Posts tagged ‘predictions that failed’
Back in the 19th century, newspapers declared that something had “gone wrong” with the climate. The public was told that the telegraph system might cause the destruction of the human race.
Nobel-winning work about self-delusion and flawed judgment applies to all of us – even climatologists.
Scientists who step into the political arena deserve to be challenged. This isn’t an attack on science – it’s an exploration of competing political perspectives.
The Sierra Club blogger who wrongly predicted that this winter would be “less wintery” & snowy than last now says Arctic sea ice won’t “survive this summer.”
Drama queen scientists have been around for at least 89 years.
Scientists often claim to know what the future holds. In such a milieu, some people will want revenge when science gets it wrong.
I spoke in Calgary last week, was interviewed on television three times, and attracted some great newspaper coverage.
Before there was Al Gore, there was George Mitchell. Politicians have been casting themselves as environmental crusaders, saving the planet, for two decades.
Don’t miss the Wired magazine cover story by Matt Ridley titled Apocalypse Not.
How plans to run an entire Australian town on solar energy failed miserably.
Since the 1970s UN officials have tried to frighten us. Repeatedly, their predictions have failed. Repeatedly, their time frames have been preposterously inaccurate.
For half a century green activists have insisted that their historical moment – and a particular generation – are the planet’s last hope.
Why do journalists never doubt green groups?
Emotional, over-the-top language doesn’t come from real leaders in a time of real crisis. Rather, it’s a sign that someone’s trying to stampede public opinion.
22 years ago the UN said we had only 10 years to take global warming action. Otherwise, entire nations would drown due to rising sea levels by the year 2000.
In 2007 the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the world was at a defining moment, that the next 2 to 3 years would determine our future. Without a new emissions treaty by 2012, he said, it would be too late.
Media coverage of climate change has a great deal in common with how the press covered the Y2K scare. There’s little evidence that news outlets learned much from that embarrassing episode.
17 years ago a Greenpeace report titled The Climate Time Bomb tried to frighten us with lurid images and dire predictions that have since failed.
40 years ago scientists said radical change was necessary if humanity was to survive. Along the way they endorsed a population prediction that now seems foolish.
While the rest of us approach challenges with determination, optimism, and faith in ourselves as problem solvers, drama queens see only worst-case scenarios. They exaggerate. They emotionalize.
In 2008, the United Nations Environment Programme published a map suggesting there’d be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. When a writer called attention to this failed prediction recently, the map disappeared.
Rajendra Pachauri, as chairman of what is supposed to be a respectable science body, has – with deliberation and forethought – publicly linked that body to left-wing political analysis and activism.
Before the IPCC was even founded, the Worldwatch Institute had already declared that global warming was caused by fossil fuels. Surely that makes the IPCC chairman’s decision to fraternize with this activist organization a bit awkward.
In the late 1800s cities were drowning in smelly, dirty, disease-spreading horse manure. The private automobile was a huge step forward, environmentally-speaking.
In 1970s and ’80s some scientists already believed human CO2 emissions would cause global warming. How do we know the IPCC’s 2007 conclusions weren’t preordained?
In the world inhabited by this environmental crusader, climate change is “a crisis that’s breaking over our heads at this moment,” ExxonMobil peddles petroleum the way drug dealers peddle heroin, and we “have no choice” but to turn our backs on fossil fuels.
In early 2009 the Los Angeles Times said hot, dry Australia was a warning to us all – and that things would only get worse. The very next year, dry areas were flooded and snow fell during the summer.
Possessing scholarly expertise is one thing. Being able to predict the future is another matter entirely. Future Babble is a book that explores the question of why expert predictions fail – and why we believe them anyway.
It isn’t your imagination. We were advised that global warming would mean milder winters. The record-breaking cold temperatures & unusual snowfalls in recent years are odds with the claim that global warming is happening faster than predicted.
