James Lovelock should be applauded

James Lovelock, the scientist most famous for the Gaia hypothesis*, once wrote an article published by The Independent and entitled “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years”. He wrote:

My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease. Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.

The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth’s physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.1

These stark warnings were issued more than twelve years ago, with Lovelock going on in the same article to predict that “as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics”, the consequences being of such severity that “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.”

So it comes as comfort, at least to some of us, to hear that Lovelock now views our immediate prospects as somewhat less catastrophic. Especially so, as the reasons he gives for changing his mind are entirely sound and scientifically objective ones. Here is what Lovelock said to Ian Johnston of msnbc in a recent telephone interview:

“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.”

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.”

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

Does this mean Lovelock has become the latest ‘climate denier’? Johnston put the question to him, and Lovelock replied:

“It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”2

Click here to read the full msnbc article.

Which is precisely right, and the correct position for any responsible scientist to take when presented with a disparity between their theoretical predictions and the available data. The average global temperature has indeed been more or less stable since over a decade, and this is in flat contradiction to the projections of the climate modellers, as well as to Lovelock’s own previously (in his own words) alarmist forecasts. It is right too, that Lovelock points the finger of blame for much of the hysteria to Al Gore’s staggeringly overrated and misleading documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Unfortunately, the line between what is science and what is speculation can often become blurred in the public mind; a situation made far worse thanks to so much junk reported by scientifically illiterate journalists. So when the public are told that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and that combined with this, the human population is putting more and more ‘carbon’ into the atmosphere, then two and two makes four, right? Well, no actually – the real question being the more subtle one of “climate sensitivity”.

It is acknowledged by all scientists on both sides of the global warming debate that our human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere couldn’t possibly produce the kinds of apocalypse which Lovelock and others have been predicting, unless, that is, its initial warming effect is then significantly amplified by, most significantly, the more powerful greenhouse gas, water vapour, driven up into the atmosphere thanks to already increased surface temperatures. An increase in water vapour being one of a number of positive feedback loops that acting together might force global temperatures to dangerous levels. So Lovelock then, isn’t suddenly saying that carbon dioxide doesn’t warm the atmosphere, since no-one denies this fact, but that other mechanisms, as yet not fully understood, must be ameliorating its effect up to now. And this is demonstrably the case.

To begin to grasp the real complexities involved in this whole debate about global warming, you need to understand some physics; however, and more importantly, to more simply comprehend why there still is any debate at all, you must understand more deeply what it means to be a scientist.

Science, that great bastion of hard truth, rests precariously upon the unlikely underpinning of skepticism and doubt. These seemingly unsteady foundations are precisely what give it strength. Even established scientific theories, ones that have been tested over and over almost to destruction, nevertheless remain under threat of being uprooted and superceded by some novel alternative, if any turns up that fits the available facts more completely, and, hopefully, more elegantly too.

A few weeks ago there were reports that physicists had measured neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, which is in direct violation of Einstein’s wonderful Theory of Relativity. These reports weren’t immediately dismissed as impossible. Quite the contrary. Physicists held their breath and waited for confirmation, though it turned out that the announcement had been premature. The measurements were incorrect, not Einstein.

The layman is inclined to think that all physicists must have breathed a long, satisfied sigh of relief. Not at all. Winkling out discrepancies and uncovering strange anomalies is actually what gets physicists and other scientists most excited. Why? Because if it had turned out instead that Einstein was wrong, then his error would automatically open up fresh possibilities. In the ensuing search for a deeper truth, there would have been tremendous prizes waiting for any aspiring physicists to be first to detect, and then account for, whatever it was that Einstein didn’t know and had never imagined. Rewards not merely glittering like Nobel Prizes, but the satisfaction of having sudden understanding that no human being ever had before, not to mention a slim chance of gaining instant immortality; your place in posterity secured next to Einstein himself, Newton, Galileo and the other giants. These are the kinds of dreams all scientists have.

Science became, and remains, the intellectual powerhouse chugging away in the background and quietly driving the progress of our civilisation – without science, there simply would be no world we could call modern. Yet this extraordinary achievement is due to science’s inherently self-correcting and entirely open-ended inquiry into the true nature of our universe. Unlike earlier systems of thought, systems that set artificial limits on what might be discovered, science alone freed itself from the shackles of infallible orthodoxy. Instead, scientists put their faith in scrupulous measurements and observations, unbiased experimentation and reasoned argument based wholly upon empirical facts. If this approach is stifled, then science itself withers away.

