Dilbert becomes skeptical of climate change disaster

Disaster-Recovery-Dilbert[1]From Scott Adams (creator of the Dilbert comic strip) blog, who seems to have stumbled across an interview with the author of this video we recently highlighted at WUWT. Scott Adams writes:

=================================

Fact Checking: Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters

I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher the other day. He had a professor on the show who said climate change can be fixed by making well-understood adjustments to how farmers raise cattle plus some other fairly ordinary changes. Apparently this is all explained in a documentary called Carbon Nation.

I’m skeptical of any claim so big and contrarian, but it does fit with The Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters. Simply stated, my observation is that whenever humanity can see a slow-moving disaster coming, we find a way to avoid it. Let’s run through some examples:  

Thomas Malthus famously predicted that the world would run out of food as the population grew. Instead, humans improved their farming technology.

When I was a kid, it was generally assumed that the world would be destroyed by a global nuclear war. The world has been close to nuclear disaster a few times, but so far we’ve avoided all-out nuclear war.

The world was supposed to run out of oil by now, but instead we keep finding new ways to extract it from the ground. The United States has unexpectedly become a net provider of energy.

….

(he continues with more items in the list)

In California, predicted ongoing droughts were supposed decimate the state. Instead, it rained.

Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?

==============================================================

Full story here: http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/fact_checking_adams_law_of_slowmoving_disasters/

WUWT readers surely can find some examples?

h/t to WUWT reader AJ

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129 Responses to Dilbert becomes skeptical of climate change disaster

  1. jb frodsham says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?

    JF: No sorry but I can give you hundreds that did NOT happen.

  2. Bill Parks says:

    Yes, my wallet (and yours) is empty, the government has spent it, and wants more :-)
    1 This is global, I have moved now to Myanmar to afford expenses,
    2.it certainly is a disaster.
    3. It has been seen coming for more than 10 years, however I can’t vouch for the general public Knowledge of anything recently. Stupidity is running rampant!

  3. Dodgy Geezer says:

    “…Thomas Malthus famously predicted that the world would run out of food as the population grew. Instead, humans improved their farming technology.
    When I was a kid, it was generally assumed that the world would be destroyed by a global nuclear war. The world has been close to nuclear disaster a few times, but so far we’ve avoided all-out nuclear war.
    The world was supposed to run out of oil by now, but instead we keep finding new ways to extract it from the ground. The United States has unexpectedly become a net provider of energy….

    Can someone tell him that he’s rediscovered Julian Simon’s work? I know that Simon was brushed out of history by Ehrlich and his crowd, but this is ridiculous…

  4. Another Ian says:

    Why WWF stands for

    “Waiting For the Wheels to Fall off”

    IMO

  5. Otter says:

    Communism.

  6. chinook says:

    One example that’s fairly easy:
    The morphing of the modern democrat party into the democrat totalitarian party-one that allegedly champions liberty, civil rights and prosperity, but through it’s policies and actions causes the opposite to happen. Saw that coming decades ago and many were warned about it.
    Oh, just one more:
    President Eisenhower’s second warning in his Farewell Address. He warned, some heeded and some drooled over how that might benefit them ==>CAGW and the CAGW industrial complex.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/21/ikes-second-warning-hint-it-is-not-the-military-industrial-complex/

  7. Mike Jonas says:

    Simply stated, my observation is that whenever humanity can see a slow-moving disaster coming, we find a way to avoid it.

    The big mistake would be to assume that it is a waste of time warning of a slow-moving disaster. The point surely is that we do need to be warned, so that we can do something about it. It is then rather mean to blame those that did the warning for being “wrong”.

    Overfishing is a disaster currently in the making, and hopefully increasing awareness of the risk will result in it too being averted. Doesn’t mean it’s a non-problem.

    CAGW, though, is a non-problem, because there is no foundation for claims of ECS > ~1.2.

  8. Famine in Africa, which has been an ongoing problem for years, highlighted by Band Aid in the mid-80’s
    Overpopulation in China, which has been relieved by by the policy of limiting couples to one child only, but has caused misery to those who want to have more than one child.
    These are two examples of “chronic” problems which I am sure the author did not have in mind. To this list you can also add statistically likely natural events such as earthquakes, asteroid impacts, tsunamis and virus mutations causing pandemics.
    To my knowledge though there has not been a predicted “acute” event which the general public have been aware of, despite the efforts of the usual suspect doom mongers.

  9. grumpyoldmanuk says:

    In 1979, it was predicted that if the U.K. Labour Party ever again formed a government, it would be an economic disaster Sure enough, by 2010 there was no money left.

  10. Admad says:

    WW2, inevitable as a consequence of reparations against Germany following the Great War, and the Depression. Probably a slightly naive or simplistic view, but it works for me.

  11. omnologos says:

    Nixon. A has-been in 1961, disaster in 1973. What do I win?

  12. Tom says:

    I have a confirmed prediction of disaster that was almost exactly ten years, although it didn’t generally alarm the public when the prediction was made.

    The current economic crisis was predicted with spooky accuracy by many, including in an earlier chapter of the late ’90s book I’m reading, Hidden Agendas by John Pilger. His prediction comes during a criticism of the the Thatcherite/Blairite policies being put in place at the time. (The book takes the position that Blairism was the completion of Thatcherism….. and I agree!)

    You could say it’s easy, after the fact, to find those predictions that happened to come true. However that is not what I was looking for; the book is generally extremely prescient and this is just one example that springs to mind.
    __________

    Rambling now, off topic…

    I don’t agree with Pilger on all his political views, (although Blairism IS the completion of Thatcherism), but what I do like is his reporting of facts, on the whole. In other words I’d say the Pilger/Chomsky version of history is essential reading, even if you don’t agree completely with their political views, and even if the menace of religion is conspicuous by its absence from their analysis of all that’s wrong in the world.

    I would add that if anyone says Pilger and Chomsky ‘just hate all things Western’, then they can’t have read either very carefully.
    __________

    That ramble was preemptive of other people’s possible rambles, about the mad ‘leftist’ Pilger. I’d say lefty, myself. Accusing everyone of isms indiscriminately is a bit too Monckton-like for me.

  13. David, UK says:

    Admad says:
    April 20, 2013 at 3:02 am

    WW2, inevitable as a consequence of reparations against Germany following the Great War, and the Depression. Probably a slightly naive or simplistic view, but it works for me.

    I don’t think anyone could claim that the general public saw that one coming. Remember the cheers when Chamberlain returned from his meeting with Adloff Hilter* with that “piece of paper?” It was only after they bomber Poland that we “saw it coming” – somewhat after the fact.

    *deliberately misspelt to attempt to avoid the sin bin

  14. SAMURAI says:

    Although CAGW hasn’t, and never will happen as advertised, I guess the closest prediction that actually occurred would be Peter Schiff’s warmings of the US 2008/09 housing market collapse.

    He nailed that one perfectly, although it wasn’t quite 10 years before he started making his predictions.

    I still think the sovereign debt crisis will eventually lead to the worst world economic collapse in human history, and we’re getting pretty close to that event happening…..

    We shall see, what we shall see, but US’ $222 TRILLION unfunded liabilities and $85 billion/month FED money printing can’t last much longer.

    Pundits point to the “recovering” DOW as a sign of recovery, but that’s just a nominal increase caused by monetary inflation. Gold’s recent fall is merely the market confusing DOW inflation to economic recovery and getting out of gold to buy inflated stocks….

    Again, we shall see.

  15. DirkH says:

    Adams: “I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher the other day.”

    How embarassing is that?

  16. klem says:

    Samurai
    I hope you are so wrong, but there are many people who believe this ‘sovereign debt crisis’ or ‘currency war’ or ‘global currency devaluation’ (or whatever it is called now) will end very badly. This is something which troubles me far more than global warming ever has.

  17. Klem, I couldn’t agree more. The worldwide debt is frightening!

  18. evanmjones says:

    Can someone tell him that he’s rediscovered Julian Simon’s work? I know that Simon was brushed out of history by Ehrlich and his crowd, but this is ridiculous…

    Close. It would be Herman Kahn’s work. Julian was one of “Herman’s Hermits”. Herman was an advisor to five presidents. (Some listened better than others.) He has only been brushed out of the headlines, but not out of history. Go to any college library, even the most left-wing ones, and you will find the whole set his books.

  19. DanJ says:

    Entitlement spending…

  20. Tom Stone says:

    A better way to ask the disaster question is limit it to a global natural disaster. Political/economic SNAFUs that make people miserable, but have little affect on most of nature, are SOP..

  21. beesaman says:

    We saw Justin Bieber coming and did nothing, oh the horror… ☹

  22. Chris Marrou says:

    In response to Dirk H, who noted it was an embarrassment to admit watching Bill Maher. One can always claim necessity, such as stopping at an x-rated video store for directions late at night when other businesses are closed. If one needs to cross a room to get to another location and Bill Maher’s show is on a TV there, it can be excused. However, stopping at the video store or seeing Bill Maher a SECOND time is highly suspect…

  23. AnInquirer says:

    After Clinton’s re-intrepretation of the Community Reinvestment Act, some of us economists said that government policy that prodded and mandated banks to give mortgages to unqualified borrowers could actually lead to a financial crisis caused by banks giving mortgages to unqualified borrowers. And the disaster was actually worse than we anticipated — for several reasons that will not be discussed in this short post.

