It seems pretty clear that our planet is warming. It also seems pretty clear that man is causing a lot of the warming in question, and that we need to find a better way to harness the energy we need. But I do have a quick question about the end of the world. At what point will we ever dismiss the doomsayers who keep getting it wrong?

Climate scientists, politicians, and alarmists have been predicting our planet’s demise since the end of the Second World War. And they’re still at it today. Consider the latest predictions, pulled from an excellent article by Beckett Adams, which I’ve attached.

From The New York Times on March 20th. “Breaking News,” the paper pronounced, “Earth is likely to cross a critical global warming threshold within the next decade unless drastic changes are made.”
“It is still possible,” the Times continued, citing a major new U.N. report, “to hold global warming to relatively safe levels, but doing so will require global cooperation, billions of dollars and big changes.”

That report, prepared by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concludes that Earth is doomed unless the international community agrees immediately to a multipronged strategy to combat climate change. The strategy recommends that, among other things, developed nations self-deindustrialize. The strategy also calls for the transfer of billions upon billions of dollars from developed nations to the governments of developing states as part of a “just transition to renewable energy.”

The study is a “clarion call,” said U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, characterizing the report as a “survival guide for humanity.” We are “closer to the brink.” We are this close to “climate catastrophe.” “Humanity is on thin ice.” The “climate time-bomb is ticking,” and “we don’t have a moment to lose,” Guterres helpfully added. Earth will reach “the point of no return by the 2030s unless we act now to reverse course, the U.N. report agrees.”

Again – I don’t doubt the reality of a warming planet, or the pressing need to develop cleaner forms of energy. Nuclear in particular, seems like the cleanest solution for the most people, and should be pursued with all due speed, in my opinion. Most importantly, we need to get 3 billion people out of poverty, and onto an energy source that’s less harmful to the environment than wood and dung. But why would anyone seriously consider the claims of doomsayers who keep getting it wrong, over and over and over again? Consider these quotes, from the same article.

“We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months.” ThinkProgress, 43 months ago.

“We have just 500 days to avoid climate chaos.” Former French prime minister Laurent Fabius, 3,239 days ago.

“We have fewer than fifty days to save our planet from catastrophe.” Gordon Brown, the U.K.’s prime minister, in 2009.

“There is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap will be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.” Al Gore, in 2009. “US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016.”
The Guardian, 2013.

The ice is still there.

“NASA Scientist: We’re Toast.” Associated Press 2008.

In 2007, the IPCC predicted the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. The U.N.’s chief climate-science body retracted the claim in 2010, explaining the prediction wasn’t based on any peer-reviewed data, but rather, on a media interview with a scientist conducted in 1999.

“Unless world leaders take drastic measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, Earth will face a true planetary emergency, and surpass the point of no return in ten years.”
Al Gore, again, in 2006. (2016 came and went, and now we’re being told the early 2030s are the “real point of no return.”)

The Guardian, citing a “secret report,” warned in 2004 that “major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020.” The year 2022 was the U.K.’s warmest since they started keeping records in 1884. The Guardian then blamed the heat wave on climate change.

“U.N. Predicts Disaster If Global Warming Not Checked.” AP headline in 1989. The report’s opening line reads, “senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.”

In 1974, however, Time magazine published a feature story titled “Another Ice Age?” It was one of several reports and articles warning not about warming but about cooling.
A Reuters wire story warned in 1974 that a new ice age “could grip the world within the lifetime of present generations.”

“Space satellites show new ice age coming fast,” the Guardian reported in 1974.

The Washington Post in 1971 reported, “U.S. scientist sees new ice age coming.”

But before that, it was warming, again.

“Expert says Arctic Ocean will soon be an open sea; catastrophic shifts in climate feared if change occurs; other specialists see no thinning of polar ice cap,” the New York Times reported in 1969.
Earlier, in 1947, the New York Times also reported, “Warming Arctic climate melting glaciers faster, raising ocean level, scientist says.”

I’m not baffled as to why people like to predict the end of the world. I’m just baffled as to why doomsayers who have gotten it so completely and totally wrong for so many years are still taken seriously? At some point, the people in Aesop’s fable stopped listening to the little boy who cried “wolf!” When will we?

National Review Article: Climate Doomsday Predictions Have Not Aged Well

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