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April Fools!

April 1, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public


Well, they were not published on April 1st. but they might just as well have been.

Just some of the ludicrous, eco-scares from down the years.

For instance, here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:


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

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,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. 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.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 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.”

5. “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…[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.”

6. 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.”

7. “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.

8. 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.”

9. 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….”

10. 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.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 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.

13. 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.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “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.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. 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.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “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.”


Then in 2004, the Pentagon was warning that climate change will destroy us, as the Guardian reported:

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.


An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office – and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism – said: ‘If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.’

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon’s dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

‘Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It’s going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush’s single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,’ added Watson.

‘You’ve got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you’ve got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It’s pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,’ said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.


The following year, the Guardian was also warning us that there would be 50m environmental refugees by end of decade:

Rising sea levels, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade, experts warn today. Janos Bogardi, director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, said creeping environmental deterioration already displaced up to 10 million people a year, and the situation would get worse.

"There are well-founded fears that the number of people fleeing untenable environmental conditions may grow exponentially as the world experiences the effects of climate change," Dr Bogardi said. "This new category of refugee needs to find a place in international agreements. We need to better anticipate support requirements, similar to those of people fleeing other unviable situations."


With predictions like that, even Peter Wadhams looks slightly sane!

  1. April 1, 2017 10:35 am

    Don’t you just love these self-proclaimed “experts”?

  2. April 1, 2017 11:20 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “Global Cooling”, “Global Warming”, now “Climate Change”.
    Regardless of temperature, devoid of science and reason – the exact same wicked scares, catastrophes, dud-predictions and fear mongering repeated decade after decade by the eco-extremist lobby.
    An activist minority lobby made up of government (taxpayer) funded earth/climate ‘scientists’ – given a loud platform by their sycophant Leftist mainstream media.

  3. April 1, 2017 11:54 am

    There’s a difference between April Fools and Just Plain Fools.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    April 1, 2017 12:01 pm

    The biggest shame is that the msm don’t have the humility to review the older predictions, and how they turned out in the real world, before spouting the next crock of s#1t.

  5. Sheri permalink
    April 1, 2017 1:35 pm

    “save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    No one mentioned the invited wolves—so-called refugees from violent nations intent on overthrowing Europe and the USA—and the declining mental reasoning of the population that lead millions to believe that inviting in the the enemy will somehow appease said enemy and save one’s behind. THAT is what is taking humanity down, not lack of food, lack of breathable air, but lack of intelligence and rational thought. Yet not one “expert” forsaw that coming.

  6. April 1, 2017 1:44 pm

    2009: ‘Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming’

    Preaching climate doom and gloom unless… [insert the latest panacea]…is good for a cheap headline for lacklustre politicians.

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    April 1, 2017 2:53 pm

    Pretty much wrong about everything then and no doubt wrong about similar catastrophes now. Experts, eh? Gotta love ’em.

  8. April 1, 2017 3:04 pm

    May not have been 1970, but by now the survivors of the ‘tipping point’ should be cowering in the last inhabitable continent, Antarctica. Said who? Why, to be sure, none other than the great luminary, his Scrumptiousness Sir David King, no less.

  9. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 1, 2017 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the compilation of the silly thoughts of these highly educated people.
    Imagine what they might have accomplished if they had done something useful.
    Sadly, if alive, they are still spouting nonsense.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 1, 2017 4:19 pm

      I doubt they are able to do anything useful but think of the money they have wasted and what could have been achieved with that.

  10. Broadlands permalink
    April 1, 2017 3:25 pm

    “Despite all available evidence, and the warnings from experts, and the obvious peril of a world rushing to acquire nuclear weapons as famine nears, our political leaders are reluctant to act. Like children they wait for the toothache to go away and take comfort in those who advise that nothing need be done. But part of maturity is the willingness to face problems squarely, openly, honestly, and if our world is to survive we must demand such maturity from our leaders. We cannot continue as if nothing were wrong. To do so might prove both homicidal and, eventually, suicidal.”

