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Help! A Short History of Climate Alarmism

July 17, 2020

By Paul Homewood



GWPF need your help:


One of the perennial sources of amusement among sceptics is to look back at the crazy things scientists and activists were saying about global warming back in the early days, when the scaremongering first kicked off.

Who can forget, for example, James Hansen’s notorious speculation in 1988 that large chunks of Manhattan would disappear under the rising waters in the first decades after the millennium? Fortunately, being a thick-skinned fellow, the failure of even small chunks of New York to disappear in the last thirty years since seems to have dented his confidence not one jot, and he cheerfully fends of allegations of alarmism, putting them down to the ignorance of the general public.

Or what about climate scientist David Viner at the University of East Anglia who told the Independent 20 years ago – apparently with a straight face – that snowfall was going to become “a very rare and exciting event” and that children “just aren’t going to know what snow is”? That one hasn’t turned out too well either.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first IPCC report in August 1990, we thought it was time to look again at some of climate science’s finest scare-mongering predictions from back in the early days, and to see how things have turned out in reality.

To that end, we are preparing “A short history of climate alarmism” — with the help of our readers.

We are inviting you to send us papers, news articles and web links to 1980-90s climate predictions that we should include. You are of course welcome to send us your thoughts about what the observational data today is telling us about reality. There are no prizes, but a GWPF guide to the most notorious and failed predictions in recent decades should provide hours of fun.

Send your suggestions and links to

Thank you for your help and contribution.

  1. C Lynch permalink
    July 17, 2020 9:42 am

    The Ice Free Arctic. Predict a date, when it duly passes without the Arctic becoming ice free, rather than running away and hiding in shame, brazenly predict a new date a few years further on. Repeat ad infinitum.

  2. Stonyground permalink
    July 17, 2020 10:15 am

    Grain production was going to be adversely affected by climate change I seem to recall. Warmer weather and more CO2 in the atmosphere is bad for plants apparently.

  3. Stonyground permalink
    July 17, 2020 10:18 am

    To be fair to David Viner, significant snowfall is pretty rare in England nowadays. But then it always has been fairly unusual for us to get a decent amount.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 17, 2020 10:41 am

      I still remember that satellite image from 2010 of the whole British Isles with every square foot covered with snow. So much for Viner’s prediction.

      • Mad Mike permalink
        July 17, 2020 10:56 am

        Remember Beast from East. Remember the snow being cleared along the roads in the West Country leaving canyons of snow higher that a person’s head.

  4. Vernon E permalink
    July 17, 2020 10:51 am

    The very first time that alarm bells started ringing for me was probably some time in the 1990s when there were news items about white fish moving further north (in the North Sea) because of warming waters. Not a remote suggestion that heavy industrial fishing was leading to depleting stocks.

  5. Vernon E permalink
    July 17, 2020 11:20 am

    Paul: it looks as though AEP (Telegraph yesterday) may have the upper hand right now. Do I have to apologise to my MP for battering him with anti-Climate Change communications?

  6. July 17, 2020 11:26 am

    This is a fantastic and humorous website:

  7. Tym fern permalink
    July 17, 2020 11:30 am

    BBC news lead story the other night: WE ARE DOOMED! according to Justin Rowlatt.

  8. July 17, 2020 11:32 am

    The comparison to covid19 gets stronger. The latest report on why facemasks must be warn and social distancing maintained uses the same Neil Ferguson models which are already demonstrably wrong. Guess who funded this faux-medical report? What a surprise, the energy department. “… funded by a core grant from the Department for Business, Energy
    and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ”

    Here’s the link to the report itself
    Here’s Toby Young’s initial report
    and there is more at Lockdown Sceptics today.
    Toby Young in his article challenges ‘the science’ just as genuine scientists have spent 30 years challenging the faux-science of climate change. Somehow the connections between one agenda and the other need to be fully exposed and called out.

    • LFC permalink
      July 17, 2020 10:15 pm

      Spot on, Rosie. The only difference is that the Covid “scientists” will be proved wrong in a matter of months, it will unfortunately take decades to prove that the climate “experts” were spinning a yarn. By then the damage will be done I fear.

