25 Years Of Predicting The Global Warming ‘Tipping Point’

goreFor decades now, those concerned about global warming have been predicting the so-called “tipping point” — the point beyond which it’ll be too late to stave off catastrophic global warming.

It seems like every year the “tipping point” is close to being reached, and that the world must get rid of fossil fuels to save the planet. That is, until we’ve passed that deadline and the next such “tipping point” is predicted.

Would you believe it was eight years ago today that the United Nations predicted we only had “as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.” This failed prediction, however, has not stopped the U.N. from issuing more apocalyptic predictions since.

To celebrate more than two decades of dire predictions, The Daily Caller News Foundation presents this list of some of the “greatest” predictions made by scientists, activists and politicians — most of which we’ve now passed.

1. 2015 is the ‘last effective opportunity’ to stop catastrophic warming

World leaders meeting at the Vatican last week issued a statement saying that 2015 was the “last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees [Celsius].”

Pope Francis wants to weigh in on global warming, and is expected to issue an encyclical saying basically the same thing. Francis will likely reiterate that 2015 is the last chance to stop massive warming.

But what he should really say is that the U.N. conference this year is the “last” chance to cut a deal to stem global warming…  since last year when the U.N. said basically the same thing about 2014’s climate summit.

2. France’s foreign minister said we only have “500 days” to stop “climate chaos”

When Laurent Fabius met with Secretary of State John Kerry on May 13, 2014 to talk about world issues he said “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”

Ironically at the time of Fabius’ comments, the U.N. had scheduled a climate summit to meet in Paris in December 2015 — some 565 days after his remarks. Looks like the U.N. is 65 days too late to save the world.

3. President Barack Obama is the last chance to stop global warming

When Obama made the campaign promise to “slow the rise of the oceans” some environmentalists may have taken him quite literally.

In 2012, the United Nations Foundation President Tim Wirth told Climatewire that Obama’s second term was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. Wirth said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Even before that, then-National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center head James Hansen warned in 2009 that Obama only “has four years to save Earth.” I wonder what they now think about their predictions?

4. Remember when we had “hours” to stop global warming?

In 2009, world leaders met in Copenhagen, Denmark to potentially hash out another climate treaty. That same year, the head of Canada’s Green Party wrote that there was only “hours” left to stop global warming.

“We have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it,” Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens in Canada, wrote in 2009. “Earth has a long time. Humanity does not. We need to act urgently. We no longer have decades; we have hours. We mark that in Earth Hour on Saturday.”

5. United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was only 50 days left to save Earth

2009 was a bad year for global warming predictions. That year Brown warned there was only “50 days to save the world from global warming,” the BBC reported. According to Brown there was “no plan B.”

Brown has been booted out of office since then. I wonder what he’d say about global warming today?

6. Let’s not forget Prince Charles’s warning we only had 96 months to save the planet

It’s only been about 70 months since Charles said in July 2009 that there would be “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.” So the world apparently only has 26 months left to stave off an utter catastrophe.

7. The U.N.’s top climate scientist said in 2007 we only had four years to save the world

Rajendra Pachauri, the former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2007 that if “there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late.”

“What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.

Well, it’s 2015 and no new U.N. climate treaty has been presented. The only thing that’s changed since then is that Pachauri was forced to resign earlier this year amid accusations he sexually harassed multiple female coworkers.

8. Environmentalists warned in 2002 the world had a decade to go green

Environmentalist write George Monbiot wrote in the UK Guardian that within “as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”

In 2002, about 930 million people around the world were undernourished, according to U.N. data. by 2014, that number shrank to 805 million. Sorry, Monbiot.

9. The “tipping point” warning first started in 1989

In the late 1980s the U.N. was already claiming the world had only a decade to solve global warming or face the consequences.

The San Jose Mercury News reported on June 30, 1989 that a “senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.”

That prediction didn’t come true 15 years ago, and the U.N. is sounding the same alarm today.

