David Bellamy and bad science. Bellamy and bunkum

David Bellamy used to be an admired conservationist, however his reputation has  seemed to go down hill as he has joined the ranks of the Anthropogenic Climate Change Deniers. He has become known for poor science and cherry picking the data.

We have also encountered problems with him undermining our conservation work on combating ragwort hysteria.

This was not always so. It is appears that his obsession with opposing wind farms has led him in this direction. In the past he was quite happy to accept the science. For example, in 1992, he signed an open letter, published in the Guardian, saying “We are convinced that the continued emission of carbon dioxide at current rates could result in dramatic and devastating climate change in all regions of the world.”, and in 1996 he signed a letter to the Times arguing that “Continued increases in the global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels are likely to lead to climate change at a rate greater than the Earth has experienced at any time during the last 10,000 years.” He also talked at one point about climate criminals

 

The reality is that David Bellamy is a faded media star who appears to be using any opportunity to get himself back in the public eye. He last appeared on the BBC in 1994 and despite his recent claims that he has been banned from the BBC for his climate denialism, Bellamy did not embark on this aspect of his career until 2004. Until then he appeared to be a genuine mainstream environmentalist. In fact in an interview given before he became a denier in 2002 he attributed his decline from favour to his decision to stand against John Major in the 1997 General Election saying "In some ways it was probably the most stupid thing I ever did because I'm sure that if I have been banned from television, that's why." He is even known to have supported wind generation.

The science in David Bellamy's claims is just dreadful. He famously claimed in 2005 that the majority of the world's glaciers were growing. Environmental journalist and Oxford Fellow,  George Monbiot investigated this. He reported in the Guardian that he found that Bellamy had not checked his facts at all. The source of Bellamy's information was ultimately a notorious conspiracy theorist Lyndon Larouche who in 1989 received a 15-year sentence for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax code violations. Larouche has also claimed at one time or another that the British royal family is running an international drugs syndicate, that Henry Kissinger is a communist agent, that the British government is controlled by Jewish bankers, and that modern science is a conspiracy against human potential. He is not the most reliable of sources of scientific information and Bellamy failed to check his sources properly before he used them. The reality was that the data on the world's glaciers growing did not exist and the data actually showed them shrinking.

Bellamy then, even after seeing Monbiot's article, rather foolishly agreed to a now famous discussion with him on Channel 4 news. Monbiot, rather predictably, wiped the floor with him.

This is the interview on Youtube.  Click the on  the video once to play.

There has been a rather predictable reaction from climate deniers on Youtube to the original videos. (This video was originally published in three pieces prior to Youtube extending the permitted length for videos.) Those who know the scientific method will understand the magnitiude of Bellamy's gaffe.

 

 


 

 

Swansea Friends of the Earth