Scott Mandia on the Lovelock Nothing-Burger

April 30, 2012

Scott Mandia of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team was tapped for an interview on last week’s teaparty tempest making the deny-o-sphere rounds about James Lovelock and the latest supposed walk-back of climate science. Scott’s got it right. Climateprogress fills in the gaps.


Famed scientist James Lovelock has always been in a category of one when it comes to global warming. See for instance my June 2009 post, “Lovelock still makes me look like Paula Abdul, warns climate war could kill nearly all of us, leaving survivors in the Stone Age.” That’s mostly because he doesn’t follow the scientific literature.

Now that he has dialed back his doomism — alarmism is a wholly inadequate word for Lovelock’s (former) brand of unjustified hopelessness — the media and the deniers are just so excited. That’s especially true since Lovelock has now overshot in the other direction of climate science confusion and just keeps peddling nonsense.

And so we have this MSNBC story:

‘Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate change

James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too….

The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium….”

He was wrong about his doomism before, he is wrong about Gore now, and he is apparently uninformed about basic climate observations (see “Breaking News: The Earth Is Still Warming. A Lot“). Indeed, even MSNBC feels compelled to note:

Asked to give its latest position on climate change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement that observations collected by satellites, sensors on land, in the air and seas “continue to show that the average global surface temperature is rising.”

The statement said “the impacts of a changing climate” were already being felt around the globe, with “more frequent extreme weather events of certain types (heat waves, heavy rain events); changes in precipitation patterns … longer growing seasons; shifts in the ranges of plant and animal species; sea level rise; and decreases in snow, glacier and Arctic sea ice coverage.”


15 Responses to “Scott Mandia on the Lovelock Nothing-Burger”

  1. […] Scott Mandia on Lovelock Nothing-Burger ( Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    I thank Lovelock for explaining Global warming in his books so I understood the dangers..His belief in Nukes was a warning to me that he is not perfect in his understanding,so thanks to the real climate scientists for their work

  3. neilrieck Says:

    I used to think Lovelock was a crank (let’s face it, The Gaia Theory sounds like new-age psuedo science) until I read the book “He Knew He Was Right: The Irrepressible Life of James Lovelock” by John Gribbin. Now it is true that Lovelock has made statements which have caused many people to not take him seriously, so lets hope his new toned-down message is more receptive to the masses.

    • Alteredstory Says:

      The Gaia theory is basically an observation of how the earth behaves.

      None of his claims on that subject had anything New Age in them. All he said was that the earth seems to self regulate its temperature, and that’s the case.

      It does seem to.

      What the broader implications of that are, I don’t know. I guess it’s just important to avoid putting other people’s interpretations on him.

  4. Alteredstory Says:

    “It’s really all about money”

    THAT was a dumb thing to say. People have already been dying because of it for at least a couple years, and are already leaving their homes.

    It’s NOT just money.

  5. IMO, instead of countering the “back in the 70’s the conventional wisdom was that CO2 was going to cause a chill” statement by referring to a Newsweek cover story, a better response would have been to discuss Steve Schneider and aerosols. There has never been an hypothesis that more CO2 in the atmosphere would cool the planet.

  6. astrostevo Says:

    The Murdoch presses Australian newspaper in my country (the eponymous one) has been pushing Lovelock’s supposed “recantation” very heavily indeed. Sigh. 😦

  7. astrostevo Says:

    I am surprised and disappointed by the extent of Lovelock’s apparent change of heart and that by the fact that it seems he’s been attacking Al Gore and Tim Flannery so vigorously based on I’m not sure what exactly.

    I’m also thinking the media may have been taking some of what he said out of context or outright misquoting him here.

    Whatever the case may be, one elderly scientist toning down his earlier hyperbolic predictions and apparently playing up the uncertainties to the hilt isn’t enough to refute all the other information and evidence such as shrinking arctic sea ice, vanishing glaciers, faunal and floral population shifts and so forth.

    Lovelock’s comments (if accurate) have changed my view of Lovelock mor ethan they have changed my view on Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) as I prefer to call it.

    (Because being Human induced and excessively rapid are its key aspects stated plainly and mostdescriptivelyand “overheating is the issue whilst “Warming” sounds too mild and has too many positive connotations.)

  8. daryan12 Says:


    This is why I’ve never taken Lovelock seriously! He often seems more interested in promoting nuclear power than global warming. Indeed I’ve often got the impression that he’ll say anything just so long as it leds to more nuclear power, regardless of whether its accurate or not.

    Such “climate porn” as he was known to spout served merely to discredit mainstream climate science and prove useful fodder for Fox News to paint all climate campaigners as deluded alarmists with an agenda.

    Even the relatively modest warming scenario’s painted by the IPCC are scary enough! We’re in drought here in the UK right now, a permanent change of climate to even what we’ve seen over the last few summers for the UK, nevermind those IPCC projections, would be disastrous!

  9. […] One notable example came from Scott Mandia of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team […]

  10. […] One notable example came from Scott Mandia of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team […]

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