More Great Moments in Failed Predictions

A few days ago in “Great Moments in Failed Predictions” John visited what Bjorn Lomborg called in another context “The Litany” of environmental doom and gloom culminating in the spectacular flameouts of Paul Ehrlich.  As I noted in a recent spindle dump (Item #4), the “population bomb” turned out to be a wet firecracker.  (I’ll add, in passing, that I have debated Paul Ehrlich twice, and believe it or not he is more edifying to debate against than anyone from the Sierra Club, or NRDC, or other corrupt lobby organization.)

Today Science magazine reports that the other great environmental scare of our time (after global warming, that is)—species extinction—is vastly overestimated.  The full article is behind a subscriber paywall, but here’s some of the account in The Telegraph:

Professor Mark Costello, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said that globally, around one per cent of species are likely to be vanishing per decade rather than the five per cent figure some experts have proposed.

“Our findings are potentially good news for the conservation of global biodiversity,” said lead scientist Costello.

“Over-estimates of the number of species on Earth are self-defeating because they can make attempts to discover and conserve biodiversity appear to be hopeless,” he said.

“Our work suggests that this is far from the case.

“We believe that with just a modest increase in effort in taxonomy and conservation, most species could be discovered and protected from extinction.”

Co-author Professor Nigel Stork, from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, said: “Surprisingly, few species have gone extinct, to our knowledge.

In other words, we have once again an environmental problem that is a normal problem, requiring sensible and strenuous effort to be sure (just like other normal problems), but not a world-ending problem that requires we surrender more power and wealth to government, which is Ehrlich’s default position to every crisis problem.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m sorry, they’re going to have to do better than this.  I’m not going to give out a coveted Green Weenie for just another failed prediction.  Standards for giving a Green Weenie have risen.


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