50 years of failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions; the so-called ‘experts’ are 0-50

Carpe Diem

This week Myron Ebell (director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) and Steven J. Milloy published a post on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blog titled “Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions:”

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.

The first 27 failed alarmist predictions below are from the CEI post (many were previously collected and posted by Tony Heller on RealClimateScience, see Tony’s video below) and the additional 14 doomsday predictions the climate alarmists got wrong were added by John Nolte in a Breitbart post titled “Climate ‘Experts’ are 0-41 with Their Doomsday Predictions“:

For more than 50 years Climate Alarmists in the scientific community and environmental movement have not gotten even one prediction correct, but they do have a perfect record of getting 41 predictions wrong. In other words, on at least 41 occasions, these so-called experts have predicted some terrible environmental catastrophe was imminent … and it never happened. And not once — not even once! — have these alarmists had one of their predictions come true.

Think about that… the so-called experts are 0-41 with their predictions, but those of us who are skeptical of “expert” prediction number 42, the one that says that if we don’t immediately convert to socialism and allow Alexandria Ocasio-Crazy to control and organize our lives, the planet will become uninhabitable. Why would any sane person listen to someone with a 0-41 record? Why would we completely restructure our economy and sacrifice our personal freedom for “experts” who are 0-41, who have never once gotten it right? And if that’s not crazy enough, the latest ploy is to trot out a 16-year-old girl to spread prediction number 42, because it is so much more credible that way.

Below are the 41 failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions (with links):

1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life (data and graph)
10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes (additional link)
12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend (additional link)
13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015 (additional link)
27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 1990s
33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015
38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
41. 1970s: Killer Bees!

Update: I’ve added 9 additional failed predictions (via Real Climate Science) below to make it an even 50 for the number of failed eco-pocalyptic doomsday predictions over the last 50 years.

42. 1975: The Cooling World and a Drastic Decline in Food Production
43. 1969: Worldwide Plague, Overwhelming Pollution, Ecological Catastrophe, Virtual Collapse of UK by End of 20th Century
44. 1972: Pending Depletion and Shortages of Gold, Tin, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, Aluminum
45. 1970: Oceans Dead in a Decade, US Water Rationing by 1974, Food Rationing by 1980
46. 1988: World’s Leading Climate Expert Predicts Lower Manhattan Underwater by 2018
47. 2005: Fifty Million Climate Refugees by the Year 2020
48. 2000: Snowfalls Are Now a Thing of the Past
49.1989: UN Warns That Entire Nations Wiped Off the Face of the Earth by 2000 From Global Warming
50. 2011: Washington Post Predicted Cherry Blossoms Blooming in Winter

But somehow this time will be different, and the ‘experts’ and 16-year olds of today will suddenly be correct in their new predictions of eco-doom and eco-disaster? Not.

Related: Bonus video below from Tony Heller titled “My Gift To Climate Alarmists,” which he describes as “my most concise exposé of climate fraud.”

The Bogus “Consensus” Argument on Climate Change

Note see also 97 Articles Refuting the 97% Consensus

Link 10/23/2019

One of the popular rhetorical moves in the climate change debate is for advocates of aggressive government intervention to claim that “97% of scientists” agree with their position, and so therefore any critics must be unscientific “deniers.”

Now these claims have been dubious from the start; people like David Friedman have demonstrated that the “97% consensus” assertion became a talking point only through a biased procedure that mischaracterized how journal articles were rated, and thereby inflating the estimate.

But beyond that, a review in The New Republic of a book critical of mainstream economics uses the exact same degree of consensus in order to cast aspersions on the science of economics. In other words, when it comes to the nearly unanimous rejection of rent control or tariffs among professional economists, at least some progressive leftists conclude that there must be group-think involved. The one consistent thread in both cases—that of the climate scientists and that of the economists—is that The New Republic takes the side that will expand the scope of government power, a central tenet since its birth by Herbert Croly a century ago.

The Dubious “97% Consensus” Claim Regarding Climate Science

Back in 2014, David Friedman worked through the original paper that kicked off the “97% consensus” talking point. What the original authors, Cook et al., actually found in their 2013 paper was that 97.1% of the relevant articles agreed that humans contribute to global warming. But notice that that is not at all the same thing as saying that humans are the main contributors to observed global warming (since the Industrial Revolution).

This is a huge distinction. For example, I co-authored a Cato study with climate scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, in which we strongly opposed a U.S. carbon tax. Yet both Michaels and Knappenberger would be climate scientists who were part of the “97% consensus” according to Cook et al. That is, Michaels and Knappenberger both agree that, other things equal, human activity that emits carbon dioxide will make the world warmer than it otherwise would be. That observation by itself does not mean there is a crisis nor does it justify a large carbon tax.

