For the umpteenth time on Earth Day, apocalyptic alarm bells have been rung from Biden to Pope Francis if drastic and urgent measures are not taken. These are predictions that, as usual, will turn out to be wrong and any commitments made based on them will prove unrealistic. In the meantime, the high-stakes pressure serves only to justify ever-heavier state intervention in the economy and to restrict citizens' freedoms.
How long do we have until the end of the world? Very little, one would think, when listening to the speeches at the "Leaders' Climate Summit" convened by U.S. President Joe Biden on Earth Day last 22 April. "We are on the brink of the abyss", said Biden. "The next decade will be decisive." He was echoed by Pope Francis who delivered to two video messages. The first was meant for Biden's summit (the pope was actually scheduled to be one of the speakers, but his name was pulled at the last minute with no explanation given). The second, being much more general, was addressed to all leaders on Earth Day. "We’ve reached our limit", said the Pope. We must reverse "this path of self-destruction."
Do you have the feeling you’ve heard these alarm bells before? If you are thinking this is not the first time ultimatums have been issued complete with expiry dates, then, you are right. The climate apocalypse has been hammered upon us for at least 50 years. A recent study released in the International Journal of Global Warming provides a comprehensive picture of the situation: 79 predictions of the ultimate destruction of the world due to climate change have been recorded since 1970, the year of the inaugural Earth Day. Well, 48 of these predictions have already expired, and nothing of what was forecast has turned out true. This applies not just to projections about the end of the world (which obviously hasn’t yet happened and is clear to everyone still alive and well to debate it today) but also to the disastrous events that should have preceded it.
The study "Apocalypse now? Communicating Extreme Forecasts", was not written by two "sceptics" who want to discredit the climate movement, but by two Carnegie Mellon University professors, David C. Rode and Paul S. Fischbeck, who were concerned about the boomerang effect of these announcements, which are time and again contradicted by reality. "The problem," the authors note, "is not only that all the predictions that have already come to pass were wrong, but especially that many of them were announced as being certain about the date."
Some authors of these dire predictions are serial, such as the American biologist Paul Ehrlich, famous for his book The Population Bomb (1968) and who was recently invited as a speaker to a conference held inside the Vatican. The same can be said of England's Prince Charles, a son truly worthy his father (read here). We must remember that at the beginning of 2009, the Prince of Wales embarked on a worldwide tour to announce the imminent end of the world: We have "just 100 months to save the world", he announced on 7 March in Brazil in front of an audience of South American leaders and businessmen. Then, the following month, he announced we have only "99 months" left at the Italian Parliament in Rome and said it again at the G20 summit in London. So certain he was of the date that, in the months that followed, Charles performed a sort of countdown at all of his public addresses. Then came July 2017, the date of his projected apocalypse and, well, nothing happened.
Still unsatisfied, in July 2019 Prince Charles appeared before Commonwealth foreign ministers, echoing the belief held by many so-called "experts." "The next 18 months," he said, "will be decisive." But in January of this year, the 2021 apocalypse has yet to occur. Meanwhile, there has been a pandemic, an ongoing crisis with all that it entails. So, here we are again, this time with Joe Biden who tells us, it is "the next decade" that will prove decisive.
One might even have a laugh at this apocalyptic mania, if it were not for the fact that it serves to impose a series of catastrophic policies designed to make humanity as a whole poorer and even drastically reduce the population. It is no coincidence that Earth Day is the favourite date for making such announcements. Indeed, it was created in 1970 with the aim of reinforcing the anti-natalist propaganda of those who, to the tune of billions, financed population reduction projects all over the world. Earth Day's first slogan was in fact "population pollutes", and it is sad to see the head of the Catholic Church now joining the chant.
These occasions, however, serve to push the heads of state and government to make increasingly stringent and onerous commitments to ensure that an apocalypse is avoided. Biden obviously set an example by announcing a new target for the United States, even more ambitious than the previous ones: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and then to achieve "carbon neutrality" by 2060." He also convinced Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a good impression. Xi, too, has committed to "carbon neutrality" by 2060. However, because China is better at this, Xi said he will start reducing his country's emissions a little later, that is, from 2026, five years from now. Meanwhile, until 2025, China's coal consumption will continue to increase because "we have no alternative", Xi said. In short, "You go ahead and I'll catch up with you" is China's strategy. Who will remember the commitment made today in 2026 anyway?
But if Xi is smart, Biden (or anyone else) is no less so. Even if the United States really is on the road to a "green" economy, the announced targets are out of touch with reality unless the American government has actually decided to commit suicide. An American scientist, Roger Pielke Jr., has even taken the trouble to calculate precisely what a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would mean by 2030. Pielke calculated that as of January 2021 a total of 1,852 coal-and natural gas-fired power plants in the United States had been surveyed. This means that every month from now on, 11 power plants a month will have to be shut down or converted to zero-emission plants (even if, as of today, there is no technology capable of doing this).
Can anyone seriously think that this is a viable path to follow? No. But in the meantime climate alarmism justifies ever greater state intervention in the economy and restricts the freedoms of citizens - coincidentally, the same things being done during the coronavirus pandemic. Again, it is no surprise that pandemics and climate are increasingly juxtaposed in speeches made by 'powerful elite' as two crises requiring the same response.