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Famous Global Warmer: I Was An ‘Alarmist’

From MSNBC of all places:

‘Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate change

By Ian Johnston
April 23, 2012

James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.

Lovelock, 92, is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared.

Maybe at his age he wants to get right with Gaia before he has to face her in the hereafter.

He previously painted some of the direst visions of the effects of climate change. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, he wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”

What’s alarmist about that?

However, the professor admitted in a telephone interview with msnbc.com that he now thinks he had been “extrapolating too far."

The new book, due to be published next year, will be the third in a trilogy, following his earlier works, “Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back – and How We Can Still Save Humanity,” and “The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can.”

So what will the title of his new book be? "Oops. Forget Those Other Two Books"?

The new book will discuss how humanity can change the way it acts in order to help regulate the Earth’s natural systems, performing a role similar to the harmonious one played by plants when they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

All we have to do is start exhaling oxygen instead of CO2.

It will also reflect his new opinion that global warming has not occurred as he had expected.

“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,” Lovelock said.

“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.

How many of these climate scientists have been forced to admit this now? I’ve lost count.

He pointed to Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers” as other examples of “alarmist” forecasts of the future.

In 2007, Time magazine named Lovelock as one of 13 leaders and visionaries in an article on “Heroes of the Environment,” which also included Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev and Robert Redford.

“Jim Lovelock has no university, no research institute, no students. His almost unparalleled influence in environmental science is based instead on a particular way of seeing things,” Oliver Morton, of the journal Nature wrote in Time. “Humble, stubborn, charming, visionary, proud and generous, his ideas about Gaia have started a change in the conception of biology that may serve as a vital complement to the revolution that brought us the structures of DNA and proteins and the genetic code.”

Lovelock also won the U.K.’s Geological Society’s Wollaston Medal in 2006. In a posting on its website, the society said it was “rare to be able to say that the recipient has opened up a whole new field of Earth science study” – referring to the Gaia theory of the planet as single complex system.

However Lovelock, who works alone at his home in Devon, England, has fallen out with the green movement in the past, particularly after saying countries should build nuclear power stations to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by coal and oil.

Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role

He said he still thought that climate change was happening, but that its effects would be felt farther in the future than he previously thought.

“We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit,” Lovelock said.

As “an independent and a loner,” he said he did not mind saying “All right, I made a mistake.” He claimed a university or government scientist might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to the loss of funding

This is a great point! After all, that is what all of this is about — getting funding. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that the entire phenomenon of ‘global warming’ is primarily due to government grants and not CO2.

In the interview, Lovelock said he would not take back a word of his seminal work “Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth,” published in 1979.

But of “Revenge of Gaia,” published in 2006, he said he had gone too far in describing what the warming Earth would see over the next century.

“I would be a little more cautious — but then that would have spoilt the book,” he quipped

And cut into sales.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Famous Global Warmer: I Was An ‘Alarmist’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Well … duh

    (hint to alarmists and trolls who spy on us here – it’s a lot easier on your mental health, makes more sense and is consistent with all known truths if you can allow yourself to come the knowledge of God our Father Creator as revealed in scripture. this business you believe in of chaos and randomness is eating your soul)

    • JohnMG says:

      Thank you, Jack. Well stated.

    • tika says:

      Yep! There are those who prefer to wring their hands and sweat instead of finding FAITH. One thing about the OP troubles me though…

      “billions of us will die”

      Oh no! :)

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Emily Litella SNL, 1970’s, “Never mind”.

    *sigh*

    I’d go pound my head against a brick wall if I thought it would do any good.

  3. untrainable says:

    the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role…
    Wow. Who would have thought that 71% of the Earth’s surface would have any role in climate. Next they’ll be telling us that the Sun has something to do with temperature. How crazy is that?

    OH MY GOD!!! 71% of the Earth is covered in DiHydrogen Oxide. Get me a grant and some usefull idiots before it’s too late!!!

    Suddenly I feel like killing a baby harp seal with a shovel, but I’m not sure why.

  4. River0 says:

    Not to mention the sun, which dominates the earth and powers every living event. Earth’s climate is always changing, inexplicably, and always will, unpredictably.

    It’s a pseudo-religion now, Gaia worship, and its adherents will say Lovelock has become a doddering and faithless old fool. The faithful masses will go to their graves blaming Bush/Cheney/Halliburton/Standard Oil and America overall.

    We conservatives are what unite all crypto-Marxist ‘progressives’, and they simply MUST have a scapegoat; or they fall apart into a thousand squabbling groups.

  5. P. Aaron says:

    DUDE! Where’s my narrative?!”

  6. beautyofreason says:

    According to them we’ve been on the edge of disaster for about 40 years, ever since the environmental movement took off in the seventies. Imagine that. At least this guy admitted the hype; most of them make predictions just far enough in the future that when the date comes, the original guy will be dead and the profits neatly distributed to first of kin. This stuff reminds me of the street preachers that talk about the end of the world. The environmentalists are the secular street preachers. And all the sinners of the world are all of the Western whites who eat beef and don’t recycle.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I call this the “science-fiction corollary” wherein the creator of the story has the setting some time in the future, but not too distant future, so that the technology of the future is new, the setting is similar but advanced. By doing this, the authors create a false but realistic landscape that is both believable and foreboding. “2001” is an excellent example. But, key points:

      1) Regular passenger service to the moon never happened
      2) PanAm went out of business
      3) No research stations were ever built on the moon
      4) No giant Ferris-wheel of a space station was either
      5) No nation launched a crewed, complex vehicle to Jupiter (though there have been some nifty-cool probes.
      6) A computer that can function like a superhuman mind has yet to be realized (HAL 9000) (though the PC has become a fixture in 90% of all modern, western homes)

      Although it’s fun when it comes to science-fiction, it’s just annoying when real scientists play Nostradamus without the clever riddles in text. But the goal of the sci-fi writer and the vainglorious researchers is the same: To get the audience to take it with more gravity and focus their minds on how close we are to the invented upcoming “reality”.

      To say the research scientist is culling for money is an understatement. They even convince themselves that what they are doing is “absolutely essential” and some sci-fi movies past, present and future have and will describe their lead character as the scientist who nobody listened to, and when the “truth” came out and was realized that the aliens really are going to land, or that the Earth really is going to have NYC under 30 feet of water….they they’ll see. Yeah. Nanner nanner boo-boo. ppphhhhhtttttttt.

      Problem is, reality doesn’t jibe with the script the research climatologist has written, like it does in the movies. Politicians may be able to get some of the people to tag along with the BS for a time, but when nature doesn’t cooperate with the fairy-tale, that’s a real problem and damage-control is difficult. “Dang, if only the oceans had risen even a foot since we started all this…..stupid oceans….stupid climate”, says the scientist looking for more funding to support their expensive lifestyle at the University Of Craptacularness.

      But it’s not really new. Even before science was an established discipline, leaders of nations sent their best and brightest on quests, searching for the fountain of youth, gold that never existed, all kinds of things…the holy grail, Shangri-La. Money spent, and even lives lost.

      Nowadays, it’s not any harder to convince people to seek the un-seekable, it’s just that the mission has to sound legitimate enough to get those with money to part with it. That too, is not new.

      In this wonderful great modern age in which we live, the gullible are still gullible and the power-brokers still place money on finding that which doesn’t exist. Their own bombast and lack of familiarity leads them down the primrose path. But they will never stop looking for that which they seek. To do so is to admit failure and *gasp* being incorrect about it.

      Those who seek such things have more of scent than scientist about them, though. Problem is that now they divert a lot of money and the politicians use it as leverage toward an agenda. But, I guess that’s nothing new, either.

    • beautyofreason says:

      Yep, sounds about right.

  7. wirenut says:

    Thankyou GBJ. and Beauty! Junk science vs Intelligent design. Pure science = trying to understanding what our Creator has given us. The rest is pure pollitics.
    5th grade science,”Photosynthesis”, the more CO2, the more oxegen our Gaia will produce. The Earth is not my mother, but my mother was. Screw you treehugger.

    • GetBackJack says:

      Ain’t it the truth, WN? You’d think these people would be all for more CO2 so they’d have more green so we’d have more oxygen … but …. (shaking head) …

    • GetBackJack says:

      What they seem to be hysterically crying out for is …. stasis.

      When things change these pudding heads freak out.

      And really, I think this is all there is to their psychosis. Things change. That sends them into a death spiral of madness and desperation for Daddy and Mommy to make the change stop. Change is scary. Make it go away. MAKE IT GO AWAY DADDY

    • beautyofreason says:

      “Screw you treehugger.” Hey wirenut, please re-read my post. It is a criticism of the environmental movement. Save the zings for the real hippies. :)

  8. mr_bill says:

    In college, I took Stellar Astronomy because I thought I would learn constellations to impress girls. Instead, I was treated to a lecture and a lab on rocket science, literally. It was one of the most diffucult and rewarding courses I’ve ever taken. Combined with Vulcanology (study of volcanoes) it painted a nice picture of the time scale of earth. The earth is 4.5 billion years old, give or take (the observable universe is roughly 16 billion years old!). The earth has always been a dynamic place and wasn’t capable of supporting life as we know it for most of that time. Only 10,000 years ago, the planet was closing out the last ice age. It is still in the process of warming from that phase. It may take thousands more years before things stop warming. It isn’t happening at a very fast pace, but there seems to be a slight upward movement in the average over thousands of years. Frankly, I’m glad it’s happening. If it weren’t we’d all be pretty darn cold and grandpa’s stories about walking to school uphill in 5 feet of snow would be true. This is nothing more than the natural process that started thousands of years before humans were capable of more than the most rudimentary existence. Let’s not presume to be so powerful as to have caused it.

    As humans, we tend to gauge our experiences on the scale of about a hundred years, at most. It’s a nice, round number on the upper end of the life expectancy chart. We don’t think of things in hundreds or thousands or millions of years. It’s beyond our frame of reference and hard for us to put into any meaningful context. The problem with that pattern of thinking in decades and a century, at the most, is that we fail to account for the billions of years that exist outside our arbitrary window for analyzing history. If the timeline of earth were placed on a strip of paper a mile long, the entire existence of humans would be less than three microns long at the end of that timeline. Our collective time here has been miniscule and the natural forces around us far exceed our presumed mastery over the powers of earth. We can’t even predict rain with much certainty. What makes [some of] us so sure that cow farts are destroying the earth? The earth will be here long after humans are gone and it will be just fine then, as it is now. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards while we are here, but we need to stop pretending that a little CO2 is going to wreck the planet, especially based on a bunch of junk science.

  9. wirenut says:

    BeautyOfReason, my comment was not aimed at you. I agree with you. “Screw you treehugger” was relevant to
    Capt.Cataclysmic, AKA, J. Lovelock. I was merely giving you and GBJ a hat tip on you’re 4/25 posts. Eeeesy,
    Thunder. I’M in your corner. Haw!


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