Fact Check-David Bellamy quote questioning human responsibility for global warming is from 2008 and is not based on the latest science

A years-old quote from the late British botanist David Bellamy that rejects human responsibility for climate change has been distributed widely on social media. It was shared in tandem with the start of the United Nations COP26 climate conference, despite the comment being at odds with current scientific consensus.

The quote from Bellamy, a TV presenter and conservationist who died in 2019, was originally published in a Daily Express article on Nov. 5, 2008 (here).

It reads: “Global warming is part of a natural cycle and there’s nothing we can actually do to stop these cycles. The world is now facing spending a vast amount of money in tax to try to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist.”

As the COP26 summit got underway in Glasgow on Oct. 31, the 2008 quote from Bellamy resurfaced on social media.

The posts have since been seen by thousands of people (here , here , here , and here).

However, Bellamy’s claims about global warming have been disputed – nor are they based on the most recent scientific research.

For example, the Earth’s global average temperature has increased by roughly 1.18 degrees Celsius since the late 1800s, according to NASA (

The space agency says this change has been “driven largely by increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and other human activities”.

It adds: “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities” (here and

Likewise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on Aug. 9 that outlines the most recent developments and understanding in climate science (, here and reported by Reuters here).

“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred,” the IPCC said (here).

“Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since the (IPCC’s) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).”

AR5 was published in 2014 (here, six years after Mr Bellamy’s comments.

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), which was published in 2007, one year before the quote, also found that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations” (here).

Reuters has tackled misinformation about climate change and its effects on numerous occasions (here, here, here, here, here, and here).


Missing context. David Bellamy’s quote is from 2008 and is not based on the latest climate research.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.