||The Vanishing Face of Gaia
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
06 Apr 2010
Earth will survive, mankind may not
Ever since he propounded the Gaia Theory in the late 60's, James Lovelock has consistently maintained that the earth regulates its climate and chemistry so as to sustain habitability. Now in his 90's, Lovelock says in public what most climatologists say in private - that climate change is irreversible if the current list of solutions on offer are anything to go by. Simply put, it means that the earth will take care of itself but not mankind.
Lovelock believes that the climate is fast changing but wonders how the IPCC could reach a consensus on a matter of science, because the word 'consensus' belongs to the world of politics and the courtroom where reaching a consensus has been a way of solving human difference. Having failed to correctly forecast the course of climate change up to 2007, Lovelock doesn't take IPCC predictions for the future seriously.
For Lovelock, climate change is the sales talk about green stuff like carbon trade and renewable energy. For him, consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms are important who exhale 95 per cent, or 550 gigatonnes, of the entire atmospheric carbon. Unless we learn to cheat these creatures by fixing carbon as charcoal, argues Lovelock, there is unlikely to be any substantive reduction in overall anthropogenic carbon emissions.
Lovelock's books on Gaia are a collector's delight. The latest, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, takes that genre of writing a step further. It is refreshingly readable in presenting a scary subject of mankind's survival with fluent prose.
The Vanishing Face of Gaia
By James Lovelock, Basic Books, New York, 288 pages, $ 25