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A sustainable future?

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, June 15th, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: sustainability - Tags: ,

You know Peak Everything is making the mainstream when it hits the business pages.

But the era of abundant cheap resources is drawing to an end, for reasons equally straightforward. […] And while demand for resources from an exploding and wealthier population soars, finding and extracting new sources of supply is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive.

Business has to plan for resource depletion of course, just as many are planning for climate change.  And for many that resource scarcity is already upon them.

Water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe. Forty-four million people were driven into poverty by rising food prices in the second half of 2010.

Urbanisation displaces millions of hectares of high-quality agricultural land each year – McKinsey estimates that prime land equivalent in size to Italy could be sacrificed to expanding cities in less than 20 years.

At the same time, tens of thousands of square kilometres of pristine forest are cut down to grow crops needed for food, of which we will need 70% more by 2050 to feed the world’s massively expanding population, according to the United Nations.

With 3 billion more middle class consumers by 2030, and the fact that we’re already using more than this planet can provide, we need to find a new way of living – one without our head in the sand.

Rio+20 next week is meant to be the opportunity for the world’s governments to change course and ensure both that the developing world can access the clean water and other resources they’re currently missing out on, while also committing themselves to living within the planet’s limits.

Early indications don’t look good however.

With three days of negotiations left, only 20% had been agreed.  Large chunks of The Future We Want have been deleted – mostly by the US or China and the G77 (developing nations).

Mikhail Gorbachev, now head of Green Cross International contrasts the “optimism and hope” of the first Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago with the “cynicism and despair” of this one:

I feel bitter when I look at the cavernous gulf between rich and poor, the irresponsibility that caused the global financial crisis, the weak and divided responses to climate change, and the failure to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The opportunity to build a safer, fairer and more united world has been largely squandered.

In New Zealand, National “aspire” for us to be fast followers.  This despite what the excellent Pure Advantage report earlier this week points out:

No country in the world promotes its clean, green image as much as New Zealand, or is as reliant on its clean, green image for its exports and tourism. So in the green growth race, and it is a race, New Zealand should be out in front, leading, but we are not. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, not least of which is the view that New Zealand can have its cake and eat it too. Despite our steadfast promotion of New Zealand’s clean, green image, we continue to lag behind a number of countries in environmental indices and we continue to look for economic solutions from extractive industries such as coal and oil. We do this in spite of the significant opportunities available from the global shift to green growth and the fact that we have considerable competitive advantages to access these markets.

So what role will we play at Rio+20?  We are but a small country, but will we lead the way?  25 years ago a Labour Government showed what we can do.

The world needs action, it needs leaders. Will we stand up?

51 comments on “A sustainable future? ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    We can just build the Starship Enterprise – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/01/final-frontier-starship-enterprise-plan

    and then go out and mine asteroids – http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/apr/24/tech-tycoons-asteroid-mining-venture

    As a plan, it is probably a more realistic way of elevating ten billion humans to the middle class than anything the Greens can come up with.

    • Dr Terry 1.1

      The Greens are not in dreamland, they are intelligent, realistic, and fortunately their thinking is “down to earth”.

      • Robert Atack 1.1.1

        DT there is no way in hell the Labor/green savings scam Kiwi Saver is ‘down to earth’, to maintain KS for the 40 year period Norman was going on about during the last election, ‘we’ have to continue to destroy the environment.
        The Greens are part of the problem

  2. joe90 2

    And the sub-continent ticks away with an average population increase in Pakistan alone of 9,700 every day.

    • fatty 2.1

      True, its time the West stopped forcing the global South into poverty…population increases is their only means of survival. The West is stuck with a choice….either start treating them as humans and stop forcing them into poverty, or do nothing and accept that they will overpopulate the earth.
      Its a difficult choice for us…we can’t imagine life without our slaves.

      • True Freedom is Self-Governance 2.1.1

        Nice one Fatty, I completely agree.

      • Robert Atack 2.1.2

        Alas it is way to late to redistribute the ‘wealth’, to bring everyone up to our standard of lifestyle we would need several more planets, or we could all go down to the lifestyle of your average Bangladeshie, but who is going to vote for 80% unemployment?
        We have 2 options a hard landing – were you hit the pavement and shatter every bone, or a super hard landing where you hit the pavement and explode )
        Earth population zero humans 2050?

