Same news, different century

They say those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Read this article in the Vancouver Sun, May 1982, and tell compare to the sorts of news stories we are seeing today about the same topic with the same overhyped warnings:

Hauntingthelibrary writes:

The trouble with the alarmists is that they don’t seem to realize that people are capable of looking back over what they said before, and judging them by their past record.

Perfect example: In 1982 Mustafa Tolba of the United Nations Environment Program excoriated the world’s governments for failing to institute “ecologically sound management” and warned them, in an “official forecast” that if they didn’t mend their ways,

by the turn of the century, an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust

Vancouver Sun, May 1982. Ecological Disaster Feared.

Mustafa tolba went on to become Executive Director for UNEP.

91 thoughts on “Same news, different century

  1. ROFLMAO!!!

    I read that several times trying to determine what the ecological disaster was. The only thing I could find was “marked deterioration in the quality of our shared environment.” I am not sure what that means, but it sounds bad. Maybe that was the ozone hole.

    I have to give it to them. They have certainly tuned the message much more specifically to total and absolute boiling of the oceans (after they flood the Earth). They have learned to be specific. Same accuracy, but they add more details now.

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  2. Those rabid environmentalists get everywhere, even 28 years ago. They certainly have no hindsight.

  3. Well clearly the guberments must have acted, since we didn’t have a disaster.

    Shows the prediction was right.

  4. Time to ditch the UN, IMF, WHO, EU and all other international NWO wannabees. We don’t need World government nor their rantings. Time to restore our individual country sovereignty.

  5. I recall some poster having previously suggested that someone should collate a record of predictions and summarise to what extent those predictions were correct.

    That would be extremely useful since it would demonstrate that the end of the world was never nigh and by inference is still not nigh today, whatever some doom sayer may be suggesting. It would help demonstrate to the public that despite what is being said, we have time on our side. We have time to get a proper handle on the data (may be starting from scratch a new reconstruction of past global records) and there is no need for knee jerk reaction, and there is time for a considered approach to addressing any problem that may truly exist.

  6. I don’t understand the article from ’82. What exactly is the problem that will lead to this appocalypse?

    The only thing I can see is “a marked deteriation in the quality of our shared environment”. What the hell does that mean? And how do you get from that to a disaster on the scale of Nuclear War?

  7. History is very inconvenient for the Warmists, who know that ‘he who controls the past, controls the present’.

    Their brazen serial manipulation of data is at the center of their efforts to control the past, rewriting events such as the MWP and LIA.

    They should not be allowed to get away with their deception, so pointing out historical events is very valuable in countering their bluster.

  8. Deserts? Usually I halt one before breakfast — and, I don’t have UN grants to support me.

    Some of us remember these stories…

  9. Mustafa tolba went on to become Executive Director for UNEP.

    Well of course he did. And Patchy will get a promotion after his stint at the IPCC is over. Houghton is still on the gravy train. Hansen, Trenberth and all the rest have very very secure futures.
    That’s how the UN operates. Once you’re in, you’re in. The greatest gravy train in history just keeps rolling on and on, getting bigger by the day.

  10. Just another in that long tradition of catastrophe theories that came to nothing…Malthus, Marx, Erlich – oh, I left out millennium dire predictions, (2x) maybe third time unlucky (-:

    Just another in that long line of catastrophe theories that came to nothing. Malthus, Marx, Erlich – oh, I left out failed millenium theories, twice!…Maybe next time they’ll get lucky (-:

  11. i guess if you were a pelican in the gulf of mexico recently you might be a little more sympathetic to the article.

  12. Forecast wrong? EZ-peezee, just move the goalposts to 2135 or better yet, 2100.

    The first rule of apocalyptic forcasting is “Never forecast an event that will happen within the next generation’s lifetime.”

  13. “The trouble with the alarmists is that they don’t seem to realize that people are capable of looking back over what they said before, and judging them by their past record.”
    That is why most of their predictions are in a 25-100 year timeframe, (a) so you will not remember it, (b) they have finished milking it for every last cent the taxpayer has, or (c) they have found another scam that pays better.

  14. The “media” have been publishing stories like this since the late 19th century. Nothing to see here, move along!

  15. Are these comments a joke? Eastern Africa (and the continent as a whole) has been devastated by environmental degradation….

