A Brief History of Environmental Science’s Doomsday Predictions

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Proof. Scientific proof that the world ended about 30 years ago. Compiled by the great Anthony Watts.

In 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb and declared that the battle to feed humanity had been lost and that there would be a major food shortage in the US. “In the 1970s … hundreds of millions are going to starve to death,” and by the 1980s most of the world’s important resources would be depleted.

He forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980-1989 and that by 1999, the US population would decline to 22.6 million. The problems in the US would be relatively minor compared to those in the rest of the world.

(Ehrlich, Paul R. The Population Bomb. New York, Ballantine Books, 1968.)

New Scientist magazine underscored his speech in an editorial titled “In Praise of Prophets.”

I wasn’t around for much of the 70s, but could anyone who was around then let me know whether hundreds of millions of Americans starved to death during that period? I haven’t heard anything about it, but maybe it’s another of those Phantom Time coverups by the military-industrial complex.

“By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

Now we know why he’s not a gambler.

In 1974, the US Geological Survey announced “at 1974 technology and 1974 price” the US had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.

So that means we ran out in 1985. That’s too bad.

In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” Paul Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970.

There are some whales in the Atlantic Ocean who would disagree with him.

“Artic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.” Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1972.

And that’s exactly what happened.

According to Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is” and winter snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.” Interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

Hello? Is anyone in the UK still aware of what snow is? We have pictures we can show you.

“[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots … [By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” Michel Oppenheimer and Robert H. Boyle, Dead Heat, St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

At least they predicted that we would have computers. It’s the only thing they got right.

Now this sort of bad Science Fiction might be amusing, but policy, and very creepy policy is made based on it. Bad science promotes alarmism that translates easily into totalitarianism.

In 1989, when the US Supreme Court was hearing the Webster case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor brought the idea of overpopulation into a hypothetical question she asked of Charles Fried, former solicitor-general, “Do you think that the state has the right to, if in a future century we had a serious overpopulation problem, has a right to require women to have abortions after so many children?”

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obesity reighns, stupidity is the oats of fools and leftists get fat……………I am going to have
    all of the money in the World, send it to me care of FPM……………….William

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Well someone doesn't like my sense of humor, let them eat pie in the sky, it is
      falling you know…………….William

  • Edward Cline

    Daniel: I was around a lot in the 1970's. And the 1980's. I specifically recall seeing a video of a real, genuine, Grade-A journalist interviewing a Harvard "scientist" and professional doomsayer who'd written a book about global cooling. He followed that a few years later with a book about the inevitability of global warming, and was making headlines with his predictions. The journalist had a nice chat with him about the warming, and then pulled out the guy's global cooling book. He held it up and asked, "But, you were just as certain here as you are in you new book. In fact, you use the same stats and arguments in your previous book. So, which is it? Warming or cooling?" The scientist had a "deer in the headlights" look that I'll never forget. Caught in a lie. Complicit in a fraud.

    • beez

      The lefties changed the phrase from global warming to climate change in anticipation of confrontations such as yours with that Harvard "scientist." It's all just about the $$$.

  • Mary Sue

    I was around in the 1970s and 80s! Nobody was starving on either side of the border, LOL, and I'm surprised Paul Ehrlich never realized what a complete fool he is.

    • beez

      Was he really a fool? How much money did he make from his book? The fools would be those who bought the book and his predictions.

  • Bailey

    Forgive me, but just because the timelines were off doesn't mean the problems aren't real. Do the math. We have only really begun to understand the interrelationships between the various and sundry elements that make up the environment. This is an emerging science, and the fact that the initial gross data indicated that catastrophe was imminent, but then was shown to be wrong because of finer, far more subtle factors that weren't immediately visible, is indicative of this.
    Catastrophe is still inbound. The timeframes have shifted and become longer, but not by very much. Human behaviour is running unchecked and without any kind of rational restraint. The precautionary principle has no place in modern thinking. In effect, we are tinkering with dangerous chemicals in the only lab we have. The outcome could be disastrous, but that's not sufficient reason to shut down the lab, I guess.

    • D-Boy

      dupe

    • Mary Sue

      Where did you go to school, hippie? How much purple koolaid did you imbibe there?

      Emerging science? Dude. The last 50 years or so is not "emerging". There is no catastrophe. The doomsayers are NEVER right, because the earth is more resilient than they would like us to believe. And Humanity is so creative and adaptable that even if there was this fabled "catastrophe" (allegedly caused by humans, not Nature), Humanity would find a way to survive.

      The only rational restraints are the ones we already have in place. Everybody keeps forgetting that Carbon Dioxide is PLANT FOOD.

    • cjk

      The real human threat lies in destructive war, the rest borders on non-sense.
      Those who are intelligently worried about any future environmental destruction on a large scale are counselling for increased military spending and military development by the free nations.

  • joe

    Acid rain,air pollution from coal burning home heating 20's-30's ,destruction of the ozone layer from florocarbons, humans burning from uv and sun radiation ,core heating,an ocean full of mutated and dead fish,boiling seas,white people evolved from cold weather,new ice ages, rain forest damage will kill everyone from lack of oxygen ………………………..we have real problems with pollution and unhealthy living conditions . But these aren't accurate or responsible reports.

    India 's Ganges river is horrific ,China's pollution of everything and eating animals into extinction ,Africa & the ME are giant toilets and trash dumps. None of it seems to slow reproduction or destructive lifestyles .

    • Mary Sue

      You'll notice that all those places you cited that are horrific, have like 0 Freedom, and horrific poverty. Only when Humanity is lifted out of extreme poverty can they even AFFORD to give a s*** about pollution! When you're worried about where your next meal is coming from, you don't have time to give a s*** about the environment.

      White people didn't evolve from cold weather. That's not how genetics works. White people always existed; they migrated to colder areas because they were better suited to them.

      • Bailey

        Of course, I had no idea. Thanks for setting me straight. How ignorant I am. Good thing you were kind enough to point out that kool aid I couldn't get enough of.

        In fact, i did go to school for this, thankyou very much. The math is solid. The illusion of human ingenuity falls apart when it become clear, as it would if you paid attention, that in order for those stratagems to work we need to be using the entirety of the earth's biotic potential. This is not a good idea. Of course, if I have to explain this, then perhaps I should just shut up, give up, and go back to that pitcher of kool aid I have chilling.

        Good luck. You'll really, really need it.

        • κατεργάζομαι

          Replying to Bailey (QUOTE) : "Of course, if I have to explain this, then perhaps I should just shut up, give up, and go back to that pitcher of kool aid I have chilling."

          I doubt if any means on earth would prevent you from hearkening to your own faulty logic's rattle,….

          ……. prior to the 20th Century invention of duct tape, that is.

          EXAMPLE: How does one drink Kool Aid with a closed (shut) mouth? dumbass.

  • Moishe Pupick

    Sa., 01/26/13

    The Greenies will twist the data and attempt to rationalize away their bogus predictions because of their overriding desire to attain a 1-World Government where the global masses are controlled by the U.N. or some other dictatorial body of self-appointed elite who own and control all firearms and ammunition. I read that there are already data showing that their curley-que lightbulbs emit excess u.v. rays– carcinogenic. And the pious with a Prius, where the hell does he/she think that the electricity to recharge its batteries comes from anyway!? We are now living in a dumbed-down nation. Thank you, N.E.A.

    • cjk

      Anytime anyone brings up a Prius I make sure to label it for what it is, a coal burning car.
      Never fails to get the confused canine look out of people.