Another government report is dead wrong on fragile state of our planet


“…What is it with the modern left and the mainstream media that makes them so enamored with predictions of the coming apocalypse? Perhaps it is thanks to the old rule of journalism that bad news sells newspapers.

The media has broadcast far and wide the latest primal scream by the federal government and hundreds of scientists that all life on earth by the end of the century could be severely threatened due to climate change. Chicago could turn into Phoenix and its desert conditions. Economic losses will eventually total trillions of dollars. Early death, food shortages, and pestilence will become the norm without “radical” changes in the way we live and use energy. The alarmist report warns that climate change is already destroying the planet, as evidenced by the strange occurrence of natural disasters that have almost never happened in history, like forest fires in California, hurricanes in Florida, and floods in other nations.

How could a government report prepared by hundreds of scientists and with the official imprimatur of the federal government be wrong? The obvious answer is that they have been consistently wrong for decades in predictions of environmental devastation. Anyone over the age of 50 knows that we have heard these sensational, false malthusian forecasts from the federal government, and that reality has contradicted them in almost every instance. Look at history and consider the track record.

In the 1960s, the world became captivated by the likes of media darling and Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, who warned of a population bomb as humans propagated like field mice. He said people will live elbow to elbow, leading to mass starvation, and there was a 50/50 bet that Britain would survive as a nation. India, we were told, was beyond saving. These false worries became the basis for some terrible population control strategies, like the gruesome one child policy of China.

In the 1970s, the infamous Club of Rome report on “limits to growth” in the world, which was sponsored and funded by the federal government, saw the planet not surviving much past the year 2000 due to poverty, pollution, starvation, overcrowding, climate change, and natural resource depletion. It was all so horrifying that people across the country started wearing lapel pins that said, “Stop the planet, I want to get off.”

In the 1980s, the Carter administration spent millions of dollars on the most comprehensive environmental report ever undertaken by the federal government, employing hundreds of top scientists from more than two dozen agencies. (Sound familiar?) The end product dismally concluded, “If present trends continue, the world in 2000 will be more crowded, more polluted, less stable ecologically, and more vulnerable to disruption than the world we live in now. Serious stresses involving population, resources, and environment are clearly visible ahead. Despite greater output, people will be poorer in many ways than they are today.”

When skeptics raised the red flag on these forecasts, they were accused of questioning the “settled” science of the day. Only a few courageous “deniers” such as my mentor, the great economist Julian Simon, had the courage to call out the report as fallacious from the start. Simon was right, and the federal government and the hundreds of scientists were dead wrong. The next two decades delivered the best period of global prosperity, pollution reduction, lower poverty rates, rising living standards, more food production, and falling energy prices in history…


Scientists should have the wisdom and the modesty to admit that we have no idea what will happen to our planet as climate change continues over the next century. There are too many variables to hazard a decent guess. But the one indomitable lesson of history is that giving the government more power is the most dangerous threat to the future of our planet….”