  24. thingodonta says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warming, and it actually happened as predicted?”

    The only major disasters I can think of, which could perhaps have been predicted well beforehand, are those caused by dangerous governments, where in all cases such governments were not subject to reform and regulation by the will of the people, however most of these are also not ‘global’ in the usual sense. Nazism in the 1930s, Japanese Nationalism in the 1920s-1930s (and earlier), Collective farming under communism in the 1920s-1930s, the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s, North Korean famine and collectivism since the 1950s, the Great Depression in the 1930s.

    It is worth noting that in all cases, except the last-the Great Depression- the following patterns were present:
    1. they were very sure of their policies without the data to justify it.
    2. an enemy, political adversary, or social practice was present which threatened the very existence of the state/ nation.
    3. They were carried out by otherwise ordinary people.
    4. They were supported and justified by state learning institutions, including in most cases what would otherwise pass as ‘science’.
    5. There was a high degree of silencing, eliminating or excluding dissent.
    6. The military played a significant role.
    7. They were essentially government driven social disasters, by government-based ideologies. This isn’t to say that disasters cant happen which are not essentially brought about by governments, (the best example perhaps is the Great Depression, which was a failure to regulate the market), but government disasters tend to be more common simply because governments tend to develop resistive ideologies that are less able to respond and be regulated and balanced by the common sense of the people.

    The climate change movement has elements of all the above except 6- no military involvement.

    Perhaps that’s enough political philosophy for one day, from me anyway.

  25. CodeTech says:

    Y2K. Absolutely. The entire planet was plunged into chaos. Oh wait, the chaos was in 1999… 2000 arrived with very few issues.

  26. Martin A says:

    Iraq war.

    Huge demonstrations against, so was seen coming. 100,000+ dead.

  27. Leo Geiger says:

    The question asked about disasters seen coming. That assumes people recognized the problem they faced. If some people claim there isn’t a problem, they have enough influence to prevent anything getting done, but they are wrong and there actually *is* a big problem, does that count as “seen coming”?

    That scenario has played out with fish stocks. The inshore Atlantic cod fisherman knew what was coming, but false arguments about economics won (like large factory trawlers), wiping out what could have been a sustainable fishery

  28. DirkH says:

    thingodonta says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:18 am
    “The climate change movement has elements of all the above except 6- no military involvement. ”

    The concept is called democide, death by government. Involvement of the military is not important. The military is just one branch of government.

  29. R Taylor says:

    omnologos says:
    April 20, 2013 at 3:37 am
    ———————————————
    When Nixon came to the presidency in 1968, the Kennedy/Johnson policies had turned large US cities into war zones, and Detroit and LA were literally on fire. When the Dems won the mid-terms in 1974 and were able to force Nixon out (for lesser transgressions than the Kennedys committed in 1960), the US got Ford and Carter for the next 6 years.

    If you have stopped drinking the orthodox kool-aid, it’s time to recognize the flashbacks for what they are.

  30. DirkH says:

    Leo Geiger says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:38 am
    “That scenario has played out with fish stocks. The inshore Atlantic cod fisherman knew what was coming, but false arguments about economics won (like large factory trawlers), wiping out what could have been a sustainable fishery”

    Really?
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/31/walking-the-plank-ton/#comment-445129
    “OT – am just reading Vladil Lysenko’s “A Crime Against the World” (1983) – a book by a former Soviet trawler captain which divulged Soviet fisheries policy in the era before the 200-mile EEZs when Russian factory trawlers vacuumed up much of the world’s most valuable fish stocks. He provides a political side that I had never realized: the Soviets overfished not just to meet their own protein needs and because of the system of production targets that was politically dictated in all sectors of the Soviet command economy, but also to actively destroy fish stocks so as to economically damage the industries of capitalist nations. A rivetting read and strongly recommended. “

  31. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @evenmjones

    …Close. It would be Herman Kahn’s work. …

    They worked together at RAND, of course. I had always associated Kahn with nuclear war and game theory, while Simon was the one who did the data-gathering work necessary to show that humanity, for all recorded history, had:

    1) Continuously improved on its condition throughout ALL generations
    2) Always preferred to believe that it was actually about to collapse, and that the ideal condition was about 2 generations ago
    3) Automatically believed and praised anyone who said that we were on the brink of disaster
    4) Disbelieved, ignored, slighted and forgot anyone who said that we weren’t.

    It was Simon who came up with that line about people preferring to believe disaster, even though you could prove that it would not happen. “..almost as if they had been vaccinated against the truth…. I cannot recall Kahn being the primary driver for this position – though, of course, he agreed with it, and co-authored one of Simon’s books on the subject…

  32. DirkH says:

    andrewmharding says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:55 am
    “Famine in Africa, which has been an ongoing problem for years, highlighted by Band Aid in the mid-80′s
    Overpopulation in China, which has been relieved by by the policy of limiting couples to one child only, but has caused misery to those who want to have more than one child.”

    Two examples of democide, death by government, in the case of the Ethiopian communist and “reform”-communist government, the price fixing that prevents farmers from selling surplus on the market, stifling their productivity to subsistence levels.

    In the case of China, literal death by government; abortions that even Planned Parenthood would not dare to endorse.

  33. Dodgy Geezer says:

    ..They worked together at RAND, of course. ..

    Whoops, sorry. I see that I have implied that Simon was at RAND, when what I meant to say was ‘while Kahn was at RAND’. AFAIK, Simon was never at RAND. And, in fact, checking up, it seems more likely that they worked together when Kahn was at the Hudson and Simon was at Cato. However, I fully agree that they worked together and were of one mind on the subject of disaster avoidance…

  34. Dodgy Geezer says: April 20, 2013 at 2:14 am
    “…Thomas Malthus famously predicted that the world would run out of food as the population grew. Instead, humans improved their farming technology.

    Can someone tell him that he’s rediscovered Julian Simon’s work? I know that Simon was brushed out of history by Ehrlich and his crowd, but this is ridiculous…
    ***********

    Yes, AND Norman Borlaug! (Whose Institute is at Texas A & M, naturally!)

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  35. ferdberple says:

    thingodonta says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:18 am
    The climate change movement has elements of all the above except 6- no military involvement.
    =========
    didn’t the military recently announce that AGW was the single greatest threat facing the US? military planners even now are retasking the nukes from missle silo’s in Russia to coal plants in China.

  36. ferdberple says:

    cost of living wage increases. a slow moving disaster that was not avoided. over time, marginal tax rates take 1/2 of the wage gain, leaving workers with real wage gains of only 1/2 the rate of inflation. as a result it now takes two parents working to afford what took only 1 parent working a generation ago. continued long enough this will bankrupt the workers that pay the taxes, as it is difficult to find families with 3 or 4 working parents. bankrupt workers mean bankrupt countries collecting the taxes, which is what we see today. the housing crisis is a crisis of income. people unable to afford the debt leading to widespread default. the cure for inflation 30 years ago sowed the seeds of today’s debt crisis. low oil prices in the 90’s hid the problem from view.

  37. Patrick says:

    “DirkH says:

    April 20, 2013 at 6:04 am”

    And still to this day when discuss that period with Ethiopians, they truly believe it was “the right way”. A lot has changed since then, but a lot still needs to change. But I see Govn’t and corporations repeating, pretty much, the same thing, albeit under a different banner.

  38. rgbatduke says:

    Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?

    Given that if one interprets the term “general public” broadly enough or “global disaster” narrowly enough it will be impossible to satisfy this by definition, since the general public is generally clueless about so very many things that are openly known or predicted/predictable and we’ve NEVER had a truly global disaster predicted or otherwise as they require things like kilometer scale asteroids or Yellowstone eruptions, but if you go with a definition that includes a reasonable subset of the general public (the smarter one) and events that affect directly or indirectly a substantial fraction of the Earth’s population a list might look like:

    World War I (post Sedan, the eventual occurrence of WWI was foreseen by and indeed encouraged by a large chunk of both the “general public” and the burgeoning military-industrial complex).

    World War II (post Versailles, ditto and then some. Hitler even did the world a favor and wrote a book detailing his plans for disaster. Japan was less obvious to the clueless West, but perfectly obvious in China and the pacific rim countries that it threatened).

    Viet Nam (talk about slow moving disasters! Twenty or more years OF disaster, let along ten years of warning. We can’t even FIX certain disasters in ten years). This affected the entire world economy, global patterns of military intervention, kept the cold war on the edge of being hot, and drove barriers between e.g. the United States and many world nations who worried about U.S. and/or Soviet imperialism.

    The Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming scam. It has all by itself been a global catastrophe, one that is still continuing so that its catastrophic cost continues to mount. The global “bill” is currently at least a few trillion dollars and the perpetuation of global poverty by at least one full generation and rising. A substantial fraction of the general public has “seen the scam coming” for well over a decade — again, it was more or less openly announced back in the 90s that certain powers were “going after carbon dioxide” as soon as they finished forcing us all to stop using Freon in air conditioners because (allegedly) it punched holes in the ozone.

    International Drug Laws. Again, a slow catastrophe that one doesn’t have to “see coming” — it has been ongoing for thirty or forty years, it has obvious, simple solutions known perfectly well to a large subset of the human population, it costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year in diverted/wasted resources (enough to qualify as catastrophic over time if not right away) and no, neither human technology nor common sense suffice to fix it.

