Inventing The Apocalypse: Climate Doomsday Predictions Haven’t Aged Well
We have been told nearly every year for the past 50-plus years that we have only ten years to live. If you figure that one out, you’re good, as Groucho Marx would say.
On March 20, the New York Times greeted readers with yet another startling announcement.
“Breaking News,” the paper pronounced, “Earth is likely to cross a critical global warming threshold within the next decade unless drastic changes are made.” [emphasis, links added]
“It is still possible,” the New York Times continued, citing a major new U.N. report, “to hold global warming to relatively safe levels, but doing so will require global cooperation, billions of dollars, and big changes.”
The underlying study, prepared by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concludes that Earth is doomed unless the international community agrees immediately to a multipronged strategy to combat climate change.
The strategy recommends that, among other things, developed nations self-deindustrialize.
The strategy also calls for the transfer of billions upon billions of dollars from developed nations to the governments of developing states as part of a “just transition to renewable energy.”
“Climate justice is crucial because those who have contributed least to climate change are being disproportionately affected,” said study co-author Aditi Mukherji.
The study is a “clarion call,” said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, characterizing the report as a “survival guide for humanity.”
We are “closer to the brink,” we are this close to “climate catastrophe,” “humanity is on thin ice,” the “climate time-bomb is ticking,” and “we don’t have a moment to lose,” Guterres helpfully added.
Earth will reach the point of no return by the 2030s unless we act now to reverse course, the U.N. report agrees.
At CNN, chief climate correspondent Bill Weir served as an unofficial IPCC spokesman: “There’s no such thing as climate alarmism anymore,” he said. “The time bomb is ticking, but we have the guide on how to defuse the bomb right in our hands.”
If you’re experiencing déjà vu reading these dire predictions and warnings, that’s because you have in fact been here before.
Climate scientists and alarmists have prophesied the planet’s imminent demise nearly every year now dating back to at least the end of the Second World War.
“We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months,” the now-defunct ThinkProgress predicted 43 months ago.
Former French prime minister Laurent Fabius warned 3,239 days ago that the international community had only “500 days to avoid climate chaos.”
Earlier, in 2009, Gordon Brown, the U.K.’s prime minister at the time, said we had “fewer than fifty days to save our planet from catastrophe.”
Also in 2009, former vice president Al Gore declared that “there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”
In 2013, mid-melt, the Guardian ran the following headline: “US Navy predicts summer ice-free Arctic by 2016.”
The ice is still there.
“NASA Scientist: We’re Toast,” reads the headline of an Associated Press report from 2008.
In 2007, the IPCC predicted the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. The U.N.’s chief climate science body retracted the claim in 2010, explaining the prediction wasn’t based on any peer-reviewed data, but on a media interview with a scientist conducted in 1999.
In 2006, Gore claimed that unless world leaders took “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, Earth would surpass the “point of no return” in ten years — a “true planetary emergency,” he called it.
The year 2016 came and went, and now we’re being told the early 2030s are the real point of no return.
The Guardian, citing a “secret report,” warned in 2004 that “major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020.”
The year 2022 was the U.K.’s warmest since they started keeping records in 1884. The heat was, of course, blamed on climate change.
“U.N. Predicts Disaster If Global Warming Not Checked,” the AP reported in 1989.
The report’s opening line reads, “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.”
In 1974, however, Time magazine published a feature story titled “Another Ice Age?” It was one of several reports and articles warning not about warming but about cooling.
A Reuters wire story warned in 1974 that a new ice age “could grip the world within the lifetime of present generations.”
“Space satellites show new ice age coming fast,” the Guardian reported in 1974.
The Washington Post in 1971 reported, “U.S. scientist sees new ice age coming.”
But before that, it was warming.
“Expert says the Arctic Ocean will soon be an open sea; catastrophic shifts in climate feared if change occurs; other specialists see no thinning of the polar ice cap,” the New York Times reported in 1969.
Earlier, in 1947, the New York Times also reported, “Warming Arctic climate melting glaciers faster, raising ocean level, scientist says.”
Here’s a bit of friendly advice for the true believers in the climate-change camp: Settle on a number. You’re not going to win skeptics and middle-of-the-roaders so long as you keep shifting your predictions and getting the time frame for the planet’s environmental implosion wrong.
You need a Heinz 57 moment.
In the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate, the frustrated red-scaremonger Senator John Iselin (James Gregory) begs his scheming wife, Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury), to help him settle on a made-up figure for the number of communist spies supposedly in the U.S. Defense Department.
“The way you keep changing the figures on me all the time,” the senator complains, “it makes me look like some kind of a nut, like . . . like an idiot. The boys are even starting to kid me about it.”
Eleanor asks, “Would it really make it easier for you if we settled on just one number?”
“Yeah. Just one real, simple number that will be easy for me to remember,” he says.
As the senator speaks, he slathers his breakfast with Heinz ketchup. He pauses suddenly, locking eyes with his wife. They’ve both come to the same eureka moment.
“There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the Department of Defense at this time!” John Iselin later barks to his colleagues from the floor of the U.S. Senate.
It’s not necessarily the case that climate scientists and alarmists are simply inventing doomsday dates the way Iselin invents the exact number of communist spies in the federal government.
But it is the case that the constantly fluctuating dates and predictions make the climate alarmists look like nuts and idiots. The boys are even starting to kid about it!
So pick a number. One simple number that will be easy for everyone to remember. The cause of our destruction can be warming or cooling, whatever you want!
Just settle on a date already — and maybe place it well into the future. It’s awfully irritating having to set one’s affairs in order so frequently.
Read more at National Review
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