James Lovelock: not so daft after all


When James Lovelock published his famous “Gaia” theory in 1979, I thought he was nuts.  He talked about the links between all biological life in the biosphere, and he had a point.  But he seemed to be saying not simply that the world behaved like a living organism, or that regarding the world as a living organism could give us some useful metaphorical insights.  It seemed to me that he was saying that the earth — “Gaia” in his terms — actually was a single living organism.  This was a mystical, numinous, almost religious view of life.  But in scientific terms, a nonsense.

Nevertheless the idea was meat and drink to environmentalists who took him to their heart.  He was an early Greenpeace activist.  They may be having second thoughts after a four-minute interview he recently gave to Channel Four News.

Lovelock remains of the view that the climate is changing and represents a potential threat, but he says “Let’s stop arguing about why it’s changing, and take steps to cope with it”.  Perfectly rational, especially as we can’t agree on why it’s changing.  In fact Lovelock’s suggestion is exactly in line with Lord Lawson’s 2008 book “An Appeal to Reason”, which argues for adaptation rather than mitigation: in other words that we should spend money on adapting to climate change (sea walls, flood defences, air conditioning, changes in crop patterns) as and when the climate actually does change (and it seems not to have changed for 17 years), rather than spending eye-watering amounts of money up-front in a futile attempt to mitigate a theoretical problem which may never arise.

Lovelock goes further, insisting that a warmer world won’t necessarily be a worse world, and he has a point.  The doom-sayers always point to the down-sides of global warming, never to the benefits.  The Romans grew grapes by Hadrian’s Wall.  Maybe we will again.

Lovelock is still interested in reducing man-made CO2 emissions, but he points out that there are better ways of doing it.  He may have reservations about nuclear energy, but he thinks it’s the best way to cut emissions.  “They stopped building nuclear and started building wind farms.  I think they’re mad”.  So do I, James, and thank you for not pulling your punches.

He also favours shale gas, saying that “it will help Britain muddle through”, and no doubt bearing in mind that substituting natural gas for coal also cuts emissions, as the Americans have demonstrated.

He has also called for the further development of GMO crops to help to feed a hungry planet, and castigated the green movement that stands in the way.

So here we have a man who continues (apparently) to believe in man-made global warming.  But he supports GMOs, shale gas and nuclear power.  And he thinks that wind turbines and solar panels are daft.  He’s the sort of green activist I can live with.  Not so daft after all.


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30 Responses to James Lovelock: not so daft after all

  1. Brin Jenkins says:

    My only reservation is perhaps his attitude to carbon reduction! The only valid reason for reducing it is better conversion rates of energy, better combustion with less waste. Carbon is such a useful material rather than a pollutant.

    Nothing else really matters.

  2. neilfutureboy says:

    When Climategate broke he broke with the alarmists saying “I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane — some of them, anyway,” http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/i-think-that-sceptics-have-kept-us-sane.html

    He also has a record of supporting nuclear power, and is a member of SONE – one of the few who thought there was anything to alarmism who did and in my opinion this is a touchstone – those who believe the scare is true must automatically support a massive increase in zero-carbon nuclear power; those who know they are lying need not do so and the overwhelming majority of alarmists oppose nuclear.

    He was also the name that came up repeatedly when I asked for the name of any scientist, anywhere in the world who supports alarmism and isn’t being paid by the state – which was nice when they didn’t know he didn’t.

    I still don’t believe in Gaia – however I support the even weirder Everett multiple universe theory which can explain the improbability of Earth surviving various accidents by it not having done so in all the universes where we aren’t here to observe it. But I wouldn’t fault him for supporting the less weird alternative.

  3. Flyinthesky says:

    I say, again, GMO has absolutely nothing to do with feeding the world, is it a good thing is it a bad thing, I don’t know but I would follow the hypercautious approach. What it definitely is, is an ongoing attempt to cartelise all agribusiness. If you don’t buy our seeds you’re not growing anything and if you set aside any of our seeds, from those we have allowed to remain viable, to replant we’ll sue you. We’ve monetised and corporatised almost everything, once the foodchain is monetised we’ve had it.
    How big can I write it: It has nothing to do with feeding the world. At all.

