10 Failed Global Warming Predictions That You Need To Know About


Ever since the theory of global warming began being advanced by the left, there have been failed global warming predictions. Heck, you can look at Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was somehow a box office hit a little more than a decade ago, and see just how badly the predictions have failed.

We could (and others have) fill a book with the failed predictions of both scientists and politicians in regard to the climate over the past half-century. However, these are 10 of the biggest failed global warming predictions you need to know about.

Failed global warming predictions: Global Warming sign that says Save out planet! Stop the warming.
(Photo credit: Tobias Titz / Getty Images)

Prediction #1: Global cooling is the real problem

When the environmentalist movement began in earnest back in the 1970s, climate change was still a core tenet of true believers. Unlike now, however, they were more concerned about an ice age than a planet that was too hot.

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“The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years,” ecologist Kenneth Watt said in 1970. “If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990 but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

He was hardly alone. In 1975, C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said that “(t)he cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.” Scientist Nigel Calder wrote that “(t)he threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”

Scientific consensus eventually moved away the global cooling alarums and instead began warning against global warming in the 1980s. Columbia University scientist James Hansen’s 1988 congressional testimony was one of the watershed moments in putting the global warming agenda before the American people in a major way. These days, Hansen is suing the government on behalf of children and future generations because he thinks they’re not doing enough to stop global warming.

Prediction #2: If global warming isn’t reversed by the year 2000, it will be too late to avert catastrophe

Do you believe in man-made global warming?

That was the 1989 prediction by Noel Brown, an environmentalist apparatchik at the U.N. — that global body that has brought us so much rubbish when it comes to failed global warming predictions.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Brown said that “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. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos, said Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program.”

None of this Mad Max-esque vision of the world has come to pass in the years since, but that hasn’t stopped people from issuing dire predictions that haven’t shaken out. You’re going to see more than a few of them in this list.

Prediction #3: We’ll be living in Antarctica pretty soon

Ten years ago, a group called Forum for the Future predicted that we would be living in a world so dire that we would actually have to move to Antarctica as “climate refugees.”

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The 2008 study produced what the U.K. Telegraph very charitably called “a radical set of ‘possible futures,'” among them that the first climate refugees would begin flooding our planet’s icy, southernmost when temperatures made everywhere else too hot to live.

“Refugees are expected to move to Antarctica because of the rising temperatures that will see the population of the continent increase to 3.5 million people by 2040,” the Telegraph reported. “As the world fails to act on climate change, researchers predict that global trade will collapse as oil prices break through $400 a barrel and electrical appliances will get automatically turned off when households exceed energy quotas.”

Other predictions? “Australia and Oklahoma will be abandoned because of water shortages and athletes will stay at home in the world’s first virtual Olympics, competing against each other in virtual space with billions of spectators,” the Telegraph reported.

We’re just 12 years away from when we were supposed to all start heading to Antarctica, and I think it’s pretty safe to say we can call this one a complete wash-out. (Or not enough of one, given how I’m sure rising sea levels were supposed to play into this.) Meanwhile, the very non-virtual Olympics are planned for 2028 in Los Angeles, so there goes that theory.

“We still have the chance to alter the future,” Forum head Peter Madden said at the time. “This is what the world could be like and some of these options are not very pleasant.”

This is true. They’re also not very accurate. And surprisingly, Madden wasn’t the only person predicting this fate. Back in 2004, the British government’s chief scientist, Professor David King, said that “Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked.” Meanwhile, the average annual temperature in Antarctica currently ranges from -76F for the interior to 14 degrees in some coastal areas. Good luck finding those 3.5 million people to live there.

Prediction #4: Great Britain will be almost snow-less thanks to global warming

Back in 2000, climate scientist David Viner had a very dire prediction for those living in England: Snow was going to become almost extinct there.

In a viral interview with the U.K. Independent, Viner said that snow on the isles was going to be “a very rare and exciting event.”

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” Viner said. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time.”

So, in almost 20 years time — Feb. 27, 2018 to be exact — here was the first paragraph of a story from the U.K. Express: “London has been hit by a wall of snow in a huge blizzard as the UK is rocked by bone-chilling temperatures, ice and wintry weather from the ‘Beast from the East’. The snow fell lightly at first but quickly picked up speed as forecasters warned the freezing Siberian winds gripping Britain could be the coldest the UK has faced in 27 years.” And, in fact, the U.K. has faced plenty of snow over the past few years.

Has the Independent disowned Viner’s statement or their original story (titled “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”)? Of course not, even though they hedged their bets by publishing a story in 2010 with the headline “Expect more extreme winters thanks to global warming, say scientists.” That same year, they published a story admonishing those pointing out Viner’s failed global warming prediction titled “Don’t believe the hype over climate headlines.” You shouldn’t, but not for the reasons the Independent thinks.

Prediction #5: Snow is going to be a thing of the past in other places, too

It wasn’t just the United Kingdom. A 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that “(m)ilder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms” but increase the number of ice storms.

So, how did that work out? A few years ago, the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center reported that “U.S. snow cover on the morning of Dec. 1, 2015 is the highest on record for this day of the year.” In addition, The New American notes that “Global Snow Lab data also shows Eurasian autumn snow cover has grown by 50 percent since records began in 1979.” Studies of Northern Hemisphere snow area by Rutgers also show little change since 1967.

In response to cold temperatures in 2014, Obama-era director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren said that “a growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues.”