  3. ad 3

    Nothing but an overwhelming sense of Left Melancholy for me here.

    A few local governments like Waitakere sought to take on Rio’s Agenda 21 like it really meant something – all the way from communitarial decision-making to a Greenprint and a compact city. Other cities did it as well, some better than Waitakere. Naturally the ideological fire dimmed in the course of 6 terms, but we had a really stable leadership that got about as much done as the money and the local economy could stand.

    Rio this year reminds me of the Shell long-range global scenario in which, rather than choosing the kind of world in which there is greater coherence and cooperation and binding global agreements towards good change, we have instead the:
    – dead Copenhagen talks
    – dead World Trade deal
    – dying Euopean ideal
    – withered United Nations
    – dying concept of international law other than for commerce
    – dying planet
    – and a global resource free-for-all

    So now as a result I constrain my world to working on infrastructure projects that can change behaviour for the good, within Cities. Really hard to have faith in a greater scale than that.

    • fatty 3.1

      “- dead Copenhagen talks
      – dead World Trade deal
      – dying Euopean ideal
      – withered United Nations
      – dying concept of international law other than for commerce
      – dying planet
      – and a global resource free-for-all”

      Those first 4 are a joke…international institutions create and perpetuate poverty…they want poverty, they profit from poverty, they maintain poverty.
      WTO, WB, IMF, UN, NATO…add some more if you want….they cannot be looked to for an answer, they are the problem. They create the structure, they demonise the Other.
      Its no different from hoping the ideology of the ACT Party will sort out the poverty in NZ.

  4. Bored 4

    The challenge we face is to change the consciousness of our own programming. So few of us will critically look beyond the memes and received wisdom they have accepted as their own mental and life paradigm. We are like rabbits caught in the headlights of our ingrained habits, our know constructs and paradigms. The car will run us over unless we understand that we have to move, but nobody has ingrained the concept of being squashed by a car, therefore it wont happen.

    The biggest ingrained notion I observe on this blog regardless of political affiliation is the concept of “growth”. I posted this link before, it is a rational explanation of why “growth” is not sustainable. Please watch it, and then give it to all your associates and friends. Then ask yourself “how does this change my relationship to my current world view”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umFnrvcS6AQ

  5. weka 5

    Urbanisation displaces millions of hectares of high-quality agricultural land each year – McKinsey estimates that prime land equivalent in size to Italy could be sacrificed to expanding cities in less than 20 years.
     

    That in and of itself is not necessarily a problem. There is no reason why we can’t build cities that feed themselves (food can be grown in cities, and it’s more sustainably than conventional cropping and farming). There are of course other reasons for not building more cities, namely peak everything.
     

    No country in the world promotes its clean, green image as much as New Zealand, or is as reliant on its clean, green image for its exports and tourism. So in the green growth race, and it is a race, New Zealand should be out in front, leading, but we are not.
     

    “green growth” is an oxymoron. Export and tourism economies will fail in the face of resource depletion. Our aim should be to keep NZ ‘green’ because we need this land to grow food and to live on.
     

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 5.1

      Green growth certainly is an oxymoron. But it makes those promoting the economic growth model who have a slight conscience feel a bit better I suppose. Really just another way to greenwash unsustainable practices though.

  6. True Freedom is Self-Governance 6

    I think, realistically, if we are to have a sustainable future people will have to accept a different standard of living. Not necessarily a lower standard (unless you are one of those people who feels the latest consumer gagdet is essential to your existence), just a change in what we view as important in our lives. Until there is enough political will to change our collective focus from the dinosaur-brained ‘endless growth to benefit a few’ model sustainable options will always be overlooked by pollies in favour of get rich quick schemes.

    That 100% pure slogan is almost as big of a joke as John Key being a self-made man.

  7. The Baron 7

    25 years ago we banned ourselves from peaceful application of one of the greenest energy sources in the world, and instead wedded ourselves to far dirtier coal/gas energy production and waterway ruining hydro.

    A nuclear weapons ban makes sense. Nuclear power ban does not. Funny precedent to bring up then isn’t it, Ben.

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 7.1

      I’m not familiar with the latest waste-disposal practices in the nuclear industry. Have they come up with new practices that involve decontamination of the waste before burial or some kind of recycling system for it? Otherwise I cant imagine why it could ever be referred to as one of the greenest energy sources.

