Climate Change

Debunking Decades of Climate Alarmism

Alarmists made wrong predictions in 2009, 1989, 1970, and even as far back as 1798.

Jordan Candler · Mar. 13, 2019

As The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman reminds us, “Panics over looming environmental and climate apocalypse have been with us for a long time.” The rise of environmental and climate alarmism began in earnest during the 1960s and ‘70s, but the path began long before that. As Stepman explains, “Thomas Malthus famously predicted in his 1798 book 'An Essay on the Principle of Population’ that population growth would overtake food supply and mass starvation would result unless population controls were implemented.”

Subsequent centuries have featured similar trepidation. There are five notable examples, says Stepman, beginning with the inaugural 1970 Earth Day. At the time, North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter ominously predicted, “By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Conversely, undernourishment has plummeted worldwide.

Also in 1970, Life magazine asserted, “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution [and] by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” At last look, people are still roaming the streets without gas masks — Beijing notwithstanding.

In June 1989, the Associated Press stated, “A 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. … He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.” Today, it’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s turn to wave the dozen-years-left-to-live placard.

In similar fashion, Al Gore in 2009 prophesied, “Some of the models suggest … that there is a 75% chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of summer months could be completely ice free within five to seven years.” As Stepman notes, “In 2014, the ice caps were still there. In fact, it’s 2019 and the ice caps are still there.”

And finally, feminist Betty Friedan surmised in 1958 that swelling “ocean waters may flood most of our port cities within the foreseeable future — and … it will be followed by the growth of a vast glacier which may eventually cover much of Europe and North America.” Today, they argue just the opposite.

All of this raises an important question: Shouldn’t climate skeptics be given the freedom to counter these apocalyptic claims without fear of censorship, especially when skepticism, at least thus far, has been vindicated? Absolutely — and that would be the case even if some or all of these predictions materialized. Yet according to another report by The Daily Signal, an app that challenges the mainstream climate missive is suspected of being expurgated.

“Since March 4, users of Apple’s iPhone no longer can access the app through the tech giant’s App Store,” according to the Signal. It just so happens that Al Gore is an Apple board member who peddles snake oil. Coincidental, or willful suppression? You be the judge. Forgive us to being skeptical of the former.

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