"Our future," wrote scientist James Lovelock, "is like that of passengers on a small amusement boat cruising over Niagara Falls and not knowing the engines will fail."
I thought about Lovelock the other day as I drove over Idaho and saw feathers rising from a forest fire in the distance. My mother and two of my children texted me about their driving experience through Redding, the city in northern California, where a "firenado" devastated the area and sped up a forest fire that killed six people. Not far away, in Mendocino, the biggest fire in California's history burned in a Los Angeles-sized area.
I doubt that Lovelock, who is one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century and one of the most articulated doomsay prophets, would be surprised. As an inventor, he created a device that helped discover the growing hole in the ozone layer and start the environmental movement in the 1970s. And as a scientist, he introduced the revolutionary theory known as Gaia – the idea that our entire planet is a kind of superorganism that is "alive" in a sense. Once dismissed as a New Age quackery, Lovelock's vision of a self The regulatory earth is now at the root of virtually all climate science.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "And in Lovelock's view is the Earth's self-regulatory system Thanks to our 150-year-old fossil distillery, we are completely out of whack. " You could seriously view climate change as a response to the system you want to get rid of by an irritating species: us humans, "Lovelock told me in 2007, when I visited him at his home in Devon, England, for a profile in Rolling Stone visited. " Or at least cut them back. "" data-reactid = "31"> And according to Lovelock, the Earth's self-regulation system is seriously out of control, thanks to our 150-year-old fossil fuel. "One could seriously consider climate change as a reaction to the system that aims to get rid of an irritating species: we humans," Lovelock told me in 2007 when I visited him at his home in Devon, England. Rolling Stone . "Or at least cut it back to size."
And Lovelock did not talk about the future we are creating for ourselves by ignoring the warning signs on our overheated planet. As I wrote at that time:
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " After Lovelock's view of the scale of the disaster that awaits us will soon be obvious: by 2020, droughts and other extreme weather conditions will be commonplace, by 2040 the Sahara will move to Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad: Atlanta will become a Kudzu jungle "Phoenix will be uninhabitable, parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods) will drive food shortages millions of people north and cause political tensions Chinese people can not travel anywhere but to Siberia," says Lovelock. I'm afraid a war between Russia and China is probably inevitable. "With emergency and mass migrations, epidemics will come and probably end in death By the year 2100, according to Lovelock, d The earth's population is reduced from 6.6 billion today to 500 million people Most survivors living in wide latitudes – Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin. "data-reactid =" 33 According to Lovelock's view, the scale of the disaster that awaits us will soon become apparent. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather conditions will be the order of the day. By 2040, the Sahara will move to Europe and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will become a Kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (flooding). Food shortages will drive millions of people north and trigger political tensions. "The Chinese can not go anywhere but to Siberia," says Lovelock. I am worried that a war between Russia and China is likely to be unavoidable. "With hardship and mass migrations come epidemics that will kill millions. By the year 2100, according to Lovelock, the earth's population will drop from 6.6 billion today to 500 million, with most survivors living in the wide latitudes – Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic basin.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "A new paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene" more or less reached the same conclusion, even though it was formulated in more general scientific terms (and, of course, minus a reference to a "culling" the earth) population). " data-reactid = "34"> A new work published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene" came to more or less the same conclusion, though was stated in more general scientific terms (and, of course, minus an indication of culling of the earth's population).
<p class = "canvas atom canvas text mb (1.0em) mb (0) – sm mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The newspaper by all USA Today was widespread until Al Jazeera projected a very lovelock- I mean that even if we could achieve the CO2 emission targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, we still have a number of accelerating ones If this happened, the paper argued, "Global Warming Earth is likely to be uncontrollable and dangerous to many, especially if we enter the country in just one or two centuries and there are serious risks to health, economics, political stability (especially those most susceptible to climate change) and ultimately to the livability of the Pla represents people. "" data-reactid = "35"> The newspaper, which was widely used by all USA Today to Al Jazeera projected a very Lovelock-Ianian view of our world, arguing that, even if we succeed in meeting the CO2 emission targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement, we still trigger a series of accelerating feedback loops in the climate system, driving the climate to five or even six degrees with warming four to a permanent greenhouse state Celsius. If that happened, the paper argued, "The greenhouse earth is likely to be uncontrollable and dangerous to many, especially if we invade it in just a century or two, and it poses serious risks to health, economics, political stability (especially the most susceptible to climate change) and finally the habitability of the planet for humans. "
There is no groundbreaking new science in greenhouse earth paper. Rather, it is a synthesis of what is already known and presented convincingly. But it is an important reminder of two key attributes of the climate crisis. The first is that the real threat of climate change is not a slow slide to a warmer world; It's a quick change to a radically different climate. Nobody can say for sure how fast this change could happen and how radical it could be otherwise. But as we release more and more fossil fuels into the atmosphere, we keep rolling. As Columbia University scientist Wally Broecker put it aptly, "If you live with an angry beast, you should not stick it with a stick."