In making his latest statements, James Lovelock has redrawn the proper line between where the science ends and the speculation begins, putting theory back in its rightful place, behind, and not ahead, of the empirical data, and it is for this reason that I say he should be applauded. Lovelock has also shown that he is courageous enough to change his mind, and that he has the necessary integrity to sacrifice a little of his own reputation for the sake of truth. One might hope that following Lovelock, the debate about global warming could move on and regain its focus on the scientific facts. However, in contrast to a decade ago, Lovelock’s reappraisal has so far received little attention. This is in part because the debate, and especially the public debate, has been steadily steered in another way too.

You may indeed be wondering why I am still talking about global warming and never use the updated term of “climate change”. The reason is precision. Global temperature is something that is measured, and then directly compared against earlier records. Records go back about a century and a half, but we can also use proxies such as tree-rings and ice-cores to extrapolate the data backwards to much earlier periods. So if the science is done carefully we can make an accurate determination of whether or not the earth is warming, and if so, whether the rate of that warming is exceptional.

“Climate change” on the other hand is not something that is meaningfully quantifiable. It is a vague ad hoc notion that lumps together storms, droughts, floods and every other kind of change in weather patterns you might imagine. For instance, and sticking with the issue of surface temperature, globally that temperature may either rise or fall, and both results are indicative of “climate change”. So only if global temperature were to remain perfectly static – something entirely contrary to what we already know about climate from past measurements – might we begin to talk of “climate stability”. Now read this:

“Scientists believe it’s all a question of balance. As the Earth struggles for climate stability, the weather begins to get extreme and weird.”

This is my own transcription of part of the narrative linking sections in a recent episode of BBC flagship science programme Horizon.3 It was a programme that introduced the public to the latest ‘theory’: not of global warming but “global weirding”.

Now quite aside from the emptiness of meaning in the quoted narrative, it is interesting to note that the language employed here actually owes much to Lovelock and his original Gaia hypothesis. “A question of balance.” “As Earth struggles for climate stability.” The Earth conceived as a single living organism. Lovelock himself doesn’t appear on the programme, and it would be nice to think that he will be keener to avoid any association with concepts as flaky as “global weirding”. After all, he hardly wants to start apologising all over again ten years down the line.

*

* One of the early tests Lovelock ran on his Gaia hypothesis, a computer simulation he called “Daisyworld”, demonstrated how biological feedback mechanisms might actually help to regulate the surface temperature of a planet. Working with Andrew Watson, he and Lovelock together constructed a model for an initially grey world planted with the seeds of just two species, black and white daisies. A world in orbit around an ever brightening sun. They then ran the model to see what would happen. As the sun got hotter, it triggered first the growth of the black daisies, since these are the better absorbers of radiant heat, and which therefore amplified the warming effect, until soon the temperature on the planet was hot enough for white daisies too, and the growth of the more reflective white daisies, had the effect of gradually cancelling out the warming of their black competitors. All of this was expected, but what Lovelock and Watson also discovered is that in this Daisyworld, the surface temperature stabilises once it reaches a level that is comfortable for both species. This was obviously an extremely simplistic model, and so Lovelock later tried simulations with greater numbers of species, such as foxes and rabbits. He then found that his addition of more species had markedly improved the temperature regulation of his virtual world. These results strengthened his conviction that the Earth’s life support system may be similarly regulated by biological feedback mechanisms.

1 From an article entitled “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years”, written by James Lovelock, published in The Independent on January 16, 2006. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/james-lovelock-the-earth-is-about-to-catch-a-morbid-fever-that-may-last-as-long-as-100000-years-523161.html

2 From an article entitled “’Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate change”, written by Ian Johnston published by msnbc.com on April 23, 2012. http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/23/11144098-gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change

3 Horizon: Global Weirding was first broadcast on BBC2 on March 27, 2012 at 9:00pm. It is scheduled to be repeated on BBC1 on Wednesday May 16, 2012 at 2:15am.