[h/t: Climate Depot, Jim Treacher]

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Comments (24)

  • Avatar

    Will Scribe

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    “False predictions about climate,
    False predictions galore;
    False predictions about the weather
    That we have in store.
    Yet we keep on believing
    The predictions we’re given,
    By some irrational fear
    We seem to be driven…..”
    Read more: http://wp.me/p3KQlH-DG

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    No wonder the general public is tuned out of the Chicken Little ..the earth has a fever climate hustle .
    When world “leaders ‘ start shooting their mouths off about global warming armageddon it makwes me wonder what else they are poorly informed about .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    For leftist politicians there’s never any consequences for being radically wrong. Why not just tell another whopper and let your co-conspirators in the media run with it?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    James Pope

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    How do you know it hasn’t already started?

    California drought hurting at all? Worst US tornado outbreak ever and worst wildfire season ever, both in last 5 years… that didn’t bother you?

    Despite what you might see in daft scifi like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, runaway climate change won’t be a sudden apocalypse. The tipping point will be just one too many carbon dioxide molecules gently drifting out of a coal power station, sending the world into a slowly-building, unstoppable, unholy sh*t storm that will force our children and our grandchildren to live in a world of war, famine and pestilence.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      JayPee

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      My, what fire and brimstone. We all know the said calamities have never happened before. Why, we must be living in the end times just like so many other generations before us.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        James Pope

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        [quote name=”JayPee”]My, what fire and brimstone. We all know the said calamities have never happened before. Why, we must be living in the end times just like so many other generations before us.[/quote]

        Dear JayPee,

        Thanks for your response. You’re right, my comment was a bit doom-laden. I’m glad it caught your attention.

        Actually such calamities have happened before. During the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, around 55 million years ago, a massive input of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere generated a 5 degree Celsius global warming that caused a mass extinction among marine species.

        Interestingly, this warming also caused mammal species to become dwarfs and many new species appeared at the same time.

        http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/21789-global-warming-led-to-dwarfism-in-mammals-twice

        Further back in time, at the end-Permian mass extinction (also known as The Great Dying), 95% of all species on earth died. There is evidence that suggests this was caused by a massive emission of greenhouse gases into the oceans and atmosphere by bacteria.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992638/

        So it seems a biological cause of mass extinction is not unprecedented.

        Reply

        • Avatar

          JayPee

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          Nobody else has done it. So why don’t you prove that co2 will cause the proposed great catastrophes. The only thing that co2 is currently causing is anti-civilization hysteria.

          Reply

          • Avatar

            James Pope

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            [quote name=”JayPee”]Nobody else has done it. So why don’t you prove that co2 will cause the proposed great catastrophes. The only thing that co2 is currently causing is anti-civilization hysteria.[/quote]

            I can’t prove it, neither can you, and neither can any climate scientists. There is no such thing as proof.

            There is just collecting data using the best possible techniques, and then analysing that data using the best possible techniques, and then drawing conclusions. This is what climate scientists do.

            I only think carbon dioxide from humans is causing earth’s atmosphere to warm because this is what an overwhelming majority of highly intelligent, highly educated climate scientists from the world’s best academic institutions write in their scientific papers.

            If, suddenly, there was new evidence that utterly contradicted this, and stood up to all the rigorous critique that any scientific results must undergo, then I would change my mind.

            The scientist or scientists responsible for these results would become world famous overnight, and would probably win a Nobel prize, so there is incentive enough for them to try to prove that climate change from human co2 isn’t happening.

            I don’t see anti-civilisation hysteria, at least not among scientists. I see tackling anthropogenic climate change as a massive opportunity – a new niche for business to evolve into.

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            James, your first sentence tells all. You have abandoned science for politics.

            Science is based on hypothesis and laboratory proof and verifiable replication.
            Verifiable replication is true peer review.

            Politics is based on conjectural b.s. and may you wallow in it.

            I don’t expect you’ll understand.

