FOR YEARS David Bellamy was one of the best known faces on TV.
A respected botanist and the author of 35 books, he had presented around 400 programmes over the years and was appreciated by audiences for his boundless enthusiasm.
Yet for more than 10 years he has been out of the limelight, shunned by bosses at the BBC where he made his name, as well as fellow scientists and environmentalists.
His crime? Bellamy says he doesn't believe in man-made global warming.
Here he reveals why - and the price he has paid for not toeing the orthodox line on climate change.
I am a scientist and I have to follow the directions of science but when I see that the truth is being covered up I have to voice my opinions.
According to official data, in every year since 1998 world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased. Why, then, do we not hear about that?
The sad fact is that since I said I didn't believe human beings caused global warming I've not been allowed to make a TV programme.
My absence has been noticed, because wherever I go I meet people who say: "I grew up with you on the television, where are you now?"
It was in 1996 that I criticised wind farms while appearing on Blue Peter and I also had an article published in which I described global warming as poppycock.
The truth is, I didn't think wind farms were an effective means of alternative energy so I said so. Back then, at the BBC you had to toe the line and I wasn't doing that.
At that point I was still making loads of television programmes and I was enjoying it greatly. Then I suddenly found I was sending in ideas for TV shows and they weren't getting taken up. I've asked around about why I've been ignored but I found that people didn't get back to me.
At the beginning of this year there was a BBC show with four experts saying: "This is going to be the end of all the ice in the Arctic," and hypothesising that it was going to be the hottest summer ever. Was it hell! It was very cold and very wet and now we've seen evidence that the glaciers in Alaska have started growing rapidly - and they've not grown for a long time.
I've seen evidence, which I believe, that says there has not been a rise in global temperature since 1998, despite the increase in carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere. This makes me think the global warmers are telling lies - carbon dioxide is not the driver.
The idiot fringe have accused me of being like a Holocaust denier, which is ludicrous. Climate change is all about cycles, it's a natural thing and has always happened. When the Romans lived in Britain they were growing very good red grapes and making wine on the borders of Scotland. It was evidently a lot warmer.
If you were sitting next to me 10,000 years ago we'd be under ice. So thank God for global warming for ending that ice age; we wouldn't be here otherwise.
People such as former American Vice-President Al Gore say that millions of us will die because of global warming - which I think is a pretty stupid thing to say if you've got no proof.
And my opinion is that there is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide is anything to do with any impending catastrophe. The science has, quite simply, gone awry. In fact, it's not even science any more, it's anti-science.
There's no proof, it's just projections and if you look at the models people such as Gore use, you can see they cherry pick the ones that support their beliefs.
To date, the way the so-called Greens and the BBC, the Royal Society and even our political parties have handled this smacks of McCarthyism at its worst.
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.
And how were we convinced that this problem exists, even though all the evidence from measurements goes against the fact? God knows. Yes, the lakes in Africa are drying up. But that's not global warming. They're drying up for the very simple reason that most of them have dams around them.
So the water that used to be used by local people is now used in the production of cut flowers and vegetables for the supermarkets of Europe.
One of Al Gore's biggest clangers was saying that the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan was drying up because of global warming. Well, everyone knows, because it was all over the news 20 years ago, that the Russians were growing cotton there at the time and that for every ton of cotton you produce you use a vast amount of water.
The thing that annoys me most is that there are genuine environmental problems that desperately require attention. I'm still an environmentalist, I'm still a Green and I'm still campaigning to stop the destruction of the biodiversity of the world. But money will be wasted on trying to solve this global warming "problem" that I would much rather was used for looking after the people of the world.
Being ignored by the likes of the BBC does not really bother me, not when there are much bigger problems at stake.
I might not be on TV any more but I still go around the world campaigning about these important issues. For example, we must stop the destruction of tropical rainforests, something I've been saying for 35 years.
Mother nature will balance things out but not if we interfere by destroying rainforests and overfishing the seas.
That is where the real environmental catastrophe could occur.
INTERVIEW BY HELEN DOWD