Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day 2018. It may be useful to recall the gross inaccuracy of the predictions made on the first Earth Day in 1970, and to wonder how the predictions of environmental doom in 2018 will stand up 48 years from now.
In 1970 the primary emphasis was on the risks posed by overpopulation. This has become much less fashionable in recent years, perhaps because many European nations are now suffering from the opposite problem–falling populations. The 1970 Earth Day predictions hypothesized numerous other calamities, of course, most of which have also failed to materialize.
It is now clear that most environmental problems are primarily caused by poverty and related lack of concern, not economic progress, but technological progress is often blocked by environmentalists. And it is technological progress which is the key to economic progress and thus environmental progress. Affluent countries have the resources and public concern to address such problems while less affluent ones do not. Socialist and Communist countries are often the worst in this regard, so increasing the role of the state in their economies may result in particularly bad problems with environmental issues. The environmentalists uniformly propose increasing the roles of government in their economies as the solution to environmental problems they identify and often blame insufficient state intervention for the problems.
So the only constant over the last 48 years is that the “environmentalists” have misunderstood the underlying causes of environmental problems, predicted dooms that have not materialized, and proposed solutions that have not worked. I find it unlikely that they will learn from their mistakes. The only question is how much damage they will do in the next 48 years in attempting to implement their solutions to their misguided predictions.
In recent decades “environmentalists” have increasingly emphasized climate issues rather than population problems. I argue that these climate issues are not “environmental” issues at all, but rather fake issues since there is very little evidence that there is more than the usual climatic variation due to natural causes like El Nino Southern Oscillations (ENSO) and solar variations. Apparently increasing affluence also encourages people to indulge in increasing speculation without careful attention to the application of scientific methodology despite increasing educational attainments.
via Carlin Economics and Science
April 21, 2018 at 12:39PM