Bombshell: ‘Gaia scientist’ James Lovelock endorses fracking

Previously, you may recall that Lovelock threw global warming under the bus. Now, he’s got another zinger the greens will be none to happy to hear in the middle of Rio+20. That “disturbance in the force” felt earlier today was the wailing and gnashing of teeth heard from eco-followers worldwide when they heard the father of Gaia say the much hated and maligned fracking process is “OK”.

I can’t wait to see how the Rommulans and McKibbenites spin this one.

Excerpts from the Guardian article by Leo Hickman:

Given that Lovelock predicted in 2006 that by this century’s end “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable”, this new laissez-faire attitude to our environmental fate smells and sounds like of a screeching handbrake turn.

Indeed, earlier this year he admitted to MSNBC in an interview reported around the world with somewhat mocking headlines along the lines of “Doom-monger recants”, that he had been “extrapolating too far” in reaching such a conclusion and had made a “mistake” in claiming to know with such certainty what will happen to the climate.

But Lovelock is relaxed about how this reversal might be perceived. He says being allowed to change your mind and follow the evidence is one of the liberating marvels of being an independent scientist, something he has revelled in since leaving Nasa, his last full-time employer, in the late 1960s.

Having already upset many environmentalists – for whom he is something of a guru – with his long-time support for nuclear power and his hatred of wind power (he has a picture of a wind turbine on the wall of his study to remind him how “ugly and useless they are”), he is now coming out in favour of “fracking”, the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from the ground. He argues that, while not perfect, it produces far less CO2 than burning coal: “Gas is almost a give-away in the US at the moment. They’ve gone for fracking in a big way. Let’s be pragmatic and sensible and get Britain to switch everything to methane. We should be going mad on it.”

The reaction in Germany to Fukushima – which announced within weeks of the disaster that it was to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022 – particularly infuriates Lovelock: “Germany is a great country and has always been a natural leader of Europe, and so many great ideas, music, art, etc, come out of it, but they have this fatal flaw that they always fall for an ideologue, and Europe has suffered intensely from the last two episodes of that. It looks to me as if the green ideas they have picked up now could be just as damaging. They are burning lignite now to try to make up for switching off nuclear. They call themselves green, but to me this is utter madness.”

Nestled deep into an armchair, Lovelock brushes a biscuit crumb from his lips, and lowers his cup of tea on to the table: “I’m neither strongly left nor right, but I detest the Liberal Democrats.”

He delivers his mischievous bombshells with such rapidity and meekness that there is a danger one can miss the all-important clarification and context.

“They are all well-meaning, but they have mostly had little experience of power,” he adds. “The coalition has behaved disgracefully on environmental and energy policies. It would have been much better if they had been properly rightwing. I don’t mean something like Thatcher; that was a revolutionary Conservative government. Just a regular one. Our political system works because they tend to self-correct each other.”

The greens use guilt. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting CO2 in the air.”

He displays equal disdain for those who do not accept science on climate change: “They’ve got their own religion. They believe that the world was right before these damn people [the greens] came along and want to go back to where we were 20 years ago. That’s also silly in its own way.”

Read the full Guardian article by Leo Hickman here and his complementary article:

James Lovelock on shale gas and the problem with ‘greens’

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99 Responses to Bombshell: ‘Gaia scientist’ James Lovelock endorses fracking

  1. Timbo says:

    Nice photo they used of him to go with the interview. Makes him look like he’s one sandwich short of a picnic, but that’s not what the Guardian would do, right? /sarc

  2. Bill says:

    Nice to know Lovelock is not a complete fool.

  3. Peter Whale says:

    Born 1919 I hope I Look like that at 92. He is 93 next month. Never too old to change your mind on what you once perceived to be the truth. If only I had that trait I would know that I was a true skeptic.

  4. DirkH says:

    Expect him to endorse coal next year; hemp the year after that. Different business model than GISS – they’ve been stuck on pro-nuclear since 1972 when Schneider wrote a paper warning of global cooling through smog, suggesting nuclear as the solution.

  5. Ray says:

    No fracking way!

  6. Olen says:

    Who says old people are not smart.

  7. kwik says:

    A bit late……

  8. Reblogged this on reality paradigm and commented:
    Well I never!

  9. Gary Hladik says:

    “He displays equal disdain for those who do not accept science on climate change”

    The guy’s still off the deep end about CO2, just not quite so deep as before. Maybe he’s starting to worry what Gaia will say when he finally becomes one with her. :-)

  10. RobRoy says:

    “He displays equal disdain for those who do not accept science on climate change: “They’ve got their own religion. They believe that the world was right before these damn people [the greens] came along and want to go back to where we were 20 years ago. That’s also silly in its own way.””

    This is a hit on skepticism. This gentleman has gone from ultra-warmist to luke-warmist.
    That’s better than nothing.

  11. Jeremy says:

    It is clear that when EVERYONE has fully bought into the Green mantra, even your neighbor and your neighbors neighbor, then, if you want to remain a “rebel” then there is only one thing to do….

    a massive U-turn.

    People like James Lovelock are just attention seeking trash with no principles and no credibility.

    If he could get heavy media coverage by pronouncing credibly that the “moon is made of cheese” then this scoundrel probably would be the first to pronounce it.

  12. Disko Troop says:

    Leo Hickman must be turning in his journalistic grave!