The programme was somewhat of a mish-mash of information and speculation, interesting in parts but incoherent overall, and managing to somehow even incorporate archive footage of the D-Day landing. With dramatic editing together of storms, lightning strikes, and Dutch sewerage systems, the sense of menace was also heightened by use of an unnecessarily distracting and overly portentous soundtrack. As Tom Sutcliffe’s review in the Independent says: “To ease your mind, the producers accompanied the film with an almost unbroken soundtrack of the kind of apocalyptic techno music that science fiction films use to tell you Something Really Bad Is Coming.” http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-viewing–the-syndicate-bbc1-horizon-global-weirding-bbc2-7593387.html

11 Comments

Filed under analysis & opinion, did you see?, global warming

11 responses to “James Lovelock should be applauded

  1. A lot’s happened since you wrote this – the advent of XR not least. And now scientists ARE at odds over whether or not carbon is the driver of global warming, though the skeptics are not so much heard (I don’t think) in MSM. I have been one who verged on fully accepting the XR scenario, having attended a meeting of very well meaning people back in August. But then having watched Jim Al-Khalili (in a 2009 BBC prog on Youtube) looking at how Chaos Theory emerged, it seems to echo Lovelock’s revised position as you cited it above. In other words, you cannot predict how the planet will behave. All is chaotic.

    I am scientifically pretty illiterate, but as a prehistory graduate I carry in my head a long time-scale of human development and therefore am also mindful of some of the climate disturbances and environmental changes that affected human communities and whole civilisations, often drastically.

    So I’m now hooked on your phrase ‘if the science is done carefully…’ because I’m now wondering who to give brain room to: Prof William Happer who says the predictive models are too crude, too self-referencing and have not looked at the real world. Cloud effects for instance appear to have been overlooked. Both he and Dr Patrick Moore suggest we are in a carbon drought and not a state of mounting carbon affliction. Their arguments make sense to me. I also find I am happier to be a skeptic than ‘a believer’, but then one can end up with some strange company. Also there’s the cleft stick of wishful thinking: who wants to face apocalyptic scenarios? So does that make the skeptical position more about dodging the issue so as to remain hopeful?

    I’m not expecting you to answer these questions, James. Just wanted to air my concerns to an actual physicist. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a heck of a comment and I thank you very much for spending so much time and effort in thinking through my article. As you are presumably aware, I am not a climate scientist either, although I did study atmospheric physics for one module as an undergraduate and initially studied upper atmospheric physics as a postgraduate (before switching to comets after I realised that it is an exceedingly tough subject and I wasn’t getting very far).

      This is a bit stream of consciousness and I am not sure what I wrote in the article actually (it’s so long ago). However, my position on AGW hasn’t really changed much in recent years, and after decades of being a fervent believer (I choose this word carefully – I’d never actually thought to question the theory) in the mid-noughties I began to have serious doubts. Not about the irrefutable stuff, of course, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, or even that human activity might be affecting the climate. These basic principles are not in question and never were.

      But the issue of AGW really involved three different claims wrapped up into one. The first is that human activity is warming the planet. There seems to be evidence that the planet has warmed (although even this is contested by some sceptics). And measuring global average surface temperature isn’t as easy as measuring the temp of your fridge for instance. Temperatures from many sites have to be combined in sophisticated ways. Where do we take those readings? This must be an average of land and ocean.

      Secondly, if we accept that the surface of the planet is warming the next issue becomes how much of this increase in temperature (if any) was due to our emissions? This is again a very difficult question. Lastly, we must ask whether given the current and forecast emission rates of CO2 and other gases, our planet is heading for a catastrophe. Thus, the familiar claim that we are heading for ‘climate catastrophe’ is actually a huge one to make and indeed very few respectable scientific experts speak in these terms.

      My personal view is that all these questions must remain open for discussion for the sake of science (unless we are 100% certain obviously – the world isn’t flat, and that is something we can all be 100% certain of!) So my biggest concern is actually the way in which the whole debate has been politicised. I am not a “denier” and never will be. Such language deliberately draws a parallel between honest scientific scepticism and Holocaust denial. It is repugnant and can be justified only because of a spurious notion that anyone who disagrees with the theory of AGW doesn’t care about the fate of the planet or its people. I care immensely or else I wouldn’t bother writing this blog for one thing.

