Seven Earth Day predictions that failed spectacularly

Never Trust The Doom-Mongers: Earth Day Predictions That Were All Wrong

EarthDay_Envorinmental_Scares

The Daily Caller, 22 April 2016

Andrew Follett

Environmentalists truly believed and predicted that the planet was doomed during the first Earth Day in 1970, unless drastic actions were taken to save it. Humanity never quite got around to that drastic action, but environmentalists still recall the first Earth Day fondly and hold many of the predictions in high regard.

So this Earth Day, The Daily Caller News Foundation takes a look at predictions made by environmentalists around the original Earth Day in 1970 to see how they’ve held up.

Have any of these dire predictions come true? No, but that hasn’t stopped environmentalists from worrying. From predicting the end of civilization to classic worries about peak oil, here are seven green predictions that were just flat out wrong.

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 or 30 Years.”

Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Three years before his projection, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Wald was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race. He even flew to Moscow at one point to advise the leader of the Soviet Union on environmental policy.

Despite his assistance to a communist government, civilization still exists. The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats has fallen as civilization failed to end by environmental catastrophe.

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving to Death During the Next Ten Years.”

Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared in April 1970 that mass starvation was imminent. His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s Gross Domestic Product per person has immeasurably increased despite increases in population.

Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published “The Population Bomb” with The Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s demise, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.

3: “Population Will Inevitably and Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases in Food Supplies We Make.”

Paul Ehrlich also made the above claim in 1970, shortly before an agricultural revolution that caused the world’s food supply to rapidly increase.

Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future.”

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously … Thirty Years From Now, the Entire World … Will Be in Famine.”

Environmentalists in 1970 truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India.

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions,” Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, said in a 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.”By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

India, where the famines were supposed to begin, recently became one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and food supply per person in the country has drastically increased in recent years. In fact, the number of people in every country listed by Gunter has risen dramatically since 1970.

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have to Wear Gas Masks to Survive Air Pollution.”

Life magazine stated in January 1970 that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half.”

Despite the prediction, air quality has been improving worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution has also sharply declined in industrialized countries. Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas environmentalists are worried about today, is odorless, invisible and harmless to humans in normal amounts.

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless the Parents Hold a Government License.”

David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “[a]ll potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth and the League Of Conservation Voters and much of the modern environmental movement.

Brower believed that most environmental problems were ultimately attributable to new technology that allowed humans to pass natural limits on population size. He famously stated before his death in 2000 that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent” and repeatedly advocated for mandatory birth control.

Today, the only major government to ever get close to his vision has been China, which ended its one-child policy last October.

7: “By the Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil.”

On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

Numerous academics like Watt predicted that American oil production peaked in 1970 and would gradually decline, likely causing a global economic meltdown. However, the successful application of massive hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, caused American oil production to come roaring back and there is currently too much oil on the market.

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972 and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than in 2008 thanks to fracking.

Furthermore, the U.S. now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

Via Benny Peiser. (H/T, Ronald Bailey at Reason and Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute).

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804hokie

The green hoax is a get rich quick scheme

TG

Coming soon bigger and better – Peak madness 2.

Timothy W. Johnson

agree.

The problem is there’s no peak madness – these nuts can keep on getting crazier and crazier without limit.

Santa Baby

The Western World is for some not logical, because it does not support Marxism. They dressed up as environmentalists and have since preached doomsdays just around the next corner.

MarkW

For many it’s a power over others scheme.
Though typically power over others also results in more money to those in power.

Manfred

They’re passing their eco-rational tipping point, where absolute power corrupts absolutely.

JTLiuzza

Absolutely, Mark. All of the green malarkey is ultimately to pave the way for bigger and bigger government; a power grab. It explains why the lunatics who make these crazy predictions are not only not discredited when it becomes obvious to all that they were completely wrong, they are lionized and promoted. Currently Paul Ehrlich, who to my knowledge hasn’t been correct about anything, ever, in his field, is a professor of “population studies” at none other than Stanford U. Pretty nice gig for someone who has demonstrated he doesn’t know squat about population studies.

Green is the new Red!

slobotnavich

You hit that right on the head. Environmentalism is the rebirth of Marxism.

Technically, they are watermelons. Green on the outside, red on the inside. And seedy.

afonzarelli

“Green is the new Red!”
IPCCCP?

Dave

Which is why the eco-freaks have since the 1980s been dubbed “watermelons” — green on the outside, red on the inside.

Joe Buchanan

Also, green is the old Reds.

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years.” They were right about one thing. Maybe a little early and for the wrong reason but it’s slowly falling apart day by day.

Paul Courtney

Joe: Bet Erlich is pretty pissed, he spent all these years, resources, effort predicting the fall of civ., even trying his best to bring it down, yet he has failed, only to see it being done by a few dozen guys in dresses demanding to use the ladies’ room.

TG

Joe. I’ve felt that for some time, it’s getting harder to stay optimistic.

No, it’s a fund a global government scheme, who we’re supposed to turn to when whatever global crisis they’re about to initiate.

No, it’s a scheme to fund a global government, while diminishing western civilizations through unfair global carbon taxes meant to shut down energy.

Not as much as it is very evil way to hold populations in fear and thereby control their lives.

Worse than a get rich quick scheme, its a redistribution of wealth scheme.

Stephen

for progressives and communists. (democrats)

Pip

What’s the difference between the two?

Kafir1911

Yep, good old Al Gore and his minions have made millions from the gullibility of the Democrat Plantation minions. They snicker all the way to their gold vaults.

Greg

The Sierra Club has killed millions via poverty caused by idiot politicians following their policies. Right now the PM of Canada is a puppet of a former Sierra Club leader, (G. Butts) the man who designed Ontario’s disastrous Green Energy plan that has resulted in over 500,000 lost jobs.

CaligulaJones

“Ontario’s disastrous Green Energy plan that has resulted in over 500,000 lost jobs.”
Also: our rates are going up because we didn’t use enough power during a mild winter…

Matt Bergin

I am almost unable to speak because I am so angry about this issue. Our premiere of Ontario better hope I don’t see her on the street because I will give her a giant earful if I do and I might not be polite.
Matt

tony

Hey hoser, I’m with you. Oh, Canada! With Pride! Unfortunately, those frenchies in ottowa (and all of Quebec) are bent on destroying a perfectly well positioned (geographically and, more importantly, unencumbered by the global corrupt philosophy that we’re entrenched in) country that is CA. Your beautiful nation with 35 million people who, in my experience, are good natured, interesting and laid back, humorous and naturally pleasant, have been duped into Western Euro Socialism and you’ve become addicted to the same failures that will ultimately bring you down. There’s no going back and we’ll watch each other slide down the same failure route together, so it seems.
Negative, I know, but it’s a sad state of affairs. CA’s political and moral path would seem less complicated and easier to adjust than the US, with our 350 million desperate and divided factions of confused and racially charged people. Either way, please show your strength through world hockey that gives us all hope that you’re still the land of Wayne Gretzky, LaPointe, Hull, Mikita, ……..Love you guys and I wish you the best!

blahblahblah

Indeed, why stop now. Seems nothing succeeds quite like absolute failure. Especially with the average cow… I mean person….

Dan

Average sheep?

Sparks

Over yonder?

The environmentalist doom sayers have learned a lesson. Their predictions now cover 100 years! No more predictions that only cover 30-40 years that people remember.

jd

So true

BFL

“Population Will Inevitably and Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases in Food Supplies We Make.”
Earlich might have been correct if the 1970’s had resulted in the dread ice age that every one was looking forward to…

getitright

A doubling of CO2 to 800ppm and crop yields are through the roof. This, by the way, would benefit even subsistence crop farmers at any location in the world.

Plus no more predictions of an environmental catastrophe that’s supposed to happen during the lifetime of the people they’re trying to fleece.

RobW

In my best Maxwell Smart voice… “Missed it by that much”

Justa Guynamedjoe

Dang! I hate it when the world ends and I miss it! Happens every time, too. EVERY…SINGLE…TIME!!!

JP

I know, right?

Patrick (in & from Newport News Va)

Wait…what…..?
I missed the EOTWAWKI again ???
(End of the world as we know it)

Olaf Koenders

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.. 😉

Exactly. I was promised a Malthusian apocalypse, and damnit, I demand a Malthusian apocalypse!!

eggmann

The very people who believe this crap are the ones flooding out countries with the unwashed, uneducated masses of ‘refugees’ and ‘undocumented citizens’. They’re the very ones trying to make the Malthusian Apocalypse come true!

John Harmsworth

You might have to settle for a Marxist apocalypse

I needed that one. Thanks!

best damn post on this thing

Morris Minor

These people have been unhinged for over 40 years… and counting.

Olaf Koenders

Not just unhinged, but flailing about in their predicted increase in hurricanes and sharknadoes..

Joe E in the IE

And don’t forget:
All seven Great Lakes becoming burning chemical pits of unquenchable fire that will cover the Earth in smoke, cutting off sunlight and plunging the planet into one last lethal Ice Age.
Global thermonuclear war in the year 2000 over dwindling food and fresh water supplies.
You’re not trying hard enough, humanity!

More scares that never happened:
• Polar bears becoming extinct
• Runaway global warming
• Sea level rise accelerating
• Polar ice will disappear
• Manhattan, Florida, and Tuvalu submerged
• Increasing hurricanes and severe weather events
NONE of those predictions ever came true. Not one of them. They were all wrong.
As Einstein, Feynman, Popper, Langmuir and other famous scientists pointed out: If your ‘theory’ is contradicted by observtion, your ‘theory’ is WRONG.
As Feynman said, “That’s all there is to it.”

Simon

DB
You really do shoot yourself in the foot sometimes don’t you.

Simon,
When you’ve got nothin’, you can always do a mindless drive-by comment like that.
It’s really all you’ve got: Nothin’.

Sea level rise accelerating? Nope. Make that sea level rise. period. They have not risen at all. Nice list.

Hey! Quit trying to interject science into our religion!