    (That is not a death threat)

  13. alexjc38 says:

    Proof that it’s never too late to be an enfant terrible. Much amused, and looking forward to some interesting interviews with James Lovelock on the BBC – if they ever invite him back, that is!

  14. Verity Jones says:

    Sometimes you read things that make you feel as if you’ve gone to sleep and are still dreaming, or that you’ve woken up in some alternative universe. Someone pinch me please!

  15. wayne says:

    Ah, the great problem of the environMental Green culture.

    I hugely agree with Lovelock there. They call themselves scientists but that could not be further from the truth! The Green land, where proper science skeptism has been banned and consensus rules no matter how wrong that consensus may be. This world has seen that ugly head raised over and over again throughout history, and, it is always found hanging from the politicians’ coattails.

  16. Gunga Din says:

    I don’t know much about waht he’s said in the past. It sounds like he’s realized that the CAGW theory he had believed in is severly flawed and that Man is not here for “Gaia” but earth for Man. Maybe he’s taking an honest look around him?

  17. pokerguy says:

    “People like James Lovelock are just attention seeking trash with no principles and no credibility”

    Sorry, but you’re the one with no credibility. You have no clue as to Lovelock’s motivation. It’s a man’s reputation you’re trashing apparently without the slightest hesitation. He’s in his 90′s. How old are you? Do you really think it’s likely that at that age as he prepares to meet his maker, his primary thought is to get more attention?

    Of course, in the end you might be right. But it would only be by accident and wouldn’t excuse the disrespect for a man who’s done quite a lot in his life.

    What have you accomplished?

  18. Dolphinhead says:

    strange how we are supposed to attach more weight to the views of Gaia-man than say my old mama. Only this morning she told me to get on with the fracking job. At least that’s what I think she said

  19. pokerguy says:

    JUst to add for the moderators…I can’t see how Jeremy’s comment in any way enhances the discussion. Surprised you let it through.

  20. James Sexton says:

    kwik says:
    June 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    A bit late……
    ==========================================
    No doubt, there’s no amount of clarification, pontification, and reversal can undo the damage what that idiot damaged. His buffoonery has warped the minds of nearly every child in western society. How many years did he sit idly by watching his vapid Gaia theory get twisted into a religion? Now we’ve got a bunch of nuts running around in woods crying about trees and rocks and things.

    And, even after all these years and then changing his mind he still doesn’t understand the depths of his idiocy and how he was a tool for the totalitarian Marxists.

  21. Richard deSousa says:

    I’m just waiting for the warmistas to pile on ad hominems like they did to Freeman Dyson.

  22. Ian E says:

    ‘strange how we are supposed to attach more weight to the views of Gaia-man than say my old mama.’

    One sinner who repenteth etc …

  23. pat says:

    Think of Gaia cracking her knuckles.

  24. spinifers says:

    Too little too late. Nothing this man will ever do will even begin to compensate for the suffering his fearmongering and distortions have caused.

    These people are criminals of the highest order and deserve no more mercy than they’ve shown their victims.

  25. The warmists are going to say “He has gone fracking mad!”

  26. Power Grah says:

    Heh…my grandmother said it was fun being in her 80′s because she could say pretty much whatever she wanted and people would just say she was senile. But she meant what she said.

  27. TomO says:

    Having followed the Guardian’s mostly toxic eco-wittering for years – I confess – I larfed I did.

    Where’s the popcorn?

    Good timing Dr Lovelock :-)

  28. Green Sand says:

    Be of no doubt Leo’s and his ilk’s Little Munchkins are beavering away striving to find ways to undermine their previously held “Gaia Meister”

    The ideological pulses might be in spasm, but it will not last for long.

  29. alan says:

    Fracking brilliant!

  30. janama says:

    Perhaps he should spend a quiet morning at Tara in Queensland where you can see the layer of methane settle over the land as the fog rises. The children suffering from intense migraines and bleeding noses and ears. Just because he proposed the Gaia theory it doesn’t qualify him for making statements about a subject he appears to know nothing about..

  31. Lawrie Ayres says:

    I think that James Lovelock believed he was right when he warned of impending disaster and I think he believes what he is saying now. The facts have changed and so have his views. That is admirable. Unlike James Hansen for example who alters the facts to confirm his beliefs. As for asking Lovelock to have been more open minded earlier we should instead be asking why so many accepted his statements without question. This CAGW racket is far bigger than James Lovelock because it has now undermined the gravitas of all scientists. When universities try to shut down debate and fire scientists who have a different viewpoint to the one that secures government grant money we know science is no longer sacred. Lovelock is setting a good example.

  32. R. Shearer says:

    Jeremy, he isn’t trash and you shouldn’t say so. He is a brilliant scientist, inventor and gentleman. Even the best among us can be wrong from time to time.

  33. Mike says:

    Really, his beloved GAIA and he said, “Frack her!” I’m dumbfounded or gobsmacked or something.

  34. David, UK says:

    “He displays equal disdain for those who do not accept science on climate change.”

    Careful folks. These are the Guardian’s words, not Lovelock’s. Sure, it’s followed up with a quote from him, but we don’t know that his intended target is specifically “those who do not accept science on climate change.” I don’t think anyone actually exists fitting that description. It’s such a nonsensical and silly phrase on so many levels; it reads exactly like the words of an activist journalist. It’s Orwellian.

  35. wayne says:

    Is this an another way to say “Your skeptical science viewpoints were right all along” without really saying it? It seems James has gone all logical on the Greens… blasphemy they shout from the rafters!

