The Prediction Racket

One of John Kenneth Galbraith’s better and more sound witticisms was that economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look good. He should have lived long enough to take in climate change predictions. While we continue Beta testing our Climate Change Cliché Counter and scoreboard, we are pleased to take note of a new website that will surely be indispensable: This group effort looks to be a one-stop shopping archive for all of the crazy—and contradictory—predictions that have piled up over the years. Like:

“By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

—Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

Or even better:

“[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.”

—Michael Oppenheimer, published in “Dead Heat,” St. Martin’s Press, 1990

You’ll definitely want to bookmark this site, and send along suggestions for inclusion in the archive.  There’s an entry template for you to do that.

Meanwhile, my pals at the Pacific Research Institute have produced the following very snappy five-minute video on the classics of environmental hysteria, starting with “Why Haven’t We All Starved to Death?” Worth a look:

And while I’m at it, don’t forget to check out the Pacific Research Institute summer “Liberty-at-Sea” cruise while you’re thinking of vacation plans.