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5318e/x5318e02.htm

    *Not only is Africa geologically old and afflicted with a harsh climate, but also large parts of the continent have been occupied by human beings much longer than in other continents. Human activities in obtaining food, fibre, fuel and shelter have, therefore, significantly altered the soil.
    *Though degradation is largely man-made, and hence its pace is governed primarily by the speed at which population pressure mounts, irregular natural events, such as droughts, exacerbate the situation. The 1982/85 drought, for example, had a dramatic effect on the speed of land degradation and desertification. Essential though food aid is in such emergencies, it clearly does nothing to alleviate environmental *Nomadic herders, grazing animals on arid and semi-arid lands, are particularly vulnerable to drought, since it depletes their most precious assets: their livestock herds. In northern and eastern Kenya, we saw the drought of 1992 decimate the livestock herds of pastoral communities, forcing herders to sell cheaply to local traders.damage.
    *Desertification is a serious problem in the continent. It has been estimated that 319 million hectares of Africa are vulnerable to desertification hazards due to sand movement. An FAO/UNEP assessment of land degradation in Africa suggests that large areas of countries north of the equator suffer from serious desertification problems. For example, the desert is said to be moving at an annual rate of 5 km in the semi-arid areas of West Africa.
    *Soil degradation caused by deforestation is also a serious threat in Africa. Deforestation exposes the soil to high temperatures which break down the organic matter, increase evaporation and make the soils vulnerable to erosion. Thirty-seven million hectares of forest and wood lands in Africa are said to be disappearing each year (FAO, 1986). More serious still is the gradual removal of trees in farms and pastures, which are crucial for protecting productive land from erosion.
    *Africa’s forests and woodlands are also being depleted, threatening one of the continent’s most important resources. In Africa, trees play an important role in protecting the environment. They are the principal source of rural energy, and provide countless medicinal and industrial products used in both the home and in small-scale industry.
    *Nearly 4 million hectares of this resource are now being deforested or degraded annually, largely in humid and sub-humid West Africa. The rate of destruction is alarmingly high in the Cameroon, in Côte d’lvoire and in Nigeria. The cause of deforestation is mainly clearing for agriculture but uncontrolled logging, gathering for fuelwood, fire and overgrazing are also taking their toll. In most parts of Africa, the current trend cannot be continued indefinitely: in some places, deforestation rates exceed planting rates by a factor of 30:1.
    *Even with high inputs, Kenya’s lands can support only 51 million people a total that will be passed by 2010. By 2025 there maybe 83 million Kenyans, with as many as 111 million before the population reaches its plateau.

    Sounds pretty bad to me….although I’m sure it’s fine if you’re an armchair pundit.

  16. I remember the exact same bogus claims made in the 70s..and I was young enough to be fooled then..not now!

    yes! a collection of all the scare and fearmongering items in one place with all the TRUTH alongside.
    would be great :-)

  17. The real disaster is these charlatans are succsesfully contributing to the wrecking of the economies of the west.
    Now that’s the real disaster , or is it the real agenda ?

  18. I suppose that statistically if they keep predicting an armageddon it will happen somewhere. It’s WTWT, WAGTD!

    BTW It’s official, folks, BBC 1 lunchtime news announced casually in the presenter’s usual light banter with the upcoming forecaster, that 2010 was the “second hottest year after 1998″!!! FACT. The forecaster even rubbed in the fact that one wouldn’t have thought so after all that snow & ice, etc. Bloomin marvellous! Keep going chaps, keep hoping!

  19. The Deserts they are talking about was northern Africa and they were correct in stating the size of it was and still is increasing. They were wrong as to the cause of the problem being something man can control. The wobble of the earth causes a weather pattern shift over thousand year time periods resulting in times of much rain and other times of little rain. It also helped that humans were overgrazing the land but I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the people who live there to stop doing that. In the end there would be very little the UN could do much like today with Global Warming.

  20. roger samson says:
    January 19, 2011 at 4:53 am
    i guess if you were a pelican in the gulf of mexico recently you might be a little more sympathetic to the article.
    ————————————————
    Yep. That oil spill was definitely a devastating nu clear holocaust. I’m sure the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sympathize with that pelican as well as the otters, seals and seabirds devasted by the Exxon Valdez in 1989.
    Have we identified any new and improved deserts recently?

