James Lovelock: ‘Before the end of this century, robots will have taken over’

Fracking is great, the green movement is a religion, his dire predictions about climate change were nonsense – and robots don’t mind the heat, so what does it matter? At 97, the creator of Gaia theory is as mischievous and subversive as ever

environmentalist James Lovelock near his home on the Dorset coast.
‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change’ … environmentalist James Lovelock near his home on the Dorset coast. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian

James Lovelock’s parting words last time we met were: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky, it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” It was early 2008, and the distinguished scientist was predicting imminent and irreversible global warming, which would soon make large parts of the planet uninhabitably hot or put them underwater. The fashionable hope that windfarms or recycling could prevent global famine and mass migration was, he assured me, a fantasy; it was too late for ethical consumption to save us. Before the end of this century, 80% of the world’s population would be wiped out.

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