Saturday, March 1, 2008

Could polar cities be the fallout shelters of the climate change era? And Lovelock speaks out, again!





Could polar cities be the fallout shelters of the climate change era?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzz/Polar_Cities

AND NOW, DR LOVELOCK SPEAKS UP AGAIN, in a Guardian interview:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

'Enjoy life while you can'

Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do?

By Decca Aitkenhead
The Guardian, March 1, 3008



In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and "all sorts of fanciful technological stuff". When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. "It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business," he said.

"And of course," Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, "that's almost exactly what's happened."

Lovelock has been dispensing predictions from his one-man laboratory in an old mill in Cornwall since the mid-1960s, the consistent accuracy of which have earned him a reputation as one of Britain's most respected - if maverick - independent scientists. Working alone since the age of 40, he invented a device that detected CFCs, which helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer, and introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.

For decades, his advocacy of nuclear power appalled fellow environmentalists - but recently increasing numbers of them have come around to his way of thinking. His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, predicts that by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report deploys less dramatic language - but its calculations aren't a million miles away from his.

As with most people, my panic about climate change is equalled only by my confusion over what I ought to do about it. A meeting with Lovelock therefore feels a little like an audience with a prophet. Buried down a winding track through wild woodland, in an office full of books and papers and contraptions involving dials and wires, the 88-year-old presents his thoughts with a quiet, unshakable conviction that can be unnerving. More alarming even than his apocalyptic climate predictions is his utter certainty that almost everything we're trying to do about it is wrong.

On the day we meet, the Daily Mail has launched a campaign to rid Britain of plastic shopping bags. The initiative sits comfortably within the current canon of eco ideas, next to ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so on - all of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.

"It's just too late for it," he says. "Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can't say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do."

He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. "Carbon offsetting? I wouldn't dream of it. It's just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you're offsetting the carbon? You're probably making matters worse. You're far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests."

Do he and his wife try to limit the number of flights they take? "No we don't. Because we can't." And recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures". He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. "Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam ... or if it wasn't one in the beginning, it becomes one."

Somewhat unexpectedly, Lovelock concedes that the Mail's plastic bag campaign seems, "on the face of it, a good thing". But it transpires that this is largely a tactical response; he regards it as merely more rearrangement of Titanic deckchairs, "but I've learnt there's no point in causing a quarrel over everything". He saves his thunder for what he considers the emptiest false promise of all - renewable energy.

"You're never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours," he says. "Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time."

This is all delivered with an air of benign wonder at the intractable stupidity of people. "I see it with everybody. People just want to go on doing what they're doing. They want business as usual. They say, 'Oh yes, there's going to be a problem up ahead,' but they don't want to change anything."

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem - the bigger challenge will be food. "Maybe they'll synthesise food. I don't know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco's, in the form of Quorn. It's not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it." But he fears we won't invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects "about 80%" of the world's population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. "But this is the real thing."

Faced with two versions of the future - Kyoto's preventative action and Lovelock's apocalypse - who are we to believe? Some critics have suggested Lovelock's readiness to concede the fight against climate change owes more to old age than science: "People who say that about me haven't reached my age," he says laughing.

But when I ask if he attributes the conflicting predictions to differences in scientific understanding or personality, he says: "Personality."

There's more than a hint of the controversialist in his work, and it seems an unlikely coincidence that Lovelock became convinced of the irreversibility of climate change in 2004, at the very point when the international consensus was coming round to the need for urgent action. Aren't his theories at least partly driven by a fondness for heresy?

"Not a bit! Not a bit! All I want is a quiet life! But I can't help noticing when things happen, when you go out and find something. People don't like it because it upsets their ideas."
But the suspicion seems confirmed when I ask if he's found it rewarding to see many of his climate change warnings endorsed by the IPCC. "Oh no! In fact, I'm writing another book now, I'm about a third of the way into it, to try and take the next steps ahead."

