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James Lovelock on the value of sceptics and why Copenhagen was doomed

Excerpts from Guardian interview with James Lovelock | March 29, 2010

Lovelock’s reaction to first reading about the stolen CRU emails:

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.

Careers have been ended by this affair and the reputation of the institution [CRU] will go down for a while. It’s sad because there are some good people there. They have to clean their house if they know people are behaving badly. They have got a rotten job ahead, but it will blow over in a few years.

I would only have been too pleased if someone had asked me for my data. If you really believed in your data, you wouldn’t mind someone looking at it. You should be able to respond that if you don’t believe me go out and do the measurements yourself.

On the over-reliance on computer modeling:

I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault. We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they’re not complete models. They’re based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don’t take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don’t see how they can accurately predict the climate. It’s not the computational power that we lack today, but the ability to take what we know and convert it into a form the computers will understand. I think we’ve got too high an opinion of ourselves. We’re not that bright an animal. We stumble along very nicely and it’s amazing what we do do sometimes, but we tend to be too hubristic to notice the limitations. If you make a model, after a while you get suckered into it. You begin to forget that it’s a model and think of it as the real world. You really start to believe it.

On climate sceptics:

The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear. The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy. I’m puzzled why politicians are not a bit more pragmatic about all this.

We do need scepticism about the predictions about what will happen to the climate in 50 years, or whatever. It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.

On the influence of vested interests:

We shouldn’t let the lobbies influence science. Whatever criticism might befall the IPCC and the UEA, they’re nothing as bad as lobbyists who are politically motivated and who will manipulate data or select data to make their political point. For example, it’s deplorable for the BBC whenever one of these issues comes up to go and ask what one of the green lobbyists thinks of it. Sometimes their view might be quite right, but it might also be pure propaganda. This is wrong.

I don’t know enough about carbon trading, but I suspect that it is basically a scam. The whole thing is not very sensible. We have this crazy idea that we are setting an example to the world. What we’re doing is trying to make money out of the world by selling them renewable gadgetry and green ideas. It might be worthy from the national interest, but it is moonshine if you think what the Chinese and Indians are doing [in terms of emissions]. The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.

Read the interview in G2

March 30, 2010 - Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science


  1. This whole thing was an obvious scam from the start. The only thing that would have made it more obvious would have been for them to declare ‘war on global warming.’

    The only proof you need that it was a scam? When was the last time a politician gave a fuck about what happens 50 years from now? I rest my case…


    Comment by j r walker | March 30, 2010

    • You hit the nail on the head and made me laugh in the process. Well done sir


      Comment by saze | March 31, 2010

  2. […] James Lovelock on the value of sceptics and why Copenhagen was doomed […]


    Pingback by WHAT REALLY HAPPENED | The Ruthless Truth blog | March 30, 2010

  3. Here we have a guy that thinks CO2 is a pollutant.
    Guess he didn’t get the memo::
    ******CO2 is totally necessary for life!! plants do better with higher concentrations, therefore animals do better. There is NO correlation between CO2 levels and temperature!! There is a correlation between solar activity and temperature.******

    From Prison Planet: “Lovelock is also a member of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, an organization that has thrown its full weight behind the global warming movement, lending its absolute support for legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 80%, a process that will devastate the global economy and living standards”

    Lovelock is a fossil, struggling to stay relevant.


    Comment by sam | March 30, 2010

    • Lovelock has also been a major promoter of nuclear energy, using global warming fear-mongering as his rationale.

      The quotes above indicate that the gig is up. Doubling down with new scares is only a temporary fix. The agenda will require a completely new emphasis unrelated to climate. Trial balloons have been emerging but energy “independence” doesn’t sell and the public will balk at accepting co2 as a “pollutant” health hazard. They’ve got their work cut out for them.


      Comment by aletho | March 30, 2010

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