  36. Wagathon says:

    It may be too late for the ‘eggshell’ generation. They are the product of a dysfunctional government-education industry gone wierd. Truth is, forty years of the Left’s tearing the culture down and substituting its liberal Utopianism has torn apart the futures of many. Expectations for a free ride and a free lunch for life have been cracked.

    The real world is now saying that it is time to ramp it down. Dead and dying Europe will soon have both feet in the grave. Hopefully, the weather does not throw us a curve too because there is not much we can do about. The Left coast has already sunk: San Diego is buried in debt, Los Angeles is morally broken, Frisco can never get high enough and all the rest of California is busted Greek.

    Expect Us to Take Their Little ‘Red’ Pills Forever

  37. Nick in vancouver says:

    Yes this man is still a dangerous scoundrel. Whether he comprehends the results of his previous poisonus rants or not, or whether he cares or not, the changes he and his Malthusian friends have gestated will be with us for perhaps a generation. The FCCC, as tirelessly highlighted by Mr Watts has secured funding to the tune of billions, from all of us, is now seeking freedom from oversight and freedom from prosecution and will soon be unleashed. Australia is a prime example of what happens when vindictive beaurocracy, with the full power of state funding and law, is loosed on its own people in support of the AGW agenda. Will Lovelock even notice? at 92 he won’t be around to suffer the consequences.

  38. gnomish says:

    janama says:
    Perhaps he should spend a quiet morning at Tara in Queensland where you can see the layer of methane settle over the land as the fog rises.
    ———————————————————————-
    because methane (0.0417 lbs/cubic foot) is lighter than air (0.0752 lbs/cubic foot) it never settles over the land on this planet.
    are the schools there as bad as that?

  39. Schitzree says:

    janama says: A lot of nonsense.

    Seriously, janama, can you back up any of that spiel? Children suffering from intense migraines and bleeding noses and ears? Layer of methane settle over the land? Really? Any documentation of this environmental catastrophe?

    Out of curiosity I looked up some info on the whole Tara, Queensland Issue. Not surprising it appears to be another group of ‘NIMBY’ protesters and the usual gang of National/International Enviro wanks looking for publicity.

    I especially liked this protest site.

    {url}http://gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/44-of-wells-leaking-at-australian-gas-field/{/url}
    {quote}A study of a gas field in Queensland, Australia has found 44% of gas wells leaking (see p4 of this pdf). The report adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that gas drilling inevitably leads to water contamination as gas escapes from boreholes.{/quote}

    Of course, If you click on the link to the actual study you find this.

    {url}http://mines.industry.qld.gov.au/assets/petroleum-pdf/tara_leaking_well_investigation_report.pdf{/url}
    {quote}The following report deals with leakage testing of QGC well heads in the Tara area, included
    testing carried out by the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate on the 27-29 April 2010 and 11-12
    May 2010 and testing by Simtars on 30-31 May 2010.
    A total of fifty-eight (58) individual gas wells have been inspected and tested to date at the
    QGC Kenya gas fields of Lauren, Codie and Kate. Of the fifty-eight gas wells tested:
    • One (2%) of the gas wells tested was found to be leaking above the LEL (lower explosive
    limit) of methane.
    • Four (7%) of the gas wells were leaking at a rate at or above ten percent of the lower
    explosive limit (LEL) of methane.
    • Twenty one (36%) of the gas wells tested were found to have very minor to minor ppm
    gas leaks.
    The leakage testing conducted by the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate on the 27-29 April
    2010 identified a small number of coal seam gas well heads with leaks in the low parts per
    million (ppm) range and several with readings at percentages of the lower explosive limit
    (LEL). The lower explosive limit is the lowest level of methane in air at which a methane/air
    mixture can be ignited.
    The risk of an incident from these well heads is extremely low, given the nature and size of
    the leaks and the isolation of the well heads from public access. Nevertheless, a Compliance
    Direction (CD 1741) was issued to QGC instructing QGC to undertake repairs to the well
    heads and provide weekly progress reports to the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate.
    The leakage testing conducted on 11 – 12 May 2010 identified a number of well heads with
    leaks in the low parts per million (ppm) range. Three wells had readings above 10% of, but
    below the lower explosive limit (LEL). One gas well head (Lauren #42) registered a reading in
    the percentage methane gas range of 6%. QGC were immediately issued a verbal compliance
    direction instructing them to take immediate steps to repair this gas well head. A work-over rig
    was immediately diverted to the site to affect the necessary repairs.{/quote}

    So in reality
    * only 1 out of 58 Wells (2%) had a serious leak, and it was repaired immediately after it was found.
    *4 out of 58 (7%) had minor leaks, well below the point that ignition is possible, but still needing to be seen to.
    *and 21 out of 58 (36%) had leaks that could be best defined as the ’100 meters downwind of a cow’ level.

    So that would be 9%, not 44% with real leaks. Probably a sign that the gas company needs to increase inspections and repairs a little, but hardly an impending environmental catastrophe.

    I’m surprised Hanson hasn’t been out there to be photographed being arrested. Oh well, probably too small scale for him. I guess they’ll just have to settle for Bob Irwin.

  40. Schitzree says:

    I swear, I’m never going ton get the tags right in a post.

  41. davidmhoffer says:

    So the founder of Gaia has abandoned Gaia.
    What’s next? The founder of Greenpeace abandoning Greenpeace?

    Oh…. wait….
    OK, nevermind.

  42. This just in. ExxonMobil and Rosneft to use fracking technology to access Siberian tight oil formations http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/exxonmobil-rosneft-pair-up-for-fracking/460362.html

    Does anyone think the Russians are going to let enviro-whackos prevent them from expanding their economy by selling oil to the rest of us.

  43. Jeff Alberts says:

    Gunga Din says:
    June 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t know much about waht he’s said in the past. It sounds like he’s realized that the CAGW theory he had believed in is severly flawed and that Man is not here for “Gaia” but earth for Man. Maybe he’s taking an honest look around him?

    Earth is not here for man, nor is man here for earth. We’re both just here, along with everything else.

  44. It's always Marcia, Marcia says:

    “for whom he is something of a guru”

    No, he is a god to them.

  45. It's always Marcia, Marcia says:

    “The reaction in Germany to Fukushima – which announced within weeks of the disaster that it was to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022″

    I believe they have shut them all down already.

  46. It's always Marcia, Marcia says:

    I get the impression from reading his comments that the elevator does not go all the way to the top with him.

  47. Michael Larkin says:

    The truly astounding thing is that this appeared at all in the Guardian, and not overly spun, either. As expected, the massed greenies in comments are searching for some way to discredit their erstwhile guru. I see some are opining he’s getting demented, even that he has no right to call himself a scientist. Actually, he’s always been a very smart cookie even though he got carried away on the Gaia thing.

  48. Eric Dailey says:

    Maybe he has grandchildren.

  49. What I really want to know is if Lovelock has revisited his view that democracy is not a suitable system within which issues related to climate change can be tackled.

  50. Pointman says:

    Ship, rats, sinking etc etc

    Pointman

  51. rogerknights says:

    “Breaking ranks” is a sign of a mass movement’s decline.
    Once the first brick is dislodged, the rest come out easier.
    Etc.

  52. OssQss says:

    First thing that hit my mind…..

  53. Puckster says:

    Gaea must have felt his decision yesterday resulting in an earthquake that hit Afghanistan, where I work.
    I slept through it.

  54. Menth says:

    Anyone who is willing to reconsider firmly held beliefs in the face of evidence is worthy of respect. Easier said than done to do.

  55. Reblogged this on contrary2belief and commented:
    Lovelock; The incomplete fool.

  56. Wagathon says:

    If this keeps up being given the Nobel won’t be a sign of the devil.

  57. Brian says:

    “I detest liberal Democrats.”

    Sorry, but the right is war mongering crapolla right now also. At this point, people should feel ashamed if they tie themselves to either of these parties at this point. Romney vs. Obama?

    Yeah, politics is a complete joke right now.

    There is nothing wrong with liberalism when it’s not taken to the extreme that some have taken it.

    Anyway, this man seems to be on his way to distancing himself from the greenies and probably man made Climate Change. There is always the chance he is trying to get attention. But probably not. I would guess it’s pretty darn hard for a 90 year old man to change his position in a real extreme manner. He probably doesn’t really want the negative attention that he will get from environmentalist. When you think about it that way, you have to assume that he doing this because of what he honestly believes.

  58. Jeremy says:

    Pokerguy,

    I never claimed that “billions will die from man-made global warming” or made up mumbo jumbo religious pseudoscientific nonsense about “Gaia”. Does that make me a genius? No! Is that some kind of a fantastic achievement? Not at all!

    But at least I am not such a complete fool as to go around publishing wild unsupported sensationalist claims. Claims that do not hold up to even superficial scientific scrutiny.

  59. Eric Worrall says:

    Now all we need is for James Hansen to admit the carbon scare was all down to a drunken bet with Robert Heinlein which got out of hand.

  60. AndyG55 says:

    Jeff Alberts says:

    “Earth is not here for man, nor is man here for earth. We’re both just here, along with everything else.”

    Ah yes.the arrogance of man, always thinking he “knows”….

    yet inventing gods and idols to explain the unknown.

    We have a VERY lot to learn !!!

  61. Bill Tuttle says:

    It’s always Marcia, Marcia says:
    June 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    “The reaction in Germany to Fukushima – which announced within weeks of the disaster that it was to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022″
    I believe they have shut them all down already.

    The last big tsunami to hit Germany’s Baltic coast happened in — ummmmmm — never. Merkel must figure it’s overdue…

  62. Dodgy Geezer says:

    If the warmists keep on rejecting every one of their former stars when they come to their senses and admit they were wrong, then they will soon have nobody at all to ‘lead’ them.

    Lomborg is now a ‘traitor’, Monbiot is distinctly quavery. Dear me. Still, I suppose they can still rely on good old Paul Ehrlich, who has never admitted he was wrong even after being comprehensively taken to the cleaners by Julian Simon in 1980-90….

  63. We chemists often get it right.

  64. Steve C says:

    Better late than never. Now, sir, please think on Thorium and it’ll make your nuclear pronouncements that much more credible too.

  65. Steve C says:

    Brian – no, no, he detests Liberal Democrats – the UK’s third political party, not ‘liberal Democrats’ in the US sense.

    The Liberal Party, for most of the 20th century, was the rump of what had been the progressive wing in British politics until the Labour Party adopted a more active position after its foundation in the early 20th century; the Social Democrats broke away from the Labour Party in the 70s/80s because they viewed it (not unjustly) as having become too statist. When the Social Democrats got nowhere, they formally merged with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats, who have been the “A Plague on Both Your Houses” party for the last two or three decades.

