Top 5 2020 Doomsday Predictions
By Danny Keating, Director of the Louisiana/Mississippi HVAC Insider
2020 projects to be a great year. Personally, I’m excited and optimistic about this upcoming year. We can’t allow the “naysayers” to get into our heads and put their negative thoughts to work since they are so often ‘so wrong’. Here are some glaring examples from our mainstream media.
(Special thanks to Maxim Lott from whose article I have taken these excerpts.)
Will the world end in 12 years? Maybe 30? If history is any guide, it will not. Many similar predictions have been made in the past, but they came and went without tragedy. Here are the five worst predictions made about 2020 that failed to pan out.
1. The U.S. may warm 6 degrees F from 1990 to 2020
In 1990, The Washington Post reported in a front-page story: “Carbon dioxide is the gas most responsible for predictions that Earth will warm on average by about 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2020. The United States, because it occupies a large continent in higher latitudes, could warm by as much as 6 degrees Fahrenheit. ”
Thirty years later, 2020 has finally arrived. The Earth has warmed approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit according to NASA. The United States also warmed roughly 1 degree. Elliott Negin, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, declined to comment.
2. Oil will effectively run out by 2020
CNN ran a headline in 2003 titled “World oil and gas ‘running out.’ ”
The New York Times reported in 1989 that “untapped pools of domestic oil are finite and dwindling,” and that “William Stevens, the president of Exxon U.S.A., said … by the year 2020 there would not be enough domestic oil left ‘to keep me interested.’ ”
But doomsayers underestimated American ingenuity, and the opposite happened. Both U.S. oil output and U.S. proven oil reserves are dramatically higher now than they were in 1989, thanks to technology allowing deeper oil to be discovered and extracted.
New technology in natural gas (“fracking”) also allowed the U.S. to become an energy independent net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years in 2018.
3. By 2020, no glaciers will be left on Mt. Kilimanjaro
“It’s now estimated that by the year 2020, there will be no glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro,” Christian Lambrechts, an officer at the U.N. Environment Program, told CNN in 2003.
The Associated Press also reported in 2007 that “in 2001, glaciologist Lonnie Thompson predicted the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania would disappear within the next 20 years.”
But today, Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are still there, according to a 2019 paper in the Journal Ecology and Evolution that includes photos and a new timetable: “most of glaciers on Kilimanjaro … will most likely disappear within 25 years.”
4. A billion people will starve due to missing the tech revolution
In 2000, Discover Magazine published a largely spot-on list of predictions about 2020. But it missed big when predicting a “grisly reality” of tech-caused inequality. Jaron Lanier was quoted as predicting “the most heartbreaking scenario is festering in the third world, where the current generation … will be lost in the next techno-revolution … You’re going to have to somehow live while you watch a billion people starve….”
But from 2000 to 2020, global extreme poverty fell by about a billion people, according to the World Bank. Technology actually connected the world and allowed people in developing nations to access capital, access production know-how, and access aid from developed countries.
5. By 2020, “millions will die” from climate change
Reuters newswire ran this headline in 1997: “‘Millions will die’ unless climate policies change.”
The report said 8 million people would die by 2020, citing a prediction in the Lancet medical journal. The mass death prediction was clearly way off.
“None of these predictions came true, and aren’t even close to coming true,” said Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “It’s amazing that the public can continue to believe apocalyptic predictions despite a 95 percent decline in weather-related deaths in the last 100 years.”
Why the Doomsday Predictions?
Marian Tupy, editor of HumanProgress.org feels that an overly negative view of humanity may be one cause of the bad predictions. He observed “Humans are not a curse upon the planet, but are actually a benefit, because we are problem-solvers. We humans are creators, not destroyers, on average.”
Mr. Tupy added, “When people ask you ‘when was the best time to be alive?’ The answer is, tomorrow.”