    You will note the common factor in the exceptions above. Human greed and war are often predictable, if one bothers to look, but too many people just don’t give a damn (or the ones who do are the ones who benefit) so the human world is entirely capable of careening into easily avoidable global disasters of its own making. War is almost by definition avoidable and foreseeable, yet we still have war. CAGW and global geopolitical scams are a relatively new invention, preceded only by things like the Cold War — a slow catastrophe that was enormously beneficial to the military-industrial complex and enormously risky and catastrophic to everybody else.

    Once the cold war ended, once the prospects for MAJOR wars subsided in the mid-90s, there was a huge incentive for the political and economic interests that control much of the world’s economy to find other avenues for maintaining their control and continuing to funnel unearned income into their pockets and offshore accounts. An ongoing series of MINOR wars have been openly encouraged and manipulated by some, allowed to occur by stupidity and inaction by others, to feed the military-industrial maw its hundred-billion dollar boluses of unearned income. The “war on drugs” sucks up hundreds of billions of dollars globally, potentiates military intervention in sovereign nations other than our own, and gives our police state a “crime” they can choose to enforce or not to extort power and manipulate the political process. CAGW has become an open excuse for picking our pockets almost daily, and don’t make the mistake of thinking that this pocket picking isn’t being done with the open support and monetary encouragement of the very energy industry that it supposedly castigates. Who really benefits from the artificially high prices of electricity, of oil, of coal? Who benefits from carbon trading (or would, if the scam weren’t so transparent that it isn’t working in spite of one of the best marketing efforts in all eternity)?

    I’m not a full scale conspiracy theorist — plenty of world catastrophes can be interpreted as stupidity and greed, not intelligent manipulation by Illuminati — but the case to be made for the existence of a firmly entrenched shadow government is compelling. It is largely made up of a mix of organized criminals and the merely greedy — politicians and bankers and industrialists who profit from the system that serves the criminals. Periodically attempts are made to “follow the money” and untangle the morass of money laundering and tax evasion among the very powerful, and the people who do so who aren’t killed, discredited, or otherwise brought to heel before they can do damage bring back reports that outline the true extent of this in our society.

    This is probably the biggest “catastrophe” of our time. Our personal freedom and the well-being of the entire world depend on cleaning up the mess left by the drug prohibition and the persistent reign of the military industrial complex and the wealthy non-governments of e.g. the Catholic Church (which has assets that make it the 18th or 19th richest “country” on the planet, in spite of the fact that it isn’t a country and is ruled by a closed conclave of old men). Adams is pretty smart — I’m sure he has seen this coming (or known it was going on) all of his life. Many of us, if not most of us, have. We talk about it. It often directly impacts upon our lives, or shows up in the news.

    Can we solve this crisis by direct action and/or technology and planning? No. We don’t even know how to begin.

    rgb

  39. Gary says:

    The clock is ticking on a devastating asteroid impact, but public awareness is only a couple of years old and it hasn’t happened quite yet. Put this in the check back later bin.

  40. Goode 'nuff says:

    I think plenty of people could see the globalization being a disaster for manufacturing jobs and union scale wage.

    We were told globalization was to keep the peace. Now US and world military spending is very high, almost back to cold war levels…

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending

  41. Admad says:

    David, UK says:
    April 20, 2013 at 3:51 am
    I don’t think anyone could claim that the general public saw that one coming. Remember the cheers when Chamberlain returned from his meeting with Adloff Hilter* with that “piece of paper?” It was only after they bomber Poland that we “saw it coming” – somewhat after the fact.
    *deliberately misspelt to attempt to avoid the sin bin

    David, absolutely fair comment, quite agree. Just wanted to pitch in a suggestion. Thanks
    Admad

  42. Ric Werme says:

    I don’t know if the demise of the Passenger Pigeon was predicted, but it certainly could have been. Big game may do better, but that’s a work in progress.

  43. Ric Werme says:

    Warnings of what could happen to New Orleans if it were to be hit by a Cat-3 hurricane were largely ignored and remarkably accurate. This probably flunks the “general public saw coming” but Neil Frank continued warning the public of hurricane risk long after he left the directorship of the National Hurricane Center.

  44. Ric Werme says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?”

    Hey, is this a trick question? How many concerns about anything with a lead time of a few years is the general public aware of?

  45. Historian says:

    ” Simon was the one who did the data-gathering work necessary to show that humanity, for all recorded history, had:
    1) Continuously improved on its condition throughout ALL generations”
    This is factually incorrect. The collapse of the Roman Empire, for example, was followed by almost a thousand years, when the standard of living and quality of live were dismal compared to what they had been during the first century or two AD. The same applies to all the numerous collapses of civilizations known to history.
    Could it be that the real question is: how to detect a real crisis in the midst of continuous “background noise” of misalarms? Knowing the history of periods such as the later Roman Empire or late Renaissance Italy might be helpful here. Unfortunately, ‘history of decadent civilizations’ is not a popular subject these days.
    One possible explanation cum description of crisis was offered by Rostovzeff, who closed his huge, two-volume social and economic history of the Roman Empire by this summary (quoted from memory): ‘ What went wrong is that the effort to civilize barbarians failed. Instead of the barbarians becoming civilized, civilization became barbarized.’
    Unfortunately, most people experiencing this kind of “barbarization crisis” are by definition incapable of noticing it.

  46. Lars P. says:

    Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?

    Exactly, to the point.

    When one takes a look at the examples given:
    Thomas Malthus famously predicted that the world would run out of food as the population grew. Instead, humans improved their farming technology.

    This was not due to Thomas Malthus prediction and reaction to it. About 15% of our food is coming from improved CO2 atmosphere – estimation that I saw also mentioned by Freeman Dyson. That is food for 1 000 000 000 people out of 7 000 000 000. Not bad for a beggining. Then it was a result of improved farming technologies, and genetics.
    The world was supposed to run out of oil by now, but instead we keep finding new ways to extract it from the ground. The United States has unexpectedly become a net provider of energy.

    Not a result of a reaction to the oil crisis by any bureaucratic government, not a reaction to the Club of Rome manifest, but a result of free market allowed to perform in some areas. A result of human inventivity as the “Doomslayer” said:

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffsimon_pr.html
    “Resources come out of people’s minds more than out of the ground or air,” says Simon. “Minds matter economically as much as or more than hands or mouths. Human beings create more than they use, on average. It had to be so, or we would be an extinct species.”

    The defect of the Malthusian models, superficially plausible but invariably wrong, is that they leave the human mind out of the equation. “These models simply do not comprehend key elements of people – the imaginative and creative.”

    As for the future, “This is my long-run forecast in brief,” says Simon. “The material conditions of life will continue to get better for most people, in most countries, most of the time, indefinitely. Within a century or two, all nations and most of humanity will be at or above today’s Western living standards.

    “I also speculate, however, that many people will continue to think and say that the conditions of life are getting worse.”

  47. DirkH says:

    Historian says:
    April 20, 2013 at 8:19 am
    “One possible explanation cum description of crisis was offered by Rostovzeff, who closed his huge, two-volume social and economic history of the Roman Empire by this summary (quoted from memory): ‘ What went wrong is that the effort to civilize barbarians failed. Instead of the barbarians becoming civilized, civilization became barbarized.’”

    It became colder.
    Their EROEI dropped under three.
    So the high culture collapsed.
    That’s it in a nutshell. A lot of drama during the collapse but basically they ran out of energy.

  48. Mark T says:

    thingodonta says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:18 am

    It is worth noting that in all cases, except the last-the Great Depression- the following patterns were present:

    You left off that they were all collectivist in some fashion.

    (the best example perhaps is the Great Depression, which was a failure to regulate the market)

    Um, I suggest you actually spend a bit more time researching the causes of the Great Depression. The government (Fed policy) most certainly was involved, and “the failure to regulate the market” is not often mentioned by sane economists as one of the causes. Similar to the current problems, it was also predicted by several economists. Funny that the guys that always see these things coming tend to be capitalists.

    The climate change movement has elements of all the above except 6- no military involvement.

    Not that you know about, but rest assured, if the government sees GW as a threat, the military is involved.

    Mark

  49. Historian says:

    “DirkH says:
    It became colder.
    Their EROEI dropped under three.
    So the high culture collapsed.
    That’s it in a nutshell.”
    Please, do read up on Roman history. A more likely explanation than climate change was the massive growth of the state and its bureaucracy, which in effect enslaved the population. As a result, people reached a level where they regarded the barbarians as a lesser evil than their own government.

    All civilizations of which we have sufficent data to say what happened began as laissez-faire systems, with a small central government and very low taxation. The process of decay was accompanied by a growth of goverment. The development seen in western countries in the 20th century is only a repetition of what has happened repeatedly in the past. At the time of collapse, the state controlled just about all aspects of people’s lives and taxed away most of their earnings. All this was done the name of common good.

    Some civilizations can survive massive climatic disasters without collapsing. East Rome coped with the catastropies of 535-545, and Renaissance Italy thrived in the Little Ice Age. This is a particularly impressive feat, since at the same time the Black Death caused Italian cities population losses of over 50%.

  50. Susan says:

    If one considers
        War on the weather Army – “climate” change
        War on Impoverishment (in our back yard) Army – entitlement
    then I think
        Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
        Military-Industrial Complex Speech
    where the councils of government a
        there is a recurring temptation to feel that some
        spectacular and costly action could become
        the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.

    Unfortunately,
        we live in interesting times.

