This is slightly odd

Over his 50-year career, Lester Brown has become known for his accurate global environmental predictions.

in the sense that I can’t actually think of any single one of his predictions that have come true. He’s very like Paul Ehrlich in this sense. Always prophesying catastrophe in a little bit, but when the little bit arrives there’s no catastrophe.

12 thoughts on “This is slightly odd”

  1. This is the Guardian though, whose environ-mental writers think the climate models are accurate, and there is no pause, hiatus, plateau or ending of temperature rise.

    Once again, a paper that is reliably wrong on everything.

  2. Matt Ridley in 2010 : “… Where is the news media’s interest in checking out how pessimists’ predictions panned out before? There is none. By my count, Lester Brown has now predicted a turning point in the rise of agricultural yields six times since 1974, and been wrong each time. Paul Ehrlich has been predicting mass starvation and mass cancer for 40 years. He still predicts that `the world is coming to a turning point’.
    Ah, that phrase again. I call it turning-point-itis. It’s rarely far from the lips of the prophets of doom. They are convinced that they stand on the hinge of history, the inflexion point where the roller coaster starts to go downhill. But then I began looking back to see what pessimists said in the past and found the phrase, or an equivalent, being used by in every generation…. ”

  3. Towards the end of the article (I skipped) he says: “In so much of the developing world people live in cities, not so many in the countryside, and so they buy their food” like this is a terrible thing.

    Yet another ‘live in caves and eat dung’ doom merchant who wants the agrarian poor to stay grubbing in the dirt, while he lives in 21st century comfort.


  4. @bif

    To be fair, predicting future climate is difficult. Not even the denialists got it right.


    Sceptics just say that the Warmists can’t predict the future climate. On this they are correct.

    Mostly, they know it is a fool’s errand, so they are hardly likely to try to do it themselves.

  5. To be fair, predicting future climate is difficult. Not even the denialists got it right.
    ‘Denialists’ don’t make predictions, they just note that warmist theories have been falsified.
    Unless, that is, one labels as ‘denialism’ the paleoclimatology predicting the return of the ice age within the next thousand years.

  6. Just the link makes me groan with boredom:

    “Vast dust bowls threaten millions with hunger”

    Oh God are they still going on about this stuff?

    Don’t they realise they sound exactly like the man with the sandwich board that says “The end of the World is nigh”?

    Are they really so completely unaware of how they appear?

    Tedious stuff.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Lester Brown was the Limits to Growth guy. In retrospect, we can see that it wasn’t just generally wrong, but specifically wrong, wrong in every particular, wrong on a fine-grained level that is most easily explained by how hubristic it was to think that the future was predictable at that level of detail. It’s like a sequence of anti-predictions. You could have made money betting against it and of course, notoriously, Julian Simon did just that. But this really is the problem with millenarians: they never slink off shamefaced when the Rapture fails to materialise but simply offer an unconvincing excuse for how it’ll be along any time now. They may well be ‘aware’ of how they appear, but that’s their shtick and they have nothing else to fall back on.

  8. It takes a remarkable degree of arrogance to be consistently wrong and still believe that you will be right next time. Didn’t Ehrlich say that England would cease to exist some time before 2000? It’s still here back on planet Earth.

  9. Oh bloody hell. There are some on here so dim they want me to relearn all that / sarc ) irony and emoji bullshit

  10. Tim Daw –don’t you mean “turning point”? An “inflexion point” would usually mean no change in the tendency to growth or to decline. (I’ve noticed this error elsewhere, and can only suppose it’s because people forget what they learnt in school as soon as they leave.)

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