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Members of environmental associations hold signs as they gather to demand improvements in climate change and energy models, outside the European Commission headquarters during the presentation of the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy EU2030 in Brussels January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman Members of environmental associations hold signs as they gather to demand improvements in climate change and energy models, outside the European Commission headquarters during the presentation of the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy EU2030 in Brussels January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman  

Famed environmentalist says no one ‘knows what’s happening’ with the climate

Environmentalist and scientist James Lovelock has turned heads for saying that he doesn’t think “anybody really knows what’s happening” with the climate.

Lovelock told BBC Newsnight that he didn’t think that climate scientists or skeptics really know what was going on with global warming. He also slammed United Nations’ scientists and officials for being subject to “vested interests” which could hurt their scientific predictions.

“Take this climate matter everybody is thinking about,” Lovelock said. “They all talk, they pass laws, they do things, as if they knew what was happening. I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess. And a whole group of them meet together and encourage each other’s guesses.”

“I’m an independent scientist. I’m not funded by some government department or commercial body or anything like that,” Lovelock added. “If I make a mistake, then I can go public with it. And you have to, because it is only by making mistakes that you can move ahead.”

Lovelock’s remarks follow the release of the UN’s latest report on the impacts of global warming, which have been called alarmist by one of the report’s lead authors. The UN argued that global warming has been felt “on all continents and across the oceans.”

“Evidence of [man-made] climate-change impacts is strongest and most comprehensive for natural systems,” said the UN. “Some impacts on human systems have also been attributed to climate change, with a major or minor contribution of climate change distinguishable from other influences.”

The report, however, was called “alarmist” by one of its own lead authors. UK economics professor Richard Tol dropped out of the UN report because it would not seriously consider the potential benefits of global warming.

“Humans are a tough and adaptable species,” Tol wrote in the Financial Times. “People live on the equator and in the Arctic, in the desert and in the rainforest. We survived ice ages with primitive technologies. The idea that climate change poses an existential threat to humankind is laughable.”

“Climate change will make the disease [malaria] worse,” Tol added. “Economic growth will make it go away. In the worst case, climate change could cut crop yields in Africa in half. Yet yields would increase tenfold — in the same climate, on the same soil — if subsistence farmers started using crops and techniques pioneered on experimental farms.”

“Climate change may be a big issue in Africa,” Tol continued. “But it is not nearly as important as lack of tenure, poor roads, roving warlords and so on.”

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