Incidentally, when it comes down to what Cook et al. actually found, economist David R. Henderson noticed that it was even less impressive than what Friedman had reported. Here’s Henderson:

[Cook et al.] got their 97 percent by considering only those abstracts that expressed a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I find it interesting that 2/3 of the abstracts did not take a position. So, taking into account David Friedman’s criticism above, and mine, Cook and Bedford, in summarizing their findings, should have said, “Of the approximately one-third of climate scientists writing on global warming who stated a position on the role of humans, 97% thought humans contribute somewhat to global warming.” That doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it? [David R. Henderson, bold added.]

So to sum up: The casual statements in the corporate media and in online arguments would lead the average person to believe that 97% of scientists who have published on climate change think that humans are the main drivers of global warming. And yet, at least if we review the original Cook et al. (2013) paper that kicked off the talking point, what they actually found was that of the sampled papers on climate change, only one-third of them expressed a view about its causes, and then of that subset, 97% agreed that humans were at least one cause of climate change. This would be truth-in-advertising, something foreign in the political discussion to which all AGW issues now seem to descend.

The New Republic’s Differing Attitudes Towards Consensus

The journal The New Republic was founded in 1914. Its website states: “For over 100 years, we have championed progressive ideas and challenged popular opinion….The New Republic promotes novel solutions for today’s most critical issues.”

With that context, it’s not surprising that The New Republic uses the alleged 97% consensus in climate science the way other progressive outlets typically do. Here’s an excerpt from a 2015 article (by Rebecca Leber) in which Republicans were excoriated for their anti-science stance on climate change:

Two years ago, a group of international researchers led by University of Queensland’s John Cook surveyed 12,000 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers on climate change since the 1990s. Out of the 4,000 papers that took a position one way or another on the causes of global warming, 97 percent of them were in agreement: Humans are the primary cause. By putting a number on the scientific consensus, the study provided everyone from President Barack Obama to comedian John Oliver with a tidy talking point. [Leber, bold added.]

Notice already that Leber is helping to perpetuate a falsehood, though she can be forgiven—part of David Friedman’s blog post was to show that Cook himself was responsible (Friedman calls it an outright lie) for the confusion regarding what he and his co-authors actually found. And notice that Leber confirms what I have claimed in this post, namely that it was the Cook et al. (2013) paper that originally provided the “talking point” (her term) about so-called consensus.

The point of Leber’s essay is to then denounce Ted Cruz and certain other Republicans for ignoring this consensus among climate scientists:

All this debate over one statistic might seem silly, but it’s important that Americans understand there is overwhelming agreement about human-caused global warming. Deniers have managed to undermine how the public views climate science, which in turn makes voters less likely to support climate action.

Now here’s what’s really interesting. A colleague sent me a recent review in The New Republic of a new book by Binyan Appelbaum that is critical of the economics profession. The reviewer, Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein, quoted with approval Appelbaum’s low view of consensus in economics:

Appelbaum shows the strangely high degree of consensus in the field of economics, including a 1979 survey of economists that “found 98 percent opposed rent controls, 97 percent opposed tariffs, 95 percent favored floating exchange rates, and 90 percent opposed minimum wage laws.” And in a moment of impish humor he notes that “Although nature tends toward entropy, they shared a confidence that economies tend toward equilibrium.” Economists shared a creepy lack of doubt about how the world worked. [Kaiser-Schatzlein, bold added.]

Isn’t that amazing? Rather than hunting down and demonizing Democratic politicians who dare to oppose the expert consensus on items like rent control—which Bernie Sanders has recently promoted—the reaction here is to guffaw at the hubris and “creepy lack of doubt about how the world [works].”

Conclusion

From the beginning, the “97% consensus” claim about climate change has been dubious, with supporters claiming that it represented much more than it really did. Furthermore, a recent book review in The New Republic shows that when it comes to economic science, 97% consensus means nothing, if it doesn’t support progressive politics.

Originally published at the Institute for Energy Research

Robert P. Murphy is a Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute. He is the author of many books. His latest is Contra Krugman: Smashing the Errors of America’s Most Famous KeynesianHis other works include Chaos Theory, Lessons for the Young Economist, and Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015) which is a modern distillation of the essentials of Mises’s thought for the layperson. Murphy is co-host, with Tom Woods, of the popular podcast Contra Krugman, which is a weekly refutation of Paul Krugman’s New York Times column. He is also host of The Bob Murphy Show.

The Radical Green Road to Venezuela; Poverty, Misery and Dictatorship

By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., September 2019 (PDF)

The Trudeau Liberals in Canada and their fellow-travellers in the western democracies are engaged in an extreme-left covert plot to damage our economies, destroy democracy and severely restrict our freedoms. Their objective is the total control of citizens and our economies, similar to the socialist devastation of Venezuela.