    Following the LDs alliance with the (right wing) Conservatives since the last election, to give us our current “Coalition” government, expect them to become the “And Who Were They” party after the next election. The alliance was not a popular move in the LD ranks, who generally want to be seen as the “soft progressive” option, nor anywhere else.

  66. Mariwarcwm says:

    Lovelock should read the summary of the Global Warming Scam (Chapter 9) in Deepak Lal’s book ‘Lost Causes’, just published, and he might become even wiser.

  67. Richard111 says:

    Excomunicate! Excomunicate! /sarc

  68. Cynic in me: what were the Guardian motives for running this piece?

    Throwaway test case? Easy for Grauniad to hype him up or shoot him down? We know Grauniad do not listen to certain viewers, or there would not be the stinky behaviour at CiF. So they must listen to others somewhere, who… what…? FTM… Gail Combs?

    Apart from that, I applaud Lovelock still willing to change his mind and stand up for it, at 92.

    How about inviting him for an interview / article here?

  69. Tob y G says:

    off topic (sorry mods) but on the Conservative Home website an article has appeared by some idiot sprouting rubbish on how great wind farms are. It is highly partisan and pretty much argues the complete opposite of what we know to be true about windfarms.

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2012/06/adam-bruce-contrary-to-popular-opinion-wind-energy-cuts-electricity-bills-and-boosts-economic-growth.html

    someone please fisk it in the comments, I haven’t got time to rip it apart like I would normally do

  70. labrador says:

    Cheap, reliable and robust energy that North America gets in nat gas via fracking is a gift. Something to be thankful for.

  71. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    It’s always Marcia, Marcia said on June 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm:

    “The reaction in Germany to Fukushima – which announced within weeks of the disaster that it was to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022″

    I believe they have shut them all down already.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18468685

    16 June 2012 Last updated at 01:31 ET

    Japan PM Noda orders nuclear reactors back online

    Japan has announced that it will restart two nuclear reactors – the first to go back online since all the country’s plants were closed following last year’s Fukushima crisis.

    Reactors at the Ohi plant in central Fukui prefecture will be switched on in three weeks, officials said.

    Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has urged support for the move, saying Japan faces a summer of power shortages.

    But widespread public opposition to nuclear power remains.

    Japan’s 50 reactors were shut down for routine maintenance after the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant, which was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

    Nuclear power used to provide one third of Japan’s electricity.

    The government has asked households and businesses in parts of the country to cut electricity usage by 15% to avoid possible blackouts.

    Also http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-06-16/japan-restarts-reactors/55631092/1 (source AP):


    While pushing for the restart of reactors that have passed safety checks, Noda has pledged to gradually reduce Japan’s reliance on nuclear power. Before the crisis, nuclear generated about one-third of Japan’s electricity.

    Japan is debating renewable energy targets of between 25 percent to 35 percent of total power generation by 2030, looking to Germany, which raised the proportion of renewables from 5 percent in 1990 to 20 percent by 2010.

    But the sudden shutdown of nuclear plants has hit Japan’s economy hard.

    To offset the shortfall, utilities have ramped up oil- and gas-based generation, and that contributed to the country’s biggest annual trade deficit ever last fiscal year. Noda and others argue that the higher cost of energy without nuclear will cost people their livelihoods and could cripple recovery efforts.

    Japan does not give in to fear. The Japanese people can be very pragmatic. They need the energy now, it is breaking them to not have it, so they will have it.

    And they are also mouthing future support of renewables with just enough lead time to note the crashing failure they’ve been elsewhere. They are looking to Germany, where large customers with contracts will see a 70% increase by 2025, smaller users like households who can’t negotiate discounts will see more. That’s pretty smart for politicians.

  72. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    “Doom-monger recants”, that he had been “extrapolating too far”

    Extrapolation, the downfall of many scientific predictions. It assumes that nothing will change.

  73. David L Williams says:

    Brian
    Lovelock is commenting in the context of British politics.
    In the UK a Liberal is someone who is a member of, or votes for the “Liberal Democrats” which is a political party. The “Lib Dems” as they are also known, are the minor partner to the “Conservative party” in the British coalition government.

  74. martinbrumby says:

    The Grauniad’s Komment Macht Frei is even more rabid than usual. VERY few sensible comments but one (at No.3) from Nick Grealy is worth reading.

    Nick isn’t a sceptic but his blog on Shale Gas is very well worth checking out:-
    http://www.nohotair.co.uk/gas-guru-blog/shale-gas-2012/2549-the-uk-should-go-mad-for-fracking

    Whatever the Grauniadistas say now, Lovelock was a God for them until very recently.
    Now?
    I do love the sound of greenie heads exploding in the morning!

    [Note! This is not a death threat!]

  75. Scottie says:

    @Brian

    Lovelock didn’t say, “I detest liberal Democrats.”

    What he actually said was:

    ” I detest the Liberal Democrats.”

    The Liberal Democrats are a minority UK political party, currently in coalition government with the Conservatives. His later comment makes clear why he detests them:

    “They are all well-meaning, but they have mostly had little experience of power,” he adds. “The coalition has behaved disgracefully on environmental and energy policies. It would have been much better if they had been properly rightwing. I don’t mean something like Thatcher; that was a revolutionary Conservative government. Just a regular one. Our political system works because they tend to self-correct each other.”

