As far as I know Mark Lynas is an honourable man. He changed his mind on the benefits of genetically modified crops, going against the views of nearly all environmental campaign groups and bravely putting up with much criticism for doing so. I know how he feels, because I have done the same – changing my mind about the dangers of climate change, going against the views of nearly all environmental campaign groups and putting up with much criticism for doing so.
That Mark does not agree with my change of mind on climate (which happened gradually but was cemented by the way the green and scientific establishments reacted to the Climategate controversy) is fair enough. I don’t, however, understand why he chooses to take the low road in his attacks on me. His latest blog post is entitled “On Matt Ridley’s latest attempt at climate change denial”. He knows full well that I have never advocated climate change “denial” and that that very phrase was invented as a way smear sceptics who think the dangers of climate change are being exaggerated by associating them with holocaust denial. Yuk.
He then tweeted that I had “invented” numbers about climate sensitivity, when there were links in my piece to one of the peer-reviewed sources I had used. I asked him to withdraw the charge of “invention” three times on twitter and he has so far refused to do so. He did something similar a couple of years ago when attacking a piece I had written on wind power.
I am quite used to ad hominem attacks. I do not expect them from a fellow science writer and the winner of a book prize I was four times short-listed for. I have a rule that I do not go ad hominem, unless attacked myself. I always simply try to present arguments for or against a particular point of view.
And why does Mark feel the need to guess at and question my motives?
He makes the unpleasant insinuation that I come to my view backwards, that is to say that I am “against tackling global warming, and want to use the world’s poor as a moral justification for this”. He calls my view that climate change will probably not be dangerous this century “clearly intuitive”.
Well it’s not clear to me.
He produces not a shred of evidence for these entirely false and frankly nasty charges. I hereby ask him to withdraw them.