Interviewers often remark upon the discrepancy between Lovelock's predictions of doom, and his good humour. "Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."

Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."

At moments I wonder about Lovelock's credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favours market forces, and it's not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth - or Gaia - it is in the purest scientific terms all.

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the Earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

re: 2008 Lovelock interview

"Nothing warns the cockles of an elderly iconoclast's heart like the inevitability of mass death.
But at least it could be a jolly holiday for the lucky few, like World War Two."

says one blogger....

Anonymous said...

http://rfmcdpei.livejournal.com/1449729.html

[BRIEF NOTE] On the joy of the old at the ruination of the young

Decca Aitkenhead's interview with James Lovelock in The Guardian

("'Enjoy life while you can'") has gotten quite a lot of negative reaction in the blogosphere.



Interviewers often remark upon the discrepancy between Lovelock's predictions of doom, and his good humour. "Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."

Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."

At moments I wonder about Lovelock's credentials as a prophet. Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for. A socialist as a young man, he now favours market forces, and it's not clear whether his politics are the child or the father of his science. His hostility to renewable energy, for example, gets expressed in strikingly Eurosceptic terms of irritation with subsidies and bureaucrats. But then, when he talks about the Earth - or Gaia - it is in the purest scientific terms all.

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: "Enjoy life while you can. Because if you're lucky it's going to be 20 years before it hits the fan."

THE BLOGGER NOTES:

There's a few things that I find potentially objectionable about Lovelock's argument, like the assumption that it's completely futile to try to do anything about the environment and we may as well do whatever we want in the interim, or the equation of the current day with the jolly eve of the Second World War (death camps and V-2s and panzers, oh my!). I also wonder if, in his interview, Lovelock evidenced a sort of bias against the younger generations like myself, a sort of almost happy resignation to the fact, imagined or otherwise, that my age cohort is going to take it in the neck. That what I get, but I might be projecting from other conversations I've had with other, older people who have come to that same conclusion.

It's not surprising, I suppose, that the inventor of the Gaia hypothesis would be willing to countenance the idea of inevitable doom meted out by a superior entity. What sort of person would sound as borderline pleased by that in the way that he seems to sound?"

=======

angel80
2008-03-01 11:30 pm UTC (链接)
Well, he's not an economist so I would really expect him to have sophisticated ideas about economics or about society for that matter.

It isn't true that he argues the complete futility of doing something about it. In the interview I heard recently on the BBC he was talking about putting up sunshades in space and his own project of trying to draw cold water up from the ocean depths. And his argument about reducing emissions is based on science - because a lot of the emissions produce reflective particles that contribute to global dimming - his argument is for a more complex approach rather than putting all eggs in one basket.

Also the "resignation" is a sign of pessimism rather than optimism. It's not that older people don't care about the younger generation, it's just that they can't see how anything big enough is going to happen in time.
(回复)(主题)


rfmcdpei
2008-03-02 01:21 am UTC (链接)
It's not a matter of older people as a group, but rather of Lovelock. If he calls himself an optimist and grins while he says that the worst is going to happen, after saying that people should go ahead and indulge themselves since it's won't matter, and then talks about how this crisis will separate the wheat from the chaff and provide some people with an exciting sense of purpose despite mass death, it seems very much like he wants this to happen and to my generation. This annoys me, a lot.
(回复)(上一级)(主题)


charlemagne77
2008-03-02 02:02 am UTC (链接)
Did you ever see that little feature that came with the Children of Men DVD? It ends with Lovelock dismissing the attitude of those who would refuse to bring children into a world on the brink of an epoch of disaster as wrong-headed, mostly on the grounds that "the whole point of natural selection would be spoilt" if the people smart enough to see what's coming are the ones who stop reproducing. A rather jarring note on which to end a half-hour of musings from the likes of Saskia Sassen, Tzvetan Todorov, Slavoj Zizek, etc.
(回复)(上一级)

All ghosts are spiteful
sandor_baci
2008-03-01 11:53 pm UTC (链接)
They envy us who still walk in the sunlight.

Why should someone closely anticipating his own death not also anticipate the attitude that his shade will take?
(回复)


princeofcairo
2008-03-02 08:52 am UTC (链接)
I have to say that I'm most curious about his "seven disasters since humans came upon the earth" -- is he just referring to the glaciation/warming cycle? If so, then there have been eight, not seven, but surely the experience of Old Stone Age humans during an Ice Age is not particularly relevant to our own future during some putative super-warming.

Anonymous said...

It's not a matter of older people as a group, but rather of Lovelock. If he calls himself an optimist and grins while he says that the worst is going to happen, after saying that people should go ahead and indulge themselves since it's won't matter, and then talks about how this crisis will separate the wheat from the chaff and provide some people with an exciting sense of purpose despite mass death, it seems very much like he wants this to happen and to my generation. This annoys me, a lot.

Anonymous said...

Well, he's not an economist so I would really expect him to have sophisticated ideas about economics or about society for that matter.

It isn't true that he argues the complete futility of doing something about it. In the interview I heard recently on the BBC he was talking about putting up sunshades in space and his own project of trying to draw cold water up from the ocean depths. And his argument about reducing emissions is based on science - because a lot of the emissions produce reflective particles that contribute to global dimming - his argument is for a more complex approach rather than putting all eggs in one basket.

Also the "resignation" is a sign of pessimism rather than optimism. It's not that older people don't care about the younger generation, it's just that they can't see how anything big enough is going to happen in time.

Anonymous said...

Gary Peters quotes Sir James Lovelock's interview in the Guardian on Saturday -- March 1, 3008 -- and it is a must-read:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

He says he writing a new book now, too. To fill us in on what comes next. I don't know if I have told anyone here this, but last month I sent some images of my polar cities concept to Dr Lovelock by email, and he wrote back the next day, saying: "Thanks for showing me those images. It may very happen and soon."

I know Dr Lovelock has not been knighted yet by the Queen and maybe never will be, so he is not actually a "Sir" as I kiddingly wrote above, but he certainly should be honored that way. Sir James Lovelock. Yes. Has a good ring to it.

His interview in Saturday's Guardian will knock your socks off. NSFW. But a very important interview. Read it and weep. (And then get back to work again, doing what you can to try to mitigate the impacts of climate change on this unsuspecting Earth that has been so kind to us for so many years as to give us a home for many many generations now. Soldier on, all who know that global warming is for real!)

Anonymous said...

The Laughing Doom Monger

"I'm Looking Forward To It" (It Being The Death Of 80% Of Humanity)

Smiling James Lovelock predicts our coming destruction thanks to vengeful mother earth, that old bitch :


His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, predicts that by 2020 extreme weather will be the norm, causing global devastation; that by 2040 much of Europe will be Saharan; and parts of London will be underwater.
Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe...

(he) expects "about 80%" of the world's population to be wiped out by 2100.


There'll be nine billion people on Planet Earth within the next two decades. If six or seven billion people are going to die in the next century, as Lovelock predicts, that's an awful lot of bodies kicking around. Perhaps we could find a way to convert the most prolific available resource, human corpses, into energy? Continuing mass death could then become renewable energy.


Forget it. Lovelock thinks renewable energy is a joke. He openly mocks those who want to save the world by changing their lightbulbs.


More alarming even than his apocalyptic climate predictions is his utter certainty that almost everything we're trying to do about it is wrong.

"It's just too late for it," he says. "Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don't have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing."


He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. "Carbon offsetting? I wouldn't dream of it. It's just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you're offsetting the carbon? You're probably making matters worse. You're far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests."

And recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures". He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. "Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam ... or if it wasn't one in the beginning, it becomes one."

He saves his thunder for what he considers the emptiest false promise of all - renewable energy.

"You're never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours," he says. "Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time."

