Top 5 2020 doomsday predictions…

| January 1, 2020

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All those predictions of doom and gloom from the last ten or so years, where are they? From running out of oil to vanishing icecaps, here are the five top flops.

…that didn’t pan out

By Maxim Lott

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 outlet further warned: “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.

The latest UN IPCC report, AR5, however, addresses the issue of whether their models were accurate. (The UN predictions differed from the 1990 Washington Post ones, which did not cite its source.)

The latest UN report shows that current temperatures are just within the UN’s old predictions made in 1990, but acknowledges that actual temperatures came in “on the lower end” of expectations.

The UN report partly credits a 1991 volcanic eruption in the Philippines for the lower-than-expected warming, and says the new models account for volcanoes.

The UN now predicts a rise of about 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit from today to the year 2100.

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.

Reached by phone, Phillip Shabecoff, the former New York Times reporter who covered the disappearing oil in 1989, said that the Exxon CEO’s 2020 prediction was off.

“I’m not Nostradamus,” he said, adding, “it’s what the Exxon CEO said. He obviously did not anticipate the new fracking and gas technology. At the time the Permean Basin was being drained dry, so he had every reason to believe we were running out of oil,” Shabecoff said.

Marian Tupy, who tracks metrics like oil production at, told Fox News that people routinely underestimate humanity.

“People only think about how can we solve things with current technology. They underestimate human ingenuity,” he said.

Shabecoff said that “unfortunately, human ingenuity is often undermined by political ideology and greed, so we have not been able to bring human ingenuity to bear on urgent questions like climate change.”

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.”

Lonnie Thompson defended his prediction and said it was a bit different from how the AP summarized it. “My prediction was that there would be no glaciers, and that is true,” he told Fox News by phone.

“What we have now are ice bodies. The definition of a glacier is ice in motion. To be ice in motion, you have to have an accumulation zone. There’s been no recent accumulation. There are no glaciers on Kilimanjaro,” he said.

Asked about the study calling the current snow on the mountain “glaciers”, he said: “Sometimes people get caught up in semantics. The fact is all the glaciers in the tropics are disappearing.”

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: “For [virtual reality pioneer Jaron] Lanier, the most heartbreaking scenario is festering in the third world, where, he believes, 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, as technology connected the world and allowed people in developing nations to access capital, production know-how, and aid from developed countries.

Lanier told Fox News that his prediction was really more about how poverty would be “more in your face” due to technology and said that the developing world could still collapse by, say, 2030.

“It is true that poverty has fallen… but the developing world is headed towards a reckoning. I still worry about Lagos [Nigeria] in 2030. Look at the population projections. Where will the water come from?…” he said.

“I’ll stand by what I said for now, but I still hope to be proven wrong,” he added.

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.”

Some modern studies claim to find mass deaths; the Daily Beast covered a “shock report” that “Climate Change Kills 400,000 a Year,” but Human Progress’ Marian Tupy said such estimates are grossly inflated.

“They say climate change causes everything. Some people try to pin the war on Syria on climate change, and then say when all those people die, that’s because of climate change. They have a secondary agenda,” Tupy said.

The five predictions highlighted here join a host of similar failed predictions for 2010 and 2015 that Fox News tracked.

Tupy said that an overly negative view of humanity may be one cause of the bad predictions.

“Humans are not a curse upon the planet, but are actually a benefit, because we are problem-solvers. We are creators, not destroyers, on average.”

“When people ask you when was the best time to be alive – the answer is, tomorrow,” he added.

Maxim Lott is executive producer of Stossel TV and creator of He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott

So mostly, unless some definitions are changed (not a glacier?) and volcanoes are now in the mix, these predictions weren’t right. Hell, some were so off base they weren’t even wrong. I helps to point and laugh. Right, Al Gore?

Emphsis added. Posted in its entirety, the article and graphics may be viewed here: Fox News

Category: It's science!, Ivory Tower Idiocy, Reality Check

Comments (50)

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  1. Poetrooper says:

    The common thread in all those silly predictions of doom and gloom is that they come from left-wing sources. What is it about the liberal psyche that it seems to require impending disaster of all sorts?

