9 Past (Failed) Climate Change Forecasts
“‘The trouble with almost all environmental problems,’ says Paul R. Ehrlich, the population biologist, ‘is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you’re dead. … We must realize that unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years.’” —The New York Times, 1969.
“No real action has been taken to save the environment, [Ehrlich] maintains. And it does need saving. Ehrlich predicts that the oceans will be as dead as Lake Erie in less than a decade.” —Redlands Daily Facts, 1970.
“Scientist Predicts a New Ice Age by 21st Century: Air pollution may obliterate the sun and cause a new ice age in the first third of the next century. … If the current rate of increase in electric power generation continues, the demands for cooling water will boil dry the entire flow of the rivers and streams of continental United States. … By the next century ‘the consumption of oxygen in combustion processes, world-wide, will surpass all of the processes which return oxygen to the atmosphere.’” —The Boston Globe, 1970.
“The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. … ‘In the next 50 years,’ the fine dust man constantly puts into the atmosphere by fossil fuel-burning could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees. If sustained ‘over several years’—‘five to 10,’ he estimated—‘such a temperature decrease could be sufficient to trigger an ice age!’” —Washington Post, Times Herald, 1971.
“Dear Mr. President: … We feel obliged to inform you on the results of the scientific conference held here recently. … The main conclusion of the meeting was that a global deterioration of climate, by order of magnitude larger than any hitherto experienced by civilized mankind, is a very real possibility and indeed may be due very soon. The cooling has natural cause and falls within the rank of processes which produced the last ice age. … The present rate of the cooling seems fast enough to bring glacial temperatures in about a century.” —Brown University, Department of Geological Sciences, 1972.
“However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing.
“Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age. Telltale signs are everywhere—from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7 [degrees] F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.” —Time magazine, 1974.
“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.” —Associated Press, 1989.
“Unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” —former Vice President Al Gore, 2006.
“The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., 2019.
COPYRIGHT 2022 LAURENCE A. ELDER