Friday, April 24, 2015

April, 2015, Part 2, I Am A Global Warming Doubter and A Believer In Science: Earth Day Forecast Fails

Every month we revisit the theme, “I am a global warming doubter and a believer in science.” The theme started when I got tired of people like Al Gore and others yelling and slandering anyone who dared to disagree with their view of global warming, since then rebranded as “climate change.” Yelling and demeaning people is no way to win them over to your view, which is what the Al Gores of the world are still doing.

Thus, we set off to explore ALL science, research, and realities relative to global warming, not just the handpicked science that global warming advocates cherry pick. What we have found through the years is that it is very realistic and in tune with the real world to be a global warming doubter and a believer in science.

Much science and research has been shown to debunk Al Gore’s way of thinking and slandering. And we have brought counter evidence to his view of the world every month for years. To access those previous posts, just enter the search term "I am a global warming doubter” in the search box above. 

Our intention is to start an adult, mature, science based conversation based on all available information. That has certainly not been the intention of Al Gore types. They have wanted to browbeat their views into disbelievers heads. And even if they are right about global warming, which we have proven they are quite possibly wrong about, they come up with no plans that would reunite the world around a solution. 

They only want the United States to curtail their carbon footprint, a reduction that would be dwarfed by the increasing carbon footprint of the rest of the world, especially China and India. All they would end up doing is briefly forestalling their end result while crippling the economic growth and vitality of the United States.

The first post on this theme was published earlier this week and can be accessed at:

Today we will focus on Earth Day news and themes as it relates to forecasting climate conditions.

1) Mark Perry writing for the American Enterprise Institute on April 21, 2015 talked about “18 Spectacularly Wrong Apocalyptic Predictions Made Around The Time of the First Earth Day in 1970.” Back in 1970, many climate scientists were making dire predictions of what was definitely, probably, or possibly could happen to the climate and quality of nature if immediate steps were not taken. 

Sound familiar? Change the date and emphasis on pollution to an emphasis on climate change in 2015, We must make drastic changes NOW, we must lessen our carbon footprint NOW, etc. to avoid dire consequences. 45 years after the first Earth Day and the climate predictions it spawned, ask yourself how accurate those climate scientists were in predicting the future of Mother Nature, predictions that were originally compiled in a Reason magazine article in 2000, thirty years after the first Earth Day: 

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Comment: 45 years later, civilization has not ended.

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment. Comment: we have survived 45 years later.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” Comment: we are far from extinct from a nature perspective.

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” Comment: while there are still food shortage problems in Third World countries, nowhere close to 100 million people are dying each year from lack of food. 

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” Comment: 45 years later we are still waiting for “unbelievable consequences.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.” Comment: 45 years later and no such “die off” has occurred.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Comment: while there have been famines since 1970, they have been nowhere close to the devastation that was predicted.

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” Comment: contemporary scientists’ predictions back then were grossly wrong.

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” Comment: another miss, plenty of light just about everyday all around the world.

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate. Comment: domestic fishing industry still alive and vibrant.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles. Comment: still no fatal smog disasters.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. Comment: life expectancy is about twice what was predicted in 1970.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'” Comment: crude oil supplies have never been higher given technology advances in drilling.

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990. Comments: mining has never been more robust in order to feed the industrial needs of China and the rest of the world.

16. Senator Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.” Comment: wrong.

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” Comment: an Ice Age prediction, quite the polar opposite of global warming.

Quite the horrendous track record of incorrect predictions and forecasts from “scientists.” Now, one could make the case that drastic action was taken to clean up pollution that avoided what would have been correct predictions from these folks. However, consider:
  • Most of the doomsday forecasters did not say these disasters could be avoided by taking action, they were framed in the context that they would happen regardless of human actions. 
  • While a lot of America’s pollution was reduced since then, it was not because it was eliminated, it was because it was exported to the rest of the world along with our manufacturing needs. Thus, the avoidance of the above predictions was not because of drastic reductions in pollution, that pollution was just moved elsewhere where we cannot see it in this country. 
  • These doomsday predictions were said with the same confidence and conviction that today’s global warming/climate advocates make their claims even those these 18 claims above all turned out to be false. 
  • Regardless of what actions humans took and what improvements have happened to the climate in light of pollution controls, many of these predictions independent of pollution control actions still did not occur, e.g. Ice Age onset, running out of oil, running out of metals and ores, etc. 
Now, just because these scientists were grossly wrong thirty years ago, that does not mean that today’s global warming scientists are wrong. However, given the atrociously poor track record of climate scientists’ forecasting models, shouldn’t today’s global warming/climate change debate be done so that ALL scientific research and data is considered, not just the cherry picked science of people like Al Gore and others? 