No need to be nasty, Mr Lovelock. A few million windmills could be very handy indeed if great swathes of England's population is looking for higher ground when your vengeful oceans wash over the sea walls. Not a lot of higher ground in much of England, which is where very tall windmills could prove to be life savers.

But Lovelock doesn't want people to be saved. They have to die, you see. Well, most of them. Most of us. More on that later.


(Lovelock) introduced the Gaia hypothesis, a revolutionary theory that the Earth is a self-regulating super-organism. Initially ridiculed by many scientists as new age nonsense, today that theory forms the basis of almost all climate science.


Hmm, might that be part of the problem? What was once "new age nonsense" forming the foundation of attempts to re-invent the production of energy? Or to introduce a global tax system based around 'carbon currency' anyway.


More from the story :

As with most people, my panic about climate change is equalled only by my confusion over what I ought to do about it.

Stop panicking for starters?

A meeting with Lovelock therefore feels a little like an audience with a prophet.

Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. "But this is the real thing."


Prophets have also been saying that for a long time, too.

Lovelock, the misery-chuffed old shit, appears to have laughed and grinned and smiled his way through this interview. He predicts doom for almost all, and laughs about it.


"Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."


Maybe he's laughing because he knows a million or so people will buy his new book, to read of how utterly fruitless the global effort will be to stop climate change destructorama.


People love disaster movies and end-of-the-world stories, they are embedded in the bedrock of ancient stories and culture of nearly every race and religion in the world.


But what was once science fiction, or speculative fiction, can now go up on bookstore shelves as non-fiction, and be filed under "science" or, more in keeping with new bookshop trends, "climate change".



Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."


What the fuck is this old bastard talking about? What kind of loon thinks World War 2 was "one long holiday"?



At moments I wonder about Lovelock's credentials as a prophet.


How about his credentials as a sane, emphatic human being?



Sometimes he seems less clear-eyed with scientific vision than disposed to see the version of the future his prejudices are looking for.



The journalist is disturbed because Lovelock is not frightened of the doom he predicts. He's actually looking forward to it.



Lovelock : "There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."


Lovelock is looking forward to the unfolding of a new age of humans. Fine. Unfortunately for most of the current and soon to be born humanity, according to Lovelock, the new age of humans will only begin after Gaia has her "revenge" and slaughters billions, turns arable land into desert and unleashes her oceans into towns and cities.


His crushing disappointment (if he lives long enough) will be our salvation.

Posted by Darryl Mason at

Anonymous said...

Lovelock, the misery-chuffed old shit, appears to have laughed and grinned and smiled his way through this interview. He predicts doom for almost all, and laughs about it.


"Well I'm cheerful!" he says, smiling. "I'm an optimist. It's going to happen."


Maybe he's laughing because he knows a million or so people will buy his new book, to read of how utterly fruitless the global effort will be to stop climate change destructorama.


People love disaster movies and end-of-the-world stories, they are embedded in the bedrock of ancient stories and culture of nearly every race and religion in the world.

Anonymous said...

But what was once science fiction, or speculative fiction, can now go up on bookstore shelves as non-fiction, and be filed under "science" or, more in keeping with new bookshop trends, "climate change".

dan said...

Lovelock is looking forward to the unfolding of a new age of humans. Fine. Unfortunately for most of the current and soon to be born humanity, according to Lovelock, the new age of humans will only begin after Gaia has her "revenge" and slaughters billions, turns arable land into desert and unleashes her oceans into towns and cities.


His crushing disappointment (if he lives long enough) will be our salvation.

Anonymous said...

http://nostropolar101.blogspot.com/2008/01/did-nostradamous-predict-polar-cities.html

Nostradamus predicted many things that came true, and it has recently come to our attention, via am Internet link, that Nostradamus predicted the coming of polar cities in the far distant future. Below are two texts: one is in English, a translation from the French Latin, and the other text is the original French Latin.








"And lo, in yonder northern climes




Sustainable Population Retreats




For Olde and Young Will Ensure




Survival of the Humand Kind




in Habitrail compartements."