  51. Sam Grove says:

    I suggest that so-called “slow moving disasters” weren’t avoided because they were foreseen, but because the natural tendency of markets is to increase productivity and this is due to profit making. A real foreseeable disaster occurs when public sentiment induces politicians to destroy the profit motive. Socialism is a slow moving disaster. Eliminating money (communism) is such a rapidly occurring disaster that it is quickly abandoned before too much damage is done. The real peril of socialism is that the damage is cumulative but bearable until it becomes so extensive that chaos must ensue.when the cascade event arrives.

  52. Jimbo says:

    Rising UK excess winter. It has been a disaster and we saw this coming 3 years ago with higher energy prices to tackle global warming climate change. :-(

  53. Jimbo says:

    Sorry missed a word
    “Rising UK excess winter deaths……”

  54. Thomas Jefferson on the slow moving disaster of growing government:

    “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

    “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

    “Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”

    John F Kennedy, April 29, 1962, at dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners.

    “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

  55. bones says:

    “The United States has unexpectedly become a net provider of energy.”

    Give me a break. The U.S. is still a big-time net energy importer and likely always will be.

  56. Jimbo says:

    Here’s an economist that predicted a world financial crisis after 1998. I don’t know if it counts though as it is triggered from Asia.

    The Nation – Dec 30, 1997
    “Economist predicts global financial crisis”
    http://tinyurl.com/c6vqfvm

  57. Jimbo says:

    Mike Jonas says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:53 am
    ……….
    The big mistake would be to assume that it is a waste of time warning of a slow-moving disaster. The point surely is that we do need to be warned, so that we can do something about it. It is then rather mean to blame those that did the warning for being “wrong”.

    I partly agree with you but it depends on who is making the prediction and why? Elrich did not warn of mass starvation due to population increase because he wanted humanity to introduce better more efficient farming methods. He wanted us to do something about the rising number of people in the world. Look to motives sometimes.

  58. Sam Adams, July 1776, on the removal of the anti-slavery clause from the Declaration of Independence. These are the backnotes from the Stone and Edwards musical 1776:

    But by far the most frustrating reason for deleting a historical fact was that the audiences would never have believed it. The best example of this is John Adams’ reply (it was actually Cousin Sam who said it) to Franklin’s willingness to drop the anti-slavery clause from the Declaration. “Mark me, Franklin,” he now says in Scene 7, “if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.” But the complete line, spoken in July 1776, was “If we give in on this issue, there will be trouble a hundred years hence; posterity will never forgive us.” And audiences would never forgive us. For who could blame them for believing that the phrase was the author’s invention, stemming from the eternal wisdom of hindsight?

    I think posterity forgives them for establishing Independence “under terms more favorable than a more generous God would ever permit.” But Sam Adams was prescient. The Civil War was a disaster he saw coming that we did not avert nor prevent.

  59. Jimbo says:

    andrewmharding says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Famine in Africa, which has been an ongoing problem for years, highlighted by Band Aid in the mid-80′s……..

    It’s like saying wars in Europe during the Balkan wars. Most of Africa is not in famine. It is my understanding that since the start of the 21st century deaths from famine have been significantly reduced through better early warming systems. Also many famines are caused by wars and internal conflicts and not climate.

  60. OldWeirdHarold says:

    “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you have to battle with only one of them. ”

    – Calvin Coolidge

  61. Jimbo says:

    I spend too much time on global warming. ;O)
    “early warming systems….. ”
    should be:
    “early warning systems….. “

  62. leonard Lane says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?
    Yes.
    The open borders-pro illegal immigration problem has been looming since at least 1986 when we had the last “permanent fix”. We are in grave danger of a one party system in the US with unknown millions ready to gain citizenship and the vote. Unlike the irrational GOP dreams, those who break the law to get here are not likely to support capitalism and our traditional guarantees of individual liberties and the rule of law. Rather, they are much more likely to vote for the far left and more big government. To make it global, they have the same problem in Europe and it will most likely spread.

  63. Bob says:

    ObamaCare has long been seen as a looming disaster, and that is proving true. According to the latest forecasts, everybody will pay more, get less healthcare at lower quality, and more elderly will die younger because of cuts in funding of the Medicare system. It remains to be seen how this widely anticipated disaster will be avoided.

  64. London247 says:

    Suggest a reading of ” Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” by McKay, Charles , originally published 1841.
    End of the world themes are ever popular.
    Substantial Meteor/comet strikes Tungaska 1908, Saudii Arabia 20,000 b.c, Metorite Crater 65,000 B.C. Inevitable but statistically unlikely in our lifetimes
    Supervolanoes – Yellowstone quietly bubbling, Tenerife due to drop into the Atlantic Ocean…. some time.
    Large scale devasating volcanoes – Krakatoa 1883, Mt Pelee 1902, Satorini c. 2,500.00 B.C. Vesuvius AD 79.
    Economic bubbles and every time they say it is a new paradigm and couldn’t possibly happen again
    1865, 1908, 1929, 1987 and the best one the 1999 dotcom ( when effectively a company based on a catchy domain name was worth more than a company with real estate, revenue stream and an established product), and the housing crash (sub-prime maket) in 2008. My own quote “Banking is capital, credit and interest. The rest is speculation.”
    It may have helped humanity if these intellectual giants of finance has applied their brain power to the duality of quantum physics rather than think up convoluted Ponzi schemes and then promulgated as “Finanical Engineering”/ sarc off

  65. Vieras says:

    Sceptical Science will most likely ask: Why should anyone listen to a cartoonist when it comes to climate science? /sarc

  66. adrien says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?”

    the 1st world war (but they wanted it, sadly …)

  67. Doug Proctor says:

    Unfortunately, I disagree with Scott completely. What people and societal institutions do all the time is exactly the opposite of what he says: we/they fail to act on slow-moving disasters. Diamond in “Collapse” identifies many of these causing societies to fail. Empires fall with a lot of for-warning; the Roman Empire was in decline for some 300 years before Rome was overrun, and everyone could see it happening.

    As individuals and as vote-creating governments, we spend debt dollars despite the obvious problem approaching. The CAGW believers would say that we are doing this now with our CO2 emissions; in principle I would agree.

    We can plan for the vacation or the end of the project in six months. For two years, we are unsurprised when it takes another half to one year. Five Year Plans are notoriously unfilled by people, companies and governments, and ten-year plans, like CO2 emission reductions, mean that we need do nothing for at least two years but discuss, and within ten maybe change our minds entirely because even five years is code for “later”, itself a code-word for “probably never, for who can tell what the situation will be by then?”

    What Scott speaks about is not “fixing” a slow-moving disaster before it happens. He speaks of a non-disaster: we didn’t “fix” a predicted up-coming famine, we simply improved food production during the normal course. Oil shortages were non-shortages: when we drilled, there was more. We didn’t fix or find anything. The problem was non-existent.

    This is how the CAGW slow-moving disaster will be handled: it will turn out to be a non-disaster. The sun made us (mostly) warm up and will cause us to (mostly) cool down. Cloud cover will have a negative feedback effect on the remaining warming. The “problem” will be that CO2 warming is much, much less than natural variability and we learn we have no control over our global temperatures.

    I wish we really did deal with slow-moving disasters. I would have sold all my stocks four years ago when I KNEW they were rising too fast and had to have a “correction” as we were told. And then I’d be writing this from a beach resort in the Caymans.

  68. Jay says:

    “Can anyone give me an example of a potential global disaster that the general public saw coming, with at least a ten year warning, and it actually happened as predicted?”
    ————
    Maybe not the general public but.. When Bush 1 started his Desert Storm war the left went bananas over their inability to stop it.. So they started their own equally important war to save the planet.. A economic civil war with our tax dollars in place of bullets..

    Neither side willing to step down lead directly to the 2008 crash.. With more economic disaster to come..

    Lets rework our economy (green) while we fight a series of the most expensive wars in the history of mankind.. Like economic disaster wasnt seen looming on the horizon..

    I win the contest..

  69. Pat Frank says:

    An obvious non-disaster is Paul Ehrlich’s prediction, abetted by John Holdren, of a population disaster. Instead (except wherever derailed by culture), cheap energy and prosperity brought voluntary birth control and the population stabilized. Meanwhile the green revolution brought more food per capita than ever.

    Science yields the only positive-sum game and it promises an even better future.

  70. Janice Moore says:

    WWII — but, with all due respect, while your cited reasons were contributing factors, Admad, I think another cause or two were the controlling ones. BTW, what a gracious response of yours to David (who also made a good point).
    ************************************************************************************************

    thingodonta says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:18 am
    “The climate change movement has elements of all the above except 6- no military involvement. ”

    Along the lines of others’ responses to this, the Environazi laws are NOW enforceable by police power. As Friedrich Hayek warned, socialism ultimately and inevitably results in tyranny (firmly maintained by military might). Thingo, your overall essay was good!

    *****************************************************************************************************
    TWO IDEAS:
    1) Copper was certain to run out and this caused quite a bit of hustle and bustle in the general public, but, scientists discovered silicon and disaster was averted. (I read of this in Peter Huber’s book, Hard Green).

    2) (also, for the “Check back later” file): A CURRENT DISASTER IN THE MAKING — I’ll give Mark Steyn the credit for his long and valiant efforts to sound the trumpet of warning, here — Islamofascism or Islamic Jihad by birthrate will, if it continues at its present rate, almost certainly result in enough major states becoming the chaotic, violent, cruel, bastions of bellicosity that is an “Islamic State” that WORLDWIDE war and strife will result.

