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Global warming

Global warming could wipe out 90 percent of human population, warns Gaia scientist Lovelock

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: global warming, Gaia, human population

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(NewsTarget) James Lovelock, a controversial climate scientist, announced Tuesday that the earth's temperature might rise by 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit and threaten billions of lives, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Scientists currently expect a 42.8-degree shift in average temperatures by the end of the century, which will cause floods, famines and lethal storms. However, they say that cutting carbon emissions could prevent these catastrophes. Lovelock says there is no such luck.

Lovelock angered climate scientists in the 1960s when he announced his Gaia theory of a living planet, which theorizes that the earth is an individual, self-sustaining organism. His theory is now widely accepted, but now Lovelock claims the planet has a built-in fever that cannot be controlled by environmental efforts. Consequently, the planet may only be able to support a 10 percent of its 6-billion-strong population.

"We are not all doomed," Lovelock said in a news conference. "An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out.

"A hot earth couldn't support much over 500 million," he added. "Almost all of the systems that have been looked at are in positive feedback ... and soon those effects will be larger than any of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions from industry and so on around the world."

The built-in warming is nothing new for the planet, according to Lovelock. While addressing the Institution of Chemical Engineers in London, he said that such dramatic climate changes had happened at least seven times already.

"In the change from the last Ice Age to now we lost land equivalent to the continent of Africa beneath the sea," he said. "We are facing things just as bad or worse than that during this century.

"There are refuges, plenty of them. 55 million years ago ... life moved up to the Arctic, stayed there during the course of it and then moved back again as things improved. I fear that this is what we may have to do."

Despite the pessimism of his theory, Lovelock does not discount global warming and still feels that current attitudes and abuses of the planet will have an environmental consequence. He feels that the United States' rejection of the carbon-emission-cutting Kyoto Protocol is based on the mistaken notion that a technological solution can be found for global warming, and noted that India and China's surging economies are not helping. China, he said, is building one coal-burning power station every week.

However, neither country can afford to stop using carbon-emitting technologies to try to free their populations from pervert -- such a move could spark a revolution -- but the continuation of the efforts stands to kill plant life and bring about famine, Lovelock said.

"If climate change goes on course ... I can't see China being able to produce enough food by the middle of the century to support its people," he said. "They will have to move somewhere and Siberia is empty and it will be warmer then."


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