"Et Voila, a la terra polaris




Les retraits de populatione sustenable




Pour Les Enfants et Les Sages




Wini, Wene, Wicti."


--------------------------------------------



For more information, see "polar cities" at :



http://pcillu101.blogspot.com


*NOSTRADAMUS LINK:


http://www.nostradamus.org/

Anonymous said...

Saturday, 1 March 2008
Lovelock and Love Lost?
There is an interesting interview with the also aging James Lovelock (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange) author of the Gaia hypothesis. This essentially viewed the Earth as being a 'super-organism' that was essentially self-regulating. He accurately predicted, in 1965, that the environment would be the main problem by the year 2000. Although (after being initially unfashionable) currently regarded as an environmental guru, Lovelock believes that extreme weather will inevitably become the norm and predicts that around 80% of the world's population will be wiped out by 2100. He essentially believes that it is too late (he feels we are past the tipping point) to do anything about these events (we should have started in 1965). Lovelock takes a dim view of carbon offsetting ("a joke"), ethical consumption ("a scam"), green lifestyle ("ostentatious grand gestures"), recycling ("almost certainly a waste of time and energy") and wind turbines (a "waste of time"). As one might expect, the inventor of the CFC detector (important in relation to the impact of these chemicals on the ozone layer) is markedly more enthusiastic about nuclear power (to the horror of some 'greens') as well as technological development in general (although he does not believe that this can prevent his 'Armageddon' of 2100). Lovelock's basic message is that one should "enjoy life while you can" (a bit like the late 1930's leading up to the 2nd World war). He regards the predicted 'mass kill' as being only the latest 'disaster' involving our species and a means of "separating the wheat from the chaff" (implying somewhat dubiously that the 'best' will survive). He is, however, 88 and that might be good enough for him. I wonder whether it can be good enough for the next generation who will not want to feel that they have absolutely no control over events (a bit like going back to medieval times?).

Posted by Paul Brain at 06:08

Anonymous said...

Saturday, 1 March 2008
Lovelock and Love Lost?
There is an interesting interview with the also aging James Lovelock (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange) author of the Gaia hypothesis. This essentially viewed the Earth as being a 'super-organism' that was essentially self-regulating. He accurately predicted, in 1965, that the environment would be the main problem by the year 2000. Although (after being initially unfashionable) currently regarded as an environmental guru, Lovelock believes that extreme weather will inevitably become the norm and predicts that around 80% of the world's population will be wiped out by 2100. He essentially believes that it is too late (he feels we are past the tipping point) to do anything about these events (we should have started in 1965). Lovelock takes a dim view of carbon offsetting ("a joke"), ethical consumption ("a scam"), green lifestyle ("ostentatious grand gestures"), recycling ("almost certainly a waste of time and energy") and wind turbines (a "waste of time"). As one might expect, the inventor of the CFC detector (important in relation to the impact of these chemicals on the ozone layer) is markedly more enthusiastic about nuclear power (to the horror of some 'greens') as well as technological development in general (although he does not believe that this can prevent his 'Armageddon' of 2100). Lovelock's basic message is that one should "enjoy life while you can" (a bit like the late 1930's leading up to the 2nd World war). He regards the predicted 'mass kill' as being only the latest 'disaster' involving our species and a means of "separating the wheat from the chaff" (implying somewhat dubiously that the 'best' will survive). He is, however, 88 and that might be good enough for him. I wonder whether it can be good enough for the next generation who will not want to feel that they have absolutely no control over events (a bit like going back to medieval times?).

Anonymous said...

at 11:19 AM
I heard a long interview with him last night. Inter alia, he explained how he came up with the Gaia theory after doing a stint with NASA back in the early 1960s. NASA had a group of biologists working on how to find life on other planets and they were all aiming to find microbes. Lovelock came up with the idea that lifeless planets would demonstrate reduction in entropy (their atmospheres would be in chemical equilibrium). Life, on the other hand, changes the chemical composition of the atmosphere and prevents it from establishing an equilibrium. Apparently Lovelock's early reputation was based on his invention of a device to measure chemical components of the atmosphere.

