James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change

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VanGoghs Ear
James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change

In his first in-depth interview since the theft of UEA emails, the scientist blames inertia and democracy for lack of action

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

 One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "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."

remind remind's picture

hmmmm.......you attempting to try and prove "the left' want a totalitarian state? or just simply baiting?

 

LOLOLOL

VanGoghs Ear

I can't see many politicians running with this idea -   Elect me so I can suspend democracy and save the planet for you lazy idiots

VanGoghs Ear

Are you really that simple? 

I think he might be right but is it something a citizenry would accept without seeing and feeling an imminent danger right in front of them.  Just look at the 9/11 threads - many people don't trust anything or anyone and imagine the looney theories if this was tried by a government.

VanGoghs Ear

you're LOL comments are not flattering to yr web persona Remind despite the high regard you have for yourself

remind remind's picture

Oh you wound me with your personal attacks, mister symbology of cutting off the "left".

and you know really analogies used to disparage people by disparaging those with mental health issues is pretty non-acceptable around here, and indeed I noted it in another thread, here is hoping the mods get a handle on this type of bigotry around here.

 

so I will go with the baiting.....given thepersonal attack i received over it, have you yet reread the rabble agreement you signed?

George Victor

VGE, you should read more of Lovelock's earlier work, from the 80s and 90s, before you accuse others of shallowness.  Lovelock believes that Homo sapiens, armed with a system of government that rewards greed first, is likely not up to saving itself.  He and a neighbour, the late William (Lord of the Flies) Golding had no illusions about the capacity of our species to save itself.   Mobilizing as for war is something that even Canada's Charles Taylor was not averse to brooting a few decades back. As practised in the 1940s, it did not end democracy, there were elections, but profiteering was out and corporate leaders became " $1 - a- year0-men" to head wartime production efforts. Of course, there were other economies required...   :D

VanGoghs Ear

Thanks George - I guess my interest lies in the question -

Is a large scale uniting of the citizenry in common cause to face a threat even possible in this day and age? How would people react to rationing and other sacrifices that people experienced during the World Wars today.  I feel that we are all so divided and fractured and yes paranoid, that it would be difficult to do anything unless people were literally put in the postion where they had to no choice but to go along or be made to.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Again Lovelock partly gets it. If corporations fund the denialists and corporations also fund politicians, arguably democracy has been defacto suspended quite some time ago and ceding to the corporate/political power without even the window dressing of elections accomplishes all of nothing.

George Victor

If you believe that Lovelock even partly gets it, FM, the planets must indeed be in alignment.  :)

George Victor

Yep, choice is somewhat limited in wartime...and it could be sold to a populace that believed scientific opinion.  The new enlightenment is in a bit of a race now with fundamentalists of all stripes...but it's a comin'. It would be so nice to see your (un)favourite capitalist in such dire straits, wouldn't it?  Worth every minute in the Victory Garden.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

My problem with Lovelock has always been that he comes so close to the big picture but then is prevented from actually seeing it due to class, privilege, and his own bias against those "beneath" him. Nothing speaks to Lovelock's myopia than his failure to detect the hole in the ozone layer. Having had the brilliance to deveop the device to detect CFCs in the atmosphere, he never looked for the consequnces of CFCs because he didn't believe there would be any. 

remind remind's picture

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Again Lovelock partly gets it. If corporations fund the denialists and corporations also fund politicians, arguably democracy has been defacto suspended quite some time ago and ceding to the corporate/political power without even the window dressing of elections accomplishes all of nothing.

This is exactly the case, moreover they are also funding the "big" believers and have been since they started accepting funding from Pew Charities and others of their ilk .....including direct corporate donations.

 

j.m.

Lovelock wrote:
One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "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."

Yeah, because what we need is less democracy in a world where those suffering the worst consequences of environmental degradation have no authentic representation. And authoritarianism will enable whom exactly?

Fidel

Doesn't Lovelock realize that the world is run more like the mafia than anything resembling democracy? I think what he means to say is that the cold war era promise of middle class capitalism based on consumption was a colossal lie. And it's a relatively small number of rich and powerful who are afraid of democracy not the large majority of people in the world.

George Victor

remind wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Again Lovelock partly gets it. If corporations fund the denialists and corporations also fund politicians, arguably democracy has been defacto suspended quite some time ago and ceding to the corporate/political power without even the window dressing of elections accomplishes all of nothing.

