Free Markets, Free People

British climate alarmist recants his alarmism

Interesting.  True confession time I guess

James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.

Gee, we’d have never guessed.

Lovelock goes into some further detail:

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

So in essence, what Lovelock is saying is a) he was wrong about his predictions and b) in actuality they really don’t know what is happening although they have this theory which isn’t panning out the way they thought it would.


So much for the value of consensus huh?

To his credit, at least, Lovelock admits to the mistake. 

Would that the rest of the alarmists had that sort of integrity.  Instead, many choose to double down and make themselves even less credible.  One wonders if Lovelock’s admission might give some others the courage to recant as well.

Oh, and Lovelock makes an important point:

Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”

Yeah, neither am I.  I’m a skeptic.  Climate changes.  It has throughout the history of the planet.  And we’ve had periods of higher CO2 and higher temperatures in our history, neither of which could be linked to man.  Additionally:

He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.

“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.

I am skeptical of his first statement and much more likely to find credence in the second, i.e. it is the oceans of this world that drive climate change, not man.  Additionally, it seems to me that, at least to this point, the skeptic’s theory of low sensitivity of the climate to CO2 seems to be more valid than the alarmists theory of high sensitivity.  Had the alarmists been right, as Lovelock points out, we should be frying right now.

Most importantly is his admission that “twelve years is a reasonable time”.  It has provided enough time for a trend to develop that debunks the alarmist’s predictions. 

Finally Lovelock admits that which has been painfully evident to most skeptics, given the trend of those 12 years – “we don’t know what the climate is doing.”

That is correct.  And until we do we need to quit trying to make economy killing policy based on what the evidence is currently telling us is a faulty theory.

Or said another way, we need to use actual science to drive policy, not pseudo-science that supports a political agenda.

I should be able to get consensus on that, no?


Twitter: @McQandO

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29 Responses to British climate alarmist recants his alarmism

  • Me say big fire ball in sky have something do with this…

    • @Ragspierre Helios has tread too close to earth on his chariot path! We must appeal to great Zeus to make Helios guide the team further aloft across the sky. Those who appealed to him 30 years ago to bring the chariot closer to the fertile plain to fend off the ice and cold were wrong!

    • @Ragspierre Prepare the ritual sacrifice, a man-bear-pig will appease great Zeus, the Hero Gore can track it down, subdue and return it so we may offer it up on the National Mall. Something must be DONE!!!!!

      • @looker I will happily help track down man-bear-pig. Which mansion do you think he’s staying at this week?

        • @Ragspierre I think he’s in Portland, getting his second Chakra, uh, relieved.

        • @looker I heard he and Clinton (Bill) were in Cartagena…doing advance work…

  • Reducing pollution and being more efficient are desirable goals on their own. That said, such measures have to be realistic. They have to work and pass a cost/benefit test. This would be true regardless of AGW. Too much of environmentalism is more about a power grab than anything that is going on in the environment.

  • Do you think your readers ever verify the things they read on this site? If they did, they would find that James Lovelock was an actual 92 year old alarmist (unlike most scientists to whom that charge is applied). His alarmist statement which he was now negating—rather than the entire man-made global warming hypothesis—was, “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”, as well as other non-scientific predictions. (Such statements are well worth denying.)

    I agree, climate should not be used as a pawn, even in the Conservative game of opposing the creation of new legislation to fore-stall its effects.

    I don’t believe Lovelock said we should be ‘frying by now’—but “only halfway toward a frying world now”, since, “According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading body on the subject, the world’s average temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. By 2100, it predicts it will rise by another 2 to 11.5 degrees, depending upon the levels of greenhouse gases emitted”, which hardly sounds like ‘frying’ to me.