What this means for climate change is that Earth will not undergo a complete runaway process leading to the death of the planet à la Mars or Venus. Lovelock thinks that global warming will stabilize at around +5 degrees (C) by about 2100, which will make life at the poles possible. He thinks Europe will have become a desert by about 2040. Roughly 20% of today's world population will survive. He is basing his calculations on what happened 55 million years ago during a similar episode of global warming (but obviously not an anthropogenic one). My question here is, if there was no anthropogenic involvement in the previous episode, how does he know that stabilization will occur this time?

Lovelock doesn't think that the current focus on renewable energy is right. He argues that if we reduce the CO2 load we'll also reduce the smog haze that reflects heat back into space, so we will in fact accelerate the warming process. He thinks a better solution for the short-term is to have commercial airliners seed the atmosphere with heat-reflecting particles to produce 'global dimming' as Pinatubo did, for a few years, in the early 1990s.

He also puts a great deal of emphasis on the oceans, since they have the largest influence on the atmosphere. Warming of the ocean has created, he says, a desert in the top layer of water. Beautiful clear blue water is actually an oceanic desert in which life has disappeared and there are no nutrients. (I noticed flying out of Adelaide a couple of weeks ago that the water was in fact much clearer than it used to be - I could see the bottom much further out than in earlier years). So his solution is to find a way to pull cold, nutrient-laden water up to the surface. He's working on a system of pipes that he wants to have scattered all over the oceans!

OK, you scientists out there, how much sense does this make?

Anonymous said...

Lila

I encourage you to keep up the good work. Indeed there are people who share your beliefs and your emotions over these issues. I would go further than you in that I no longer believe there exists hope the current world civilisation. Like Lovelock, I do not believe that the reduction of our carbon footprint can any longer save us any more than the implementation of renewable energy sources. Like Lovelock, I believe that we are directing our energies in a wrongful direction. We should be trying to save ourselves, rather than continuing to contribute to our self-destruction. Unlike Lovelock, however, I do not believe that technology can save us, nor can free markets. We have proven that we cannot handle technology, nor a market-based economic system. Nor can we use good sense and accept that which is inevitable. I believe that the human race was meant to live in harmony with nature just as all the creatures of the world. But in our immense pride, we just had to prove otherwise. And we have failed miserably. We just don't realise it yet.

Instead Nature will likely impose a solution upon us - probably within the next 20 years, our collective fate will become apparent so that even the most stubborn among us will recognise that our situation is hopeless. Unfortunately, by the time that Nature takes action, it will be too late for careful survival planning and we will have to hope then that some of us will somehow overcome. Unknown at this time is just how much peak oil and the ensuing financial markets chaos will accelerate our demise.

In any case, I encourage you to keep planning for the worst. Gather around you a sizable group of multi-talented folks who are willing to learn old skills - this will be key to survival. Having people spread all over the earth in isolated pockets with these skills will not help us. Gathering them will, so that they are available when the time comes and not isolated across the globe. People who can make tools, who can make cloth from wool and animals. People who can farm organically. People who can hunt and cure hides. People who can gather food and medicines from local varieties of wild plants. People with medical skills. People with planning and organisational skills. People who can build things. People who can help defend you against those who would take it all from you. People who can entertain and promote the arts - we all need to smile.

Create a tribe. And learn the principles of tribal living and living in harmony with Nature. Learn from indigenous peoples throughout the world - they still exist. Throw out the idea of "individual rights" (me) and pursue the idea of "collective responsibility" (we).

The new social order, if there is to be one, depends upon folks like you who are making preparations now for the future.

Warm regards
Victor

dan said...

