Quote of the Week – former warmist James Lovelock tells it like it is

JAMES LOVELOCK: NOBODY REALLY KNOWS THE FUTURE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Date: 26/07/16 Catherine Bolado, The Bournemouth Echo

IT’S not every day you get to meet a scientific hero – an earth scientist and inventor who worked for NASA in its infancy and helped to discover the devastating impact of CFC gases upon the ozone layer.

Chatting down the phone from his west Dorset home, the 96-year-old is everything (as a surprisingly nervous science geek) you hope he will be – witty, insightful and engaging.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) patron clearly has a very soft spot in his heart for Dorset and is delighted to be living in “one of the best bits of the whole country.”

He has lived in and around the south all his life.

He said: “Dorset is very much a part of my life. I walked through it as a child and an adult. I have always been very fond of it. I have worked here both as a writer and managing an MoD site at Winfrith. I first came here in 1929 as a child to Swanage for a couple of weeks and spent time walking around the coast.”

His association with DWT is deep rooted. He used to visit Cranborne Chase and “grew very fond of it,” becoming a lifelong member of DWT in the late 1950s and has made charitable donations to the charity.

Mr Lovelock said it was a “nice feeling” to be made a patron. He said: “There’s talk of making Dorset and Devon into a national park and I hope it comes off. It should happen.

“To have Dorset as a park would be a great idea.”

He was pleased the Navitus Bay wind farm development didn’t get the go ahead, as the energy that would be produced “wouldn’t be very reliable.”

A more sensible idea would be to create a solar farm in the Sahara, he suggested. This would create enough energy for Europe, but was unlikely to happen, Mr Lovelock added.

Climate and energy production is not surprisingly one of his main concerns. But as to predictions about the future, he is far less certain, saying:

“I think anyone that tries to predict more than five to ten years ahead is a bit of an idiot, so many things can change unexpectedly.”

He added that global warming proponents stated that the earth would get hotter and hotter but “they don’t really know,” and climate models are only based on what data goes into them, so it was hard to say what would happen in the future.

Mr Lovelock is interested in what can be measured, what can be observed.

So for example the sea temperature around Chesil Beach being so low and the effects of the Gulf Stream dropping ‘significantly’.

He said: “That’s one reason global warming hasn’t been so noticeable around here. Far from being an automatic warming up. If the sea starts moving the currents in different directions we get quite cold conditions.”

He said: “The other thing I predict, everyone will be living in cities towards the end of the century,” adding: “This is a trend all over. What’s left of the rest of the world is difficult to predict.”

“Don’t try and save the world, it’s pure hubris. We might be able to save Dorset. I don’t know how we do it. It’s up to us. I think it’s easier to save Dorset than the planet.”

Adding: “There’s one thing to keep in mind here. We don’t need to save the planet, it’s looked after itself for four billion years. It’s always been habitable and things have lived on it, so why worry.”

 

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87 thoughts on “Quote of the Week – former warmist James Lovelock tells it like it is

    • When Richard Branson of ‘Virgin Airline’ wanted to give name ‘Gaia’ to something or another he asks him for a permission to do so.
      Lovelock replied “NO ! It would be as if I was to open a brothel and call it ‘Virgin’.

      • The term Gaia existed long before Lovelock, I don’t see how he had the authority to prevent anyone else from using it.

    • Lovelock has always been a realist. He just doesn’t discount anything out of hand though, and that can occasionally place any logical person right in the wrong place in the eyes of many. For instance his Gaia hypothesis was never a religious argument. The name was a metaphor for a proposed globally scaled mechanism that tended toward a climatic equilibrium state preferred by living organisms. It depended on biological evolution rather than intention. The basic question he asked was, “given that main sequence stars like the sun get warmer as they age, and our star, over the course of the existence of biological life on the planet, should have warmed significantly, then why does the bulk of geological evidence seem to indicate no significant warming on a planetary scale over that span?” So, if you read between the lines, and you needn’t be very intent, the concept of “global warming” is inherent in his theory. The hypothesis argues that the biological fraction of the planet operates to maintain a homeostatic equiibrium, while the she sun is gradually ramping up the energy delivered to the planet.
      There’s nothing spooky or mystical about it; it is consistent with thermodynamics, and because the mechanisms proposed are complex, the idea would be difficult to test. In fact, if CO2 really were the “climate control knob,” then the steady draw down of atmospheric CO2 by biological systems over the Phanerozoic would seem at first glance to be in line with the GH.
      Unfortunately for Lovelock loads of functional illiterates took off with his book, a huge load of incomprehension and an “oh, wow! The earth’s alive! We gotta take care of her!” They’ve been uttering drivel ever since, and Lovelock has been blamed for it all. Apparently the “protect the earth” idea appeals to one-world types in politics as well.