    Read more at:

    • @tadcf “By 2100, it predicts it will rise by another 2 to 11.5 degrees, depending upon the levels of greenhouse gases emitted”, which hardly sounds like ‘frying’ to me.” Really? Very good, it hardly seems like frying to me either – it does assume, according to alarmists, some devastating potential in predictions of New York being submerged, for example. Tell me more about this legislation that will ‘fore-stall it’s effects”. What are you proposing to stop? How will it stop it? Who will be expected to stop it? How will you enforce this? Will it be world wide? or will be we pretending that carbon emissions from first world nations are more chewy and carbony rich than carbon from developing nations? What is the target? and the date for the target? and will YOU, personally, be willing to give up your carbon producing life style features as an example to the rest of us poor benighted denyist heathens?
      On other fronts 6 years ago he was only 86 – are you trying to say we shouldn’t listen to people when they get to be a certain age, even if they can provably beat the snot out of you in an intelligent and reasoned discussion (that is, they’re not raving like Al Gore). 5 years ago he was a TIME magazine HERO! Now, dirt…because, I guess….now he’s uh, 92. 6 years ago, recipient of the UK Geological Society Wollaston medal, now, dirt….because, I guess…now he’s uh, 92. Oh, and he’s not a warmist anymore, but that’s not why he’s dirt, maybe, well, uh, probably, but it IS warming, and we MUST DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!

    • @tadcf What. A. Prick. Excellent spokeshole for the Collective, though.

      • @Ragspierre Heh, don’t worry, he’s managed to get this far, we just need to weed out those ancestral ‘we must sacrifice someone to the volcano god!” genes he’s carrying. 20 years from now he’ll be following some new global man-made catastrophe religion and this will all be a bitter-sweet memory of which he’s not a bit ashamed (and which he won’t discuss).

      • @Ragspierre” spokeshole”———Love that.

      • @Ragspierre He IS a busy little spokeshole though, we’re so lucky, he has so many other ‘right wing’ places to spread his sciency wisdom to.

      • @Ragspierre He drank the Kool-Aid

    • @tadcf Hey, Sparky, while we’re at it, you might want to research this….see if there’s any truth to the idea, and then consider the implications for yourself……

    • @tadcf You AREN’T voting Republican, are you?

    • @tadcf ha ha, Dr Science expends many words in carefully not taking a position. He still has not coughed up his scientific method street cred qualifications. Still, if we are to consider old scientists with an opinion then why not take Freeman Dyson over a shyster like Lovelock? Dyson is at least eminently qualified in science. Or maybe he is a conservative boogeymonster in the pay of big oil as well. And anyway predicting a 2 to 11 degree rise in temperature as we still come out of a mini ice ageis something a three year old with a ruler can do… it is like a soothsayer predicting the weather will be fine once the storm passes. Only a leading body full of rentseekers can try and pull a game like that!

    • @tadcf — Come back after you exit junior high school.

    • @tadcf — So when he was a 91 year old alarmist, his credibility was intact?

      Put down the bong and back away from the table.

    • @tadcf Quiet. You yourself said anyone who didn’t know about “scientific method” cannot comment. Since you endorse consensus – which is not science – you must now refrain from commenting. Hypocrite.

    • @tadcf You know, age prejudice is an ugly thing. Isn’t it?

    • @tadcf He quotes about the IPCC, an organization made up of 80+% rent seeking politicians whose next paycheck is based on harmful climate change being just around the corner.

    • @tadcf But your reasoning so so “flat Earther.” Science moves on. Al Gore was an opportunist at best, a charlatan more likely. The text of “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth” is available via The paper is highly technical, as befits a professional journal, so to non-expert eyes even the illustrations may be a little puzzling. An amusing point is that Svensmark stands the currently popular carbon dioxide story on its head. Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around.

      • Based on the work of Svensmark, the EPA should concentrate their efforts to regulating plate tectonics and nearby supernovae. (Good luck with that)

  • Lovelock had better make sure his fire insurance is paid-up. 😉

  • But James Lovelock is denying that he is an denier

  • Well…kudos to Lovelock for finally recognizing what us skeptcs (ie climate realists) have noted for years. The ocean is a huge, huge energy buffer and not much is known about how changes in the oceanic circulation affect the global climate. A back of the envelope calculation of oceanic vs atmospheric heat content shows that a .001 degree C change in the temperature of the earth’s oceans would yield a 1 degree C change in the earth’s atmosphere. Transitory changes in the ocean’s heat content are a much more significant driver of changes in air temperature than a miniscule change in a trace constituent of the atmosphere.