My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease... The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger... We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.
Obviously, billions of people *will* die before the end of the century; I will probably be one of them to die of old age. As long as I don't fall of a mountain or some other accident. Will I die of climate change? At the moment it seems unlikely to me. He also says:
Unfortunately our nation [the UK] is now so urbanised as to be like a large city and we have only a small acreage of agriculture and forestry. We are dependent on the trading world for sustenance; climate change will deny us regular supplies of food and fuel from overseas.
We *are* quite urbanised, but the farming area is still much larger than the urban area.
Anyway, enough knockabout, what about the substance of Lovelocks words? I disagree with the *certainty* he uses. The temperature rises are not certain; they depend on future CO2 etc emissions (if he is trying to say that these are already committed due to existing forcing, then he is way off the mark; but its all so broad-brush its rather hard to tell). This applies to the "impacts" bit too: i.e. the billions-will-die. He may be right; he may be not. He certainly doesn't back it up with any evidence. Apart from his reputation, why should anyone believe him? Also, his the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years misrepresents what the "climate specialists" do (if he means the physical climatologists): which is to say, we may well predict (or project) temperature rises, but... tend to leave the impacts alone. And of course the we're-all-going-to-die stuff plays into the hands of the septics: if its going to happen anyway, well then why bother do anything. Lovelock doesn't quite say this, or perhaps he says it then unsays it I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time... which if read carefully does make it clear that all this *is* contingent on future emissions.
His temperature predictions are:
...as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.
and thats about all the substance (apart from noticing the recent global dimming; perhaps he has got carried away with that?) (He also sez We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years - what is the 100kyr a reference to? One stoat-point to the first convincing answer). Now we all know (having read James "Pielke Demolisher" Annan) that high values of climate sensitivity are unlikely. And the IPCC range is something like 1.5-5 oC (e.g. here). However, what I wanted to hang on this is the fact that temperature increases are expected to vary very strongly by region, and in particular the continents warm rather more than the seas. So its quite possible to get 5-6 oC increases even from the multi-model mean (e.g. this, which is admittedly the TAR but I don't think the numbers are bigger now). But I'm not sure where the 8 oC in the temperature regions and 5 oC in the tropics comes from - perhaps some particular model?
is it possible that all this is explained by My new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts...? I hope not. All in all I'm inclined to file this under "irresponsible journalism".