  76. KenB says:

    Give credit where credit is due, have a read up on the scientific achievements of the man during his lifetime, then think about how and why you became what you are now. I know my path was one of years of observation and interest in weather, so easy to be sceptical, but if you have any pride or integrity you must maintain an open mind just in case you might be wrong. that’s been my experience and if the science was compelling enough in data and detail I would be happy to change my mind as that is the way that science works. As time marches on I am not surprised that a scientist can change his mind in the face of the garbage served up in lieu of the real thing!!

    Did they even think before publishing such junk.

  77. Micky H Corbett says:

    Martin Brumby
    I do love the sound of greenie heads exploding in the morning!

    For some reason I was reminded of the last act in Mars Attacks!. The grandma playing the country crooning records and the aliens heads exploding.

  78. bluejohnmarshall says:

    I am afraid James has a distorted view of skeptics. they do not want to go back 20 years far from it they want to advance using real science not some politically codged together theory formulated to make everyone feel guilty.
    Get real James, but I agree about the Greens, load of ignorant Luddites.

  79. David, UK says:

    Steve C says:
    June 16, 2012 at 12:32 am

    The Liberal Party, for most of the 20th century, was the rump of what had been the progressive wing in British politics until the Labour Party adopted a more active position…

    Sorry, but you have that 180 degrees incorrect. The British Liberal party (as opposed to the Liberal Democrats) was right-of-centre. They were classic liberals – who are now generically termed libertarians, since the word “liberal” was hijacked by the Left in Orwellian tradition to now mean the exact opposite of what it used to mean. Australia still has a Liberal party in the classical sense – although they are essentially Conservatives rather than libertarians.

  80. mwhite says:

    “Carbon storage ‘may cause small earthquakes’”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/15/underground-carbon-storage-small-earthquakes

    “US report finds injecting fracking wastewater underground can trigger seismic activity – with implications for CCS viability”

  81. Bruce Cobb says:

    He’s getting there. He still seems to have no inkling of just how shonky the “science” on climate change is, but he will. Once your eyes have been opened it’s hard to shut them.

  82. Jack Simmons says:

    Schitzree says:
    June 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I swear, I’m never going ton get the tags right in a post.

    You may not have gotten the tags right, but you did get the facts right.

    Good review of the Tara matter, demonstrating how opponents of fracking distort the facts.

  83. agwnot says:

    Lovelock also said; “I think the most outrageous example of climate scientists getting it wrong and not admitting it was the 2007 IPPC report. They happily accepted the Nobel prize, but their sea-level rise estimates, according to that very important Science paper by Rahmstorf (pdf), were 100% wrong. They didn’t really answer this other than say it’s a very complicated business and we’ve only just started. The IPCC is too politicised and too internalised. Whenever the UN puts its finger in it seems to become a mess.”

    Cool.

  84. All the money that have been sacrificed for the CO2 monster, could have been invested to turn rehabilitate large scale damaged ecosystems, as shown by John D. Liu

    Please watch the Dutch TV documentary Groen Goud (Green Gold):

    Most is English spoken with Dutch subtitles.

  85. RobRoy says:

    Perhaps Mr. Lovelock is a man with a keen sense of where the wind is blowing. He’s comfortable siding with the consensus, regardless the content.
    Of course this would mean the CAGW scam is crumbling. We can only hope.

  86. joel says:

    Well, there is nothing wrong with admitting your were wrong. I don’t know of any area of science or medicine where the leading lights were not seriously wrong about some things, often many things.

    For some insight into our current debate on climate:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_Earth

    Note that the guys with the mathematical models were wrong, because they simply did not understand the physical systems they were modelling. Their conceit was their mistake. If Kelvin had accepted the geologists much greater estimates of the age of the Earth, based on direct observations of the Earth, he might have hypothesized that there was another, unknown factor at work heating the Earth. Radioactive decay. Now that would have been something. People are just too conceited to concede that there are important things which just haven’t been discovered yet and which impact what they are doing.

    About this guy’s age. I am 65, and I can tell you with each passing year I care less and less what other people think. It is not senility. I have to be careful at work, for example, of what I say. I watch what I say to safeguard my job. If I were independent of my job for income, I would be much more frank.

    So, anyhow, in the end money will rule on this issue. Since the USA and Europe are broke, green dreams are going to be dumped. Germany is facing the truth about their green effort. It ain’t pretty. What people say will money less and less. Money talks.

  87. DirkH says:

    Jeremy says:
    June 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Pokerguy,

    I never claimed that “billions will die from man-made global warming” or made up mumbo jumbo religious pseudoscientific nonsense about “Gaia”. Does that make me a genius? No! Is that some kind of a fantastic achievement? Not at all!

    But at least I am not such a complete fool as to go around publishing wild unsupported sensationalist claims. Claims that do not hold up to even superficial scientific scrutiny.

    Lovelock is in one category with Ehrlich and Holdren. They are the spiritual fathers of the green Political Religion that serves as the new packaging for s0cialism – see here : http://lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo230.html – the “watermelon” phenomenon was planned. It is not an accident. It serves as the backdoor to reintroduce a planned economy as we sse in each UN gabfest. This is what Lovelock has enabled.

    Great achievement that.

  88. ferd berple says:

    The move, he (Lovelock) says, has been forced on him. Three years ago, he received a heating bill for the winter totalling £6,000.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory?intcmp=122
    =================
    And who says there is no justice in the world? He promotes a goofy idea, the politicians implement it, and it comes back to bite him in the pocket book!