    “We simply cannot afford to gamble against this possibility by ignoring it. We cannot risk inaction. Those scientists who say we should ignore the evidence and the theories suggesting Earth is entering a period of climatic instability are acting irresponsibly. The indications that our climate can soon change for the worse are too strong to be reasonably ignored.”

    Not from 2016 but 1976… Lowell Ponte 40 years ago. THE COOLING.

  11. April 1, 2017 3:58 pm

    Isn’t overpopulation the real culprit?

    • HotScot permalink
      April 1, 2017 6:12 pm


      The Western worlds population is in decline in many areas, because it’s wealthy, thanks to fossil fuel derived energy.

      The developing worlds population is growing, because the lack of cheap fossil fuel derived energy incites them to have large families to overcome the appalling infant mortality rate, and to ensure the elderly are cared for by a large family.

      Let developing countries (and the Western world) generate energy from cheap fossil fuels and their population will level off.

      As it is, I believe mankind occupies 3% of the planet.

      And what about all that nasty CO2 from burning fossil fuels? Well NASA tells us that the world has greened by 14% over the last 30 years since their weather satellites were first launched. Two continents the size of mainland USA worth of extra vegetation, 70% of it as the direct result of increased atmospheric CO2.

      The combined, supposed negative effects of increased atmospheric CO2, don’t even come close to the the (net) 9% benefit it provides the planet.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        April 2, 2017 8:18 am

        I would say that the developing world is at the stage the developed world was about 100-150 years ago in terms of population growth. Medical and other advances have reduced infant mortality considerably but family size has not reduced to compensate, most children are expected to die but not all do. Without interference by religion and politics family size in the developing should start to fall.

        I’ve researched some family history recently and the difference in size of families end of 19th to end of 29th century is quite striking. In another 100 years if the developing world is allowed to continue developing I would expect a similar situation to prevail

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        April 2, 2017 4:02 pm

        By the UN’s own estimates, world population will peak at ~10 billion mid-century and decline thereafter, some say to as few as 6 billion by 2250.

        I think that figure could be considered speculative since it depends ln so many variables, not least the ability of the “developing” world to drag itself out of the poverty trap in which the UN and the environmental NGOs seem determined to keep it.

        As for “too many people”, assuming a population of 10 billion, each of those 10 billion could have one-fifth of an acre of Australia leaving the other 95% of the planet’s land mass to provide the wherewithal to live.

        The most reliable estimate of our drive to find raw materials seems to be that we have so far exploited about 1% of the earth (which is not the same as one per cent of the winnable resources but is a guide) and research a few years ago by Calestous Juma at Harvard suggested that not a great deal of effort would be needed for Sudan to feed the whole of Africa.

        I blogged on that subject at all of five years ago if that date is right with a link to the GWPF which may still be active (I haven’t checked).

        So the question of what is over-population depends to a very large extent on whether we are prepared to invest in the technology to maximise production or whether we would rather continue using it to subsidise troughers and dictators!

      • HotScot permalink
        April 2, 2017 6:50 pm

        Ben and Mike,

        both excellent points and observations.

        I would also add that, as Matt Riley points out in one of his recent articles, most wars (depending on how one defines war) are fought over food availability. From memory he specifically referred to the recent Arab Spring.

        Were technology allowed to evolve without interference from politicians who make subjective judgements on objective observations, food would be abundant and conflict largely eliminated.

        Well fed communities don’t wage war, they trade.

  12. April 1, 2017 4:52 pm

    @Ben Dussan – thoroughly agree but such thinking is anathema to most readers on sceptic sites such as WUWT, being seen as threatening man’s innate individual “human right” to procreate. Forget about the interests of the planet, its environment and other species, who are all there to be disposed of as man so decides.
    Of course overpopulation by the “indigenous” population in the West is no longer a problem, rather the reverse – hence, purely in its own solely economic interests, the West has since the 70s been opening its arms to those referred to above in Sheri’s comment. Who can predict how this experiment will end…..