            With an asteroid collision of regards,
            JayPee

          • Avatar

            Arvind

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            Jaypee, unless you have a time machine or a mini simulated planet to conduct models, you don’t get proof. Just, hypothesis from models that explain what is happening. Most of these models utilize the full extent of our knowledge and have so far explained the rising occurances of natural disasters, lowering ice sheets and overall temerature increases that coincide with increasing greenhouse emissions, so there’s a high probability that the models are correct. If you’re willing to ignore these models in the small probability that your climate change denying beliefs are correct, you and your ilk are rash imbeciles.

      • Avatar

        James Pope

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        [quote name=”amirlach”]”In 1976, climatologists said that that global cooling caused drought and fires in California, and produced catastrophic erratic weather globally.

        Now, Jerry Brown says that California faces an unprecedented drought, caused by global warming”
        https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/40-years-since-climatologists-blamed-california-drought-on-global-cooling/%5B/quote%5D

        Dear amirlach,

        Thanks for the link.

        It seems Steven Goddard has fallen into a common trap when making comments about scientific findings. Rather than trying to find out what scientists are or were actually saying, he has quoted news reports and politicians, both of whom use spin to meet their agenda.

        Had Steven done any research into 1970s global cooling, he would have found that there was no scientific consensus on global cooling whatsoever during that period. In fact, a peer-reviewed survey of scientific papers about global temperature published between 1965 and 1979 found 7 papers concluding cooling, 20 neutral papers, and 44 papers concluding warming:

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1

        The Newsweek article that kicked off the whole 1970s global cooling fandango was written by Peter Gwynne. Peter has since gone on record saying he and the climate change scientists he quoted were wrong:

        http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/12/_1975_newsweek_article_on_global_cooling_how_climate_change_deniers_use.html

        Today there is a consensus that the earth is warming due to our greenhouse gas emissions:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/

        and a growing consensus that this will make our weather more extreme:

        http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2617.html

        Please read these websites and articles. If you read them, understand them and still disagree, I would be interested to hear from you. If you don’t understand them, then may I suggest you leave climate science to the climate scientists – 97% of whom understand that global warming is happening, is happening because of us, and is likely to have disastrous consequences.

        Kind regards,

        James

        Reply

        • Avatar

          Jay Pee

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          Dearest James

          Apparently you confuse consensus with proof. Moreover, you mistakenly claim there is a consensus. Please correct if you are attempting serious discourse.

          With a conflagration of regards
          JayPee

          Reply

          • Avatar

            James Pope

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            [quote name=”Jay Pee”]Dearest James

            Apparently you confuse consensus with proof. Moreover, you mistakenly claim there is a consensus. Please correct if you are attempting serious discourse.

            With a conflagration of regards
            JayPee[/quote]

            I don’t think I ever used the word proof, less confused it with consensus.

            I don’t believe there is any such thing as scientific proof – please see my comment to your other response.

            As for consensus, I have no proof that there is a consensus, I just believe what highly accredited scientific institutions such as NASA tell me: that 97% of climate scientists (i.e. the people most qualified to talk about the climate) believe, as a result of their experiments, that global warming is happening, and is happening because we’re pumping co2, methane and other heat-trapping gases in to the atmosphere.

            http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            97% is a lie and if you don’t know that you’re even more ignorant than I first thought.

          • Avatar

            James Pope

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            [quote name=”JayPee”]97% is a lie and if you don’t know that you’re even more ignorant than I first thought.[/quote]

            You’re right, I didn’t know that was a lie. I’m surprised that NASA et al would report something that’s so well known to be a lie, but I guess that makes me ignorant by your definition.

            I’m here to learn more about climate science and its public perception and I guess the cure for ignorance is information. Could you tell me why the 97% consensus figure is a lie? I’d be genuinely grateful if you could direct me towards (ideally peer-reviewed) evidence of this being a lie.

          • Avatar

            JayPee

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            Do the work like we have. It’s all in past posts. And there’ll all here. ou might value what you’ve found once you done the work to find it.

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Tell us James how do you know it won’t be a sudden apocalypse caused by a meteor shower ? Who do you propose controls the earth’s temperature ? You ,Al Gore or maybe Kermit The Frog a trusted stuffy .

    Runaway climate change .So it’s no longer global warming (climate change ) it’s going to be” runaway climate change” .

