Godfather of global warming cools on it
How tough are times for adherents to the theory that global warming is going to kill us all?
James Lovelock just admitted this week that he does not know what the climate will do.
Lovelock is the godfather of global warming.
Losing him comes after three major discoveries announced this month that refute several gloom-and-doom predictions.
Officials in Canada discovered more polar bears than they thought they had. The reason polar bears are thinner and heading south is classic overpopulation, not melting ice.
The second revelation is that we have twice as many Emperor penguins along the coast of Antarctica as we thought. Using satellite pictures, scientists counted nearly 600,000 penguins in 44 colonies, including seven previously unknown colonies.
The third revelation is that far from disappearing by 2035, the glaciers of the Himalaya Mountains are stable and expanding in some areas.
Now the adherents to this theory have lost Lovelock, the godfather of global warming.
"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing," Lovelock told MSNBC on Monday.
"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."
How nice of him to finally admit what was obvious to some of us all along: We don't know.
Along with microbiologist Lynn Margulis, Lovelock developed the Gaia hypothesis, which holds that everything on the planet is closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system.
Some say it is another New Age religion.
One of the tenets of his hypothesis is that because of man's sinful activity, Gaia will kill us all in a fiery inferno.
His first book was "Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save Humanity."
But as his forecasts and those of lesser lights such as Al Gore have proved to be false, the public woke up and smelled the coffee.
It was not always that way.
In 2006, Lovelock wrote a piece in the Independent, a London newspaper, which predicted mankind would not survive the end of the century and there would be 100,000 years of near lifelessness on the planet.
"We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and 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," Lovelock wrote.
In 2006, the theory of Gaia's revenge was at the height of its popularity.
Polls showed that people believed it, and the next year would bring a Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But 2006 was also the year that the producers of the satirical cartoon show, "South Park," created the character ManBearPig, which mocked Gore's forecasts of doom.
Never underestimate the power of humor.
In 2009, Climategate - the unauthorized release of emails by scientists - showed that scientists manipulated data to make it look as if the world was burning up.
The emails revealed that the science in the Nobel-winning IPCC report was based in part by press releases from the World Wildlife Fund.
While the U.S. government continues to insist that every year is one of the hottest on record, our eyes tell us otherwise.
Alaska and Central Europe suffered record snows and China felt record cold this winter.
"The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium," Lovelock said.
"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."
I should be happy to see this nonsense abandoned, but the benefits of global warming - a longer growing season, more land to farm, and more diversity among the species - far outweigh the risks.
Perhaps the revenge of Gaia is to ignore these little human bugs that crawl upon her surface.
Surber may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.