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Environment

Chronicles of Failed Doomsaying

Gregg Easterbrook, author of one of the better books on the environment over the last 20 years (1995's A Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism) coined what he called "Easterbrook's law of doomsaying"--"Predict dreadful events whose arrival impends no sooner than 5 years hence, no later than 10. That time window is near enough to cause worry, far enough off that when it actually rolls around everyone will have forgotten what you predicted." 

But in the age of Google, it is easier to go back and check on these serial blunders.  So as Britain was paralyzed with huge snowstorm a few months ago a number of folks went back and dredged up the climate campaign's predictions that winter snowfalls in Britain would soon (as in, by now) be a thing of historical memory.

Yesterday, Gavin Atkins of Asian Correspondent.com notes that just a few years ago the UN Environment Programme predicted there would be 50 million climate refugees by the year 2010.    And so Atkins sensibly asks, um. . . where are they?  He noted we have census figures for the areas identified as most vulnerable, such as the Tuvalu Islands, and finds in every case that population is still growing.

(Hat tip: Benny Peiser.)

Categories > Environment

Discussions - 3 Comments

We needs lots more of such fact-checking and debunking. With global mass media it has become far too easy to rile people up (thereby opening up their wallets) and then fade back into the background, cash in hand.

Keep up the good work!

It's important to keep in mind that the UN didn't intend any of that to be factual statements.

It happens to the best of us, Steven. I recall that you have also experienced something of this sort - only in your case you weren't doomsaying, you were saying "No worries! Relax!":

http://nlt.ashbrook.org/2010/06/oil-spills--doh.php

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