Anthropogenic Global Warming - Failed Predictions

Preliminary Observations


Posted by Dr. David L. Heald, October 13, 2017

One of the most entertaining aspects to the AGW alarmists is their seemingly never-ending cascade of outlandish, doomsday predictions that fall by the wayside, unfulfilled, as the “due dates” repeatedly come and go with nothing happening.    One could reasonably ask why do they keep doing this, as any vestige of credibility continually vanishes into the ether?  It would seem obvious that they must be aware their flawed predictions have no chance of being proven accurate.  So, why???  It seems inescapable that the goal is only the short-term shock value, trying to induce people into responding emotionally to an imaginary impending crisis, and hoping that they will forget in the future.


Consider first some of the earliest climate predictions, beginning with a quote from Kesten Green and J. Scott Armstrong in Chapter 12, p. 171 of “Climate Change – The Facts”:


“History is replete with experts making confident forecasts.  The record also shows that the accuracy of such forecasts has been poor.  Consider, for example, Professor Kenneth Watt’s forecast of a new Ice Age in his 1970 Earth Day speech at Swarthmore College:

‘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.’

Watt is not unusual among experts in making confident forecasts that turn out to be wrong.”


Even his initial comment about the world having cooled  “sharply for about 20 years”, is wrong.  From 1950 to 1970 the temperature actually increased by about 0.2oC.  (But to his credit, the temperature actually had cooled by 0.2oC by 1970, if compared to 1945.)  However his prediction of the temperature cooling by “4 degrees” (we assume he meant degrees Fahrenheit, which would be a little over 2oC) from 1970 to 1990 was completely wrong, as the temperature actually increased by about 0.15oC.  He predicted 11o cooler (again assumed to be Fahrenheit, or about 6oC) by 2000, but there was again an increase of about 0.25oC.  Data numbers are from HadCRUT3, Monthly Global Temperature:

Global monthly average surface air temperature since 1850 according to Hadley CRUT, a cooperative effort between the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), UK. The blue line represents the monthly values. An introduction to the dataset has been published by Brohan et al. (2005). Base period: 1961-1990. Last month shown: December 2010. Last diagram update: 3 January 2011.

Kenneth Watt did say “IF” as his escape route, but he was still very wrong.


Other similar predictions:


Also on the occasion of the first Earth Day in 1970, Harvard biologist George Wald assured us that civilization will end "within 15 or 30 years“.  That would be between 1985 and 2000.  Ooops!


Former Obama science adviser John Holdren wrote in a global ecology textbook in 1971 that 1 billion will die of famines by 2020 due to a "new ice age.“  This doesn’t seem likely to be true at this point – as of October, 2017.


Senator Gaylord Nelson predicted in 1970 that within 25 years, between 75% and 80% of all animals will be extinct, presumably as a consequence of the “coming Ice Age”.   As of 1995, 15 species were declared to have become extinct since 1970, most due to loss of habitat.  A far cry from 75 – 80%.  (New species have evolved since 1970, but we don’t have a count at this time.)


When the cooling trend of the 1950s and 1960’s ended, predictions suddenly reversed to global warming, but these reversed predictions have turned out to be equally outlandish, and wrong.   One such:  “In 2008 ABC predicted that New York City would be underwater by 2015.”  Still waiting!! prediction-nyc-under-water-climate-change-june



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