The sorry record of catastrophic alarmism

“In the climate debate, we hear a lot from those who think disaster is inexorable if not inevitable, and a lot from those who think it is all a hoax. We hardly ever allow the moderate “lukewarmers” a voice: those who suspect that the net positive feedbacks from water vapor in the atmosphere are low, so that we face only 1 to 2 degrees Celsius of warming this century; that the Greenland ice sheet may melt but no faster than its current rate of less than 1 percent per century; that net increases in rainfall (and carbon dioxide concentration) may improve agricultural productivity; that ecosystems have survived sudden temperature lurches before; and that adaptation to gradual change may be both cheaper and less ecologically damaging than a rapid and brutal decision to give up fossil fuels cold turkey.”

Matt Ridley takes on Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times and summarizes the many predictions of catastrophe of recent times noting how none of them turned out as planned. The caveat is that, while one should not worry about total catastrophe, one should not just ignore the alarmism all together, either. Reason and prudence are the difficult attributes to find in these things.

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