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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Ecosystems are dynamic

A response from scientists on ocean acidifciation

We are getting somewhere. There is a long response to my Times article from ocean acidification scientists  here. This makes me rather happy. The response confirms the accuracy of my main points. I have sent the following response to Nature's website, which carried a report on this matter:

I am glad to have my main point confirmed by the reply: that there is in fact no evidence for net biological harm likely as a result of realistic changes in ocean pH. This is a huge and welcome change from the exaggerated rhetoric that has been used on this topic.

The reply also confirms the accuracy of virtually all of my factual assertions about the likely change in pH, the natural variation in pH and other issues, including the involvement of a Greenpeace ship in a research project. Only my interpretation is challenged.

The reply goes on to say that `positive and negative impacts do not cancel out, but both contribute to ecosystem perturbation'. This strange remark flies in the face of everything that ecologists have been discovering ever since Charles Elton coined the term, namely that ecosystems are dynamic, not static entities. It amounts to saying that change is bad because it is change. That is a ciurcular argument.