    *!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*

    P.S. I AM PROUD OF WHAT THE U. S. MILITARY (and its allies) accomplished in LIBERATING IRAQ from Saddam Hussein (regardless of how the situation may have stagnated). And I think most Iraqis would give that part of my comment a BIG INK-STAINED THUMBS UP! [#:)]

  71. Janice Moore says:

    Re: my 11:44 comment. Waaa! [#:(]

    I’m in moderation AGAIN! (I was last night, too, at 9:16PM)

  72. Ghandi says:

    I remember an article from Popular Science magazine in the late 1970s. In the article, climate scientists were warning of “global cooling which would cause untold death and destruction. Now we have had the Al Gore scare-athon for several years. Things tend to work out. Temperatures tend to move toward the mean. And who has become a multimillionaire in the meantime? Mr. Inconvenience himself – Albert “Laughing All the Way to the Bank” Gore.

  73. ralfellis says:

    The 2008 economic crash.

    I was warning from 2004 that the UK government was spending too much, and not on real investments that would provide a return, and the economy was hugely overheating (and only kept in check by cheap Chinese imports). I was told by the Sunday Times economic correspondent that I was nuts.

    I expected a crash in 2006, and warned again, to be told by the Sunday Times that I was doubly nuts. Everything was fine, and the stock market would hit 8,000 in the next two years, and to put my money in it (I took my money out).

    The wheels came of the economy in 2008.

    .

  74. Jonathan Grove says:

    Well personally I’m perfectly happy to accept (unlike some diehards) that the ozone depletion predicted in 1974 by Molina and Rowland had turned out to be worse than anticipated by the mid 1980s, and that the Montreal Protocol was a reasonable response to the problem.

  75. Jonathon Grove:

    Please explain “the problem” posed by the mis-named “ozone hole”.

    Richard

  76. dp says:

    Rap music. Still here and sounds as good as it ever did.

  77. steve says:

    the Eurozone was widely predicted to be a disaster. As a German banker once remarked – “The Euro is a bad idea who’s time has come!”

  78. TomR,Worc,MA,USA says:

    I’m skeptical of victory unless Dogbert/”The Deputy of Common Sense” is on board. If he is, then not only am I confident of victory, I am confident the alarmists will be mocked mercilessly.

  79. Roger Sowell says:

    Disasters, we saw coming and warned about?

    Yes, nuclear power plants. Three major disasters in less than 50 years. Each one, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, would not have happened if the warnings NOT to build these things had been heeded.

    With more reactors being built, in more countries with less than top-notch technical ability, more nuclear disasters are inevitable.

    Future generations, living with radioactive dead zones and horrible radiation effects on living tissue, will roundly curse our generation. And, with excellent reason.

    “Mommy, they had plenty of coal and natural gas, so why did they build deadly nuclear power plants? What did I ever do to them?”

  80. Louis says:

    We have had much more than ten years warning about the slow-moving disaster outlined below. It is not a “natural” disaster, but it is just as real. We are already seeing its effects in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, etc. With high debt, Obamacare, and the expanded welfare state, we are also beginning to see it in the United States. Yet we who live in democracies around the world have chosen to ignore the warning and dive head-first into it.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. — Attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler

  81. Steve says:

    1984

  82. M Courtney says:

    Martin A says: April 20, 2013 at 5:32 am “Iraq war.
    Huge demonstrations against, so was seen coming. 100,000+ dead.”

    Good example, but it fails the 10 years warning criterion.
    All mankind’s failures have “failed” the 10 years criterion. As they have been political failures which have a reaction period of the same order of magnitude as the original failure (a political failure). The reaction being a political act, as well.

    Strangely, this shows that politics is a good thing, in the long term. It counters all other failures (apparently).

  83. steinarmidtskogen says:

    During human history many civilisations have existed that at one point have seemed too powerful to ever vanish, yet they did slowly and utterly. Do we really have reasons to believe that it’s different with us? But it might not be because of the slowly approaching disaster that the general public saw, but rather the slowly approaching combined effects of the smaller events that separately are no disasters.

  84. Janice Moore says:

    “Dilbert [handing thick binder of info. to Dogbert]: Here’s the full script of the rest of your life. My supercomputer model predicted it.

    Dogbert: Well, according to this I’ll be kidnapped by evil squirrels and forced to work in their nut mines.

    Dilbert: They get me too.

    Dogbert: I didn’t know that evil squirrels had nut mines.

    Dilbert: It’s probably too late to do anything about it.”

    [The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams at 163 (1996)]

    ***********************************************
    BTW — as of about 10 minutes ago, my 11:44 post was STILL IN MODERATION. @_@

  85. Gunga Din says:

    Ric Werme says:
    April 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I don’t know if the demise of the Passenger Pigeon was predicted, but it certainly could have been. Big game may do better, but that’s a work in progress.

    ===========================================================================
    I remember reading somewhere that we didn’t know (whether “at the time” or “in time”, I don’t recall) that the Passenger Pigeon required huge numbers to reproduce.
    But I also remember some first had accounts from people who witnessed them in action.
    One guy spoke of them feeding in a farmer’s field. They looked like a dark cloud rolling over his crop as the ones at the rear ran out of food and flew ahead of the others where there was still food.
    Another account was of them roosting in an oak tree. They would just pile up on top of each other. Sometimes there were so many on a branch that it broke. The next morning there was 2 to 3 feet of bird dung under the tree. (I wouldn’t want to have to shovel that out of my driveway!)
    If the things weren’t extinct, we may want them to be.

  86. “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons history has to teach.”
    – Aldous Huxley

  87. jdgalt says:

    Adams expressly labels the Dilbert Blog as non-serious and not to be taken out of context. Maybe he means this post, maybe he’s just being provocative, but his disclaimer ought to have been preserved.

  88. Janice Moore says:

    “Adams expressly labels the Dilbert Blog as non-serious …” [jdgalt]

    Adams? SERIOUS? [$:)]#

    Well, in case you are correct, CORRECTION (in obscure place on next-to-the-last page of paper):

    Adams expressly labels the Dilbert Blog as non-serious and not to be taken out of context. We apologize for the mistake. The Editors.

  89. Janice Moore says:

    CORRECTION TO THE CORRECTION POST:

    “Adams? SERIOUS?” should read: “Adams? ‘Non-serious’? SERIOUSLY?”

    (wow, “serious” is starting to look like a word I’ve never seen before! Try it: serious, serious, serious, serious, serious — starting to look like the name for a new planet or something) %/)

  90. ntesdorf says:

    Global Warming is an example of a disaster that Mankind did not have to dodge as it never was real or imminent. Communism is an on-going disaster in a handful of Countries.

  91. Tim Clark says:

    Epidemic obesity.

  92. Jack Kendrick says:

    Hurricane Katrina was not a global disaster but it was well known that New Orleans was highly vulnerable and that its levy system was inadequate. And it was also known that the people in charge of the levies and all other aspects of preparedness were both corrupt and incompetent.

    Stupidly we have rebuilt New Orleans at huge expense and we probably have not done enough to address the possibility that there will be a repeat of Katrina. Arguably …. it is not possible to do enough to prevent a repeat. It is not particularlty smart to build a city below sea level in a subsidence area, flanked by swamps and the country’s largest river.

    This admittedly was not a global disaster but it is a pretty good example of human’s failing to address a known long-term prediction of disaster.

  93. Jonathan Grove says:

    richardscourtney: look it up. It’s not a secret.. Then by all means explain why it was /not/ a problem — if possible without sounding like the kind of person who rejects /any/ evidence that human activity can /ever/ have a negative effect on our surroundings, on principle. After all, healthy scepticism ceases to be scepticism when it is not accompanied by thought. Informed scepticism is not the same as blind cynicism; universally applied, cynicism is merely a faith-based position with nothing to recommend it.

  94. Bill Adams says:

    Public education was predicted to become a swollen, incompetent bureaucracy. It did.

  95. Greg Jackson says:

    Depending on how much calamity you require to reach “global disaster”, the issue is is like the anthropic principle. If we really had one, we wouldn’t be here discussing it.

  96. Jake2 says:

    I wish that Adams had been more skeptical in the last chapter of his book, Dilbert future. It’s got some bizarre stuff in there.

  97. MJ Starke says:

    You would think we would learn, especially after reading “Silent Spring” The Population Bomb” and every other book predicting global disaster, that any problem caused by technology can be solved by technology.

  98. Mark says:

    The global financial and economic collapse that started in 2008 had been predicted for decades, but it still happened, and it’s getting worse.

  99. Lil Fella from OZ says:

    Usually the person who correctly perceives something coming is rarely listened to!

  100. Lady in Red says:

    Yes, Mark. The global financial and economic train wreck was predicted decades in advance by sensible people. The maiden is tied to the tracks. The train’s looming closer and closer. Sadly, no “hero” is able to save her, the time is too short, now.

    And, sadly, much like the absurd “climate scientists” with their absurd computer (science) models predicting the end of the world as we know it, so the absurd “economic scientists” with their own models, assure us no train’s looming; it’s all a silly illusion: nothing to see here. …sigh….
    ….Lady in Red

  101. Justthinkin says:

    Roger Sewell says “Yes, nuclear power plants. Three major disasters in less than 50 years. Each one, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, would not have happened if the warnings NOT to build these things had been heeded.”

