(CCU Faculty) A tip of the hat to Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post for his column chiding “peak oil” extremists.
Carroll queries, “Where are the “peak oil” alarmists when we need them to spice up the news of rising gasoline prices? Have they all gone into hiding?” Apparently. An army of Luddites routinely predict the end of the world and—so far, at least—they have been wrong. Maybe they will eventually get something right. They are like the hypochondria who instructed his grave–stone inscription to be, “I kept tellin’ you all I was sick.”
Each semester in my Global Studies class at Colorado Christian University I tell my students why I reject the alarm of the alarmists. It is because I am old enough to remember how wrong they are. How wrong they ALWAYS are.
When I was a college student I was heavily influenced by Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. It’s opening sentence read, “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” My young and impressionable mind actually believed this nonsense. It wasn’t until I picked up Herman Kahn’s The Next Two Hundred Years that my mind was delivered from population hysteria.
But by then the “Chicken Littles” were on to another apocalypse. In the mid–1970s “Global Cooling” was all the rage. In April, 1975 Newsweek ran a cover article on the latest scare, warning me that, “[Meteorologists] are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.”
Furthermore, “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.”
No matter. In the 1980s we were treated to stories about acid rain, nuclear Armageddon, illegal aliens, asteroids striking the earth, and the end of oil. Al Bartlett of the University of Colorado and one of my regular debate opponents wrote a scholarly article in 1979 that the U.S. would run out of oil in 1998. (We are currently the world’s third largest producer behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia.)
And now … on to Global Warming, or, I guess, I should call it “Climate Change.” Once again we are being warned about the end of the world. And as I tell my students, it is hard to believe the latest scare because the people drumming it up HAVE NEVER BEEN RIGHT.
Aesop told the fable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” The first two cries were deliberately fraudulent. By the time a real wolf arrived no one believed the boy and he was devoured. Lots of radical environmentalists are crying “wolf.” The difference this time is they have cried a lot more than twice. And there has never been a wolf. And there is never going to be. But there is still serious money to be made crying it.
Thanks, Mr. Carroll, for a little sanity on the subject. But I expect it to be ignored.