Last updated on: 12/31/2008 | Author:

James Lovelock, PhD Biography

Honorary Visiting Fellow at Oxford University Green College
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“When, in the 18th century, only one billion people lived on Earth, their impact was small enough for it not to matter what energy source they used.

But with six billion, and growing, few options remain; we can not continue drawing energy from fossil fuels and there is no chance that the renewables, wind, tide and water power can provide enough energy and in time. If we had 50 years or more we might make these our main sources. But we do not have 50 years; the Earth is already so disabled by the insidious poison of greenhouse gases that even if we stop all fossil fuel burning immediately, the consequences of what we have already done will last for 1,000 years. Every year that we continue burning carbon makes it worse for our descendants and for civilisation.

Worse still, if we burn crops grown for fuel this could hasten our decline. Agriculture already uses too much of the land needed by the Earth to regulate its climate and chemistry. A car consumes 10 to 30 times as much carbon as its driver; imagine the extra farmland required to feed the appetite of cars.

By all means, let us use the small input from renewables sensibly, but only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy.”

“James Lovelock: Nuclear Power Is the Only Green Solution,” Independent, May 24, 2004

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Honorary Visiting Fellow, Green College at Oxford University, 1994-present
  • Recipient, Companion of Honor, Order of the Companions of Honor, 2003
  • President, Marine Biological Association at Plymouth, 1986-1990
  • Recipient, Companion of the Order of the British Empire, 1990
  • Recipient, Amsterdam Prize for the Environment, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1988
  • Recipient, Norbert Gerbier Prize, World Meteorological Organization, 1988
  • Recipient, Silver Medal Prize, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, 1986
  • Recipient, American Chemical Society award for chromatography, 1980
  • Recipient, Tswett Medal for Chromatography, 1975
  • Fellow, Royal Society, 1974, 1975
  • Professor of Chemistry, Baylor University College of Medicine (Houston, TX), 1961-1964
  • Employee, National Institute for Medical Research (London, UK), 1941-1961
  • Visiting Scientist, Yale University Medical School, 1958-1959
  • Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship in Medicine, Harvard University, 1954-1955
  • DSc, Biophysics, London University, 1959
  • PhD, London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine, 1948
  • BSc, Manchester University, 1941
  • Honorary Doctorates in Science, University of East Anglia, Plymouth Polytechnic, Exeter University, Stockholm University, University of Edinburgh, University of Kent, University of East London, University of Colorado
Quoted in:
  1. Is Nuclear Power Safe for Humans and the Environment?