James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change
In his first in-depth interview since the theft of UEA emails, the scientist blames inertia and democracy for lack of action
Worth the read, but I am not sure I am convinced. Firstly it is not democracy itself that is at fault, but the way in which we have allowed democratic processes to be subverted by corporations. As well documented (for instance by Jim Hoggan) the scientists have been portrayed as being part of a two sided debate when in fact there is a widespread consensus. Not one research paper appeared in a peer reviewed journal that showed that either climate change is not happening or is not largely due to human activity. But the companies that drill for oil, and mine for coal, and those that make lots of money from our fossil fuel dependency, are all funding lots of activity to sow confusion and dissent. Like the health insurance industry did – and largely succeeded – over US health care reform, where the objective facts can hardly be disputed, yet at least half the American public was convinced that they were somehow threatened by fairer health care funding. Indeed when one looks at the most prominent recent environmental stories – farmed salmon or “run of the river” hydro or fracking for gas – the facts speak for themselves but the corporations keep on winning, and every species, including us, pays dearly.
I suppose it can be argued that we voted for the governments that make these bad decisions – and we keep on voting for them. But I would suggest that is due to the lack of democracy – we only get to make a choice between two alternatives (bad and worse) at infrequent intervals, and when we do, those who have the most to spend tend to win most often.
But what bothered me most was that he did not read the emails in question but still thinks that data was somehow “fudged”. Which is not my understanding of what happened. There were two data series – actual temperature measurements for recent years and tree rings (and other things) for earlier periods before measurements started – and these were merged. Unfortunately one scientist referred to this as “a trick” – and those two words, wrenched out of context, were used as the “smoking gun” evidence of intent to deceive. But what the famous “hockey stick” graph shows is anything but deceptive.
Are we stupid? Or is somebody lying to us? I think the latter – and the people who are doing the lying are not the scientists but the corporate shills.