The Australian‘s War on Science XXIV

On Tuesday the Australian had a piece by David Bellamy claimed to be victimized for his dissent:

The sad fact is that since I said I didn’t believe human beings caused global warming, I’ve not been allowed to make a television program. …

It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on children’s program Blue Peter, and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock. …

At that point, I was still making loads of TV programs and I was enjoying it greatly. Then I suddenly found I was sending in ideas for TV shows and they weren’t getting taken up. I’ve asked around about why I’ve been ignored, but I found that people didn’t get back to me.

Now that gives the impression that he described global warming as poppycock in 1996, but his article was actually published in 2004. Before that date, while he was loudly opposed to wind farms, he accepted mainstream climate science. For example, in May 2001 in Geographical Magazine he wrote (my emphasis):

In the March issue of Geographical the opinion piece “Out of Sink” argued against planting trees to offset CO2 emissions. However, at a time when the world is waking up to the fact that global warming is real, I feel it would be a tragedy if an unholy alliance of ideology and short-term self-interest were to throw away the chance to avoid catastrophe while doing something to repair our poor planet.

And in 2002 Bellamy was claiming that he was banned from TV in 1997 because he stood for election against John Major:


“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. I used to be on Blue Peter and all those things, regularly, and it all, pffffft, stopped.”

Actually, he says, his TV career had stopped some time before that – he made his last BBC series eight years ago [1994].

In other words, Bellamy is saying his TV career ended in 1994 because of an article he published in 2004. This is, at best, delusional.

Bellamy’s piece was first published weeks ago in the Daily Mail, and Greenfyre had already given it a thorough debunking when the Australian reprinted it, but as it is by now clear, the editors at the Australian simply do not care whether the stuff they print is true or not.

But this post is about the Australian‘s war on science, not their other war against reality, so let’s look at what Bellamy says about the science. Here’s Bellamy:

According to official data, in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that?

Umm, because it’s not true? Barry Brook has a new rebuttal to the global-warming-stopped-in-1998 nonsense. As for the 2002 Arctic Ice look at the graph from the NSIDC

i-64f3632db953b91086bb3cef2c385ede-seaice.png

2002 was the smallest extent on record, and since then we’ve seen a drastic decrease.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul
    November 29, 2008

    Ah, you found the Bellamy article!

    I found it a few days ago and almost left a comment, but decided against it.

    Wind turbines have progressed a lot since 1996!
    Even the design of the humble generator is evolving:

    http://www.exro.com/

    Of course maybe his time on TV was also nearing its end?
    eg. people wanted a new face?

  2. #2 John Mashey
    November 29, 2008

    People are anti-science for various reasons:

    -economic

    -ideological

    -political

    -religious

    -lack of knowledge

    For some, it seems to be more related to personality, or perhaps career problems,or perhaps aging.

    Bellamy has been puzzling, as he seemed to flip sometime earlier this decade. I’ve been trying to pin down when and how. We know he wrote that article in 2004,but further back, I found this 2002 Guardian interview,which may offer insight.

    “Actually, he says, his TV career had stopped some time before that – he made his last BBC series eight years ago.”
    I’ve seen other things that claimed 1994 was his last series.

    Does anyone know for sure?
    [Since, it's hard to claim BBC got rid of him for running against Major if they stopped with him before that. On the other hand, maybe Blue Peter got entangled with Dr. Who, in which time travel is required :-)]

  3. #3 Hume's Ghost
    November 29, 2008

    I just assumed Bellamy was spreading the common denier argument about ice increasing in Antarctica and got that confused with the Arctic.

    Here’s what radio star -broadcast 33+ hours a week where I live – Neal Boortz had to say about Bellamy

    http://boortz.com/nealz_nuze/2008/11/letter-from-a-scientist.html

    “The fact is that man-made global warming is a hoax. At some time you are going to have to understand that this is all a leftist scheme to destroy capitalism and capitalist economies”

    Now that’s a conspiracy theory that makes 9/11 Truthers look reasonable in comparison. Boortz sounds like the creationists who believe that evolution is a Marxist/atheist plot to destroy Christianity.

