March 15 2007 ~ It'll be worse than Hitler - Gaia's going to do it.
The Guardian article by Stuart Jeffries quotes James Lovelock at some length.
"Most life will move up to the Arctic basin because only it and a few islands will remain habitable. The Sahara is heading north. So where's the food going to come from? Not from the European mainland. Even here things are changing: there are in Britain now scorpions and snails hitherto only seen in the Mediterranean. Recently I saw hawk moths. Something terrible is happening. I think people forget that the whole world is going to be affected. Climate change will affect China and the US. In the US, even now, distinguished academics are contemplating moving north. ... we should be scared stiff. If you speak to any senior climatologists, the summer of 2003 will be the norm by 2050. Old people might have air conditioning, but that won't help the plants which we need to regulate temperatures. It will become a desert climate.
We'll be a bloody lifeboat for Europe. It will be their right to come here too because we're all members of the European community. Everybody in Europe will be wanting to come here.
Not only is the world turning and fearfully, but everything is happening very quickly. Things are changing all the time, but because we live in towns we don't see it. We modulate the temperature. We don't want to notice the big disturbing picture, we want to see the next episode of the soap opera. There are children who live in cities and have never seen the Milky Way.
If we were hunter-gatherers and this was a bigger planet we would be all right. But we're not: we're farmers and that's what's screwed us up. There are just too many of us living the way we do. Our wrongdoing has been to take energy hundreds of times faster than it is made naturally available. We can't solve the problem. There's no human way of cutting numbers. You can empower women and persuade them to have fewer children but we don't have the time for that.
It'll be worse than Hitler - Gaia's going to do it. That awful event (the tsunami) starkly revealed the power of the earth to kill. The planet we live on has merely to shrug to take some fraction of a million people to their deaths. But that is nothing compared with what may soon may happen; we are now so abusing the Earth that it may rise and move back to the hot state it was in 55 million years ago, and if it does, most of us, and our descendants, will die.
I hate academia. Most of the scientists who work there are not free men any more and they can't speak out. That's no way to do science.
(Gaia is) an old lady who has lived for three and a half billion years but she only has half a billion to one billion to go. She's a bit like me - near the end of her life. I'm pretty unlikely to live beyond 100. She will die the same way as me. Your ability to resist perturbations gets less as you get older.
We have got into this mess by burning carbon. We shouldn't have burned things in the atmosphere to get energy. We shouldn't have burned forests to drive out animals as a cheap way of hunting, because Gaia demands that the forests are kept in order to regulate her temperature and health.
There are several things we can and should do to make the situation better, but they will only be like dialysis machines are for a kidney patient. It's not going to cure you.
I'm not anti-wind turbines. You need 5-10-megawatt ones on oil platforms in the sea because the wind is more reliable at sea. Planting thousands of them in the countryside is not going to solve the problem. Gaia needs at least a third of the land for self-regulation.
Humans have gone through seven major climactic changes in the million years we've been around. Even those changes - ice ages - were ones we adjusted to. Admittedly, those adjustments usually took place over thousands of years, and ours will involve an adjustment in little more than two centuries, but we are flexible as a species. I was here for much of the war and when it happened it wasn't as bad as we had thought it would be. If people are honest, they rather enjoyed it. It could well be similar in the next few decades. Life will become a little more interesting than it was before."
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