Two months ago, James Lovelock, the godfather of global warming, gave a startling interview to msnbc.com in which he acknowledged he had been unduly "alarmist" about climate change.
The implications were extraordinary.
Lovelock is a world-renowned scientist and environmentalist whose Gaia theory - that the Earth operates as a single, living organism - has had a profound impact on the development of global warming theory.
Unlike many "environmentalists," who have degrees in political science, Lovelock, until his recent retirement at age 92, was a much-honoured working scientist and academic.
His inventions have been used by NASA, among many other scientific organizations.
Lovelock's invention of the electron capture detector in 1957 first enabled scientists to measure CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other pollutants in the atmosphere, leading, in many ways, to the birth of the modern environmental movement.
Having observed that global temperatures since the turn of the millennium have not gone up in the way computer-based climate models predicted, Lovelock acknowledged, "the problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago." Now, Lovelock has given a follow-up interview to the UK's Guardian newspaper in which he delivers more bombshells sure to anger the global green movement, which for years worshipped his Gaia theory and apocalyptic predictions that billions would die from man-made climate change by the end of this century.
Lovelock still believes anthropogenic global warming is occurring and that mankind must lower its greenhouse gas emissions, but says it's now clear the doomsday predictions, including his own (and Al Gore's) were incorrect.
He responds to attacks on his revised views by noting that, unlike many climate scientists who fear a loss of government funding if they admit error, as a freelance scientist, he's never been afraid to revise his theories in the face of new evidence. Indeed, that's how science advances.
David Fuller's view Of course a certain
amount of anthropogenic global warming is occurring and one does not need to
be a scientist to know this. We are a warm blooded species and there are 7.5
billion of us and counting. We also breed lots of warm blooded animals. More
importantly, we use increasing amounts of energy in our everyday lives. This
is why temperatures are generally higher in cities than in the surrounding countryside.
The debatable point concerns how much mankind contributes to global warming and we know from the history of our planet that other factors have been and are likely to remain an even bigger influence on climate change.
I like James Lovelock's comment that greens are treating global warming as a religion, particularly regarding the use of scare tactics. A green economic agenda would create an economic catastrophe. Instead, we should use science to reduce mankind's contribution to atmospheric pollution.
Regarding the controversial subject of fracking, FracFocus is an informative site.
Mrs Fuller and I heard James Lovelock speak at the Hay on Wye Festival several years ago and we liked his sensible, mostly moderate comments.
Here is the Guardian interview referred to above. James Lovelock sounds like good company.