  4. #4 bi -- IJI
    November 29, 2008

    Shucks, I’ve not even made one television program. Shouldn’t that qualify me for lots of persecution brownie points?

  5. #5 Hume's Ghost
    November 29, 2008

    When I first read the article I didn’t really pay attention to all the bogus assertions Bellamy makes … after the two completely false ones Mr. Lambert responded to I got the idea the article was b.s., but I just took a longer look and noticed that Bellamy mentions Alaska glaciers, and I see that Dennis Avery has a new article out about it.

    These guys are actually citing Bruce Molina to say that Alaska glaciers are growing when he just put out a book that says 99% of Alaska glaciers are shrinking!

  6. #6 Hume's Ghost
    November 29, 2008

    Should have added: Molina did say that there was some glacier growth this year in Alaska.

    But Bellamy and co. miss the big picture.

  7. #7 John Mashey
    November 29, 2008

    @5 and @ 6
    Note: minor nit for people hunting, that’s Bruce Molnia (not Molina).

    I’d heard him talk at USGS Menlo Park earlier this year and he certainly had no dobuts about what was happening, including discussions of the (few) AK glaciers that were growing.

    He showed numerous now-and-then photos, akin to these of Glacier Bay, as mentioned in the how to learn about science piece.

  8. #8 Nick
    November 29, 2008

    The “sad fact” for David Bellamy is that competition for documentary commissions is intense, and the tenure of those who commission is often transient for the same reasons. Bellamy had a surprisingly long run, given his poor diction…but he was out-competed by a more televisually adept David. He made his last BBC series in 1994? David Attenborough was breaking new technical ground throughout the 80s and 90s, culminating in ‘The Private Life of Plants’ in 1995. Probably used the Beeb’s entire science budget on that one.

  9. #9 Grant
    November 29, 2008

    http://jfcshow.com – Great satirical cartoon about Jesus returning to live in the modern world

  10. #10 Barton Paul Levenson
    November 30, 2008

    Grant,

    Jesus does live in the modern world.

  11. #11 John Philip
    November 30, 2008

    George Monbiot nailed Bellamy’s scientific credibility some time ago, I like the metaphor in the final para …

    It is hard to convey just how selective you have to be to dismiss the evidence for climate change. You must climb over a mountain of evidence to pick up a crumb: a crumb which then disintegrates in your palm. You must ignore an entire canon of science, the statements of the world’s most eminent scientific institutions, and thousands of papers published in the foremost scientific journals. You must, if you are David Bellamy, embrace instead the claims of an eccentric former architect, which are based on what appears to be a non-existent data set. And you must do all this while calling yourself a scientist.

  12. #12 Paul
    November 30, 2008

    Bulk of sea level rise now due to land based ice melting:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081129094609.htm

    eg. a few glaciers expanding, isn’t compensating for the mass of those contracting.

  13. #13 luminous beauty
    November 30, 2008

    Jesus does live in the modern world.

    Does he rent or own?

    “I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, somebody else would lead you out.” —Eugene Debs

  14. #14 Anna Haynes
    December 1, 2008

    Well, alternate-reality columnist Debra Saunders liked it.

  15. #15 BobClip
    December 1, 2008

    Bellamy is like some ageing rock-star – probably getting short of money and trying to supplement his pension by stirring up controversy.

    His ‘supposed’ dismissal from the BBC, (sometimes known as the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation in certain circles), is manna from heaven for conspiracy theorists in the UK – obviously some sort of New World Order, (or EU or commie/leftist) plot to silence those brave souls battling against lying scientists.

