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Gaia Scientist and Hero of the Greens Admits He Was “Alarmist”

Renowned climate change proponent, environmental “guru” and prominent leader of the green movement James Lovelock “has admitted to being ‘alarmist’ about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too”, reports MSNBC.

Lovelock was once on the radical fringe of climate scientists, writing dire predictions like “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.”

But global warming hasn’t followed his and his colleagues’ predictions, he now acknowledges. “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.”

Regular Via Meadia readers know that our concerns about the climate movement center on its weakness for cockamamie policy ideas and its propensity to over hype the evidence. Alarmist predictions become a tool for stampeding the public toward crazy policy ideas with large costs and little hope of success.

Lovelock’s admission that prominent green leaders, including Al Gore, have gone way off the deep end with alarmist predictions in service of a political agenda will further undermine green credibility — as it should.

The green movement has a long way go. Lovelock’s new caution and refreshing candor are a step in the right direction.

(h/t: Instapundit)


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  • silverfiddle

    Climate scientists, even those who subscribe to the global warming theory, have been uncomfortable for years with the noisy advocacy of the likes of Reverend Al Gore, International Church of Gaia.

    They took a theory and elevated it to a Dogma Which Shall Not Be Questioned. Very unscientific.

  • Bix Edison

    “Hero of the Greens”? Slow down, turbo. Would you call Pat Buchanan the Champion of the Conservatives?

  • vanderleun

    ” Would you call Pat Buchanan the Champion of the Conservatives?”

    No. But in this context, especially if you look at his garble of ‘Gaia’, it is the case that “hero of the Greens” works only because “demigod” has the word “God” in it.

  • Emerson

    I enjoyed how the global warming fetishists at the linked site tried to turn Lovelock’s admission into proof that AGW is even more a threat than ever before.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Royal Astronomical Society

    In the new work, the diversity of life over the last 500 million years seems remarkably well explained by tectonics affecting the sea-level together with variations in the supernova rate, and virtually nothing else. To obtain this result on the variety of life, or biodiversity, he followed the changing fortunes of the best-recorded fossils. These are from invertebrate animals in the sea, such as shrimps and octopuses, or the extinct trilobites and ammonites.

    The data also support the idea of a long-term link between cosmic rays and climate, with these climatic changes underlying the biological effects. And compared with the temperature variations seen on short timescales as a consequence of the Sun’s influence on the influx of cosmic rays, the heating and cooling of the Earth due to cosmic rays varying with the prevailing supernova rate have been far larger.

  • Corlyss

    All of ’em could confess they lied, cooked the books, skewed the science, make up their “facts,” stampeded the press, took money from interested parties to lie, perjured themselves in legislative investigations and court cases, got stinking rich off their fabels, and it wouldn’t make an iota’s worth of difference for the European & American governmental and industry programs which now are the only sources of support for their schemes. Those programs will continue to waste money and resources on fairy-tales because now they are intrenched.

    It’s just like HeadStart. Never in the history of that program has it improved the IQs or test scores of the people it was designed and sold to help. Oh, people got rich off them – certainly the poverty pimps and their organizations have. But the programs only justification now is that the people who run them would be inconvenienced and disadvantaged if the program was terminated like it should have been after its first year of operation.

    Nope, we the taxpayers have those ineffective and wasteful programs in perpetuity. So no amount of truth-telling at this stage means diddly.

  • Brett

    I don’t see what the deal is. Lovelock was pretty extreme out-there in terms of his dire predictions even for environmentally-minded people (he made Al Gore look like a climate change skeptic in comparison). This is just him returning to the more general consensus on climate change (aside from his views of the global ecosystem regulating itself – what he calls “Gaia”).

  • Kris

    Bix@2: “Would you call Pat Buchanan the Champion of the Conservatives?”

    What an capital example! I can easily point to no less than WFBuckley anathemizing Buchanan. Greens would have much greater credibility if they were willing to repudiate publicly their problem children instead of adopting as a policy “pas d’ennemi a gauche”.

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