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2020 hindsight

06 Jan 2021 | OP ED Watch

No, this item is not about COVID and lockdowns. Rather, it’s about the fact that because people like round numbers, a surprising number of alarmist predictions of climate disaster were meant to happen “by 2020” which means it is time to check how clear the crystal ball was. Thus over at Junk Science they praise a video by Climate Resistance that rightly castigates alarmists including James Hansen for all the gloom-laden predictions that didn’t come anywhere close to happening. We don’t expect everyone to be right all the time, and we realize it is difficult to make predictions especially about the future. But we do expect people to admit their errors and, if they make enough of them, to adopt a more seemly tone of humility in making their next forecast. Especially if what they repeatedly say is that everyone must do the drastic things they demand at once or face disaster, and insult or even threaten anyone who dares contest their claims.

While praising other people’s gimlet-eyed look at past alarmist predictions we also invite you to look at our own video based on the research done by Extinctionclock.org, because it is true that a lot of people have made a lot of predictions and it would be unfair to cherry-pick silly claims from the fringes and call them mainstream. But far too many of these predictions come from what passes for the mainstream and there ought to be a cost in credibility for those who continually churn them out or regurgitate them if it turns out they are not just dependably wrong, but dependably wrong in a particular direction.

Speaking of the mainstream, we also want to emphasize that organizations like the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have not, at least in their more serious scientific publications, said what so many activists and politicians claim they have said. The Summaries for Policymakers are somewhat suspicious, not least because they are not just written for but by policymakers, often without any real scientific scrutiny. But the Working Group reports, as we have noted on a number of occasions, are far more restrained in what they say is happening and the degree of certainty they attach to gloomy forecasts. And the same is true of many scientists who do think man-made climate change is at least potentially problematic but are responsible in their line of argument and their predictions.

Even these groups and individuals, in large measure, are still guilty of breathing second-hand fire because they have not used their position and authority to push back against the madness. Including making Greta Thunberg the face of alarmism when she plainly did not understand anything at all about the science, and refusing to denounce ridiculous predictions of doom “by 2020”. They ought to realize that it brings their more sober concerns into disrepute, because the debate has been hijacked by the screamers. And to a large extent it brings science as a whole into disrepute (as does governments thrashing about on COVID while sonorously claiming to be following “the science” even while flipflopping on policy without scientists objecting).

On that basis we venture our own prediction: In the coming year we will hear a great deal of nonsense about what is going to happen “by 2030” if we do not adopt extreme measures to combat global warming. But almost none about 2029 or 2031. And without any accounting for why all the 2020 predictions were so wrong. Which is a warning that we are hearing hype not science, from people with dismal track records.

2 comments on “2020 hindsight”

  1. By now, most people ignore the doomsayers, they have been wrong almost every time. Growing up in the sixties, you would have been amazed that we would even reach 2020. We have not run out of oil. Except for regional scarcities, we can reliably feed our billions. Even wars and deaths from wars has dropped.

  2. When I attended university in the early 1970’s, the prevailing belief was that oil was going to run out by 1984. Didn’t happen.

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