If At First You Don’t Succeed

For decades, environmentalists have been predicting one impending disaster after another. In the early 1970s, we were told that mass starvation would soon result from over population. Then, we were told that a new Ice Age would soon threaten the world. Before long, the environmentalists changed their mind. Freezing to death was no longer a concern. Instead, we were going to burn to death because of global warming. Still uncertain, they finally settled on climate change, which is a safe prediction since the climate has always been changing. Intermixed with all of these global predictions have been a litany of more specific claims. For example, in 2008 Al Gore claimed that the Arctic ice cap would disappear within five years.

Through all of this, two things have remained constant: 1. All of the predictions have proven false, and 2. Each prediction was accompanied with a call for drastic reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

Apparently, some environmentalists have learned a lesson. Rather than make predictions about what is going to happen within the next decade, they are now they are now reporting on the disaster that awaits us in 2080. The Chronicle reports that a new study finds that beginning in 2080 climate change will reduce the US economy by .7 percent for each degree of temperature increase.

As with the switch from global warming to climate change, this is a fairly safe prediction. The safety doesn’t come from the fact that it will inevitably be true, but from the fact that sixty years from now few people will remember it when it proves untrue. In the meantime, it serves its purpose as propaganda to further the anti-fossil fuels campaign.

Given the track record of these predictions, they should simply be dismissed. But that won’t happen. Instead, we will be exhorted to sacrifice today for the future of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Environmentalists have made it clear that they want to end industrial society. They want mankind to leave nature untouched. But human survival, let alone flourishing, requires us to transform nature into the values that we need and desire. Despite whatever pretenses they offer, the environmentalists aren’t concerned about human flourishing or even human survival.

They have been effective in winning converts to their cause, despite the consistent failure of their predictions to come true. That failure has not dissuaded them. While environmentalists may lose in the prediction battles, they are winning the ideological war.

We shouldn’t be fooled by their pleas to save the planet for future generations. In their ideal world, there would be no future generations.

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