Seven big failed environmentalist predictions

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Link here.

Like the author, I remember every single one of these doomsday predictions. I also remember how every single one of these predictions was wildly wrong. Until these fear-mongers can reliably predict things, I see no reason to believe them.

His article however does provide one entertaining tidbit:

You know how old I am? I’m so positively ancient that I remember when one of Jimmy Carter’s big answers to the impending shortage of oil was to increase federal funding for research on how to extract oil from shale. It ended the way you would expect: it went nowhere. But some decades later, private oil companies did find a way to more economically extract oil from shale—and environmentalists promptly made it public enemy #1.

All true. And just one more example of how the government fails at something while private enterprise, fueled by the profit motive, finds a way to make that exact same thing happen.



  • michael fitzgerald

    Some of your readers will remember that Ayn Rand, in Atlas Shrugged (1957), predicted the extraction of oil from stone. Also that it would be free men who would do it and that the state would only impede it.

  • Desmond Murphy

    Perhaps some of the research funded by the government helped provide some of the technology need by the private companies?

  • Dick Eagleson

    Here’s a radical thought. How about doing a bit of research that might provide factual backing for your reflexively statist opinion instead of simply asserting something that you wish to be true?

    The fact of the matter is that government efforts at shale oil recovery bore a strong resemblance to NASA’s long string of failed launch vehicle projects, the most recent of which is SLS. The classic formula? Government spends hugely on contracts with big, established firms that are presumed to be “the experts” and it all comes to nothing after years of “it’s just around the corner” happy talk and billions in expenditure.

    Hint – type “Parachute Creek, Colorado” into your favorite search engine. You will find that the U.S. government and Big Oil spent billions and more than a decade on dead-end technology for shale oil extraction based on either strip mining it or shaft mining it and cooking it to get the oil out. The technology that actually works – in situ hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) – was developed later by small, entrepreneurial firms on their own dime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *