Valé James Lovelock

I'm saddened by the news of the passing of James Lovelock.

I remember first reading about the Gaia Hypotheses when I was doing my Masters degree. It spoke it me and really solidified a lot of my thinking about the environment and our place in it. There's something very viseral about it.

It was considered pretty wishy-washing when he first started writing about it, but it's very much part of standard scientific thought now.

Of course it helped him realise the impending doom caused by our reliance on fossil fuels well before most of us. If only we'd listened better earlier.

For one reason or another, his advocacy of shifting to nuclear power to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels came to mind recently. At the time I was disappointed - nuclear power is such a bogey man for many of those concerned about the environment.

Of course, the opportunity to shift to nuclear power has long since passed (and other technologies have considerably improved). We can't get nuclear generators up and running quick enough to have any meaningful impact on climate change. It occured to me that if we had taken his suggestion at the time, then perhaps we could have nuclear reactors up and running by now and be producing a lot less CO2.

I'm still not a fan of nuclear power, but it is starting to feel like a better option than to be sitting with a dooms day clock dangerously close to midnight.

The New York Times has a wonderful obituary.

He delighted in being candid, blunt, deliberately provocative and incautious.