Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Earth Day In Retrospect

On April 22, Earth Day came and went without even a casual mention by us in this Daily Dispatch. At first I thought this was the correct approach, as even a passing word on the event could lend it credence. But now I’m of the opinion that since this past Earth Day marked its 40th anniversary, it’s worth revisiting the day’s beginnings.
And before you rake me over the coals for “not caring about Mother Earth,” I’d like you to know that I (usually) bring my own reusable grocery bag to the store, refill water bottles numerous times, refrain from littering, recycle, and generally try to live in a way that doesn’t pollute my surroundings. I have no problem with these sorts of activities. What I have a problem with are the outlandish claims made by climate alarmists that aren’t rooted in sound science.
Forty years ago, when Earth Day was born, many dire predictions were being made about our species’ impact on the environment, and it’s important to know what those claims were, so you can judge the historical accuracy of the climate change movement.
Here’s a link to an excellent article on the subject titled “Earth Day 2010 – Celebrating 40 years of outrageous predictions of doom.”
The claims cited in the article include:

~The founder of Earth Day, Senator Gaylord Nelson, famously proclaimed that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years [1995], somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

~One of the more interesting statements made by Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of the largely discredited book The Population Bomb, was that “at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” The esteemed Dr. Ehrlich also warned that air pollution would “take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”

~North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter echoed Ehrlich’s predictions of death. He said, “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, thirty years from now, the entire world with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

~In one of its 1970 issues, Life Magazine wrote that “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support… the following predictions: 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…”

~Manmade climate change was around back then, but it wasn’t global warming that they were worried about, it was global cooling. Kenneth Watt, professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis, warned, “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

So, when you hear the great Al Gore spout dire predictions about the days ahead and why such future events are “certain,” it might behoove you to recall the dire predictions made by other “experts” over the years and to ponder whether the seers of today are likely to be any more accurate. I would bet not.

No comments: