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“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Sounds dire. A reaction to the National Climate Assessment published the day after Thanksgiving? No. Harvard biologist George Wald made that claim in 1970.
Wald - Everything
So if Wald had been correct, just about everything would have crumbled to ruin sometime between 1985 and 2000.
Wald, however, wasn’t alone. He and others came up with some incredibly over-the-top predictions as the 1960s came to a close.
Day - Founder - Denis - Hayes - Example
“Earth Day” founder Denis Hayes, for example, didn’t hedge his bets: “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” Or take Paul Ehrlich (please). The author of 1968’s “The Population Bomb” was another gloom-and-doom prophet who made so many failed predictions over the years that it’s almost hard to keep count.
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” he said in a 1970 interview. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years.”
Degrees - Food - Production - Years - Starvation
Off by about 180 degrees. Food production spiked in the ensuing years. And starvation on such a massive scale never materialized, thank God.
Many other examples could be cited (I haven’t even touched on predictions by global-warming luminaries such as Al Gore), but I hope the point is clear: Take sky-is-falling claims with a large grain of salt.
Style - Track - Record - Doomsayers - Warnings
Particularly because they never seem to go out of style. You’d think, given the track record I’ve just referred to, that doomsayers would learn to temper their warnings, at least a little bit. But no. We see the same trend at work with the National Climate Assessment.
“Global greenhouse gas emissions is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century,” we read in the 1,700-page report.
How substantial? As The New...
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