Influential scientist James Lovelock admits that he's been a bit of an alarmist (read: fear-monger) when it comes to matters of global warming and climate change. Though he wouldn't call himself a "denier" by any stretch of the imagination, he concedes that the earth really hasn't changed as much as he apocalyptically predicted it would, and throws other environmental activists under the bus as well, including Al Gore.
"Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable," he said back in 2006. Now, 6 years later, he told MSNBC that he had been "extrapolating too far," in recent years.
A favorite of the environmental movement, Lovelock is probably best-known for his "Gaia" model of the earth as a single organism. The 92-year-old scientist is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still a very real issue, but that it's just not happening as fast as he once thought.
Even though the world isn't much warmer that it was 12 years ago, according to Lovelock's old theories, "we were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," which seems hardly the world we live in. He admitted, "The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said.
"The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that," he added. Though he has not changed his mind about climate change, he has changed his extremist doomsday-laden positions, and calls Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and Tim Flannery's "The Weather Makers" as other examples of "alarmist" forecasts of the future.
Though readily admitting his mistake, Lovelock still keeps the faith. Asked whether or not he was a global warming skeptic, he replied: "It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I'm not a denier," specifying, "We will have global warming, but it's been deferred a bit."
What do you think of global warming? Real? Imagined? Exaggerated?