- Dec 3, 2008
Nah. Lovelock was just a believer in the worst case scenario of global warming. That's where some kind of threshold would be exceeded and a kind of unstoppable feedback loop triggered involving methane clathrates in the arctic permafrost. The theory went that sufficient warming would cause the permafrost to thaw, releasing lots of the potent greenhouse gas methane, warming the atmosphere further, causing more melting and so on (perhaps involving more release of methane clathrates from the ocean bed as the ocean warmed further along in the cycle). He pointed to a period about 55 million years ago, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when temperatures averaged about 8C above current temperatures and where there would have been no ice at the poles. A prime candidate for the cause that period is the release of methane clathrates perhaps initially triggered by volcanic activity raising CO2 levels to get the whole process going. There are certain parallels with what's happening at the moment. Lovelock argued that we were going to get an accelerated version of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (getting to levels needed to trigger the feedback process within decades rather than centuries or millenia). Certainly if temperatures did increase by 8C over decades then there'd be chaos and large-scale starvation as he described. Of course, apparently so far the climate is far more resistant to the increased CO2 than he feared. He has admitted he seems to have gotten it wrong given observed warming trends. However, his arguments weren't "crackers" and did have a logical basis. And it's still not inconceivable, though less likely now, that at some point some kind of switch may be flipped regarding global warming and the planet head down the kind of path he described.Heffer:
That's not your normal Lidl or Dunnes own brand. That is genuine Jacob's Crackers.