Sustainable Retreat - Career - Climate

Climate

Writing in the British newspaper The Independent in January 2006, Lovelock argued that, as a result of global warming, "billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable" by the end of the 21st century. He has been quoted in The Guardian that 80% of humans will perish by 2100 AD, and this climate change will last 100,000 years. According to James Lovelock, by 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine. Indeed "he people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain".

"By 2040, parts of the Sahara desert will have moved into middle Europe. We are talking about Paris – as far north as Berlin. In Britain we will escape because of our oceanic position." "If you take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions, then by 2040 every summer in Europe will be as hot as it was in 2003 – between 110F and 120F. It is not the death of people that is the main problem, it is the fact that the plants can't grow – there will be almost no food grown in Europe." "We are about to take an evolutionary step and my hope is that the species will emerge stronger. It would be hubris to think humans as they now are God's chosen race."

He further predicted, the average temperature in temperate regions would increase by as much as 8°C and by up to 5°C in the tropics, leaving much of the world's land uninhabitable and unsuitable for farming, with northerly migrations and new cities created in the Arctic. He predicted much of Europe will have become uninhabitable having turned to desert and Britain will have become Europe's "life-raft" due to its stable temperature caused by being surrounded by the ocean. He suggested that "we have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act, and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can".

He partly retreated from this position in a September 2007 address to the World Nuclear Association's Annual Symposium, suggesting that climate change would stabilise and prove survivable, and that the Earth itself is in "no danger" because it would stabilise in a new state. Life, however, might be forced to migrate en masse to remain in habitable climes. In 2009, he became a patron of Population Matters (formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust), which campaigns for a gradual decline in the global human population to a sustainable level.

In a March 2010 interview with The Guardian newspaper, he said that democracy might have to be "put on hold" to prevent climate change. He continued:

"Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."

Statements from 2012 portray Lovelock as continuing his concern over global warming while at the same time criticizing extremism and suggesting alternatives to oil, coal and the green solutions he does not support.

In an April 2012 interview, aired on MSNBC, Lovelock stated that he had been "alarmist", using the words “All right, I made a mistake,” about the timing of climate change and noted the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the book The Weather Makers as examples of the same kind of alarmism. Lovelock still believes the climate to be warming although the rate of change is not as he once thought, he admitted that he had been “extrapolating too far." He believes that climate change is still happening, but it will be felt farther in the future. Of the claims “the science is settled” on global warming he states:

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it."

He criticizes environmentalists for treating global warming like a religion.

“It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion,” Lovelock observed “I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use … The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air.”

In the MSNBC article Lovelock is quoted as proclaiming:

"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened;" he continues "The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time ... it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising - carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that", he added.

In a follow up interview Lovelock stated his support for natural gas; he now favors fracking as a low-polluting alternative to coal. He opposes the concept of "sustainable development", where modern economies might be powered by wind turbines, calling it meaningless drivel. He keeps a poster of a wind turbine to remind himself how much he detests them.

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