On the other hand, thanks to the asteroid deflection projects, humanity is poised to save all the species on Earth.
CBS’ 60 Minutes began 2023 by showcasing the opinions of one of the most error-ridden prognosticators ever to hit popular media: Standford Professor Paul Ehrlich.
The news organization’s latest angle to push more climate panic and progressive solutions to a non-existent problem was a focus on biodiversity. That had Ehrlich on to support the notion civilization was about to collapse because mankind was wiping out other species at an accelerated rate.
I recall reading Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb when I was a young and impressionable teenager. The predictions in that book, which included a forecast that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s, have turned out to be completely wrong.
But if you need an “expert” to push your humanity-hating science narrative, Ehrlich is your man.
“Oh, humanity is not sustainable. To maintain our lifestyle (yours and mine, basically) for the entire planet, you’d need five more Earths. Not clear where they’re gonna come from,” he said. “Resources that would be required, the systems that support our lives, which of course are the biodiversity that we’re wiping out. Humanity is very busily sitting on a limb that we’re sawing off.”
…Host Scott Pelley mentioned that Ehrlich had been viewed as an alarmist when “Population Bomb” came out.
“I was alarmed. I am still alarmed. All of my colleagues are alarmed,” Ehrlich said. “The rate of extinction is extraordinarily high now and getting higher all the time.”
We know the rate of extinction is ‘extraordinarily high’ because of a study of the fossil record by biologist Tony Barnosky, Ehrlich’s Stanford colleague.
Tony Barnosky: The data are rock solid. I don’t think you’ll find a scientist that will say we’re not in an extinction crisis.
Barnosky’s research suggests today’s rate of extinction is up to 100 times faster than is typical in the nearly 4 billion year history of life. These peaks represent the few times that life collapsed globally. And the last was the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.
Tony Barnosky: There are five times in Earth’s history where we had mass extinctions. And by mass extinctions, I mean at least 75%, three quarters of the known species disappearing from the face of the Earth. Now we’re witnessing what a lot of people are calling the sixth mass extinction where the same thing could happen on our watch.
Social media responded with a long list of realities that ran counter to Ehrlich’s projections.
Ehrlich, 1970: "[E]njoy what little time you have left. That point for me is 1972."
2014: "We will soon be asking: is it perfectly okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry?"
2018: "[P]laces like Miami are going bye-bye in the relatively near future."
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPai) January 2, 2023
Many of us are old enough to remember when programs pushed the coming Ice Age, which fueled even more teenage angst for me. There were many references to this failed prediction in response to the 60 Minutes episode.
Leonard Nimoy Warns About The Coming Ice Age pic.twitter.com/taF2QqA5K1
— John Moss (@JohnBertramMoss) December 30, 2022
For a science-based, reality-rich analysis of the episode, I present this thread by Michael Shellenberger:
On CBS "60 Minutes" w/ @ScottPelley last night, @PaulREhrlich claimed a) humans are causing a "sixth mass extinction" & b) that it would require "five Earths" for all humans to enjoy a Western standard of living.
Both claims are totally & utterly false.https://t.co/xXslyyUxQ2
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) January 2, 2023
As a contrast, let’s see how I am doing with predictions that run counter to the narrative science of the day. I have been on target with covid, so I would like to showcase a piece I wrote in 2020 about how the 6th mass extinction event would occur in four years, according to “experts.”
I mocked it and described actual mass extinction events.
About one year ago, news outlets were reporting that the Earth has entered a sixth mass extinction phase, with animals now dying out at 100 times the normal rate. In my detailed analysis of the other 5 extinction level events, I noted than mankind played absolutely no role.
In fact, the Permian extinction wiped out 95% of all lifeforms. Unless therapsids were driving S.U.V.’s or had air conditioning, it is difficult to condemn fossil fuels as the cause of such a massive loss of species.
Obviously, we have not been sufficiently scared. So, now a new new report has been released asserting that over 60 percent of species will be gone in four short years.
In one year, we will look back and see who was right.
Meanwhile, there’s actual science to counter Ehrlich’s insanity. Humanity is the only species poised to save the planet, thanks to the asteroid redirection systems that were successfully tested last year.
Humanity doesn’t often have the opportunity to conduct real-world tests of how to avert a potential apocalypse, but NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test gave the agency just that chance.
In September, a NASA spacecraft intentionally slammed into an asteroid in a historic test of humanity’s ability to protect Earth from a potentially catastrophic collision with a space rock. The $325 million DART mission was designed to see whether “nudging” an asteroid can alter its trajectory, in a first-of-its-kind test of planetary defense technologies.
The cosmic smash-up was carried out on a small and harmless space rock known as Dimorphos, which is about 6.8 million miles from Earth. Weeks later, the agency confirmed that the DART probe did successfully change the asteroid’s orbit, shortening Dimorphos’ orbit by 32 minutes.
Professor Jacobson asked me to predict when the world would end, and I will do so now in the form of a tweet which was my response to some climate panic gibberish.
The climate has changed substantially throughout geologic history. I'll start worrying when a large asteroid is on a trajectory to impact us, or if a super-volcano begins to erupt. I refuse to participate in #ClimatePanic
— Leslie Eastman ☥ (@Mutnodjmet) December 23, 2022
Thanks to DART’s success, we may only have to worry about the supervolcanoes. News reports focused on those destructive behemoths at least have some legitimacy.
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