Stanford biologist Paul R. Ehrlich published the book of doom “The Population Bomb” 50 years ago, with his wife. According to Ehrlich, catastrophic global collapse was inevitable by the 1970s — or the 1980s at the latest. Ehrlich has managed to stay alive up until now, but has apparently not learned anything after all those decades of failed predictions:
In 1968, 50 years ago, Paul Ehrlich and his wife published The Population Bomb, which famously predicted mass starvation by the end of the next decade. Ehrlich’s predictions failed largely because of the green revolution, the dramatic increase in agricultural productivity. You would think that being famous for a dramatically failed prediction would bring humility, but Ehrlich is still at it. In a recent interview he argues that the collapse of civilization is a “near certainty” within decades. __ Neurologica blog
Doom is certain to come to Ehrlich himself (born 1932), and fairly soon, as it comes to all doomers eventually. Perhaps he would like to take the rest of the world with him, but he can’t. That does not stop him from trying to push his abject pessimism onto as many of his fellow Terrans as possible.
The First Earth Day Happened in April of 1970
Here are some of Paul Ehrlich’s predictions from the 1970s:
Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By… 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 [predicted] in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.
Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).
In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.” __ Intellectual Takeout
Paul Ehrlich is Not the Only True Believing Doom Prophet
Back in the 1970s, doomers had not adopted the climate apocalypse cult’s theme of “anthropogenic global warming doom,” but they had plenty of “reasons” to believe the world was just about to end:
Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.
The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “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.”
In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: 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….”
Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “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.” __ Spectacularly Wrong
Rather than “global warming doom,” the doomers of 1970 were more likely to believe in “global cooling doom.” As air pollution choked human populations and blocked sunlight, agriculture would become impossible, starvation would become commonplace, and most of the human population would die before the year 2000 of starvation, disease, global cooling, energy scarcity, and pollution.
Now We Have the Climate Apocalypse Cult and Many of their Predictions Sound Familiar
Unfortunately, if we follow the predictions of the modern crop of climate doomers, we are almost certain to destroy our economies as a result of skyrocketing energy costs resulting in energy scarcity and energy starvation. Advanced societies cannot survive without abundant and affordable high quality energy supplies — and that is exactly what our mainstream doomers in the media, academia, thinktanks, and government are trying to destroy through imbecilic energy policies:
In 2017, the share of electricity coming from wind and solar was 53 percent in Denmark, 26 percent in Germany, and 23 percent in California. Denmark and Germany have the first and second most expensive electricity in Europe.
By reporting on the declining costs of solar panels and wind turbines but not on how they increase electricity prices, journalists are — intentionally or unintentionally — misleading policymakers and the public about those two technologies.
The Los Angeles Times last year reported that California’s electricity prices were rising, but failed to connect the price rise to renewables, provoking a sharp rebuttal from UC Berkeley economist James Bushnell.
“The story of how California’s electric system got to its current state is a long and gory one,” Bushnell wrote, but “the dominant policy driver in the electricity sector has unquestionably been a focus on developing renewable sources of electricity generation.”
Part of the problem is that many [journalists and environmentalists] don’t understand electricity. They think of electricity as a commodity when it is, in fact, a service…
Anyone who understands grid-scale electric power delivery will instantly see the mismatch between large wind and solar farms and the underlying demands for electrical energy in advanced societies. Energy consumers in Germany, California, and South Australia are beginning to feel the sting from idiotic energy policies adopted by their elected government officials and their bureaucratic agencies.
On a moment to moment basis, energy production by wind and solar is chaotic and unpredictable. Likewise, on a moment to moment basis, energy demands by advanced societies are chaotic and unpredictable. This is obvious to anyone who is both honest and informed. “Averages” for demand and supply are not relevant to the moment to moment high wire act of keeping the power grid running. Trying to match a chaotic supply with a chaotic demand is a recipe for disaster. But the risk of disaster has never stopped true believing ideologues in the past, and is unlikely to stop them in the future. Only citizens and voters can hold back the disaster that the adoption of these green energy “solutions” are certain to bring to your hometown if nobody stops these earnest but utterly ignorant crusaders.
It is ironic that these prophets of climate apocalypse doom and other forms of ideological doom carry more certain forms of doom in their arrogantly ignorant wakes, but that is just the shape of it.
Without Electric Power, Up to 90% of Residents in Advanced Societies Would Die Within One Year
Humans have enough hydrocarbon energy resources to last for many decades, and perhaps centuries. But only advanced nuclear power has both the energy density and global reserves to safely, affordably, and cleanly power advanced human civilisations for at least the next tens or hundreds of thousands of years.
That much time should allow human ingenuity to develop even better forms of energy and power than advanced fission and fusion. But only if we can fend off the self-assured doomers and keep them from destroying everyone through their “cures which turn out to be infinitely worse than the diagnosed disease.”
The quickest way to turn a population of independent people into a society of helpless sheep, is to cut their access to critical infrastructures. If we follow the policy prescriptions of today’s crop of doomers in academia, media, government, and other social institutions, we will see for ourselves how quickly things can fall apart.
Important background reading (PDF download): https://www.neon-energie.de/Hirth-2013-Market-Value-Renewables-Solar-Wind-Power-Variability-Price.pdf