10 Years Ago Climate Scientists Said We'd Move to Antarctica... It's -95F Right Now


Ten years ago, a study was published that said a lot of us would be living in Antarctica just 12 years from now, which allegedly will have warmed to the extent that it will not only be livable, but be one of the only places to live.

“Climate change will force refugees to move to Antarctica by 2030, researchers have predicted,” the U.K. Telegraph reported with all due alarm in 2008.

“Among future scenarios are the Olympics being held in cyberspace and central Australia being abandoned, according to the think tank report.”

While competitive video games have certainly become a thing, they’re nothing on the Olympics, which are scheduled to take place in the smog capital of Los Angeles in 2028 — just two years prior to that prediction about Antarctica. As for Australia, for better or worse, it still seems pretty much populated.

Forum for the Future, the group that conducted the study, said it wanted to “stir debate about how to avert the worst effects of global warming by presenting a radical set of ‘possible futures,'” according to the Telegraph.

This “radical set” included an Antarctica that would have 3.5 million residents in 2040, where I guess we would all flee after “global trade (collapses) as oil prices break through $400 a barrel and electrical appliances will get automatically turned off when households exceed energy quotas.” And surprisingly, Forum for the Future wasn’t the first group of scientists to predict this.

In 2004, the U.K. Independent reported that 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.”

“The warning — one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist — comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as ‘very, very critical indeed.'”

So, how has that worked out? Well, unless you really like the cold — as in, minus-95F cold — you probably aren’t going to be setting up in Antarctica anytime soon.

Yes, according to Steve Goddard, the pseudonymous publisher of Real Climate Science, it’s currently that temperature down at our coldest continent. And while that isn’t the entire continent (USA Today notes that the average annual temperature ranges from -76F for the interior to 14 degrees in some coastal areas), let’s face some facts here: You probably aren’t going to be living there anytime soon, and certainly not by 2030.

As for the end of this century, there are still roughly 80 years left, but the doomsday predictions also seem somewhat unlikely given the increase in temperature predicted by even the most pessimistic of client scientists.

Now, why is this important? It’s sort of a synecdoche of what some like to call the Chicken Little school of climate forecasting. The idea that a permanent state of crisis isn’t just the best but the only way to address pollution has persisted among climate scientists — from extreme ways like these Antarctica predictions to more subtle piffle like Al Gore’s hockey stick.

Do you think we'll be living in Antarctica any time soon?
If we’re going to have a debate over carbon emissions and the best way we should address them — or if we even think government should have a role in addressing them — we can’t actually come to any consensus. What we’ll have instead is politicians who are willing to do anything in order to be willing to seen to be doing something. (See also: Agreement, Paris.)

Earlier this month, Steven F. Hayward wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that “climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue” because “(a)ll that remains is boilerplate rhetoric from the political class, frivolous nuisance lawsuits, and bureaucratic mandates on behalf of special-interest renewable-energy rent seekers.” That may have been a harsh assessment, but not an inaccurate one.

As Hayward noted, this didn’t mean that the climate wasn’t going to change or that humans weren’t responsible, although he did leave that question open.

Instead, he noted that the overheated rhetoric and the politicized, favor-seeking nature of environmental concerns was enough that most people had just stopped listening. And why wouldn’t they? After all, they were told that just a decade and change from now, they’d be living somewhere in Antarctica.

Silliness like that cannot and should not be taken seriously — and that’s why people are skeptical, if not of climate change itself, then of the motives of those who constantly promote an agenda under its umbrella.

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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