So you’re either going to see milder winters or colder ones due to climate change. In a way, you can’t even call this a failed prediction, in the same way you’re pretty unlikely to lose when you play roulette and bet on both red and black.

Prediction #6: We only have 50 days to save the world from global warming 

During the negotiations for the Copenhagen agreement in 2009, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown predicted that if they didn’t solve the “impasse” they found themselves in within 50 days, the world was pretty much doomed.

“If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice,” Brown said. “So we should never allow ourselves to lose sight of the catastrophe we face if present warming trends continue.”

The Copenhagen agreement, much like the Paris agreement that followed and the Kyoto Agreement that preceded it, was reached and did almost nothing except transfer wealth from wealthier nations to poorer ones. The world, meanwhile, hasn’t gone to hell quite yet, in spite of Brown’s predictions.

Prediction #7: Prince Charles says we only have 96 months to save the world 

I’m not entirely sure when the moldering heir of the House of Windsor became a climate scientist, but nearly 10 years ago, Prince Charles warned us all “that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world,” the U.K. Independent reported at the time.

“We face the dual challenges of a worldview and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis — including that of climate change — which threatens to engulf us all,” Prince Charles said, without revealing how he had “calculated” we only had 96 months left to save the world.

A man who has access to the most prodigious conveniences and luxuries in the world told a crowd at St. James Palace that the “age of convenience” was over and that we had eight years to prevent “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.”

Except for technological advancement and a few accords which have had a relatively minor effect on the environment in the intervening years, not much has changed. Prince Charles’ deadline passed in 2017, and the “age of convenience” is still here. So is the planet Earth.

Prediction #8: The Earth will warm by 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2025-2050

Back in 1988, as the global warming “consensus” began to grow, New York Times environmentalism reporter Philip Shabecoff wrote a piece of alarmism based on the work of the aforementioned James Hansen, fresh from his congressional testimony.

“If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections,” Shabecoff wrote. “The rise in global temperature is predicted to cause a thermal expansion of the oceans and to melt glaciers and polar ice, thus causing sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.”

That’s a pretty wide band of predictions, but it turns out that Shabecoff was still well off. As the Institute for Energy Research points out, 30 years after his prediction, global temperatures have only risen by 1 degree Fahrenheit — not even close to the low mark of 3 degrees and far from the median of 6 degrees — and sea levels are up only up a few inches. And it’s not even clear the latter part is man-made.

“The rate of sea level rise during the period ~1925–1960 is as large as the rate of sea level rise the past few decades,” climate scientist Judith Curry writes. “Human emissions of CO2 mostly grew after 1950; so, humans don’t seem to be to blame for the early 20th-century sea level rise, nor for the sea level rise in the 19th and late 18th centuries.”

Shabecoff could end up being right, but current trends certainly don’t seem to bear that out.

Prediction #9: Most species on the Earth will perish by 1995

Back in 1970, around the time of the first Earth Day, Democrat Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote an article for Look Magazine. In it, he repeated one of the most preposterous claims in the whole climate change/pollution movement: “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

So, how has that worked out? Even the World Wildlife Federation — certainly not known for a lack of alarmism when it comes to climate change — notes that experts “calculate that between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of all species will become extinct each year.” Even if you buy that number, that’s a long way off from getting to 75 to 80 percent. As in, hundreds of years off.

Prediction #10: Pretty much everything in “An Inconvenient Truth”

Yes, the movie that popularized the “hockey stick” graph regarding carbon emissions turns 12 this year, and it’s not exactly looking too prescient, as Michael Bastasch noted two years ago in The Daily Caller.

“One of the first glaring claims Gore makes is about Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He claims Africa’s tallest peak will be snow-free ‘within the decade,'” Bastasch wrote. “Gore shows slides of Kilimanjaro’s peak in the 1970s versus today to conclude the snow is disappearing.

“Well, it’s been a decade and, yes, there’s still snow on Kilimanjaro year-round. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure this out. One can just look at recent photos posted on the travel website,” he continued. “In 2014, ecologists actually monitoring Kilimanjaro’s snowpack found it was not even close to being gone. It may have shrunk a little, but ecologists were confident it would be around for the foreseeable future.”

Mt. Kilimanjaro isn’t all: “Gore also claims temperature rise from increases in man-made carbon dioxide emissions were ‘uninterrupted and intensifying,'” Bastasch wrote. “He goes on to claim heatwaves will become more common, like the one that killed 35,000 people across Europe in 2003.”

“Sounds terrifying — until you actually look at what happened to global temperature after Gore’s film was released. Global temperatures showed little to no warming trend after Gore released his film. In fact, surface temperature data showed no significant global warming for a period of about 15 years, starting in the early 2000s.”

Then there was Gore’s prediction that storms would increase due to climate change; even the IPCC says that there’s “is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.” Or you can look at polar ice, of which he said: “within the next 50 to 70 years, it could be completely gone.” (He later said the ice would be gone by 2013, which was even more ridiculous.) Scientists have said that’s simply not going to happen.

Gore still received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, one imagines mostly for his work on this movie. As if the prize needed more devaluing, Barack Obama won it two years later merely for winning an election.

This is the problem when it comes to global warming predictions: We’ve heard so much nonsense over the past half-century that it’s simply difficult to believe more of it. These are just ten of the biggest failures we’ve seen. Rest assured, there will be others — and conservatives need to have the gumption to speak out and chronicle them.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture