Climate Alarmists Have Been Wrong About Virtually Everything
Written by Alex Newman
Not surprisingly, champions of the Paris accord are warning that U.S.
withdrawal will lead to global environmental devastation. Are they
correct? In answering this question, it is worthwhile looking at past
predictions climate doomsayers have made, and to compare their dire
warnings with what has actually happened. This article was originally
published in the Jan. 4, 2016 print issue of The New American magazine.
The 1975 Newsweek article entitled "The Cooling World," which claimed
Earth's temperature had been plunging for decades due to humanity's
activities, opens as follows:
There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to
change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline
in food production - with serious political implications for just about
every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon,
perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact
are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the
North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas -
parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia - where the
growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate
so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In
England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks
since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at
up to 100,000 tons annually.
The article quotes dire statistics from the National Academy of Sciences,
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Climatic
and Environmental Assessment, Columbia University, and the University of
Wisconsin at Madison to indicate how dire the global cooling was, and
Experts suggested grandiose schemes to alleviate the problems, including
"melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting
arctic rivers," Newsweek reported. It added, "The longer the planners
delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change
once the results become grim reality." Sound familiar - except that the
"climate change" alarmists were warning against global cooling?
For decades, climate alarmists have been warning that, without a United
Nations-run global "climate" regime to control human activity, alleged
man-made "climate change" will bring the wrath of "Mother Earth" down upon
They did it again from November 30 to December 11, 2015 at the Paris
Summit on Climate Change, and warned, yet again, that it is the "last
chance" to save humanity from itself. But climate alarmists have a long
history of forecasting disaster - and of being wrong about everything.
In fact, stretching back decades, virtually every alarmist prediction that
was testable has been proven embarrassingly wrong. What follows is just a
tiny sampling of those discredited claims.
1) A new ice age and worldwide starvation: In the 1960s and '70s, top
mainstream media outlets, such as Newsweek above, hyped the imminent
global-cooling apocalypse. Even as late as the early 1980s, prominent
voices still warned of potential doomsday scenarios owing to man-made
cooling, ranging from mass starvation caused by cooling-induced crop
failures to another "Ice Age" that would kill most of mankind.
Among the top global-cooling theorists were Obama's current "science
czar" John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich, the author of Population Bomb, which
predicted mass starvation worldwide. In the 1971 textbook Global Ecology,
the duo warned that overpopulation and pollution would produce a new ice
age, claiming that human activities are "said to be responsible for the
present world cooling trend." The pair fingered "jet exhausts" and "man-
made changes in the reflectivity of the earth's surface through
urbanization, deforestation, and the enlargement of deserts" as potential
triggers for his new ice age. They worried that the man-made cooling might
produce an "outward slumping in the Antarctic ice cap" and "generate a
tidal wave of proportions unprecedented in recorded history."
Holdren predicted that a billion people would die in "carbon-dioxide
induced famines" as part of a new "Ice Age" by the year 2020.
Ehrlich, a professor at Stanford University, similarly claimed in a 1971
speech at the British Institute for Biology, "By the year 2000 the United
Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by
some 70 million hungry people." He added, "If I were a gambler, I would
take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 and give ten
to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower
quality than it is today."
To stave off the allegedly impending ecological disasters, the two
alarmists demanded the implementation of "solutions." In the book
Ecoscience, the duo pushed a "planetary regime" to control resources, as
well as forced abortions and sterilization to stop overpopulation,
including drugging water and food supplies with sterilizing agents.
Countless other scientists have offered similar cooling warnings.
Fortunately, the alarmists were dead wrong, and none of their "solutions"
was implemented. Not only did "billions" of people not die from cooling-
linked crop failures, but the globe appears to have warmed slightly since
then, probably naturally, and agricultural productivity is higher than it
ever has been. Now, though, the boogeyman is anthropogenic global warming,
2) Global warming - temperature predictions: Perhaps nowhere has the
stunning failure of climate predictions been better illustrated than in
the "climate models" used by the UN. The UN climate bureaucracy, known as
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), produces periodic
reports on "climate science" - often dubbed the "Bible" of climatology. In
its latest iteration, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), the UN featured
73 computer models and their predictions. All of them "predicted" varying
degrees of increased warming as atmospheric concentrations of carbon
dioxide (CO2) increased.
The problem is that every single model was wrong - by a lot. Not only did
temperatures not rise by as much as the models predicted, they have failed
to rise at all since around 1996, according to data collected by five
official temperature datasets. Based just on the laws of probability, a
monkey rolling the dice would have done far better at predicting future
temperatures than the UN's models. That suggests deliberate fraud is
likely at work.
Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the
Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH),
analyzed all 73 UN computer models. "I compared the models with
observations in the key area - the tropics - where the climate models
showed a real impact of greenhouse gases," Christy told CNSNews. "I wanted
to compare the real world temperatures with the models in a place where
the impact would be very clear."
Using datasets of temperatures from NASA, the U.K. Hadley Centre for
Climate Prediction and Research at the University of East Anglia, NOAA,
satellites measuring atmospheric and deep oceanic temperatures, and a
remote sensor system in California, he found, "All show a lack of warming
over the past 17 years." In other words, global warming has been on
"pause" for almost two decades - a fact that has been acknowledged even by
many of the most zealous UN climate alarmists. "All 73 models' predictions
were on average three to four times what occurred in the real world."
No explanation for what happened to the warming - such as "the oceans ate
my global warming" - has withstood scrutiny.
Almost laughably, in its latest report, the UN IPCC increased its alleged
"confidence" in its theory, an action experts such as Christy could not
rationalize. "I am baffled that the confidence increases when the
performance of your models is conclusively failing," he said. "I cannot
understand that methodology.... It's a very embarrassing result for the
climate models used in the IPCC report." "When 73 out of 73 [climate
models] miss the point and predict temperatures that are significantly
above the real world, they cannot be used as scientific tools, and
definitely not for public policy decision-making," he added.
Other warming predictions have also fallen flat. For instance, for almost
two decades now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon
become a thing of the past.
3) The end of snow: The IPCC has also hyped snowless winters. In its 2001
report, it claimed "milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy
snowstorms." Again, though, the climate refused to cooperate. The latest
data from Rutgers' Global Snow Lab showed an all-time new record high in
autumn snow cover across the northern hemisphere in 2014, when more than
22 million square kilometers were covered.
And according to data from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote
Sensing Center cited by meteorologist Mike Mogil, "U.S. snow cover on the
morning of Dec. 1, 2015 is the highest on record for this day of the
year." In all, 38.7 percent of the United States was covered in snow,
surpassing the previous record - 36.5 percent - set in 2006. Worldwide,
similar trends have been observed. Global Snow Lab data also shows
Eurasian autumn snow cover has grown by 50 percent since records began in
After their predictions were proven wrong, alarmists claimed global
warming was actually to blame for the record cold and snow across America
and beyond. Seriously. Among the "experts" making that argument was former
cooling zealot Holdren, Obama's science czar: "A growing body of evidence
suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the
United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with
increasing frequency, as global warming continues."
When asked for the "growing body of evidence" behind his assertions,
Holdren's office refused to provide it, claiming the ramblings were just
his "opinion" and therefore not subject to transparency and accuracy laws.
Still, Holdren's claim directly contradicts the IPCC, which in 2001
predicted "warmer winters and fewer cold spells."
4) The melting ice caps: Another area where the warmists' predictions have
proven incorrect concerns the amount of ice at the Earth's poles. They
predicted a complete melting of the Arctic ice cap in summers that should
have already happened, and even claimed that Antarctic ice was melting
As far as the Antarctic is concerned, in 2007, the UN IPCC claimed the ice
sheets of Antarctica "are very likely shrinking," with Antarctica
"contributing 0.2 ± 0.35 mm yr - 1 to sea level rise over the period 1993
to 2003." The UN also claimed there was "evidence" of "accelerated loss
through 2005." In 2013, the UN doubled down on its false claim, claiming
even greater sea-level rises attributed to the melting in Antarctica: "The
contribution of ... Antarctic ice sheets has increased since the early
1990s, partly from increased outflow induced by warming of the immediately
adjacent ocean." It also claimed Antarctica's "contribution to sea level
rise likely increased from 0.08 [ - 0.10 to 0.27] mm yr - 1 for 1992 -
2001 to .40 [0.20 to 0.61] mm yr - 1 for 2002 - 2011." The reality was
exactly the opposite.
In a statement released in October, NASA dropped the equivalent of a
nuclear bomb on the UN's climate-alarmism machine, noting that ice across
Antarctica has been growing rapidly for decades.
NASA said only that its new study on Antarctic ice "challenges" the
conclusions of the IPCC. In fact, the UN could not have been more wrong.
Rather than melting ice in the southern hemisphere contributing to sea-
level rise, as claimed by the UN, ice in Antarctica is expanding, and the
growing ice is responsible for reducing sea levels by about 0.23
millimeters annually. According to the NASA study, published in the
Journal of Glaciology, satellite data shows the Antarctic ice sheet
featured a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001 -
more than a trillion tons of ice in less than a decade. Between 2003 and
2008, Antarctica gained some 82 billion tons of ice annually.
The UN's inaccurate Antarctic claims were illustrated most comically,
perhaps, when a ship full of alarmists seeking to study "global warming"
was trapped in record Antarctic sea ice in the summer of 2013 and had to
be rescued by ships burning massive amounts of fossil fuels.
In the northern hemisphere, alarmists have fared no better. In 2007, 2008,
and 2009, Al Gore, a man who has made a fortune pushing warmist ideology,
publicly warned that the North Pole would be "ice-free" in the summer by
around 2013 due to AGW. "The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,"
Gore said in 2007. "It could be completely gone in summer in as little as
seven years. Seven years from now." Speaking to an audience in Germany six
years ago, Gore alleged that "the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will
disappear in five years." "Five years," Gore emphasized, is "the period of
time during which it is now expected to disappear."
Contrary to Gore's predictions, satellite data showed that Arctic ice
volume in summer of 2013 had actually expanded more than 50 percent over
2012 levels. In fact, during October 2013, sea-ice levels grew at the
fastest pace since records began in 1979. In 2014, the Arctic ice cap,
apparently oblivious to Gore's hot air, continued its phenomenal rebound,
leaving alarmists struggling for explanations.
Data from the taxpayer-funded National Snow and Ice Data Center's
"Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent" (MASIE) also show Arctic ice
steadily growing over the last decade, with a few minor fluctuations in
the trend. Despite alarmist claims, polar bear populations are thriving
Gore, though, was hardly alone. Citing "climate experts," the tax-funded
BBC also ran an article on December 12, 2007, under the headline "Arctic
summers ice-free 'by 2013.'" That piece, which was still online as of
December 2015, highlighted alleged "modeling studies" that supposedly
"indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just
5-6 years." Some of the "experts" even claimed it could happen before
then, citing calculations performed by "super computers" that the BBC
noted have "become a standard part of climate science in recent years."
5) Increased storms, drought, and sea-level rise: The ice sheets have not
cooperated with warmists, and neither have other weather-related
phenomena, such as mass migrations owing to sea-level rise.
On June 30, 1989, the Associated Press ran an article headlined: "UN
Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations
Off Map." In the piece, the director of the UN Environment Programme's
(UNEP) New York office was quoted as claiming that "entire nations could
be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming
is not reversed by the year 2000." He also predicted "coastal flooding and
crop failures" that "would create an exodus of 'eco-refugees,' threatening
political chaos." Of course, 2000 came and went, and none of those things
actually happened. But that didn't stop the warnings.
In 2005, the UNEP warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased
hurricanes, and desertification caused by AGW would lead to massive
population disruptions. In a handy map, the organization highlighted areas
that were supposed to be producing the most "climate refugees." Especially
at risk were regions such as the Caribbean and low-lying Pacific islands,
along with coastal areas. The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010,
some 50 million "climate refugees" would be fleeing those areas. However,
not only did the areas in question fail to produce a single "climate
refugee," by 2010, population levels for those regions were still soaring.
In many cases, the areas that were supposed to be producing waves of
"climate refugees" and becoming uninhabitable turned out to be some of the
fastest-growing places on Earth.
Even the low-lying Pacific islands scare appears to have flopped.
Supposedly on the "front lines" of AGW-caused sea-level rise, the Pacific
atoll island nations don't face imminent submersion and have experienced
the opposite of what was predicted. Consider a paper published in March of
2015 in the journal Geology. According to the study, the Funafuti Atoll
has experienced among "the highest rates of sea-level rise" in the world
over the past six decades. Yet, rather than sinking under the waves, the
islands are growing. "No islands have been lost, the majority have
enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the
past century," the paper says.
Then there are the claims about drought. Some UN alarmists have even
predicted that Americans would become "climate refugees," using imagery
that may be familiar to those who suffered through the infamous (and
natural) "Dust Bowl" drought of the 1930s. Prominent Princeton professor
and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, for instance, made some
dramatic predictions in 1990. By 1995, he said, the "greenhouse effect"
would be "desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with
horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots." By 1996, he
added, the Platte River of Nebraska "would be dry, while a continent-wide
black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip
paint from houses and shut down computers." The situation would get so bad
that "Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into
Mexico seeking work as field hands."
When confronted on his predictions, Oppenheimer, who also served as Gore's
advisor, refused to apologize. "On the whole I would stand by these
predictions - not predictions, sorry, scenarios - as having at least in a
general way actually come true," he claimed. "There's been extensive
drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The
fraction of the world that's in drought has increased over that period."
Unfortunately for Oppenheimer, even his fellow alarmists debunked that
claim in a 2012 study for Nature, pointing out that there has been "little
change in global drought over the past 60 years."
Countless other claims of AGW doom affecting humans have also been
debunked. Wildfires produced by AGW, for instance, were supposed to be
raging around the world. Yet, as Forbes magazine pointed out recently, the
number of wildfires has plummeted 15 percent since 1950, and according the
National Academy of Sciences, that trend is likely to continue for
decades. On hurricanes and tornadoes, which alarmists assured were going
to get more extreme and more frequent, it probably would have been hard
for "experts" to be more wrong. "When the 2014 hurricane season starts it
will have been 3,142 days since the last Category 3+ storm made landfall
in the U.S., shattering the record for the longest stretch between U.S.
intense hurricanes since 1900," noted professor of environmental studies
Roger Pielke, Jr. at the University of Colorado. On January 8, 2015,
meanwhile, the Weather Channel reported: "In the last three years, there
have never been fewer tornadoes in the United States since record-keeping
began in 1950."