I&I Editorial Board
Prince Charles’ recent pronouncement that we have only 18 months to save the planet from man-made global warming was followed up by a BBC report telling an identical tale. (Is there something in the Thames?) Nothing new here, though. The same wild, irresponsible guesses have been made for decades, and so far none has been right.
“Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges,” BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath wrote last week with great certitude.
“Observers recognize that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year.”
The year 2020, McGrath continued, “is a firm deadline” because “one of the world’s top climate scientists … eloquently addressed” the danger in 2017.
We’ve had “firm” deadlines before. Nothing happened. But we’re supposed to believe this one is really “firm.” That it can’t be ignored. Forget all those previous predictions of doom, they tell us, because this time they have it right. And maybe the window is not even 18 months. Those grand ruminators at Think Progress are sure we have only 14 months.
While the alarmists are busy today foretelling the coming climate disaster, they’ve conveniently forgotten the encyclopedic catalog of failed predictions. They just delete them from memory much the way that Moscow erased historical figures whose existence reflected poorly on the Soviet way, or displeased the thugs in power.
But some remember those frenzied forecasts. Following is but a small taste of a smorgasbord of baloney:
- Al Gore once declared that “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases” were taken within the next decade, “the world will reach a point of no return,” eventually suffering “a true planetary emergency.” That was 13 years ago.
- Gore is of course the same fellow who in the mid- to late-2000s kept telling us the Arctic Ocean would soon be ice-free. The ice, which is still there, had grown thicker and had wider coverage in 2014 than when Gore made his prediction. Earlier this year, before the growing season had ended, Wattsupwiththat reported the “2019 Arctic sea-ice extent is already higher than the previous four years and six out of the last 14 years.”
- In January 2009, former NASA scientist and corporate witch hunter James Hansen swore that the incoming president had a mere four years to save the world.
- Later in the year, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (the Thames, again) said there remained “fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more.”
- Also in 2009, 124 months ago, the prince of Wales worried out loud the world had “less than 100 months” to save itself.
- 2009 was a particularly looney year. Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens in Canada, wrote “we have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it. … We need to act urgently. We no longer have decades; we have hours.”
- While speaking to then-Secretary of State John Kerry in May 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.” Nearly 1,900 days have passed since. The chaos is in the foreign minister’s head.
- In 2015, mayors from around the world signed a statement that said the “last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees” Celsius had arrived.
- Almost 20 years ago, in Y2K, the British Independent quoted a climate researcher who said in coming years the children of England “just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Thirteen years later, that same newspaper told readers to “stand by for icy blasts and heavy snow.”
Despite the weight of mistaken forecasts, the alarmists plod on. Even in the most recent editorial on this site regarding global warming hysteria, a few reader comments, which proved the point of that particular piece, indicate that the madness might be untreatable.
(One reader accused us of being “funded by the oil companies, and conservative movements.” Our response: If only. We’re funded by no one. What little revenue we have comes from a few generous readers hitting our tip jar and some minimal advertising. But of course the comment was not intended to illuminate — it was uttered to discredit our work through a made-up link to “evil” corporations and institutions. The aim is to poison and end the discussion, and is typically employed as a last-ditch effort to save a failed argument.)
The alarmists never consider that there could be other factors in the observed changes, that it’s possible the temperature record is hopelessly flawed, the predictive models faulty, the research “proving” their point itself corrupt. There were references in the comments made to the “facts” — for instance, half of the ocean reefs are dead, whales have starved, rising sea levels are threatening civilization — but no effort was made to show a direct link from these observations to man’s carbon dioxide emissions. We’re simply supposed to believe. Just because.
Which should be expected, because it’s not possible to make that connection. Correlation is not the same as causation. And any gap between the two grows wider with each additional component that affects climate. A non-exhaustive list of climate inputs includes the sun, the moon, Earth’s rotation, Earth’s orbit, ocean currents, volcanic activity, and clouds, all of which are beyond man’s control.
Not outside of human control, though, is the burning of fossil fuels, which the alarmists say is overheating Earth due to the greenhouse effect of the carbon dioxide released in combustion. But also released into the atmosphere are particulates, which have a cooling effect because they reflect solar energy back toward the sun. What of this, we ask the fearmongers?
Though there exists reasonable doubt, the alarmists desperately want to believe. Have to believe. Worse, they feel compelled to make everyone else believe. Express doubt in their narrative and expect to be talked down to, ridiculed, written off as a rube, or worse, labeled a puppet of malign interests.
But just as they have been wrong through decades of missed predictions, they’re also wrong in their accusations against the “deniers.” They, of course, don’t see it that way. True believers will never admit they’re wrong, even when their own eyes show them they’ve been mistaken.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. We’re just getting started, and we’ll be adding new features as time permits. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide.
Be sure to tell all your friends! And if you’d like to make a contribution to support our effort, feel free to click the Tip Jar over on the right.