"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What's his angle?

"Global warming” at least the modern nightmare vision - 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."
Professor David Bellamy, Daily Mail, July 2004

Climate change denial, as David Bellamy’s claims show, is based on pure hocus pocus
By George Monbiot

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?


“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)