The following paragraph describes the covert agenda of the green extremists who control the Trudeau cabinet. A highly credible gentleman wrote me concerning his recent conversation with an Ottawa insider, as follows:

He wrote that the Ottawa insider “… told me that he had been working on an advisory group to the Trudeau government. According to him, the group was not formed to discuss policy for the 5 year horizon governments are usually interested in but to develop policies for the further future, 20 to 40 years out. His starting point, and by implication that of the group, was that the present economic model was flawed and had to be replaced …    …Unregulated consumerism was unsustainable and people would have to learn to make do with less. The government would have to have more control over people to enforce their austerity and the wealth of developed nations would have to be redistributed to help undeveloped nations.”

A similar extreme-left political agenda was recently revealed in the USA by Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of ”Green New Deal” fame, who said:

“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all, …   Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,”
“Changing the Entire Economy”, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2019

The same plot is unfolding in Great Britain. Sir Ian Boyd, the government’s chief environment scientist, said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from Britain’s “Net Zero CO2” emissions target.

“People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government’s chief environment scientist has warned.

Sir Ian Boyd has lifted the lid on the reality of the programme. We will all have to accept big lifestyle changes – travel less, eat less, consume less.

But eventually some form of compulsion or rationing will be necessary, if climate targets are to be met.

The Science and Technology Select Committee let the cat out of the bag last week, when they officially announced “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation”.

When they ultimately find themselves being told what they can and cannot consume, where they can travel and what foods they are allowed to eat, they will be furious about the way they have been misled.”

“Climate change: Big lifestyle changes ‘needed to cut emissions’-DEFRA Chief Scientist”,
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, August 29, 2019 [excerpts]

When she was United Nations climate chief, Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she said, is the best model.

Justin Trudeau has also stated that he admires the Chinese “basic dictatorship”, for similar reasons.  

“There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know, investing in solar.”
“At Toronto fundraiser, Justin Trudeau seemingly admires China’s ‘basic dictatorship’ “

Trudeau’s policies have already done enormous harm to Canada. Almost all levels of government have adopted policies based on false global warming/climate change alarmism, the greatest scientific fraud in history.
“CO2, Global Warming, Climate And Energy”, by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., June 13, 2019

The foreign-funded radical green anti-oil-pipeline fraud has cost Canada over $120 billion in lost revenues, an enormous, needless loss. Our living costs are increasing rapidly and our living standards are falling.

The clear intent is to use the global warming smokescreen to restrict economic and political freedoms, by transforming Western countries into tightly controlled states. This statement is highly credible, especially since over half the people of the world already live under totalitarian socialist rule.

The idea that climate alarmism can be the foundation for radical economic change has a long history.

The following quotations by prominent leftists provide further support for these facts.

The green extremists in Canada, the USA, Britain and the remaining democracies are saboteurs of our economies and enemies of democracy, whose true intent is to use the global warming smokescreen to destroy our prosperity and restrict our freedoms – by transforming our countries into socialist dictatorships.

Radical green extremists have cost society trillions of dollars and many millions of lives. For example, the effective banning of DDT and radical green opposition to golden rice have blinded and killed tens of millions of children.

Green energy and CO2 abatement schemes, driven by false fears of catastrophic global warming, have severely damaged the environment and squandered trillions of dollars of scarce global resources that should have been allocated to serve the real, immediate needs of humanity. Properly allocated, these wasted funds might have ended malaria and world hunger.

The number of shattered lives caused by radical-green activism rivals the death tolls of the great killers of the 20th Century – Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Radical greens advocate similar extreme-left totalitarian policies and are indifferent to the resulting environmental damage and human suffering… … and if unchecked, radical environmentalism will cost us our freedom.

_____________________________________________

RECENT PUBLICATIONS 

The Next Great Extinction Event Will Not Be Global Warming – It Will Be Global Cooling     By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., September 1, 2019

https://thsresearch.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/the-next-great-extinction-event-will-not-be-global-warming-it-will-be-global-cooling/

What The Green New Deal Is Really About — And It’s Not The Climate
By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., July 19, 2019

https://thsresearch.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/what-the-green-new-deal-is-really-about-and-its-not-the-climate/

The Cost To Society Of Radical Environmentalism  By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., July 4, 2019

http://icecap.us/index.php/go/political-climate/the_cost_to_society_of_radical_environmentalism1/

CO2, Global Warming, Climate And Energy
by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., June 13, 2019

https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/co2-global-warming-climate-and-energy-june2019-final.pdf
Excel: https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/co2-global-warming-climate-and-energy-june2019-final-3-1.xlsx

