Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lovelock's Outlook Even Darker Than Sturgill's

Independent Online Edition

Here's a renowned scientist publicly, on the release of his new book The Revenge of Gaia, proclaiming an outlook in some ways even more gloomy than mine. And he's far more qualified to harbor such an outlook!

The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.
It gets worse, but when he writes, "We [in Great Britain - sls] could grow enough to feed ourselves on the diet of the Second World War, but the notion that there is land to spare to grow biofuels, or be the site of wind farms, is ludicrous", I wonder how he thinks that can happen with the thermohaline circulation [1] [2] slowing down in response to freshening of North Atlantic waters due to ice melt.

Nobody knows specifically what's going to happen. It seems likely, though, that we'll wind up wishing it hadn't, and that we'd had more of the foresight James Lovelock represented.

Sure, there are lots of smart optimists who probably think Lovelock is a crank. It seems to me that they are in denial.


The Compilers said...

Thoughts on Lovelock's Shortcomings

Steve said...

Thanks for your comment.

I read your piece on Lovelock's new book and suggestions about the allocation of excess oil profit taxes to global warming and hurricane relief.

I'd prefer that fossil energy be expensive enough in this country so that we wouldn't waste it so much, but I'm not optimistic about the ability to reach such a state any time soon. I'm sure the debate about how to allocate excess oil profit taxes would be as entertaining as the battle to implement them.

Your site wasn't working beyond the direct link you provided so I wasn't able to see what else you'd posted, but I gather you disagree with Lovelock's pro-nuclear stance. On that we'll have to agree to disagree. I think Lovelock is on the right track there and that lots of new nuclear base load plants are indispensable, along with every other atmospherically benign energy source we can muster. I'm not optimistic though.

It would be nice if, as you suggest, Lovelock's new Revenge of Gaia somehow countered Lomborg's detestable Skeptical Environmentalist. From what I've seen so far, though, I doubt it. I think James' perspective is probably right. Lovelock will probably be effectively skewered by the Lomborg crowd if his book is accurately reflected in his Independent piece.

Cheers! Steve