This is exactly the case, moreover they are also funding the "big" believers and have been since they started accepting funding from Pew Charities and others of their ilk .....including direct corporate donations.

 

James Lovelock, trained physician at war's end (tropical diseases,his specialty) found himself employed by NASA to design the equipment that would analyze Martian atmosphere. His inventive brilliance earned him enough to give him an independent scientific life, and he used it to develop the now accepted Gaia theory of Earth's thermal balance. Fortunately, he had teamed up with Lynn Margulis whose brilliance in biology gave his theory the evidence needed. Both challenged mainstream science, and both overturned convention (and as FM points out, Lovelock is mortal...  :D)

All Lovelock has been saying for three decades now, is that Homo sapiens, a species among millions of others, should understand what it has been doing to Earth's atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution.   He's not a politician, he's just telling it like it is. He has never been dependent on corporate handouts - they go to the technicians who devise new packaging for the engineered foods being developed to counter the effects of the climate change that Lovelock has so accurately predicted.

If the Great Unread realized the enormity of catastrophic changes in life on Earth that is threatened by the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases absorbing the sun's energy, corporate and political life would/could be swiftly brought to heel in an adjusted political economy that was based on survival, not accumulated greed. But as we see happening in the convulsive failure and weakening of economies, concern for Earth can quickly reduce to concern for individual survival in the Darwinian social world of capitalism. We must have growth, then we will contemplate the new light bulbs necessary to save the species.

To condemn Lovelock for not realizing the full potential of his device for measuring atmospheric CFC content (he put it together in his lab at home at a material cost of about $300) while the world's biologists are made to fall into line by the power of his reasoning, is nitpicking writ very large. Why not just repudiate science itself as the frightened folk chasing about for answers from Allah or Jesus are doing, relax and let a pre-Enlightenment worldview wash over us, along with the world's rising oceans, and wind up a people wailing as they wait for the salvation of a second coming?

remind remind's picture

Not sure why you wrote that long missive to me, George, on Lovelock,  interesting though it is I suppose for some not knowing about him.

At any rate, was not speaking of him, when I mentioned what you quoted,  was speaking of other environmental charities, especially those in Canada, who get their funding in a large part from Pew Charities, while others  like Berman get their funding from for profit hydro companies.

Then of course one has to wonder about Green Peace these days, given they just hired Berman.

 

 

j.m.

George Victor wrote:

remind wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Again Lovelock partly gets it. If corporations fund the denialists and corporations also fund politicians, arguably democracy has been defacto suspended quite some time ago and ceding to the corporate/political power without even the window dressing of elections accomplishes all of nothing.

This is exactly the case, moreover they are also funding the "big" believers and have been since they started accepting funding from Pew Charities and others of their ilk .....including direct corporate donations.

 

If the Great Unread realized the enormity of catastrophic changes in life on Earth that is threatened by the increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases absorbing the sun's energy, corporate and political life would/could be swiftly brought to heel in an adjusted political economy that was based on survival, not accumulated greed. But as we see happening in the convulsive failure and weakening of economies, concern for Earth can quickly reduce to concern for individual survival in the Darwinian social world of capitalism. We must have growth, then we will contemplate the new light bulbs necessary to save the species.

As Fidel has stated the world (an aggregate of all the scales of formal politics) runs more like a mafia than a democracy. People are already coerced and forced into making certain life choices regarding consumption and living; they lack certain agency over their destiny and, most of all, the ability to make choices that are favourable to their well-being and that of the earth.

Replacing corporate execs and unscrupulous politicians with scientists is not going to empower humans and make them responsible for the environment.

George Victor

Your plan for social change has the smell of surrender, j.m.   Won't do that, myself.

George Victor

remind wrote:

Not sure why you wrote that long missive to me, George, on Lovelock,  interesting though it is I suppose for some not knowing about him.

At any rate, was not speaking of him, when I mentioned what you quoted,  was speaking of other environmental charities, especially those in Canada, who get their funding in a large part from Pew Charities, while others  like Berman get their funding from for profit hydro companies.

Then of course one has to wonder about Green Peace these days, given they just hired Berman.