  21. old44 says:
    “The trouble with the alarmists is that they don’t seem to realize that people are capable of looking back over what they said before, and judging them by their past record.”
    That is why most of their predictions are in a 25-100 year timeframe, (a) so you will not remember it, (b) they have finished milking it for every last cent the taxpayer has, or (c) they have found another scam that pays better.

    And (d) they’re dead so unless you’re going to dig up the bodies and put them on trial …. (don’t laugh; it’s been done)!

  22. 1982, I was 58 that time and close to 30 years has passed since the Stockholm meeting. I remember it. It was very much writing about it. Mr Maurice Strong a Canadian was very much involved in that business.
    If I remember right Mr Strong was part of maybe the boss of UNEP, United Nation Environment Program or a driving force behind their work at the Stockholm meeting. Mr Mustafa Tolba became executive director of UNEP after Mr Strong. (as thank you for a well done job) Steveta-UK says
    “gubernments must have acted since we never had an accident.” We will never have an accident, what Mr Strong is speaking of is the increasing carbon diaoxide content
    and the following warming that did not work according to IPPC’s plans around 2000
    Marx is mentiod in one comment. When you are reading about Mr Strong you will find the name of Herr Marx and his influence.
    If again I remember right. Mr Strong got a Swedish order , The North Polar Star Order or somethng like that, (In Swedish Nordstjärneorden) for his job at the Stockhlm meeting. JO

  23. Oh come on guys, at least credit them with consistency.
    Sadly it is not really a humorous topic.

  24. John Marshall says:
    January 19, 2011 at 3:10 am
    Those rabid environmentalists get everywhere, even 28 years ago. They certainly have no hindsight.

    They should swallow some contact lenses it might help with that problem.

  25. “As complete and irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.”

    Indeed. Apart from we have never had a nuclear holocaust – so how does he know it is complete and irreversible?

    Closest events relevant to his terminology are:

    1. WWII Japan … but they recovered from being nuked.

    2. WWII holocaust … but the Jews recovered from the holocaust.

    So what “Nuclear” “Holocaust” is he comparing with?

    Oh, wait, I know what he means! He is comparing his belief in what will happen to the planet to fantasy science fiction movies depicting nuclear holocausts. Very Scientific! Were those movies rubber stamped by a peer review process too?

    Gee, in 10 years from now, with complete certainty due my expensive computer model (code and input data unavailable for inspection), I can say the debate will be as strong as it was since the Romulins were considering joining the Federation.

  26. I wonder by what percentage the UN rent seekers allowance cost of saving the Planet has increased since 1982?

  27. roger samson says:
    January 19, 2011 at 4:53 am
    i guess if you were a pelican in the gulf of mexico recently you might be a little more sympathetic to the article.
    _____________________________________________

    Not sure why, but this really made me lol. Perhaps because I got an image of an oil-stained worried-looking pelican being “sympathetic” in my mind.

  28. When I see the words our shared and our collective I expect outrageous claims and predictions to justify new or increased taxes and tax dollar expenditure. What I have also come to expect is the non shared and non collective tax burden.

  29. Hate to rain on the parade here, but the prediction is entirely correct and we now have the predicted ecological catastrophe; it is called the Green Movement, or Global Climate [ ] fill in today’s name, or the demonisation of the best/cheapest plant food known (CO2). (Pick one or all of the above)

    Reports in the press today about the coming global food shortage etc etc with crop yeilds of wheat down 14% and rice down 11%. Well, what did they expect if they withold fertilizing CO2 from the plants??

    By 2045 we will not be able to feed the world’s population and by 2020 the first really acute problems will hit. Source: Universal Ecological Fund and Dr Osvaldo Canziani.
    Mark it in your diaries for a review in 2020.

  30. roger samson says:
    January 19, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Isn’t it remarkable how one of the largest “Big Oil” supporters of the “Green” movement managed to cause such a large mess?

    If I were a pelican in the Gulf, I might be thinking WUWT?