    It is indeed some form of mental illness.

    • rgr769 says:

      Michael Savage has been saying Liberalism is a mental disorder for over thirty years.

      • Poetrooper says:

        The first time I ever heard him say that I told Miz Poe, “See? Michael Savage agrees with what I’ve been saying for years.”

        Dr. Savage, after reading one of my American Thinker essays, had one of his producers call me and request I come on the show to discuss it, unwilling to tell me whether or not Savage was in agreement with my thesis. In bad health at the time, I declined.

        But I confess, I also was wary that the good doctor might go all “savage” on me. In spite of his solid political positions (for the most part) he is an urban coastal elite, of a type that seems to equate a pronounced southern, good ol’ boy drawl such as mine with a slow intellect, thus a cultural challenge and an invitation to invective, at which the mercurial Dr. Savage is the master.

        I’d had plenty of experience with this reaction in my many years of employment with a New York based corporation. It’s like they can’t help themselves: You speak slowly therefore you must, by necessity in their minds, reason the same way, with all your conclusions thus questionable.

        When I was younger and in good health, I reveled in showing them how wrong their assumptions were. But when that producer called, with me in my debilitated medical condition and possessing no desire to be “savaged” on a national forum, I gave it a pass, a probably wise decision.


        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Waaall, ya knows how it bees thar Ole Poe, us Southern menfolks is jest a buncha good ol’boys drankin’ whiiiss key and rye thankin’ this could be the day that we die. This could be the day that we die. One thang fer shore tho, is them thar fast yankee wimmens shore did lak it when we whispered them thar sweet nothins in thar ears on a mint julep moonlit night underneath them thar Magnolia and Gardenia Blossoms. Hellsfire ever time I had to head up narth for bizness, they’d jest flock all aroun, jest to heah usens taaalk. They ‘uld gets all flirty when a feller ‘uld make mention that his lovemaking was jest as smooooth, silky, and slow as that air drawl. Acting crazy ain’t the same as being stoopid.

          Being a Southern Boy is a real panty dropping Super Power. Being a gentleman didn’t hurt none neither.

          • AW1Ed says:

            Why bless y’alls little hearts…
            Raised up and down the East Coast at every Navy Base with a runway, I have the remnants of the Virginia Gentleman’s drawl. This can become more apparent depending on the state of my hackles- when they begin to raise and my vowels go soft and my speech slows, those who know me either step back to watch the show, or hustle my ass out of a losing proposition.

        • Thunderstixx says:

          Savage was a nasty, angry man that has his head so far up his ass he has met oblowme and killary in there.
          He gets angry at people that say hello or ask how he is. He believes his time is more valuable than anybody else on the planet.
          He’s now turned never Trumper and although I refuse to listen to him all I hear out of him lately, by reading about him, makes me believe he is only interested in himself.
          I never could stand listening to him.
          All your observations and predictions were spot on.

  2. GDContractor says:

    I predict the seagull will squawk all over this one.

    • Commissar says:

      What’s the point? Selection bias, straw man, and motivated reasoning in this blog post speaks for itself.

      • Poetrooper says:

        As does truth…

        • Poetrooper says:

          And reality…

          • AW1Ed says:

            And those annoying facts…

            • rgr769 says:

              Squidward aka the Commie Cuttlefish must have developed carpal-tunnel syndrome from excessively fapping for Bernie. That is his shortest comment I have seen for quite some time.

              • AW1Ed says:

                Give him a break, rgr769. It’s New Year’s Day and he’s possibly under the weather. That and he has no real argument to counter the post. I’m sure he’ll be back in fine form later on.
                Happy New Year, Lars.

              • Poetrooper says:

                And most amazingly, he didn’t say, “Poe, you’re fulla shit!”

                • AW1Ed says:

                  Hey, that’s my reply to your “Let’s fuck with Ed and see if he’ll post THIS!” emails.

                  Happy New Year, Bro.

      • AW1Ed says:

        So what dire predictions have actually come to fruition, Lars? TheAlGore has been spouting his fear mongering for what, 20 years now, and has nothing to show for it.

        Except his palatial estate in Tennessee, of course. The one that uses 20x the energy of average US residents.