 

 

Just seemed to me, remind, that when you agreed with FM, our in-house environmental fatalist, on the question of "environmental" agencies, that a postive, albeit naive note should be left out there in the ether.  :D

remind remind's picture

ahhh, no problem naivety, means there is always 'hope'. And that hope that humanity has has has brought us far and vanquished many an enemy.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

from the comments:

Oxford Kevin wrote:
As someone who has been convinced that AGW is happening. I have never had much time for Lovelock and this piece doesn't make me warm to him any further.

I don't agree that Democracy is the problem. Actually I think it is a lack of real democracy that is part of the problem. We need a democracy that encourages active involvement of all citizens rather than making cynics of us all by this only just representative democracy that is corrupted by the need for large corporate financing of political parties and the need to return favours. So I am not at all in favour of giving up even the limited democracy we have but instead think we should be fighting for more.

 

Fidel

I think the corporatocracy has worked diligently over the last 30 years to convince people that their corporate hirelings in government can't run things worth a darn. And I believe the power elite do have an alternative system of government in mind all warmed up and ready on deck. Observe the democratic capitalist thirdworld.

farnival

so, we go with Lovelock's assertion that the world is doomed if we don't embrace nuclear power, and his current assertion that democracy is an impediment to saving the planet....and presto! we have nuclear armed eco-dictatorships!  awesome...where do i sign up?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I will confess that I probably need to read more of Lovelock's works. Having noted that first of all, there are plenty of people able to point to social problems without being able to put forward coherent solutions to those problems. Lovelock sounds like a member of that very large club.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

George Victor wrote:

 

To condemn Lovelock for not realizing the full potential of his device for measuring atmospheric CFC content (he put it together in his lab at home at a material cost of about $300) while the world's biologists are made to fall into line by the power of his reasoning, is nitpicking writ very large. Why not just repudiate science itself as the frightened folk chasing about for answers from Allah or Jesus are doing, relax and let a pre-Enlightenment worldview wash over us, along with the world's rising oceans, and wind up a people wailing as they wait for the salvation of a second coming?

George, sometimes you're just full of shit. Lovelock did not look for any harm being caused by CFCs because he did not believe CFCs could cause any harm. A scientist always keeps an open mind. Lovelock's has been closed to any criticism or potential harm of industrial chemistry and his work which included developing products for many of those industries that have been enriched poisoning the earth and, yes, contributing to its warming.

He is critical of and dismissive of Rachel Carson, in particular, and all environmentalists in general. He is dismissive of the great harm caused by Chernobyl and is blind to the victims of that tragedy. He dismisses the critical role of biodiversity in maintaining and contributing to life on the planet. He is an apologist and friend of the nuclear energy.

To say he has never been dependent on industry is absurd. He did not earn his wealth and very comfortable living tinkering in his basement. Don't forget, George, I read Lovelock. He is a man of privilege who has refused to acknowledge his own role and that of his class and his generation for the state we are in. Today I watched him on YouTube saying "we didn't mean to warm the planet". We have known since the 70s that we were warming the planet. We did mean to warm the planet at least since the time we first became aware of it and placed corporate profit ahead of planetary health. And I'd bet if 40 years ago anyone had told Lovelock that the industrial world to which he was so committed was warming the climate just as CFCs was creating a hole in ozone, he would have said "hogwash" and would never have looked because he already knew the answer.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Grrrrrr....

Quote:

To test this hypothesis, in 1971 he took his machine on a research vessel bound for the Antarctic. He discovered the pollutant everywhere, and within a few years the data he collected were being investigated by researchers interested in the destruction of the ozone layer. Strangely, Lovelock initially dismissed the idea that CFCs could be responsible for the ozone damage, and appeared as chief scientific witness during US Senate hearings for Du Pont, the main manufacturer of the offending chemicals. Because he presented an objective view of the science as it was known at the time, Lovelock claims that he could as well have appeared for the other side, if only they had asked him.

The New York Review of Books

Who is asking him about nuclear today?

George Victor

Of course his inventions gave him the independence to carry out the research that was a breakthrough in the until then tight-assed world of biology and the earth sciences...each in their place, mustn't muddy the waters you know. 

I knew after reading his Ages of Gaia in the early 80s that our species was in for a rough ride...that is why I was prompted to be one of the founders of the Green Party of Ontario.  And of course he admits to being of the generation that brought us to this perilous point, but that does not take away from his very rasoned, scientific approach to solutions. You want to carry on your little, moralizing attacks while the biosphere  packs it in and yet offer nothing in exchange.

