Sunday, May 01, 2022

Happy Earth Day! None of the environmental doomsday predictions of the last 52 years have come true

From predicting ecological collapse and the end of civilization to warnings that the world is running out of oil, all environmental doomsday predictions of the first Earth Day in 1970 have turned out to be flat out wrong.

More than three decades before Greta Thunberg was born — the Swedish environmental activist on climate change — more than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

We now look back at quotes from Earth Day, Then and Now,” by Ronald Bailey of the spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions from Earth Day 1970.

Considering the current doomsday predictions scaremonger activists are verbalizing about global warming that will result in the demise of civilization within the next decade, many of those unscientific 1970 predictions are being reincarnated on today’s social and news media outlets.

Many of the same are being regurgitated today, but the best prediction from the first earth day five decades ago, yes 50 years ago, was that the “the pending ice age as earth had been cooling since 1950 and that the temperature would be 11 degrees cooler by the year 2000”.

The 1970’s were a lousy decade. Embarrassing movies and dreadful music reflected the national doomsday mood following an unpopular war, endless political scandals, and a faltering economy.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 — okay, “celebrated” doesn’t capture the funereal tone of the event. The events (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives

Behold the coming apocalypse as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:

1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

History seems to repeat itself as there will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak. I guess we’ll need to critique the 2020 doomsday predictions in the year 2050 and see if they were any better than those from the first Earth Day 50 years ago.


UK: Energy firms asked to keep burning coal as ministers fight to keep lights on

Coal-fired power stations have been asked to stay open for longer as part of Government plans to avert an energy crunch amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, has written to the owners of Britain’s three remaining coal-fired power plants to ask them to explore keeping turbines running next winter. The turbines were due to close this September.

It marks a significant change of tone towards the heavily polluting fuel source which is due to be phased out from UK power stations by 2024 in line with the UK’s push to slash carbon emissions.

That timeline remains in place, but the request highlights the potential threat to the UK’s energy market from Russia’s war on Ukraine, as disruption pushes up the price of natural gas which is used to produce more than one third of UK power.

In a letter to coal-fired power station owners EDF, Uniper and Drax at the start of April, Mr Kwarteng said: “The UK is in no way dependent on gas from Russia, however I am mindful that a shortage of gas in Europe could put significant pressure on the European gas market.

“We will of course therefore take all prudent steps to be ready to support National Grid Electricity System Operator in delivering our energy security. Maintaining our remaining coal-fired power stations would provide us with additional backup security while we pursue more enduring solutions.”

In the long-term the country must move to cleaner energy, he added, but the “transition has to be orderly, recognising the critical role fossil fuels will play as we deploy low carbon alternatives”.

Wholesale gas prices leapt 18pc on Wednesday as Russia cut off supplies to Bulgaria and Poland, in a significant escalation of tensions. The UK gets less than 4pc of its gas directly from Russia but prices track those on the continent, which is heavily reliant.

The coal plants would be used for back-up power rather than run all of the time. Companies would be paid to agree to be on standby, likely through charges which end up on customers' bills, in keeping with the general arrangements for power stations on standby.

The window for winning contracts to be on standby for this winter has formally ended, so they will need to come to a special arrangement with National Grid.

Buying coal to run the turbines may also be another hurdle. Russia has typically been a large supplier of coal but these supplies are being shunned due to its war.

Coal provides less than 2pc of British power over the latest year, having been largely replaced by wind, biomass, gas and solar power in the push to cut emissions.

Drax and EDF were both due to shut down their remaining coal-fired turbines this year, while Uniper was due to shut one of its four turbines running this year and keep the other three running to 2024. The plants are in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

EDF said many processes have already been put in place to close West Burton A, including reducing the site’s staffing numbers and running down the coal stock.

It added: “EDF has recently been asked by the UK Government to consider what it would take to make West Burton A available next winter and this remains under discussion. A decision would be necessary in the coming weeks to enable this to happen.”