Hi! I just wanted to address some of the claims that you pointed out and just provide some information for consideration about why these things are happening, and if they are not how they should not be considered as an indicator that climate change is not a reality and impending issue that needs to be addressed. A common misconception about these predictions is that people believe that someone is predicting this will definitely happen. However they often mean that under the best scientific knowledge, if humans continue behaving and consuming the way that they are, these predictions will come to fruition.
“Polar Bears Becoming Extinct”
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (commonly referred to as the WWF or World Wildlife Fund), in 1973 the US government classified the Polar Bear as an Endangered Species (Under the ESA act). Then in 2005, their status was changed from ‘least concern’ to vulnerable’, demonstrating that their populations have been steadily declining. Now today, 3 populations of Polar bears are in decline still, but due to incredible work from various foreign powers 1 population is increasing and 6 populations are now stable. This demonstrates my earlier point about how due to changes in legislature, polar bear populations are beginning to stabilize and humans are rectifying the damage they made to this species.
“Runaway Global Warming”
For arguments sake, I am going to assume that you meant increasing temperatures. According to NASA’s temperature analysis, the global temperature of the earth has increased by about .8 degrees Celsius since 1880. At the current point where we are now, our current lifestyles are not possible if the temperature increases 2 degrees Celsius. While this may not seem like a high amount, considering the age of the earth helps to put this into perspective. The earth is billions of years old and temperatures have naturally risen and fallen throughout that time period. However, the rise since 1880 is unprecedented and dangerous. Two-thirds of this global warming has happened since 1975. These temperature rises are not natural and cannot and should not be justified as a natural occurrence. These dates coincidences with the industrial revolution and energy usage in the MEDCs of the world demonstrates that the only possible explanation for this rise is human caused. If we continue to rise in temperature at the rate that we are rising, the results could be disastrous. For example, a one to two degree drop in temperature caused the Little Ice Age. A mere five degrees buried North America under Ice for 20,000 years. To look at this in the context of warming, a five degree rise in global temperature was enough to melt 20,000 year old ice. This is important and this is human caused and we need to be acknowledging this and addressing this. 99% of scientist agree that global temperature rise is real, dangerous, and human caused. The only people debating this are those not of scientific backgrounds such as politicians, media personal, economists, and others.
Your next three points are fairly connected so I am going to address them all at once (also because this post is getting rather lengthy). “Sea level rise accelerating”, “Polar ice will disappear”, “Manhattan, Florida and Tuvalu submerged”.
Sea level rise is happening because of two things. There is being added water from the land ice that is currently melting due to temperature changes but also because of a phenomenon that any elementary science class could explain, yet it is often overlooked. As water is warmed, it expands. Sea level is currently rising at a rate of change of 3.42 mm per year, and while that may not seem like a lot, my earlier points should continue to explain how the smallest fluctuations in the earth affect us dramatically. This rate is continuously rising and it is posing a large threat. You are entirely correct in stating that “Manhattan, Florida, and Tuvalu submerged” has not happened. However small island nations such as the Solomon Islands, while not completely submerged are quickly losing landmass and are experiencing more damaging storms. In August of 2015 a town on the Solomon Islands relocated because of the dangerous sea level rises. This is real. This is happening. We cannot sit ideally by and watch these sea levels continue to affect so many communities of people due to our wrong actions.
On to the polar ice caps. Yes they are melting. However in some places they are growing. Surely this means that climate change cannot be real? Wrong. This just serves to demonstrate the reality of climate change and how much it is really changing the makeup of our planet.
“Increasing hurricanes and severe weather events”
All you need to do is to watch the news and witness the unusual events in Texas, think back to Super Storm Sandy, and think about the countless extreme floods that we have become immune to because they are so prevalent in our media to realize how this is happening. Human induced climate changed has increased high temperatures heavy downpours, severe floods and droughts, and this is just in the US. We are causing climate change, and it is our responsibility to address this and to fix this.
Thank you for reading my response and I respectfully ask that all replies to this are attacks on the content of this and not the character of the author. Climate change is caused by humans and it is affecting our beautiful planet that we have a responsibility to care for. Please consider this information and think about ways that you can reduce the negative impact that you have on the climate (it can be as simple as carpooling! everything helps!) and how we can make reparations for the wrongs committed against mother earth.

kdwankelman says:
However, the rise since 1880 is unprecedented and dangerous.
I just picked that factoid as an example of the misinformation you’re spreading. Where do you get that nonsense?
Everything you wrote is your opinion, and most all of it is wrong. You assert:
“Climate change is caused by humans.”
But as usual, you never quantify anything. Is 0.000001ºC (warming or cooling; take your pick) caused by humans? Or is your invented “0.8º” caused by humans? And how is ‘it’ caused? Certainly, CO2 cannot be the cause, because global warming stopped for almost 20 years, while CO2 continued its steady, harmless, and beneficial rise. Furthermore, changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature. Effect cannot precede cause, so there goes your pseudo-science conjecture, right out the window.
Back to your “unprecedented and dangerous” global warming. This is what your hand-waving is all about:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lPGChYUUeuc/VLhzJqwRhtI/AAAAAAAAAS4/ehDtihKNKIw/s1600/GISTemp%2BKelvin%2B01.png
All your assertions are pretty much copied and pasted from thinly-trafficked alarmist blogs. But this is the internet’s “Best Science” site, and that sort of misinformation doesn’t fly here. As a matter of fact, there is nothing either unprecedented, or unusual happening with global T. Everything being observed now has happened before, repeatedly, and to a much greater degree.
The next time you try to make similar assertions, be specific, instead of peddling the usual climate alarmist pablum.

Hi! All of my resources are from either the WWF and NASA.gov. None of my information was taken from a blog, let alone “alarmist blogs”. I understand that I did skip some of the smaller details in my reply, but my post was already fairly lengthy and I was concerned that it would not get read if I continued into those. I am more than willing to break down the level of human involvement and the dangers of the rising climate change using reliable and data backed numbers.
“Climate Change is caused by humans”
It would be reductionist to reduce all of climate change to CO2, but it would also be ignoring the facts to not acknowledge CO2 significant role in the changing climates. The impact that the burning of fossil fuels and other similar energy expenditure is two part. It is attacking the ozone layer allowing more heat energy into the atmosphere and then creating greenhouse gasses that trap that same energy into the atmosphere and not allowing it to be released. This is a simplified explanation of a complicated chemical process, but to go into all of those details would consume many more words than I have to write here, I am sure you understand. This would not be as prevalent if it were not for the huge rise in industry that humans have gone in relativity (in terms of the earth’s age) recent history. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels has increased from approximately 1000 million tons in 1900 to almost 8000 million tons in 2006. This is heavily impacted the processes I described earlier.
Also I would love to see a source for the graph you provided as it contradicts data found on NASA (a governmental organization tasked with collecting this information) which is a source that I and many others, would consider to be a valid and strong source.
I would encourage you to explore this website and to see all the information that they provide on the reality of human caused climate change : http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

All of my resources are from either the WWF and NASA.gov. None of my information was taken from a blog, let alone “alarmist blogs”.
The WWF runs an alarmist blog. So does NASA. Their misinformation has a mountain of documentation here.
You can parrot that misinformation all you like. But it’s still misinformation, based on nothing more than assertions.
Wake me when you can produce a verifiable, testable, empirical measurement quantifying AGW.
Until then, you’ve got nothin’.

Also one more thing. You sought to discredit me with stating that all of this is “your opinion”. You are most certainly correct, however I have formed my opinion through extensive research, some of what comes from courses on environmental science that I have taken. This is my opinion, and it is also the opinion of many other well educated and scientifically minded people. What you rebutted with is just as much your opinion, and while I disagree, I do not disagree based simply on the fact that it is opinion. Your statement attacking me saying “But as usual, you never quantify anything.” was opinion and wrong. But it was not wrong because it was opinion, it was incorrect because there were numerous places in my comment where I cited numbers and data. Opinion, especially when backed by valid, scientific evidence and data, is not a strong enough source of rebuttal. I find that trying to discredit someone because they showed “opinion” is only used when one has run out of other valid claims to make.

kdwankerman says:
You sought to discredit me…
You’re doing a fine job of that yourself. Keep digging.
When Planet Earth tells me I’m on the wrong track, I will sit up straight and pay attention. But so far, the planet and skeptics of the “dangerous man-made global warming” scare are on the same page.
It is the alarmist contingent that is constantly being contradicted by observations, not skeptics. As Prof Richard Feynman pointed out, if your ‘theory’ is contradicted by observations, then your ‘theory’ is wrong.
Feynman concluded: “That’s all there is to it.”