As a member of the first pollution probe in Ontario, organized and working in the winter of 69-70, I can tell you that the concerns for our impact on the planet back then were for poisoning of the land and water...atmospheric concerns were muted because Lobelock was still formulating the theory by which biology enters the picture of thermal changes from greenhouse gases.  If you were reading something in the 70s it must have come to you by osmosis, since it certainly was not public knowledge. He has said many times that he is sorry that the green movement is alienated from him because of his pro-nuclear stance, but the idea of going down in flames seems to appeal to the opponents of nuclear, despite its clearly positive effect in hundreds of stations in countries that would otherwise burn coal.

The only reason you hear of him is because he offers the most coherent explanation of what is happening and what must be done.  The government of the U.K is already forming policy based on his science. But please, until you actually formulate and propose alternative remedial action, be less inventive in your venemous, anal  carping That's a good chap.

ss atrahasis

Once the full effects of runaway GHGs and/or collapsing ecosystems start collapsing our social systems sometime off in the future, eco-fascism will definately emerge, I think. As elites attempt in vain to maintain any status they presume to have, and use the premise of last-ditch ecological salvation to maintain control over dwindling key resources for their own ends. Watch for them to use that seminal old crank Lovelock, and talk of Gaia and everything to make sure everyday people get excluded in any of the decision making process.

Who knows for sure though? Just an ongoing neurosis I've got going on, and now Lovelock is espousing what I dread...

George Victor

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Grrrrrr....

Quote:

To test this hypothesis, in 1971 he took his machine on a research vessel bound for the Antarctic. He discovered the pollutant everywhere, and within a few years the data he collected were being investigated by researchers interested in the destruction of the ozone layer. Strangely, Lovelock initially dismissed the idea that CFCs could be responsible for the ozone damage, and appeared as chief scientific witness during US Senate hearings for Du Pont, the main manufacturer of the offending chemicals. Because he presented an objective view of the science as it was known at the time, Lovelock claims that he could as well have appeared for the other side, if only they had asked him.

The New York Review of Books

Who is asking him about nuclear today?

That's how science works. His view of the question excluded CFCs as a factor because his methodology and initial theorizing caused him to miss it.  But you know, only in the days of Cromwell did folks dig up the mortal remains and condemn them to the rubbish heap.  Lovelock has, of course, said that he was wrong.  And he has invited all of science to prove he and Margulis wrong in their Gaia formulation.  Safe so far.   But, then, you do look for perfection in all things, eh? And will not doubt winkle out further facts proving his perfidy.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

You are tiring in your apologisia and condenscension, George. I have never demanded perfection, but there appears no compromise for you too low to crawl under. It wasn't "science" that precluded an investigation into impacts of CFCs which were "everywhere" but a "belief" a "faith" that didn't require him to look further. Did you read that article, George? Another exerpt from your latest Messiah figure:

Quote:

One of the strongest impressions one gets from The Vanishing Face of Gaia is that Lovelock disagrees with almost everyone. But it is the green movement that evokes his most piquant criticism. He sees Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a book that is often cited as starting the modern environmental movement, giving birth to what he calls a "narrow restrictive faith" that pushes "a partisan and contentious political cause, which at best was no more than a partial expression of the humanism of Christianity or Socialism, and at worst an anarchic extremism." Indeed in places he goes further: "Now we have the urban environmentally friendly ideology, perhaps the most deadly of them all." Yet for all this, there's no overt criticism of the deceit of the coal and oil industries, which continue to pollute unabated.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Lovelock is often described as a 'green' scientist, largely because of the Gaia hypothesis - even though he is a long-standing supporter of nuclear power. He is also regularly described as 'independent' because he is not formally employed by any government, company or organisation. However, 'freelance' would be a more accurate description, as he has worked for big business and the security services since he went 'independent'.

Quote:

In 1973 Lovelock published the results of his work on CFCs in the scientific journal Nature. He concluded about CFCs that "the presence of these compounds constitutes no conceivable hazard".