Uniper said: "We can confirm that Uniper has been asked by the Government to explore the possibility of keeping the unit at Ratcliffe power station, due to close in September 2022, open for longer. We cannot comment further at this time."

Drax said: “Drax remains committed to supporting security of supply in the UK. Drax has recently been asked by the UK Government to consider options for a limited extension of its coal operations and this remains under review.”


China ignores climate pledges, tops list in building new coal plants

Putting the pledges to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 at bay, China is still leading the world in building new coal plants, showed a major annual survey.

Global Energy Monitor’s (GEM) eighth annual survey of the world’s coal plant pipeline on Tuesday reveals that China, the world’s top greenhouse gas polluter, continued to lead all countries in the domestic development of new coal plants, commissioning more new coal capacity in 2021 than the rest of the world combined, reported Straits Times.

Furthering the worries, China’s coal consumption is meant to peak in 2025. China is the world’s largest assembly of coal power plants and this building of new coal plants is posing a critical risk of climate change.

China has just over half the number of coal plants in the world and relies on them to generate about 60 per cent of its electricity.

Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst for research organisation Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which contributed to GEM’s report said, “The power industry’s plan, which appears to have [Chinese] government backing, at least for now, is for coal power capacity to increase until 2030. So new plants are adding more capacity, not just replacing retirements. Last year saw retirements, in fact, slow down.”

By the end of 2021, a total of 176GW of coal capacity was under construction in 20 countries, which is slightly less than in 2020. China represented more than half (52 per cent) of that capacity, and countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia made up a total of 37 per cent.

Flora Champenois from GEM said, “The coal plant pipeline is shrinking, but there is simply no carbon budget left to be building new coal plants. We need to stop, now.”

The report also found that total coal power capacity under development declined 13 per cent last year. Moreover, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, some countries are delaying coal plant retirements as they scramble for energy supplies to keep the lights on.

According to the analysts, this move might temporarily set back global efforts to phase out coal, though soaring coal prices might also prompt some nations to speed up investment in green energy.

Myllyvirta told Straits Times, “The world is experiencing a fossil fuel price shock, leading to overall reduced fossil fuel demand and accelerated plans for clean energy development, reported Straits Times.

“European countries, in particular, have announced very ambitious plans for clean energy and energy efficiency as a part of the effort to end reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia. These factors will lower coal demand in the coming years,” he added. (ANI)


Australia: Elite Greenies are out of touch

It’s easy to bang on about vehicle emissions when everything you need is on your doorstep. What about people whose school or doctor is hours from home, asks Vikki Campion.

If a nanny cares for your children, a maid cleans your clothes, a chauffeur drives your car, or a cleaner fixes the house, you are better off than most. Tick all, and congratulations, you have a brilliant resume representing Climate 200.

Harbourside heirs and heiresses will never know what it is to choose between the $8/500g mince and a $1.75 can of lentils because of budget instead of any moral ideal.

The dilemma is not what restaurant to go to, but which bill to pay.

Wealthy circles become smaller, as more of those around them become staff. Time for coffee to talk politics is easier to find when others are doing the housework.

With skyrocketing power prices from the closure of coal-fired power stations, people who could not change a tyre are apparently changing the climate.

I would never expect Wentworth’s so-called independent teal candidate Allegra Spender, who went to the $34,000-a-year private girls school Ascham and then Cambridge, to understand. Nor would I expect Warringah’s Olympic skier Zali Steggall, who grew up in the French Alps.

The galling thing is that apart from the beautiful luck of the life that fell in their lap, they believe they have the right to purchase politics as well.

Put it on the shelf between the macadamias and the Veuve.

But from North Sydney’s independent Kylea Tink, originally from Coonabarabran, I expect more.

Ms Tink backed a road user tax “charging on the odometer” in a Sky candidates forum on Thursday, claiming the biggest death rate is due to vehicle emissions, compared to “only 1200 of road accidents”.

