On Nature: Dire Predictions

On Nature: David Voigts

Critics of scientists who tell us that the world’s climate is warming as a result of the emissions of carbon dioxide like to point out past dire predictions that did not happen. One that is often mentioned was the prediction in the 1970s that a decade of cooling temperatures could continue and cause severe climate consequences. It is important to note that other studies at the same time predicted global warming. The result of these conflicting predictions led to many studies of the atmosphere. This research, and the development of supercomputers to model the atmosphere and climate more accurately, brought us to today’s understanding of climate change.

Another prediction was that a thinning of the ozone layer in the atmosphere over the poles would grow and cause cancers and other health effects. Scientists determined that this ozone hole was caused by emissions of assorted manufactured chemicals. They were eliminated, and the ozone hole is repairing itself.

A third prediction of mass starvation was averted by the work of Norman Borlaug and others that brought about the green revolution of increased yields.

Action and not denial reduced past dire predictions. We need action and not denial to address climate change.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.