Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gaia and Predictions of Doom

"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."

Professor James Lovelock discusses his concerns about the impending consequences of global warming at the lecture Climate change on the living Earth'. He will argue that although the scientific language of the IPCC report is "properly cautious", it gives the impression that the worst consequences of climate change are avoidable if we take action now.
Instead, his view of the future is much more frightening. Even if we act now Professor Lovelock believes that six to eight billion humans will be faced with ever diminishing supplies of food and water in an increasingly intolerable climate and wildlife and whole ecosystems will become extinct. He argues that we have set off a vicious cycle of positive feedback' in the earth system whereby extra heat in the atmosphere from any source is amplified, causing yet more warming. He will say: "We are at war with the Earth and as in a blitzkrieg, events proceed faster than we can respond."
"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."

(read more...from Guarduan)
thanks to Emanuel Yakobson, Ph.D.

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