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Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout

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  • npat1
    Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn t Fit sent by Tim Murphy (activ-l) Gaia
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2006
      Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout

      Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

      sent by Tim Murphy (activ-l)

      Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout

      By Jeremy Lovell
      Reuters - Nov 28, 2006

      LONDON (Reuters) - The earth has a fever that could boost temperatures
      by 8 degrees Celsius making large parts of the surface uninhabitable
      and threatening billions of peoples' lives, a controversial climate
      scientist said on Tuesday.

      James Lovelock, who angered climate scientists with his Gaia theory of
      a living planet and then alienated environmentalists by backing
      nuclear power, said a traumatized earth might only be able to support
      less than a tenth of it's 6 billion people.

      "We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don't
      see the species dying out," he told a news conference. "A hot earth
      couldn't support much over 500 million."
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      "Almost all of the systems that have been looked at are in positive
      feedback ... and soon those effects will be larger than any of the
      effects of carbon dioxide emissions from industry and so on around the
      world," he added.

      Scientists say that global warming due to carbon emissions from
      burning fossil fuels for power and transport could boost average
      temperatures by up to 6C by the end of the century causing floods,
      famines and violent storms.

      But they also say that tough action now to cut carbon emissions could
      stop atmospheric concentrations of CO2 hitting 450 parts per million --
      equivalent to a temperature rise of 2C from pre-industrial levels --
      and save the planet.

      Lovelock said temperature rises of up to 8C were already built in and
      while efforts to curb it were morally commendable, they were wasted.

      "It is a bit like if your kidneys fail you can go on dialysis -- and
      who would refuse dialysis if death is the alternative. We should think
      of it in that context," he said.

      "But remember that all they are doing is buying us time, no more. The
      problems go on," he added.


      Lovelock adopted the name Gaia, the Greek mother earth goddess, in the
      1960s to apply to his then revolutionary theory that the earth
      functions as a single, self-sustaining organism. His theory is now
      widely accepted.

      In London to give a lecture on the environment to the Institution of
      Chemical Engineers, he said the planet had survived dramatic climate
      change at least seven times.
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      "In the change from the last Ice Age to now we lost land equivalent to
      the continent of Africa beneath the sea," he said. "We are facing
      things just as bad or worse than that during this century."

      "There are refuges, plenty of them. 55 million years ago ... life
      moved up to the Arctic, stayed there during the course of it and then
      moved back again as things improved. I fear that this is what we may
      have to do," he added.

      Lovelock said the United States, which has rejected the Kyoto Protocol
      on cutting carbon emissions, wrongly believed there was a
      technological solution, while booming economies China and India were
      out of control.

      China is building a coal-fired power station a week to feed rampant
      demand, and India's economy is likewise surging.

      If either suddenly decided to stop their carbon-fuelled development to
      lift their billions of people out of poverty they would face a
      revolution, yet if they continued, rising CO2 and temperatures would
      kill off plants and produce famine, he said.

      "If climate change goes on course ... I can't see China being able to
      produce enough food by the middle of the century to support its
      people. They will have to move somewhere and Siberia is empty and it
      will be warmer then," he said.

      � Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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