    • …yet he makes excuses for a lack of warming and suggests the Gulf Stream has weakened substantially.

  1. <blockquoteAdding: “There’s one thing to keep in mind here. We don’t need to save the planet, it’s looked after itself for four billion years. It’s always been habitable and things have lived on it, so why worry.”
    Yay!

    • It hasn’t looked after itself very well. To start with, it’s terribly untidy. There are big patches of weeds over large bits of it. Some of it clearly hasn’t been dusted for years. Parts of it are badly wrinkled, and need a good ironing. And, more fundamentally, the continents are really inconvenient shapes. I’m sure we could do a better job if we put our mind to it.

  2. Ah yes the ozone hole. The first time we looked is was there! After 30 years of reducing refrigerants, and other economic hardships it is still there, and it appears to be sensitive to temperature. Imagine that it probably is a natural phenomenon and not caused by man.

    • stephana. I agree with you, after the exposure of the climate (global warming) as a fraud covering the objective of a socialist one world government ()Agenda 21, etc.), it is hard to believe the constant one environmental crisis afetr another. This is especially true when so many of them are false.

    • Stephana: Quite right! You can just see the documentary trailer that would follow (booming voice of doom): “Man thought the Ozone Hole was a quirk of Man’s interference with nature – only to find it was really Nature’s very own control knob for nature’s care for the planet: See how Man managed to close it and cancel out that control. More later – if we survive it.”
      A parable of our time.

    • Yes, Stephana, when clever scientists step outside of their true field of expertise, they become just another questionable opinion. He should leave the CFC fiasco off his resume.

    • And yet, the “hole” did stop growing right after the Montreal protocol was enacted. I think the science of the “ozone hole” is on a lot steadier ground than AGW. A whole lot.
      Which is why it is such a shame that they invested so much into AGW based on such flimsy evidence. When it finally comes tumbling down, it is going to pull everything down with it into disrepute. Pseudoscience is going to explode. And, the practitioners thereof will simply respond, “What do you know? You sure got that global warming stuff right, didn’t you?”

      • Correlation & causation can be separate items. Many US scientists in the 40’s and 50’s thought polio was caused by soft ice cream because there was so much more of both in the summer. We can say with surety that the ozone hole caused the Montreal protocol, but not the reverse.

      • Bartemis, you are totally wrong, the hole has not stopped growing and last september or october it reached its maximum extent ever measured for that month if I don’t remember wrong. What has stopped growing is the ammount of CFCs that reach that area of the atmosphere, which leads scientists to think that the ozone hole will eventually start to shrink. But that is something that we are still waiting for it to happen. “We will see”.

      • What has stopped growing is the amount of CFCs that reach that area of the atmosphere
        What has stopped growing and declined massively is the amount of publicity given to the “ozone hole” issue in the media. The “solution” to the “problem” has been implanted with the banning of CFCs, thus achieving the “goal” of the publicity. Further publicity is superfluous, and if it were to turn out that the “hole” comes and goes or grows and shrinks cyclically regardless of whether CFCs continue released into the atmosphere, then further publicity would be counterproductive.

      • ….and they can then join the merry band of economists, political scientist and other snake oil salesmen.

      • ahh really?
        then please explain the recently announced Northern Hem ozone hole then???

      • The ozone hole, grew, shrank and stayed the same, depending on the time period you choose.
        All of this after CFCs were banned.
        If CFCs were the cause of the hole, the hole should have pretty much disappeared by now.

      • I had a fairly involved discussion with the occasional commenter here who calls himself Phil, with my closing comment here. Phil made what I thought was a very strong case for excess ozone depletion due to humans. The graphs, such as the one above, or this one showing total column Cl equivalent
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/about/images/equivalent_chlorine.png
        appear to support the view that the CFC ban had a marked impact. Very different from the AGW debate, where we have seen temperatures stall even as CO2 concentration raced upwards, and we see very clearly that it is not temperature responding to CO2, but rather CO2 responding to temperature
        http://i1136.photobucket.com/albums/n488/Bartemis/temp-CO2_zpsnp6z3jnq.jpg
        My only remaining qualm about the CFC-Ozone link is regarding whether the data might have been manipulated, as GISS and NOAA have done with temperature data. But, taking the plots above at face value, the link appears strong to me.

    • Yes, I’ve always thought that the ozone hole had nothing to do with human activity. Probably more to do with solar activity…….but who the hell is investigating that?