Science’s Untold Scandal: The Lockstep March Of Professional Societies To Promote Climate Change  By Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr, May 24, 2019

http://icecap.us/index.php/go/political-climate/sciences_untold_scandal_the_lockstep_march_of_professional_societies_to_pro/

Hypothesis: Radical Greens Are The Great Killers Of Our Age  By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., April 14, 2019

http://icecap.us/index.php/go/new-and-cool/hypothesis_radical_greens_are_the_great_killers_of_our_age/

                 

The Real Loser of the Democratic Presidential Candidate Climate Change Debate

 

by Craig D. Idso, Ph.D.
Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

This past Wednesday evening (September 4, 2019) ten candidates for the Democrat party’s nomination for President of the United States participated in a town hall-style forum on the cable network CNN to explain their policy positions with respect to climate change. The unanimous loser was the American people.

Surprisingly, there was very little difference among the candidate positions on CO2-induced climate change, which they all claim is the most dangerous threat the world has ever faced, surpassing the human toll and carnage of any preceding economic or military-related disaster, including the Holocaust and World War II.

Seriously?

Yep, they are serious. And apparently the world has only 11 years to reverse the coming climate apocalypse so we had all better shape up and climb aboard their policy prescription bandwagons and get moving to avoid it. No ounce of data to the contrary can convince them otherwise.

So just what are their policy prescriptions?

First, trust them that the science is settled. Don’t question them or their authority on this issue. Rising CO2emissions are causing dangerous climate change that is harming humanity and the natural world. If you think or believe otherwise you better watch out, especially if your job has any connection with the fossil fuel industry. If it does, congratulations, you will be the lucky recipient of financial penalties and lawsuits and even criminal prosecution, for the presidential candidates have spoken and they are coming for you.

The rest of the country, i.e. those not associated with the fossil fuel industry and who are not bankrupt or in jail, will have the privilege of supporting the new President’s plan to cut back fossil energy use to prehistoric times by reducing CO2 emissions to zero within the completely inadequate and unrealistic time span of 25 to 30 years. And despite the proven correlation between CO2 emissions and national wealth shown in Figure 1, each of the presidential candidates claim the nation will not be bankrupt. Rather, they insist there will be money and jobs galore! The wind, solar and biofuel industries will all be hiring. If you previously worked in the fossil fuel industry and somehow escaped prosecution, no problem! There will be ample money available to reform and retrain you in your new, climate-friendly profession. And because each of the ten Democrat presidential candidates believes in environmental justice, they will rain free money down from Washington to those disproportionately impacted by the climate catastrophe that they will have somehow averted based on racial or social status.

On the way to establishing climate bliss, the future Democratic President will ensure that the United States will not be the only country committed to this noble cause. After rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, he or she will utilize the full power of the Office of the President to guarantee every other nation on the planet will do likewise because this is a global issue. Obviously, they will obey because the President will have spoken and they all want to return back to the glorious days of the per capita CO2 emissions and GDP scale presently occupied by Burundi, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo (see Figure 1).

The policy positions outlined in the Democratic presidential debate on climate change would be laughable if they were not true. But they are, and it is almost unbelievable that these proposals are taken seriously or that they are near unanimously shared among the various candidates seeking the presidential nomination in the Democrat Party. (Click here to view/download a pdf spreadsheet highlighting the ten candidate’s positions on CO2 policy along with selected quotes taken from the September 4, 2019 debate.)

Longtime readers of CO2 Science know there is a mountain of scientific evidence that does not support the enaction of the proposed policy prescriptions. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and it is most certainly not causing dangerous global warming. Rather, its increase in the atmosphere is invigorating the biosphere, producing a multitude of benefits for humanity and the natural world, notwithstanding the prognostications of the uninformed (or deceptive) Democrat presidential candidates.

The reality is that we need more, not less, fossil fuel use to enhance the future human environment. And so, to help get this positive, science-based message out, we have created a new Institute, the Institute for the Human Environment. We invite you to join us in that effort. The Institute’s message is one for all people and all seasons, including the Democrat Party’s presidential candidates and the CNN commentators. Carbon dioxide and fossil fuel use is not the bane of biosphere, it is an elixir of life that is advancing human development and improving the natural environment.


Figure 1. The economic relationship between per capita GDP and per capita CO2 emissions on a countrywide basis for 2016, demonstrating that fossil energy use is fundamentally linked to economic growth. As countries have embraced and increased their production of fossil energy, their citizens have been amply rewarded with increased economic development and growth. Such fossil fuel-based economic prosperity has been proven over and over again throughout the past century as country after country has moved position along this graph from locations near the bottom left toward the upper right. And it will continue to be the case so long as governments refrain from enacting policy that restricts CO2 emissions and/or fossil fuel use.