Ask not for whom the Bellamy tolls…

by Gareth on September 9, 2009

homer.jpgTV3′s Sunrise programme featured an interview with David Bellamy this morning. You can watch it here, and read TV3′s story here. The bewhiskered botanist, in NZ to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the battle to save the Whirinaki forest, cut a rather sad figure, I thought, as the presenters gave him a chance to run his “global warming is poppycock” line. As a conservationist and TV presenter he used to be marvellous. As a climate denier he’s just laughable. This is how he got started on climate change (my transcript):

Presenter: Do you believe man-made climate change is happening?

Bellamy: Absolutely not.

Presenter: And what backs up your belief?

Bellamy: Because there’s no actual proof. There’s a whole series of computer models and you can fiddle computer models to say what you like. If you actually look at the facts, that for the last ten years, um, man-made global warming if it was working, has stopped, because the temperatures have gone down, and right at this moment we’re heading for thirty years pretty cold, thing.

Standard crank talking points, but not many go as far as predicting 30 years of “pretty cold” on the basis of one cold winter. But Bellamy pushes the crank boat out even further later in the interview:

…2,000 years ago we were growing good merlot on the border with Scotland, and that was 3 degrees to 5 degrees warmer than it is now…

He’s just making things up for the sake of a soundbite. The Romans didn’t make wine on the Scottish borders, and even if they had it wouldn’t have been merlot. Not to mention that the temperature then was not warmer than today. Sad stuff – a once influential figure reduced to spouting gibberish.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Dappledwater September 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Not interested in watching it, but did see that head to head with George Monbiot a while back – truly cringe inducing. Poor old David didn’t have a clue. Completely flustered at the beginning when Monbiot said that he had contacted the WGMS and been told that Bellamy’s claim of most glaciers advancing was complete “bullshit”.

Doesn’t sound like the old bugger has learnt his lesson.

R2D2 September 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I think the 2,000 years ago was a slip of the tongue and he meant to say 1,000 years (as he said after the warming we went into the little ice age).

The world may not have been 3-5 C warmer but Scotland may have been?

Hes not as articulate as Al Gore but that does not mean ‘spouting gibberish’.

Gareth September 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm

It wasn’t true 1,000 years ago either. Nor the temperature.

When everything you say is demonstrably wrong or apparently made up on the spot, then I think the use of the term “gibberish” is easily justified.

Gore’s Law in two. Well done R2, could be a new record.

CTG September 10, 2009 at 7:17 am

“The world may not have been 3-5 C warmer but Scotland may have been?”

Finally R2 sees the light: the MWP was a regional event, not a global one :-)

R2D2 September 10, 2009 at 7:32 am

There is a difference between global and uniform. Today’s warming is not uniform either.

CTG September 10, 2009 at 8:29 am

Nobody is claiming that today’s warming is uniform, either spatially or temporally, so what’s your point?

The MWP was definitely not uniform, either spatially or temporally. There is considerable variation among the proxies in both the timing and the extent of warming during the MWP period. This is why Mann’s multiproxy study appears to “flatten” out the MWP – if you sum up all of the available proxies to get a global picture, the regional and temporal variations end up cancelling each other out. It’s not that Mann “removed” the MWP, it is just that, at a global level, the MWP does not exist.

The picture is very different today, with temperatures increasing in synch all around the world (some places faster than others, like the Arctic). That is because there is something different driving today’s warming – CO2 from man-made emissions.

Whatever caused the localised warming of the MWP was something else, not changes in atmospheric CO2 (although the drop in temperatures in the early 14th Century may well be due to a drop in atmos. CO2 after the Black Death allowed European forests to recover).

R2D2 September 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

“although the drop in temperatures in the early 14th Century may well be due to a drop in atmos. CO2 after the Black Death allowed European forests to recover”

This comment made me laugh very very loudly, you are a funny person CTG. I spose the end of the ice age was due to agriculture and not the other way around also?

(my understanding was that an increase in plague was caused by degraded climate conditions – not the other way around. Maybe it is a feedback?! LOL)

Gareth September 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Not familiar with Ruddiman, are you? Controversial hypothesis, but not without support…

R2D2 September 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

“Controversial hypothesis, but not without support”

Plenty of silly hypothesis gain support, espicially if they apeal to the romantic idea that people can affect the balance of the world. Hmmm I wonder what silly theories people will laugh at in the future?

“In fact Wallace Broecker, one of the world’s leading experts on climate history describes them as “total and utter nonsense””

R2D2 September 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Oh and my point in the other comment was that just because the MWP was not uniform does not mean was not global – global is hard to define anyway, todays warming is global but there are places that were warmer 80 years ago – so one should not say, MWP was not uniform therefore it must be different to todays warming, without proving that todays warming is not equally non-uniform.

As for the hockey stick – we have been over this, the things a joke (as are you), even the IPCC have dropped the splice in favour of the spaghetti graph (equally misleading). Anyone who thinks it is an accurate representation of history is seriously deluded. Look at the temperature histories presented in the AR1 and AR2. How were these so far off the mark?

CTG September 10, 2009 at 9:37 pm

It really is pointless trying to talk to you, R2. Go learn some science, because you obviously don’t know the first thing about it now.

Dappledwater September 10, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Aren’t deniers so predictable?. When you eviscerate their sad little canard, they run away and hide. But they later resurface and start the whole bullshit over again, as if their first ass kicking never happened. Truly weird.

CTG September 11, 2009 at 1:49 am

Yes, I know. R2 reminds me of the Vogon guard in H2G2 who is incapable of independent thought, but just keeps yelling “Resistance is useless”.

R2D2 September 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

haha yeah, thats right.