      • You don’t want to go investigating solar activity, Jay! Oh, no! You might find out it has an effect on the weather or the climate or sea level or the ozone hole or all sorts of other things, and then where would we be?
        Out of a job, Jay boy, that’s where. We might actually have to go out and do something useful. Like work. Think of the humiliation!

    • Lovelock nows says that 70% of the tests for that Ozone hole were done incorrectly,so they weren’t useful. The IPCC was started by Bill Clinton, after their “success’ with Ozone hole scam. The goal wasn’t to find What was causing the warming, but to “Tie CO2 to the warming”, hence all the “alarmism” to cover the little problem of NO Real Data for proof of the theory.

    • I always thought the hole in the ozone layer was only discovered about the time the 50 year license for CFCs expired. Could have been just coincidence though.

  3. Technology breakthroughs always break the predictions based on man-made trends. And breakthroughs are impossible to predict, except that they eventually happen. That’s my prediction!

  4. Climate and energy production is not surprisingly one of his main concerns.

    Boy, is that ever ambiguous. It could be:

    Climate and energy production is not, surprisingly, one of his main concerns.

    or it could be:

    Climate and energy production is, not surprisingly, one of his main concerns.

    It reminds me of this story.

    A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
    “Why?” asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
    “Well, I’m a panda,” he says. “Look it up.”
    The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.” wiki

    Punctuation matters.

    • Indeed punctuation does matter. You need a comma after ‘shoots’, or the panda did it wrong.

    • That that is is that that is not is not but that that is is not that that is not nor is that that is not that that is
      Or
      the penis mightier than the sword (cheating slightly there)

    • Oh, hush, or you’ll get someone throwing the “living language evolves”, or “snobbery about fabricated rules” excuses at you. Just sit back, forget about maintenance, and allow the precision instrument of language to collapse into incoherence.

  5. “We don’t need to save the planet, it’s looked after itself for four billion years.” – very George Carlinish.

  6. I agree entirely, both about climate and Dorset, my wife’s home county. Going there on Friday, near Chesil Beach.

    • Live in Fordingbridge on the Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset borders – regularly stayed at Warmwell for years. Ringstead Bay is my favourite. Love the article – common sense at last

  7. It’s certainly true that we don’t need to save the planet for the planet’s sake. It was here long before we were and will be here long after we’re gone and there’s not much we can do about that. But it would be nice, for our sake’s, if we keep it nice while we’re here.

  8. If by “keeping it nice” you mean keeping actual pollution (instead of the fake pollution CO2) at a minimum, then sure. We all want that.

    • Agree 100% re: real pollution (e.g. particulates, etc.). The little bit of warming coming from reducing particulate pollution is good for everybody, and the one thing we deserve is clean air to breathe and to hear birds sing vs. getting wacked. Left to it’s own devices (minus a volcano and an ice age or two), that’s what the planet would give us if left alone.
      As someone who’s walked the old Roman roads in the Cotswolds, I think I understand the peace he is seeking in Dorset – that’s the real Middle Earth/Hobbitown on this planet…

    • Do you remember when CO2 used to be called carbon dioxide, & that, in order to thrive & make breathable air for us mammals, plants needed the stuff? You do? in which case your probably over 40, because apparently “they” don’t teach that at school any more!!

      • I’m pretty sure I learned by third grade that carbon dioxide was plant food. But, of course, that was seven decades (inclusive of the current one–some of us Boomers do enjoy counting how many decades we’ve been alive during….) of educational “evolution” ago (the mid/mad ’50’s). Of course, back then my geometry classes were actually classical symbolic logic classes as well, because we had to do proofs on every maxim, theorem, and relationship that we learned. In other words, we learnt what we were taught in two big ways–first, we were responsible for understanding the material as stated, and then second, we had to prove that we understood it deeply in seemingly endless syllogisms. It does really give one a daily basis for administering the giggle test (high-order plausibility) on a daily or hourly schedule. Dredging that mindset up has really helped me in understanding what I am seeing on WUWT and sister scientific blogs.

  9. Lovelock sounds quite sensible, which means the Alarmists will ridicule and dismiss him as a doddering old “fossil” fool.

  10. … and helped to discover the devastating impact of CFC gases upon the ozone layer

    Oh, but the truth concealed in that lie, even Lovelock himself would rather forget!

  11. We cannot even predict the future of an individual human life without indulging in liberal assumptions. However, we can observe that a human life evolves (i.e. chaotic process) from conception to death. And, even with a scientific consensus, this self-evident knowledge is controversial, and there is no social (e.g. political) consensus.
    No one can predict the future. Similarly, no one can know the past. The system is chaotic. There is no basis to make forecasts or hind casts outside of the limited scientific domain. The assertion for a forecast is that processes are completely and sufficiently characterized and calculable. The assertion for a hind cast is that time (or motion) is a single path, monotonic process (i.e. progressive). The assertion for universal predictions is that the intermediate space is uniform with a linear response. The scientific domain is defined by a fitness function with accuracy inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference in a semi-stable environment.

