide references, completely misunderstood the scientific context and neglected current scientific literature.(4) The latest studies show unequivocally that most of the world’s glaciers are retreating.(5)

Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/07/24 10:41