thallstd

kdwankelman, I commend you on your calm presentation of your position and your apparent willingness to dig into the issue a bit beyond the headlines.
However, you should scratch WWF and any other green NGOs as sources of reliable information. They need CAGW for fundraising and the more dire picture they paint the more dollars roll in.
As for NASA, I submit this page http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/ as evidence that, while they do still do some worthwhile science, those heading up their climate change research are as vested in advocacy and propaganda as science. None of the consensus studies listed on this page stand up to methodological scrutiny. I further commend you for not including “the consensus” with your other AGW “evidence”. That NASA does should raise a red flag to you.
You’ve provided a long list of observational evidence that the planet is warming, which is not disputed by most skeptics. How much it is warming and the cause of that warming is what matters and where we part with the CAGW proponents..
Much of the underlying support for CAGW comes from the IPCC reports, an organization purporting to conduct an objective review of the current science by the best and the brightest. There is so much evidence to the contrary I will cite only one example from one of their own reports. If you want further evidence go to Donna LaFramboise’s site – https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/climate-bible/ page – and browse . I also suggest you buy her first ebook – “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert” – for a thorough under-the-hood expose on the IPCC.
The example from their own report: in the IPCC 2013 SPM, footnote bottom of page 14 (of the report, or page 20 of the pdf) – https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WGIAR5_SPM_brochure_en.pdf they state: “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”
Yet on the very next page they claim: “It is extremely likely [ie 95-100% certain] that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”
So they admit to not being able to zero in on the actual climate response to CO2 but are 95% – 100% certain that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” That’s not objective science, it’s something else – advocacy, propaganda, sloppiness – take your pick. But it isn’t an objective conclusion.
To tackle just one of your misconceptions, you claim: “Two-thirds of this global warming has happened since 1975. These temperature rises are not natural and cannot and should not be justified as a natural occurrence.”
The first sentence may be accurate – I don’t know the actual numbers and the historical temps keep getting adjusted so even if false 2 years ago it might be true now. The second falls into the “unprovable” category as per the above IPCC admission, though there is more evidence negating than supporting it. Also, Phil Jones himself (of Climate Gate fame), has said “As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different.
Links to the source of the quote and other info showing no statistically significant difference between those two periods can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6AFlVr1W0Mrb1FnYXlnXzBNck0/view
You seem sincere in your quest to get to the truth. To do so you will need to spend more time on WUWT or other skeptical sites to get “the other side” of the debate (see the sidebar for a good list). If all you ever read, watch and hear confirms what you posted, it is because you have placed yourself in an information cocoon. Do yourself a favor and consider the sKeptic’s side with an open mind.
P.S. Regarding the chart DB posted…You say it contradicts data found on NASA and it might. None of the government data collators have data that agree with each other. I forget if that chart uses Hadcrut, NOAA or Met data but it is based on one of the government data sources. I duplicated it myself a while ago with the data in the file linked to below and Excel. What you interpret as a discrepancy is nothing but scale. That chart is drawn using the scale you might find on a back yard thermometer whereas most climate data charts you see exaggerate that scale by a factor of 10 or so making even the smallest changes seem very large.
Here’s a link to a data file you can download and play with in Excel or other charting program to see how changing the scale flattens the temperature variation as shown in DB’s chart: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/global/globe/land_ocean/12/10/1880-2015.csv?trend=true&trend_base=10&firsttrendyear=1881&lasttrendyear=2015

JabbaTheCat

@ kdwankelman, you might want to read up on the polar bear situation by someone that actually studies the matter…
https://polarbearscience.com/category/population/

dccowboy

” Then in 2005, their status was changed from ‘least concern’ to vulnerable’, demonstrating that their populations have been steadily declining. Now today, 3 populations of Polar bears are in decline still, but due to incredible work from various foreign powers 1 population is increasing and 6 populations are now stable. ”
I think this information is inaccurate. Can you provide any links to show the ‘incredible work from various foreign powers’ that you speak of? The only thing I can think of that would be reasonably close would be the International Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears and their Habitat, 1973, but, the US (as well as the former USSR) is a signatory on that Agreement and, to be honest, it doesn’t really require any of the signees to perform any ‘incredible’ work to preserve Polar Bears and it was directed more at the circumstances under which Polar Bears could be hunted/gathered for scientific research.
– In the ESA (1973) there is no such classification as ‘least concern’ or ‘vulnerable’ (in the entire 44 pages of the Act there are only ‘threatened’ and ‘endangered’ classifications (http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESAall.pdf) and certainly no such change was made under ESA in 2005. An interesting side note from reading the act is that the term ‘endangered’ is explicitly defined in the Act but the term ‘threatened’ is never defined, nor are the criteria for establishing a specie as ‘threatened’ vs ‘endangered’ ever defined.
“in 1973 the US government classified the Polar Bear as an Endangered Species (Under the ESA act)”
— 1973 is when the ESA was signed into law and Polar Bears were NOT classified as an endangered species in 1973 and, to this day, they are still not classified as ‘endangered’. https://seaworld.org/Animal-Info/Animal-InfoBooks/Polar-Bears/Conservation-and-Research, “As of 2008, polar bears are listed as “threatened” on the U.S. Endangered Species List.
If your sources (WWF?) told you they were classified as endangered in 1973 and that the ‘classification’ was changed in 2005 from ‘least concern’ to ‘vulnerable’, I would be very concerned about the accuracy of anything else that source claims.
Under the ESA, threatened’ is a precursor to being classified as ‘endangered’ but it is not the same thing. The classification was made based on, in the words of DOI Sec Kempthorne, “The decision was based on evidence that sea ice is vital for polar bear survival, that this sea ice habitat has been reduced, and that this process is likely to continue; if something is not done to change this situation, the polar bear will be extinct within 45 years, Kempthorne said. He pointed to computer models he and his colleagues studied that project a 30 percent decline in sea ice by 2050”.
Reference Dr Susan Crockford’s work on Polar Bears (she is an evolutionary biologist who’s specialty is Polar Bear evolution) – http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2013/03/Crockford-Polar-Bears-3.pdf – that establishes that level of sea ice is NOT ‘vital’ to Polar Bear survival, in fact, thick sea ice has been demonstrated to be far more of a threat to Polar Bear populations than thin sea ice (1974 Beaufort event, when thick sea ice decimated Seal populations and Polar Bears starved in large numbers as a result). The ‘models’ used have not, to this day, been validated as to being in the least reflective of observations of actual Arctic Sea Ice behavior.
You seem to be a well meaning person interested in reasonable discussion. I salute your willingness to discuss the issues here.

Jason

You can tell yourself that none of those things have come true, but that’s not entirely accurate. Some of them certainly have not come to pass (submerged cities), but other are happening or in the process of happening. Sea level rise has been accelerating and you only have to look at the data.
We’ve been taking sea level data for more than 100 years and in the last 20 years it’s risen at double the annual rate of the preceding 80 (about .15″ a year). That doesn’t sound like much, but over 100 years that’s added up to about a 6 inch rise in the global mean sea level. Small changes have big impacts especially on soil erosion and storm strength for coastal cities. Higher sea levels make for more powerful storm surges that can damage structures and sensitive environments.
Sea levels have risen for a few reasons. Emissions of heat trapping gases, both natural and man-made, have caused global temperatures to rise. About half of the sea level rise can be attributed directly to this heat as water expands as it warms and oceans are a huge absorb lots of heat. Longer summers and reduced snowfall has led to Greenland/Antarctic ice sheets melting more in the summer and not replenishing themselves as much in the winter. Warmer sea temperatures work to melt ice sheets that extends out from Antarctica from the bottom so they weaken and break off.
And lastly, severe weather events have absolutely become more frequent, ask any meteorologist. Heat waves are more frequent, prolonged and intense, while cold waves have been shorter and more mild. Flooding and droughts are more commonplace, especially in the western US. Downpours have become heavier which sounds great in light of the other stuff, but it contributes to increased erosion and flooding.
The end of the world isn’t upon us, but it helps to have some facts to go with those claims of yours

Jason,
You’re misrepresenting my comment: I wrote that none of the “scary” predictions have come true.
And there is nothing “in the process” of happening that is alarming.
Your assertion regarding accelerating sea levels is flat wrong. Where do you get your misinformation from? An alarmist blog? It figures.
Next, snowfall is well within past parameters; that’s just another of your misrepresentations. And “downpours have become heavier”?? Please. That’s just a baseless assertion. A “downpour” is an extremely local, and usually a fast moving event. How is that measured and quantified?
Severe weather events have been steadily declining for decades. Where do you get your misinformation? You’re spreading pseudo-science. Please do it elsewhere. This is the internet’s “Best Science” site. We don’t need alarmist parrots here, we need verifiable facts.
I can provide links to corroborate every comment I’ve made here: there is nothing either alarming, unusual, or unprecedented happening with global temperatures, or severe weather events, or snowfall, or with sea level rise. Everything currently being observed has happened before, repeatedly, and to a much greater degree.
But of course, if the alarmist crowd can’t scare the public, the public will lose interest. That’s why climate alarmists lie about “dangerous man-made global warming”. If they told the truth, no one would be alarmed.

bobthebear

Your observations are a bit off base. Global warming, sea level rising, polar ice disappearing and increasing severe weather (Cyclones in Far East) are facts of today’s life. Take off your dark glasses and look at what’s going on around you. Everything that you and your crowd says is not beneficial to anyone. Why don’t you all try thinking of what to do about Greenland melting? Try a little creativity.

sherisse6

All these things are occurring what hole have you been hind ing in

Jim Smith

Lol, there is more polar bears than ever, no warming for like 20 years, no flood etc. Stupid libtards…

nigelf

dbstealey is right, not one of those things is or has occurred.
You need to dig a bit deeper than the selective sound bites from the left wing media.

clipe

sherisse6:
?

PiperPaul

Global thermonuclear war
Well, they (and the “news” people) had to find something to replace the mostly new-forgotten fear of that particular boogeyman, so…

“All seven Great Lakes…” ??????
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior and ……? What am I missing?

markdsweet

And don’t forget the 57 states, just ask the President.

dccowboy

bobthebear,
I think your ‘observations’ are off base here
Worldwide cyclonic energy (Hurricanes, Typhoons, & Tornadoes) are at 30 year lows in both intensity & frequency, 2015 being a record low for tornadoes in the US, ‘severe’ weather is not increasing – not that we have any way to measure such a thing, although I would submit that total cyclonic energy comes closest to being a measure of ‘severe’ weather. Sea levels are rising, but at the same rate they have been since the end of the little ice age in the 1700’s, polar ice is NOT disappearing (overall worldwide sea ice levels are at about the same level they were in the 70’s), & lastly Greenland is not melting, it is adding ice mass in the center as is the West Antarctic ice sheet.

Steve C

Oh well, it would have been bad IF we were right and IF we hadn’t said anything, none of this would have changed.
Ha!

gnomish

they also saved us from the invisible vampire elephants, as anyone can see.

robdouth

If you think that’s impressive, You should check out my facebook and see how many jobs I have claimed to save personally for the economy. If you have a job, I probably saved it for you…

Bambi Hussein

Liberalism means never being held accountable for being wrong.

Can they find ANY predictions that did come true?
Back in the ’70s, it was Global Cooling.
I will always remember that as soon as Freon was banned, talk of the ozone hole completely disappeared.

sz939

And 25 years later, the Natural Phenomenon known as the “Ozone Hole” is statistically unchanged. The Freon Alarmists proclaimed that we need another 25 years to see the effects of the Freon Ban! But we can see the effects today — Higher energy consumption because the Freon Replacements are less Efficient resulting in higher energy consumption. And, of course, everyone had to replace their old tech with new because the Freon replacements won’t work in the older equipment. DuPont Chemical prospered mainly because instead of producing the old Freon Compounds at Pennies per ton, they now charge Dollars per pound for the new stuff.

rickyboom

You’d rather we all get cancer from overexposure to uv radiation?

