An oil well in the middle of a corn field near Cottonwood, Illinois. Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

An oil well in the middle of a corn field near Cottonwood, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Mark Lynas has spent the last decade or so researching and writing about global warming, and his work has been especially important in detailing the real dangers posed by rising temperatures. His 2007 book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet won the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize.

But Lynas has become a controversial figure among greens for his support for nuclear power, which he sees as vital to stem the tide of rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And Lynas has also jumped into the the debate over genetically modified organisms. Once a GMO opponent, Lynas did a 180, saying the science showed GMOs to be safe.

In a New York Times op-ed posted online on Friday, Lynas explained his conversion, connecting it directly to his views on global warming.

After writing two books on the science of climate change, I decided I could no longer continue taking a pro-science position on global warming and an anti-science position on G.M.O.s.

There is an equivalent level of scientific consensus on both issues, I realized, that climate change is real and genetically modified foods are safe. I could not defend the expert consensus on one issue while opposing it on the other. – Mark Lynas, in a New York Times op-ed

Lynas, now a visiting fellow at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, this week joined a dozen and a half prominent “scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens” signing onto “An Ecomodernist Manifesto.” Among other things, they argue for a focus on higher-density, less carbon-intensive energy sources – “next-generation solar, advanced nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion” – and against biofuels and other unspecified land-use intensive renewables.