Lovelock: growing wiser with old age
A glorious interview with James Lovelock in today’s Guardian. Essential reading for everyone, greens especially. In it, the inventor of Gaia theory and godfather of modern environmentalism declares that wind farms are hideous, renewables are a waste of space, nuclear power is good, sea level rises aren’t a worry, environmentalism has replaced Christianity as the global religion and that we should all be “going mad on” shale gas, which he considers our best energy hope for the immediate future.
My favourite line, though is this one:
“I’m neither strongly left nor right, but I detest the Liberal Democrats.”
Needless to say the eco-nuts who congregate beneath Komment Macht Frei are going mental. One commenter calls him an “evil bastard”. Several others say they always thought Gaia theory was total rubbish anyway and suggest that at 92 Lovelock has probably started to lose his marbles.
Really? All sounds perfectly sensible to me.
Have a read of this:
Lovelock does not miss a chance to criticise the green movement that has long paid heed to his views. “It’s just the way the humans are that if there’s a cause of some sort, a religion starts forming around it. It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion. I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use. The greens use guilt. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting CO2 in the air.”
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.”
If anyone can find serious flaws in this argument, I’d love to hear them. (And no: “James Lovelock is, like, really old, and, like, Gaia Theory sucks. Heh heh heh,” isn’t good enough).
My only criticisms of Lovelock’s recantations are that a) they couldn’t have come a few years earlier (they would have been a lot braver – and more devastating – when the global warming craze was at its peak and that b) they seem to have been prompted at least partly by self-interest.
The move, he says, has been forced on him. Three years ago, he received a heating bill for the winter totalling £6,000. His age means he has to have the heating on full in his poorly insulted home and, with his disabled son, Tom, living in a house next door, his outgoings on fuel rocketed. Damp winters on the edge of Dartmoor were taking their toll, so in recent years he has overwintered in St Louis, his wife’s hometown in Missouri. The experience altered his attitude to the politics and economics of energy.
Could he really not see where green energy policies (inspired partly by his doomsday predictions in books like The Revenge of Gaia) were leading until he was socked with his first whacking great £6,000 heating bill? If so, then it strikes me as both a woeful failure of imagination and a lack of clear thinking. High energy bills, after all, are no accident. They are result of a very deliberate strategy by environmental pressure groups to make energy bills more expensive in order to force everyone to reduce their energy usage. Of course, the people this hits hardest are the ones for whom reducing energy usage is not really a viable option: the old and inform, many of whom have been driven into “fuel poverty” by the greens’ well-meaning attempts to save the world from the illusory threat of ManBearPig.
Still, better late then never, eh?