  9. leitmotif permalink
    July 17, 2020 12:08 pm

    2005 – 50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns

    · States urged to prepare for victims of climate change
    · Natural disasters displace more people than wars

  10. In the Real World permalink
    July 17, 2020 12:27 pm

    The BBC are getting desperate & trying to claim that they have been right all along and anyone who tells the truth is trying to lie to the public .
    Good reply by Dr Willie Soon , but I bet it will not get used , or completely changed to try to fit their narrative .

    Comments there are worth reading as well .

  11. July 17, 2020 12:50 pm

    “There are no prizes, but a GWPF guide to the most notorious and failed predictions in recent decades should provide hours of fun”

    A collection of FAILED predictions will prove nothing but the data collecter’s bias. You should take a random sample of predictions and see how many failed.

    • bobn permalink
      July 17, 2020 1:04 pm

      Disagree Chaam. Science isnt about randoming predicting all kinds of fantasies in the hope that twice a day the stopped clock is correct. These alarmist claims were all based on the myth of CO2 driven climate change. That so many predictions are wrong indicates the theory is wrong. Science isnt a game of chance (though the alarmists and covid computergamers think it is!!).

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 17, 2020 1:06 pm

      Eh? Every failed prediction is a failure of the theory used to make that prediction. If I predict six things and only two happen, my theory is wrong. That’s how it works, science.

      • July 17, 2020 3:15 pm

        Einstein had conceded that in theory e=m*c-squared implied nuclear energy but predicted that it would never happen citing practical limitations. He was wrong. So therefore we throw it all out with the false prediction about nuclear energy?

    • Stonyground permalink
      July 17, 2020 6:25 pm

      You could provide balance by listing the predictions that they got right, surely there must be some.

  12. Graeme No.3 permalink
    July 17, 2020 12:55 pm

    1923 Montana Glacier could disappear in 25 years
    Says Professor. Medford Mail Tribune (Oregon) Dec. 29

    1952 Montana’s Glacier Park may need new name
    The giant glaciers are melting away and could be gone in 50 years
    say naturalists The Post-Standard (Syracuse New York) Mar 05, 1952

    2009 No more Glaciers in Montana by 2020?
    National Geographic News March 2 2009

    2014 No more Glaciers in Montana by 2034?
    What will they call Glacier National Park (Montana) in 30 years when all the glaciers are gone? New York Times Nov. 22, 2014

  13. ChristianS permalink
    July 17, 2020 1:37 pm

    The famous list by John Brignell:

  14. CheshireRed permalink
    July 17, 2020 1:37 pm

    Frankly this whole process could be inverted if we ask ‘which of their alarmist predictions / projections (select as per grant funding requirements demand) HAVE actually happened.

    To the extent there’s an accurate prediction of otherwise unusual or extreme events that have come true as a direct result only of ‘climate change’, I’d say there are literally none.

    However in answer to the actual question:

    Polar bear populations.
    Ice-free Arctic.
    Missing heat.
    Tropospheric hot spot.
    Accelerating sea level rise.
    Runaway warming.
    High climate sensitivity.
    Computer models projections
    Crop failures.
    Casualty rates from extreme weather events.
    The Pause….!!!

    ALL have been found wanting on SO many levels you have to wonder where’s the observed evidence for ANYTHING unusual in our climate?

  15. July 17, 2020 1:44 pm

    Sorry to have upset you sir. If it’ll make you feel better, for the record, I withdraw my comment.

  16. Nordisch geo-climber permalink
    July 17, 2020 2:50 pm

    One mountain lodge, Sognefjellshytta, reported a new record low temperature for July of minus-7.2C late Saturday night, and so did several other weather stations in the mountains of Southern Norway.
    July 15 2020

  17. Broadlands permalink
    July 17, 2020 2:52 pm

    For a short history of climate alarmism, both cooling and warming, go to Google and type in “Time Magazine Covers” and then search for “global warming”. TIME has gone back and forth with their alarmism for decades.

  18. July 17, 2020 3:19 pm

    Here is my master list of climate alarmist articles in chronological order all the way back – the best on the Net:

    See for yourself how their numbers ramp up over time no matter how wrong past ones have been, and the billions of bucks wasted on useless studies trying to prove alarmist fantasies.They all have to be wrong because CO2 physically can’t melt an ice cube with its cold -80C 15 micron radiation. See:

  19. JBW permalink
    July 17, 2020 3:33 pm

    Agghhh. During lockdown I decided to clear my office, and threw out loads of old newspaper cuttings some of which related to these old scare stories. As they say, never throw anything out as you never know when you will need it.