        Washington Examiner

        • Commie-Tsar says:

          I worship at the Altar of the Goracle!!!

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          Billions were supposed to starve by 2000.

          The US would start a global thermonuclear war.

          The US economy would collapse, permanently.

          Japan was going to own us all.

          The Soviets would conquer Europe.

          AIDS/Flu/Zika/BioTerror/Andromeda-strain will kill civilization.

          There is something in American culture that fixates on “doomsday”. Americans are the optimists’ optimists, yet we have that counter-streak of impending doomsday. I suspect it comes from our early frontier reality “Bad stuff -is- going to happen” and the waves of settlers who escaped cataclysms in the Old Country.

          If not for the Potato Famine, combined with -epic- British stupid/callous, would there now be more Irish here than in Ireland? The list is endless. Dispossessed Scotts. Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Ukrainians fleeing the Holdomor. Asians fleeing war and famine. All sorts of folks fleeing Communism/Socialism/Fascism/Progressivism/Collectivism/Left.

          No wonder we tend to think “Doom is near!”.

          But those were all the survivors, the clever folks who got through and got out. We also get from it “Hmph. This ain’t so bad. We’ve -got- this. Why, back in Granpappy’s day it was -so- bad….”

          So there likely will always be false-prophet doomsayers among us, and would-be Tyrants who would exploit that, seeking to be the “savior” dejure.

          • MI Ranger says:

            But you are forgetting that all is not shiny and clean when you look under the rug!
            There are many a Russian oligarch that is buying up companies left and right, throughout Europe. Whether their intentions are purely capitalistic or they truly have ties to mother Russia, in order to finally bring about the revolution by playing the “long game” is difficult to determine.

            Much of the economic predictions of collapse, by the US economy were predicted by liberal minds who could only see how they were spending money and what would happen if they continued to be in power…so not surprising they fell short (good thing too)!

            Billions did starve, but they were re-oriented to capitalism and have started businesses through micro lending. Effectively directing resources where they are needed not where people want them. The same is not true about the US population who continue to devour empty calories of sodas, chips, candy, and calorie laden snacks (I don’t say sugar any more because it is a marketing trick to use other sweeteners and call it “Sugar Free”). The American population is starting to resemble the folks inhabiting that spaceship in the movie about the robots left to clean up the garbage filled earth (Wall-e)!

            As far as diseases wiping us all out, well we can only hope that like the economically challenged liberals the Anti-vaxers also do wipe themselves out before they bring back diseases that haven’t been seen in decades if not centuries! Measles, Polio, and the Plague to name a few. Just because they are a celebrity does not make them a genius and worth listening to…Adolf and Joseph were celebrities in their time as well!

            • 11B-Mailclerk says:

              Billions did -not- starve. The “green revolution” and other modern technologies saw to that. Global pre-season calorie consumption is significantly up.

      • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

        What will you do if Trump gets reelected? Shit your pants? Leave the country? Continue to rally the Free Shit Army and fight DA MAN? Sit on a corner, holding a sign saying “DA MAN IS HOLDING MY AZZ DOWN”?

        Go wash your ass and get a real job, Lars…

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Oh, Lars, you ignorant ass, you forget one little thing. People have no obligation to agree with you or even accept your point of view. If you aren’t addicted to being kicked in the backside every time you post – which is indicative of a desperate need for attention – then what other purpose is there in your posting some of the most ridiculous comments on the planet?

        Keep it up, Sport. You’re almost smarter than AOC and her band of Commie buttheads.

      • Slow Joe says:

        Lars, “Motivated Reasoning”?

        Dude, you are the one in the echo chamber.

        You are deeply low in your psyche spectrum, with your “primitive mind” firmly in control, searching only for confirmation and triumph, in complete disregard of the truth or at least a more realistic understanding of reality, and your vaunted “high mind” is nothing more than a pet of your Primitive Mind.

        You live in a world ruled by power games, not value games, as has been in America since independence.

      • SFC D says:

        So riddle me this, Commissar: What left-wing doomsday prediction has come true?

