Sunday, December 6, 2009

James Lovelock's most recent pronouncements about climate change -- December 5, 2009 AD

Can we fix it? Perhaps, but it depends who you ask

Just how real are the dangers posed by global warming? And what, if anything, can we do about it? Enjoli Liston in the UK asks a selection of public figures, including James Lovelock, who ought to know what they are talking about

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

James Lovelock [Scientist, researcher, author, inventor and originator of the "Gaia" theory (which considers the Earth as a single living organism)] told Enjoli Liston:

"I don't think anyone really knows how serious the climate change issue is. It is true that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now unprecedented and still rising. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, which is probably our best prediction source, is still failing to forecast the rise of sea level or the extent of ice melting at the poles – so how can we be sure about the climate 50 years from now?

We should concentrate on energy saving, rather than spending on renewable energy, which is inefficient and expensive and often does little to reduce CO2 emissions. Houses are notoriously energy inefficient. If we concentrated on increased efficiency instead of the hopeless attempt to obtain 20 per cent of our energy from renewables, people would save money, and it would be a better way to tackle global heating.

I don't think the Copenhagen conference from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18 will achieve a lot
. Essentially it's a political exercise, because, in truth, it's a bit too late.

Processes are already under way, such as the melting of the permafrost in Canada and Siberia, releasing greenhouse gases. Things like that make me doubt that we can do much to turn back global heating. Maybe if we'd started back in the 1960s we could have done better.



"I don't think there's a lot one can do seriously to tackle climate change. The most important thing we all can do is to prepare the infrastructure of the various nations that we inhabit to cope with the more probable climate change. [And that might mean pre-building polar cities.] I mean the obvious things – you've got to make sure that the Thames barrier really works, and nobody ought to cut back on a thing like that just because there's a recession on. It's that kind of preparing ahead that I think is the most vital thing we can do. To blazes with vain attempts to stop global warming by various renewable energy proposals. I think those are pipe dreams, but also very profitable pipe dreams.

We all do our bit. We've been running low-energy bulbs now for 30 years; we run a small car. I think everybody's got to do their best that way, but don't bust a gut trying to do it because they are not sure.

I think what needs to happen is for people to be more ready to accept rather unpleasant changes at some time in the future, and the catch is we just don't know when it will happen. It could be next year but it might delay as much as 100 or even 1,000 years, so there's no great certainty. All we know is that the changes that have been made, like the increase of CO2, or the change of land usage, are so great that there's no going back.

No comments: