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Top naturalist: Being warming skeptic cost my career

~ The Rebel ~ 2013/01/13 15:10:49
But for the grace of God he would be revered as the man who brought botany to
life through glorious rambling monologues in a time before CGI graphics and
hi-tech film techniques became de rigueur. But his fame and acclaim rolled off
the rails in 2004 when – in the teeth of public opinion and mounting scientific
evidence – he said global warming was nothing but "poppycock". He was deserted
by fans, shunned by peers and, he says, ostracised by broadcasters and
conservation groups that once thrived through his endorsement: he was sacked as
president of the Wildlife Trusts.

Bellamy, who appears not to be able to shake the habit of speaking as if the
camera were still rolling, is unrepentant. He is clear his stance on climate
change ended his TV career.

Nevertheless, in a flurry of rapid hand gestures, gravelly voice – oscillating
between whisper and oratory – through the filter of that full beard, he is
unequivocal. "All of the work dried up after that. I was due to start another
series with the BBC but that didn't go anywhere, and the other side [ITV] didn't
want to know. I was shunned. They didn't want to hear the other side." But does
he still believe he is right? "Absolutely. It is not happening at all, but if
you get the idea that people's children will die because of CO2 they fall for
it," he says, perhaps buoyed by forecasters at the Met Office this week
downgrading a prediction for global warming to suggest that by 2017 average
temperatures will have remained about the same for two decades.

Read More: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/...

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Top Opinion

  • kir 2013/01/13 15:27:53
    kir
    +4
    It's amazing how people who are considered masters in their fields of science are suddenly considered nutcases if they simply have issues with the current mainstream view of global warming.

    Global warming is indeed occurring, there's no doubt that the average temperature of the Earth has been changing. However the causes of that change are incredibly complex and we really don't know all that much about climate dynamics to say one way or the other whether or not what we're doing is the main cause or not.

    Of course, that shouldn't stop us from doing what we can to reduce pollution and waste. Doing what we can to clean up the environment is simply common sense. It's just that it shouldn't be politicized the way it is being today.

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Opinions

  • Mo 2013/01/14 13:53:41
    Mo
    +1
    I am not concerned about so called man made global warming. I'm more concerned with efforts to capitalize on it by using scare tactics to garner support, then regulating, fining and selling imaginary fixes such as carbon credits. Hypocritical BS. Al Gore is the poster boy, but there are plenty who will benefit from "kneecap and trade".
  • sardonicist BN-0 2013/01/13 19:53:33
  • sardonicist BN-0 2013/01/13 19:49:55
  • gracious43 2013/01/13 18:46:47
    gracious43
    +3
    The price of rejecting the party line.
  • sodasmash 2013/01/13 17:29:36
  • Icarus 2013/01/13 17:07:56
    Icarus
    +2
    It's a pity that he didn't accept the overwhelming evidence for AGW which has convinced everyone else.
  • ~ The R... Icarus 2013/01/13 17:15:18
    ~ The Rebel ~
    +1
    'EVERYONE'? I think you're a little off the mark there...
  • Icarus ~ The R... 2013/01/13 17:27:43
    Icarus
    +1
    Not really. No-one of any significance in the global scientific community denies AGW now.
  • jeane Icarus 2013/01/14 02:38:41
    jeane
    +1
    No one in Germany of any significance denied that Hitler was the new messiah.
  • Icarus jeane 2013/01/14 11:41:07
    Icarus
    Godwinned!
  • sodasmash ~ The R... 2013/01/13 17:31:08 (edited)
  • jeane Icarus 2013/01/14 02:37:58
    jeane
    +1
    Yes he should be punished for not towing the party line.
  • Icarus jeane 2013/01/14 11:41:57
    Icarus
    +1
    He's lost a lot of respect for being unscientific. That's his problem.
  • deidara.trueart 2013/01/13 16:27:15
  • robert 2013/01/13 16:11:21
    robert
    +2
    Thats what they do when you go against the mainstream!
  • kir 2013/01/13 15:27:53
    kir
    +4
    It's amazing how people who are considered masters in their fields of science are suddenly considered nutcases if they simply have issues with the current mainstream view of global warming.

