Humans inclined to distortion of ‘plausible deniability’

James Lovelock, a British biologist, developed a hypothesis, which has earth behaving like a single living organism.

By Ron Heusen

James Lovelock, a British biologist, developed a hypothesis, which has earth behaving like a single living organism.

Plato was the first to conceive of this idea and the ancient Greeks named their “earth goddess” Gaia.  Lovelock’s hypothesis is that over eons of time, differing life forms shaped earth’s feedback systems into a finely tuned optimally balanced earth he calls “Gaia”.   One aspect of Gaia is interdependent, responsive and concurrently adjusting biochemical cycles that constantly strive for homeostasis.

Lovelock states that when we treat those cycles as so elastic as to be indestructible, the feedback response may not favor humankind.   Lovelock does not infer some conscious earthly malevolence; he just scientifically articulates how nitrogen, sulphur, carbon and oxygen cycles work and how human activities influence them.

For the last 650,000 years, the natural state for earth has been atmospheric CO2 concentrations of around 280ppm.  Carbon laden fossil fuel use has increased concentrations to 390ppm; a staggering 800 billion tons of CO2 earth has not been able to balance through photosynthesis, dissolution and carbon fixation.

Every year we add 30 billion tons of this stable long lasting gas.

China is currently completing two new coal fired hydro plants a week and projections forecast their CO2 emissions will pale every country on earth, and India, already the world’s fifth largest emitter, projects massive increases.

Energy hungry Americans are now proselytizing the virtues of cheap abundant natural gas and Australia continues to be the world’s largest coal exporter. Canada may seem innocuous but we are one of the biggest per capita CO2 emitters on earth.

That may be why Prime Minister Stephen Harper created the 2006 Clean Air Act, which deferred Kyoto Protocol’s binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 40 years into our future.

That was tantamount to a repudiation of the science of global warming but the political expediency of removing impediments to Canada meeting NAFTA’s proportionality clause, that prevents Canada from cutting back our oil and natural gas exports to the US, cannot be understated.

Call it irony but the B.C. Liberals boast about the number of coal mines that have reopened under their aggressively reduced corporate income tax model, while they simultaneously profess good climate citizenship through carbon taxation of the working poor.

B.C. Hydro tries to propagate a green image through motherhood statements of “developing environmentally responsible power” while they quietly import coal and gas-fired power from Alberta and Washington.

Some climate experts suggest 2050 could be the possible point when global CO2 concentrations will be so high, the initiated forcing effects will relegate humanity to stunned bystanders.

As I watch the exploitation of carbon cap and trade, escalating global fossil fuel use and the destruction of natural balancing systems such as rainforests, I share the global scientific community’s trepidation about our future.

Humanity appears to have adopted the unethical self-serving distortion of plausible deniability with respect to the science of anthropogenic global warming and in doing so likely opened Pandora’s Box.

Human inclination is to deny that which we cannot conceivably accept and our demonstrable record is that of an indiscriminate polluter.  It makes me wonder if, like the myth of Pandora’s Box, all that remains is “hope”.



Retired Nanaimo resident Ron Heusen writes every second week. He can be reached through the News Bulletin at



Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read