In Brief: 50 Years of Failed Doomsday Predictions
To claim that only now do environmentalists feel the need to resort to dire predictions is to ignore the failed doomsaying of the past half century.
In some ways, ecofascists are indeed becoming more hysterical all the time. But in a piece titled “We’ve Had Six Years Left to Save the World for the Past 50 Years,” researcher Andrew Follett reminds everyone, “There’s a long track record of these kinds of predictions — and of their being flat-out wrong.”
A new article in a scientific journal claims that we have just six years left to save the planet from global warming, a claim that environmentalists masquerading as scientists have been regurgitating for at least the past 50 years.
“Scientists used to avoid phrases like ‘climate emergency’ and ‘climate crisis.’ No longer,” wrote the Washington Post on X. “Escalating rhetoric comes as a new study shows there’s just six years left to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius at current CO2 emissions rate.” The claim is comical given that such catastrophist language has been common in the environmental movement for decades, and it hasn’t let up.
Follett then walks backward through some key history.
In 2018, then-teenage activist Greta Thunberg promoted on social media Harvard University professor James Anderson’s warning that “climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.” Five years later, when that did not occur, Thunberg quietly deleted her tweet. Anderson had also predicted in 2018 that “there will be no floating ice remaining [in the Arctic Ocean] by 2022” unless the U.S. and the rest of the world enacted his vision of environmental protection. That never happened, and the ice remains.
In 2006, Al Gore claimed that unless his preferred policy measures were implemented “within the next ten years,” the world would “reach a point of no return.” That would place “the point of no return” in 2016. In 1989, a senior U.N. environmental official told the Associated Press that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels” if extreme government action was not taken by the year 2000. In 1982, executive director of the U.N. environment program Mostafa Tolba claimed that “an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible, as any nuclear holocaust” would occur in just 18 years, in the year 2000. And as recently as in 2019, President Joe Biden claimed, “How we act or fail to act in the next twelve years will determine the very livability of our planet,” alleging that his $5 trillion spending plan could prevent the Earth from becoming an uninhabitable wasteland. …
Harvard biologist George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would end within 15 to 30 years “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Follett also quotes a 1970 warning issued by Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, who predicted widespread famines by 1975 that would encompass nearly the entire world by 2000. Also in 1970, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich declared that “at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Instead, the food supply has actually increased since then.
It would be funny except for serious facts Follett notes:
Ridiculous environmentalist claims and concerns about overpopulation have not only spurred out-of-control government spending, they have directly (albeit not single-handedly) led to horrific human-rights abuses, such as the forced sterilization or abortion of roughly 700 million people during China’s decades-long one-child policy and India’s “emergency” forced sterilizations. The extent of the human-rights nightmare that can result from overpopulation- and eco-hysteria is difficult to overstate.
The Washington Post may not remember the drumbeat of failed predictions made by environmentalists over the course of the past half century, but apocalyptic rhetoric is nothing new in the cultlike echo chamber of eco-activists and extremist environmental-science scholars. Countless predictions that the end is nigh have been around for the past several decades. Don’t give away all your savings just yet.
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