    Notice how hard the media tried to find continuing problems, but dropped the whole thing when it was apparent that Mother Nature had things under control? The marshes will cleanse themselves shortly, the world will continue to rotate, and the media will be baying after another “natural disaster caused by man”. Plus ça change, …

  31. Well Mustafa got it right in a way. We have, and still are, experiencing Environmental Catastrophe.
    Food riots triggered by biofuel greed that now takes a quarter of US corn and turns it into non-food.
    Energy strategies brought about by green zealotry that have decoupled reality and economics to bring us massive hikes in fuel prices, mass first-world unemployment and promise only misery for the forseeable future.
    An education system that has lost its way and now turns young, gifted children into poorly educated and malleable pawns to swell the ranks of the believers.
    Indeed Mustafa was pretty well correct. If he’d only used the phrase “environmentalist catastrophe”, he would have hit the jackpot!

  32. @roger samson says: January 19, 2011 at 4:53 am
    “i guess if you were a pelican in the gulf of mexico recently you might be a little more sympathetic to the article.”

    Well maybe. Maybe not. Actually, just how many pelicans were in trouble in the Gulf of Mexico? In the UK we just got footage of the same one oily pelican repeated several times a day for week after week. There were probably more.

    How many little old ladies died of hypothermia in December 2010 because they couldn’t afford the gas & electricity bills? Seen them on telly?

    And did the pelicans in the Gulf actually get any benefit whatever from UNEP or any of the other enormously overfunded ‘transnational’ shroudwaving outfits?

    You have to be kidding.

  33. This is still in print

    Global Environmental Diplomacy
    Negotiating Environmental Agreements for the World, 1973-1992

    Tolba tells the story of the negotiations that led to a number of landmark agreements, such as the Vienna Convention on Ozone and its Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes, and the Biodiversity Convention.

    For only $25, you can learn how UNEP saved the world.

    On to the next crusade!

  34. Mac says:
    January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am
    Are these comments a joke? Eastern Africa (and the continent as a whole) has been devastated by environmental degradation….

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5318e/x5318e02.htm

    .
    .
    .

    Sounds pretty bad to me….although I’m sure it’s fine if you’re an armchair pundit.
    =============================================================
    Of course many things are bad. But much of what you cite from the link are further doomsday scenarios – NOT an “ecological collapse comparable to devastations of a nuclear holocaust”. Backing up failed predictions of the past with more predictions for the future is not a very intelligent way of making an argument.

    Let’s be frank: No place on the planet is without human hostility in its environment, and Africa is probably facing challanges greater than most places on earth – mostly due to poverty.

    Now: soil degradation, deforestation and desertification are all “threats”. Now, this has clearly not become a huge problem yet, as more people are killed at gunpoint from greed and conflict over valuable minerals. The problem with crop growth and hunger is an economic issue. Trade barriers in the EU should be removed to ensure profitable food production at the african continent. Efforts must be done to prevent further deforestation, sure. Areas can also be protected from increased desertification.

    BUT: this is the typical fallcy of selecting and mixing actual problems with catastrophic predictions and threats of collapse and doom which is proven to be hysterical and wrong time and time again. Take your breath, Africa has had complex problems for aeons and they need to be taken seriously, thoroughly and not by people in a state of panic. Shouting like the whole continent already caught fire at the turn of the century is just as useless as the article which is the topic of this post.

  35. Some deluded guy wrote

    Eastern Africa (and the continent as a whole) has been devastated by environmental degradation….bla bla bla bla

    If you cannot see the difference between a bit more desert here and a bit less there and an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust at the scale of the planet then you have serious understanding and information problems.
    Besides a nuclear holocaust and an ecological apocalypse would have for effect to dramatically decrease the human population .
    What happense is exactly the opposite and in Africa even much , much more than elsewhere .
    Actually this unprecedented African population explosion while being a sure sign that they live much better than decades ago , might ironically be the biggest problem they will have to cope with one day .

    So worry about your problems and don’t stick your dirty nose in matters which are none of your business .

  36. @Mac says: January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Mac, you are spot on. Your comments are indeed a joke. And you sound every inch “an armchair pundit”.

    A long piece about Africa which doesn’t even mention the dreadful governance endemic across the continent, doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, even if it didn’t originate from the FAO (which doesn’t exactly have a great record itself).