PiperPaul

Hey, look – rickyboom is “worried”.

Matt Bergin

Rickboom You do know that the ozone hole is over the south pole don’t you. So while I’m sunning myself outside at the south pole where the temp never gets above -30 I will were some sunscreen. /sarc

Karl Compton

“What, me worry?” — Alfred E. Newman

expat

Where’s my damn flying car?

JP

HAHAH!!!

Sorry, no flying cars. But we’ve got the Internet.

Owen in GA

Here’s one prototype:
https://youtu.be/wSvGSnOQms8

Steamboat McGoo

Yeah – flying cars – and we were all supposed to be speaking Esperanto, weren’t we?

Marcus

..Ummm, it’s an animation !

John Harmsworth

That thing looks so cool I don’t care if it even moves!

Owen in GA

Yes this is an animation. Their current actual model is no way near as cool. (No VSTOL for instance). This one is in development and they have actually started forming carbon though they aren’t at the test flight phase yet (that I have heard.) But I definitely want one once they are produced if I can only get my big oil checks so I can afford the “high end sports car” price tag. (still waiting on those checks!!!!)

Unfortunately, the engineers starved to death, and anyway there is no fuel left now, or is there.

PiperPaul

Nah – all the engineers trained, and then were eventually replaced, by their replacements: $10/hour CAD operators clicking buttons on centally-controlled Big Buck Software in Beijing and Mumbai. “High Value Engineering”, they call it.

I am old enough to remember when those predictions were made. As I am still here, Ehrlich et al and et nauseam were not quite right. It is rather like various evangelical religions preaching to me a bit earlier that Jesus was coming back in the early 1970’s. As neither occurred, I rather lack faith in either group’s preaching.

RHS

Worse than that, they are still out living their own failed prophecies, just to create more…

Sideshow bob

These guys gave dire warning about current behaviour in the 70’s. today we wrork on renewable resource for energy reducing our need for oil, which was not mentioned as contributer to this oil glut, we reycle more and conserve more. these are the changes needed in behavuor to keep us going. if we had not made these changes, for example in the 70’s los angeles had smog so bad thatyou couldn’t see the hills, with changes in in thpuhght and behavour patterns l a now has cleaner air, so these guys warning were on the mark and UI for one am glad these people raised the alarm so we can survive today!

Mark J Morris

Thank you for being the only voice of reason in this forum!!!

MarkW

The acolytes really do believe this kind of stuff.
Exactly how much oil per year do we save by recycling? Or does the energy needed to recycle exceed the oil saved?
Yes, some places have improved marginally, but improvements were already being made prior to the 70’s.
As to conserving more, do you have any idea how much switching to fluorescent and LED lights has saved?
Less than 1% of total energy production.

You’re ‘renewable resource for energy’ costs more money to build and install the equipment than it ever pays back in produced energy. That’s why it only flourishes with government subsidies and the private sector won’t touch it.
Oil is the energy of the present and the future.

“…renewable resource for energy reducing our need for oil…” Renewables do not reduce our oil dependence.
“…we recycle more …” Other than aluminum, recycling costs more energy than it saves.

nigelf

There are literally hundreds of millions more cars on the roads worldwide now than there were in the seventies. Demand for oil is higher than ever and yet there’s still a glut.
Conservation has nothing to do with the glut at all. The fact is we’re pumping more oil than ever and supply is outstripping demand.

PiperPaul

Well, yes, sort of. That was real pollution, though. Not CO2.

John Harmsworth

World oil consumption is at a record level and projected to grow by over 25% in the next 30 years

Good points Bob. The predictions were alarmist and missed a few things which did really make a difference. But as you say, they sounded a warning trumpet and many of the technological benefits promoted by these concerns have been a real boon to humanity.

A common misconception about these predictions is that people believe that someone is predicting this will definitely happen. However they often mean that under the best scientific knowledge, if humans continue behaving and consuming the way that they are, these predictions will come to fruition. This can be clearly seen under the common cited claim of polar bears becoming extinct. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (commonly referred to as the WWF or World Wildlife Fund), in 1973 the US government classified the Polar Bear as an Endangered Species (Under the ESA act). Then in 2005, their status was changed from ‘least concern’ to vulnerable’, demonstrating that their populations have been steadily declining. Now today, 3 populations of Polar bears are in decline still, but due to incredible work from various foreign powers 1 population is increasing and 6 populations are now stable. This demonstrates my earlier point about how due to changes in legislature, polar bear populations are beginning to stabilize and humans are rectifying the damage they made to this species.

kdwankelman,
Please peddle your eco-scares elsewhere. As usual, all you’re doing is making baseless assertions — and they’re flat wrong.
The WWF has an agenda, and they support their narrative with propaganda. If you want to actually learn something, put some keywords in the search box, like “polar bears”. Or “WWF”.
There are polar bear experts who comment here. They have shown conclusively that the predictions of polar bears being decimated by human emissions is rank nonsense.
Rather than parrot the WWF’s eco-propaganda, try to think for yourself. If that’s too much to ask, then take a few weeks to get up to speed on the issue. The WUWT archives are very helpful — IF you want to learn.

As I mentioned, I am reaching old fart status. None of those predictions were made in the mode of “if we don’t stop….., then……”, they were flat predictions. Good try, though in defending the indefensible 🙂

A good analogy is that we were driving towards a cliff and someone in the back seat warned us, so we turned away. Some people are say we would never have gone off the cliff, someone would have built a bridge or the car would have sprouted wings. But we did take action and benefitted from those initiatives.
There are further warnings now of danger ahead, but the severity of that danger or exactly what it is is what keep the popularity of this site high. Personally I believe climate science is largely correct, though occasionally over egged. I used to be a sceptic, but many years of reading and participating in this forum convinced me I was wrong, so in a paradoxical way, this forum does work, but sometimes not in the way it is intended.

tadchem

The thing about eschatology – everyone who has predicted the End of Times has been wrong – since the Beginning of Time.

GTL

Some day someone will get it right, but their will be no one to care.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

Always remember Tom Lehrer’s, “We will all go together when we go.”. The sheet music has the instruction, “To be sung escatagologically.”

Charlie

“You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
Extra fail points earned for failing to predict the demise (largely) of the gas pump attendant.

🙂

Mike the Morlock

Charlie April 22, 2016 at 11:01 am
“You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
wrong FAIL.
“You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ” Here’s your sign” Mac, its self service.
(Oregon excluded)
michael 😀

Sally

Oregon is always excluded.

And New Jersey.

@ Mike the M, 11: 57 am, Nope we still have stations that have attendants, really good ones and their gas is one penny less than the self serve ones as well, they even wash your windows, head lights etc. >!!!! BC Canada , Super Save gas and no ethanol either! ( and no I don’t work for them although I wish they would have car washes).

Resourceguy

The force of advocacy-based prediction has always been some small fraction of gravity in the grand scheme of things. It’s the smallest force know to physics.

ENVIRONMENTAL
They may mince or incinerate birds
And dice bats into quarters or thirds,
Still, wind power is “clean,”
Solar energy “green” –
If you’re willing to redefine words.
(2015)
IXNAY
Every year when they celebrate Earth,
The green socialists generate mirth,
Trying not to betray
The true aim of “Earth Day,”
Which from Pig Latin translates as “dearth.”
(2014)
SOLARCENY
Barry’s Bandits have found a new way
To get rich without working a day:
They’ve no need for a gun,
‘Cause they just use the sun
To get ‘loans’ that they’ll never repay.
(2011)
FAITH IN GORE
“All you skeptics who try to besmirch
Our beliefs will be left in the lurch
As we celebrate dearth
And increase our net worth
At St. Albert Gore’s Climate Change Church.”
(2011)
ARTIFICIAL FAMINE
There’s no benefit to coal
If you cannot dig a hole,
And the value is nil
Of oil you can’t drill.
Who would favor such control?
(2011)
CAP’N TRADE
“Here I come to save the day!
Everyone will have to pay!
I will pull a switch
That will make me rich
As my stock goes up and away!”
(2009)
WELL, WELL, WELL
Well, I’m not exactly thrilled
When I get my gas tank filled,
But it makes my blood boil
To know that there’s oil
In reserves of our own to be drilled.
(2008)
ABATED BREATH
Whether sickly or healthy and hale,
We object when the air gets too stale,
But what shall we do
When they ban CO2
And deny us the right to exhale?
(2001)
DIRTY BUSINESS
“When we measured no parts per million,
We raised standards to parts per billion.
We’re the new EPA
And we’ll have it our way,
Finding parts per trillion and zillion!”
(2000)
TREE AMIGOS
You can have all your hullabaloo
And ‘arbor illusions too,
You can care about trees
As much as you please,
But the trees still won’t care about you!
(2000)
GRASS CONSCIOUSNESS
My neighbor’s a tree-hugging pain,
But he’s unsympathetic to grain:
If I chance not to mow
And my grass starts to grow,
He’s the first on the block to complain!
(2000)
ECO-MANIACS
Their abiding misanthropy shows
What’s behind the Earth Firster’s pose,
For these mopes without mirth
Have no love for the earth
And are nothing but Mean Green Joes.
(2000)
CHICKEN LITTLE
Doomsday deadlines bear recalling
When they’ve passed and we’re not sprawling:
If dreaded fate
Is running late,
Then perhaps the sky’s not falling.
(2000)
MATERNITY CASE
Once more, for what it’s worth:
Your mother is not the Earth!
And that’s because
Your mother was
The woman who gave you birth.
(1998)

Honey Bee

Duplantier, you are fabulous! Thanks for your verse. Great work: insightful commentary!

thallstd

Nice collection. Here’s my contribution…
ENVIRONMENTALISTS
They organize and raise their fists
Everywhere, like malignant cysts
What they haven’t learnt
Is that if they weren’t
Mental they’d just be Environists

These are awesome! Love them.

