Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A cheerless read in the doctor's waiting room

Nestled in the pile of New Ideas and Women's Weeklies at the doctors surgery last week I came across the New Scientist of 24 January 2009 which I fancied would provide a more interesting diversion from thinking about the blood test result to come. And so it was that I was introduced to the views of James Lovelock, the 89 year old originator of the Gaia theory, which describes Earth as a self-regulating planet. I assume that to be subject to a major interview in this distinguished publication makes Mr Lovelock a person whose views should be respected but it was a bit cheerless to read his prediction that global warming will result in a cull this century of up to 90 per cent of the world's population. "The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It's happening again," he told the magazine. "I don't think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what's coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing's been done except endless talk and meetings."
Not that I need be too concerned about all that I suppose. Reaching three score years and ten in 2012, I am told, will be medical miracle enough for me but it was still depressing to read this morning that a survey by The Guardian suggests there are many others sharing the Lovelock pessimism. The paper reports almost nine out of 10 climate scientists do not believe political efforts to restrict global warming to 2C will succeed and that an average rise of 4-5C by the end of this century is more likely, they say, given soaring carbon emissions and political constraints.
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