Given the atrociously poor track record of forecasting models, shouldn’t people like Al Gore have a little humility in presenting their case rather that wildly accusing doubters that they are racists, homophobes, and idiots for not believing him? How about a little bit of calm, adult conversation, considering that most climate forecasts have been flat out wrong over time.

According to the article, there was prediction that actually did come true long ago, a prediction not from a climate scientists of the time but by journalist Ronald Bailey who wrote in 2000 in his article, “What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030?” Bailey predicted: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” 

In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic climate predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers.” Sound familiar and correct?

2) The leading scientists from that first Earth Day era made some pretty dramatic and draconian predictions: by 2015, we should have used up just about all of the earth’s natural resources, overpopulation should have already lead to widespread famine and deaths, pollution should have already blotted out the sun, and possibly civilization should have ended.

But according to a recent accounting of the world’s situation by the Heritage Foundation, we could not be much further away from these wrong forecasts from 1970:

1) Natural resources are more abundant and affordable today than ever before in history. Short-term (sometimes decades-long) volatility aside, the price of most natural resources—from cocoa to cotton to coal—is cheaper today in real terms than 50, 100, or 500 years ago. This has happened even as the world’s population has nearly tripled. Technology has far outpaced depletion of the Earth’s resources.

2) Energy—the master resource—is super abundant. Remember when people like Paul Ehrlich nearly 50 years ago and Barack Obama just three years ago—warned the we were running out of oil and gas. Today, thanks to the new age of oil and gas thanks to fracking, the United States has hundreds of years of petroleum and an estimated 290 years of coal. Keep in mind, this may be a low-ball estimate; since 2000, the Energy Information Administration’s estimates of recoverable reserves have actually increased by more than 7 percent.

We’re not running out of energy, we are running into it.

3) Air and water. Since the late 1970s, pollutants in the air have plunged. Lead pollution plunged by more than 90 percent, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide by more than 50 percent, with ozone and nitrogen dioxide declining as well. This means that emissions per capita have declined even as the economy in terms of real GDP nearly tripled. By nearly every standard measure it is much, much, much cleaner today in the United States than 50 and 100 years ago. The air is so clean now that the EPA worries about carbon dioxide which isn’t even a pollutant. (And, by the way, carbon emissions are falling too, thanks to fracking). One hundred years ago, about one in four deaths in the U.S. was due to contaminants in drinking water. But from 1971-2002, fewer than three people per year in the U.S. were documented to have died from water contamination.

4) There is no Malthusian nightmare of overpopulation. Birth rates have fallen by about one-half around the world over the last 50 years. Developed countries are having too few kids, not too many. Even with a population of 7.3 billion people, average incomes, especially in poor countries, have surged over the last 40 years. The number of people in abject poverty fell by 1 billion from 1981 to 2011, even as global population increased by more than 1.5 billion.

5) Global per capita food production is 40 percent higher today than as recently as 1950. In most nations the nutrition problem today is obesity—too many calories consumed—not hunger. The number of famines and related deaths over the last 100 years has fallen in half. More than 12 million lives on average were lost each decade from the 1920s-1960s to famine. Since then, fewer than 4 million lives on average per decade were lost. Tragically, these famines are often caused by political corruption—not nature. Furthermore, the price of food has fallen steadily in the U.S.—and most other nations steadily for 200 years.

6) The rate of death and physical destruction from natural disasters or severe weather changes has plummeted over the last 50 to 100 years. Loss of life from hurricanes, floods, heat, droughts, and so on is at or near record lows. This is because we have much better advance warning systems, our infrastructure is much more durable, and we have things like air conditioning, to adapt to weather changes. We are constantly discovering new ways to harness and even tame nature.

What really happened since 1970? Mankind used its brains and technical know how to fix what was wrong or potentially wrong in life. That is what we should be doing today relative to carbon. Find a way to make coal usage good, its usage is not going away. Find a way to make a car that gets 100 miles a gallon, cars and the freedom they create are not going away. Find a way to to better insulate homes and offices, that prevents carbon from ever being used or needed in the first place.

I would prefer to use science and technology to make life better vs. the Al Gore types that want to selectively use some science to scare the life out of us without providing solutions. Science has given us cheap energy and abundant food supplies. Global warming advocates want to take rather than give. Based the track record of climate forecasts, I would much rather believe in science to solve problems as they occur than to chase problems that may not even exist.

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