    So, faced with sky high heating bills, he finally comes to realize that just maybe it had it wrong all along.

  89. ImranCan says:

    Unfortunately James Lovelock has never said anything remotely scientifically intelligent. We have had to put up with the turgid crap he and other idiots like Pail Ehrlich spouts for far too long. Less than 5 years ago he predicted that most humans would be wiped out this century due to global warming with “a few breeding pairs living in the arctic”.

    His views are utterly ignorant. People like him are responsible for the gross decline in the credibility and application of the scientific method. He should be called out for what he is : a sham and a fraud.

  90. Voltaire must be turning in his grave with the rejection of the Enlightenment that began in the mid nineteenth century, saw the era of Fascism, Bolchevism and Nazism and now has its incarnation in Environmentalism. Belief in Gaia is no more rational than worship of Apollo or Isis but at least it is not necessarilly as malevolent as the Greenie god, who is more akin to Baal-Moloch.

  91. pat says:

    janama says:
    June 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    “Perhaps he should spend a quiet morning at Tara in Queensland where you can see the layer of methane settle over the land as the fog rises. The children suffering from intense migraines and bleeding noses and ears. Just because he proposed the Gaia theory it doesn’t qualify him for making statements about a subject he appears to know nothing about..”

    I don’t get it. Do you have a unique natural gas? Why is it settling? Sounds like you have confused propane aka cooking gas with natural gas. Propane is manufactured from oil. Natural gas is , ah, natural. While it is classified as a fossil fuel, in fact it also has geologic origins and has always been a component of the planet. Natural gas quickly exits ground level. And it is quickly dispersed and chemically altered.

  92. May the day come when all nuclear power plants are closed!

    Of course some will tell me they are safe. Would they tell me the same if there was a nuclear disaster in the US? Many of them would. There are some that would advocate nuclear power even while dying from health problems caused by a nuclear power plant disaster. They kinda remind me of manmade global warming believers who advocate manmade global warming despite how much evidence there is questioning it.

  93. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Amino Acids in Meteorites on June 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm:

    May the day come when all nuclear power plants are closed!

    Of course some will tell me they are safe. Would they tell me the same if there was a nuclear disaster in the US? Many of them would. (…)

    We had one, it was called Three Mile Island. Located in Pennsylvania, to the south of me, where I’ve lived all my life. I also have the Berwick nuke plant (Susquehanna Steam Electric Station) to the east. Berwick’s been going since 1982 and 1984, units 1 and 2 respectively, licensed to 2042 and 2044.

    In terms of perceived risk, nuclear war with the Soviets was ultimately higher, getting nuke bombed now by terrorists or “rogue” nations is still higher. In realized risk, adding in “incidentals” like nuke bomb production, it’s a wash to lower with nuke plants. Ask around a question, “Would you rather have a nuclear plant within 10 miles of your home or nuclear materials in the hands of terrorists?”

    (…) There are some that would advocate nuclear power even while dying from health problems caused by a nuclear power plant disaster. (…)

    There are many advocating solar power while dying from health problems caused by the Sun. Skin cancer can be miserable, metastasizing and spreading before you even know you have it.

    Face the reality, all energy comes with risks. How many houses have you heard of that blew up from a gas leak, or people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a furnace malfunction, or even a wood stove that had a venting problem? Electrical problems cause scores of house fires every week, no matter the source of the electricity.

    Nuclear plants are over-engineered from the start, designed and built by those legally and fiscally obligated to get it right, run and maintained by a highly skilled workforce, and regulated up the whazoo. No other energy source comes close with regards to safety. Don’t forget the reliability.

    Plus there are many light water reactors running that are over 30 and even 40 years old, using designs and understanding that can be more than 50 years old. They’ve held up remarkably well. There are the always-safe CANDU’s and newer “inherently safe” LWR designs, loaded with hair-trigger automatic shutdown mechanisms. Nuclear power is safe and getting safer.

    (…)They kinda remind me of manmade global warming believers who advocate manmade global warming despite how much evidence there is questioning it.

    Catastrophic global warming, catastrophic nuclear energy, many similarities. Practically no evidence that stands up to scrutiny. Lots of fear generated based on linear no-threshold models: any warming is bad, any radiation is bad.

    What’s still the worst nuclear plant accident? Chernobyl, a crappy old design no longer used, and as has been discussed here in the past, was the result of a test that exceeded design specs, shouldn’t have been authorized, ill conceived and not even carried out as it should have been. Even Wikipedia has a good write-up. It was the functional equivalent of some engineering students crashing a Yugo head-on into a tree to see just how bad it would really be, deciding just before to add another 10mph, and right afterwards a still-conscious person had a smoke and threw the burning butt into the pool of leaked gasoline.

    Even then, as the NRC noted in their write-up, “Health Effects from the Accident” section, the aftereffects weren’t that bad. Nothing like the then-envisioned nightmare scenarios, and nothing like assorted rent-seekers are trying to claim actually has happened.

    Yup, pretty much like what’s happened with global warming.

    Oh, and Fukushima? As the BBC reported:

    24 May 2012 Last updated at 07:03 ET

    WHO: Post-Fukushima radiation levels in Japan ‘low’

    Radiation levels in most of Japan are below cancer-causing levels a year after the Fukushima plant accident, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report published on Wednesday says.

    Namie town and Itate village, near the plant in eastern Japan, are exposed to radiation levels of 10-50 millisieverts (mSv), while the rest of Fukushima has radiation levels of 1-10 mSv, the WHO report said.