      • The Baron 7.1.1

        It’s about trade-offs though, isn’t it. Yes, the waste problem is an issue with nuclear – solutions are available to that. Not especially elegant, but you might consider them better than pumping out carbon from your coal fire (we haven’t solved that problem yet, have we?) or likewise from gas (nope, no solution there) or kept the rivers flowing (um nope again).

        NZ has a frankly immature attitude to nuclear power. Hell, its even a natural process for god’s sake. By doing so your wedding yourself either to a future as a lights out luddite or as a continual burner of carbon. Can’t have it all, so what side would you rather be on?

        • Bored 7.1.1.1

          I don’t think it is fair for you to trade off on behalf of some descendant to be born several thousand years down the track from now. These unborn will be working away to store your spent fuel rods at their cost, you will have had all the benefit. That is theft, grand larceny. Inter generational theft pure and simple.

          Besides the theft aspect you might want to consider that civilizations and states regularly collapse (read a history books or two please), just as our financial system threatens to do currently. What long term confidence can we have that a polity will exist to look after this nuclear waste a few thousand years down the track?????? Try thinking about the word “responsibility”.

          • The Baron 7.1.1.1.1

            OK, and you can explain to these same grandkiddies how you killed the environment with the carbon emissions and waterways damage that you’re implicitly endorsing instead. Theft and grand larceny? Grow up please – or are you going to tell the grandkids to turn the heater off as well?

            Make some choices and recognise that they all come with consequences. I acknowledge that nuclear has trade offs – so does every method of power generation. I prefer one right now that doesn’t directly ruin the environment through carbon emmissions – you clearly would rather keep doing that.

            As for your “I’m awesome cos I read lots of non-fiction” – um, LOLZ. Why don’t you try looking up the word “choices” and “uninformed hysteria” instead? Cos your immature argument style is pathetic.

            • Bored 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Did I get to you Baron? Your comments indicate to me your total egocentricity. A minor hissy fit at being called out. Grow up and you leave your mental kindergarten.

              • The Baron

                Uhuh. Let he who cast the first stone etc.

                Still haven’t told me how you’re going to explain to your grandkids why you didn’t stop rampant climate change by supporting non-carbon emitting sources of generation, have you? Too hard basket huh – or, um, do all your history books not have that answer for you?

                Hahahaha.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.2

      Pull the other one Baron. We build a bunch of safe clean nuclear power stations, figure out how to dispose of the toxic waste they produce, make them earthquake proof and cheap to maintain, and after we have done all these things that no other country has managed, you will sell them to overseas investors at a fraction of their value.

      PS: Other than confiscation without compensation, what other mechanisms could be put in place to prevent or deter National Party scum from flogging everything New Zealand builds?

      • Bored 7.2.1

        Reply to the PS bit (from another post)…how to get assets back….

        incoming government buys 5% of the shares on the market so that they are clear majority shareholders then run everything at a loss, therefore depressing the share price. Next step buy up more shares at low cost until it is viable to run a profit and to buy the rest back from the profit.

        The last option is really just corporate raiding / asset stripping of minor shareholders, happens all the time. Evil I know, could not happen to nicer people.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.2.1.1

          Not punitive enough to prevent a capital gain, and would still provide opportunity for short-sell profiteering with near-guaranteed returns.

    • Colonial Viper 7.3

      What do you have to do to decommission a nuclear power plant at the end of its 40 year safe operating life, Baron? How do you breakdown and mothball the plant, safely?

      Or do you do what they’ve been doing in the US and Japan – just granting repeated extensions to plant operating licenses until something breaks for real.

      • The Baron 7.3.1

        Oh yes, the irradiated wastelands that are the US and Japan huh. Seems to me that things seem to be working out rather well even despite your doomsdayism.

        And before you get started:

        – Three mile island is the worst that has ever happened in the states. Those exposed got doses equivalent to a chest xray.

        – Fukushima was hit by what, two tidal waves? And despite all the hullabaloo, the effects are pretty minor.

        I have no idea how you break down and mothball a plant. Other countries have done it though – I’m sure it ain’t that hard. But then again, its you who effectively want to keep pumping out carbon and ruining waterways by denying this as an option – oh, or forcing everyone to keep the heaters off all winter.