Please, Kylea, go home to Parkes, to your old neighbouring town of Baradine where the “daycare” is a neighbour’s place and the people with the oldest, most fuel-inefficient cars, most likely to break down, live the furthest from town in the cheapest houses.

Tell Baradine, with a median household income of $771 a week, who get one X-ray day per week — otherwise, they have a four-hour return trip to Dubbo — that they need to buy an electric car, and that they will have to pay a road user tax “on the odometer”.

You patronise them by saying rural and regional communities “are incredibly resilient”, like a person thrown out of a boat by necessity is a good swimmer or drowns.

At the Baradine shop yesterday, the shearer paid $3.95 for two litres of milk and $3.95 for a no-name basic loaf of white bread. In North Sydney, the bread equivalent was $1.70 at Woolworths, while the same 2L milk was $2.60.

People in Baradine are paying Harris Farm prices for home brand.

Surely Ms Tink, a publicly-educated rural high school student, knows deep down how a policy like that would be taken at home.

A policy that works for the inner-city rich with light rail on their doorstep leaves us in the dust.

Regionalisation Minister Bridget McKenzie tried explaining this at the national Press Club this week and, perhaps proving her point, all questions from the media focused on climate change in Canberra instead of the bush.

Charging by the odometer, kids won’t go to school, doctors’ appointments will be put off, conditions allowed to worsen, and the poor become impoverished.

We can see the 100 per cent increase in wholesale power prices now, directly attributable to the closure of coal-fired power stations and the jagged road to renewables. Wasn’t all power going to become cheaper?

Shortly after a joint press conference with two Climate 200 candidates, Ms Tink denied being supported by Simon Holmes a Court, even though his website discloses he does.

The price of her support in a hung parliament, she said, would be vehicle emissions standards.

Go home to Baradine and tell that to the people whose median weekly household income is one-third of North Sydney’s. Who, between tyres, rego and third party insurance, can barely afford the car they have now, let alone buy an EV. Who put off car services in the same way they stretch out haircuts. The Climate 200 Cafe has hairdressers all the way to
the ferry.

If you are a dad who goes to work every day and has three kids at home, do you think Ms Spender or Mr Holmes a Court understands your stress? Who can take a couple of years off? Others can’t take a gap year followed by a sabbatical on paying power bills because someone else will cover for them.

If you fight with your partner about using the dryer because of the electricity bill, then welcome to the world of the rest of us.

What power you should use, what car you drive, what views you should hold and, oh, which school your child is booked into.

Welcome to Climate 200.

What separates the major parties from the independents is their life experience.

The LNP have Phil Thompson and Jim Molan, wounded veterans; Llew O’Brien, Peter Dutton, Jason Wood, Pat Conaghan, all former cops, and doctors, teachers, graziers, farmers, small-business owners — people whose life has not been cushioned by generational wealth.

Most importantly, they have people out of sight of the Harbour Bridge.

Why does no one think we are getting a carbon tax with a new focus-grouped name? The independent issues will become policies for people who hear little about the broader circumstances of life.

Labor is not getting 76 seats on its own — a vote for them is for putting the elites into power. And the elites don’t think about household problems.

Climate is only a big issue when money isn’t.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many of the concerns that were expressed on the first "Earth Day" were the EXACT same reasons Hitler wanted to expand Germany to include large areas that he considered as being occupied by "lesser peoples".

That they didn't then and still don't recognize the Malthusian fallacies of their predictions should be laughable but it's the part where they still don't get it that keeps this a tragedy.

Despite all the doomsayers last year there was less hunger and starvation worldwide than ever before in history, not only that but the average wealth has increased worldwide as more and more "luxuries" are becoming more and more common.

The situation in Ukraine may set things back for a time but the problem is political, not a lack of resources because the Malthusian contingent never accounts for the resourcefulness of people.