Haven’t we heard all this before?
If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right, we are a decade from the end of the world. But it’s hard to take seriously the doomsday claim from the congresswoman from New York, not only in light of some of her past pronouncements, but because history is definitely not on her side.
The topic is climate change, and there’s certainly plenty of evidence that it exists, and that man contributes to it. But the answer is not the toothless Paris Accord that President Joe Biden was only too happy to jump back into — the U.S. is already rare among world leaders trying to do anything about climate change, and most of the proposals of the past 30 years have been designed to bankrupt us while allowing other major nations to continue unchecked.
But let’s forget about that for now. Let’s just take a glance at dire climate predictions over the last 50 years from a variety of news sources. Many of the predictions seem outrageously funny today:
¯ 1967 — Salt Lake Tribune: Dire Famine Forecast by 1975, Already Too Late
¯ 1969 — New York Times: “Unless we are extremely lucky, everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years. The situation will get worse unless we change our behavior.”
¯ 1970 — Boston Globe: Scientist Predicts New Ice Age by 21st Century said James P. Lodge, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
¯ 1971 — Washington Post: Disastrous New Ice Age Coming says S.I. Rasool at NASA.
¯ 1972 — Brown University Letter to President Nixon: Warning on Global Cooling
¯ 1974 — The Guardian: Space Satellites Show Ice Age Coming Fast
¯ 1974 — Time Magazine: Another Ice Age “Telling signs everywhere. Since the 1940s mean global temperatures have dropped 2.7 degrees F.”
¯ 1974 — “Ozone Depletion a Great Peril to Life” University of Michigan Scientist
¯ 1976 — New York Times The Cooling: University of Wisconsin climatologist Stephen Schneider laments about the “deaf ear his warnings received.”
¯ 1988 — Agence France Press: Maldives will be Completely Under Water in 30 Years.
¯ 1989 — Associated Press: UN Official Says Rising Seas to ‘Obliterate Nations’ by 2000.
¯ 1989 — Salon: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019 said Jim Hansen, the scientist who lectured Congress in 1988 about the greenhouse effect.
¯ 2000 — The Independent: “Snowfalls are a thing of the past. Our children will not know what snow is,” says senior climate researcher.
¯ 2004 — The Guardian: The Pentagon Tells Bush Climate Change Will Destroy Us. “Britain will be Siberian in less than 20 years,” the Pentagon told Bush.
¯ 2008 — Associated Press: NASA Scientist says “We’re Toast. In 5-10 years the Arctic will be Ice Free”
¯ 2008 — Al Gore: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013.
¯ 2009 — The Independent: Prince Charles says Just 96 Months to Save the World. “The price of capitalism is too high.”
¯ 2009 — The Independent: Gordon Brown says “We have fewer than 50 days to save our planet from catastrophe.”
¯ 2013 — The Guardian: The Arctic will be Ice Free in Two Years. “The release of a 50 gigaton of methane pulse” will destabilize the planet.
¯ 2013 — The Guardian: US Navy Predicts Ice Free Arctic by 2016. “The US Navy’s department of Oceanography uses complex modeling to makes its forecast more accurate than others.”
¯ 2014 — John Kerry: “We have 500 days to Avoid Climate Chaos” discussed Sec of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious at a joint meeting.
Thankfully, we ducked that whole ice age thing. Perhaps the Chicken Littles of the day should review this 50-year list of failed eco-pocalyptic predictions before making any more — and perhaps consider whether we really have enough data to call the last day accurately, or whether this is all part of a natural cycle we can’t really control.