summary The Vanishing Face of Gaia A Final Warning ↠ eBook ePUB or Kindle PDF

free download ´ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ë James E. Lovelock

The Vanishing Face of Gaia A Final WarningCelebrities drive hybrids Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize and supermarkets carry no end of so called “green” products And yet the environmental crisis is only getting worse In The Vanishing Face of Gaia the eminent scientist James Lovelock argues that the earth is lurching ever closer to a permanent “hot sta. Rating 4½ out of 5In one of the most striking images from the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore mounts a scissor lift to demonstrate the dizzying scale of the global warming trend That scary chart showed as no table of figures could the sheer magnitude of the problem we faceAwareness of climate change has increased since then and “cap and trade” “carbon footprint” and even “carbon capture and seuestration” have entered the lawmaker’s lexicon But the average citizen has most likely forgotten the frightening temperature forecast and now has a vague notion that governments are beginning to do something—that while we may not be doing all we can because the economy has to take priority right “sustainable targets” have been set and the nations of the world will eventually get around to meeting themIt is an encouraging even redemptive vision Humanity will abandon its intemperate ways sober up and—through ingenuity and perseverance—atone for its misdeedsJames Lovelock is here to tell us it ain’t so and we’d better get ready for the brutal truth Writing in his nineties in the twilight of a lifetime devoted to environmental science Lovelock has the luxury of speaking frankly with nothing to gain by spinning his research or sugarcoating the facts In The Vanishing Face of Gaia he takes a hardheaded look at the evidence and delivers the verdict Climate change is real effectively irreversible and likely to be catastrophic The best we can probably hope for is to slow the rate of change and start preparing for life on a hotter Earth The subtitle of his book is both apt and chilling “A Final Warning”It is a book accessible to anyone Lovelock writes with clarity and conviction a vigorous prose style and a useful reliance on analogies Mixing personal observation history and a smattering of science he explains how we got ourselves into this mess innocently at first and shows us where we’re very probably headedMalthus was rightYes our addiction to fossil fuels is a problem But the real problem is that there are simply too many of usIf there were only 100 million of us on the Earth we could do almost anything we liked without harm At 7 billion I doubt if anything sustainable is possible or will significantly reduce fossil fuel combustion; by significantly I mean enough to halt global heatingEven if we were to abandon all activity apart from eating and breathing it wouldn’t be enoughdid you know that the exhalations of breath and other gaseous emissions by the nearly 7 billion people on Earth their pets and their livestock are responsible for 23% of all greenhouse gas emissionsThe right number of humans he says is around 100 million and only if those humans live as gatherers optimally vegans rather than hunters “Were we hunters carnivorous top predators it is unlikely that even a fertile Earth could carry than 10 million of us”The claim is wholly unsubstantiated but one can easily agree that 7 billion is far too manyImpending disasterThe Earth’s climate is a complex nonlinear system explains Lovelock and we should not be fooled by the current slow and steady rate of global warmingit is useful to compare the Earth with an iced drink You will have noticed that the drink stays cold until the last of the ice melts and so to some extent it is with the Earth A great deal of the heat of global heating has gone into warming that huge lump of water the ocean and into melting iceIf he is right we have a small window of time—a generation or two maybe three—before the global climate reaches a tipping point and enters an irreversible “hot” phase When that happens vast regions of the Earth will become uninhabitable The greatest harm will comefrom prolonged and unremitting drought According to the forecasts IPCC report from Working Group II 2007 many parts of the world will experience such a lack of water by 2030Saharan conditions will extend into southern Europe as they are experienced in Australia and Africa When we look at projected future climates we see that much of the continental areas will become barren because of drought This will have appalling conseuences for already overcrowded nations like China India and parts of AfricaIt does not take a scientist to predict the conseuences “Climate refugees” will clamour to migrate to the world’s remaining safe havens northern Canada Scandinavia and Siberia high mountainous regions and some island nations such as Japan Tasmania New Zealand and the British IslesOur gravest dangers are not from climate change itself but indirectly from starvation competition for space and resources and warReady the lifeboatsAnd what can we do to avoid this fate Lovelock’s answer is sobering Not much We suffer from a global tragedy of the commons to which the only effective solution—a radical reduction in the global population—is unthinkable Efforts to control climate change will help but they will only delay the day of reckoning And so far our efforts have been laughably ineffective The world continues to engage in “business as usual”Lovelock convincingly argues that we should embrace nuclear power as the only proven technology we have for generating massive uantities of electricity Solar thermal the cleanest energy source also shows promise But pinning our hopes on wind or solar voltaic energy is “absurd” He is especially scornful of wind energyEurope’s massive use of wind as a supplement to baseload electricity will probably be remembered as one of the great follies of the 21st centuryHe also argues that we should prepare to use geoengineering to cool the planet—not because geoengineering techniues such as releasing sulfuric acid into the atmosphere to block sunlight or seeding the oceans with iron filings to promote the growth of carbon consuming algae are without risk but simply to buy timeBeyond that all we can do is ready the “lifeboats” the habitable zones in Earth’s hotter climate and decide who will be allowed refuge in themGaiaIronically the weakest element of the book is the Gaia hypothesis for which Lovelock is best known This cherished belief—essentially that the Earth is a living organism that regulates itself—seems to me a needless distraction from Lovelock’s scientific arguments But he is ardently wedded to the notion and returns to it again and again and again and againThis is unfortunate because Lovelock’s fixation detracts rather than adds to our understanding of climate change Yes the Earth is a complex interacting system But it is an “organism” only if we redefine that word—and by such an expanded definition that the ocean a forest a town and even my house are also “organisms” It is a metaphor that Lovelock has taken to heart and taken too farOne might easily believe that it is Gaia rather than humanity who is foremost in his affections At one point he likens humanity to a virusWe became the Earth’s infection a long and uncertain time ago when we first used fire and tools purposefully But it was not until about 200 years ago that the long incubation period ended and the Industrial Revolution began; then the infection of the Earth became irreversibleAnd he even has a name for this diseaseIndividuals occasionally suffer a disease called polycythaemia an overpopulation of red blood cells By analogy Gaia’s illness could be called polyanthroponemia where humans overpopulate until they do harm than goodAt times his fondness for Gaia leads him into outright kookinessLet us look ahead to the time when Gaia is a truly sentient planet through the merging with her of our descendantsAs a planetary intelligence we have already shown Gaia her face from space and let her see how truly beautiful she is compared with her dead siblings Mars and Venus from our descendants could evolve the wiser species that could live even closer in Gaia and perhaps make her the first citizen of our galaxyIgnore the Gaia hypothesis The book is better without itGoodbye and Good LuckIs it possible to dismiss Lovelock's ideas about Gaia and still accept his other arguments It is He presents a convincing case that the Earth will become a hotter far less hospitable place It is a gloomy outlook in which perhaps only three causes for optimism can be glimpsedFirst Lovelock might be wrong and it will turn out that the Earth can continue to become incrementally warmer without a sudden “jump” to a greater heatSecond we might find a way not only to reduce carbon emissions but to capture carbon from the atmosphere than we are addingFinally to grasp at straws even if Lovelock’s direst predictions come true life on Earth will continue Humanity will survive albeit in diminished numbers and after much sufferingIn his review of An Inconvenient Truth Roger Ebert included the following heartfelt messageIn 39 years I have never written these words in a movie review but here they are You owe it to yourself to see this film If you do not and you have grandchildren you should explain to them why you decided not toThe Vanishing Face of Gaia deserves similar respect You owe it to yourself to read this book or a book like it When the world gets hotter you won’t be able to say you weren’t warned

