“Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”
– James Lovelock on what we can do about global warming
Speaking to the Guardian, legendary scientist and author of the ‘Gaia Hypothesis‘ of planet earth, James Lovelock, outlined why he thinks around 80% humanity will be dead due to climate change by around 2100. From the interview, we learn that Lovelock believes:
1. Global warming has passed the tipping point and is now impossible to stop.
2. If we had changed course in the late 1960’s it could have been prevented
3. Personal behavior won’t make any difference to climate change.
4. Recycling, carbon trading, planting trees are all useless in combating global warming. “Carbon offsetting? I wouldn’t dream of it,” says Lovelock. “It’s just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you’re offsetting the carbon? You’re probably making matters worse.”
5. Renewable energy is the biggest fraud of all . “You’re never going to get enough energy from wind to run a society such as ours,” says Lovelock. “Windmills! Oh no. No way of doing it. You can cover the whole country with the blasted things, millions of them. Waste of time.”
6. Only nuclear power can solve our energy crisis
7. We need more technology, not less, to help mitigate the massive impact of climate change
8. People want to keep living as they are, and only a huge catastrophe like World War II will make us change
9. When it does hit the fan, it will give people purpose. “We all knew something [World War II] terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it,” says Lovelock. And once the second world war was under way, “everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday … so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose – that’s what people want.”
10. Only after 80% of the population dies out will “we have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly.”
In other words, we’re fucked.
UPDATE: This article was originally published in 2008 on the Guardian, but is surging as the 2nd most popular article on the site today.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.