Quote:

Lovelock also admits in Homage to Gaia that one of the instruments he designed, to monitor the movement of cattle as they grazed, 'led me to participate in the removal of hedgerows - one of the most destructive changes that happened to the English Countryside after the Second World War. I regret to say I played a small part in this act of national ecocide I loved the English country scene passionately, yet I was as thoughtlessly responsible for its destruction as was a greedy shareholder of an agribusiness firm, or a landowner out to maximize the return from his broad hectares."

Quote:

Lovelock denies that Chernobyl has caused massive human health impacts. He maintains a position that there were only 45 deaths ...

A recent report by leading scientists and researchers commissioned by European parliamentary groups, Greenpeace International and medical foundations in Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Scandinavia and other countries suggests that the number of casualties may have bee far higher: "At least 500,000 people - perhaps more - have already died out of the 2 million people who were officially classed as victims of Chernobyl in Ukraine".

Quote:

Contrary to the 2004 media coverage, Lovelock has long been an advocate of nuclear power - he has been on record as a supporter of nuclear power for 20 years ... Contrary to public perception Lovelock has long-standing ties to the nuclear industry and its supporters .. He is a Patron of Supporters of Nuclear Energy, whose Secretary is Sir Bernard Ingham  ... He was also awarded a medal by the nuclear power company British Energy in November 2006, "in recognition of his major contributions to the fields of medicine, biology, instrument science, and geophysiology".

Quote:

Lovelock started working for Shell in 1963, having regular monthly meetings with the Shell boss Lord Rothschild. He states in Homage to Gaia: 'My experiences with Shell left me firmly with the impression that they are neither stupid nor villains. On the contrary I know of no other human agency that plans as far ahead or considers the environment more closely'.

Quote:

'During my years with the Security Services I developed an instinct for discretion. This was invaluable in my work with multinational companies and other government agencies, where I discovered much more about their workings than I needed to know'.

Quote:

Lovelock was also one of the original signatories of the 'Declaration in Support of Protecting Nature With High-yield Farming and Forestry.' Other signatories are Patrick Moore, the ex-Greenpeace founder and now Greenpeace's bete noir, who runs an anti-environmantal PR company called Greenspirit Strategies, Dennis Avery of the Centre for Global Food Issues which is part of to the right-wing Hudson Institute and Eugene Lapointe one of the leaders of the international 'Wise Use Movement' and World Conservation Trust Foundation /IWMC World Conservation Trust and Norman Boulag, a rabidly pro-GM scientist.[23]

Dennis Avery is one of the main people behind many of the attacks on organic food and author of the inspirationally-titled Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming. Avery sees himself as a missionary, promoting the high-tech farming industries: pesticides, irradiation, factory farming, and the newcomer: biotechnology.[24][25]

Avery is behind misleading claims that organic food is dangerous and is the originator of the 'E. Coli myth' - that people eating organic foods are at a significantly higher risk of food poisoning. He calls organic food a 'gigantic marketing lie'.[25]

Eugene Lapointe runs the organisation the International Wildlife Management Consortium, a coalition of international hunting, shooting, whaling, right-wing and wise use organisations.[26]

Other signatories include Bruce Ames, the controversial cancer scientist on the board of climate-sceptic Fred Singer's SEPP and a Director of the George C Marshall Institute and academic advisor to the Reason Foundation, and Klaus Amman, a vehemently pro-GM scientist.

Sourcewatch

George Victor

He just wants Homo sapiens to stop burning coal, to not buy the damned stuff . That would affect them more than your sermons.(Not as satisfying as long, knicker knotting condemnation of the industry?  What's wrong with his saying "Don't burn the stuff"?  If the people he's addressing acted on his recommendations, it would have some effect on the industries, close them down, even.

"Anarchic extremism" would be a bit over the top in describing your position, FM   :D  ...but I see you have found a critic of science  right up your  moralizing alley. Gaia be with you.

I take that back, FM. Looking at your last foraging expedition across the web, you personify  the element who misuse  the medium.  Lovelock and Margulis are not attacked by mainstream science in this way. You collect second-hand critics like the motley crew that can be found to criticize science itself. 

Set aside your motley crew for a moment and tell me what is wrong with his science.

ss atrahasis

Lovelock's stance on democracy is science-based?

