UK: climate crisis ‘prophet’ dies

British scientist James Lovelock, famed for warning about the climate crisis and founder of The Theory of the Earth, which presents it as a living organism capable of self-regulation, has died at the age of 103, his family announced today.

“James Lovelock passed away yesterday, Tuesday, at his home, surrounded by family, on his 103rd birthday,” the family of the deceased said. “He was world renowned as the prophet of the climate crisis and the founder of the Gaia theory,” the family said in a statement.

Presenting himself throughout his career as an “independent scientist,” Lovelock clashed with colleagues over his apocalyptic vision of the climate crisis. “It’s too late now, too late to save the planet as we know it,” he told AFP in 2009, months before the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15). “Prepare for massive human casualties,” he declared, one of the few scientists of the time who predicted a bleak future.

Born in 1919, Lovelock grew up in south London and worked for 20 years at the British Institute for Medical Research. He was hired by NASA in the early 1960s and moved to California to work on the possibility of life on Mars.

He became famous for formulating the “Gaia Theory” in 1970, presenting the Earth as a living organism capable of self-regulation. At the time, his theory was hotly debated.

His genius made him the “Forrest Gump” of science, wrote British Guardian journalist Jonathan Watts. “Perhaps the most important independent scientist of the last century, Lovelock was decades ahead of his time,” notes the London Science Museum.

Commenting on the Covid-19 pandemic, James Lovelock told AFP in June 2020 that “it is killing, in particular, my peers – the elderly – and there are already too many of them (on the planet)” to then emphasize that “climate change is more dangerous for life on Earth than almost any other disease.”

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