        It’s all about choices, but your an immature moron who wants to cross out one of your options based on hysteria. Nice.

        • Colonial Viper 7.3.1.1

          – Fukushima was hit by what, two tidal waves? And despite all the hullabaloo, the effects are pretty minor.

          LOL

          “hullabaloo”

          You should look up all the kindergartens and primary schools throughout Japan which are now contaminated by hot particles.

          And the residents of Washington state and California who are coming to terms with radioactive contaminated fish swimming off their beaches.

          • The Baron 7.3.1.1.1

            … and, um, you should link to them.

            Even then, that is the most extreme example of a failure not of the plant itself, but of the havoc that two tidal waves can cause. Solution – don’t build our one that close to the coastline?

            But then agian, I’m the one trying to reduce our carbon footprint, aren’t I. You’re the one who wants to keep burning coal and destroying waterways. How does it feel to ride that high horse around, idiot?

            • lostinsuburbia 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Fukushima was built by the coast because it needed plenty of cooling water – that’s why most power plants are by the sea or large rivers – water is neccessary for even thermal power plants.

              As for nuclear being “carbon-neutral” – it is a debatable position given the environmentally damaging nature of uranium mining and processing. There is less than a century’s supply of usuable uranium deposits worldwide and a large upscaling of the nuclear industry would drain that supply even faster.

              Decommissioning is also a problem. Finland is the only country to come up with a permament solution so far – and that took constructing a deep tunnel complex into granite bedrock. No one else has come up with a solution. Instead they are left keeping used fuel in cooling ponds or reporcessing it (which still leaves you with nuclear waste).

              So all in all nuclear energy is only a transitional technology that still has a lot of problems.

    • joe90 7.4

      Solution – don’t build our one that close to the coastline?

      You could have a wee think about why nuclear power plants are built where they are.

      • The Baron 7.4.1

        Done that thanks Joe. Plenty are built by inland sources of water instead. Or, miracle of miracles – we invented things called PIPES a couple of thousand years ago. No reason your plant can’t be on a bluff.

        Wanna try again? Hahahahaha.

      • joe90 7.4.2

        No, not cooling. Try again.

        • The Baron 7.4.2.1

          I’m not going to play this game, Joe. Most nuclear power plant designs need to be close to a source of water. Maybe you in your infinite wisdom have designed one that doesn’t – I dunno.

          If you’re worried about your power plant getting hit by two tidal waves, which is more possible here than elsewhere admittedly, then build it up or inland a bit. Problem solved.

          Our anti-nuclear hysteria is preventing us from using what is, by in large, a safe and clean method of power generation. No, not perfectly so, but none of them are. The problem is that we have such a goddamn immature attitude to this conversation in this country, as the hysteria in this thread has proven.

          So instead, we will keep burning fossil fuels and fucking our rivers. Seems dumb to me, and far from sustainable.

          • lprent 7.4.2.1.1

            Operational and construction costs of raising a power reactor well up from sea level tend to be prohibitive. They’d have to lift their vast amounts of water.

            Of the three rivers that are likely to have sufficient volumes of water, the Waikato and Whanganui are drain the volcanic plateau and only a person with no understanding of geology would want to place a reactor close to those.

            The Clutha is probably the only viable one and it is in the South Island over the scrawny cook strait cables and rather wasteful lossy national grid.

            Similarly the only decent sized lakes are nice active volcanic craters.

            No, not perfectly so, but none of them are. The problem is that we have such a goddamn immature attitude to this conversation in this country, as the hysteria in this thread has proven.

            I haven’t even bothered with the getting into the issues of the scales of commercial reactors that are currently available. But having a single point of failure that large isn’t a good idea for the economy.

            Or the issues about how to remove the high level waste from NZ when we have no place that is geologically stable enough to store it and where the nearest storage facilities are half-way around the world. The costs of removal make that a non-cheap power source.

            I’m not going to play this game..

            Because it is pretty clear that you have no frigging idea of how to deal with actual real nuclear reactors? That is how it reads to me. A simple minded sloganeering idiot who seems to think that NZ is a nice stable land area like aussie..

            If the full cost of the nuclear reactors in NZ were built in from the start, then they’d be the most expensive possible source of power we could use.

