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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

A touch early I know, but blogger is playing up so I'm not taking chances.

No. 15. David Bellamy.

His profile at

OK, this one is controversial I know. I mean, its one thing to joke about dead or even live Popes, and I could probably get away with a cheap gag at Muhammed's expense, but joking about David Bellamy - that hirsute mumbler with a passion for a things botanical - that could get me lynched. It's not that I don't have a fondness for him - who doesn't? Sure, only one word in ten gets past that massive furry food trap, but like John Prescott, the world would be a duller place without him. David is the cuddly face of ecology and biology and with his catch phrase "lubbley" has charmed generations of school kids, making them think about their natural environment in ways that they would never have done otherwise.

The thing is that the old boy seems to be losing his marbles lately and making a bit of a twat of himself in the letters pages of New Scientist and the national press. You see, despite every conservationist on earth being deeply concerned about the dangers of global warming, old Belly says "Bring it on!". You see his theory is that an increase in CO2 will be a good thing, on the grounds that plants like the stuff!

Various rebuttals have included the fact that very few plants are growth-limited by available CO2 and the fact that the acompanying temperature rise and rising sea levels will bugger far more plants than it could possibly benefit.

He doesn't help his case any by citing a notorious fraudlent petition made by a Right-Wing Christian nutjob living in the wilds of the US, whose 18,000 signatures included those of the well-known environmentalist Ginger Spice and the cast of M*A*S*H. The Guardian columnist George Monbiot, catalogues his ongoing correspondence with Bellamy on the subject.

More recently, Bellamy has been refuting claims about melting glaciers. He wrote to New Scientist (Letters April 16th 2005) claiming that contrary to a recent article, glaciars are in fact growing, probably due to global temperature increases leading to more water vapour inthe atmsphere (and hence more rain/snow). However, two weeks later (Letters April 30th 2005) a correspondent contradicted every single example of Bellamy's and cited the World Glacier Monitoring Service who have catalogued serious melting and shrinking of these glaciers - not growth as Bellamy (bizarrely) claims.

Normally I wouldn't give a Tuesday Twat award to another scientist, since I believe that argument and debate is the lifeblood of research. However, Bellamy is in danger of causing serious problems in a field well outside his ken. As a well known environmentalist his words carry weight with the public - however it is rarely noted that Bellamy is a BOTANIST (and a damn fine one) NOT A CLIMATOLOGIST. He has formed his opinion and refuses to engage in meaningfull debate with those who know what they are talking about. Yet already, his words are being used by motor manufacturers as evidence that global warming doesn't exist and that there is no need for the manufacturer's to reduce fuel consumption.

So Professor Bellamy, it is with great reluctance I award you a Tuesday Twat award. Display it proudly, you have earned it.




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