Gary Peters, in Post No. 36 above, quotes Sir James Lovelock’s interview in the Guardian on Saturday — March 1, 3008 — and it is a must-read:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scien ceofclimatechange.climatechange

He says he writing a new book now, too. To fill us in on what comes next. I don’t know if I have told anyone here this, but last month I sent some images of my polar cities concept to Dr Lovelock by email, and he wrote back the next day, saying: “Thanks for showing me those images. It may very happen and soon.”

I know Dr Lovelock has not been knighted yet by the Queen and maybe never will be, so he is not actually a “Sir” as I kiddingly wrote above, but he certainly should be honored that way. Sir James Lovelock. Yes. Has a good ring to it.

His interview in Saturday’s Guardian will knock your socks off. NSFW. But a very important interview. Read it and weep. (And then get back to work again, doing what you can to try to mitigate the impacts of climate change on this unsuspecting Earth that has been so kind to us for so many years as to give us a home for many many generations now. Soldier on, all who know that global warming is for real!)

— Posted by Danny Bloom

dan said...

Danny

"I think the point Daryl was trying to make was not that Lovelock may be wrong but that he seems to be taking pleasure in seeing his predictions come true. His predictions of course are our destruction. He seems very happy about it all."

dan said...

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A sophisticated new climate model simulation of long-term global warming suggests that even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, the planet will continue to get warmer for 100 to 200 years.





The delay would be caused by a warming of the world’s oceans, which would increase biological productivity as well as limit the oceans’ ability to absorb atmospheric heat and carbon dioxide, according to Andreas Schmittner, an oceanographer at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.





Results of the research were just published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles.





“The results of the model are somewhat alarming because it shows that we cannot wait until we are in danger before beginning to address global warming,” Schmittner said. “We need to be ahead of the curve.”





Schmittner’s model is one of the few long-term climate simulations to include carbon uptake by the oceans and land in looking at global warming scenarios. Most previous models have focused solely on estimates of future climate without projecting interactions between the carbon cycle and the Earth’s biological components.





Research has shown, however, that as the oceans warm, phytoplankton blooms will increase and that additional production could exacerbate global warming projections.






In one simulation, Schmittner projected a gradual increase of greenhouse gas emissions until the year 2100, then reduced those emissions to virtually zero. His model showed that the climate would warm four degrees (C) by 2100, then another 4-5 degrees over the next 200 years.





Computer modeling of global warming has become a critical area of research and scientists are continually refining models in an attempt to improve their accuracy. They often test their models by looking at historic data, then projecting it ahead and comparing it to what actually happened.





But projecting into the future is more difficult, Schmittner said, because human-caused disruptions to the natural systems are unprecedented since the end of the last ice age.





“For the past 10,000 years, atmospheric CO2 had not changed much,” Schmittner said. “It stayed more or less at 280 parts per million until about (the year) 1850. We’re already up to 380 parts per million right now and that much input, in such a short time, has upset the equilibrium between the oceans and the atmosphere.





“Trying to predict exactly what will happen to the biological cycle through global warming is tricky,” he added. “There may be some surprises – and they could go either way.”





For example, Schmittner said, his model suggests a higher degree of warming than most computer simulations because he incorporated an increase in biological activity into his projections. Yet increased ocean acidification might decrease the rate of warming.





“Certainly, the increase of phytoplankton and calcium carbonate-shelled organisms will change the chemistry of the oceans and could lead to more CO2 ‘out-gassing’ from the oceans to the atmosphere,” he added. “But there is a lot we don’t yet know about the biology of the oceans.”

Magne Karlsen said...

Now, the social outcomes which might follow from world-views these could equally be a renewed resistance to change. I mean: when famous scholars like Hawking and Lovelock both say that humanity has nothing much left to hope for on this Earth of us, the best thing to do could equally be to kill all proponents of change and do nothing of the crazy shit the environmentalists among us urge people to do, but just continue our way and just keep travelling along that primrose path of self destruction. As the end, according to Hawking and Lovelock, is (relatively) near anyway. That’s what they’re saying anyway. — So why bother?