“The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.” So said the Washington Post – in 1922.
Since then, one climate change metric certainly has been on the increase: that of dire predictions and warnings of apocalyptic catastrophe. Now one group of bloggers has come together to present all of those predictions in one place, in order to let the public make up their own minds on which, if any, have been realised. (h/t Bishop Hill)
The authors of ClimateChangePredictions.org explain: “Whatever your opinion, climate change is one of the most prominent issue of the times.
“It relates to the well being of the planet and its occupants. At the same time it incurs the expenditure of billions of dollars and much of it comes from public money.
“We are a small group who have followed the global warming / climate change issue for some years. Initially we didn’t know which version was correct but we noticed several things. One was the frequent use of predictions, often scary, that seemed on the surface to be believable. We wondered whether anyone ever went back to see if the predictions turned out to be true.
“This blog presents predictions that have been made over the past 40 years or so and we leave it to you to make up your own mind about them.”
The blog highlights everything, from what it calls ‘classics’ – such as the prediction made by David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in 2000 that “within a few years …. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is” – to the downright bizarre (“could climate change be affecting the health and well-being of your dog?”
And for ease of reference they have been neatly categorised, allowing you to find the contradictory predictions (“oceans less salty” / “oceans more salty”), the doomsday predictions (“by the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands inhabited by some 70 million hungry people“), and what the bloggers call the “hardest hit” predictions with ease.
The latter category reveals that Australia’s rural regions, Sydney’s urban areas, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and Africa are all amongst the regions deemed to be hardest hit by climate change.
But while much of the content it is undoubtedly entertaining, the blog also offers a sober reminder of the mindset of those who would seek to promote climate change as a political agenda. Under the category “woe to you” is a stark list of threats issued against ‘deniers’ including this delightful threat issued by Richard Parncutt, a professor at the University of Graz, Austria in 2012.
In his opinion: “I don’t think that mass murderers of the usual kind, such as Breivik, should face the death penalty. Nor do I think tobacco denialists are guilty enough to warrant the death penalty, in spite of the enormous number of deaths that resulted more or less directly from tobacco denialism.
“GW [global warming] is different. With high probability it will cause hundreds of millions of deaths. For this reason I propose that the death penalty is appropriate for influential GW deniers. More generally, I propose that we limit the death penalty to people whose actions will with a high probability cause millions of future deaths.”