    Thanks for the warning James .I’ll watch for the meteor shower and you let us know when that last gently drifting carbon molecule will occur . Will it be a human carbon dioxide molecule or one from Mother Nature ?

    I’m sure you will have that figured out too .

    Reply

    • Avatar

      James Pope

      |

      [quote name=”Amber”]Tell us James how do you know it won’t be a sudden apocalypse caused by a meteor shower ? Who do you propose controls the earth’s temperature ? You ,Al Gore or maybe Kermit The Frog a trusted stuffy .

      Runaway climate change .So it’s no longer global warming (climate change ) it’s going to be” runaway climate change” .

      Thanks for the warning James .I’ll watch for the meteor shower and you let us know when that last gently drifting carbon molecule will occur . Will it be a human carbon dioxide molecule or one from Mother Nature ?

      I’m sure you will have that figured out too .[/quote]

      Dear Amber,

      Thanks for your interesting response.

      It is highly unlikely that a sudden apocalypse will occur due to a meteor shower. Meteors are extraterrestrial rocks or dust that harmlessly burn up entirely in earth’s upper atmosphere and never touch the earth’s surface.

      Apocalypse from a meteorite strike is much more plausible. A meteorite is a large extraterrestrial rock that does not burn up in the atmosphere and hits the earth’s surface, often with catastrophic results – for example a meteorite probably killed the dinosaurs.

      I’m not really sure what the link is between meteors and climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions – could you explain this?

      The carbon dioxide molecule that will send us over the tipping point could be either mother nature’s (e.g. from a volcano) or from humans. But the reason it will send us over the tipping point will be because of all the other carbon dioxide molecules we’ve already pumped into the atmosphere.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        JayPee

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        I object to your use of the term ” Greenhouse Gas ” when there is NO scientific proof any such thing.

        I further object to the use of ” tipping point ” not only for lack of proof but for the cheap attempt to induce alarmist hysteria.

        With kindest regards to James, of course.

        Reply

        • Avatar

          James Pope

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          [quote name=”JayPee”]I object to your use of the term ” Greenhouse Gas ” when there is NO scientific proof any such thing.

          I further object to the use of ” tipping point ” not only for lack of proof but for the cheap attempt to induce alarmist hysteria.

          With kindest regards to James, of course.[/quote]

          You’re right, greenhouse gas is a convenient metaphor for the action of carbon dioxide and other gases in earth’s atmosphere.

          The metaphor prevails because it is quite strong, though you’re right there is no proof (I don’t think there is any such thing as proof, as we’ve already discussed, and I think most scientists would agree with me. For more information on this I’d really recommend Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Popper if you’ve not already read it)

          Repeated (and repeatable) experiments have demonstrated that the double bond between carbon and oxygen atoms in the carbon molecule vibrate in the presence of infra red radiation (aka heat), therefore absorbing the radiation’s energy, rather than allowing it to pass through.

          The theory of global warming states that the sun’s energy, reflected from earth’s surface as infra red radiation, is trapped by any carbon dioxide molecules it meets on its way back out into space, keeping the energy in the atmosphere and heating it.

          I can’t provide proof of a ‘tipping point’ (see discussion of proof above) I only use this term because it was used by the original poster. The notion of a tipping point (as I understand it, and I hope you’ll correct me if I’m wrong) is the point where the outcomes of climate change become more expensive to correct than they are to prevent.

          Reply

          • Avatar

            JayPee

            |

            Apparently you haven’t looked into Thermal Infrared Spectrography which notes no substantial difference between co2, so2, nxox, n2, o2 and ar.

            I invite you to look that up too. Maybe you’ll cherish what you find.

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Who and how are humans going to prevent the climate from changing ?

    What is it about some humans that think they need to control the earths thermostat
    to within 2 degrees .
    Oh yes that tipping point fear mongering
    again .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    @ Arvind

    Arvy baby
    Have you read what you’ve just submitted ?

    You’ve admitted you don’t know what you’re talking about ?

    Why are you talking ?

    Reply

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