  37. Mustafa passed the torch along to Al Gore, who referenced his work in “Earth in the Balance” (1992) where Gore documented all the examples of the ecological catastrophe that was occurring and warned of the holocaust that was impending.

    http://www.booknotes.org/Watch/24448-1/Al+Gore.aspx

    I think Al claims that he first used the “Frog in the Boiling Water” analogy in this book when referring to climate change.

  38. It is called Apocalyptic Environmentalism. This now establish new eco-ism cover everything that is supposed caused by man, like global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification or anything that is believed to cause the destruction of the ecosystem.
    The driver for this is survival fear among humans, scientists desire to make important and scare discoveries and the believe in the concept of an overriding ecological balance.
    Of course ecological balance is not something that exists. What exist in nature is constant change and survival of the fittest.

  39. Things never change. I was doing some historical research in the microfilm of the local paper and found alternating about every 30 years from the early 1800’s to present claims that first we are entering an ice age followed 30 or so years later with claims we were entering a hot desert climate full of droughts. Sometime I am going to have to collect all these into a lengthy article just for illustrative purposes.

  40. And the beat goes on …. Lester Brown (Alarmist-in-Chief) is out with his latest:

    “World On the Edge”

    But thank goodness! Brown has the solution! Sub-title: “How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse.” Listen up, y’all!

  41. Now let’s be fair. The prediction did come true. I remember in 2002, one time, I wanted to barbeque. But it rained, so I couldn’t. In my book, that’s easily the equivalent of a nuclear holocaust.

  42. @Mac

    What’s the difference between a Masai native wondering how to deal with a drought today, versus a Masai ancestor dealing with a drought 10,000 years ago?

    What direction should they go? Should they give up their lifestyle and modernise, or should they keep their traditional means and lifestyle?

    What do you think?

  43. Mac, you are quoting from a document produced by a United Nations group (FAO). That is in itself suspect, since the United Nations has been allowing (possibly even encouraging) political elements in Africa to cause havoc with the environment and populations, and therefore the ability to produce food and material.

  44. Mac says:
    January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Are these comments a joke? Eastern Africa (and the continent as a whole) has been devastated by environmental degradation….

    No, I dont think they’re a joke. But I did laugh very hard at your mistake of reading the words “global”, “world”, and “nuclear holocaust” in the article and somehow mistaking the point in the article for being Africa and not the entire world…

    Oh wait, maybe you didn’t read it, sorry.

  45. “Hello everyone. I’m a scientist. That is a person who has the actual crystal ball, i.e. can predict the future with impeccable accuracy. Now, I’m selling this book here which is called: How to avoid abrupt environmental disaster which is coming very soon! I also happen to sell the solution to this very same problem. The solution is for you to give me much money and power for me and my friends to become ever more accurate in our understanding of the specific mechanisms and events concerning armageddon.”

    Don’t you just love the credibility of the salesman who goes: “you desperately need this thing… which I happen to sell.”

  46. Owen says:
    Things never change. I was doing some historical research in the microfilm of the local paper and found alternating about every 30 years from the early 1800′s to present claims that first we are entering an ice age followed 30 or so years later with claims we were entering a hot desert climate full of droughts. Sometime I am going to have to collect all these into a lengthy article just for illustrative purposes.

    PLEASE do this! And put me down for 2 copies!

  47. From that part of my life as a historian, I’m not sure the present is much different than the past. Fantasticists/exaggerators have always been active for their own profi and control. Exposure, as Anthony provides with gusto, is good for the truth and the soul; they are never-ending efforts if we want to preserve a representative democracy.

    So what do we do today? In good Teaparty fashion we defund them. We (the U.S., the “developed world”) don’t have much money anyway, or not much that’s worth very much, so the problem might not be as difficult as it seems.

    GBees (3:27 a.m.) says it straight: “Time to ditch the UN, IMF, WHO, EU and all other international NWO wannabees. We don’t need World government nor their rantings. Time to restore our individual country sovereignty” and to respect that of others (end the massive amounts of aid that props up dictators).

  48. “It’s the 21st Century, and we can fact check your azz.”

    And I’ll be darned if I can remeber who to give the attribution to.