    Global warming is indeed occurring, there's no doubt that the average temperature of the Earth has been changing. However the causes of that change are incredibly complex and we really don't know all that much about climate dynamics to say one way or the other whether or not what we're doing is the main cause or not.

    Of course, that shouldn't stop us from doing what we can to reduce pollution and waste. Doing what we can to clean up the environment is simply common sense. It's just that it shouldn't be politicized the way it is being today.
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/13 17:30:09
    Icarus
    +1
    Actually the causes are rather simple. We have altered the energy balance of the planet, meaning that it is now absorbing more heat from the sun than it is radiating away to space, and therefore the climate system is warming up. The consequences of that global warming are complex, but the causes are not.
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/13 18:09:24
    kir
    +2
    No. They are not simple at all. Take for instance just the simple assumption that CO2 produces a linear effect on radiative forcing. That doesn't seem to hold. First off, you have to take into account that at higher temperatures the rate of heat loss increases since heat transfer rates are proportional to the difference in temperatures. Then of course increased levels of CO2 cause an increase plant mass which alters the energy absorption capabilities of the Earth. There are so many feedback mechanisms, some positive and some negative combined with multiple external variables including solar output.

    But hey, if that's simple to you then great. You're far better at understanding complex dynamic systems than I am.
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/13 18:18:26 (edited)
    Icarus
    +1
    It's well known that the CO2 climate forcing is logarithmic. Atmospheric CO2 is actually very low now, in geological terms, which is why our 110ppm increase is having such a large effect on the climate. Radiation is proportional to the *fourth power* of temperature, which is why the planet has been habitable for the last 4 billion years or so. Feedbacks are determined primarily from palaeoclimate data and are well enough pinned down to be sure that anthropogenic influences are having, and will continue to have, a large effect on global climate -

    Fast feedback climate sensitivity is 0.75 ± 0.125°C/W/m² (3°C per doubling)
    Climate sensitivity including slow albedo feedback is 1.5°C/W/m² (6°C per doubling)
    Climate sensitivity including slow albedo feedback & non-CO2 GHGs is 2°C/W/m² (8°C per doubling)
    Climate sensitivity including all feedbacks between Holocene & ice-free state is ~2.4°C/W/m² (9.5°C per doubling).
    Hansen & Sato 2011
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/13 19:11:44
    kir
    +3
    Well if it's logarithmic, then past a certain point an increase in levels would have very little effect, right?

    Ah you're right. Radiation is a fourth power relation. So let's see. So far you've said that radiative forcing due to CO2 is logarithmic and that radiative cooling is proportional to the fourth power. Those taken together means that CO2 shifts should have very marginal increases in temperature.
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/13 19:53:28
    Icarus
    +1
    As I pointed out: Atmospheric CO2 is actually very low now, in geological terms, which is why our 110ppm increase is having such a large effect on the climate.

    pointed atmospheric co2 geological terms 110ppm increase large effect climate

    You can see that we're on a very steep part of the logarithmic curve compared to CO2 levels which have pertained in the geological past - in the low hundreds rather than multiple thousands of ppm. That's why we're having such a big impact.
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/13 21:12:58
    kir
    +2
    Right, but once we reach a certain point the impact will be very low. That means that the likelihood of any kind of runaway effect seems small.
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/13 21:35:18
    Icarus
    Yes I think you're right, but even just a couple of degrees of global warming looks likely to have some pretty serious consequences.

