RIP James Lovelock

Pearce Wright and Tim Radford in The Guardian:

The scientist James Lovelock’s discoveries had an immense influence on our understanding of the global impact of humankind, and on the search for extraterrestrial life. A vigorous writer and speaker, he became a hero to the green movement, although he was one of its most formidable critics.

His research highlighted some of the issues that became the most intense environmental concerns of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, among them the insidious spread through the living world of industrial pollutants; the destruction of the ozone layer; and the potential menace of global heating. He supported nuclear power and defended the chemical industries – and his warnings took an increasingly apocalyptic note.

“The planet we live on has merely to shrug to take some fraction of a million people to their deaths,” Lovelock wrote in 2006. “But this is nothing compared with what may soon happen; we are now so abusing the Earth that it may rise and move back into the hot state it was in 55m years ago, and if it does, most of us, and our descendants, will die.”

More here.