  20. Don B permalink
    July 17, 2020 3:34 pm

    Here are detailed rebuttals to eleven common alarmist claims:

  21. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 17, 2020 6:16 pm

    I sent Harry Wilkinson a recommendation to read the numberwatch warmlist website. Hundreds of exploded alarms. The best is the increased sighting of UFOs because aliens are worried about our planet. Bless.

  22. July 17, 2020 6:19 pm

    A good number of fake scare stories are listed here published today, “In fact, there is a lot of misleading to fake scholarship because even scholars who took clear stances and were proven wrong beyond the shadow of a doubt — on crucial matters of policy — somehow manage to keep their reputations intact. Nobody is perfect, of course, but why do people who are routinely wrong remain relevant, and even revered? Neil Ferguson…”

  23. July 17, 2020 6:23 pm

    Someone making good use of the fake predictions, a ‘how to make your point effectively’ demonstration

  24. tom0mason permalink
    July 17, 2020 6:55 pm

    Any quote from the Arctic Idiot Professor(?) Wadhams!
    Just about everything Dr James Hansen ever predicted.
    M. Mann — ‘nuf said!
    Everything said by Bill McKibbens.
    Everything said by Phil Jones — quote the leaked emails!
    Everything spoken and written from the Pope about climate.
    Anything said by Prime Ministers Blair and Brown about ‘climate change’ (there’s too much to list!)

    Any report by the Daily Mail or the Guardian that reference climate — they’ve all been wrong.
    A TERRIFYING map has shown how much of the UK could be submerged underwater by 2050 if action is not taken on climate change. So says

    No More Snow!
    quite a list of prognosticators.

    Due to CLIMATE CHANGE, Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Kent, claims that humans could evolve to have webbed hands and feet and less body hair so they could move quickly through the water…

    AI Will Save Gaia, Says James Lovelock At Nearly 100 Years Of Age How banal can this person be? What power AI?)

    The US Public Health Institute says “Climate Change is Making Natural Disasters Worse, and More Likely. How Do We Protect the Most Vulnerable?
    Deadly wildfires in California’s wine country. Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico. Catastrophic flooding in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey.
    The immediate links between these three historic disasters and climate change are evident, …”

    All the crap that The Lancet (a medical publication) has said about ‘climate change’ …

    Nov 16, 2013 — There is growing evidence that climate change is causing more extreme weather disasters such as the Philippines typhoon, David Cameron said …

    John Gummer, Lord Deben (aka ‘smarmy profiteering weasel’) told ABC news …
    “Conservatives around the world are of course very much in the lead of battling against climate change.”
    “I think that the world would be extremely pleased if Australia showed that it was thinking seriously about trying to bring the parties together, to find a common view.”
    Lord Deben says that Australia could make more efficient use of energy and pursue opportunities in solar and wind power.
    Deben also recommended that the Turnbull Government reintroduce an independent climate change advisory committee with Professor Tim Flannery as chair.
    “The extremes of weather, which you are experiencing here in Australia, are going to get worse and worse.”

    Final words from (Professional-hypocrite) Pamala Anderson (28/11/2019)
    Activists rejoiced when the Baywatch star pressured the Queensland Government to ban meat at official functions and linked the latest deadly bushfires directly to climate change.

    “As you’ve already noted, the science is clear: climate change has played a key role in the severity of this year’s bushfires,” Anderson said.

    “Just as your government is surely working on emissions-saving energy and transport policies, you could lead by example by implementing a climate-friendly vegan food policy for government functions, along with transitioning the menu at Sometimes Strangers’ Restaurant at Parliament House to an all-vegan one.”

    Australia thanks you for your insights Professor Anderson.

  25. July 17, 2020 9:22 pm

    CEI, the Competitive Enterprise Institute some months ago published a summary of the 50 years of bogus climate catastrophes.

    On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 1:28 AM NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood GWPF need your help: One of > the perennial sources of amusement among sceptics is to look back at the > crazy things scientists and activists were saying about global warming back > in the early days, when the scar” >

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