      What I will say is that I have no major disagreement with most of the demands of the modern environmental movement. I hate the idiocy of consumerism, believe we must strive to lower levels of pollution (should CO2 be listed as a pollutant? This depends on the science obviously) and have always been keen to see the introduction of alternative technologies. This is why I strongly oppose nuclear power and fracking (you will find many posts on both subjects). I also believe we should try to move away from fossil fuels but mostly because they are old-fashioned – in effect we are still living in the steam age in fact.

      If we could reduce our need for oil, then there might be less desire for war (although I suspect there will be other reasons found – rare earth metals, for instance). My own vision of the future is built around a move to fusion power. I find it odd that so many people dismiss the possibility as a pipedream given how the basic priniciples underlying the physics of fusion are old and well undersood. With fusion power, and thus abundant energy, potentially all these other problems can be fixed. Technology will be the key – though superior technology to windmills and solar panels (not that we shouldn’t use these too in appropriate situations).

      The alternative is to be Malthusian and this is a dreadful approach. It will mean austerity in spades for the whole world. This is what some of the more extreme voices in the environmental movement seem to be calling for: the cessation of all economic development as soon as possible. It will leave the Third World undeveloped forever. In the West, real standards of living will plummet like never before. This is to say nothing of the imposition of mass surveillance that will be justified on the grounds that we need to audit and control every individual’s energy usage – when of course we use energy for almost every human activity. Notice how smart meters are being linked, especially in advertising, to “a greener future”. This, as I say, is our alternative future.

      But I didn’t mean to write this much and probably didn’t answer your comment – tell me what I missed. Meanwhile, can I recommend the work of Cory Morningstar if you don’t know her? Cory is a Canadian environmentalist who does believe in AGW but who recognises the way in which the environmental movement has been co-opted. She is a very good independent journalist with deep inside knowledge of how the world of NGOs operates – what she calls “the non-profit industrial complex”. She has two websites and they are excellent. I shall leave links to both below:

      http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/

      http://www.theartofannihilation.com/

      Thanks again for writing and please feel free to challenge any of the points I have raised either here or in the original article. I am always very happy to communicate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much for this, James. I agree entirely about the environmental measures we need to take ANYWAY, and that if moving away from oil will curb the dreadful war and pillage, sanctions and regime change, then the sooner the better. But like you I am bothered by the polarisation and politicisation, the ‘for or against think’ which seems to dominate the way so many crucial issues are presented in the MSM (BBC is one of the worst on this with its avowed policy of ‘balanced’ presentation!). As time goes on I think this approach is making us collectively ‘stupid’ and as you say, blocks sensible enquiry and debate. As to fusion, I must quizz my young niece (in the hopes I might understand what she will say). She’s a chemical engineer who has recently moved out of big oil to Culham. (A Shrewsbury lass too). I shall now ponder on your words more thoroughly and explore those links – for which many thanks. Prof Happer recommended Illinois University’s The Cryosphere Today, but the site seems to be down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well I must thank you Tish for introducing me to William Happer. It may surprise you to hear that I didn’t actually know anything about him before your comment arrived. Then, as chance would have it (or not – who knows how these things actually work), a video popped up in the list of recommendations on youtube featuring lo and behold Prof Happer. So I looked him up first, just to learn a little about his background (nothing especially dodgy in his closet as far as I can see based on the Wikipedia entry anyway). The interesting fact that he was a pioneer of adaptive optics immediately impressed me too – trying to deal with what’s called atmospheric seeing (blurring of stars, etc by atmospheric turbulence) was something I’d tried to deal with on my PhD. I was attempting to remove the effect of it digitally, but his approach is a way to remove it at source – very clever! Following this I watched a presentation made earlier this year (which I will embed below) and I can confirm that all the points he raises are valid ones and based on available evidence.