George Victor

From today's Guardian:

Monday, March 29, 2010

James Lovelock on the value of sceptics and why Copenhagen was doomed | Environment | guardian.co.uk

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.
...
Careers have been ended by this affair and the reputation of the institution [CRU] will go down for a while. It's sad because there are some good people there. They have to clean their house if they know people are behaving badly. They have got a rotten job ahead, but it will blow over in a few years.
...
We're very tribal. You're either a goodie or a baddie. I've got quite a few friends among the sceptics, as well as among the "angels" of climate science. I've got more angels as friends than sceptics, I have to say, but there are some sceptics that I fully respect. Nigel Lawson is one... I wouldn't put it past the Russians to be behind some of the disinformation to help further their energy interests. But you need sceptics especially when the science gets very big and monolithic.

I respect their right to be sceptics. Nigel Lawson is an easy person to talk to. He's more like a defence counsel for the sceptics than a right-winger banging the drum. His book is not a diatribe or polemic. He tries to reason his case.
...
The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they're scared stiff of the fact that they don't really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven't got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn't got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They've employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear. The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy. I'm puzzled why politicians are not a bit more pragmatic about all this.

We do need scepticism about the predictions about what will happen to the climate in 50 years, or whatever. It's almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it's wrong to do it.
...
Copenhagen was doomed to fail. But I think it was worth their while trying. A lot of people put their hearts into it. But I've never felt entirely happy with that sort of environmental wing-ding. It's obscene to have 10,000 people flying to Bali or whatever to talk about the environment. It just shows how hopeless humans are.
...
We shouldn't let the lobbies influence science. Whatever criticism might befall the IPCC and the UEA, they're nothing as bad as lobbyists who are politically motivated and who will manipulate data or select data to make their political point. For example, it's deplorable for the BBC whenever one of these issues comes up to go and ask what one of the green lobbyists thinks of it. Sometimes their view might be quite right, but it might also be pure propaganda. This is wrong.
...
[Lovelock on what it will take to convince the public that meaningful action is required to tackle climate change]:

There has been a lot of speculation that a very large glacier [Pine Island glacier] in Antarctica is unstable. If there's much more melting, it may break off and slip into the ocean. It would be enough to produce an immediate sea-level rise of two metres, something huge, and tsunamis. I would say the scientists are not worried about it, but they are keeping a close watch on it. That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion.
...
I don't know enough about carbon trading, but I suspect that it is basically a scam. The whole thing is not very sensible. We have this crazy idea that we are setting an example to the world. What we're doing is trying to make money out of the world by selling them renewable gadgetry and green ideas. It might be worthy from the national interest, but it is moonshine if you think what the Chinese and Indians are doing [in terms of emissions]. The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful.

[Lovelock on the surveys showing that public trust with climate science is eroding]:

I think the public are right. That's why I'm soft on the sceptics. Science has got overblown. From the moment Harold Wilson brought in that stuff about the "white heat of technology", science, in Britain at least, has gone down the drain. Science was always elitist and has to be elitist. The very idea of diluting it down [to be more egalitarian] is crazy. We're paying the price for it now.

Posted by Tom at 1:35 PM

George Victor

Not bad for a 90 year old.  Looks like his evaluation of CFCs impact was dependent on the bad scientific information he had to rely on - and perhaps the lying bastards you quote to demean him, FM> Go figure.  Doesn't get any more optimistic in his old age, does he?  But maybe he's wrong (and no, please, no more "evidence" of his failure, FM That's not science, doncha know?)

George Victor

ss atrahasis wrote:

Lovelock's stance on democracy is science-based?

He doesn't have a stance on politics, but he sure as shucks would not for a moment feel comfortable about teabaggers having a hand on science's purse strings.Laughing

ss atrahasis

"Copenhagen was doomed to fail. But I think it was worth their while trying. A lot of people put their hearts into it. But I've never felt entirely happy with that sort of environmental wing-ding. It's obscene to have 10,000 people flying to Bali or whatever to talk about the environment. It just shows how hopeless humans are."

He almost has trouble being consistent in a single answer these days. But he's always available to the media himself, as much as any other British 'green' that he chastises for propagandizing. (having trouble with the quote html so I just italicized).

ss atrahasis

I don't know. When he he say's he has a feeling CC is such a terrible issue that democracy should be frozen to tackle it at some point that's fairly a political statement. What in his mind does that advocate for? You mentioned during the war corporate salaries being frozen, and victory gardens, a la a WWII response, but that has nothing to do with democracy being frozen. FMs point that he is as much an advocate for certain corporate affiliations as a scientist, makes me wonder what and who he envisions filling the void?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Sourcewatch, which you would malign while identifying yourself with a fraud who can so easily dismiss the tragedy and victims of Chernobyl, is one of the most respected sources of information on the Internet, George. I have just lost my respect for you. It seems you would rather crawl up the ass of fake than keep your eyes open for false prophets while maintaining friendships even if only virtual.

