James Lovelock.

The cures being advanced by green zealots are often worse than the disease itself.

James Lovelock, 98 jaar oud, is een onafhankelijk wetenschapper, auteur, onderzoeker en milieubeschermer. Zijn grootste bekendheid ontleent hij aan het bedenken en uitdragen van de Gaia-hypothese, waarin hij stelt dat de Aarde functioneert als een soort superorganisme. Hoewel de Gaia-hypothese door de milieubeweging vrij snel werd omarmd, ontmoette zij in wetenschappelijke kring veel scepsis.

Lovelock was een van de eerste wetenschappers die alarm sloeg over de dreiging van opwarming van de aarde als gevolg van het versterkte broeikaseffect. In 2004 veroorzaakte hij commotie toen hij brak met de milieubeweging door te verklaren dat ‘uitsluitend kernenergie een oplossing kan vormen voor de opwarming van de aarde’. Volgens Lovelock is kernenergie het enige realistische alternatief voor fossiele brandstoffen, dat in staat is te voorzien in de grootschalige energiebehoefte van de mensheid, terwijl toch de uitstoot van broeikasgassen afneemt.

James Delingpole, die de term ‘Climategate’ heeft gemunt, waaraan deze website haar naam ontleent, ging onlangs bij Lovelock op bezoek. Onder de titel, ‘James Lovelock On ‘Wicked’ Renewables And Why He Changed His Mind On Climate Change’, bracht hij verslag uit. Ik pik er enkele elementen uit.

Environmentalism has gone too far; renewable energy is a disaster; scares about pesticides and chemicals are horribly overdone; no, the planet is not going to end any time soon; and, by the way, the answer is nuclear …

This isn’t me speaking, but the views of an environmentalist so learned, distinguished and influential you could call him the Godfather of Green. His name is James Lovelock, the maverick independent scientist perhaps best known for positing the theory that our planet is an interconnected, self-regulating organism called Gaia. …

The name Gaia […] was provided by his friend, the novelist William Golding, after the ancient Greek name for Earth. This didn’t help its reputation with scientists, many of whom dismissed it as a neo-pagan religion. But from the early 1970s onwards it struck a chord with the green movement, which used it to support its belief that the planet’s delicate balance was on the verge of being destroyed forever by an unwelcome interloper: man.

In 2006, Lovelock burnished his green credentials with The Revenge of Gaia, in which he argued that, thanks to global warming, man was all but doomed. By the end of the 21st century ‘billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable,’ he told an interviewer. Climate change was so serious a threat, he told the Guardian in 2010, that democracy might have to be ‘put on hold’.

Within two years he’d had a remarkable change of heart. ‘All right, I made a mistake,’ he told the cable channel MSNBC. He still believed —and continues to believe — that manmade carbon dioxide is a problem that needs addressing. But we’ve plenty of time to do something about it before any dangerous effects are felt, and in any case, the cures being advanced by green zealots are often worse than the disease itself.

One of his main bugbears is biomass, such as the woodchips from old oak forests in the US, which are shipped across the Atlantic to be burned for electricity at the Drax power station: ‘This is one of the most monstrous examples of green absurdity that I know of. It’s wicked!’

Nor is he a fan of wind energy, which he considers environmentally damaging, inefficient, expensive and a scam. ‘There’s so much money in renewable energy. I’m sure there’s a giant corruption going on.’

He’s modestly pro shale gas — only as a transition fuel to wean the world off coal — but his real enthusiasm is for nuclear, ‘so cheap, so safe’, whose dangers, he believes, have been grotesquely oversold by greens for reasons which have more to do with quasi-religious ideology than with science.

‘The way to look at radiation is that it’s about what they call the linear no-threshold. Namely, what the greens say is that there’s no amount of radiation that won’t give you cancer, no matter how small it is. Well, this is as stupid as saying, “Never go out of your home because if you do you’ve a chance of being killed by something or other.”’ ….

[..] he remains so full of the joys of life that they ought to bottle him and sell him as a tonic. He’s survived everything from anthrax (‘It’s a bloody horrible disease. Makes you feel like absolute shit for a very long time’) to, recently, a bite from an adder.

‘Israeli scientists have worked out you can’t live much beyond 110, though,’ he tells me cheerfully as we part. Knowing Jim as I now do, I expect he’ll cram more into those remaining 12 years than most of us do in a lifetime.

Aldus James Delingpole.

Lees verder hier


Ik zeg u, dat er alzo blijdschap zal zijn in de hemel over één zondaar, die zich bekeert, meer dan over negenennegentig rechtvaardigen, die geen bekering nodig hebben.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhier, hier, hier en hier.