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "And we do not do nearly enough to oppose The Hothouse Earth Paper points out – again, in a very Lovelock – The fight against climate change is not just a matter of reducing CO2 pollution in the future, it's important. It's about the responsibility for the planet Now to take over and more holistically think it now among other things, to give up the idea that there is a "solution" to climate change and accept the idea that we are in a rapidly changing Now Will we develop drinking water systems to handle them? How will we manage forests? How will coastal cities adapt – or intelligently? Retreat from – rapidly rising seas? "Data-reactid =" 40 "> And we do not do nearly enough to d to fight against. The Greenhouse Earth Paper points out – again Lovelock-ian – that the fight against climate change is not just a matter of reducing carbon pollution in the future, which of course is important. It's about assuming responsibility for the planet now and thinking holistically about how to handle it now . Among other things, this means abandoning the idea that there is a "solution" to climate change and accepting the idea that we are living in a rapidly changing world now . How will we develop drinking water systems to deal with it? How will we manage forests? How will coastal cities adapt to, or move away from, fast-rising seas?
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – -sm" type = "text" content = "" The heat and the fires that "We're seeing this summer is worrisome," says Alley Rolling Stone in his typically understated manner. "There are certainly human fingerprints a lot of it. "But, Alley points out, this is only the beginning, and from now on, the Earth has warmed only 1 degree Celsius." Dealing with what we're seeing now is easy stuff, "says Alley, and with each additional degree of warming, the impact will be greater." Alley is most concerned about physical systems with likely tipping points, like the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which, if it breaks down, could increase sea levels by 10 feet or more. "data-reactid =" 41 ">" The heat and fires we see this summer are worrying, "says Alley Rolling Stone [19459009"Therearecertainlymanyhumanfingerprints"ButGalleypointsoutthatthisisonlythebeginningandfromnowontheEarthhaswarmedonly1degreeCelsius"Dealingwithwhatwedojustseeingiseasy"saysAlley"Witheveryadditionaldegreeofwarmingtheimpactwillbegreater"ThelaneismostconcernedaboutphysicalsystemswithlikelyoverturningpointssuchastheWestAntarcticIceshieldwhichifitcollapsescouldraisesealevelsby10feetormore
He also takes care of biological tipping points. "If the oxygen content in the oceans drops only slightly, it could have a large and immediate impact on marine life," says Alley. "A fire in Brazil could cause the rainforest to be replaced by savannas that have all kinds of consequences for biodiversity and carbon uptake."
But it's the turning point in human systems that worries Alley the most. He pointed to the recent drought in the Middle East, which played a key role in the Syrian civil war. "You can see the resilience of different political systems, Israel was fine during the drought, but it was not Syria."
Perhaps it's the summer when we find that, as Lovelock put it, our engines go beyond that Failure and we are actually beyond the cases. But I thought so too after Hurricane Katrina. And after Sandy. Instead, America chose a president who believes that climate change is a joke, and treats madly that California does not have enough water to fight the fires because it has "diverted" rivers to the Pacific. (Like the University of California at Merced Professor LeRoy Westerling, NPR said, "Even if you built a massive nationwide sprinkler system and drained all of our natural water bodies to operate it, it would not keep up with evaporation from warmer temperatures due to climate change."  When I talked to Lovelock in his Devon cottage eleven years ago, he was not worried about the fate of the planet. "Gaia is a tough bitch," he told me, whatever we humans do, he argued, it will eventually regain its equilibrium, even if it takes millions of years. "What is at stake, Lovelock believes, is civilization." I do not see it taking too long, until forms of life based on the idea of [artificial intelligence] and so forth, take over and lead the planet to Heaven. "
What About Humans? When Lovicock was recently questioned about it, he told the BBC," Hal Did not you think it was possible that we had time? "