I've nothing more to say to you.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Lovelock's ideas are as interesting in some respects as they are backwards.

I suspect that democracy would serve to help the environment-- now if I could find it anywhere I might be able to prove my point.

Perhaps the real problem is that the inequality of people allows those with more power to preserve it such that democracy is an impossible ideal.

The best we can do is come as close as we can. To start we need to be most critical of those systems that claim to be democratic but aren't as they are more in the way of evolution to something democratic than those who do not make such claims.

If we accept the principle that choice must be informed and that power must be equal I wonder if democracy can really ever happen anywhere except in the smallest of closed systems.

It then follows that you cannot suspend what you do not have.

George Victor

There you go, all anal and agitated again, FM.  You have nothing to say on the revelation about the effect of bad science at the time of the ozone hole controversy?   Oh, forgot, mustn't meddle with the virtuous in their moral ascendancy. 

Holier than thou, by the way, is saying that others were not concerned with the terrible effects of Chernobyl. You condemn Lovelock for his superior tone, but he is no match for your image of self.  

George Victor

Well put, Sean.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

George Victor wrote:

There you go, all anal and agitated again, FM.  You have nothing to say on the revelation about the effect of bad science at the time of the ozone hole controversy?   Oh, forgot, mustn't meddle with the virtuous in their moral ascendancy. 

Holier than thou, by the way, is saying that others were not concerned with the terrible effects of Chernobyl. You condemn Lovelock for his superior tone, but he is no match for your image of self.  

It was HIS bad science you dope. He invented the device to detect the CFCs. He was the one who recognized CFCs everywhere. He is the one who reported CFCs as being prevalent. He made the bad scientific finding, based on no evidence but his own belief, that CFCs were of "no conceivable hazard".

Jesus! Are you truly this obtuse? Now leave me alone.

George Victor

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Thanks George - I guess my interest lies in the question -

Is a large scale uniting of the citizenry in common cause to face a threat even possible in this day and age? How would people react to rationing and other sacrifices that people experienced during the World Wars today.  I feel that we are all so divided and fractured and yes paranoid, that it would be difficult to do anything unless people were literally put in the postion where they had to no choice but to go along or be made to.

You may be right in that individualism is a far stronger force today than in the pre-war period.  Social classes were clearly defined, and in the U.S., dollar differences brought deference (money talked). As you'll see in the Lovelock interviews by the Guardian, he suggested that slippage of a large glacier in Antarctica causing an immediate rise of two metres in ocean levels, might bring serious attentiion to the idea of mobilization.   The poor editorial page editor of the Waterloo Region Record  bounced that idea off his readers when environmental concerns were peaking (just before giving way to economic concerns) and was pounced on by several readers...not openly on the editorial page, mind you, but covertly, by phone and e-mail.

I suspect there will be no action until the average burger's ox has also been gored, not just those like Australia where desertification sems to be a done deal for most of its surface. In fact, folks there might be ready for anything at this point. But then they've just agreed to keep China in coal for a bit...20 years I think the contract runs...

George Victor

Frustrated Mess wrote:

George Victor wrote:

There you go, all anal and agitated again, FM.  You have nothing to say on the revelation about the effect of bad science at the time of the ozone hole controversy?   Oh, forgot, mustn't meddle with the virtuous in their moral ascendancy. 

Holier than thou, by the way, is saying that others were not concerned with the terrible effects of Chernobyl. You condemn Lovelock for his superior tone, but he is no match for your image of self.  

[/quote

It was HIS bad science you dope. He invented the device to detect the CFCs. He was the one who recognized CFCs everywhere. He is the one who reported CFCs as being prevalent. He made the bad scientific finding, based on no evidence but his own belief, that CFCs were of "no conceivable hazard".

Jesus! Are you truly this obtuse? Now leave me alone.