I call these people Purveyors of Apocalypse, their predictions of disaster are off the wall and crazy but they
get rich making them. Ehrlich and Gore are only two of many examples of liars who sold a lot of books and made a lot of paid speeches to enhance their wealth. Now, of course, it’s an industry.

bobthebear

You can’t be called a liar, unless you are sure that you know the truth.

“…it’s the end of world as we know it, and I’m feelin” fine!”

tgmccoy

Norman Borlaug.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug
Stuff it, Ehrlich…

CaligulaJones

I’ll see your Borlaug and raise you a Julian Simon:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager
Much like a world where Prince and Bowie leave us, and Kanye and Bieber remain, we lose more with every death of a true great.

To his credit, and my great surprise, Ehrlich did pay up.
http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/13/the-battle-for-humanitys-future

Rust resistance and dwarfing can be one once. Borlaug deserved his Nobel for the green revolution. But it lies in the past.
Take all the worlds major crops, take the FAO rates of best practices yield improvement (including GMO corn and soybean), take the net of gain/loss in arable land (gain in Indonesia and Brazil as jungle is sacrificed, loss in India as irrigation salt build up increases) (and assume cotton does not increase acreage), assume global spread of best practices (seeds, fertilizer, weed and pest control, makes a big difference in rice), assume fewer calories than now on average but still healthy diet (less beef, more poultry to maximize total food calorie use), take the UN’s population growth projections, and it is possible to roughly calculated what the maximum food sustainable global population is. About 9.1-9.3 billion. Maybe 9.5. Not more. Hardly Ehrlich’s foolish population bomb stupidity. But a soft carrying capacity limit that is reached around 2050. Certainly by 2060. Its a long tedious calculation slog. Laid out and illustrated in Gaia’s Limits. Water is not a problem overall given virtual water. Anthropogenic climate change for sure isn’t a problem. Food and liquid transportation fuels look to be the eventual pinch points.

MarkW

Your estimates regarding future food increases are pessimistic by at least an order of magnitude.
PS, you left out resumption of farming on millions of acres that were abandoned because other lands were easier to farm.
As to population growth, the UN estimates have always been way, way off on the high side.
If the world’s population hasn’t peaked already it will do so in the next 5 to 10 years.

BFL

Population is automatically self controlling thru war or starvation, though this process is not likely in self supporting countries. In some ways permanent food relief is similar to saving troubled animals (liked beached whales) as maybe they are in trouble because of defective organic systems and saving them will only pass those on to offspring. Unless those starving countries internally solve their political problems they just become fodder for corruption and continuous non-resolving aid.

MarkW, you are welcome to redo my calculations and prove rather than assert an order of magnitude error difference. If you find my error, please publish it. My guess is that I did the detailed calculations, and you are bloviating a belief. Might start your recalc with all the references in my first book. Saves a lot of time, on a lot of crops and related issues. As for reclaiming previous ag land (you are thinking primarily US, expressly included with illustrations), nope globally. What, you want to bulldoze northern Illinois houses to plant corn? Or deforest New England to plant hard scrabble low yield crops? You cannot touch my Northbrook Il town home on Mission Hills golf course, even if those acres were once pioneer farm land a bit NW of Chicago. And in Indonesia orangutangs are threatened by jungle turned to palm oil plantations. And in northern India, irrigated late is becoming infertile due to groundwater salt build up. Reality check!
As for your assertion that world population peaks in 5-10 years, that might be possible given catastrophic spread of Ebola and Zika, plus maybe a comet strike, plus maybe a North Korea nuclear attack. Not otherwise. Do you have any source at all for such an absurd claim concerning South America, Africa, and most of Asia? UN says best case 9.2 billion in 2050. US census Bureau says best case 9.3 billion. Both are best case SWAGS.
A suggestion. You want to dispute my facts here, bring counter facts. With references. Otherwise, you are (skeptically) no different that the watermelons on the other side of this debate. Facts rule.

John Harmsworth

The forces of the market cannot be resisted for long. Land that is used for cattle, bio- diesel, sugar cane etc. will go over to food once prices are high enough. If it gets bad enough people will grow in roadway ditches, back yards and rooftops. If we take advantage of cheap energy to raise living standards then population will top out around 2050 and things will never get that bad. Poverty and ignorance are the big dangers to humanity.

JH, I agree with you about poverty and ignorance. Both relate to best agricultural practices, one of the big global disconnects.
But I cannot agree about your ideas on land, ditches, and such. You simply do not comprehend the scope and scale of modern agriculture needed to feed the world’s existing population. See a comment to Janice below on hectares/capita.
As for cheap energy, depends on which kind and under what CAGW scenario. I maintain that transportation fuels (think diesel tractors and combines for just ag) will become much more expensive than $100/bbl in the next 20-30 years. And that is a big problem. See reasoning above. Or read my cheap ebooks. No way will there ever be a battery powered tractor except in Buck Rodgers scifi. Understand battery electrochemistry. Understand tractor power. QED.

JH and MarkW, do you not realize that much range land used for cattle (seasonal grass grazing land) is too dry to grow any summer cereal crops? Both in Nebraska and in Africa? Which is why it remains arable rangeland. Mongolia is a good example. Yaks and goats, sure, foraging on seasonal grasses. Corn, soy, wheat, not so much. I even provided pictures of Mongolia, Nebraska, and Switzerland high Alpine summer pasture in the ebook.
Most arable land is not crop substitutable as you seem to presume. Rice paddies will not grow wheat. Winter wheat will not grow much where spring wheat does (a latitude thing). Potatoes have, OTOH, proved remarkably adaptable, as has wheat generically given cultivar adaptation. But the devil is in the ag details. Always. Read about those details in my ebook Gaia’s Limits.
Bonus questions: which country is the top potato producer? Which country is second? If you don’t already know, you know next to nothing about the agriculture required to feed modern humanity. Both the two leading country answers and their potato yields over time are illustrated graphically in my ebook Gaia’s Limits. Hint. Not good recent calorie news.

@ Ristvan , what about the resistance to ” golden rice”, I have not heard anything about that for some time.

DonM

Talk of sustainable “climate practices” with one driving input characteristic (CO2).
Silly
Talk of of worldwide sustainable/linear population numbers with one input characteristic (food)
Silly.

Especially note the section in the Wikipedia article on Borlaug where it says:

environmental groups that were opposed to Borlaug’s methods campaigned against his planned expansion of efforts into Africa. They prompted the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and the World Bank to stop funding most of his African agriculture projects. Western European governments were persuaded to stop supplying fertilizer to Africa. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug#Production_in_Africa

Yet another example of the “compassion” of the Social Justice Warriors for people of color. Black lives matter, right?.
Let’s see how long it takes their damage control teams to edit that out of Wikipedia.

tgmccoy

Can’t have healthy, happy dark-skinned people, now can we..?

Great spot. Borlaug is amongst my truest science heroes. Had no idea he had been opposed by Greens. CYMIT, his Mexican Institute, has done great things in Africa concerning drought resistance maize (corn) and UG99 wheat rust. Continuing to try to save the world from starvation.

FJ Shepherd

Let us make up our own predictions. It sounds like fun. I predict that in 20 years time, climate science will be a banned discipline in universities, and all the climate scientists will be jailed or executed for crimes against humanity.

John Harmsworth

I predict that when the world gets good and hungry, the vegetarians will be eaten first (eat your veggies), they’re too weak to defend themselves.Next will be the pacifists- they’re practically asking for it. After that it’s the environmentalists (eat your greens). After all those are gone take a look around the table. If you’re the fat one, start running.

JP

I predict that the weather will change dramatically somewhere over the earth in the 7 days. Be prepared. You have been forewarned. Now give me my prize money, bros!

4TimesAYear

Eighteen spectactularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first earth day in 1970: 🙂 http://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-the-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year-3/

4TimesAYear

And we need an alternative to earth day like we do to earth hour I will be trying to emit CO2 – I don’t drive a lot, but it might be a good day for one 😉

Mark

Talk to your plants day 😛

4TimesAYear

Nah, I’ll talk to the cat, lol

Capt. Harlock

The 22nd of April is a great Spring day to break-out the grill and cook some steaks.

CaligulaJones

You don’t even have to go back to 1970. I was purging some magazines and came upon a “futurist” mag from 1999, full of dire predictions for the millennium. Not one came even close (at least the ones for ten and fifteen years out. That’s the problem with predictions: eventually, like “psychics” one will come close on a very long time-scale, and be counted as a “win”).

Owen in GA

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. (got to love Yogi Berra)

Somebody had to do it! 😉

John Harmsworth

The world ended Dec. 31st of ’99 due to Y2K as I recall.

Logoswrench

I remember those scares. I was in the Cub Scouts and we did these huge ” clean ups” and then got the communist green and white striped flag with the “e” on it to sew on our uniforms. They started the indoctrination early.

CaligulaJones

I first noticed the indoctrination in high school. We had to read “Fate of the Earth”, and “Entropy”, as well as watch “The Day After”.
Unfortunately, too many classmates are obviously still drinking the kool-aid, if their FB updates are any indication.

chris y

“Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future.””
“Optimistic”- predicting near-term (a couple of decades) catastrophes and environmental apocalypse.
I suppose the opposite is then…
“Pessimistic”- predicting near-term improvements in societal and environmental well-being.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

afonzarelli

Chris, my dim recollection is that the name is Indigo Montoya (?)
“my name is indigo montoya; you killed my father, now prepare to die!”

chris y

afonzarelli-
I checked an NPR transcript- “Mandy Patinkin: 25 Years After ‘The Princess Bride,’ He’s Not Tired Of That Line”
8:20, October 5, 2012
The N…P…R states that his name is Inigo Montoya.
And as we know, N…P…R = Q…E…D
Happy EAarth Day 🙂

Sorry, Chris is correct.

afonzarelli

Yes, gentlemen, i do stand corrected…

afonzarelli

BTW, mark knopfler did the soundtrack for the movie… excellent, worth checking out

Mike M. (period)

I suspect that you could pick any topic, go back 50 years to find the most extreme statements made on the topic, and have a good laugh. But this is useful as an antidote to the extreme claims being made now.

