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The Vanishing Face of Gaia


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About the Author

James Lovelock is the author of more than two hundred scientific papers and the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory). In September 2005, Prospect magazine named him as one of the world's top 100 global public intellectuals. He lives in Louceston, England.


In his sixth book on Gaia, the eminent 91-year-old British scientist who originated the Gaia Theory to explain the interconnectedness between our planet's climate and life takes an elegiac tone and cosmic perspective in predicting our near future. Challenging the scientific consensus of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he believes it is too late to reverse global warming. We must accept that Earth is moving inexorably into a long-term "hot state." Most humans will die off, and we must prepare havens like northern Canada, where some climate refugees can survive. Lovelock rejects the results of climate computer modeling when they clash with scientific observation. For example, he points out that sea levels are rising significantly faster than models predicted. Lovelock advocates solar thermal and nuclear power as the best substitutes for burning fossil fuels, and he suggests emergency global geoengineering projects that might cool the planet. But Lovelock also avows today's ecological efforts are futile. This is a somber prophecy written with an authority that cannot be dismissed. Recommended for all academic and public libraries.-David Conn, Surrey P.L., B.C. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Lovelock (The Revenge of Gaia) presents evidence of a dire future for our planet. The controversial originator of Gaia theory (which views Earth as a self-regulating, evolving system made of "organisms, the surface rocks, the ocean and the atmosphere" with the goal "always to be as favorable for contemporary life as possible") proposes an even more inconvenient truth than Al Gore's. No voluntary human act can reduce our numbers fast enough even to slow climate change." Nevertheless, human civilization has a "duty to survive" in the few safe havens-the far north and south, islands like Great Britain and Tasmania-free from the drought that will overtake most of the Earth. While Lovelock's propensity to ramble is disconcerting, his predictions are persuasive-although some readers will be appalled by his contention that democracy may need to be abandoned to appropriately confront the challenge. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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