Meeting James Lovelock
I was fortunate enough to meet and then hear the eminent climatologist Professor James Lovelock speak at the excellent Charles Causley festival in Launceston Town Hall last week. The 92 year old(!) Professor Lovelock has written numerous books on the concept of the earth organism known as Gaia. I have long been an admirer and it was great to talk to him so candidly about his rather pessimistic outlook for our planet over the next 20-30 years. He has been a strong advocate of nuclear power for many years and he made a good analogy of having visited the French Nuclear waste processing plant at Le Hague and then returning to Cornwall where you only have to go to St.Ives to be exposed to three times the radiation! He was also very dismissive of wind generation and referred me to the excellent Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air by David MacKay, Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge. It seems that turning my thermostat down is the easiest contribution I can make to saving the planet as well as buying an electric car if I could afford one!
If you haven’t read any of his books then I strongly recommend the Vanishing Face of Gaia which is very readable but ultimately very depressing.