Dave B

Give me ONE example, extreme or not, of a prediction made by an environmentalist that has actually come true. Just one.

As a Civil Engineer specializing in Water and Pollution, I have always considered myself and environmentalist – just not the raving kind.
In the 1960’s the beaches in Vancouver, BC were often closed. We “predicted” that pollution control would fix it and it did. One of hundreds of examples I could give. Extremism will always be an outlier.
Engineers are often called the “invisible profession” since if the design works properly, you never hear about them. Yet we do water and sewage treatment, roads and bridges that make the lives of millions easier; we save the lives of millions who would otherwise have died from water or air pollution. We build extra habitat for wildlife/fishes when we build roads and bridges. Environmental considerations are always a consideration in every project. When I graduated, there were many beaches in Canada that were often closed due to contamination. That hardly ever happens anymore. Engineers work around the world to make things better for people. I am long retired but the work goes on.
Environmentalism has gotten a bad name from all the eco-loons who are against everything. But good engineering involves environmental considerations, including people, who are also part of the environment.

Mike M. (period)

Thanks to Wayne Delbeke for a calm response. I was about to respond with snark, but I will try to follow Wayne’s example: Pollution controls on cars reducing smog, sewage treatment plants turning virtual open sewers into streams that you can fish in or canoe down, pollution controls on smoke stacks meaning that you can hang your laundry on a clothes line without worrying that it would get filthy, and so on.
The calm “predictions” are self denying, since they lead to action to fix the problem. The rubbish ones just give people something to laugh at a few decades down the road.

John Harmsworth

We are responsible for the damage we do. One of the things that bothers me most about this topic is the good we could do on real issues with the effort that goes into AGW nonsense and the very real harm that will come from chasing this ghost. It’s sad. Privileged, educated people with mediocre minds and outsized egos who can’t question themselves. In the face of great questions we need learners – not teachers.

Mark

Ehrlich and Mann, Schmidt and the Trenberth would never survive a real public debate

Amen brother, amen.

James at 48

The mega mistake in all this was horribly incorrect population forecasts. Somehow it was imagined that the strange brew of overspill of 19th Century fecundity and 21st Century visions for things like health care, economic growth, etc, which intersected for a brief time mid 20th Century, would continue on and one. But in reality it was a blip. The post war spikes in fecundity died out by the 70s and after that reversed. Meanwhile the hyper growth also ceased, never to be restored. So instead of a population bomb we face a pending population cliff and the economy, already quasi deflationary, is not going to fuel increasing consumption. Of course this is also a type of dark future (but one that Greenies probably hope for).

John Harmsworth

They should have asked me. I stopped breeding years ago! Lol

Nash

I thought there were more than seven …

David L. Hagen

Green River Oil Shale
For a review see: Coaxing Oil from Shale
Mary Fallin comments on: More Drilling Options
Jeremy Boak commented

The total potential oil in place in the Green River Formation is actually 4.29 trillion barrels. Only about 1.1 trillion barrels of this are contained in rocks with >15 gallons per ton richness. The actual recoverable amount depends heavily on the method applied. It is likely that currently technically viable techniques could recover several hundred billion barrels.. . . While Shell and Chevron have stopped work in the Green River Formation, ExxonMobil and Total remain committed to testing of in situ methods and, for Total, moving ahead in Utah on a production scale test of novel technology. That large test follows successful small scale testing, and is under construction now. Shale oil has been produced from oil shale for about eighty years in Estonia, as well as in Brazil and China. Shell continues to explore development of oil shale in Jordan, where the government is not furtively stifling development. Other projects are proceeding in Mongolia, Australia, and Morocco. Production is relatively modest (~35,000 BOPD), but consistently growing for the last decade. If all projects now sufficiently advanced to make projections of their production were to come to fruition, production could exceed 500,000 BOPD by 2030. There is no clear evidence that oil shale production in the Western United States could not be executed in compliance with existing environmental regulations for air pollution and habitat preservation.

Production of syncrude from kerogen shale requires water. There isn’t any to spare in Colorado river basin, of which the Green is a major tributary. You would have to pipe it up over the continental divide from the Mississippi basin. Maybe when oil is over $200/ bbl. Maybe, if the mined rock waste disposal problem can be solved. Or the water table issues with in situ retorting. Shell tried in situ retorting inside a freeze wall. Just a few engineering details with hot thermal catagenesis inside an ice cube. Just a few.

Blake Davis

Who would have thought fracking would produce this much oil? Engineering issues can be resolved – too bad nuclear power was killed by the lunatics. A large number of power plants could fuel electric cars making oil much less important, But we’ll never know now will we?

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless the Parents Hold a Government License.”

Ah the Government , that Camelot of superhuman wisdom and righteousness .

CaligulaJones

Just re-reading Larry Niven’s “Ringworld”. Part of the plot is that there is a government lottery to breed. After 6 generations or so, it turned out that those born through this program are actually genetically “lucky”, in that they are, literally, lucks of the draw.
Weird, but no weirder than what passes for science these days.
But, as they say, the difference between fiction and nonfiction is that fiction has to make sense.

Matt Bergin

I love that series. Actually I like most of Larry Niven’s and his sometime co-author Jerry Pournelle’s books. Ring world is a great book based on a Freeman Dyson idea.

DonM

Haven’t read those … luck as a tangible evolutionary trait 🙂
My parents were lucky enough to find someone to buy them alcohol before they were of age … and I was always lucky enough to find the same sort of person when I was in high school. Maybe there is something to it 🙂

There are several grave factual inaccuracies in point 7.
1. US oil production did peak in 1971 as Hubbert predicted in 1955. Even after the fracking revolution, in 2015 the US imported 2.7Bbbl, 38% of total crude consumption of 7.08Bbbl.
2. Global conventional oil production peaked in 2007 or 2008 depending on whether you leave ~10%NGLs (like butane and propane) in. Properly, they should be excluded since not used for transportation fuels (gasoline, diesel, Jet kerosene) which is ~70% of crude use globally. Conventional is defined as API>10, reservoir porosity >5%, reservoir permeability >10 darcies. That includes everything except the Orinoco extra heavy tar sands in Venezuela, the Athabascan bitumen sands in Canada, and source rock shale oil everywhere.
3. US has the worlds largest oil and natural gas shale reserves. (China is probably second on gas. Russia may be second on oil.) Most recent EIA estimate (2014) is 15-18Bbbl shale oil US TRR. It was a mistake to previously include Calfornia’s Moneterey Shale, since it is folded and cannot be horizontally drilled. By itself ALL US shale oil TRR amounts to less than 2.5 years US consumption.
4. The Green River shale formation has been called oil shale. It isn’t. It is a kerogen shale that has not reached the oil window for catagenesis. It can be mined and cooked, or cooked in situ. But that takes 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of syncrude produced. The Green River is a tributary of the Colorado. There is no extra water in the Colorado watershed. It is all bespoke by the Colorado Compact, and the total flow is now substantially below the Compact estimate. That is why Reagan cancelled US development of kerogen shale production processes. No water.
5. Watt was an idiot. Peak oil is not about running out. It is about maximum annual production. we will be producing oil for at least another 150 years–just at post peak defining rates at ever increasing prices.
Oil yet to be discovered can be estimated using creaming curves or profit transforms. USGS says about ~80% of everything that will ever be discovered (conventional and unconventional) already has been. According to BP, since 1950 recovery factors have improved 25%, 1.25X. For major fields, about 35% today, for all fields, about 26%. (Shale oil is 1.5-3%). Decline rates are known for producing fields. The 2008 IEA survey of 800 fields comprising >65% of all crude production, that rate was -5.1%/year. Those facts and either a logistics function (symmetrical, probably not correct) or a gamma function (long future tail) can be used to estimate global peak for all oil, all types. Gives pretty much the same peak. About 2025.
Many details in my ebooks Gaia’s Limits and Blowing Smoke.

CaligulaJones

I’ll have to check it out. But, as they say, the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. I doubt the oil age will end because we ran out of oil.

CJ, researched this since 2010, since family were in oil business and I have a small energy storage business. First book took three years to reseach and write. Stone age gave way to bronze gave way to iron gave way to steel. First shift took millennia, second took hundreds of years, third took Andrew Carnegie most of his adult life.
Unfortunately, electrification (partial, Prius, total Tesla or Europe trains) doesn’t work for planes, trucks, construction and ag and forestry equipment. And there is not enough terrestrial annual biomass even if we had the conversion technology. KiOR has apparently failed. Calculated that in both books. Doesn’t look like genetic engineering of photosynthesis is going to get there. CO2 concentration problem is very fundamental. Dunno the answer. Do know we have maybe 30 years to find it and roll it out before big problems arise.

Janice Moore

It would be more scholarly, Mr. Ristvan, for you to cite an authoritative source for each of your oil reserves assertions. Not only that, but it would be helpful for you to cite references to give the full and complete picture. For instance, re: your assertion about the USGS: USGS says about ~80% of everything that will ever be discovered (conventional and unconventional) already has been. Does NO one dispute this? A good attorney anticipates the other sides’ arguments and cites authority to counter it in advance.
I have not been researching this since 2010 as you have and I do not have the time right now, but, I recall reading petroleum industry facts within the past 2 years which counter some (if not most) of what you wrote above.
I am not writing this to simply be picky — I am interested in the WHOLE truth about petroleum reserves. Mainly, because the “sustainability” sc@mmers regularly use “peak oil” or like arguments to try to prematurely cripple the U.S. (and other lands’) economy and, thus, endanger our freedom (“peace through strength” depends on a strong economy).
Thanks!

Janice, the references are in my books and their footnotes. I cannot reproduce hundreds of pages of text and footnotes in a blog comment. Thats why I wrote the books.
Lest you doubt, the USGS ‘to be discovered ~20% more’ is sum of: conventional USGS fact sheet 2012-3024, unconventional USGS fact sheet 2009-3028 plus EIA global shale oil TRR 6/10/2013 (cause at the time of publication, EIA had but USGS had not corrected the Monterey shale goof). Total Summarized and confirmed by EIA, Today in Energy, 1/2/2014. Just checked and report to you four footnotes to just one paragraph in essay Peeking at Peaks in ebook Blowing Smoke. All 4 references are available on line via google should you wish to verify them.