You know if I don’t reply to a comment its probably cause
a) I have a life outside replying to your comments
b) The argument has already gone round in circles and is going nowhere

In this case the comment I didn’t reply to said, “It really is pointless trying to talk to you, R2. Go learn some science, because you obviously don’t know the first thing about it now.”

Hardly worth a response.

CTG September 14, 2009 at 7:09 am

But R2, all you do is endlessly repeat denialist talking points that have been comprehensively debunked.

There is no such thing as the hockey stick “splice”, but you keep insisting it is so.

The MWP was not warmer or as warm than today, but you keep insisting it is so.

You don’t present anything remotely resembling scientific evidence to back up your arguments, and you scoff when scientific evidence to the contrary is presented to you.

Do you wonder why you are not taken seriously?

John Mashey September 10, 2009 at 5:23 am

Again, I mention Richard Selley’s nice work combining geology, archaeology, and oeonology.
See RC #1 (which also points at RC’s earlier discussions about wines.).

and RC #2, which actually pointed back here at Hot Topics.

Put another way, having corresponded with one of the people most knowledgeable about the multi-millenial history of wine in the UK, there is no evidence of people with real vineyards anywhere near Scotland, unless one thinks that Yorkshire is on the Scots border.
There are already several vineyards in *North* Yorkshire. We’ll try them out next time we’re over there, I hope.

S2 September 10, 2009 at 7:11 am

It’s surprising how many people do think that Yorkshire does extend all the way up to Scotland (much to the annoyance of the residents of Northumbria, Durham and Cumbria).
But then, although I can name the Home Counties, I would struggle to pinpoint them all accurately on a map.

Wine production is certainly on the increase here, but for visitors I would (at the moment) recommend the ciders of the west country, the beers from the many small independent brewers, and of course the whiskies of Scotland rather than the wine. :)

Back on topic – it is a shame to see Bellamy like this. He was something of an inspiration in his time, and is one of the reasons that my daughter is now an astrophysicist (his TV programs inspired her to take science seriously).

Doug Clover September 10, 2009 at 8:03 am

Note that Bellamy is defaming climate modellers as well. Apparently they have an agenda to do …what?

Roger Dewhurst September 21, 2009 at 8:23 am

Talking of agendas!

“Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Dear Green Chip Review Reader,

The case for COP-15′s profit potential continues to mount.

In recent weeks we’ve heard that a “war chest” should be set up to handle the large amounts of capital that will move in its wake.

And we’ve heard a top tier investment bank call it the “Copenhagen Stimulus,” as they salivate over the billions that will be made from its policies.

I guess it was only a matter of time until COP-15′s coming impact was realized by the Street.

Now, with the meeting less than 3 months away, even JPMorgan is jumping on the bandwagon. This week they paid $202 million — a 120% premium — to buy a company that will have access to the profitable markets COP-15 will incite.

You need to be preparing for these profits as well.

One high level attendee recently put it very bluntly: “We are negotiating a deal on the economic structure of the planet.”

Reading our breakthrough report on the topic is the only way to put your portfolio in a position to profit from the sweeping changes about to come.

Call it like you see it,”

And some claim that the deniers are in the pay of the oil industry!!!!!!

John Mashey September 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm

S2:
I’ve lived in Northern California since 1983…

I am not counting on great vintages from North Yorkshire, but one never knows…

I always thought the phrase “Canadian wine” might be mostly oxymoron, but we’re lately in the Lake Okanagan area several times/year to ski, and there’s getting to be some decent wines there – they bet big & correctly on continued warming of winters….

The wonder is not the current quality of Yorkshire vintages, but the fact they exist…

Gareth September 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

John, I posted a link (in the “Hot Tweets” sidebar) to an interesting Greenpeace report [PDF] on climate change impacts on French wine. It includes some interesting details on phenological changes already observed, and a nice map of likely global impacts. There’s a lot being published in this field in Europe, but mainly in French, Italian and Spanish, so it’s not perhaps as mainstream in the Anglophone world as it should be…

S2 September 12, 2009 at 7:28 am

Yes, I read that.

When Scotland can produce better wines than France but lose out on the whisky it will be a sad and strange day.

John Mashey September 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Gareth:
yes, thanks for ptr.
However, the Anglophone world thinks about wine and AGW in proportion to the local climate & presence of wine industry. Already-warm areas worry…

Google: california wines global warming
or
Google: california wines global warming uc davis
(UC Davis includes a Dept of Viticulture and Enology, i.e., in CA, this is where you go.

Likewise:
Google: australia wines global warming

You’re safer, longer in NZ, and the Canadians in the Okanagan love the warmer winters, except for the pine beetles, and the slightly shorter ski season.

S2: Selley thinks that by 2100, Loch Ness (North shore of lake is good) may have fine vintages, and Southern England be too warm for them. He expects sightings of Nessie to increase.

RW September 15, 2009 at 7:37 am

Just a point re “one cold winter”. New Zealand’s winter (JJA) was not cold. Temperatures were marginally above the 30-year average. The “early winter” (May-July) was considerably colder than average, but August’s record mild temperatures cancelled out the coldness of June and the moderate coldness of July. If Bellamy was trying to extrapolate from a cold winter in western Europe, he has struck out on the global scale, as a simple look at the NOAA/NCDC reports shows.

Macro September 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Its was also interesting to note the weather patterns that caused the southerlies. Intense Highs tracking further south than usual, dragging lots of cold air direct from Antarctica.

Eli Rabett September 22, 2009 at 12:38 pm

The Niagara Peninsula has been producing good ice wines for quite some time, as for BC, the one time I was there, my only regret was not being able to lug a case or two of their Riesling home. Unfortunately the Simon Donner’s of the world drink pretty much all the stuff before it hits the border

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