summary The Vanishing Face of Gaia A Final Warning

summary The Vanishing Face of Gaia A Final Warning ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ Celebrities drive hybrids Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize and supermarkets carry no end of so called “green” products And yet the environmental crisis is only getting worse In The Vanishing Face of Gaia the eminentD in the Kyoto Treaty must be abandoned in favor of nuclear energy and aggressive agricultural development on the small areas of earth that will remain arableA reluctant jeremiad from one of the environmental movement’s elder statesmen The Vanishing Face of Gaia offers an essential wake up call for the human race. Maybe a little outdated 10 years on comments about renewable energy he has since rethought however the concept of Gaia etc interesting and enjoyed learning further about that

James E. Lovelock ë 8 read

Te” – and much uickly than most specialists think There is nothing humans can do to reverse the process; the planet is simply too overpopulated to halt its own destruction by greenhouse gasesIn order to survive mankind must start preparing now for life on a radically changed planet The meliorist approach outline. This is the first book by Lovelock that I've read I enjoyed it and was maddened by it in eual measure Lovelock has a wonderfully clear vision of what is and is not possible to accomplish vis a vis climate change with an admirable focus on adaptation as opposed to remediation but I suppose his shrugging pragmatism rubs me a bit the wrong way He does a great job here of tearing apart the green ideology that has been foisted on highly consumerized societies in the hopes of making their orthorexic guilt stimulate further orgies of commodity purchase His voice is just what you would expect from someone who essentially started a branch of science then another branch of science and was shunned by academies for decades before his ideas began to gain broader popular and professional traction but surprisingly with nary a hint of I told you so