So, James Lovelock has admitted that he was wildly exaggerating the the effects of climate change. Tell us something we didn't know. This announcement has been presented as an admission that all claims about global warming are equally alarmist and exaggerated. Why doesn't this surprise?
Most scientists regarded Lovelock's position as extreme, anti-scientific and fanciful. Comments like, "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" are obviously silly, and alarmist, and plenty of people said so at the time. Lovelock didn't reflect mainstream opinion then or now, but his retraction indicates he is moving in the right direction - from the freakish extremes towards the reasonable middleground. When he says "We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now", he isn't describing the scientific opinion of 20 years ago, but his own perception of what would happen happening. Look at Hansen's modelling from the mid 80s - it didn't suggest we would be anywhere close to a "frying world" by now.
Of course, for those of the distant anti-AGW extreme, both Lovelock's own extremism and mainstream AGW opinion seem so far removed as to be indistinguishable.