    Could you please cite,with links,the exact nomber of people directly killed by either TMI,Chernobyl,or Fukushima??

    Thanks in advance.

  102. A Crooks says:

    What about Gramscian Marxism?

    Antonio Gramsci predicted the end of Western Capitalism and the left have been following his agenda ever since. I think we are nearly there.

    What about Alexis de Tocqueville?

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

    (This quote appears to be attributed to several people in different forms?) He knew what he was talking about when he summed up democracy. Think about Greece Spain Italy, but also think Obama’s (47%) America and Gillard’s Australia. Think national debt and the culture of entitlement:

    I think we are getting closer here too but maybe I’m just a bit premature.

    Maybe you can put Mark Steyn on your list too.

  103. Max Hugoson says:

    We shall see, what we shall see, but US’ $222 TRILLION unfunded liabilities and $85 billion/month FED money printing can’t last much longer…

    DRIVES ME NUTS! Currency, coin or bills is like 1/500th of the economy. The Fed DOES NOT PRINT MONEY. It grinds me into the ground because there are PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE that actual PRINTING OF CURRENCY controls things.

    It is MORE “hazardous” than that…i.e., the money supply is increased by POLICY and COMPUTERS.

    However, money “adjusts” to fit circumstances. The things that count are: 1. Real-estate,
    2. Resources, 3. Energy. Period.

    Thats all!

    Max

  104. Roger Sowell says:

    @Justthinkin on April 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    “Could you please cite,with links,” and blah blah…

    No, I will not.

    Do your own homework!

    If you are a nuclear but, then you have my pity.

  105. John Karajas says:

    How about the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and most of the idiots in Canberra.

  106. McComber Boy says:

    Roger Sowell says:

    Roger,

    We might call your second comment an argument from authority, but it isn’t. You stated the premise so the burden is on you to provide the proof of how bad those accidents were. If you don’t or won’t then it just becomes the argument of a curmudgeon.

    Come on, man. Step up to the plate with some facts so others can take a whack at the piñata.

    pbh

  107. Jonathan Grove:

    Thankyou for your answer to me which you provide at April 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm.

    It confirms my suspicion that you do not know of any “problem” caused by the mis-named ozone hole. This confirmation does not surprise me because nobody has managed to find such a problem.

    However, now reality is destroying the AGW-scare, I think it necessary to stamp-out all promotions of other false scares which may replace it.

    Richard

  108. Martin A says:

    David, UK says:
    April 20, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I don’t think anyone could claim that the general public saw that one coming.

    My dad said he listened, as a young man, to Chamberlain’s speech. His dad (my grandfather) said “Oh oh, theres a war coming”.

  109. Patrick says:

    “Roger Sowell says:

    April 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm”

    Not one single person died as a direct result of radiation from the TMI and Fukushima (Considering the plant survived one of the largest earth quakes in recorded human history AND a tsunami) events. Chernobyl, about 80. In 50 years, that’s a pretty good record for any industry.

  110. Lightrain says:

    Aren’t climate disaster predictions supposed to be forecast before the actual disaster event? Which is always followed by we knew that and its happening exactly as we forecast.

  111. Bruce Cobb says:

    You just need to preface all supposed coming disasters with the phrase “all things being equal”. Of course, they are not. The beauty of the hockey stick was an apparent ability to actually alter past history. Combine that with linear thinking, and you have the greatest you-know-what in history. The mother of all of them, and probably never to be repeated.

  112. DirkH says:

    Historian says:
    April 20, 2013 at 9:13 am
    “Some civilizations can survive massive climatic disasters without collapsing. East Rome coped with the catastropies of 535-545,”

    yes, but got weakened to the point where the Umayads could conquer most of it some time later.

    ” and Renaissance Italy thrived in the Little Ice Age. This is a particularly impressive feat, since at the same time the Black Death caused Italian cities population losses of over 50%.”

    They had a business model and a rich customer.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade

  113. rgbatduke says:

    The clock is ticking on a devastating asteroid impact, but public awareness is only a couple of years old and it hasn’t happened quite yet. Put this in the check back later bin.

    You mean that movies such as Armageddon or Deep Impact — (both over 15 years old at this point) or science fiction novels like Footfall or Lucifer’s Hammer (1978!) are only a couple of years old? Science fiction writers have been all over this concept for decades. The general public has been at least moderately aware of it since Alverez and his son discovered strong evidence that the Cretaceous exinction event was caused by, or at least associated with, a massive asteroid-scale impact (a BIG rock, not a small one). There is at this point even a specific crater with a 110 mile diameter associated with the event. Every person who ever watched “Walking with Dinosaurs” (1999) — which includes nearly every person who was a child or had a child younger than 15 over the last 14 years — has watched as the momma T Rex and her poor baby are blown to dust by the pyroclastic flow from the event.

    Then there are the other umpty shows on BBC, the discovery channel, the science channel, even the history channel. In the US or Europe, one has to have lived in a cave for over a decade or (as noted above) simply be a bit dull, stupid, and disconnected from the flow of information not to know that asteroid falls can cause mass extinctions, have happened before, and will happen again.

    Fortunately, they are rare. The Cretaceous event was 60 million years ago. Asteroid events large enough to affect world ecology appear to be roughly order of 100 million year occurrences and were likely more common early on in the Earth’s history than they are now. Events like Tunguska or the megaton-scale meteor that blew up over Russia earlier this year are a lot more common, perhaps decadal or century scale. And one expects a wide range in between, with more smaller and fewer bigger, all as probabilities.

    These are, then, “Black Swan” events (a la Taleb). Very rare — downright unlikely, in fact — but enormously expensive if/when they occur.

    They are far from our biggest risk of extinction or massive, globe spanning death. If you want risk factors there, they are probably something like:

    a) Nuclear/biological war. This (sadly) is still probably likely with a probability of something like 1% in any given year. Who would be surprised if North Korea launched a nuke or more at South Korea, or Japan, or tried to reach the US? Who would be surprised if terrorists got a bomb and nuked Manhattan? Who would be surprised if Iran built a bomb and used it on Israel, if Pakistan (that has the bomb) used it on India or Israel? The risk is greatly diminished compared to the cold war peak, but it is still there. A completely foreseeable “catastrophe” for decades now, but one that no amount of technology can ameliorate.

    b) The coming Pandemic. Nearly all of the physicians and epidemiologists I know are waiting for the pandemic shoe to drop. We are living at a critical time. Every year our list of effective antibiotics shrinks as antibiotic abuse and the evolution of resistance among the worst infections they are used on proceeds. The population of the Earth increases, essentially cranking up a “coupling constant” associated with a set of coupled ordinary differential equations (that I’ve actually studied and run a simulation on with my wife, back when she was an infectious disease fellow) that regulates “R”, the probability of an infected person transmitting the disease during the time they are infectious. Viruses constantly evolve — both known viruses such as flu and rare/unknown viruses or viruses that move over from animal reservoirs. One day one of these bugs WILL mutate into a form that has just the wrong characteristics — R > 1 (so the disease grows exponentially), infectious for a week or more before it becomes symptomatic, high lethal once it becomes symptomatic, and untreatable.

    Note well that one needs all of these things. Ebola is extremely infectious and lethal and untreatable, but it has a very short window to be passed on before you are symptomatic, so it is self-limiting. Variations of the flu are infectious, easily transmitted, and only partially treatable, but are relatively rarely lethal. Flu killed almost 20 million people a century ago in a single global pandemic — that one could not be foreseen, but the next one is has already been foreseen, and while we aren’t “helpless to prevent it”, all we can really do is not prevent it but reduce the probability of its occurrence. And then there is the black swan event here — the evolution of a catastrophic pandemic out of an animal reservoir, a bug that we have no resistance at all to and have no technical defense against. Imagine HIV, only transmitted by mosquitoes. Imagine a resurgence of pneumonic form antibiotic resistant plague. Imagine smallpox unleashed from “secret” military stores into a world where we stopped innoculating everybody for it decades ago, so that 25% of everybody under the age of 20 or 30 gets the disease and 20% of them die.

    c) Volcanoes. If you’ve never heard of Tambora, you might read the wikipedia entry on it. Everybody has heard of Krakatoa (its much younger, weaker, cousin) and Mount St. Helens (hardly in the running as these things go) and Vesuvius and many others. Also celebrated in singularly bad disaster movies, there is an ongoing probability order of or a bit less than 1% of a catastrophe associated with a volcano large enough to be global in its effects (Tambora affected global climate for years, even decades afterwards, Krakatoa for years, Mount Pinatubo (again, a teeny one as these things go) for a year or two. Volcanic events cannot specifically be foreseen site by site, but at the same time we are quite certain that given centuries for them to happen in happen they will.

    Note well that even gigaton of TNT scale Tambora is far from the worst that the Earth is capable of here. If Yellowstone should wake up again as a thousand year supervolcano, it could singlehandedly trigger an instant ice age and kill 2/3 of the world’s population in a mix of starvation and global war as the northern nations look south for food as the world’s breadbaskets ice up — Siberia, Canada and the Northern US, China — and as countries like India with enormous populations suffer from killing frosts and failure of the monsoon as the rain they expect falls as northern ice and snow. Yellowstone would have other dire consequences — think of it as an asteroid collision that just keeps happening — most of them foreseeable and indeed foreseen, but there is damn all we can do about it if it happens. Or if a similar supervolcano opens up somewhere else. See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_Traps. More than capable of causing global extinction events and of lasting for a million years (as did this event). Fortunately, these appear to be billion year events.