  49. richard verney says:
    January 19, 2011 at 3:29 am
    I recall some poster having previously suggested that someone should collate a record of predictions and summarise to what extent those predictions were correct.

    That would be extremely useful since it would demonstrate that the end of the world was never nigh and by inference is still not nigh today, whatever some doom sayer may be suggesting. It would help demonstrate to the public that despite what is being said, we have time on our side. We have time to get a proper handle on the data (may be starting from scratch a new reconstruction of past global records) and there is no need for knee jerk reaction, and there is time for a considered approach to addressing any problem that may truly exist.

    ———————————

    I like that idea, I’ll start you off.

    Prediction:
    Tobacco companies say smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

    Summary:
    Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).

    Prediction:

    ExxonMobil says global warming is not caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

    Summary:

    That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.

  50. Jamie says:
    “I don’t understand the article from ’82. What exactly is the problem that will lead to this apocalypse?”

    This is meant to be an all-inclusive warning. The problem they are warning about is “Too Little Government”. More government control will solve whatever environmental problem that might arise.

  51. Tom Vonk:
    Some deluded guy wrote


    Wow, I didn’t expect petty name calling to start so soon, what a cogent argument you manage to express.

    And an astounding lack of empathy you manage to show. “Matters none of my business?” Food in my country comes from Africa, clothes are manufactured there, metals and elements for computers and phones come from there. I could get on a plane and be there in 7 hours. I have a passport. I am a citizen of the globe.

    Thanks to (most) other folks for trying to reply civilly!

  52. MOD – could you explain a little further how to blockquote? Thanks

    REPLY: see the purple button Ric Werme’s guide to WUWT

  53. The advert. next to the article was more interesting. “Canucks ’82 Stanley Cup souvenirs” I’m not sure what’s more likely, a Canucks Stanley Cup win, or “an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust”. Mmmmmm………….I think I’ll go with the Canucks. Just.

  54. Africa needs wealth, not trickle down UN grants and light weight solar panels. They, like India and China can help power the worlds economy and live better lives. Environmental disaster is code for” give me money”. I think Africans need democracy and if they make wrong choices they will clean it up.

  55. It is important to distinguish between the need to maintain a healthy environment, such as wild life habitats, diverse forestry, fish stocks etc. and climate change or global warming. The former, which this article is in part discussing, is a very real concern that should be dealt with. And can be with a bit of common sense, without hysteria, economic deconstruction, or the intrusion of authorities into every aspect of ones life.

  56. Mac:
    Don’t know if you’ve ever looked closely at Zimbabwe. If you want study how political corruption can cause a bread basket to go to environmental waste case, it is a good and recent example.
    I don’t think the problems you described are not problems (more than likely exaggerated as they do come from a political organization with strong socialist tendencies), but it is the hyperbole in the original article which I believe most people have a problem with.

  57. “by the turn of the century, an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust”

    So, nuclear holocaust is no big deal then. Why were we so worried about nuclear war, when, apparently, a nuclear holocaust is like this?

  58. SteveE says:
    “That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.”

    SteveE, I would say you skillfully captured the fundamental argument for AGW in a nutshell. Gavin and the regulars at RealClimate would be pleased.

    However, most of us who hang out at WUWT already know the argument very well.
    It would be helpful if you bear in mind:
    – Consensus (while noteworthy) is not the same as scientific proof. “It’s true because we say it’s true”, just doesn’t fly anymore.
    – Climate model output (while interesting) is not actual data. How many of the above “climate papers” are based on model output rather than actual observed data?
    – The institutions and individuals you invoke are losing public trust because, for the most part, they are not honest about uncertainty. That’s the unfortunate downside of mixing science and advocacy.

  59. We go through this scare-stuff all the time in Public Health. Does anyone remember all the dire warnings about the H5N1 “bird flu?” Like, what happened with THAT scare? Funding for H5N1 pandemic preparedness is dropping like a rock!

    These nightmare-campaigns are all funding mechanisms. Public scientists get the lay public all whipped up via complicit media, which gives the politicians cover to push these agendas & silo-building. Apparently nobody was read “The Boy Who Cries Wolf” when they were young.

    The list of panic-situations is lengthy….nuclear winter, population bomb, missile gap, new ice age, bioterrorism, etc. Some resonate more than others, and CAGW fits that bill.