Back in 1974 news reports were the mirror opposite of today. Ocean temperatures were dropping, polar ice was growing, and the coldest temperatures in 200 years were being recorded at the Arctic Circle.
The media told us we should be worried, very worried.
No matter what the concern, drama queen scientists have been pushing the same solution for decades: less consumption, less travel & less freedom. For them, every problem is a crisis that requires radical social change.
One environmental scare story always seems to follow another. Even though the predicted disasters never materialize, we still believe the latest one.
Al Gore said global warming caused Hurricane Katrina and that hurricanes were going to get worse. This gave insurance companies an excuse to increase premiums by tens of billions. How embarrassing that US hurricane damage has since fallen to less than half the historical average.
Perhaps those who lost their properties because they could no longer afford to insure them will forgive & forget.
Journalists said Toronto’s mayoral race was too close to call. In fact, a winner was declared eight minutes after the polls closed. So go ahead, take their word for it when they tell you about global warming.
People are surprised to learn that eco icon David Suzuki (who insists there are too many humans on the planet), has himself fathered five children. But his autobiography reveals this to be the case. It also tells us he began dating his second wife when she was 22 – and he was 35.
David Suzuki has been asked a series of softball questions by a mainstream newspaper reporter. My own list of questions begins with:
1. You think there are too many human beings, that our numbers over-burden planet Earth. Why, then, did you yourself father five children?
Canada’s weekly news magazine currently has a cover story declaring that extreme weather is “only going to get worse.”
Remember the 2008 story in the same magazine that said $200 per barrel oil was imminent, that commuters would become petroleum refugees & that the suburbs would shortly turn into ghost towns?
Back in 1969, smart people made some predictions regarding the effect carbon dioxide emissions would have on the climate by the year 2000. A 7-degree F increase in temperature and 10-foot sea level rises were among them. As usual, the predictions were wrong.
Experts have often been spectacularly wrong. Believing their predictions – rather than thinking for ourselves – isn’t smart.
21 years ago, environmental guru Bill McKibben said we’d “burn up” in “a few more decades” if we didn’t stop using fossil fuels.
Scientists have made all sorts of predictions that never panned out. As this 1962 Popular Mechanics issue shows, the media has been hyping these predictions for decades.
A few weeks before the IPCC admitted its Himalayan glacier predictions were dead wrong, Time magazine profiled the glacier expert at the center of the storm. Rather than being hard-nosed & rigorous, the magazine fell for him hook, line & sinker.
The Ecologist magazine declared in its first editorial that humans are parasites, an infection, and a disease on planet Earth. We are “waste products” that long ago “ceased to play a useful ecological role.” Written by the “Godfather of Green,” this editorial is emphatically anti-humanitarian in its outlook. The Ecologist claims to have set “the environmental agenda since 1970.”
Certain ideas resurface again & again throughout human history. One of these is the notion that our world is on the brink of collapse. Revisiting news reports about the Y2K computer bug prior to the turn of the century provides an excellent reminder of how the media hypes all sorts of scare stories.
A decade ago, a climate scientist told the media that snow would be rare in Britain within a few years. But plenty has fallen in 9 of the last 10.
30+ years ago, we were told humanity faced “global disaster” and “worldwide catastrophe” if we didn’t radically change our lifestyles. That message now gets linked to global warming, but the analysis – and the fear mongering – is much older.
A book published in the 1970s argued passionately that society couldn’t afford to ignore the danger posed by global cooling. The evidence was too strong, it said – and scientists who disagreed were being irresponsible. Sound familiar?
Bernie Goldberg worked on news shows for 28 years at CBS television. His book has illuminating things to say about purported investigative news programs & other topics. “Scaring the hell out of people makes for good television,” he writes, “even when it makes for shallow journalism.”
Exploring a long list of highly questionable media scare stories, Goldberg reminds us that, in 1987, Oprah Winfrey told her viewers 1 in 5 American heterosexuals would be dead from AIDS within 3 years.
Wild-eyed, apocalyptic predictions about the future are not news.