The 92-year-old Briton, who also developed the Gaia theory of the Earth as a single organism, has said climate change is still happening - just not as quickly as he once warned.
He added that other environmental commentators, such as former vice president Al Gore, are also guilty of exaggerating their arguments.
The admission comes as a devastating blow to proponents of climate change who regard Lovelock as a powerful figurehead.
Five years ago, he had claimed: '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.'
But in an interview with msnbc.com, he admitted: 'I made a mistake.'
He said: 'The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing,' he told 'We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear cut, but it hasn't happened.
'The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world.
'[The temperature] has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising"
So the polar caps aren't melting, and the temperature isn't rising...
Mr. Lovelock? You want to know what the climate is doing?
How about this little thing we should call it: "THE WEATHER."
If you look at the history of the earth, the earth has been both much hotter and much colder than it has been through most of human history. Heck, ever heard of The Little Ice Age? That little lovely period of cold that is indirectly responsible for the rise of Gothic fiction?
Mr. Lovelock was at the forefront of the alarmist crazy, and now he says "oops, I'm sorry"--- Really, Mr. Lovelock? "Woops, sorry for that thirty year histrionic craze that resulted in the creation of horrible shows such as Captain Planet and the Planeteers."
Thanks to that man, South Americans are now perpetually associated with useless superpowers.
Thank you, James Lovelock.