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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

James Lovelock -- Apocalyptic Doomsayer

[ see Updates below ]

"Gaia" Scientist Says Life Doomed by Climate Woes
by Peter Griffiths, Reuters, February 25, 2009.

Climate scientist Lovelock sees death "on grand scale".
Vast areas will become deserts, or [will be] flooded.

[extracts in italics]
"Climate change will wipe out most life on Earth by the end of this century and mankind is too late to avert catastrophe, a leading British climate scientist said.
"James Lovelock, 89 ... said higher temperatures will turn parts of the world into desert and raise sea levels, flooding other regions.
"His apocalyptic theory foresees crop failures, drought and death on an unprecedented scale. The population of this hot, barren world could shrink from about seven billion to one billion by 2100 as people compete for ever-scarcer resources.
" 'It will be death on a grand scale from famine and lack of water,' Lovelock said."

Note that the writer calls it an apocalyptic theory, and Mr Lovelock says that most life on Earth will be wiped out. He seems absolutely sure that it will happen, without a doubt.

Theories are never considered right or wrong. Instead, they are supported or challenged by observations in the world. They are proposed as true but are expected to satisfy careful examination to account for the possibility of faulty or incorrect observation. ( Wikipedia )

"Attempts to cut emissions of planet-warming gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in an attempt to reduce the risks are probably doomed to failure, he added.
"Even if the world found a way of cutting emissions to zero, it is now too late to cool the Earth.
" 'It is a bit like a supertanker. You can't make it stop by just turning the engines off,' he said before the release of a new book on climate change."

So is this news media article designed to help drive sales of his new book? A skeptic would probably say yes!
(Actually a supertanker will stop - eventually! - if you turn the engines off, due to water and air resistance.)

" 'I don't see the efforts of governments around the world succeeding in doing anything significant to cut back the emissions of carbon dioxide,' he said.
"Efforts should instead be focused on creating safe havens in areas which will escape the worst effects of climate change."

This seems very much like the "places of safety" (eg. Petra) specified by some 'Church of God' splinters. -- They are places where the dedicated followers have been told they will find refuge during the Apocalypse.

" 'Don't blame me for the terrible predictions,' said Lovelock..."

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*UPDATE*
29 May 2010
... James Lovelock speaking at the Hay festival :-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/may/31/hay-festival-climate-change-debates

"Who knows? Everybody might be wrong," he says. "I may be wrong. Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out."

Extract from the Comments section of the article :-
"This is what Lovelock said about global warming ..."

.. on CRU scientists ..

I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn't want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They're not like that nowadays. They don't give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: "Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work." That's no way to do science.

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done on computer models. I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault. We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they're not complete models. They're based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don't take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don't see how they can accurately predict the climate.
.. on predicting temperatures ..
If you look back on climate history it sometimes took anything up to 1,000 years before a change in one of the variables kicked in and had an effect. And during those 1,000 years the temperature could have gone in the other direction to what you thought it should have done. What right have the scientists with their models to say that in 2100 the temperature will have risen by 5 deg. Celsius?
The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they're scared stiff of the fact that they don't really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven't got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn't got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They've employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear.

.. on scientists ..

Sometimes their view might be quite right, but it might also be pure propaganda. This is wrong. They should ask the scientists, but the problem is scientists won't speak. If we had some really good scientists it wouldn't be a problem, but we've got so many dumbos who just can't say anything, or who are afraid to say anything. They're not free agents.

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*UPDATE*
30 March 2014

Father of the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion  
[extract:]
"Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.
The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms."

2 April 2014
Climate Change Believers And Deniers Equally Silly Says Environmental Guru
[extract:]
" 'It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain.' "
.

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