James Lovelock

Today it has been reported that one of the great environmentalists of the 20th century, James Lovelock, author of the Giaia Hypothesis, has changed his opinion on Global Warming.

While he still considers that that Global Warming is happening, he now has modified and moderated his viewpoint. He has expressed an opinion that his earlier cataclysmic views were wrong. ( See Here )

He will no doubt gather a great deal of flak from both sides of the global warming debate because of this change of opinion. But really we should be praising him for adopting a true scientific and evidence based approach to the subject. Lovelock is clearly someone who is willing to review and if necessary, change his opinion if the evidence demands such a change.

Lovelock has also gathered an enormous amount of hostility due to his considered opinion that nuclear power is a necessary and highly beneficial technology and should be embraced.

Clearly he is someone who is prepared to stand out from the crowd and be guided solely by the facts as he sees them - rather than the propaganda.

I have always respected Lovelock, even though I disagreed with Lovelock's original global warming viewpoint. But I am very pleased to find the considered opinion of such a famous scientist now roughly aligns with my humble lay-mans view. Any reader of this blog will also know I whole heartedly agree with his views on nuclear power.

But neither of these viewpoints are relevent to Lovelocks position as a true scientist. A true scientist, is one who is capable of reviewing and if necessary changing their opinion. They will also do this solely based on the available evidence, and irrespective of the baying and cat-calling of the surrounding mob.

Lovelock, much to the chagrin and hostility of those more politically motivated, has shown a beacon to us all.

That beacon though, has nothing to do with Global Warming or Nuclear Power.

But everything to do with evidence based science.

We should all take note.


Anonymous said...

From your linked article about James Lovelock:

"According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading body on the subject, the world’s average temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. By 2100, it predicts it will rise by another 2 to 11.5 degrees, depending upon the levels of greenhouse gases emitted."

It seems that the IPCC are resorting to their usual revisionist tactics (ie making it up as they go along).

A few years ago, their estimate of previous temperature rise over that period, was between .4 and .7 degrees. This doesn't take into account emails between Phil Jones', CRU(Climate Research Unit), East Anglia, subject of the infamous Climategate debacle and Michael Mann's comment; 'Hide the decline'(in recorded world temperatures). Not to mention the email instructing recipients to delete emails which were subject to freedom of information requests. Getting rid of the Little Ice Age, Mediaeval Warming period, Roman Warming period. And so on.

Of course no one was prosecuted, presumably because the incriminating emails had been deleted. And of course, there's the small matter of funding.

Anyone for the Ministry Of Truth?

Indigent One

By the way if the universe started with the Big Bang, how do you account for Cluster Galaxies?

I'm just saying.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Indiginent One,

I feel your frustration.

The main problem with the whole global warming debate is that is has been hijacked by pressure groups and politico's who want to
foist their own agenda on scientific opinion.

Unfortunately there are some who have buckled under the pressure from both camps and have chosen to bend their views to accomodate political expediency.

We live in a society that has for a number of years morbidly fantasised about catacysmic societal collapse.

Most of the pressure groups feed of this fantasy and make a very good living out of it. It does not matter whether it is some nutcase religious group, Mayan 2012 fantasists, people who dream up nuclear/agricultural/drug calamity or either global warmers or global coolers.

They are all essentially the same. They thrive on the drama and fear.

My respect for James Lovelock is due to the fact that after getting caught up in what he thought was a legitimate alarmist position, he has at least had the balls to state that he now thinks his position was wrong.

Compare that to any politician you care to mention. When was the last time you heard a politico admit they had got it badly wrong?

You can guarantee that the cult organisations like Greenpeace, WWF etc. will hang on desperately to AGW until something else
calamititous comes along to take its place. When the drama and fear factors fade they lose interest and move onto the next hysteria.

As As for the paradox of old bodies in a young universe ( aka....cluster galaxies).
I only know about the problems with an old body in a young society.
I still find attractive young women exciting, it's just I cannot remember why anymore!

And I'm afraid any big bang was a long way in the past.

RayF said...

A 92-year old man has changed his earlier opinion, shared by no credible source, that 80% of humans would be wiped out by 2100. So what?!!

Lovelock is and always has been a fringe scientist who could be relied on to make some sensational claims. It's a puzzle why anyone would think his latest shift in opinion is interesting or informative.

Wait a few more weeks and he'll have another sensational soundbite to get himself back in the headlines!! Lovelock is more a self-publicist than a true scientist.

BilloTheWisp said...

I'm sorry to hear you regard Prof. Lovelock (author of the Gaia Hypothesis) as anything other than a leading (or even the leading) global environmentalist.

He may be 92 but by all accounts, from people I know (who in turn know him), he is still an incisive and articulate scientist.

As I stated in the post, I disagreed with his previous position as being far too alarmist, but that did not effect my opinion of him as a scientist and leading environmentalist.

The point of the post was to praise people who stick to the scientific process and if necessary change their opinion, based on the evidence.

I understand that while he has downgraded his opinion on the immediate risks of global warming, he still maintains his support for nuclear. I also understand he is a long term sceptic regarding wind power. (sorry - couldn't resist pointing that out)

People must be encouraged to challenge their own beliefs and if the evidence indicates they need to change, then they should be encouraged to do so.

Prof. Lovelock has simply been leading from the front.

RayF said...


You didn't answer:

A 92-year old man has changed his earlier opinion, shared by no credible source, that 80% of humans would be wiped out by 2100. So what?!!

Also, you do know Lovelock is >>not<< a climate scientist? Why then do you think his opinion is interesting on climate science?

And his amateur views on wind power are similarly uninteresting and unpersuasive.

Prof. Lovelock has simply been producing sensational soundbites that get him in the press occasionally.

Bill, you need to start informing yourself by looking at what published >>science<< and >>expert<< opinion is saying.

BilloTheWisp said...

I have a worry Ray that we are talking about different people.

I am referring to:

James Ephraim Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS, Ph.D. Fellow of the Royal Society. Winner of the Woolaston medal (like Darwin) and many other world class awards. (Wikipedia him to see them all)

Inventor of the Electron capture Detector that was pivotal in proving CFC's damage the ozone layer by Rowland and Molina.

Arguably one of the best known and most effective scientists of the 20th century.

Hardly an amateur!

And you say - "So What?" !!!

The man has, after studying the evidence changed his mind, as all good scientists do. As I said in the post this is nothing to do with Global Warming or Nuclear power but all about being guided by all the evidence, not just your own belief set.

That is the "What" Ray.

However, I will ensure that he knows not to expect a Christmas card from you.