        Mainly he highlights problems with climate models (on which once again he had been a pioneer) and correctly points out that the whole case for catastrophic ‘climate change’ is actually founded on these models; models that do not match the data and consistently exaggerate the levels compared to measured warming. He also rightly draws attention to the importance of clouds and the tremendous difficulty of realistically incorporating their effects into current models. On all these points I absolutely agree. It is also true that CO2 levels are comparatively low if judged on a geological timescale. Overall I thought his presentation offered a fair and concise overview of what the science tells us so far:

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to have your personal view of Will Happer. This is also a very useful presentation. I’d seen him only in conversation, describing his views, so good to have this scientific explanation. Yesterday I found a v.interesting report written by Nicholas Lewis who has been part of the IPPC stable of scientists and Marcel Crok – Dutch chemist and science journalist. It is published under the auspices of The Global Warming Policy Foundation (Happer is a board member) ‘A SENSITIVE MATTER HOW THE IPCC BURIED EVIDENCE SHOWING GOOD NEWS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING’ foreward by Prof Judith Curry. http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2014/02/A-Sensitive-Matter-Foreword-inc.pdf

    This reading led me to Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre who called out Michael Mann on his hockeystick data and the problems with paleo proxies (among other things): https://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/climategate.10yearsafter.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Judith Curry seems to me to be another honest and well-informed dissenter.

      It was actually the ‘climategate’ leak (late 2009) that really sealed my doubts on the science. Although this has since been downplayed I actually read through the emails very carefully at the time (a physicist friend printed out a large batch of them) and we both found a number of instances where the exchange indicated excessive prejudice in favour of warming and what we saw as a shocking lack of impartiality on the part of the authors – the most famous line is probably the one about “the trick… to hide the decline” and in context I felt this represented a serious breach of the scientific method. The media placed emphasis on the word “trick” whereas the real issue was the idea of “hiding” anything at all even if – as was subsequently pointed out by the defence – this wasn’t a reference to any meddling with the temp curve as such.

      As with all of the statements that really jumped out, it was the attitude I found so worrying. I would say that an effort at just “hiding” anything in any data set – even something you might believe to be an artefact – is bad science at best. That was my opinion at the time and this episode undermined my faith not only in the since discredited hockey stick curve, but in the whole field. Indeed, it finally rocked any abiding faith in physics which I’d been taught to believe was a fully impartial and sceptical investigation of natural phenomena.

      I don’t doubt the method, of course, but I have come to see that even a discipline as “hard” as physics is not fully immune from the pressures of financial and political lobbying. In fairness, this is the argument that many environmentalists use to dismiss “climate deniers”. That they are paid by the fossil fuel industry.

      It really shouldn’t matter, of course, because physics is supposed to rise above such influences. Sadly, I happen to agree today that such influences do corrupt any field of study. My disagreement with the AGW endorsing environmentalists is mainly that they only cast this judgment against one side and they attempt to tar all opponents of the theory on the grounds that they are “bought and paid for”. Many are not and so these people are generally dismissed as cranks instead. But the point they entirely overlook is that today there is huge money avaliable for scientists and groups who are supporting the science of “climate change”. And holding down a career in the field is far, far easier for anyone who isn’t an AGW or “climate change” sceptic. Being a heretic is so much harder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m much appreciating all this ‘insider’ gen. And I agree it’s v. disheartening to find so much underhandedness in a domain where one expects fine judgement, imagination, discretion, integrity and open-mindedness because otherwise WHAT IS THE POINT? Why fudge or misrepresent results over something so crucial. I have XR acquaintances who are beside themselves with grief for the planet and for the future of their children and grandchildren. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to suggest to them that there is another side to the issue.

        I had a look through Cory Morningstar’s ‘the art of annihilation’ site though did find all the tweet implants rather heavy going. But my alarm bells certainly started ringing when it came to WWF and rewilding, and the notion suggested of private sector investment in all these seemingly dogooding NGOs. Another means of exploiting or disenfranchising indigenous peoples? Taking total control perhaps of vast natural resources to keep the industrialised north safe and rich? The mineral rich (cobalt, coltan, gold, diamonds, oil) of the Congo forests suddenly spring to mind. (I rather wish I hadn’t thought of that).

        Southern African ecologist Alan Savory, a man who says to his mortal shame he was responsible for some of the big elephant culls in the ’60s which did not produce the presumed good outcomes for the land, suggests that the exclusion of indigenous peoples and their herds to make game parks has massively contributed to grassland degradation – in the US as well as in Africa. He has been working with the small farmers getting them to amalgamate their stock in big herds and then move them in tight knit droves across the land, moving them in a fashion that replicates the big-predators-on-the-heels-of-wild-herbivores effect. The dunging, trampling and shunting onwards seem to have a rejuvenating effect on grassland and thus on erosion. But now we’re being told farmed herbivores are bad. And I for one start wondering where this demonizing will end and who precisely is benefitting from it, and how far the left, leftish, social justice souls like me are also being herded.

