BTW, You Really Don’t Need To Worry About Prophesies Of Doom And Gloom

Writing over at Wired, Matt Ridley exposes the constantly litany of enviroweenie/Warmist prognostications of doooooooom, along with other end of the world as we know it crazies (via Climate Depot)

Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times

When the sun rises on December 22, as it surely will, do not expect apologies or even a rethink. No matter how often apocalyptic predictions fail to come true, another one soon arrives. And the prophets of apocalypse always draw a following—from the 100,000 Millerites who took to the hills in 1843, awaiting the end of the world, to the thousands who believed in Harold Camping, the Christian radio broadcaster who forecast the final rapture in both 1994 and 2011.

Religious zealots hardly have a monopoly on apocalyptic thinking. Consider some of the environmental cataclysms that so many experts promised were inevitable. Best-selling economist Robert Heilbroner in 1974: “The outlook for man, I believe, is painful, difficult, perhaps desperate, and the hope that can be held out for his future prospects seem to be very slim indeed.” Or best-selling ecologist Paul Ehrlich in 1968: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s [“and 1980s” was added in a later edition] the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked on now … nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Or Jimmy Carter in a televised speech in 1977: “We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”

Predictions of global famine and the end of oil in the 1970s proved just as wrong as end-of-the-world forecasts from millennialist priests. Yet there is no sign that experts are becoming more cautious about apocalyptic promises. If anything, the rhetoric has ramped up in recent years. Echoing the Mayan calendar folk, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight at the start of 2012, commenting: “The global community may be near a point of no return in efforts to prevent catastrophe from changes in Earth’s atmosphere.”

Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 1972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening predictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes.

Yet, all these things have not come to pass: they world hasn’t descended into a Mel Gibson apocalyptic Mad Max society. As Matt rightly points out, yes, there are problems, some solvable, some not, but they aren’t going to doom the planet. In fact, these absurd, over the top, hysterical, we’re all dooooooomed!!!!! type prognostications usually end up with policy prescriptions that are worse than the original issue, which wasn’t all that bad to start with. Matt mentions, in the final paragraph, how the push for biofuels leads to environmental degradation and clear-cutting of forests of all stripes, increasing the release of CO2 and causing hunger and poverty. Consider Palm Oil.

Palm oil is used for more than just biofuels: it’s often used for cooking. Girls who participate in the Girl Scouts have been trying for years to get the national organization to stop using the oil in their cookies. Why? Because forests are decimated to create land to farm the palm oil, which kills off the life. In many cases, hunters are paid to intentionally kill off all the wildlife, especially orangutans. But, it’s really the use of palm oil as a biofuel that is driving this environmental destruction. Thanks, Warmists! Every orangutan killed is on your conscience.

Australian Climate Madness has a great take on what happens with all these scary predictions

What’s the betting that climate alarmism will eventually be relegated to the dustbin of failed environmental scares? They all have several things in common:

  • an element of reality, which can be large or small;
  • which in each case is elevated to a full-blown scare;
  • by activists, who are usually driven by emotional, political, financial or other non-scientific motives;
  • the scare will command wall-to-wall media coverage, often for many years;
  • eventually, however, possibly decades later, it will be shown to have been exaggerated;
  • followed by a collective wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth from those in power;
  • and the public becomes ever more cynical and untrusting of such prophesies in the future.

Unfortunately, these over the top harbingers can cause damage for decades. It’s been 50 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and the deaths of tens of millions of humans lie at her feet thanks to the banning (sometimes outright bans, sometimes it’s “if you use it, you won’t get any of our sweet, sweet foreign aid money”) of the use of DDT. (See The Green Death and The Lies Of Rachel Carson)

Of course, the most interesting part about the extreme environmental and Warmist movements is that they never seem to worry about these things enough to change their own behavior. They don’t give up fossil fuels, they aren’t unplugging every appliance when not in use, they still use air conditioners, and, oh, “there’s a slight chance of contracting West Nile virus in my area? Let’s spray to stop it! Who cares if that messes up the food chain!”

