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Jun 04, 2004
A doomsday film, Lovelock and India

Three strangely related events together hold a message for all those that care for India’s future.

The first event, is the doomsday film “The Day After Tomorrow” by Roland Emmerich that has opened across the world last week. It is a slightly frenzied dramatisation of what havoc global warming can bring about. It is in the genre made famous by Emmerich himself in movies like “Independence Day” and “Godzilla”. Scientists who have viewed the current film say it is based on pretty flaky science. Even if the consequences of global warming will be as depicted, the time line, they say, is all wrong. It can’t happen that fast or in such a rush. Are they a touch nervous? Are disasters a certainty, give or take a century?

The second event in the last fortnight, is a statement that comes from a more sober source, in a more measured voice, but it is no less devastating to contend with, than the film. James Lovelock, the Green Guru says that we are underestimating the creeping menace called global warming. And, --hold your breath-- he recommends widespread adoption of nuclear power as an evil we must live with, to end burning fossil fuels for our energy needs.

Lovelock is not easy to dismiss. He is a respected scientist, is 84 now and has been a long-time Green. He is the originator of the Gaia theory that holds the earth to be one integrated living organism with a mind of its own and an ability to regulate itself. He has a wide following among those who venerate the earth. Therefore, Lovelock’s statement recommending nuclear power has shocked environmentalists. Lovelock says he now believes that the pace at which benign alternate sources of energy --solar, wind etc-- are developing is too slow to save the earth.  “I am a Green, and I entreat my friends in the movement to drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy,” wrote Lovelock. Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth have predictably rejected Lovelock’s call.

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