  12. “I think it’s easier to save Dorset than the planet.”
    Corollary:
    The best way to save the planet is not by the UN collecting $100 trillion to spend on parties, plane flights, flights of fancy, and climate jamborees, but by each of us taking care of our own little patch, our own ‘Dorset’, so to speak.

  13. A solar farm in the Sahara would, I think, be a very poor idea. You have to wash the dadgum things periodically or they lose their ability to make juice. Where is the water coming from? And one good sandstorm (which I believe is a not too rare occurance in the Saharan desert) and I expect the things would be ruined.

    • A solar farm in the Sahara is hundreds of miles away from the population that will be using the electricity.
      Most of the power generated will be lost in transmission.

      • I understand that one can obtain super-conducting properties in certain materails at cryogenic temperatures.
        Q1. Is the technology not there in the particle-physics labs already?
        Q2. What is the economic feasibility of shipping vast amounts of power from Sahara to, say, Sicily, for distribution via conventional hi-V transmission lines (Euro-networks)? The latter being upgraded to suit?
        A few months back, the chinese were talking about exporting power across Asia to Europe .. same issue!
        I envisage a sort-of large dia., heavily insulated pipeline containing the power-cables and coolant flowing between refrigeration-stations.
        On a practical front, I’d guess the security risks inherent in any transnational ‘pipeline’ will ‘trump’ any economics, unless security risks are low; say within USA, from desert(?) areas to pop. centres.

      • Ross,
        Normal solar PV already has a negative EROI, so your proposal for a super conducting “pipeline” would only make it much worse.

        • Hi Paul… tks yrs.
          I’m an Engineer but not an Electrical one! (w Civils never understood E.Eng., and — from a lifetime of practice & observation, v.v.!!!)
          Levity aside, cd you pls express yr reply in terms that I might begin to comprehend!
          Tks in anticipation,
          Ross.

  14. Excuse me, but in all the research NASA did on CFCs, including Radioactive tracing, they NEVER found any evidence in balloon studies and other sampling methods of CFCs reaching the Ozone Layer. The culprit is Free Chlorine and while, at ground level, CFCs decay under ultraviolet light and release free Chlorine, the Free Chlorine never makes it above the lower atmospheric layers! Also adding to the Myth of Freon causing the Ozone Hole over Antarctica, is the blatant Fact that the Northern Hemisphere Releases NEVER make it to the South Pole! No Atmospheric Scientist has ever proposed a mechanism to move this Non-Existent Freon from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. There is only a 3% or so of mixing of the lower atmospheric layer at the Equator.

  15. Great timing. I am just in the middle of an essay about how Gaia regulates ocean pH and mention Lovelock’s transformation from alarmist to realist.

  16. “Don’t try and save the world, it’s pure hubris. We might be able to save Dorset. I don’t know how we do it. It’s up to us. I think it’s easier to save Dorset than the planet.”

    I love Dorset too, Gaia’s county, beautiful scenery, fantastic geology, great ecology and with air from the sea so clean its freshness seems like wine.

    • Dorset is beautiful wherever you go
      And the rain in the summertime
      makes the wurzel bush grow…
      Seriously though, how come I’ve never heard anything about making Dorset a national park? Doesn’t that mean it’ll be more expensive and harder to get planning permission?

  17. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    A healthy dose of reason and common sense injected into the climate debate via former global warmist and creator of the Gaia theory, James Lovelock…
    ‘He added that global warming proponents stated that the earth would get hotter and hotter but “they don’t really know,” and climate models are only based on what data goes into them, so it was hard to say what would happen in the future.
    Mr Lovelock is interested in what can be measured, what can be observed.
    “Don’t try and save the world, it’s pure hubris.”
    Adding: “There’s one thing to keep in mind here. We don’t need to save the planet, it’s looked after itself for four billion years. It’s always been habitable and things have lived on it, so why worry.”’