            • lostinsuburbia 7.4.2.1.1.1

              Don’t forget nuclear reactors are good for baseload electricity production and NZ doesn’t have a problem with baseload given all our hydro resources. Its the peak that’s the problem and its an expensive and potentially dangerous solution to ramping electricity production at a nuclear power plant up and down.

              Nuclear energy may be a transitional solution for some countries with limited alternatives for electricity production but it is certainly not needed in NZ.

              • lprent

                There don’t seem to be any commercially available reactors on offer at less than about 1000MW, and as you say nuclear reactors aren’t like the nearest equivalent in NZ grid. The Huntly power station is a similar size but can be turned on or off with relatively little notice.

                And if the Taupo volcano gets breached and drops one of those massive floods of pyroclastic rock (ie ignimbrites) and water down the Waikato and cooks and washes the Waikato river valley away (which happens regularly in NZ geological history), the debris scattered down to the river mouth and along the coast from a coal power station at Huntly is a lot less of a problem than if there was a 1000MW nuclear reactor there.

            • The Baron 7.4.2.1.1.2

              Lyn,

              Contrary to some of your assertions in the end, I at least appreciate you taking the time to engage the argument on its merits. Nope, I am not and don’t think I have claimed to be an expert on constructing or operating nuclear power plants. I still think however that on balance a mature conversation about power generation in NZ would consider the option.

              Detail – as for a location, I thought Kaipara harbour. Doesn’t need to be a river per se, plus Kaipara is near the load points in Auckland. I’d also imagine, in near ignorance, that the east coast would be less prone to tsunami risk, as remote as that risk is.

              As for geological instability in general, I’m not taking aus as my baseline, but instead Japan, which seems to me to be significantly less stable than here. They can do it, why can’t we?

              As for base generation versus peak, or commercial viability of smaller reactors – again, dunno. If you’re worried about burning coal though, I’d rather have one of these than Huntly.

          • prism 7.4.2.1.2

            The Baron
            Your cosy suppositions about nuclear power without looking at its true cost from start to close down then how long it has to be left to lie ‘fallow’ mean that your comments are irrelevant.

        • joe90 7.4.2.2

          Logistics.

          They’re in close proximity to navigable waterways because the prefabricated components are so big and with such large volumes of construction materials being used the only viable transport option is by barge.

          And with components so big the only way to lift and manoeuvre them is the use of heavy lift seagoing cranes.

          Also with most radioactive materials transfers having a seagoing leg combined with local opposition to land transport, proximity to navigable waterways is crucial.

    • freedom 7.5

      There is a solution to disposing of nuclear fuel waste. It is serious kit but all in all relatively low cost once in operation. It consists of a magnalev launch ramp and an orbiting vehicle. The waste is launched into orbit and then retrieved and redirected to eventually get consumed by the Sun. (note: as it will not require any shielding etc the pod and its contents get consumed by Solar radiation millions of miles from the Sun’s surface, so any scaremongers screaming of fission disasters can quit before they waste their bandwidth) The best location would be from Australia where there is ample space to build the fifteen to twenty km launch ramp required and more than enough energy as it is all solar powered. Australia also has numerous coastal access points, albeit currently undeveloped, which would not require the waste to visit or transit through populated areas. The orbiting vehicle that captures and realigns the waste pod is a drone controlled from the ground and there is already all the technology necessary to make this happen. As with Solar power, the electric car and any number of real achievements humanity could be expanding upon, it is the lack of will and the perceived loss of future income that stymies the roll of progress.

      No-one has ever explained to me a quantitative reason why it should not occur. Implementation costs and greed being the most common mitigating factors that all arguments collapse into. In counterpoint i mention that this year 59% of the US Federal Budget is going on Military and Defense projects. That is approximately 1.2 Trillion dollars. The construction of a Nuclear Fuel Disposal System as described above has been costed in the thirty to fifty billion mark, let’s double that and it is still is only a tenth of what the US plans to spend on bombs and guns this year alone.

      • The Baron 7.5.1

        Hah. There we go. Or we could just get the good people at Space-X to do it as well – a modified one way version of their rockets could probably do it for even cheaper.

        Problem solved.

        • freedom 7.5.1.1

          rockets will never be cheaper than magnetics run from solar power, that is the whole point.