        If bodies like the Nature Conservancy want to help, then there are already organisations like ICRAF (international agroforestry) working with farmers to re-green and restore livelihoods across the planet. Which is also reminding me of something environmentalist, co-founder, but now debunker of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore said about Canada and the re-wilding of landscape after oil sands exploitation – why don’t detractors of such schemes, he says (and the one he shows on his YouTube presentation looked pretty amazing) set about rewilding Toronto. It sounded facetious but I thought it was a point worth thinking about.

        Am enjoying this interchange of info and views.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am enjoying it too but I confess that you are now drawing me out of my comfort zone (i.e., science) and into the the larger questions relating to this new environmentalism and rewilding and so forth. I suppose we are getting into questions of what’s behind Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030. This is well away from my specialisms but I think Rosa Koire (author of “Behind the Green Mask”) is someone from the left who has researched these questions and is worth looking up (she has many videos uploaded on youtube).

        I have been meaning to post an article linking up some of these themes but I find it’s always tricky when it comes to tackling this issue from a left perspective. There’s a sequence of posts I have been putting together constructed around the theme of the key topics from last year’s Bilderberg meeting in Montreux – one of these will dedicated to this topic (presuming I finish it). Meanwhile, and sticking to your points, I really don’t know if I can add much except to say that I think you’re concern of “being herded” is fully justified.

        Environmentalism has certainly changed a lot since the days when Greenpeace put a stop to the open air nuclear tests in the Pacific or courageously manoeuvred their tiny boats in the way of whale harpoons. The founders of Greenpeace were so heroic and feared by the establishment that the French secret service finally bombed their ship. So I have time for Patrick Moore in one way, although I feel that he has become so embittered that his position is too extreme the other way and he is now unreliable. Why does he promote nuclear power, fracking and tar sands oil extraction? These are unnecessary industries that cause real environmental devastation and long-term pollution. So I can only go along with him halfway – he is right that the environmental movement has been dreadfully misguided, but wrong when he begins to dismiss all of its causes. That’s my view anyway.

        Interestingly although George Monbiot is seemingly on the opposite side of the fence to Moore, they actually agree on some of these important issues – Monbiot is another keen advocate of nuclear and doesn’t seem especially bothered by fracking (if it were not for the CO2). By contrast, I would advocate for banning both industries for reasons given above. Hope that answers some of your questions – as I say, you’re taking me outside my comfort zone!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree re wariness of some of Patrick Moore’s views. Not too sure about Monbiot either. And this is obviously not my ‘field’ either, though as a gardener I’m much concerned with the state of soil, and after 8 years rubbing shoulders with agricultural scientists and aid workers in East and southern Africa, I have all manner of unresolved doubts about First World intentions, past, present and future. Anyway, I’ll leave you in peace for now. Christmas doings are about to intervene. But I’ll look forward to a Bilderberg series. It’s interesting that their existence is now widely known. I went for years muttering about their meetings, and people looked at me as if I was bonkers and a conspiracy theorist. It was looking into stuff in the Congo (I think) that first flagged them up for me. Festive greetings to you and your, and thanks for all your thoughtful and helpful responses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is curious that mention of the word Bilderberg often has that effect. I actually wrote at length about this reaction in one of my annual reports on Bilderberg – from when they met in Dresden in 2016. Btw I have posted at least one report covering every meeting since I started the blog – keeping this up became a little personal challenge. Then last year it got more complicated because list of key topics was so striking and diverse that I finished up wanting to explore many different avenues all at once. Which is why I ended up with this series of unfinished articles. These are all a little fragmentary and the one about environmentalism is the least complete and least well-formulated. In fact it remains more of a sketch to be honest, but I shall endeavour to finish it (and hopefully post all of them) before next year’s meeting – which is a bit of a deadline obviously.

        Meanwhile, I’d like to thank you too for the conversation. It has been marvellous to bounce ideas and receive fresh insights, and I’ve really enjoyed our exchanges. I look forward sharing many more thoughts hopefully in the future.

        Wishing you a peaceful and very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

        Liked by 1 person

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