‘We must realize that unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Fanatical environmentalists have been predicting doomsday more than half a century—yet, the apocalypse has not arrived, and the facts do not indicate that it will arrive any time soon.
Nonetheless, today’s far-left Green New Deal advocates are warning of similar calamity unless the United States federal government spends trillions to socialize the economy and transform America’s energy sector.
In commemoration of the doomsayers’ milestone 50th anniversary, the Competitive Enterprise Institute posted “Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions” to provide some perspective in hindsight that might assuage end-of-the-world fears.
A 1967 Los Angeles Times article claimed “it is already too late for the world to avoid a long period of famine.”
Stanford University Biologist Paul Ehrlich said food production would not keep up with population growth, causing “disastrous” consequences by 1975. Neither famine nor widespread starvation came to pass.
Ehrlich advanced similar solutions to those of the modern-day Democratic Party—including population control through abortion, “involuntary” birth control and sterilization. He suggested that the world begin to put “sterilizing agents” into food and water.
The New York Times took Ehrlich’s sensationalist bait two years later, when a reporter wrote an article titled, “Foe of Pollution Sees Lack of Time.”
The paper quoted Ehrlich claiming, “The trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you’re dead.”
He pushed back his doomsday prediction.
“We must realize that unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years,” said Ehrlich, a 37-year-old at the time.
The environmental radicals had not yet coalesced to determine whether they would present a global warming or global cooling agenda. Today’s radicals have learned that lesson, vaguely referring to unspecified claims about climate change or a climate crisis.
The Boston Globe reported the prediction of James P. Lodge, a researcher at the national center for Atmospheric Research, in 1970: “Air pollution may obliterate the sun and cause a new ice age in the first third of the next century.”
Lodge said the cause of the coming ice age was an “increase in electric power generation” and a “consumption of oxygen” that exceeds “processes which return oxygen to the atmosphere.”
His solutions were standard: population control, a “less wasteful standard of living” (i.e., a lower standard of living), and a “major technological breakthrough.”
The global population and standard of living have both increased rapidly since 1970, but the latter solution did arrive, with cleaner fossil fuels, especially natural gas.
Ehrlich asserted new dire predictions in a 1970 article from the Redlands Daily Facts.
He said the “oceans will be as dead as Lake Erie” in less than 10 years.
He predicted “America will be subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980.”
The next year, S.I. Rasool, a NASA scientist and Columbia University professor, predicted an impending ice age if the world continued to burn fossil fuels for “five to 10” years.
By 1978, The New York Times had reported that there was “no end in sight to 30-year cooling trend.”
Ten years later, The Miami News reported that droughts would increase as the world temperature reached its hottest ever.