David Bellamy has been making some odd statements about global warming, and seems in some danger of turning into a septic. As far as can be told, DB's logic runs like this:

I don't like windfarms [1] [2] etc etc

Windfarms are there to help prevent global warming

Ergo, global warming must be wrong.

The flaw in this logic must be obvious. Sadly, since DB is a known environmentalist, his speaking out against GW [3] is a gift to the septics. He even abused his position as pres of the Wildlife Trusts to write rubbish in their magazine (fortunately the latest issue has several letters rebutting him: sadly not mine). I'm not the first to notice this, of course [4] (from whence I learnt that Badly Mad Evil is an anag).

George Monbiot has a go at DB [5] (during the course of which DB switches over into ALL CAPS presumably due to incompetence rather than shouting).

DB's arguments (as presented in the Mail) are ambarrassingly poor. They are:

global warming is largely a natural phenomenon that has been with us for 13,000 years. Its hard to know quite what this means. The temperature rose sharply from the depths of the last ice age about 10 kyr ago [6] but has probably declined somewhat over the last 6 kyr until about 100 years ago. Since then its gone up [7]. Bellamys comment makes absolutely no sense.

He quotes from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has been signed by over 18,000 scientists who are totally opposed to the Kyoto Protocol. Thats almost correct: its been signed by a lot of people who are, indeed, totally opposed to Kyoto. Some of them were scientists. But very few of them were climate scientists. Its astroturf.

He appears to commit the logical fallacy of believing that since cliamte has varied naturally in the past, any variation now must be natural.

He says: If all the water vapour was removed from the atmosphere, the temperature of the planet would fall by 33 degrees Celsius... But remove all the carbon dioxide and the temperature might fall by just 0.3 per cent. In another article, he makes the related claim that water vapour makes up 96% of the greenhouse effect. That simply isn't true [8]. Since DB doesn't source anything he says, its hard to know where he gets his erroneous info from, but a guess is it may be an distorted echo of a Lindzen paper, analysing a theoretical case with no other GHG's present.

DB has gone quiet recently over the issue, and in the most recent of the wildlife trust magazines makes a statement that implies reducing GHG emissions is a good idea. So perhaps he has managed to learn from his mistakes, even if he hasn't apologised for them.

1 comment:

nort said...

A quality post, merci Belette!