That's the only hypothesis that makes sense of this story from the U.K. Telegraph. The headline and first par. read:
James Lovelock: Reducing emissions could speed global warming
A rapid cutback in greenhouse gas emissions could speed up global warming, the veteran environmental maverick James Lovelock will warn in a lecture today.
But that can't be right. And if you read down further:
Prof Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory that the planet behaves like a single organism, says this is because current global warming is offset by global dimming - the 2-3ºC of cooling cause by industrial pollution, known to scientists as aerosol particles, in the atmosphere.
Prof Lovelock will say in a lecture to the Royal Society: "Any economic downturn or planned cutback in fossil fuel use, which lessened aerosol density, would intensify the heating.
"If there were a 100 per cent cut in fossil fuel combustion it might get hotter not cooler.
Ahh but you see its not greenhouse gas emissions cuts per se that could speed up warming, its cuts in fossil fuel use. Burning fossil fuels involves releasing both green-house gases and aerosols. Lovelock's argument is that while such cuts might reduce the amount of (warming) green-house gases being released into the atmosphere, it might also reduce the amount of (cooling) aerosols more, with the net effect being greater warming. A similar argument is made here, and criticized here (the criticism being, in a nutshell, that most models already assume a decline in aerosol emissions over the course of the next century) .
Interesting to speculate as to whether the confusion is intentional or not. The U.K. Telegraph is notoriously Conservative and has given an outlet to any number of climate change deniers.
More generally, Lovelock thinks we're all freaking doomed, and yet wants a massive societal effort to stave off the admittedly inevitable. I don't think he realizes the shaky logic behind this position. Ethicist Stephen M. Gardiner has posted several papers on his website that deal with the logic of "doing nothing" in response to climate change. Under certain circumstances, the status quo, or even emitting more, becomes the rational response. The idea is to avoid those circumstances.