BREAKING: James Lovelock backs down on climate alarm

MSNBC reports that the lack of temperature rise in the last 12 years has convinced environmentalist James Lovelock ( The Gaia Hypothesis) that the climate alarmism wasn’t warranted.

From his Wikipedia entry: Writing in the British newspaper The Independent in January 2006, Lovelock argues that, as a result of global warming, “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable” by the end of the 21st century.

He has been quoted in The Guardian that 80% of humans will perish by 2100 AD, and this climate change will last 100,000 years. According to James Lovelock, by 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine. Indeed “[t]he people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain”.

What he has said to MSNBC is a major climb down. MSNBC reports in this story:

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

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

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

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

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.”

This won’t sit well with many. McKibben has a whole movement based on alarm for example. Watch the true believers now trash him in the “doddering old man” style we’ve seen before.

hat tip to Steve Milloy at junkscience.com

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ClimateTruthIreland

Quite shocking, but very revealing. A real blow at all climate alarmists. I don’t expect this will hit the mainstream media, though.

andrew m

… that awkward moment when you wake up realizing you’re near the end of your time on earth, and your lasting legacy may be associated with the same folks who taught about the flat earth, the y2k bug and how there would never be a processor faster than the 8086.

Good News!

Amazing!

William Abbott

Truth and data are stubborn things. What else can you do but climb down if you have a shred of honesty about you? Al Gore is right, the debate is over.

If he wasn’t credible in 2006, what makes him credible now?

Time for another letter to the editor….as well as posting the story link to SkS for deletion.

Geoff Shorten

I was searching for quotes by Molière for a crossword puzzle recently and I came across this gem:
‘It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right’

An IPCC scientist admitted to me that they don’t understand why the temperature hasn’t increased over the last 15 years, and ‘anyone who claims to know why, is a liar”.

Alvin

They are progressives, it’s what they do. As soon as they see they have gone too far, they slow down to allow the balance of power. Then they go nuts again to push the Fabian Socialist agenda.

Bladeshearer – changing one’s mind publicly and with reason IS a good way to gain credibility.

David

Maybe he also saw the latest Arctic ice extent/ice area graphs. You don’t hear too much about those these days from the AGW crowd.

polistra

Lovelock has been showing some disappointment about the direction of Greenism for a while. For instance, he’s been stoutly for nuclear power while most Greenies want zero power and zero humans.
Nice to see a firm and definite statement!
Of course he doesn’t control any grants or budgets, so this won’t make any practical difference.

Did this cause another cranial decompression event with Mr.Romm?

Resourceguy

And where is the cost or scorn for yelling fire in the theatre in the first place? There is no cost for this villiage idiot stupidity and that is the policy problem for the global civilization. He got his 15 minutes of fame like Charles Mansion and the rest of us have to gho pick up the pieces and shake our heads in the aftermath. Soviet misinformation specialists could not craft such effective media schemes because their KGB masters would have balked at the incredulity of the operation’s concept and plausibility.

Quite shocking, but very revealing. A real blow at all climate alarmists. I don’t expect this will hit the mainstream media, though

CRS, DrPH

I’m happy to read this, as his thoughts parallel my own, and also reflect the public words of Dr. Richard Lindzen. The mass of carbon dioxide being exhausted into the atmosphere is immense and growing, but the direct relationship to excessive warming is fuzzy at best. This warrants more HONEST scientific examination, not more of the fear-mongering and economic tampering of the Hockey Team and their ilk.
Good news, Anthony, thanks.

Tommy Roche

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.”
The above alone is going to cause a storm. Its a massive blow to the AGW alarmists. I just hope the alarmists take this statement for what it is, an observable fact,. Sadly though, history tells us that Mr Lovelock will have to endure much personal abuse for his truthfulness.

Icarus62

Unfortunately the evidence from sea level rise, global ocean heat content, ice melt and global temperature series all show that there has been no decline in the rate of anthropogenic global warming, so this story seems to be rather premature. Also, greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere faster than ever, so there is no reason to be complacent.

Jenn Oates

Wow.
I am…surprised. Very surprised.

