Prophecies from 1986

Back before it was called “global climate disruption”, “global climate change”, or even “global warming” it was called the greenhouse effect and we were all assured 2000 was going to inaugurate the environmental Judgment Day:

The conclusion, conveyed with great authority by several big-league climatologists from government and private research organizations, is terrible: by the year 2000, the atmosphere and weather will grow warmer by several degrees and life – animal, plant, human – will be threatened. The experts say that melting ice caps, flooded cities, droughts in the corn belt and famine in the third world could result if the earth’s mean temperature rises by a mere two or three degrees.

I am constantly struck by how the climate change argument perpetually arrays itself in the language of faith and not science. Priests in white lab coat vestments utter prophecies “with great authority”. Apocalyptic language abounds. People perpetually speak of their belief and disbelief in global warming. Indulgences called carbon credits are offered. As somebody who knows little of the science but something of the language of faith, I find it fascinating. Nobody ever asks me if I believe in hydraulics or jet propulsion.


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