    Most of Japan has levels of 0.1-1 mSv, while neighbouring countries have less than 0.01 mSv.

    The report says that levels outside Japan are below those regarded by the international radiological protection community as “very small”.

    People are exposed on average to around 2 mSv of radiation a year from the natural environment, although there is considerable variation between individuals. The single-year limit for occupational exposure of workers is 50 mSv.

    To avoid any underestimation of radiation levels, the report used conservative assumptions, and says some of the levels may have been overestimated.

    But what about the “safe” renewables, wind and solar?

    2008: Deaths per TWh for all energy sources: Rooftop solar power is actually more dangerous than Chernobyl
    Notes:
    1. Strange formatting, may have to reduce text size to see all of it.
    2. Uses the disputed EPA-style “deaths due to particulates” to inflate coal/oil numbers.
    3. Rooftop solar is three times as deadly as wind power, which is itself FOUR times deadlier than nuclear.

    http://toryaardvark.com/2011/03/18/wind-energy-has-killed-more-americans-than-nuclear/
    “Wind Energy Has Killed More Americans Than Nuclear”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/
    “How Deadly Is Your Kilowatt? We Rank The Killer Energy Sources”
    Nuclear is safest.

    http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/14/even-candles-kill-many-more-than-nuclear-power/
    Candles Kill Many More Than Nuclear Power

    So, why do you have this irrational fear of nuclear power when it’s continually shown to be the safest energy we have?

  94. benfrommo says:

    One of the largest problems with nuclear energy is the fact that people do not understand it in the least. Due to overblown fears of radiation among other things we have come to the point where people are just not understanding of various issues.

    For one, there is very little difference between Gen 3 reactors (uranium/plutonium) and Gen 4 reactors (thorium).

    The concepts are the same where cooling is passive and even in the event of catastrophic power loss the units can still be cooled down. The only nuclear disasters have been involved with Gen 2 reactors where cooling is not passive and that include Fukushima and Three Mile Island among other various scares. That Chernobyl tragedy was from what I would almost consider a Gen 1.5 model that was badly designed, and not a good idea in the first place.

    But why are people gung-ho about thorium versus uranium and how gen 4 is so much better? Well I would stand to reason that it comes down to the fact that thorium reactions can be done more efficiently and the prime reason being that you can not extract usable fissile material from thorium reactions. People are scared of nuclear prolifiration, so for the sake of argument, I would argue that as long as we can safe-guard nuke plants and otherwise keep the fissile material contained, Gen 3 works just fine. Gen 4 would be an option in the third world where we do not want bad people getting this kind of material or countries such as Iran which have promised to destroy the US and/or Israel or other countries.

    Regardless, its always about economics as far as power goes. If we want to go nuclear I would strongly suggest doing it slowly to keep power costs down. As we are seeing in the US from EIA data (look for yourself) our power costs are going up and up. Some of this is due to renewables from solar, wind, etc, but a lot of it is from new NG plants and basically retiring plants before they are ready to be retired. Broken window fallacy in other words.

    If we really want to keep power costs down and switch over to nuclear or any other power source, this must be done slowly and you should allow some new coal plants to be installed so as to give time to various industries to switch production without harming people in those fields too quickly.

    This also allows production lines and other infrastructure to be build slowly over time also keeping down costs. The problem most of us realize is that power costs are going up and up and these costs are often felt with rising costs everywhere for increased prices for gas, power, etc which drives everything to be more expensive. Every company in the real world is out to make a profit and they rise prices to the consumer so they can do so.

    Its in this vein that our only option is to not protest individual sources of power or otherwise triumph them….our options include doing this slowly and to allow the market to decide versus draconian regulations that do not take into consideration economics.

    The US for instance is already in a recession as is most of the world. The only way we escape this trap is by keeping power costs down and making sure that everyone has access to the best and the cheapest sources of power.

    If that is nuclear, hydro or whatever, I am fine with that. Even coal or NG if it keeps prices low. It is only through economic strength that we have the resources to combat real environmental problems and when times get rough, people always do what people do: they become more destructive to their local environments not because they “hate nature” but more or less because they want to survive. this is a key to remember. If we really want to rise to a challenge, there must be a solution that is practical for the common man. But to find this, the key as always is to find the costs and the benefits of every power source and use that as a litmus test.

  95. Schitzree says:

    The sad thing here was that is was so obvious what I would find if I dug into this. I mean, how could a company stay in biz if half their wells are leaking. the odds of this biing true were increadabley low. And as usual it wasn’t true.

  96. greg holmes says:

    Amazing that he comes with this now he is OFF a Gov’t payroll, the truth will out.

  97. Sergey says:

    He is old enough to remember what science used to be before postmodernism destroyed the very notion of objective truth. But like many rational men (such men were actually rare, even in his generation, when there were much more of them than are now) he grossly underestimated irrationality of humankind and its propensity to turn everything, science included, into some parody of religion. The Gaja idea is a nice scientific methaphor, encompassing geological power of life, its homeostatic nature and some telenomic tendencies of it, manifest in evolution. It was not his fault that the damn fools made a myth from it. Now he understood what a beast he unnowiningly created.

  98. Valerie A says:

    Spoken as a true scientist! A man willing to admit he was not correct and making it good of his newest discovery to correct a past error. Eviidence is that our world has experienced much hotter weather patterns in 100s of years past.

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