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Happy Earth Day! None Of The Eco-Doomsday Predictions Have Come True

April 23, 2020

By Paul Homewood

More than three decades before Greta Thunberg was born — the Swedish environmental activist on climate change — more than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

We now look back at quotes from Earth Day, Then and Now,” by Ronald Bailey of the spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions from Earth Day 1970.

Considering the current doomsday predictions scaremonger activists are verbalizing about global warming that will result in the demise of civilization within the next decade, many of those unscientific 1970 predictions are being reincarnated on today’s social and news media outlets.

Many of the same are being regurgitated today, but the best prediction from the first earth day five decades ago, yes 50 years ago, was that the “the pending ice age as earth had been cooling since 1950 and that the temperature would be 11 degrees cooler by the year 2000”.

The 1970’s were a lousy decade. Embarrassing movies and dreadful music reflected the national doomsday mood following an unpopular war, endless political scandals, and a faltering economy.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 — okay, “celebrated” doesn’t capture the funereal tone of the event. The events (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.
Behold the coming apocalypse as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:

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

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.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

  3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

  4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

  5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [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.” — Paul Ehrlich

  6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

  7. “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.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

  8. “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.” — Life magazine

  9. “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.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

  10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

  11. “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.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

  12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

  13. “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.” — Kenneth Watt

  History seems to repeat itself as there will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak. I guess we’ll need to critique the 2020 doomsday predictions in the year 2050 and see if they were any better than those from the first Earth Day 50 years ago.

This piece first appeared on

  1. cajwbroomhill permalink
    April 23, 2020 10:12 am

    Hysteria, group think and seeking public support for a non sientific, political agenda.
    Just like the sandwich-board experts, but supported by shaky science.

  2. April 23, 2020 10:25 am

    Morning Paul: might be worth reminding everybody that 22nd April is also Lenin’s birthday. Some coincidence, surely…… ATB & KBO…..

  3. Edward Spalton permalink
    April 23, 2020 10:28 am

    In 1973 it looked briefly as if catastrophic global cooling had reached a “tipping point”. The Soviet Autumn-sown wheat of 1972 was entirely destroyed by a cold winter with little snow cover . In 1973, having just got used to the strange European Common Agricultural Policy which put up prices considerably, we were suddenly faced with prices which tripled within a few months. Using smart Chicago grain traders, the Soviets quietly bought up a tremendous quantity of wheat – a ploy which became known as “ The Great Grain Robbery”. Of course, it was part of a general convulsion in commodity prices which started with oil.

    However, the next few summers were unusually dry and hot, so the catastrophists decided to change from frightening us with freezing to the carbon dioxide story and fear of frying. They held a meeting in 1975 under the title “ The atmosphere – endangered and endangering “ where they agreed to coordinate the tendency and reporting of scientific work to avoid contradictions and divergences from their new hypothesis.

    I didn’t realise that was happening at the time, I was too busy in the grain and animal feed trade but I did write up my experiences more recently and you can Google them at “ Edward Spalton The Miller’s Tale” .

  4. jack broughton permalink
    April 23, 2020 10:38 am

    The should move Earth Day to the first of April…………..

  5. April 23, 2020 12:26 pm

    I heard on the morning radio news that Earth Day commemorations are cancelled here. That is a great piece of environmental news. It means that the vast seas of garbage left by those “celebrating” the earth will remain un-created. And that is a good thing.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    April 23, 2020 12:49 pm

    ‘The 1970’s were a lousy decade.’


    Pollution regulations dropped compression on car engines so much that power was gone. Engines that made over 400hp made less than 200. Performance was dead. Car companies tried to retain sales by marketing styling, not performance. The 70s was the decade of gaudy cars. And conversion vans.

    And the 70s was the decade of high inflation. Jimmy Carter was so bad, wags invented the “misery index,” combining inflation and interest rates. It peaked at 22%.

