Quote at the end of the article: The point is not whether Gaia is alive or
not, but rather, whether we can learn to love life enough to save the
planet. -- Colin Wright
The challenge to this learning is essentially that most of us are basically
unplugged from the planet. When was the last time your feet actually
touched the ground and not concrete? When was the last time you looked the
grower of your food in the eye and shook his or her hand? How many more
questions like this can we all ask? Perhaps this article will help us gain
a bit of motivation to accept the challenge, if for no one else, our
children. Mike DuPree
----- Original Message -----
From: "Keith Addison" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:00 AM
Subject: [Biofuel] Carbon Freeze?
> (October 12, 2006)
> Carbon Freeze?
> Recently I've been reading "Revenge of Gaia" by James Lovelock.
> Though it sounds like a science fiction novel (and some will critique
> it that way), it is in fact an impassioned plea for recognizing the
> depth of the climate crisis and a call to action.
> Gaia, or the notion of a living planet Earth, was proposed by
> Lovelock in the 1960s when he was a planet scientist for NASA looking
> at the inert atmosphere of Mars. It occurred to him that life itself
> on Earth was manipulating the atmosphere to its own benefit. While
> the Earth Science community has now recognized that our planet does
> indeed self-regulate its temperature and composition, it shies away
> from Lovelock's contention that there is an active, willful component
> to Gaia.
> Now Lovelock is back, arguing that the regulating mechanisms are
> failing; in fact, that Gaia has a fever and is raising her
> temperature to get rid of us. As anthropomorphic as this notion is,
> Lovelock at 82 is no crackpot. I recently saw him at the University
> Bookstore, and he comes across as the genteel but sharp-witted
> English scientist that he is. As a fellow of the Royal Society,
> Britain's most prestigious science organization, he is on top of the
> latest climate science. And unlike most scientists, he feels that his
> objectivity is not compromised by speaking out.
> Much of the science in the book is familiar: the hockey-stick-like
> rise in global temperatures in recent years, the dramatic loss of ice
> in Greenland and the Antarctic and Arctic, the melting permafrost,
> etc. But Lovelock adds some new twists and goes beyond the smooth and
> linear temperature increases that characterize the IPCC predictions.
> For Lovelock, discontinuities and tipping points in the form of
> sudden temperature rises will bring irreversible change and add up to
> a bleak future where humanity itself is threatened.
> Lovelock advances the notion that the Earth is returning to a new hot
> state, about eight degrees Centigrade warmer, that will last a
> hundred thousand years or more. Such an episode did occur about 55
> million years ago, when massive methane releases overwhelmed the
> planet. As corroborating evidence that we could enter a new hot
> state, Lovelock points to his computer simulations that mimic algae
> growth in the oceans. According to his model, when carbon dioxide
> levels begin to exceed about 500 parts per million, the ocean algae
> with their ability to absorb carbon and promote cloud cover become
> extinct, leading to an abrupt jump in global temperature of around
> eight degrees. This sort of temperature jump would turn much of the
> planet into scrub and desert, which together with massive flooding
> would lead to a catastrophic die-off in the human population.
> To be sure, these sorts of predictions are speculative at this stage.
> The new IPCC report is due out next year (and it is rumored to be
> frightening). But it would be foolish to ignore the possibility that
> letting carbon dioxide levels rise to 500 ppm would put the lives of
> billions of people at risk. (Note, according to Paul Roberts' "The
> End of Oil," that even if we stabilized carbon emissions at current
> levels--a carbon freeze--we will reach 520 ppm by 2100. If we do
> nothing, we will hit 550 ppm by mid-century.)
> Even if we have already passed a point of no return, Lovelock
> advocates replacing our fossil fuels as soon as possible to slow the
> temperature increases and to buy us more time. He proposes a range of
> alternative energies, including nuclear fission, until we can develop
> nuclear fusion, which is still decades away from feasibility, if at
> Getting off of fossil fuels may be easier than Lovelock thinks. He
> seems to be unaware of peaking global oil supplies. Retired Princeton
> geology professor Ken Deffeyes is still sticking to his December 2005
> prediction for global peak oil. His new evidence? New data from the
> US Energy Information Administration that world crude oil production
> peaked at 85.1 million barrels a day last December and then declined
> to 84.3 million barrels this past June.
> (www.energybulletin.net/20518.html). A temporary downturn, perhaps.
> (Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review, with his
> field-by-field analysis, still sticks to his 2010/2011 peak.)
> Meanwhile knowledge of the coming energy crisis seems scant in
> Seattle. Portland and San Francisco city councils have already passed
> Peak Oil resolutions, setting up committees to study how their city
> will react and prepare for the coming high energy prices and
> shortages. Energy analyst Matt Simmons thinks the genie is now out of
> the bottle and peak oil and gas will dominate the 2008 election
> Al Gore, well aware of the global warming/peak oil systems crisis,
> and who has done more than anyone recently to wake up lethargic
> Americans, is calling for an immediate carbon freeze, followed by
> steep declines. Gore, who has singled out Ballard as a model
> neighborhood for carbon reductions, will be speaking in Seattle on
> Oct. 23rd at Key Arena.
> The hope is that the challenges of the coming decades will pull us
> together. The doctrines that the Republicans and neocons are
> pushing--infinite war, market worship, massive debt to drown the
> government, a police state--will be wholly inadequate in the new
> environment. They need to be trashed as soon as possible. New ideas
> about alternative energy and conservation, about global cooperation,
> and most of all, about the empowerment of us all to use our
> collective energies for the public good will be essential.
> The point is not whether Gaia is alive or not, but rather, whether we
> can learn to love life enough to save the planet. --Colin Wright
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