He depended on others who had the means to advise him about activity in the ozone holes themselves. He based his conclusion on their bad science. You have just read, above, that they let him down. But, somehow, your hatred for the old fellow does not allow you to accept his word on it.  You have to follow up the notoriously dependable sources of the IT world. 

Leave you alone?  Please stop following up the Lovelock trail.  Take a vacation.

j.m.

You know, Lovelock is not exactly in a position now, nor will he likely have a future carrying the torch - let alone implement - such a project.

Further, Lovelock is not an expert on politics whatsoever, yet like so many experts he uses his prestige to delve into areas that he has no expertise in.

My problem with Lovelock is that he perpetuates elitism with statements that humans are too stupid. I have a huge problem with Lovelock wanting to protect the world from those who live in it by falsely arguing that we have "too much democracy". The world doesn't operate as a democracy but as a failed modernist and free-market experiment. I would hope that the  real experts -the people living in this world- would be asked how they a healthy world should be organized.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sometimes I wonder if the Great Unread isn't a huge fucking mirror in front of GV.  Do you just read Bageant over and over?

George Victor

j.m. wrote:

You know, Lovelock is not exactly in a position now, nor will he likely have a future carrying the torch - let alone implement - such a project.

Further, Lovelock is not an expert on politics whatsoever, yet like so many experts he uses his prestige to delve into areas that he has no expertise in.

My problem with Lovelock is that he perpetuates elitism with statements that humans are too stupid. I have a huge problem with Lovelock wanting to protect the world from those who live in it by falsely arguing that we have "too much democracy". The world doesn't operate as a democracy but as a failed modernist and free-market experiment. I would hope that the  real experts -the people living in this world- would be asked how they a healthy world should be organized.

Look around, j.m.   What is healthy about either the biosphere or our political systems?   Journalists ask him questions, and that's what he says, essentially. Look around.  If you aren't into atmospheric science - like 99.99 percent of the population, you may just be depending on Jesus to stop the buildup of greenhouse gases?  And you ask the "real experts - the people living in this world...(how) a healthy world should be organized."   You jest.

George Victor

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Sometimes I wonder if the Great Unread isn't a huge fucking mirror in front of GV.  Do you just read Bageant over and over?

If you ever encounter a large mirror in the bedroom of your hotel, you'll know you've found one of those.  You could use a vacation as well, RP. Bageant has found himself a nice little watering hole in Mexico where he is having FUN  describing Canadian and U.S. retirees tottering about in the sun, smoking it up, and generally being old-fartish.  Such places let you get rid of the anger and venom.  Restore balance.

j.m.

George Victor wrote:

j.m. wrote:

You know, Lovelock is not exactly in a position now, nor will he likely have a future carrying the torch - let alone implement - such a project.

Further, Lovelock is not an expert on politics whatsoever, yet like so many experts he uses his prestige to delve into areas that he has no expertise in.

My problem with Lovelock is that he perpetuates elitism with statements that humans are too stupid. I have a huge problem with Lovelock wanting to protect the world from those who live in it by falsely arguing that we have "too much democracy". The world doesn't operate as a democracy but as a failed modernist and free-market experiment. I would hope that the  real experts -the people living in this world- would be asked how they a healthy world should be organized.

Look around, j.m.   What is healthy about either the biosphere or our political systems?   Journalists ask him questions, and that's what he says, essentially. Look around.  If you aren't into atmospheric science - like 99.99 percent of the population, you may just be depending on Jesus to stop the buildup of greenhouse gases?  And you ask the "real experts - the people living in this world...(how) a healthy world should be organized."   You jest.

I don't think insinuating that I, like all but 7 000 000 people in this world, believe only God will save us is a good, rational argument for my position. Funny, but non-believing capitalists believe in the saviour - the science of the market - too. I think you'll admit that this area of science has really fucked us up, and there is no God to blame there (perhaps just Godlike figures, human and non-human). Like Lovelock you hold disdain for human beings and their capacities. I would rather see an order that enables people to make choices beyond what they buy and what they believe that enables them to use knowledge of their local environments to both satisfy their needs and protect their communities. I agree that scientists and environmentalists are necessary for social and environmental transformation, but if you think that only the elite can solve this problem through fascist policies then you are mistaken. People will not stand for eco-fascism, and those already resistant to environmentalism will not play along.

If this is what you believe, then it is likely that you and George Lovelock are going to need a lot of bullets.

 

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