Here’s an interesting piece from the Times of London on James Lovelock, a “granddaddy” of the green movement, and his annoyance with the climate-change-is-religion crowd:
Lovelock has been intimately involved in three of the defining environmental controversies of the past 60 years. He invented an instrument that made it possible to detect the presence of toxic pollutants in the fat of Antarctic penguins — at roughly the same time as Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, her hugely influential book about pollution. In the 1970s the same instrument, his electron capture detector, was used to detect the presence of chlorofluorocarbons — CFCs — in the atmosphere. Although Lovelock mistakenly pronounced these chemicals as no conceivable toxic hazard, the scientists F Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina later won the Nobel prize in chemistry for proving they were destroying the ozone layer.
Then, in 1979, Lovelock published the book-length version of his Gaia theory, which postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of super-organism, with millions of species regulating its temperature. Despite initial scepticism from the Darwinists, who refused to believe that individual organisms could act in harmony, the Gaia theory has been widely accepted and now underlies most atmospheric science.
What, I wondered, would be the great man’s view on the latest twists in the atmospheric story — the Climategate emails and the sloppy science revealed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? To my surprise, he immediately professed his admiration for the climate-change sceptics.
“I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane — some of them, anyway,” he said. “They have been a breath of fresh air. They have kept us from regarding the science of climate change as a religion. It had gone too far that way. There is a role for sceptics in science. They shouldn’t be brushed aside. It is clear that the angel side wasn’t without sin.”