These days we don't have to look far to find dreadful predictions of future environmental disasters. It has been that way for decades, and the predictions change about as regularly as the fashions in mail order catalogs.
In the 1970s a report by the Club of Rome warned of impending environmental disasters, one of which was that we deplete various essential minerals by the 1980s and that the world would run out of petroleum and natural gas by the early 1990s. Did these things happen? No.
Walter Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University pointed out that in the 1970s Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and that:
“…hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich also predicted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989. He had even gloomier predictions for England. He said:
“If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”
Ehrlich was not the only academic with that opinion. In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out terrifying full-page ads that said:
“The World as we know it will likely be ruined by year 2000.”
And Harvard professor George Wald in 1970 made another dire prediction,
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
It is also pertinent remember that forty years ago the mantra of environmentalists was not global warming but global cooling.
Case in point: Environmentalist Nigel Calder warned on the first ‘Earth Day’ that:
“The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”
C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said:
“The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”
What should we as a society do with this information? Well, we should learn from history and remember that most alarming environmental predictions never happen. Today's Global Warming alarmism has a lot more to do with the transfer of wealth than with any impact we might have on the environment. Solar cycles are more likely the cause than anything else. Mars is getting hotter too, and nobody is driving SUVs around up there. The scientists and politicians who claim to believe in Global Warming are, quite interestingly, the ones who will benefit the most from the study of it and the response to it.