    Several weeks ago, when I showed the discrepancies in Bellamy’s own interviews, and Greenfyre’s analysis, to a conspiracy theorist, he had a complete wobbler’ and ‘ad hominem’ attacked me for being a liar. The conspiracy theorist declined to comment on why other presenters that I knew of had been dropped by the BBC.
    (Frank Bough – got a considerable spanking, David Icke – of green lizard & healing crystals fame, Simon Dee – a DJ who slagged off his own production team once too many times, & Moira Stewart + Anna Ford + many others for ? Ageism?)

    It has been hinted that Bellamy’s alledged eccentric behaviour in and around his home county of Durham contributed to his ‘leaving’ the BBC. Whilst these are not supposed to be ‘criminal’ or ‘sexual’ it makes you wonder if his AGW excuses are a form of ‘denial’ of an unpalatable truth for his psyche

  16. #16 Anna Haynes
    December 1, 2008

    An edit for my comment#14, which was a bit sloppy –
    Mrs. Saunders is an alternate-reality advocate, but I don’t know if she herself resides there.

  17. #17 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 1, 2008

    luminous,

    I’d have more respect for Debs if he hadn’t endorsed the lynching of Leo Frank.

  18. #18 Bobclip
    December 1, 2008

    I see Bellamy’s still at it .
    In a letter to the UK Daily Telegraph today, he says (with Dr John Etherington):-

    …………………………

    Effects of Global Cooling

    Sir – Rebecca Smith’s report (November 28) that cold winters are much more dangerous than warm summers should sound a warning.

    In April last year, the BBC trumpeted the Meteorological Office’s prediction that we were in for a dry and hot summer, but their dreams did not come true. Despite the fact that greenhouse gas levels have hit record highs, global cooling has set in over the past decade.

    Fuel poverty and hypothermia are going to kill a lot more people unless we invest in more conventional power stations to fill the gap, and abandon the titillating fantasy of intermittent wind power.

    David Bellamy, Bishop Auckland, County Durham

    Dr John Etherington, Solva, Pembrokeshire

    ……………………………………………….

    Notice the veiled criticism of his old employer as well.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?menuId=1588&menuItemId=-1&view=DISPLAYCONTENT&grid=A1&targetRule=0#head4

  19. #19 bi -- IJI
    December 1, 2008

    > Fuel poverty and hypothermia are going to kill a lot more people

    …and the deaths (if they happen) can be blamed on liberals, otherwise they won’t be a serious matter.

  20. #20 Dano
    December 1, 2008

    John Philip, most excellent italicized.

    Best,

    D

  21. #21 Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
    December 1, 2008

    OT:
    Barton, I don’t understand your remark on Debs and Leo Frank, given this:

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9905E3D61438E633A2575BC2A9649D946596D6CF

  22. #22 Ayrdale
    December 1, 2008

    Off topic somewhat, but relevent and can’t see it discussed elsewhere…the panel’s interpretation of Penny Wong’s backpedalling. Caution ? Political/scientific pragmatism ? Blackmail from big money/business ?

  23. #23 Marion Delgado
    December 1, 2008

    I normally think venality and conservative bile, but this person seems emotionally troubled, at the very least.

  24. #24 James Haughton
    December 1, 2008

    Ayrdale, I suspect a combination of the energy export (coal) industry and their unions putting the screws on. Several state governments are also planning new coal-fired plants at the moment (a really stupid thing to do IMHO, but we are talking about the state governments here, so perhaps that’s a given) and Penny might have had to back down in order to avoid these “infrastructure” projects being cancelled; not a good look on the cusp of a recession.

  25. #25 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 2, 2008

    Sock,

    Well, I was completely wrong on that one. I can remember vividly reading about Debs’s endorsement of the Frank lynching as populism in action; the source I got it from must have been making it up or have badly misinterpreted something. I withdraw the comment.

  26. #26 Gaz
    December 2, 2008

    That was very gracious, BPL (#25). Every time you contribute to a blog you add something worthwhile and here we have another instance.
    You are surely as cool as Steve McGarrett and Illya Kuryakin combined.

  27. #27 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 4, 2008

    Thank you, Gaz. :)