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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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Sauce for the goose

Greens who like to make unsubstantiated claims then demand the prosecution of others for the same offence

I have just sent this letter to the Guardian:

In response to Donald Brown's call for climate scepticism to be classified as a crime against humanity (1st November),

in which he said `We may not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity':

during all the years that I have argued that green opposition to golden rice perpetuates childhood blindness,

that green opposition to bt-maize and bt-cotton perpetuates pesticide poisoning and is bad for insect and birdlife,

that the greens' biofuels are causing starvation and are bad for orang utans,

that greens' organic farming causes malnutrition and destruction of rain forest because it is land hungry,

that greens' championing of wind power causes fuel poverty and kills eagles,

that greens' obsession with ocean acidification is distracting us from real problems in the ocean

-- during all this time, not once have I called for those with a different point of view to be prosecuted as criminals for their views. Nor would I. Nor would I expect a national newspaper to publish my views if I said something so hateful.

Yet the evidence of `extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering' is far stronger in these cases than it is in the case of scepticism that the current warming of the planet is unprecedented, dangerous and mostly man-made.

Yours faithfully,

Matt Ridley.