    Yellowstone, however, is not that rare:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera

    142 massive eruption events over the last 17 million years is one every 100,000 years or so, on average. There have been major but not supervolcanic events twice over the last 200,000 years, the last one some 70,000 years ago, with a “hiccup” of sorts that left a 5 km crater 13,000 years ago. If it started to crank up, I’m guessing that we would be able to tell a decade or more before it went critical and exploded into SUPERvolcanic activity, although a plain old eruption could occur with at most months of notice. I don’t know what we could do about it, though. These things are associated with forces and energy accumulations utterly beyond our control. Even if we attempted to use thermonuclear devices to release energy less catastrophically, a ten or hundred year non-explosive eruption is EXPECTED from magma upwellings of this sort of scale, and would be truly catastrophic.

    Asteroids and gamma ray bursts are way down the list, as you can see. If Betelgeuse explodes (rather, exploded a few hundred years ago so that the supernova shockwave is about to reach us), it is probably too far away to sterilize the Earth but it might affect the Earth “catastrophically” — or not. Asteroids we MIGHT be able to see and deal with.

    There are, however, other “black swans” out there. We have no idea what caused e.g. the Ordovician-Silurian transition from a hot Earth with enormously high CO_2 levels — levels over 10 times the present concentration throughout the ice age itself — into an ice age lasting millions of years. Over the last 50 million years BEFORE the current Pliestocene ice age that started 3 million years ago there have been several bursts of completely inexplicable ice age — single glaciations lasting for hundreds of thousands of years or longer. A few exotic theories that might explain them include stuff like the sun itself wandering into neighborhoods of more or less interstellar dust, very long term chaotic variability in solar output (“chuffing” in its nuclear furnace as it were), possibly associated with new physics. We don’t know what dark matter or dark energy are, but they appear to be distributed throughout galaxies and in between. Does this stuff ever interact with normal matter outside of through gravitation? If so, can it affect climate?

    As you can see, a far better game than Scott Adams slow catastrophes that haven’t happened one is to meditate upon the next slow catastrophe that could, and eventually will, happen.

    Oh, I forgot in my previous list (and so did everyone else, it appears):

    4) The Great Depression. Oh, boy was that one foreseeable and avoidable. And one of the direct “causes” of World War II and the current shape of the political world. If it hadn’t happened, who knows where we would be today?

    rgb

  114. Allan MacRae says:

    Jimbo says: April 20, 2013 at 9:26 am
    Rising UK excess winter deaths. It has been a disaster and we saw this coming 3 years ago with higher energy prices to tackle global warming climate change. :-(

    Hello Jimbo,

    We predicted most of this debacle more than a decade ago. See below, note especially points 1, 8 and 9.

    Regards, Allan

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/16/onset-of-the-next-glaciation/#comment-1079770

    [excerpts]

    We predicted global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article written in 2002. I think there is a reasonable probability that this cooling will be severe enough to affect the grain harvest. Urgent study of this question is appropriate, but the climate science community is so contaminated by warmist hysteria that it is apparently incapable of objective analysis.

    A full Ice Age is not required to hurt the developed world. More moderate global cooling could suffice.

    Modern Western society is complex, so moderate global cooling, together with a crippling of our food and energy systems through green-energy nonsense, could have devastating effects. (Add a collapse of major global currencies due to excessive money-printing by central banks in the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.)

    Is this just more alarmist nonsense? Perhaps, but we have a strong predictive track record, unlike the warmists who have none.

    __________________

    Here are some background notes:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/23/ar5-climate-forecasts-what-to-believe/#comment-1064602

    [excerpts]

    Prediction Number 9
    In a separate article in the Calgary Herald, also published in 2002, I (we) predicted imminent global cooling, starting by 2020 to 2030. This prediction is still looking good, since there has been no net global warming for about a decade, and solar activity has crashed. If this cooling proves to be severe, humanity will be woefully unprepared and starvation could result.
    This possibility (probability) concerns me.

    8 Successful Predictions from 2002 (these all happened in those European countries that fully embraced global warming mania):

    See article at
    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.

    1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.

    2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.

    3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.

    4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.

    5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.

    6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.

    7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

    [end of excerpts]

  115. ferdberple says:

    Roger Sowell says:
    April 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm
    If you are a nuclear but, then you have my pity.
    =========
    how about cars? they kill more people every day.
    how about bathtubs? most dangerous item in a house. more deadly than a handgun, yet no license is required to own or operate a bathtub.

    give up driving and bathing to save lives.

  116. _Jim says:

    rgbatduke says April 21, 2013 at 7:47 am

    4) The Great Depression. Oh, boy was that one foreseeable and avoidable. …

    rgb

    Oh, you mean the GREAT GOVT Caused Depression that preceded WW2. Kinda like we’re seeing now .. if you LOOK CLOSELY you should gain some INSIGHTS as to how these things work, how they build (or built) up. Whose “brain trust” of eggheads was it that advised the chief exec at the time?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_Trust#Roosevelt.27s_.22Brains_Trust.22

    Franklin Roosevelt’s speechwriter and legal counsel Samuel Rosenman suggested having an academic team to advise Roosevelt in March 1932.

    This concept was perhaps based on The Inquiry, a group of academic advisors President Woodrow Wilson formed in 1917 to prepare for the peace negotiations following World War I.

    The core of the first Roosevelt brain trust consisted of a group of Columbia law professors (Moley, Tugwell, and Berle). These men played a key role in shaping the policies of the First New Deal (1933). Although they never met together as a group, they each had Roosevelt’s ear. Many newspaper editorials and editorial cartoons ridiculed them as impractical idealists.

    Quoting myself earlier in this post: “if you LOOK CLOSELY you should gain some INSIGHTS as to how these things work, how they build (or built) up” … well, maybe not. Not everyone can read the ‘tea leaves’ and come away with the ‘gist’ of what happened/is happening …

    .

  117. _Jim says:

    Roger Sowell says April 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    With more reactors being built, in more countries with less than top-notch technical ability, more nuclear disasters are inevitable.

    Future generations, living with radioactive dead zones and horrible radiation effects on living tissue,

    AS IF K40 hasn’t had its impact on humanity (and ALL things biological for that matter!)

    (Remember the question: “What is a Banana Equivalent Dose?”)

    Not to mention the perennial affect of various ‘cosmic rays’ that make their way down through the atmosphere (WHO HERE has not seen ‘cloud chamber’ demonstrations and seen the accounts of experiments at high altitudes?)

    Yes, Virginia, there *is* such a thing as “naturally originating radiation”.

    There are even natural nuclear reactors, e.g. “The Oklo Reactor” – Oklo’s Natural Fission Reactors

    Nuclear reactions and life on earth – the early formative ‘years':

    Could Natural Nuclear Reactors Have Boosted Life on This and Other Planets?

    Fission reactors may have been burning for billions of years

    .

  118. Hoser says:

    SAMURAI says:
    April 20, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Debt crisis
    The simple answer is called DEFAULT. That means people and institutions who lent money won’t get paid. There is such a thing as risk, after all. But the reality is much more complicated.

    Then how did this all come about?

    Otter says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Communism.

    Not exactly. There were and are dreamers who believe tales of eternal joy living in the collective. Many have been working madly to craft their dream by trying to simultaneously make the dream real (sharing the wealth) and wrecking the system (destroying the wealth). And what we are getting isn’t even socialism, where the state owns the means of production. It is fascism, where the state orders the private sector to produce what the state requires. Regulations, laws, and taxes produce the benefit on the one hand of crushing competition, and on the other a real treat of having government crush your existing business. These forces drive companies to fall into line and do what government tell them to do.

    How do we avoid the true slow disaster of giving up sovereignty and freedom?
    Another Adams, Douglas has the answer. Don’t Panic.

    When they say we have to do X, we ask why? Some powerful people want to get paid. Forget it. They bet wrong. Baby boomers, you had a great run, but the promises were a lie. Pensions won’t last, and savings will be robbed by inflation. The power-elite created the mess on purpose to trap us.

    Banks? Get out now (keep your account, but only maintain a small balance). Pay off your debts, or default and settle. Abandon credit at all costs. Convert cash to real assets, but be careful. Gold? Who is going to trade that? Even silver – $30 of silver per Morgan Dollar. How many can you keep? When they are gone, they’re gone.

    Consider creating a business that functions in the underground economy. Cash and barter only. I hope doctors figure that out soon. There is a shadow economy now, and it will likely grow. Of course when it gets big enough, you’ll see government try to crack down hard on it, albeit with difficulty. They’ve already started with food. New laws and regulations technically could ban farmers’ markets, restricting offering any food for sale or even sharing food we produce without testing for pathogens first. You can still grow food in gardens, at least for now. Although, who knows how to grow food anymore? Certainly not the 48 million people with EBT cards (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-11/foodstamp-recipients-hit-record-alongside-record-dow-jones-and-record-debt-20-eligib). A limiting factor will be enforcement. You have to be discovered first. Drones? Expect a few highly publicized scary crack-downs. However, if people demand something, they’ll get it. They probably want food more than their cannabis.

