Tuesday, May 10, 2005

QWERTY won't be denied

Eco-campaigner George Monbiot, in his column in today’s Guardian, describes his detective work in tracking down some truly duff climate change information put out by TV botanist David Bellamy in a letter in New Scientist magazine printed on 16 April 2005.

Monbiot calls Bellamy a climate change denier – one who says among other things that glaciers and arctic ice are not retreating and anyway, if they are, retreat is nothing to do with burning fossil fuels. He questions him on the source of a figure he quotes in his letter claiming that ‘555 of the 625 mountain glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring Group in Zurich, are advancing’.

Checking the websites Bellamy cites as his source, Monbiot comes across some outrageous junk-science stuff and puts it to the glacier aces in Zurich. They dismiss it as ‘complete bullshit’. So much for Bellamy’s letter then. The figure of 555 glaciers though remains unsourced and needs to be found if it is to be refuted. Monbiot scours and scours in search of a source. Then, in a corner of www.iceagenow.com, he finds it: a reference to 55% of glaciers having advanced. He sees the light. Bellamy, in transcribing from the webpage, forgot to hold down his shift key and, as if by magic, 55% became 555. QWERTY POSIWID one, climate change denier nil.

Full story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1480376,00.html

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