Friday, 16 April 2010
Jame Lovelock and the End of the World
A couple of nights ago there was a program on the BBC about James Lovelock. Not one hundred percent sure who James Lovelock is? Shame on you. He invented, in his garden shed, the electron capture detector. Still no wiser? Using this devise he detected the presence of CFCs in the atmosphere, CFCs were used to pressurise spray cans way back in the sixties and the build up of these chemicals was having a very bad effect on the atmosphere. A great big hole had opened up in the ozone layer over the South Pole and was getting bigger. The Ozone Layer protects us from the extremely harmful effects of ultra violet rays and without Professor Lovelock's invention and subsequent work we would have all been at serious risk of developing cancer every time we went out in the sun. Using sun block 50 would have had as much use as splashing water on our skin. So it could be said that he saved humanity from a fate as bad as death. So I will, "James Lovelock saved humanity from a fate worse than death." Not just us but most of the animals that we, grudgingly it seems, share the planet with.
He then went on to come up with the Gaia theory. This suggests that the Earth's atmosphere has a self regulating effect on the weather. As an example the program quoted the algae that came to the top few feet of the world's oceans to breed. As more algae bread the top surface of the sea got hotter and the algae produced a particular type of chemically active gas which caused the cloud cover over the ocean to increase. This made it harder for the algae to breed as the sea cooled down. So less algae. On the face of it producing this gas didn't seem like a good idea on the part of the algae. However if the top surface of the sea did get too hot then the sea would form hot and cold layers, and the nutrients in the colder layers could not get to the surface and the algae would starve. The whole effect is like a very effective thermostat on a central heating system. Plenty of other, similar systems exist in this Mother Earth theory.
Now when I saw that the program about him was on I looked forward to it, mainly to see what he had to say about man made climate change. I know he has a reputation as an eco-pioneer who a few years ago surprised many by advocating nuclear power saying it was the only way we could provide ourselves with all the power we have come to expect in our daily lives. What would he say, would he have some hope of a solution. Regular readers here will know that I personally believe that it is all ready too late to save us from the long term effects to the worlds weather systems due to all the greenhouse gases we have put into the atmosphere, and are continuing to pump in like there is no tomorrow.
At the end of the program Lovelock outlines, in the starkest terms, the fate that awaits Earth's people: billions dying from hunger, thirst, global war, national wars and local wars for dwindling food and water, widespread extinctions, and civilisations destroyed. The Mother Earth theory still holding up only this time it isn't controlling the run away algae population.
Good luck to the human race over the next hundred years.