    NEVER give up your guns. Hide them, say they were stolen if you have to. Get several thousand rounds of ammunition for each weapon. When the bad times come, what else can you do to protect what you have? Decide what you can defend. Plan. Band together with friends so you can protect each other. (Even though it seems very unlikely now, it could get really bad really fast.)

    If the disaster happens
    (Five years ago, I never thought it would make sense to actually try to think this through as having any chance at all – it’s still a remote possibility, but the chance is no longer zero).

    Scenario A. Massive riots, police can’t handle it, not even National Guard.
    That’s why you need your guns. Hope you stashed food somewhere that won’t easily be found or burned. Your biggest problem will be water. Hope you have like-minded friends.

    Scenario B. People do panic, and want more government to ‘save’ them. Now a new aggressive system begins to crush the population.
    You can’t fight government gone insane. If you get noticed, they will crush you and grind you up. Then do whatever you can to survive. Pretend to go along if you have to. It will take roughly 3 generations for the new system to crash. Do what you need to do for your grandchildren.

    Unless the authorities begin rounding up millions of people and killing them (including slowly in gulags), nonviolent resistance is the answer. Think of ways around the system. There is no bureaucracy big enough to monitor and control everyone in every aspect of life. And you might think of subtle ways to disable the system too (incompetence is probably the best). Just don’t get noticed. Work your way up in the system to undermine it.

    Scenario C. War. Yikes. No answer for that. It is the typical step taken to distract from national government incompetence. The young people are going to have the worst time of it. It seems unlikely the power elite actually want to destroy the means of production. Government will be allowed to do almost anything to support the war effort, and people will have to ‘sacrifice’. And America will lose (planned ahead of time – why else move manufacturing overseas to support your most likely future enemy). This option may be taken to eliminate the Constitution.

    Back to the Debt Crisis.
    Are we going to give up our freedom to pay back anyone? Are we going to let politicians sell us out using that excuse? We shouldn’t. Ordinarily, the ballot is the best control over the politician. However, our system is extremely distorted (deliberately) with millions of people dependent on government services. They will vote to support the current regime, because they have no other clear alternative. “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money”, is incorrectly attributed to de Tocqville (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alexis_de_Tocqueville). The likely original quote may be better,

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.” (ibid., Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman, 9 December 1951)

    The size of government must be reduced to the point it no longer competes with the people, or the private sector. If the debt crisis forces a contraction of government, then we should welcome it. On the other hand, the crisis may lead to a loss of freedom, or war. How we deal with the crisis is important. It may require non-democratic methods to preserve our freedom given a majority who will never vote to reduce their “benefits”. Does that mean a second Revolution? A second Civil War? We must do whatever we can to avoid such disasters. An Atlas Shrugged-inspired strike by the producers would be better.

    Preferably, there would be a clearly articulated and compelling plan to get us out of our economic troubles. Unfortunately, our best options have been demonized, and these relate to inexpensive reliable energy resources. Climate change is the main tool used to scare the public. Unless the public can understand the stark choices before us, and realize their freedom and possibly their lives depend on getting past their fears of technology, we will be looking at nothing but bad options. That is why fora like WUWT are so important.

    In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden.
    R.W. Reagan

  119. Hoser says:

    Ack! What happened to the close blockquote?

  120. David L. Hagen says:

    26 False Alarms

    The validity of the manmade global warming alarm requires the support of scientific forecasts of (1) a substantive long-term rise in global mean temperatures in the absence of regulations, (2) serious net harmful effects due to global warming, and (3) cost-effective regulations that would produce net beneficial effects versus alternatives such as doing nothing. Without scientific forecasts for all three aspects of the alarm, there is no scientific basis to enact regulations. In effect, it is a three-legged stool. Despite repeated appeals to global warming alarmists, we have been unable to find scientific forecasts for any of the three legs.
    . . .we have, to date, identified 26 historical alarmist movements. None of the forecasts for the analogous alarms proved correct. In the 25 alarms that called for government intervention, the government impost regulations in 23. None of the 23 interventions was effective and harm was caused by 20 of them.

    J. Scott Armstrong, Kesten C. Green & Willie Soon Research to date on Manmade Global Warming Alarm (2011)
    Testimony to Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Committee on Science, Space and Technology–March 31, 2011

  121. David L. Hagen says:

    Scott, Green & Soon’s False Alarm List from Research to date on Manmade Global Warming Alarm (2011)

    Exhibit 5: Analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming
    (Thumbnail descriptions available for italicized analogies)
    Analogy Year
    1 Population growth and famine (Malthus) 1798
    2 Timber famine economic threat 1865
    3 Uncontrolled reproduction and degeneration (Eugenics) 1883
    4 Lead in petrol and brain and organ damage 1928
    5 Soil erosion agricultural production threat 1934
    6 Asbestos and lung disease 1939
    7 Fluoride in drinking water health effects 1945
    8 DDT and cancer 1962
    9 Population growth and famine (Ehrlich) 1968
    10 Global cooling; through to 1975 1970
    11 Supersonic airliners, the ozone hole, and skin cancer, etc. 1970
    12 Environmental tobacco smoke health effects 1971
    13 Population growth and famine (Meadows)1972
    14 Industrial production and acid rain 1974
    15 Organophosphate pesticide poisoning 1976
    16 Electrical wiring and cancer, etc. 1979
    17 CFCs, the ozone hole, and skin cancer, etc. 1985
    18 Listeria in cheese 1985
    19 Radon in homes and lung cancer 1985
    20 Salmonella in eggs 1988
    21 Environmental toxins and breast cancer 1990
    22 Mad cow disease (BSE) 1996
    23 Dioxin in Belgian poultry 1999
    24 Mercury in fish effect on nervous system development 2004
    25 Mercury in childhood inoculations and autism 2005
    26 Cell phone towers and cancer, etc. 2008

    See their methodology at Public Policy Forecasting

  122. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    Leo Geiger says on April 20, 2013 at 5:38 am:
    “The question asked about disasters seen coming. That assumes people recognized the problem they faced. If some people claim there isn’t a problem, they have enough influence to prevent anything getting done, but they are wrong and there actually *is* a big problem, does that count as “seen coming”?

    That scenario has played out with fish stocks. The inshore Atlantic cod fisherman knew what was coming, but false arguments about economics won (like large factory trawlers), wiping out what could have been a sustainable fishery.”

    The most likely cause of the cod fishery collapse was about 6.5 million seals gobbling up about 13 billion pounds of sea food per year. The Europeans started the seal hunt protests because they knew the seals would eventually destroy the fishery and thus keep cheap Canadian fish out of their markets.

  123. Steve in SC says:

    With apologies to the Kingston Trio

    “They’re rioting in Africa
    They’re starving in Spain
    There’s hurricanes in Florida
    and Texas needs rain

    The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
    The French hate the Germans The Germans hate the Poles
    Italians hate Yugoslavs South Africans hate the Dutch
    And I don’t like anybody very much

    But we can be tranquil and thankful And proud
    for man’s been endowed With a mushroom shaped cloud

    And we know for certain that Some lovely day
    someone will set the spark off
    And we will all be blown away

    They’re rioting in Africa
    There’s strife in Iran
    What nature doesn’t do to us
    will be done by our fellow man”

  124. redc1c4 says:

    they told me that if i voted for Mitt Romney, the economy would tank and the US would be a laughingstock on the world stage.

    i voted for hm anyway, and, sure enough, the economy is getting worse, and our foreign policy is idiotic.

  125. John Bonfield says:

    AIDs was foreseeable, as the first case was discovered in the 1960s.
    The rise of Islamic militancy was foreseeable.

    On a more personal note, the decision to plant an acacia tree so close to my pool a decade ago was ill advised, and I am now living with the disaster of many, many acacia seeds clogging my pool filter.

  126. David L. Hagen says:

    Scott Adams misunderstands –

    The world was supposed to run out of oil by now

    “peak oil” does NOT mean RUN OUT, but reach the MAXIMUM PRODUCTION RATE
    In 1956, M. King Hubbert predicted the US 48 states production would peak around 1970. He was right within a year.
    James Hamilton documents how the crude oil production of each US State/region has peaked except for North Dakota/Montana. See:

    Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth. This paper explores details behind the phenomenal increase in global crude oil production over the last century and a half and the implications if that trend should be reversed. I document that a key feature of the growth in production has been exploitation of new geographic areas rather than application of better technology to existing sources, and suggest that the end of that era could come soon. The economic dislocations that historically followed temporary oil supply disruptions are reviewed, and the possible implications of that experience for what the transition era could look like are explored.

    The economic chaos since 2005 was triggered by the rate of increase in global crude oil production plateauing with a tenfold increase in price over 1998.
    Replacing the current rate of oil depletion of about 4%/year and providing for growth is our critical challenge for this coming generation.

  127. Jon says:

    The baby boomers/ hippies since 1968 and way to todays direct/indirect political power and their attempt to make a better world?

  128. Joe Ryan says:

    Global Warming Alarmism. I saw that coming from about 1985 and I just couldn’t stop it.

  129. Allan MacRae says:

    Joe Ryan says: April 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm
    Global Warming Alarmism. I saw that coming from about 1985 and I just couldn’t stop it.

    Hi Joe,

    I too started studying this subject in 1985 – I felt it was part of my job responsibility at that time.

    No wonder I’ve started to lose interest – it’s been 28 years.

    Best, Allan

Comments are closed.