          If Solar had been allowed to develop properly then we would likely already have space tourism and a hundred thousand other cool things. The principle one being cheap sustainable domestic energy supplies. Which is of course the driving force behind making sure that the boot of authority is well and truely held on the neck of Solar development. Electricity must never be allowed to become a mass consumer item that the consumer actually controls. The entire machine depends on the everyday person being reliant on the grid. Control control control, it is not just about the dollars, they are nothing but icing on the cake.

        • freedom 7.5.1.2

          also Baron you must take into account the whole size-weight issue that comes with nuclear fuel waste . Smaller regular payloads would be required and all fuels, even the clever space ones, cannot compete with solar energy

  8. lostinsuburbia 8

    Unfortunately humans as a general rule are shortsighted and greed. People struggle to see how these issues individually effect them and are loathed to lose any of their luxuries.

    Our society is now organised on the basis that everyone deserves instant gratification for their desires and that individual satisfaction should be sought at any cost.

    Also, people think we have more time and that any changes will be gradual. However human history and environmental society show us that change will occur in sudden abrupt shocks e.g. the signficant release of arctic methane deposits or the collapse of the Western Antartic ice shelf. Once these changes happen, it will be nigh on impossible to reverse them.

    With our self-centered attitudes I can’t imagine there being much political buy-in from the the general populace to undertake any signficant change before some really painful shocks are felt as parts of the world suffer resource and ecological collapse.

    And when those shocks happen, international relations (particualarly in Asia) will get very hairy indeed.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      And when those shocks happen, international relations (particualarly in Asia) will get very hairy indeed.

      bearing in mind if there is no diesel and no av gas (or if they are US$10/L), there is no war.

      • lostinsuburbia 8.1.1

        Possible, but they can always throw their nukes at each other, and governments and their militaries will be last to run out of fuel.

        • Oscar 8.1.1.1

          Shocks like when the magnetic field drops out and radiation rains on our heads from above until the magnetosphere gets itself back up again.

          Shocks like when a blizzard that comes “out of nowhere” kills 200 cows

          Shocks like when people come to the slow realisation that we’re heading into a cooling cycle

          Shocks like when people realise that 3 inches of rain equates to 30 inches of snow

          Shocks like when people gawp at the fact Cordon Caulle is still rumbling away 12 months later with several other volcanos regularly emitting sunlight blocking particles – most likely more now than in recorded history

          Shocks like when people realise that the oceans warming cause CO2 levels to rise, not that CO2 rises cause warming oceans

          Shocks like when scientists, real scientists, categorically state that they estimate 10,000 volcanoes are erupting underwater, and thats just the ones they know about out of an estimated 1,000,000 undersea volcanos – so what’s driving the increase in sea temperature again

          Shocks like when people finally wake up and realise they’ve been far too short sighted and fucking greedy by focusing on singular elements rather than looking at the bigger picture.

          Oh yes, I can’t wait for those shocks. Humanity is disgusting, foul, despicable and fuckwitted to the extreme. The day we introduce compulsory sterilization after your second child, the sooner we’ll start to balance out what this earth can sustain.

          The balance of nature is out. Harmony no longer exists. Humanity deserves to die, and Nature is the one that will come and wipe us out.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.1.1.1

            The above comment is as good an illustration of how believing nonsense can lead to insanity, as any I’ve seen.

          • Murray Olsen 8.1.1.1.2

            All these real scientists and not a link in sight. The scientists might be real, but the nonsense you spout is about as far from reality as it’s possible to get.

  9. jaymam 9

    James Lovelock has the answers. You trust him don’t you, and the Guardian?

    James Lovelock: The UK should be going mad for fracking

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory

    [Lovelock] and his wife Sandy have decided to downsize and move to an old lifeguard’s cottage by the beach in Dorset. “I’m not worried about sea-level rises,” he laughs. “At worst, I think it will be 2ft a century.”

    He says “being allowed to change your mind and follow the evidence is one of the liberating marvels of being an independent scientist, something he has revelled in since leaving Nasa”

    [Lovelock] is now coming out in favour of “fracking”, the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from the ground. He argues that, while not perfect, it produces far less CO2 than burning coal

  10. captain hook 10

    jman. I dont trust anyone do I.
    I listen to them all and make up my own mind, don’t I.
    Thats what a democracy is, isn’t it?
    I’m a thinking man< aren't I.
    are you a democrat or not, isn't you?

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