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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Timbo

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

Bill

Nice to know Lovelock is not a complete fool.

Peter Whale

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.

DirkH

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.

Ray

No fracking way!

Olen

Who says old people are not smart.

kwik

A bit late……

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

Gary Hladik

“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. 🙂

“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.

Jeremy

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.

Disko Troop

Leo Hickman must be turning in his journalistic grave!
(That is not a death threat)

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!

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!

wayne

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.

Gunga Din

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?

pokerguy

“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?

Dolphinhead

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

pokerguy

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.

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.

Richard deSousa

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

Ian E

‘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 …

pat

Think of Gaia cracking her knuckles.

spinifers

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.

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

Power Grah

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.

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 🙂

Green Sand

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.

alan

Fracking brilliant!

janama

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..

Lawrie Ayres

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.

R. Shearer

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.

Mike

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

David, UK

“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.

wayne

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!

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

Nick in vancouver

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.

gnomish

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?

Schitzree

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.

Schitzree

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

davidmhoffer

So the founder of Gaia has abandoned Gaia.
What’s next? The founder of Greenpeace abandoning Greenpeace?
Oh…. wait….
OK, nevermind.

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.

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.

It's always Marcia, Marcia

“for whom he is something of a guru”
No, he is a god to them.

It's always Marcia, Marcia

“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.

It's always Marcia, Marcia

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

Michael Larkin

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.

Eric Dailey

Maybe he has grandchildren.

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.

Ship, rats, sinking etc etc
Pointman