Janice, a step further back to a gentler, bigger picture.
Fossil fuels are just that, so finite. The question is only, when does that finiteness begin to bite our modern civilization and economy? The biggest issue is crude oil because of its importance for liquid transportation fuels.
Trees do not grow to the sky, any more than humans can expand population ad litem. There is some human carrying capacity to planet Earth. Not a precise number, but certainly some soft limit bound. (Carrying capacity is a well understood ecological concept. Deserts have less, jungles have more. See Desmond Morris’ book book Guns, Germs, and Steel for some historical regional human examples worked in depth both positive and negative.) Gaia’s Limits covers global human carrying capacity for three biggies: water, food, and fuel, in the context of modern society. No Club of Rome computer models. (Ancillary chapter on climate change mainly works AR4 impacts on water and food, shows they are piddling, and uncovers much CAGW dishonesty. How I originally got into climate change stuff. Was offended by the lies. My first post here and at Judith Curry’s, back in 2011.) Concludes food calories and transportation fuels are the carrying capacity pinch points. Blowing Smoke addressed just energy and climate, more topical to WUWT readers.

Janice Moore

I would think, dear Mr. Ristvan, that if the research is at your fingertips, one link per assertion would not be too difficult. Well, until I can do my own research, I will just assume you are mistaken, but not conclude that. The sources I read were very good ones.
Thank you for directing me to your fine book to do my own study of the matter.
Just FYI: to some (many?) of us your conclusory statements are just not persuasive (if that matters to you).
*********************************
Thinking out loud…
You are clearly “making the case” for the anti-oil crowd. I wonder why… . Why, I mean, it is of such importance to you that you write at length and repeatedly here to support the “peak oil”-type view.
For me, freedom is a great motivator. What is motivating you? We have plenty of oil, per many industry analysts (and for decades — long enough for it to be highly likely that technology will take care of the problem). …………. Ah, ha! I just figured it out! (maybe — just a guess, I realize)
You said that your family is in the oil business. A resource that is on its last legs …….. will have a price increase! It’s about oil being priced high. Got it!
That’s why oil co.’s often do not tell what they know about their likely reserves. Gotta keep supply low so price is high. And that’s okay! Free market competition will make it all even out. There are always, ALWAYS, defectors in any cartel (formal or informal).
Best wishes making money. (seriously — I think that is a great thing)
#(:))

Janice Moore

Mr. Istvan — the carrying capacity of the earth (and remember, no elements, no resources are ever “lost”) is SO GREAT that, given the current leveling off of the population of the earth, it is highly unlikely that we humans will ever come even CLOSE to reaching that far, far, far off boundary condition.
The earth is a very large place.
Malthusianism was disproven long ago. (production per acre figures, etc…)
Re: “Gaia” (lol) — water-food-fuel are virtually ENDLESS in supply. I think you may need to read Peter Hubers, Hard Green. You sound very much like you have fallen victim to “soft greens” un-science assertions.
Why do you even assert such a far-fetched idea? (that we might possibly reach the carrying capacity of the earth)
Really — why?

Janice, I am very much NOT anti-oil. I am simply worried there won’t be enough around in a few decades, and literally all hell will break loose. I drive a hybrid car already since 2007. Trying to be a realist, very pro modern civilization, very pro my grandkids (2, third on the way) having a better life than I did. But above all, I try to be a realist and invest/proact where realism suggests. Oil is a looming future problem, IMO. Climate is not. Have made both clear in now three ebooks.
BTW, my sister on Medicaid because of lupus and an unfortunate divorce owns all the residual oil interests in the family. Helps her scrape by.

Janice, invest $9 in Gaia’s Limits. Read chapters 1 and 3 (Carrying capacity and food). Nuff said.
I know that probably offends your and James Inhofe’s beliefs. At least ponder it. I give lots and lots of illustrated examples. Anybody can follow the arithmetic. No fancy models at all. Just lots of illustrated facts you can go check for yourself. The copious illustrations are why it could only be published as an ebook. Print with color, just print on demand, would have been over $80/copy.

We can turn coal into oil at about five bucks a gallon. We have enough coal for thousands of years. This process has been known for more than 100 years.
This fact alone destroys the peak oil myth since the price of oil can only rise above five bucks a gallon for a short period of time before we start burning coal in our gas tanks.
now oil Barron’s love to talk about peak oil all the time because they wrongly believe that they are the only game in town. That will only be true while it’s cheaper than other options

BFL

But shouldn’t natural gas be included in this computation since technology is apparently coming round to producing gasoline &derivatives more cheaply?
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Natural-gas-to-1-gasoline-5701521.php

Yes BFL, IF the Siluria Technologies nano catalysts for OCM and then ETF prove out. OCM is looking very promising in the industrial scale pilot plant in Texas. ETF is looking good at lab scale so far. The horizontal drilling/fracking of natural gas shales, plus Siluria, would be a very welcome development. Not postponing peak oil, but definitely postponing its consequences for several decades. My fingers are crossed that this proves out. If Siluria ever goes public, I am in.
The FT process (PEARL in Qatar) is simply too expensive and inefficient to be realistic. Discussed in the books.
Forgive me if in a simple blog comment about a wrong point 7 I did not cover the entire oil waterfront in detail.

Janice, one last late friday night factual reply to your beliefs.
Water. Yup, effectively limitless thanks to the sun. I completely agree
Food, nope, because of arable land limitations given irrigation and best practices and yield improvements. Did you know (its in the book) that arable land per capita declined from 0.42 hectares per capita in 1961 to 0.2 in 2009? Or that FAO considers 0.25H/capita the absolute minimum for a healthy diverse diet? All in the book.
Fossil fuels plus annual biomass. You have to be joking, or are unaware of energy density. Sorry. We humans are presently consuming roughly 2 million years of photosynthetic biomass insolation per year. Your math just does not work. Earth took about 400 million years to deposit what remains of fossil fuels (a lot got lost in translation). Lets see, 400/2 means we will (rough approximation) use it all up in something about 200 years (at current average annual consumption). We have been pecking away at fossil fuels at an increasing rate since about 1800. There is not another 200 years to keep pecking away. They are fossils. They are finite. Period. And modern society depends utterly on them.
Greens are dead wrong about global warming. They latched onto the wrong problem in the wrong time frame. Nuclear (gen 4 fission is my preference) is a partial energy solution. Hybrid vehicles (partial electrification) are a partial energy solution. (I have driven a full hybrid car since 2007. Paid for itself with the initial subsidy, and then about twice since on fuel economy.) Conservation is a partial solution. (My farm house is now mostly R40. We cannot redo the old 1880s log cabin part. Chicago R35 town home is now a 90% efficient new gas furnace–could not go to 95% without rebuilding the chimney thanks to condensation. The new farm propane furnace is 95%.) Biofuels are a partial solution. (We heat my farm with a wood fired double walled furnace, intra wall heat electrically blown into the propane furnace plenum, whenever possible. Lots of oak and maple deadfall to cut, and the diesel 4WD tractor snakes it all out of the woodlots easily with professional grade logging chains. Problem for the world is that most people do not have 3 woodlots equalling 100 acres per family/house, or a diesel tractor, or gas powered chain saws.)
Wind and solar are NOT solutions because of cost and intermittency.
Regards.

And we definitely do not live on your budget but we live on a small acreage barter with neighbors for goods and services and so on, the acreage? it is .5 of an acre, large garden, fruit trees and so on, oh we also still know how to preserve our own stuff something of a lost art these days.

John Harmsworth

From what I have read recently materials science is steadily and substantially improving catalysts to make methanol from CO2 and H from water. Our knowledge of chemistry is enhanced by our knowledge of physics and is presently in a phase of revolutionary advancement. I appreciate your scholarly approach Ristvan but you are in the mindset of Malthus or pre 1905 physics. Have you read “The Singularity is Near”? Slightly optimistic I grant but I believe correct on a slightly longer time frame.

Paid for itself with the initial subsidy, …

You’re welcome (although I wasn’t really asked nicely to contribute to your transportation needs).

MarkW

“issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
Leftwingers have always been closet totalitarians.
And often, they don’t bother staying in that closet.

Big Bear

Nasty, creepy control freaks. They keep piling straws on the camel’s back…

MarkW

To be more precise, they pile loads onto other people’s backs. Never their own.

Abu Nudnik

Boo. All from 1970. All from the same magazine article? If so, pretty lazy. What about the predictions of sinking islands since then? Al Gore’s BS. Lazy, lazy.

Joe E in the IE

And one that always comes true:
Earth Day rallies will result in millions of taxpayer dollars spent on cleaning up trash, removing graffiti and repairing vandalism.

dwstick

And in police investigations of drug use, sexual assault and theft!

Dan

Earth Day is a stupid “holiday” invented by a bunch of smelly, draft-dodging hippies. Nobody cares about it but them.

Big Bear

Other than the usual media propaganda, I never hear anyone mention it. The pot smokers 4/20 holiday invokes a lot more banter.

There is no such thing as “earth day” moron!

dwstick

Famous Quotations Made Throughout World History:
Global Warming is real. The science is settled.
Phrenology is real. The science is settled.
Drapetomania is real. The science is settled.
Alchemy is real. The science is settled.
Astrology is real. The science is settled.

MarkW

The studies done by alchemists lead directly to the modern science of chemistry.
They were doing the best that they could with what was known back in the day.
At least when they did an experiment, they took sufficient notes that they, or their students could repeat those experiments and get the same results.

You forgot:
The science is settled on the issue of dietary fats.

