Weekend compendium

LovelockJames Lovelock is the man who invented earth system science – or to give it the name he got from William Golding (the Lord Of The Flies man), Gaia. Very influential, in other words, and one of the gloomiest prognosticators of mankind’s future in a world where Gaia bites back through climate change. Rolling Stone has an excellent long profile of Lovelock, which includes this gem about some temporary employment during the 1980s:

He supported himself in part as a consultant for MI5, England’s top counterintelligence agency, where he developed a method to monitor the movements of KGB spies in London by using an ECD [electron capture detector, a device invented by JL] to track their vehicles.


  • The UN Environment Programme’s fourth Global Environment Outlook Report (GEO-4) makes gloomy reading. The Press puts it on the front page with the headline Man’s ‘very survival at risk’. [Herald, BBC, Telegraph [UK], full report PDF]. Our ecological overdraft is going to make Gaia unhappy…
  • She’s not helping out with CO2 like she used to either. The amount of our CO2 emissions mopped up by natural emissions is declining – which threatens to speed up warming as carbon cycle feedbacks kick in, a new study [PDF] finds. [BBC, Herald, Times [UK], CSIRO, Rabett Run, Stoat]

[This post will be updated/extended when I stop feeling gloomy…]

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