    I highly recommend Dr. Linzden’s excellent essay on the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) topic:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/17/richard-lindzen-a-case-against-precipitous-climate-action/

  60. Mac says:
    January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am
    Are these comments a joke? Eastern Africa (and the continent as a whole) has been devastated by environmental degradation….

    Did the world end and I missed it? Was there a world-wide nuclear war and nobody noticed? Africa’s problems are fundamentally local and political. Unless a consortium of 1st world nations take over that region and sets up effective governments, there’s nothing effective to be done. Surely you’re not advocating a return to colonialism?

    The world didn’t end, nor did it come close. You and Roger Samson maintain that the prediction was part-right. It was flat wrong. There’s a world of difference between an oil-covered pelican, deforestation in Africa, and world-wide nuclear apocalypse.

  61. Mac says after a long rant January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am:
    “Sounds pretty bad to me….although I’m sure it’s fine if you’re an armchair pundit.”
    Yes Mac but do you really think all that is caused by an atmospheric increase of CO2 from 0.029% to 0.039%?
    Draw your armchair up closer to the fire and tell us. – Judging from later comments, there is by now quite a crowd of us here waiting to learn how the magical CO2 has already managed to ravage Africa. -I assume Africa is only for starters! – Scary stuff Mac!

  62. Mac says:
    January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am

    [Africa] Sounds pretty bad to me….although I’m sure it’s fine if you’re an armchair pundit.

    Mac, I just want to know how you’ve managed to solve all of your own problems, and those of anyone within your non-armchair striking distance, so that you can now turn your attention to trying to solve Africa’s!

  63. Another perfect example of the Doom in 20-30 years theory that has continued to be taught to the world for the past 50 years, I want my apocalypse already Damn it.

  64. “Mac says:
    January 19, 2011 at 5:16 am”

    Seems obvious to me you’ve never been to Africa. By far the biggest issue in Africa is political corruption. And as usual, with all the “Greening” of the western world, the poorest are most affected.

  65. Note to Dena, about those Northern African deserts: the Sahara is shrinking.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara_2.html

    “The nomads there told me there was never as much rainfall as in the past few years,” Kröpelin said. “They have never seen so much grazing land.”

    “Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass,” he said.

    “Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back,” he said.

    “The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable.”

  66. OH dahlvseen:
    “Yes Mac but do you really think all that is caused by an atmospheric increase of CO2 from 0.029% to 0.039%?
    Draw your armchair up closer to the fire and tell us. – Judging from later comments, there is by now quite a crowd of us here waiting to learn how the magical CO2 has already managed to ravage Africa. -I assume Africa is only for starters! ”

    Sorry, I can’t find any mention of CO2 in the newspaper article, or in anything I wrote, could you elaborate?

  67. David Corcoran said:
    “Did the world end and I missed it? Was there a world-wide nuclear war and nobody noticed? Africa’s problems are fundamentally local and political. Unless a consortium of 1st world nations take over that region and sets up effective governments, there’s nothing effective to be done. Surely you’re not advocating a return to colonialism?

    The world didn’t end, nor did it come close. You and Roger Samson maintain that the prediction was part-right. It was flat wrong. There’s a world of difference between an oil-covered pelican, deforestation in Africa, and world-wide nuclear apocalypse.”

    So, there seems to be a lot of semantics on this thread, you for example mention ‘world-wide nuclear apocalypse’ where the above article simply says ‘nuclear war’ which could mean anything – a small tactical exchange or a couple of nukes. It seems it’s not only the above article exaggerating.

    Take the two nukes that went of in Japan for example, 300,000 people killed or thereabouts?

    A lot more have died in Eastern Africa due to drought.

  68. Having a group of police doesn’t mean their culture upholds high standards of justice. Ever heard of institutional racism in the police? What are the police known to do when they are accused of abuses? They close ranks; group dynamics.

    What is a “consensus” other than a social dynamic? A social pattern? A group culture? A group of scientists doesn’t mean the culture upholds high scientific standards.

    If anything, the existence of a consensus is more cause for worry, not less, because once the group dynamics take over, individual objectivity has less chance to be heard.