Mr Happy Man

It’s amazing how many people believe these doomsday predictions. A couple of interesting trends that occur should be noted:
A. In the US, we reached peak oil consumption 20 years ago. Deceases have occurred not just to greater fuel efficiency, but also technology. The information revolution has cut down on the aggregate need for travel – including to work (it’s easy to work from home), to documentation (emails, texting, chat, etc. don’t need a person to deliver them) to buying (one FedEx or UPS van delivering Amazon-purchased products uses a lot less fuel than having all those customers going to the mall or big box store) to some products themselves (people can get the material from a book via download, and don’t need the physical item shipped). Also, better transit systems have helped cut down on individuals commuting. And companies can open small satellite offices, cost effectively, for shorter commute times (which will be necessary to obtain good employees, who cannot afford to live near code downtown areas and will choose jobs closer to home. This trend is likely to improve if 3D printers take off – a large amount of plastic to “print” a lot of items requires a lot less trips than the purchase of those small items.
2) The demographic problems won’t be an increasing population, it will be a shrinking population. Developed countries have long had birth rates below replacement levels, and those governments are very concerned about population declines – like Japan (exacerbated by the fact that their society doesn’t permit immigration).Now, two of the regions that once had the largest source of population increases are near or below replacement levels – east Asia and Latin America (this is why Mexican immigration has almost ground to a halt, as there are fewer people to send since their birth rate is just above replacement levels, and the economy has improved to the point where there is little difference in standard of living if they stay, or come here). Kids are costly, especially for urbanites, and as societies urbanize the population have less kids. The only two regions left with population rates above replacement rates – Africa and the Middle East. And even there those are declining, due again to urbanization. In the largest countries there there are demographic problems – in Iran, the population replacement rate is below 2.0. Even in India, the rate is just barely above replacement levels.
I suspect we could very well see a worldwide population decline in out lifetimes, simply due to the fact that people won’t have kids. China dumped it’s one-child policy because couples happily follow the principle without coercion, and China is now concerned about a population crash. Same goes for much of the world.

A fact correction to your point A. 20 full years ago was 1995. According to EIA, 1995 US consumption of crude oil was 6.47Bbbl. In 2015 it was 7.08Bbbl. You are correct it has declined since the peak in 2005 at 7.59Bbbl. Main factors are more efficient vehicles, closure of old resid fueled electric power plants, and offshoring to Middle East of petrochemicals. FPL shut its last two oil generating stations in Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in 2013 (total almost 4 GW) in favor of CCGT at same locations fed from a new Florida pipeline. Oil at $100/bbl, gas at $2.50/mbtu made that a no brainer. Good for a maybe a hundred thousand barrels/yr all by itself. ~20% of the swing since 2005.

danzo

I remember my science teacher (the cool one that everyone loved) parroting these predictions back in 1970 when I was in the 10th grade and it had a devastating effect on me and my classmates. We had private discussions about why even bother going to college and thinking about the families we were(n’t) going to raise. Some of my classmates became very despondent … some suicidal. I was freaked out and frightened for what lay ahead. It wasn’t until almost a year later, while working on a summer construction job that a construction worker set me straight — something I will ever be thankful for.
I have nothing but contempt for these idiots who briefly stole our optimism for the future. May they rest in hell.

peter H

So, you let a construction worker ‘set you straight’ from the predictions of a science teacher….? OK.

David A

Apparently the Construction worker was right! Truth is not a respecter of title.
Ristvan may be right on some of his assertions, but likely not correct on others, (I respect his research) For a review on why we will not run out of energy, stuff, and food (except for political social caused crisis) read these…
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/
https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/grains-and-why-food-will-stay-plentiful/
RISTVAN, I particularly recommend you read the post about food, but I think that all of them will somewhat balance your perspective, which IMV is as I say while not wrong, I think it not quite correct either. In particular I think you underestimate the capacity to change and adapt. You will find the thoughts in the “no-shortage-of-stuff” post provocative I think,

Big Bear

While infinite growth with finite resources is impossible, the current consumer society isn’t going anywhere for a while.

MarkW

Knowledge is the ultimate resource, and if it isn’t infinite, it’s pretty close.

MarkW. You are correct. But knowledge also constrains. So far as we know, nothing can go faster than the speed of light, even though sicfi disagrees. So far as we know, natural photosynthetic efficiency is about 1% in the tropics, and about 1/3 to 1/2 less in temperate zones except where crops are optimally spaced (a shade thing). (See book references.) So far as we know, the laws of thermodynamics govern heat to electricity/motive power conversion efficiency.
Magic thinking is interesting, but not knowledge. And energy physics is not internet/Moores Law physics. You are hopeful. I am less so. An energy crunch is coming, followed by a food crunch. Around 2050 plus or minus a decade or so. Regards.

commieBob

Experts of all types should have to take an ethics exam like the one that engineers take. One of the most important things is that engineers must restrict their work to areas where they have actual expertise. For instance, civil engineers should not design Wheatstone bridges. 🙂
Experts must be made to understand their limitations. To that end, they should have to pass an exam proving that they understand “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?” by Philip E. Tetlock. In it, Tetlock demonstrates that a dart-throwing monkey is better at predicting the outcome of chaotic situations than are experts. They should also be held liable for inaccurate predictions.
The media should also be held responsible for publishing predictions that don’t come true.
It won’t happen … but it should.

‘In the year 2525, if man is still alive/ if woman can survive/they may find

skeohane

There’s a 47 year-old prediction.

willys36

Do not confuse meteorology with climatology. The former is a true science of predicting near-term weather patterns and has a success rate of well over 50%. Climatology on the other hand is a semi-religion and overt political movement with zero scientific underpinning. As a religion, it is akin to Astrology except Astrology has a vastly better prediction record. As a political movement, it is a constant stream of outright lies, all aimed at bolstering the anti-Capitalist, pro-Marxist agenda.

MarkW

Meteorology also has a clear track record of improvement over time.

Keep saying astrology, I dare you!

John Harmsworth

Well over 50%? Spoken like a true disciple of the cult of channel 7.

Josh

And snow will soon be a thing of the past.

conans River

To be fair:
1) They still had lead in gasoline
2)Population growth was on a steep curve
3) Pollution was being emitted without scrubbers
So, these people made us change our ways. They were not idiots.

They were indeed idiots.
Reasonable identify and fix problems. For example the worst air pollution was caused by heating with coal.
Of course there was a time when only rich enjoyed central heating with a coal furnace.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

In some places the worst air pollution still comes from combusting coal, not because it is coal but because it is not combusted properly. In other places they solved the coal combustion problem and the worst air pollution comes from biomass combustion. In yet other places they burn the biomass properly so the worst air pollution is from vehicles. At least in the case of ‘vehicles’ we correctly blame the combustor and not the fuel. So in further places they burn the vehicle fuels properly and the worst air pollution comes from road dust, farms and desert winds. There is always something that is a source of ‘air pollution’. The Sahara Desert is a massive source of PM2.5 air pollution. Without it there would be a lot less rain west of Dakar. If the EPA ran the world there would be a lot less rain. Fact.
For those worrying about inherent emissions from fuels consider that sulphur-free liquid fuels are made from coal! And who leads that technology? Little South Africa. Necessity is a mother. Oh yeah, of invention. South African coals are really rubbish for the most part but they have enough to last for several millennia. The coal belt from Tajikistan to Mongolia has hardly been touched, trillions of tons of it. In a thousand years we will still be mining these resources to fashion the materials and fuels needed to sustain life.
We have no clue as to the inventions that will occur in the coming millennia, particularly regarding energy. We know darned well that the transmutation of elements is a limitless source of energy. Plug ‘limitless energy’ into the ‘sustainability equation’ and see what changes in the prophecies. It completely overturns the doomcaster’s eschatological fantasies.
The biggest threats to peace, security and life on Earth are the false gods of nationalism, communism and materialism. Catastrophic climatism is a form of materialism that uses the false flag of ‘custodianship’ as an excuse to devalue human existence.
If you shake hands with a climate catastrophist count your fingers afterwards. The Paris Accord is going to cost us $15 trillion. Follow the money to find out who is behind it. Some of them really do believe in the creation of a ‘fiat climate’, fiat currencies and fiat ethics. Fiat ethics of course leads to fiat morality and the fiat authority necessary to enforce it. The Copenhagen Agreement outlines that fiat authority. The Paris Accord prescribes the fiat morality. As was the case in the USSR, they will work out an ethical foundation upon which it is based, later. The short term plan is more practical and material: grab the fiat currency and run.

MarkW

Even if nothing had been done, none of the catastrophies they predicted would have come about.
PS, assuming that what is happening today will continue unchanged forever is the ultimate idiocy.
PS: Nobody did anything to reduce the population growth rate. It did so on it’s own as prosperity spread around the world. Something these idiots wanted to stop. (and still do)

Susan

Don’t forget how many regulations have required that we improve the environment since 1970. We now have the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, emission standards for vehicles, and on and on – yet still we have incidents like Flint Michigan that should embarrass us beyond measure. In 2016 we are still poisoning our children.

We are not poisoning our children. Please go to the CDC website and show me where were we are poisoning out children.
I suspect that Susan is clueless about regulations and a drama major at her junior college. Save levels are several orders of magnitude below the level where and adverse affect is detected and many more levels below what would be considered a poison.

MarkW

I’m willing to bet that Susan is one of those people who thinks any radiation, no matter how little, will result in death.

Er, Flint in Michigan.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

Stop beating up Susan. We are poisoning our children, with their minds being the major affected organ. The food supply is full of junk. The world of medicine, for all it could and should do, has gone berserk. The spiritual foundations of society are askew. We are being reduced to ‘consumer units’, a modern, less rebellious version of the ‘worker unit’. Children are the victims of everything from Ritalin to ‘Your father’s car kills polar bears.’ Oh yeah, there’s plenty of poison about.

MarkW

The problems at Flint were because the govt holds itself above the law and wasn’t following the regulations that were in place.
The legislative acts that you mention were the equivalent of killing flies with sledgehammers, causing way more damage than the prevented.

And let’s not forget about the contribution of Ira Einhorn to the Philly earth day 1970:
http://iceagenow.info/earth-days-dirty-secret-ira-einhorn/

Earth is unforgiving, it will take everyone you love, give you hope and take it from you, Earth will consume you just to let you know there is an “earth day” or something! Ironic!