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8 Responses to “BTW, You Really Don’t Need To Worry About Prophesies Of Doom And Gloom”

  1. Gumball_Brains says:

    I heard that the world is going to end this August.
    I plan to freak out for the umptienth time beginning Wednesday.

    They wouldn’t lie about that… would they?

    … would they?

  2. Didn’t you know that they are predicting that this Extreme Heat Wave will be replaced by cold and snow in a few months, ending life as we know it?

  3. john says:

    it is always those religious based nuts that are always hoping for the end of the world and the end times. Remember when all those “Rapture” books were at teh top of the USA best seller lists? The Rapture is Coming don’t get left behind. The secular types don’t really go for taht stuff, they are more “reality based” than those far out christians who believe in Adam and Eve and all that

  4. Gumball_Brains says:

    Don’t you know, that it is the anti-religious zealots who refuse to acknowledge that anything outside their realm might actually happen WITHOUT their input or control?

    Why are they the ones decrying “tolerance” and then attempt to stamp down all religious expression? And then claim it is a matter of tolerance.

    But, let me ask you this, what business is it of yours? Why do you bother? What kind of miniscule harm would it do to your small little basement world if a religious person did believe that their savior\messiah was going to be coming soon to “rapture” them off of what they see as a corrupt\evil\uncivilized planet?

    Granted, they would stop paying the taxes that supports your welfare, but what business is it of yours?!?!?!

    And, you would be greatly surprised how much of that “left behind” market was driven by sectarian interest.

    The apocalyptic Left Behind books, co-written by Christian authors Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, have set various publishing records over the last several years. The eight existing volumes, along with special versions written for younger readers, have sold more than 45 million copies. That figure that will soon jump as the ninth installment is released October 30, with an initial print run of 2.8 million copies.

    The Left Behind series includes 12 books which have sold over 60 million copies worldwide.

  5. Yes, John, some religious folks do get a little crazy. There are also many folks who push end of the world conspiracies from an environmental and globull warming perspective. In fact, that’s all they are pushing. Doom and gloom.

  6. chizeled says:

    well it’s difficult not to be concerned about doom and gloom when it’s obvious, at least to me, that whether Obama or Romney win then U.S. sovereignty will be ceded to the U.N. Research indicates that both Obama and Romney’s biggest donor is Goldman Sachs. There is no reason to believe that anything will change under Romney. Furthermore, Paul Ryan is also supposedly guilty of insider trading involving Goldman Sachs:
    http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/paul-ryan-insider-trading-story-wont-die-because-its-legitimate

    Obama has already apparently ceded our sovereignty:
    http://www.independentsentinel.com/2012/02/obamas-war-on-the-constitution-how-he-is-ceding-u-s-sovereignty/

    Although I believe that Obama and Romney are both criminals, a possible reason why Obama keeps talking about Romney’s records is because Obama knows that Romney is a criminal. For example, Romney supposedly committed voter fraud: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-20/politics/31371937_1_ann-romney-massachusetts-governor-residency

    Also, have you ever wondered why Romney destroyed his office records while he was governor? Romney may not want people to know that Bain owned a company called Stericycle that disposed of aborted fetuses. Although some say that Romney severed ties with Bain in 2002, Bain went on to haul in huge profits from Stericycle’s disposal of aborted babies from 2002-2004 while Romney was governor. I speculate that at least some of the paperwork that Romney destroyed while he was governor may have documented Romney’s involvement in coordinating state funded abortions in Romneycare. Did Bain-owned Stericycle profit in any way from any legislation that Romney may have enacted or coordinated between 2002-2004?
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/romney-bain-abortion-stericycle-sec

    if you don’t think those are reasons to believe in apocalyptic gloom and doom then you’re going to be mighty surprised when the religious zealots turn out to be right!

  7. Gumball_Brains says:

    OMG.. you are right!!! Why didn’t I see it before. THe ties between Bain, Sachs, Soros, Bilderbergs, Religious dogma, and Jesus. YES, of course. It all make sense now.

  8. i don’t think there is apocalypse coming any time soon in future!!

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