    • saparonia permalink
      April 23, 2020 2:30 pm

      During the 70’s, there was the start of a flood of heroin and other pernicious substances that wipe out considerable numbers of previous opposition. Once it lost it’s attraction, there appeared the Internet closely folowed by mobile phones, which now with 5G can ruin your brain just as effectively.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 23, 2020 7:05 pm

        Citation needed.

  7. Mitchell Taylor permalink
    April 23, 2020 12:54 pm

    In fairness, I think an unresolved global pandemic would qualify as a visit from one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Granted human numbers have not been reduced all that much so far. But all that means is that there is no “herd immunity” to protect those of us still alive. In the absence of any thing therapeutic that you can get before entering the hospital, or a vaccine, or even systematic testing for the disease or for antibodies … COVID-19 isn’t done with us yet. The hardships from our global economic collapse are only just beginning. The UN says 10 billion by 2050 and 12 billion by 2100. Hmmmm?

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 23, 2020 1:46 pm

      The COVID-19 virus has shown us very clearly what will happen if ‘green’ activists insist on lowering CO2 emissions to Net-zero ASAP after the pandemic is contained. Social and economic devastation in world-wide transportation! They cannot expect a different result if rapid lowering of carbon fuel emissions is their goal.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 24, 2020 10:08 am

      Not reduced by all that much? Currently, to two decimal places, 0.00% of the global population have died. We don’t measure either population or the tiny number of COVID deaths to that accuracy, so there you go. On a graph of population over the last ten years you would not see it. It’s nothing.

  8. Ivan permalink
    April 23, 2020 1:44 pm

    Among this hilarious nonsense, we should notice that the reason we aren’t today suffering the consequences of appalling environmental pollution is that we took strong actions to curtail it. And that was in general a good idea.

    It is funny looking back on those predictions of fast-coming famines, as Malthus had similarly mistakenly predicted at the end of the 18th century. We now understand that the many famines that had occurred in the decades leading up to that had political and economic causes, rather than there being an absolute shortage of food. (Amartya Sen’s 1982 book Poverty and Famines was seminal in creating that understanding.) Moreover many of the world’s poorer societies at that time still had their populations substantially controlled by the availability of food – as had been true for time eternal up to that point. So that the reason populations were growing so fast at that time is precisely because they were succeeding in increasing their food supplies.

  9. April 23, 2020 1:51 pm

    Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs

    I surprising film Michael Moore a Climate Change advocate does a great job tearing down the green energy illusion

    He gets the overpopulation rational wrong but otherwise very good

  10. mjr permalink
    April 23, 2020 2:04 pm

    the 70s being dreadful music….. no way.. ok . so there was disco but apart from that .. now the 80s – that was a dreadful decade as were the 90s the 00s and the 10s .. am i showing my age here?

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    April 23, 2020 2:05 pm

    Is there anything they have got right, evah? No, thought not.

  12. saparonia permalink
    April 23, 2020 2:08 pm

    The problem is that now the Internet is much more powerful as a brainwashing tool than it was then. In the early days, information sharing was something different to propaganda flooding. Now people routinely go to dominant areas on the internet that used to be ignored by internet users, such as papers, television, big business. Once these took over internet communication, it’s then been made personal and continual through the innovation of mobile phones, they can convince many more people of anything.

  13. April 23, 2020 3:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Jaffer's blog.

  14. April 23, 2020 4:28 pm

    Doomology and the prophets of doom.

