James Lovelock (picture is from his web site) has been the topic of at least three previous NewsBusters posts:
- In September 2006, Dan Gainor marveled at how the Washington Post could devote 2,400 words to Lovelock and his "Gaia Theory" -- the idea that the earth acts like a living organism.
- In October 2007, Gainor noted Lovelock's appearance in that esteemed scientific publication Rolling Stone, which called him "The Prophet of Climate Change." Lovelock claimed that global warming is irreversible, and that, as stated by writer Jeff Goodell, "the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million."
- A March 2008 post by Jeff Poor told readers that Lovelock, in the UK Daily Mail, had apparently moved up his disaster scenario by 60 years, among other things predicting that by 2040 China would be uninhabitable.
Lovelock clearly isn't the go-to guy for cool, calm, and collected science. But given his standing with many environmentalists, his views of certain aspects of environmentalism are worthy of attention. They are profoundly negative, as recorded in the January 24 issue of New Scientist by "Gaia Vince," where Lovelock also proposes a last-ditch strategy for saving the planet and salvaging several hundred million more survivors:
(Lovelock) Most of the "green" stuff is verging on a gigantic scam. Carbon trading, with its huge government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning. I am not against renewable energy, but to spoil all the decent countryside in the UK with wind farms is driving me mad. It's absolutely unnecessary, and it takes 2500 square kilometres to produce a gigawatt - that's an awful lot of countryside.
..... (Gaia Vince) So are we doomed?
(Lovelock) There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste - which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering - into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.
..... (Gaia Vince) Would it make enough of a difference?
(Lovelock) Yes. ..... This is the one thing we can do that will make a difference, but I bet they won't do it.
(Gaia Vince) Do you think we will survive?
(Lovelock) I'm an optimistic pessimist. I think it's wrong to assume we'll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It's happening again.
Take that Al Gore, and Barack Obama, and John McCain, and Joe Lieberman, and .....
New Scientist says that the 90 year-old Lovelock has "a trip into space scheduled for later in the year." If this feat gets the expected press attention, it will be interesting to see how the media treats his environmental views, and whether they note the irony of "The Prophet of Climate Change" likely burning large amounts of fossil fuel to power his voyage.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.