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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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Victory on acidification!

Three fellows of the Royal Society concede my arguments

There is a hilarious letter in today's Times from three FRS professors about my recent artilce on ocean acidification.

Despite conceding the factual truth of my article in detail, they tell me to brush up on chemistry then give no examples of me getting anything wrong.

They concede my point that any shift of acidity will be within natural ranges. Thanks. But say it could be much larger `in the future'. No numbers, note. They mean in several centuries.

They concede my point that some organisms make shells form bicarbonate. Thanks. But they say falling carbonate levels could dissolve shells. At what levels?

They concede that it is `true' that there is no net effect of carbon dioxide on organisms. Thanks. But say there will be `winners and losers'.

They mutter about `unpredictable consequences' of `change'. No! You don't say.

All this is very, very different from the exaggerated claims that I was attacking. It is a huge retreat, under a smokescreen of insult.

I'm rather pleased.