Gaia’s creator in The Guardian — science scandals, skeptics, and “a more authoritarian world”

In a lengthy interview in The Guardian yesterday, James Lovelock, scientist and inventor, prominent global warming advocate, and originator of the Gaia theory, has some startling comments on recent scandals relating to the science of anthropogenic global warming, AGW skeptics, adaptation and global governance.

His view on the scandals:

“Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science. I’m not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It’s the one thing you do not ever do.”

Lovelock has some surprisingly good words to say about climate skeptics – the good ones, of course:

Lovelock says the events of the past few months have seen him warm to the efforts of some climate sceptics: “What I like about sceptics is that in good science you need critics that make you think: ‘Crumbs, have I made a mistake here?’ If you don’t have that continuously, you really are up the creek.

“The good sceptics have done a good service – but some of the mad ones, I think, have not done anyone any favours. Some, of course, are corrupted and employed by oil companies and things like that. Some even work for governments. For example, I wouldn’t put it past the Russians to be behind some of the disinformation to help further their energy interests. But you need sceptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic.”

What probably is most startling in the interview is Lovelock’s call for a “more authoritative world” to deal with what he sees as the consequences of global warming:

“We need a more authoritative world,” he says resolutely. “We’ve become a sort of cheeky, egalitarian world where everyone can have their say. It’s all very well, but there are certain circumstances – a war is a typical example – where you can’t do that. You’ve got to have a few people with authority who you trust who are running it. They should be very accountable too, of course – but it can’t happen in a modern democracy. This is one of the problems.

“What’s the alternative to democracy? There isn’t one. But even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

It’s clear that Lovelock — in his nineties now — hasn’t changed his dystopian views, as were expressed in his book, “The Revenge of Gaia” and in an interview a few years ago – in 2006 – when the book was published:

“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.”

See what CEI has previously written about Lovelock here and in an extensive and thoughtful article by Myron Ebell here.