Disasters that never materialized

That’s undoubtedly a reference to Stephen Schneider, who got the bulk of media attention. The story is worth retelling.

In 1971, Schneider was second author on a Science paper with S. Ichtiaque Rasool titled “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate” ( Science 173, 138–141). This paper used a one-dimensional radiative transfer model to examine the competing effects of cooling from aerosols and warming from CO2. The paper concluded that:

[I]t is projected that man’s potential to pollute will increase six- to eightfold in the next 50 years. If this increased rate of injection of particulate matter in the atmosphere should raise the present background opacity by a factor of 4, our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5 °K . Such a large decrease in the average temperature of Earth, sustained over a period of few years, is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age. However, by that time, nuclear power may have largely replaced fossil fuels as a means of energy production.[6]

Carbon dioxide was predicted to have only a minor role. However, the model was very simple and the calculation of the CO2 effect was lower than other estimates by a factor of about three, as noted in a footnote to the paper.

The story made headlines in the New York Times . Shortly afterwards, Schneider became aware that he had overestimated the cooling effect of aerosols, and underestimated the warming effect of CO2 by a factor of about three. He had mistakenly assumed that measurements of air particles he had taken near the source of pollution applied worldwide. He also found that much of the effect was due to natural aerosols which would not be affected by human activities, so the cooling effect of changes in industrial pollution would be much less than he had calculated. Having found that recalculation showed that global warming was the more likely outcome, he published a retraction of his earlier findings in 1974.[7]

In a 1976 book The Genesis Strategy he discusses both long-term warming due to carbon dioxide and short-term cooling due to aerosols,[8] and advocated for adopting policies that are resilient to future changes in climate.[9]

A retracted paper and media hysterics. Hey, that’s actually better than most of the anti-climate change nonsense. It was real for the flicker of an eyelash.

Folks here in the Midwest remember Iben Browning’s prediction that the New Madrid Fault would rupture in December 1990, creating the mother of all earthquakes.and tearing North America asunder. The biggest - albeit most nervous - laugh I ever got was when I was speaking to a student group at Southeast Missouri State University (which sat virtually on top of the faultline) a few weeks before the projected quake, and I started my remarks with, “I just wanted to come here once more before you’re destroyed.”

The WMD.

You made the claim; I just called bullshit on it.

The world was supposed to end in the 1800s, 1900s, 2000s, 2012, and July 22nd, 2020.

Cite: https://qntm.org/destroy

You don’t have to wonder; you can look at the page source code:
if (!(typeof worldHasEnded == “undefined”)) {
} else {

It was a thing, but mostly in mass media from the past, most scientists actually reported that while there was a trend in cooling observed it was caused by old fashion contamination, most scientists reported that in a few decades it was more likely that warming was coming thanks to CO2 and other global warming gases spewed by humans into the atmosphere.


So in fact, the large majority of climate research in the 1970s predicted the Earth would warm as a consequence of CO2.

Rather than climate science predicting cooling, the opposite is the case. Most interesting about Peterson’s paper is not the debunking of an already well debunked skeptic argument but a succinct history of climate science over the 20th century, describing how scientists from different fields gradually pieced together their diverse findings into a more unified picture of how climate operates. A must read paper.

I can remember Armageddon was supposed to come in 1975.

The reason it didn’t? We don’t know how many years Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden.

Ahhh, life as a Jehovah’s Witness.

I wanted to marry my High-School Sweetheart. Whew! Dodged one, there!

This site might be of interest to readers of this thread:

They go back and reexamine stories that made big headlines years or decades ago, sometimes examining whether predictions made in the past came true. Y2K was one they did early on.

Another, which I think is worth mentioning in the thread, was the “crack baby” epidemic of the 1980s. People back then were predicting that these children born to crack-addicted mothers would end up permanently disabled would become a huge drain on society. Thirty some years later, that didn’t happen. They grew up to be perfectly healthy, normal adults, including one they interviewed.

Environmentalists have been assuring us for 70 years that “nuclear meltdowns” and “toxic waste” are going to be a significant danger and have succeeded in killing the nuclear transition in several countries by fearmongering. In that time we’ve had all of two major incidents, both worst-case scenarios (Chernobyl being almost indistinguishable from what would happen if you told people to intentionally fuck up a nuclear plant as much as possible in a day’s time, and Fukushima the result of one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history striking at precisely the spot it needed to in order to cause a crisis). Combined, those two worst-case scenarios have killed about half as many people as die just mining coal, just in China, every single year. We could have a Chernobyl every month and it wouldn’t come close to the total health effects of relying on coal power as a result of anti-nuclear hysteria.

And by comparison to the totally irrelevant concern about “toxic waste” from nuclear plants, the trivial danger of meltdowns seems real.

Certain activities have been predicted to make you go blind, but that has never come true.

While we’re still two years short of the year 2022, I feel relieved to know NYC, and the rest of the world, isn’t as dystopian as the one depicted in ‘Soylent Green’.

Out here in LaLa land, they have predicted a “Carmageddon” every couple of years or so when some freeway gets closed for repairs.

It’s a very local thing, but until 10 years ago, the City of Dallas was a hybrid dry/wet city. Basically the way the state laws were written, the parts of the city that were incorporated when the original vote to be wet, were wet, while anything added after that remained dry, as the original political units chose to be dry back in the 19th century. And there was other stupidity about original boundaries (which nobody knew from 1876, for example).

Anyway, long story short, it came up in an election 10 years ago to both sell beer/wine in grocery stores as well as have liquor stores in the entire city.

The religious cranks were predicting that there would be rampant crime, prostitution, public drunkenness and an epidemic of drunk driving. (which didn’t make ANY sense- how would being able to buy alcohol closer to home increase DWI?)

Anyway, it passed overwhelmingly in spite of the pearl-clutching church ladies and other religious cranks, and since then not a one of the dire things they foretold have come true.

Liquor laws in Texas are determined at the district level within each county. You can have a wet area and two miles down the road in the same town it can be dry.

The majority of opposition related to liquor/beer/wine sales in grocery stores isn’t church ladies, it’s the liquor store lobby. If large grocery stores that are ubiquitous throughout a community can sell it, less people will frequent independent stand alone liquor stores.

The liquor laws remind me that weed had been legal in Illinois for eight months now and affected my life exactly zero. What were we worrying about?

I asked a pc security guy if y2k actually messed up anything anywhere and he said yeah but mostly in asia africa and south america and eastern europe … places that were using old out of date microcomputer type of stuff like spectrum zx c64s apple2e…

You don’t hear much about acid rain anymore.

We’re not out of the woods yet but, in April, Chicago built a field hospital in a gigantic convention center. It was going to have something like 3000 beds. Fortunately, local hospitals were able to handle most of their patients (not to say many people didn’t die) and elected leaders put into place a lot of restrictions to help keep infections down. Only a few patients were admitted and the field hospital’s closure was announced May 1st.

So far a massive earthquake along the San Andreas faultline has yet to make California fall off the west coast.