For the last 35 years, the world has lived through one environmental scare after another. In 1968, the doyen of all environmental alarmists, Paul Ehrlich, wrote: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”


Since Ehrlich made that prediction, world food supplies have more than trebled and food prices have fallen dramatically.


Then the world was gripped by the fear of running out of oil. Thirty years later, petrol is still cheaper than bottled water, and some estimate that there are enough reserves of fossil fuel to last another 1000 years. It is even a question whether natural gas will ever run out due to the prodigious output of the microbic life that makes up two-thirds of the world’s bio-mass. In any case, we can confidently expect that better sources of energy will be discovered long before the world will run out of fossil fuel.

Then there was the fear of running out of trees, mistakenly reputed to be the lungs of the earth (The oceans produce 80% of the world’s oxygen). Throughout the 1980’s we were bombarded with the bad news about how many football fields were being cleared of trees every minute. Figures recently published by the United Nations make all those reports sound like so many bad dreams. The data now shows that the world’s forest reserves have remained stable at around 30.7% of the earth’s surface. (In fact, the figure is up from 30.1% forty years ago.)  Consequently the cost of wood products and paper pulp has remained fairly stable. 


Julian Simon’s famous ten-year bet (1980 – 1990) with Paul Ehrlich highlighted how resources were becoming more plentiful than ever rather than the reverse as Ehrlich wagered – and lost!


Before the turn of the millennium it was amply demonstrated that the world was not running out of food, oil, trees or any essential resource.


No one hears about the acid rain scare these days because a $500 million US research (the largest research project in history) in the 1980’s proved it was only a beat-up.


The last scare to be officially pronounced dead and buried was the so-called hole in the ozone layer. It’s a natural phenomena that’s been around longer than Santa Claus.


The only environmental scare yet to be pronounced dead is what one prominent scientist has tagged “the mother of all environmental scares” – global warming. But we can rest assured that its obituary notice will soon follow the others.


There are no bigger names among climatologists than Dr. S. Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist, distinguished research professor at George Mason University in Virginia and the institute for Space Science and Technology in Florida. This is what he said in an interview about global warming:


“I personally believe there should be some slight warming. But I think the warming will be much less than the current models predict. Much less. And I think it will be barely detectable, perhaps not. And it certainly will not be consequential. That is, it won’t make any difference to people…. High levels of carbon dioxide should not concern us. They will make plants grow faster. They will make agriculture more productive.”


He concluded another interview by saying this in the year 2000:


“Ten to twenty years from now, younger people will look at their parents and grandparents in disbelief and ask, ‘Gosh, were you really worried about global warming and ozone depletion?’”


The signs that the mother of all scares is also headed to the museum of bemused curiosity does not please everybody. Diverse interest groups have too much at stake in what has been called “the global warming industry.”


Politicians in the developed world need it as a very convenient and sinister excuse to slow down development in Third World countries because their real fear is the political consequences of competition from cheaper imports.


Government regulators and bureaucrats need global warming to enhance their own importance and power.


The press need it to sell newspapers with bad news and scary stories.


The grants-grabbers need the environmental problem to secure grants for more research papers. (No one pays out grant-money to study acid rain or anything that is not a deemed problem. The trick in keeping the grant-money flowing is to blow it up as some great problem).


 Those who have made a new kind of religious fundamentalism out of environmentalism need global warming to sustain their Marxist kind of holy war against the free market economy and other human freedoms of Western civilization.


The large environmental organizations themselves have become huge bureaucracies which need a lot of money to survive. They can only sustain their environmental industry by scaring the hell and money out of people. The faithful will only shell out money in response to pronouncements that doomsday is just around the corner.