This blog stands proudly on the rubble of its forecasting reputation, it being the product of the daft old coot somewhat myopic old gentleman who runs this place! However, when it comes to getting things hopelessly wrong on a regular basis we have nothing on the peer-reviewed (as they constantly remind us!) prats who constitute what I call the HAFs - the Hot Air Fanatics. Nobody, surely, needs to be reminded of Paul Ehrlich's daft bet (with Julian Simon) that his even dafter forecast of huge rises in the cost of raw materials would come true over ten years - it didn't but to his credit he paid up.
Then there were the sundry sillies who forecast the end of those nice 'cuddly-wuddly' polar bears. Back in 2008, Prof. Armstrong of Pennsylvania University, wrote to Sen. Boxer, one of the dippiest Democrat politicians to rise to emminence in la-la-land California:
We found the forecasts of declining polar bear numbers contained in the government’s administrative reports were not the product of scientific forecasting methods. Given the large current population of bears and the upward trend in the population, our findings lead to the conclusion that there is no scientific basis for listing polar bears. Indeed, a reliance on evidence-based forecasting suggests that it is more likely that the polar bear population will increase rather than decrease.
In 2012, as reported by the Global Bet site, Paul Waldie in The Globe and Mail wrote:
“The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.”
Well, as the late Mr. Freddy Mercury put it, "Boom-boom, boom-boom, and another one bites the dust - heh-heh!" But there are more, as the indefatigable Anthony Watts reports:
“By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.
And what, according to yet more experts, is the major problem facing this country today - mass starvation? Er, no, obesity, actually!
The Limits to Growth (1972) – projected the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and natural gas by 1993. It also stated that the world had only 33-49 years of aluminum resources left, which means we should run out sometime between 2005-2021. (See Donella Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind.
Pity, Ms. Meadows, that you didn't live long enough to see just how daft you were, but then again, you were so daft you could have lived to be a hundred and still failed to notice the elephant in your living room!
Claim: In 1974, the US Geological Survey announced “at 1974 technology and 1974 price” the US had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.
Data: The American Gas Association said that gas supplies were sufficient for the next 1,000-2,500 years. (Julian Simon, Population Matters. New Jersey: Transaction Publications, 1990): p. 90.
Heh, that trouble-maker Julian Simon again! And today, thanks to fracking, the USA is on the way to being self-sufficient in energy.
Claim 1970: “In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” Paul Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970.
Has anyone been more wrong, more often and with greater consistency than Paul Ehrlich? Anyway, moving closer to home on this snowy, freezing day, here is a report in “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” The Independent. March 20, 2000:
“Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.”
“Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and … are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters–which scientists are attributing to global climate change–produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.”
“London’s last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.” “Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community.”
According to Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is” and winter snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.” Interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.
“David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow.”
What can one say? Except possibly to ask if Messrs. Viner and Parker have been fired and are today employed on road-gritting duties on our snow-covered highways? Take that as a 'no', shall I? Anyway, always positive, let me make a useful suggestion. Burning Guy Fawkes's effigy every 5th of November is becoming rather pointless because our 'Skool Sistum' no longer teaches any history prior to the 1960s when sex was invented so it means nothing to our kiddie-winkies. So instead, let's have an 'Ehrlich Day'. We don't have to burn effigies of him, just have enormous blow-up balloons of him which, as the fireworks go off, we can release into the air and watch him whizz around in circles and deflate as all the hot air rushes out. Can't wait!