The Accuracy of Environmentalist Predictions

by | Nov 3, 1997

Before we accept environmentalists' claims that the sky is falling, let's survey some of their past predictions.

In December, President Clinton goes to Kyoto, Japan to talk about warding off a predicted calamity of global-warming. He’s going to return and tell us that high energy taxes are necessary to reduce coal, oil and natural gas consumption. There’s no dispute that energy taxes will hurt our economy and standard of living.

Before we accept environmentalists’ claims that the sky is falling, let’s survey some of their past predictions.

At the first Earth Day celebration, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “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.

In 1968, Paul Erlich, Vice President Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted world famine by 1977 and the earth’s 5 billion population starving back to 2 billion people by 2025.

In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, “The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000. World food production cannot keep pace with the galloping population.”

Environmentalists switched their prediction; now it’s global-warming. But is there warming? The facts are that since 1870, the Earth’s temperature has risen one-half of 1 degree Celsius; most of this nearly imperceptible warming occurred before World War II. Study results of satellites and high-altitude balloons show that if anything there’s slight cooling. But, if there was global-warming, it might be a Godsend since the average interval between ice ages is 10,000 years; we’re already 11,000 years into a warm period.

But what about man and carbon dioxide emissions? Dr. Margaret Maxey, geophysicist at Texas Tech estimates that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxides into the atmosphere than all of the activities of industrial man. According to Science (11/82), termites annually generate more than twice as much carbon dioxide as mankind does burning fossil fuels. One termite species annually emits 600,000 metric tons of formic acid into the atmosphere, an amount equal to the combined contributions of automobiles, refuse combustion and vegetation. Humans contribute only five percent of atmospheric carbon dioxide; nature does the rest.

Political satirist H.L. Mencken warned, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” The environmentalist agenda is more sinister. While the Soviet Union has collapsed, communism is not dead. It has been repackaged under a new name: environmentalism. Communism is about extensive government regulation and control by elites and so is environmentalism.

Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda. Dr. Richard Allison, professor of environmental management at the University of Houston recently said, “There is no other single force that has opened up the private sector to the public more than environmental regulations. There is no such thing as private industry anymore. It’s all public.” Barry Commoner said, “Capitalism is the earth’s number one enemy.” Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, “On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument.” Leftist Murray Bookchin, said, “The immediate source of the ecological crisis is capitalism which is a cancer in the biosphere. I believe the color of radicalism today is not red, but green.”

Not all environmentalists share this anti-American, anti-capitalist agenda. They’re honest, well-meaning people but they’re also useful idiots for the leftist agenda.

Walter Williams (March 31, 1936 – December 1, 2020) was an American economist, commentator, academic, and columnist at Capitalism Magazine. He was the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a syndicated editorialist for Creator's Syndicate. He is author of Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?, and numerous other works.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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