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Climate Change»'humans too stupid to stop climate change'

»Tuesday, March 30,2010

Prof Lovelock, the man behind the Gaia theory which says that the planet behaves like a single organism, claimed humans were “not clever enough” to handle the problems associated with global warming.

In an interview, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist applauded “good” climate sceptics and gave warning that global warming would one day lead to severe conflict.

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle as complex a situation as climate change," he said.

"The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful.”

Prof Lovelock, 90, said he believed the best hope to combat climate change was to invest in adaptation measures, such as building defences around cities vulnerable to sea-level rises.

Only a catastrophic event would persuade humans that the threat of climate change was serious. He has previously warned that a rapid cutback in greenhouse gas emissions could speed up global warming.

He gave one example of how the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, which would immediately push up sea levels, would wreck havoc across the world.

Without change, he said, climate change would likely one day lead to war.

“Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being,” he said in his interview with The Guardian.

“I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

The controversial scientist is best known for his ideas that portray Earth as a living thing, a superorganism – named Gaia, after the ancient Earth goddess – in which creatures, rocks, air and water interact in subtle ways to ensure the environment remains stable.

His interview came after the United Nations’ climate science panel recently admitted that it made a mistake by claiming that the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

The IPCC was forced to apologise after the prediction in its benchmark 2007 report – that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 – was revealed to have been based on unsubstantiated claims.

It followed another row surrounding the science behind climate change, dubbed “Climategate”, when leaked emails appeared to suggest that scientists at the University of East Anglia had manipulated climate change data.

As a result Prof Phil Jones, the director of the University’s Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to IPCC reports, has been forced to stand down while he is investigated.

Prof Lovelock said he was disgusted by the actions of some scientists who have damaged the work of many other good scientists.

"Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science," he said.

"I'm not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It's the one thing you do not ever do."

He added that the recent events surrounding the topic had left his thoughts about climate change “sceptics” thawing.

“What I like about sceptics is that in good science you need critics that make you think: 'Crumbs, have I made a mistake here?' If you don't have that continuously, you really are up the creek,” he said.

“The good sceptics have done a good service, but some of the mad ones I think have not done anyone any favours.

“You need sceptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic.”

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