Henry Galt

Icarus62 says
You flew too close to the sun, son.

Nat McQueen

Wait, does this mean that Al Gore will admit there’s no consensus anymore?
(roll-eyes)

Latitude

Icarus62 says:
April 23, 2012 at 10:16 am
Unfortunately the evidence from sea level rise, global ocean heat content, ice melt and global temperature series all show that there has been no decline in the rate of anthropogenic global warming, so this story seems to be rather premature. Also, greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere faster than ever, so there is no reason to be complacent.
===============
…and my arthritis is acting up

Severian

Expect the usual alarmist suspects to start labeling him an old, senile and mentally compromised fart in a few minutes. No no, don’t listen to him! He’s old and senile and losing his mind! The Big Oil funded Deniers got to him! Etc. etc. etc.
It is refreshing though, I agree with that. Now to see if he suddenly recants and tells the world he was quoted out of context after he starts getting pressured by the watermelons.

They’re imploding and you don’t have to connect many dots to see it now …
Pointman

mkelly

Icarus62 says:
April 23, 2012 at 10:16 am
Shirley you jest.

SteveSadlov

It is a testament to the force of Gaia that mere humans cannot control the climate! On that note, worst late April snow since 1928 in the NE US.

Stacey

To be fair he has admitted his mistake but I wonder whether he has considered his contribution to the costs and waste due the alarmists cause?

FerdinandAkin

Never trust anyone over 30.
James Lovelock is 92 therefore he cannot be trusted. Either that or he no longer fears an assassin in the night.

scf

I have a particular disdain for individuals who make grandiose statements of absolute certainty, like “billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable”, and then later will say things like “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago.”
Basically it admits to saying that the original statements were made without sufficient evidence, and then later when the evidence came in, they feel they can backtrack with little consequence.
It shows the complete absence of humility. It shows the complete absence of responsibility. And of course, such individuals should be ignored, but the sad thing is, they will not be ignored because they will instead be paraded as examples to others.
There is really a dearth of healthy skepticism in the public these days, people like this should have been ignored a long time ago.

“Confession is good for the soul”…and sells more books.

klem

I have always said Lovelock speaks his mind, and will change his views when the data shows otherwise. He will not be stuck with one opinion because of ideology. Changing ones view is something other alarmists have difficulty doing, but I have always maintained that Lovbelock is not one of them. He is an old school pure scientist.
Even though Lovelock is still a climate alarmist, when the data shows otherwise he will eventually become a climate skeptic. This is now happening.
Well done Lovelock. We need more scientists like you.

Matt

It is interesting to see how he wants to hide in the arctic from global warming, seeing how most of the “global” warming is of course an average, where the majority of the warming is happening in the arctic… err…

markx

We need to hope the ‘temperature climb lull” continues for a few more years. By that time most will realize we actually need to know a lot more about our planet’s climate before we go off with any dire predictions.
Had it not been for the ‘lull’ these p***** would already have the place in the palm of their hand.

Steve Oregon

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
Well that is complete bunk here in Oregon. Like elsewhere we have officials and academia who declare now more than ever that it’s clear-cut and they DO KNOW what the climate is doing. There is no hearkening back to “20 years ago” when they thought it looked clear-cut.
Of course it never was clear-cut then and nearly the entire climate science arena is a now festering sore of chicanery which science has never before seen.

brent

Does this mean we can have democracy back as well?
And can we call off all those plans for World Governance to “solve” the non-existent problem?
Can we now cancel RIO+20 and Agenda 21?
brent
James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent 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.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change
James Lovelock knows of what he speaks: personal experience allows him to say that a lot of humans aren’t that bright.
But Lovelock forgets that while there are many—half!—who are below average on the IQ scale, it takes an academic to say something really stupid.
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=2156
We’ve lost our fear of hellfire, but put climate change in its place
“Billions will die,” says Lovelock, who tells us that he is not normally a gloomy type. Human civilisation will be reduced to a “broken rabble ruled by brutal warlords”, and the plague-ridden remainder of the species will flee the cracked and broken earth to the Arctic, the last temperate spot, where a few breeding couples will survive.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3622794/Weve-lost-our-fear-of-hellfire-but-put-climate-change-in-its-place.html
Hardtalk – James Lovelock – Population reduction (max 1 billion)