    Science is respected because of its standards of objectivity, but group dynamics can override that, just like how we respect the police for their public service to justice, but group dynamics can corrupt that.

  69. Some deluded guy wrote

    Wow, I didn’t expect petty name calling to start so soon, what a cogent argument you manage to express.

    It is good to call a spade a spade .
    He confuses a global planetary nuclear holocaust with some partial situation in some African countries . This is as cogent an argument as cogent arguments go .
    If he said that to a doctor , the doctor would probably not call the guy deluded but I am afraid that he wouldn’t like the clinical term better .

    Food in my country comes from Africa,

    In what country do you think the deluded guy lives ?
    It is actually one of the defining factors of Africa that their agricultural balance is negative and this is a part of the problem – too many people , not enough food .
    Just some essentials :
    Top 3 wheat exporters : USA , Canada , France
    Top 3 rice exporters : Thailand , Vietnam , India
    Top 3 potato exporters : Netherlands , France , Germany
    Top 3 worldwide food exporters : USA , France , Germany
    No african countries in the essential food exporters , on the contrary , they are in the top food importers .

    clothes are manufactured there, metals and elements for computers and phones come from there.

    Sure they manufacture also some clothes . And some metals can be found in Africa too. Good for them . Nothing essential though . China makes clothes too . Mine are made in Italy (just checked) . Totally irrelevant to the discussion though .

    I am a citizen of the globe.
    Last I checked this doesn’t exist . What exists are a few arrogant people who think that they have the right to impose their wrong and superficial opinions on everybody .
    Prophets of ecological apocalypses who make their living with propaganda .

    The short of it is that the article posted here is wrong and ridiculous even if some deranged minds might believe such rantings and try to propagate them .

  70. Where did you get this ‘global planetary nuclear holocaust scenario from, because it’s not mentioned in the above article’.

    Who mentioned essential foods? Luxury fruits, teas, coffees etc are all exported from Africa.

    As you rightly say, there are too many people compared to the amount of food available. At the same time, western companies are buying up vast tracts of land or leasing at minimum price to farm in order to send food and goods back to western countries. In this respect, of course we affect development and food supply.

    No important metals come from Africa? You mean stuff like cobalt, essential to the mobile phone market? and er…uranium, that not-at-all important nuclear fuel.

    Citizens of the globe don’t exist? What does that mean? I myself have lived in a number of countries, and have family and friends around the globe. We are connected by a shared experience.

  71. Take the two nukes that went of in Japan for example

    For the record, they didn’t just “go off”. They were dropped and set off intentionally.

    I like clarity in communication, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the point being made. “went off” comes across as PC wiggle words.

  72. Alarmists are certainly capable of hindsight; just not simple logic.

    They fail to deduce that: “Worst xxx in yyy decades” means there were worse times well before the AGW scare started. What is worse is that some still can’t see it even after having it pointed out to them.

    Romm is a classic case in point, although he probably just ignores or censors you.

  73. “Prediction:
    Tobacco companies say smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

    Summary:
    Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).”

    There is absolutely NO proof that tobacco CAUSES cancer. They (the scientists) have NEVER been able to produce cancer in mice by smoking. It is a “risk factor” for sure, but is not proof that it causes cancer. Otherwise, please explain why only 10% of smokers get lung cancer – if it were to CAUSE it, then every smoker would “catch” it.

  74. @Mac “western companies are buying up vast tracts of land or leasing at minimum price to farm in order to send food and goods back to western countries. In this respect, of course we affect development and food supply.”

    Everything is connected. But which is the biggest reason why Africa is poor?

    I think you have to look at European history 4000 years ago, when Europe was tribal (or Scotland today (tee hee)) and look at what it takes to develop out of tribal conditions and culture.

    Compare Africa post-Colonialism to India post-colonialism. Compre them before Colonialism. Compare Europe post-Enlightenment to Europe pre-Enlightenement. Just start to get a broad sense of human development over thousands of years…

  75. The reason (I postulate) that Africa is always in such rotten shape is that it’s where man evolved, and is continuing to evolve fastest. For this to occur, heavy survival pressures on various population segments must be maintained.

    So God keeps the heat on, just so the genetic pot doesn’t go off the boil.

    :)

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