by Agnes a Paris
Mon Feb 13th, 2006 at 12:59:56 PM EST
Yet another diary about climate change and the sustainibility of the Western economic model.
The Independent published the first week end of February an article by James Lovelock, father of the Gaïa theory, which he conceived while examining the possibility of life on Mars for Nasa in the US.
According to this holistic vision, Earth is a self-organising system that in many ways resembles a single organism, and Lovelock named this living entity after the Greek Godess Gaïa.
I wanted to share with you what I had read in his latest book The Revenge of Gaia:Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save Humanity released on Feb, the 2nd, as it could bring a contribution to the on-going discussion we have been having on ET these days.
When Lovelock launched the Gaia hypothesis in 1979, it came up as an audacious vision of planet earth being tantamount to a living organism, whose geology and life-forms had together evolved in order to maintain a climate and an atmosphere making life possible.
He seemed confident that Gaia's intricate connections, linking forests and oceanic algae to cloud formation, would be able to counter the earth's warming from man-made carbon dioxide.
Now, as global temperatures creep relentlessly higher and climatic disasters proliferate, he believes we may have already gone beyond the point of recovery.
He writes: "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."
Over the coming decades soaring temperatures will mean agriculture may become unviable over huge areas of the world where people are already poor and hungry; water supplies for millions or even billions may fail. Rising sea levels will destroy substantial coastal areas in low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, at the very moment when their populations are expanding.
As the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.
Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation ; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth's surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.
Two years ago he sparked a major controversy with an article in The Independent calling on environmentalists to drop their long-standing opposition to nuclear power, which does not produce the greenhouses gases of conventional power stations. Indeed, Lovelock is a passionate advocate of the rapid expansion of nuclear power to cut fossil-fuel emissions, which has won him few friends among his natural constituents. He's dismissive of wind-power and biofuels as woefully inefficient and wasteful of wild land better reserved for Gaia's ancient arts of regulation.Global warming is proceeding so fast that only a major expansion of nuclear power could bring it under control
, he said. Most of the Green movement roundly rejected his call, and does so still.
One of the most striking ideas in his book is that of "a guidebook for global warming survivors"
aimed at the humans who would still be struggling to exist after a total societal collapse.
Written, not in electronic form, but "on durable paper with long-lasting print", it would contain the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity, much of it utterly taken for granted by us now, but originally won only after a hard struggle - such as our place in the solar system, or the fact that bacteria and viruses cause infectious diseases.
Link to the whole article by Lovelock published in the Independent
The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years