James Lovelock, who propounded the Gaia hypothesis in 1979, initially rejected humans’ cancer-like impacts as a corollary, declaring flatly: “People are not in any way like a tumor” (Lovelock 1988, p. 177). But before long he modified this view, observing: “Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic micro-organism, or like the cells of a tumor or neoplasm” (Lovelock 1991,p. 153).
http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/humcan.html

MattC

Being an infidel is one thing. You’re only treated with derision and contempt (I mean, when they’re not calling for your house to be burned down or for your imprisonment or fantasizing about blowing you up). Being a heretic, well, Lovelock needs to watch his back.

Gary Pearse

Well, a recant by a leading AGW proponent shows that he is an honest man and did believe the evidence appeared to support AGW. We won’t get this from the hardcore climate scientists that have been prepared to twist facts and employ non-facts to keep it all going. Nor from the large number of non-scientist useful fools (bladeshearer? Icarus?), nor from the ideologue-green who don’t care about facts anyway. We will soon be able to sort them out – Lovelock has safely categorized himself as an honest scientist.

Roger

This statement from NOAA is an outright lie taken from the msm article “Asked to give its latest position on climate change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement that observations collected by satellites, sensors on land, in the air and seas “continue to show that the average global surface temperature is rising.” They obviously dont want the public to actually see the data
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_March_2012.png

Justthinkin

Icarus62 says:
April 23, 2012 at 10:16 am
Unfortunately the evidence from sea level rise, global ocean heat content, ice melt and global temperature series all show that there has been no decline in the rate of anthropogenic global warming, so this story seems to be rather premature. Also, greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere faster than ever, so there is no reason to be complacent.
Got any references there,sunny-boy? Extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary proof.

Tony McGough

Good for Lovelock; for there is joy in heaven over just one sinner who repents …
And anyway, which of us has not been too confident in his time… he probably was genuinely alarmed, and has now seen the error of his ways. Splendid.

FerdinandAkin

Icarus62 says:
April 23, 2012 at 10:16 am
Unfortunately the evidence from sea level rise, global ocean heat content, ice melt and global temperature series all show that there has been no decline in the rate of anthropogenic global warming

You are correct sir, there has been no decline, nor has there been any increase either, because there is no quantifiable evidence of anthropogenic global warming to make such a determination. The Earth however is still warming after going through the Little Ice Age.

John Whitman

MSNBC reports that the lack of temperature rise in the last 12 years has convinced environmentalist James Lovelock ( The Gaia Hypothesis) that the climate alarmism wasn’t warranted.

– – – – – –
” . . . wasn’t warranted.”
Huh ??????
I am sure he should have said, “. . . isn’t warranted.”
You really need to watch what these slippery activists say . . . . .
John

Lovelock said as early as in 2010 that Gaia created skeptics to protect Herself – that’s a good thing, see:
http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/03/lovelock-gaia-created-skeptics-to.html

jonathan frodsham

Wow, so that should put and end to CAGW?

Monty

Well, Dr. Lovelock isn’t a climate scientist and I (and most other climate scientists I guess) didn’t really take much notice of his views when they were rather alarmist. I don’t take that much notice of his pronouncements now. By the way, 12 years is too short to identify a climate trend.

Bomber_the_Cat

Well fair play to James Lovelock!
They say that a lie is half way around the world before the truth can get its boots on, but they also say that ‘Truth is the Daughter of Time’ – and now she has caught up with the lie.
James Lovelock, the green guru and originator of the famous Gaia Theory, though instrumental in the promotion of this global warming nonsense, did start to suspect the truth after the disclosure of the climategate emails. At that time he said in a Guardian interview
“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.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock
So the zone layer was a lot of nonsense as well. But fair play to the man, it is always difficult to admit that you were wrong (can you do it?). So let’s applaud him.