  18. The ozone thing reminds me of a story, a true one. One from a little over 20 years ago.
    One day, a fourth grade student came to me, “This doesn’t make sense.”
    “Oh? What?”
    Not being a scientist, I hadn’t looked into the ozone hole scare.
    The fourth grade student had been assigned to write a paper on the ozone hole. He had gone on line and discovered that stratospheric ozone is created by absorbing certain frequencies of UV light. Then it is destroyed in absorbing other frequencies of UV light. Furthermore, it is an unstable chemical that breaks down over time. So what will happen where there are no UV rays, such as over Antarctica during winter, if not a thinning of the ozone layer?
    Though not being a scientist, yet a memory kicked in from general chemistry to look at the molecular weights of CFCs, which brought up the question of the probability of human released CFCs even reaching the stratosphere. Furthermore, this was just a couple of years after Mount Pinatubo injected many megatons of unstable HCl and HFl into the stratosphere, along with CO2. That kicked in another factoid from organic chemistry (I took some strange courses for a non-scientist) that the chemical reactions between carbon and chlorine and fluorine are exothermic, often more so than the energy needed to hold carbon in other compounds. That’s what makes chlorine and fluorine such good anti-biotics, and the most common carcinogens in the environment, thanks to them being added to drinking water.
    Taking all factors together, were the measured CFCs caused by relatively small human caused releases on the earth’s surface, or from millions of tons of precursors injected by volcanoes directly into the stratosphere? Secondly, was the ozone hole over the Antarctic during winter caused by human action, or natural? The teacher got a very different paper than he expected.

  19. “I think anyone that tries to predict more than five to ten years ahead is a bit of an idiot, so many things can change unexpectedly.”
    This is an unfortunate comment. It essentially says that the geologic past isn’t important and overlooks many significant repeating cycles in geologic history which allow us to predict future events. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that anyone who doesn’t realize that the past is the key to future is missing the boat.

    • And then he becomes an idiot himself:

      He said: “The other thing I predict, everyone will be living in cities towards the end of the century,”

  20. Notice the first reader’s comment on the article is an ad hom?
    “Had it. Lost it. Didn’t get it back.”

  21. His Gaia theory is a bit froofroo, as are some of his doomish ideas about the fate of man, such as that world population will be severely culled, to about 1 billion people. However, these ideas are relatively harmless, like believing in space aliens and their inevitable attack.

  22. James Lovelock was a long time warmist but changed his mind. He initially thought that the interactions between the various drivers for weather were understood well enough for accurate modelling but eventually realised that the level of chaos (an area in which he was a genuine expert) was far beyond our capabilities of measurement (since chaotic systems can be incredibly sensitive to inputs) and that models being used were unrealistic.
    http://www.climatedepot.com/2014/04/03/green-guru-james-lovelock-on-climate-change-i-dont-think-anybody-really-knows-whats-happening-they-just-guess-lovelock-reverses-himself-on-global-warming/

  23. Quotes:
    “Don’t try and save the world, it’s pure hubris. We might be able to save Dorset. I don’t know how we do it. It’s up to us. I think it’s easier to save Dorset than the planet.”
    Adding: “There’s one thing to keep in mind here. We don’t need to save the planet, it’s looked after itself for four billion years. It’s always been habitable [across vast ecological changes] and things have lived on it, so why worry.”
    Anthropogenic effects are miniscule compared with the quantum of [any] Earthly metric. “Don’t worry, be happy!” is the quick answer to the 97% of homo-sapiens who don’t have the educational grasp to parse this stuff.
    “Don’t Happy, be Worried!” is the profound answer for those of us who think a bunch of self-serving Snake-Oil salesmen are RIGHT and conquering the World! We 3% have the intellectual capacity & intestinal fortitude to fight these idiots in the Objective Court of Supreme Reason.
    P.S. Far from funding efforts to criminalize so-called “Deniers” for “The Crime of our Times!” we shd be sending the money to found ”The Objective Court of Supreme Reason”.

  24. “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ― Yogi Berra
    As I recall, the laboratory work that showed the destructive effect of CFCs on ozone came out of the DuPont laboratories. At the time DuPont held all the patents on CFC manufacture, which were about to expire enabling anybody to make their own CFCs cheaply and without licensing. The ‘evil’ of CFCs and the ozone layer was publicized in time to prevent this, and to encourage the use of CFC ‘replacements’, HCFCs and other related compounds, which DuPont had already been quietly developing.
    I never heard of the alleged action of CFCs on ozone being duplicated under conditions identical to those in the stratosphere – low pressure and pressure and high UV loading from sunlight. Neither did I hear of any explanation as to why the ozone hole (actually an attenuation of ozone concentrations in the south circumpolar stratosphere) miraculously healed itself every year when the Antarctic winter arrived. If the hole was due to CFCs, and they were still present when the sun went down, why didn’t the ozone hole remain?

  25. The only problem is that CFCs have been shown to have little to no impact on the ozone layer.
    The belief that CFCs would destroy the ozone layer was based on an untested model.

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