    • silverminer says:

      I’m with you on this one Flyinthesky. Scientists dickering about with the food supply to put it under the control of multi-national corporations is the last thing humanity needs. ”If you control the food supply, you control the people” – Henry Kiss(of death)inger.

    • Thomas Fox says:

      Food production is already monetised by the Brussels CAP and executed by its Agent Defra that decide all financial matters they are Agricultural Stassi

      • Flyinthesky says:

        The CAP was designed to equalise and securitise food production, bent and not fit for purpose I know but GMO is a whole different ball game it has no altruistic intent whatsoever.

    • M Davis says:

      I totally disagree with Mr Lovelock on GMO crops. Say No To GMO’s dot org.

  4. Right wingery says:

    This chap sums up what I think of you, Roger, though in complete reverse. Whereas once I thought you were not nuts, now, post defection, I most definitely think you are! And a hypocrite too, given your distain for Bill Newton Dunn for defecting to the Lib Dems and not resigning his seat.

    • Henry says:

      A hypocrite like Cameron who previously promised referendums and never followed through? A hypocrite like Cameron who claims to want to help the poor whilst he supports wind turbines and solar panels? A hypocrite like Cameron who claims to support traditional values yet wants to force gay marriage upon those of a religious tendency? A hypocrite like Cameron who claims to understand rural communities and localism whilst he supports wind turbines?

      As far as I see it, Roger was a Conservative > the Conservatives became conservatives > Roger joined UKIP who are in many ways Conservative. Thus he was able to act in the manner with which his constituents expected him to act.

      • Right wingery says:

        Henry, you really do not fully understand what you are writing, do you? How can you put to an expensive national referendum something that has long since been adopted into law?

        What effect would a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty have actually made? Even if 100% of the electorate voted against it the treaty could not be de-ratified without an overarching referendum on our continued membership on the EU.

        Which, as luck would have it, the Tories are proposing following a renegotiation.

      • Right wingery says:

        Oh and your hero Mr Helmer has also taken the green subsidy Cameron has kindly offered to him for installing his own solar panels on his home.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        We were sold a Common Market on false pretenses.
        This has been morphed by outright liars into an EU.
        All the assurances made to us were worthless, and the criminal liars should all be brought before the courts to answer the charges of TREASON. Yes it is on the books as a crime and even suggesting it should be removed is treason itself. 14 Police Authorities in our Country have issued crime numbers against your hero Dave, and others.

        Perhaps you have no understanding of the English Law, I suggest that you read it up and see the error of your ways. In the meantime think of your own position now. Do you support this Treason? Your name can be added to those who feel they have the right to ride roughshod over the English Constitution.

      • catalanbrian says:

        I am no supporter of Cameron but I have to take issue on your suggestion that he “wants to force gay marriage upon those of a religious tendency” . I don’t think so. Like marriage between two heterosexual people marriage between gay people is entirely voluntary.

    • I have repeatedly explained at great length how I fully intended to resign but was prevented from doing so by the obduracy of Sayeeda Warsi, then Conservative Party Co-Chairman. I’m not going to type it out again.

      • Right wingery says:

        They (the voters of the East Midlands) voted for a party list and Mr Helmer represented himself as fully in support of the Conservative Party, its leader and its European policy. He has now completely abrogated that position and he is therefore denying the democratic rights of the voters of the East Midlands, over 40% of whom voted Conservative. I call on Mr Helmer to resign.

        Doesn’t that read well, Roger?

      • neilfutureboy says:

        Such an alleged stand on personal principle would work better if you weren’t hiding behind a pseudonym.

        And better yet if you could show you had publicly called on all Tory MPs who hadn’t kept a promise they were elected on, for example the Lisbon treaty referendum, to resign.

        No? Thought not.

      • Right wingery says:

        But neitfutureboy (pseudonym?) Tory MPs didn’t stand at the last election on a promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Do you know anything of what you are trying to debate with?

        No? Thought not.

      • neilfutureboy says:

        No, they stood at the election before last making that promise.

        You are giving the impression, perhaps falsely, of ignorance of your subject.

        PS I have identified myself previously here. Unlike you.

