Influential scientist, inventor, and environmentalist James Lovelock is having some second thoughts about the whole climate change thing.
In the context of a doom-and-gloom United Nations climate science report, Lovelock, 94, described the environmental movement as becoming "a religion, and religions don't worry too much about facts." He added that "It's just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can't be certain."
In an interview in which he offered the above comments, Lovelock -- a fracking supporter -- also seemed to be backpedaling from his dire, alarmist predictions made in a 2006 book of a coming global warming climate catastrophe. "I was a little too certain in that book. You just can't tell what's going to happen. It could be terrible within a few years, though that's very unlikely, or it could be hundreds of years before the climate becomes unbearable," he acknowledged.
A favorite of the environmental movement, Lovelock is probably best-known for his "Gaia" model of the earth as a single organism. "Lovelock himself became something of a guru to environmentalists in the 1960s when his Gaia hypothesis postulated that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life."
Last month, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore told Congress that "There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth's atmosphere over the past 100 years … no actual proof, as it is understood in science, actually exists."
Whether you are a climate change believer or skeptic, or undecided, the role of the media and government officials in this politicized debate has become very off-putting.
The environmental movement, and liberals and Democrats from President Obama on down, along with most big media outlets, have declared that the climate-change debate is "settled." The notion of declaring something as far-reaching as climate change -- which started out as global cooling and then became global warming prior to the climate change appellation -- as conclusively established seems to run counter to the scientific tradition. Isn't the purpose of science to continually probe for new information and then discard accepted theories when additional knowledge makes them obsolete?
Do you think that the climate change movement is a religion that lacks a factual basis?
[Image credit: Bruno Comby]