    • mothcatcher permalink
      April 1, 2017 5:13 pm

      Thoroughly disagree. An increasing population is, ironically, the best insurance against future disaster. More people means more drive, more innovation, more efficiency. That’s what has got us to where we are, and will continue to serve us in the future. ‘Overpopulation’ is such a seductive idea that many of us take it for granted, but the truth is very, very different. Human history is the story of this. The ‘carrying capacity’ of the earth is, to all intents and purposes, limitless.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 1, 2017 7:23 pm

      @Brooks Ville:

      As it seems you are incapable of noting the simple ‘REPLY’ function on this blog, your observational abilities, and therefore, your opinions are called into question.

      Kindly see my ‘REPLY’ to Ben Dussan for an illustration as to why human population is not a problem. Indeed, if you care to read some of Dr. Tim Ball’s articles, or watch some of his informative YouTube presentations, you will discover the activities of the Club of Rome are responsible for promoting this ludicrous concept.

  13. April 1, 2017 5:09 pm

    April Fools, but somehow not funny.

  14. Athelstan permalink
    April 1, 2017 7:05 pm

    I glanced at the torygraph and spotted the other April fools day story, the real one, in that our steadfastly gormless HRH ponce ‘chuck’, asked the then Bush administration if they could lay off the Afghan adventure so that the locals could mark their fast of Ramadan, now if that ain’t an all year round fool barring Mann, then what and who is?

    I’ve told you well over a million times, I never exaggerate but………………..[geddit?]

    You know it, be careful what you wish for – all you eco loonies.

    And on the predictions thing, Himalayan glaciers all gone by next Thursday or summat was one and HRH again “only 100 months to save the world” and he said that about 6.x 52 months ago…………..jeepers it’s creepy greenie days, all day and everyday; we’re burning, freezing, warming, cooling, wetting ourselves, dry, hot, so hot, hot, ferkin HOT, whatevah……!

    And er……………….. an ice age cometh very, very soon – then?

  15. April 1, 2017 7:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Paul Homewood summarises some of the most lunatic eco scare stories which should be compulsory reading for all wannabe environmentalists.

  16. fretslider permalink
    April 1, 2017 11:11 pm

    There is a slightly darker side to the Ehrlichs and Obama’s former science guy, John Holdren:

    [[“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

    “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”]]

    Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, and Dr. John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, 1970

    De-development seems to have hit a glitch.

  17. April 2, 2017 9:22 am

    “It’s already too late…” seems to be popular with doomsayers. But never too late to come up with another fake reason why doom is just around the next corner.

  18. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 2, 2017 9:46 pm

    The following, by Ben @ 3:58, generated several comments, mostly about demographics.

    Ben Dussan
    April 1, 2017 3:58 pm
    Isn’t overpopulation the real culprit?

    A culprit is one accused of a crime, or thought guilty of an offence.
    I do not understand what “overpopulation” is being accused of.

    In the quotes Paul provided, there are words such as:
    … problems facing mankind,
    … environmental crisis,
    … intolerable deterioration and … extinction,
    … greatest cataclysm – food shortages,
    … wear gas masks,
    … nitrogen buildup, {Say what?}
    … there won’t be any more crude oil, {by the year 2000 ! ?}
    … metal reserves (gone by 1990 with copper shortly after 2000)**
    … eleven degrees colder in the year 2000, {Holy cow!}
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    **Regarding Copper, see: Peak copper

    So again:
    What crime is “population/(overpopulation)” being accused of?

  19. bea permalink
    April 3, 2017 9:02 am

    98% of the people in the world came here after me. Most of them annoy me. That may not be a crime, but I think their parents should have asked me first before cluttering up the place.

  20. April 9, 2017 10:12 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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