    couple degrees global warming pretty consequences
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/13 22:11:50
    kir
    +2
    The Earth has been through far warmer periods without it being anywhere close to inhospitable, so honestly I think the effects are over hyped.
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/13 22:38:04
    Icarus
    +1
    Fair point and I don't think anyone can say for certain... but a world of 7 billion people all adapted to a Holocene climate is not going to find it easy to adapt to a rapidly warming world.
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/14 00:01:12
    kir
    +2
    We shouldn't have a problem. The botanist mentioned the likelihood of increased plant growth meaning that feeding the population would actually be easier. You would think that an expert botanist might know something about plant growth, right?
  • Icarus kir 2013/01/14 18:26:49
    Icarus
    He wouldn't necessarily be able to predict the growing conditions resulting from anthropogenic global warming. That's more a climate scientist's domain.
  • kir Icarus 2013/01/14 19:18:06
    kir
    +1
    Given an estimate for short term temperature changes he would be able to use that along with CO2 level increases to calculate the rate of plant growth.
  • Dan Green Icarus 2013/01/27 12:47:05
    Dan Green
    +1
    Right on, crop failure, dry spells and more famine, that's how we adapt
  • sodasmash kir 2013/01/13 17:30:37
  • sardoni... kir 2013/01/13 19:58:28
    sardonicist BN-0
    You wrote:
    "It's amazing how people who are considered masters in their fields of science are suddenly considered nutcases if they simply have issues with the current mainstream view of global warming. "

    Climatology was not his field. He clearly knew little about it since he used data from random websites that were proven false.
    He was a botanist, and he demonstrated that he based the statements that he made off of his opinions rather than evidence. That way of thinking is not compatible with the scientific method, regardless of the topic.
  • kir sardoni... 2013/01/13 21:18:28
    kir
    +3
    I said masters in THEIR fields of science. I did not say masters in climatology. Also note that while many people have a focus in one field, their knowledge of others can be extremely extensive. For instance, he may have a better grasp on the effects of plant growth in altering the dynamics of the system. Changes in the rate of growth of plants is a big one in determining how CO2 will affect the environment in the long run because it alters the rate of carbon sequestration and also the amount of light the surface of the Earth can absorb without changing the actual temperature of the surface.
  • sardoni... kir 2013/01/16 02:10:16
    sardonicist BN-0
    I mostly agree with what you wrote here. However, the bottom line is that he demonstrated that he based his assertions off of his ethos, rather than facts when he started citing erroneous websites in the articles that he submitted to major publications. That is academically lazy, and it tells us that he made up his mind before looking at the hard evidence that made it through the rigors of the scientific method. That means that he is not a very good scientist, and he should not be surprised when the scientific community becomes hesitant to take him seriously after that.
  • kir sardoni... 2013/01/16 02:17:41
    kir
    +1
    It seems you know a lot more about this person than I do. Where did you learn about him citing erroneous websites in articles he submitted? It's not in the article linked here or on wikipedia. I guess you've done extensive research on the man.
  • sardoni... kir 2013/01/16 02:26:28
    sardonicist BN-0
    I am not an expert on the man. I just got fascinated by the topic and spent a good 15-20 minutes on Google. I first looked up his article that caused a stir in 2005. From there, it was pretty clear that the sources were suspect. I wasn't sure right off of the bat, but they were inconsistent with what little I do know about climatology. 5 more mins on Google brought me to an article by the guardian that claimed that the articles he cited did not exist. So, I logged into Science and looked up the 1989 article in question. It clearly did not exist. And I later found an article from the senior editor of the publication stating that no such article ever existed. I was disappointed that the original thread here did not give both sides of this issue, so I thought I would contribute a little.
  • kir sardoni... 2013/01/16 02:33:10
    kir
    +1
    Which article didn't exist?
  • sardoni... kir 2013/01/16 02:35:59
    sardonicist BN-0
    Bellamy cited a website by Fred Singer that stated that a large percentage (555 of 625) of the glaciers being observed by the World Glacier Monitoring Service were advancing, not retreating.
    When asked, Singer said that he got his data from a 1989 article in the publication, "Science". There is no such article.
  • kir sardoni... 2013/01/16 02:54:53
    kir
    +1
    By any chance are you quoting the page by George Monbiot - Junk Science?
  • sardoni... kir 2013/01/16 03:00:33
    sardonicist BN-0
    Never heard of it
  • kir sardoni... 2013/01/16 03:04:31
    kir
    +1
    Could you provide the sites you used to learn about him?

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