  15. April 23, 2020 5:09 pm

    Paul popped-up in the Telegraph to correct as statistical anomaly concerning transport planes. A small detail but, in the over estimation by 50% of cargo capacity, if applied to climate…so what’s a few tonnes here or there/ The person who makes a prediction and is found to be correct may get a Nobel Prize (for what that is worth these days, the foundation has been so badly infiltrated). The person who gets it wrong ends up in a list such as that prepared here by Paul; pap, meanderings, too much to drink, keeping the wrong company, “it was my mother made me do it”. Junk. If our climatologist and statistician in chief, had the time and energy to address himself to the drivel that every print day spews out our newspapers would be a lot thinner and there would be outrage at the meagerness of that which is on offer. Speculation breeds controversy and the false comfort of the multiples of the people on the Clapham omnibus writing in numbers gives a wayward view of normality but comforts editors who then, thinking that shock horror is a lure to readership, get in the habit of printing that which they know will prickle and irritate. If surmise sells papers then why are we so exercised to protect journalism and what hope has Paul and his crusade?

  16. Rudolph Hucker permalink
    April 23, 2020 5:18 pm

    Also known as POBS or purveyors of Bull shit!

  17. Bertie permalink
    April 23, 2020 10:55 pm

    This government is being led by the nose by crackpot scientists and institutions. Unfortunately, people like Henderson who has a record for over-hyping the gloom and despondency with ridiculous projections of possible death rates cannot ever be called to account because they can turn round and say that the predictions would have been correct if the measures they advocated – such as destroying millions of cattle and destroying farmers; livelihoods during the foot and mouth outbreak, and the economically destroying lockdown now being imposed – had not been put in force. They are in a win/win situation.

  18. M E permalink
    April 24, 2020 12:15 am

    Newspapers sell advertising. so they were selling by making Headlines to attract the passerby. If there is no need to advertise products because of the current lockdown the newspapers go to the wall and put specially pleas to give them a little money on their internet sites . In the 70s we disregarded the Doomed headlines in the print media just as many disregard the online news now.

    There is no reason ,of course, to ignore the contention that we are still in the glacial period since previous interglacials have had temperatures which varied much as they have in the period since we lost the big ice sheets in our Recent Climate Period
    Only crystal balls can tell us whether the ice sheets will return or not,but all have been bought up by Xtinction Rebellion .. it seems.

  19. iggie permalink
    April 24, 2020 3:07 am

    Wasn’t one of the recommendations from Earth Day to fit cars with catalytic converters to change carbon monoxide emissions to CO2?

    • dave permalink
      April 24, 2020 10:36 am

      “…catalytic converters…”

      That was mandated in the U.S.A. by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970; and from 1975 onwards the production of carbon monoxide by new vehicles was drastically reduced. The idea of course, was to stop people being harmed while sitting in heavy traffic, not to “save the planet.” The main source of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere is not economic activity, it is oxidation of naturally produced methane.

      I get the irony involved in zealotry, iggie.

      The scientific facts remain that carbon monoxide is a poison to animals with blood, and carbon dioxide is not (except at concentrations thousands of times larger).

      All carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, whatever its origin,* is converted to carbon dioxide quite quickly. Therefore it makes no difference to the general environment whether an emission from incomplete combustion is nullified immediately in the exhaust pipe, by human engineering, or later, by natural processes.

      What these old pontifications show is the truth of the proverb, “empty vessels make the most noise.”

  20. April 24, 2020 12:05 pm

    The deep structural weakness in all predictions, green or otherwise, is that they assume nothing will change. They are based on the assumption that the universe is static and unchanging, and ignore its essential uncertainty and unpredictability. Also the great human capacity for ingenuity and problem solving is always overlooked. It is a deeply old-fashioned, almost medieval attitude in which we are all mere cogs in a predictable, clockwork world ruled over by a fierce, unforgiving God, who consigns disbelievers to the flames. Surely we are better than this.

  21. jack broughton permalink
    April 24, 2020 4:10 pm

    IRENA (International Renewable Energy Conservation Research Agency) have just published a massive glossy for the luvvies (291 pages of pretty doom pictures). Basically they claim that if the world invests $ 130 t in renewables all will be well and we will live happily ever after. The report is a synthess of “Climate Scientists” and “Climate economists” mathematical models: What could go wrong , go wrong, go wron …..

    Source if anyone wants to see this load of junk science is:

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