      • David says:

        What he cited were the “top 5 flops” – not all the flops, not every prediction good or bad, just 5 extremely notable fails. I remember all the predictions from the ’60s on. The only accurate ones involved liberal dickheads getting worse… mission accomplished.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    I predict that we are all gonna die…someday…of something. ‘Stixx will be here shortly to emphasize our doomedness.

  4. marinedad61 says:

    And… it was only 40-50 years ago, that
    was the prediction of doom.

    The SMOG will block the sun,
    temperatures will drop,
    agriculture will fail,
    and we will all starve and freeze to death. Oh my god!

    Where are all those talkface knuckleheads today?

  5. Poetrooper says:

    Ya gotta love that “ice bodies” bit of lefty linguistic tap-dancing. If you can’t move the goalposts, then just call ’em something else, knowing the suck-up media will Pravda-like parrot your bullshit to protect the party narrative.


    • rgr769 says:

      It is all about one of the fundamental principles of progtardism propaganda and thought control they developed from one of the characters in Alice in Wonderland: “When I say a word it means what I say it means; nothing more and nothing less.” One can win almost any argument/debate if one can define what all the terms in discussion mean, even if those definitions are contradicted by Mr. Webster’s tome. Remember how Winston was rewriting the NewSpeak dictionary?

    • Mason says:

      The best is how he says that “Sometimes people get caught up in semantics.” While he argues that the glaciers aren’t actually glaciers. LOL

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      “Useful Idiots”:

      “The Left in America”

  6. Sparks says:

    So if I read this correctly, fuzzy-headed, pseudo-scientific types screaming “fire”, along with CNN in lockstep with everything liberal and remotely blamable on conservatives, plus the “UNknowing” UN were all in agreement, 20 or so years ago we should be dead or dying by now. Instead, we are doing better than anyone…of them…expected. I loved the responses, “yea well, I really meant to raise awareness”, “well I was a tad off but if you look ahead…”.

    Same old song and dance. How many of these fools were basking in research money from taxpayers, even if funneled through the UN? How many will NOT be asked for updates by CNN? How many are probably tenured, lifetime security professors still cranking out their required “papers” and have passed off teaching every class to post-grad students for decades?

    My mother said, “foolish names and foolish faces always show up in foolish places”. I amend this mom, “foolish liberals love their foolish faces in front of a camera, or on a byline no matter how foolish they are proved to be.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      To which I’d add, climate change has never been about controlling effects, it’s a means of people control.
      The large oil companies lead the charge for cap-and-trade carbon tax because they have largesse and can ‘beat’ the system with scale. Just like the Philip Morris attacks on small tobacco, just like the big banks on small ones and credit unions.
      If the bullies can lobby congress, get language in a bill that they can work around, they win! The winner calls the tune.
      This consolidation of powers is the natural flow of things; businesses, governments, religions, etc. I’m not saying I agree, it just ‘is’, that’s why I can find two f*cks to rub together about all this UN nonsense.
      This dam shall break too in time.

  7. AW1Ed says:

    Here Lars. Different times, same message? We’re still here.

  8. Mason says:

    In Re:#4

    If the guy was making good VR tech, then I wouldn’t have to watch a billion people die. I’d be watching some video game or pornography. Right? Like isn’t the whole point to use it to completely escape reality?

  9. When these shitbird talk about climate change, are they refering to natural climate change that has been going on for a few billion years before automobiles etc, or climate change caused by fossil fuel burning???

  10. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    I remember the eco-doomsday predictions of the seventies when we really did have some nasty messes and a few remain today that need cleaning up but alas, Government bureaucracy and lawsuits from do-gooders hamper and halt many a cleanup. I remember the ice age predictions saying that particulates from fossil fuel consumption blocking sunlight were going to do us all in replaced in the eighties with global climate change caused by deforestation, blahblahblah and half the human race as well as half of the planet’s species were going to be extinct by the year 2000,…

    It’s always the same, we only have TEN YEARS left at best, blahblahblahblah…

  11. MSG Eric says:

    Typical scientists, “I’m not wrong if you look at it the way I want you to!”

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      They internalized Obi-Wan’s bullshit:

      “So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.”

      In other words, -lied-.

      And folks wonder why so many Jedi wind up Dark Side.