      • Right wingery says:

        Neilfutureboy – you’re making yourself look silly now. I have the Tory manifesto in front of me, perhaps you can point to the page where it says there will be a reactive, wholly unnecessary and redundant plebiscite on the Lisbon Treaty? But, recognising that you are rather dim, I will give you a link to research:


        Now you do realise that if an election was held in 2010, and this article was penned in 2009, then it is very likely that no promises post 2010 were broken.

        Is that easy for you?

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I carried a Vermin Club badge for a good many years, and The Conservative Party has now changed beyond all recognition. So has the Labour Party who now display a rather Soviet face, my socialist forebears would not recognise the core changes made to the party of the British Working Man!

      The big three have slowly morphed into a similar beast, they are pro Internationalist, pro EU, and all guided by unseen and unelected forces. A new reality is being forced upon us and the rules re written by Internationalists. You can not get a fag paper betwixt them now and UKIP is probably our best fore-lone hope, short of a full blown revolution.

      Sticking by corruption after it becomes obvious is stupid, one must fight it anyway one can.

      • silverminer says:

        “all guided by unseen and unelected forces”. Exactly so, Brin. Modern politicians (LibLabCon) are like children in one of those kiddies ball pools…left to their own devices unless they try to climb out or start throwing the balls out, then the grown ups intervene. We want UKIP to start taking aim and knocking some tea cups over. Great work on the EU but what about the parasites in the City of London? Nothing will really improve for the people until they wrest control of the money supply from the bankers.

      • eddie coke says:

        Very true, Brin and silverminer. The supreme controller is he who controls the money supply. And if true independence were to be attempted, it would need to be done in an entirely decentralised and viral manner. Let’s not forget that American figureheads have tried this (in a centralised way) over the centuries: Jackson (assassination attempt), Garfield (killed), Lincoln and his greenback dollar (killed; and greenback discontinued), Kennedy and his Executive Order 11110 for silver certificates backed by physical silver in Treasury (killed; Exec Order not repealed, but no President dares to defend it on fear of death).

        Even in the UK, we have this year the centenary of the Bradbury Pound, used to bail out the banks in pre-war 1914. Interest-free, debt-free treasury notes, which of course the banking cartels wanted stopped in favour of war loans, so they could make a profit. Lloyd-George did as he was told – presumably he’d have been bumped off otherwise.

        It took five days to bring in the Bradbury in 1914. One to remember when the next impending financial crash happens…probably soon.

      • silverminer says:

        I think UKIP are missing a trick by not publicly backing the restoration of the Bradbury Pound. The international banking elites are universally reviled amongst the population. Any party that overtly came out against them, explained the mechanics of the fractional reserve banking fraud and proposed policies to do away with the parasites, would be swept into office in 2015.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        I totally agree! The whole banking system needs reworking but how? I have already seem my savings/investments cut in half and I fear for the remainder. At 78 its a bit late to start over from scratch.

      • silverminer says:

        Get some insurance, Brin, and don’t put it off as time may be short:-
        Bradbury Pound, Glass-Steagall, Free Gold, Modern Debt Jubilee, Full Reserve Banking. Do some digging around these search terms and you’ll find the solutions. The main impediment is the lack of political leadership prepared to take them (the Banksters) on.

  5. omanuel says:

    Other scientists partially agree with Lovelock.

    Max Planck saw a creative intelligence behind the vibration of each atom. I see inequality between

    1. The weak, long-range force of gravitational attraction, and

    2. The strong, short-range force of neutron repulsion . . .

    as breathing life, change and time into the cosmos.

  6. Henry says:

    Get Lovelock to say that UKIP has the most sane plan for our national energy policy and it would make global headlines. By the definitions of any remotely rational person who believes in CAGW, whether they like it or not, UKIP – with it’s support for nuclear and gas – is a proponent of the most ‘GAIA’ friendly energy plan.

    Make it clear to Lovelock that he would not have to support the party, rather just the rational approach they have to energy.

    You certainly have the ability to do this, Roger.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      Conceivable he would. he is a member of SONE (supporters of nuclear energy) which has said only UKIP’s energy policy is sane. Not entirely convinced that if Jesus Christ were to reappear and endorse UKIP it would make the BBC 10 o’clock news.

  7. i am dr lovelock’s student and he has third book of gaia trilogy coming out in april for allen lane books

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