Terence Corcoran: The Population Bombers Keep On Bombing — And 50 Years On They Keep Getting It Wrong

  • Date: 03/01/18
  • Terence Corcoran, Financial Post

Half a century after publication of The Population Bomb, the world is healthier, better fed, less poor, better entertained and generally living fuller lives. In this year 2018, the end is not near. The only people in need of downsizing are the predictors of doom and other purveyors of science fiction.

It’s 2018, and the end is near — again. From the new Matt Damon movie Downsizing to the latest alarmist petitions from bands of scientists, the world is said to be careening toward destruction. “We’re screwed,” says Oscar-winning director Alexander Payne, whose Downsizing explores the science-fiction idea that the world could maybe be saved if the technology existed to shrink individual humans down to the size of Ken and Barbie dolls, at which point consumption of dwindling earthly resources would be reduced to a fraction of current levels.

If you’re not keen on taking science lessons from Hollywood directors who admit they have no idea of how to avoid the alleged looming catastrophe, there’s the latest doomsterism from the Alliance of World Scientists. It has lots of ideas, all bad.

In a paper published in Bioscience, a group of scientists led by veteran Oregon State University bioactivist William Ripple call for a new global economic model to save us from hell on earth. “By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.”

The statement, released in November under the headline “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” has allegedly been signed by more than 15,000 “scientists,” although a large number of the signators list “student” as a credential.

The notice is a follow up to a similar call for action issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists 25 years ago, a call filled with anxious warnings that rising population levels are stretching world resources to the limit. “No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.”

Will these doomsters never learn? Here we are, going on three decades later, and the world’s population is healthier, better fed, less poor, better entertained and generally living fuller lives than 25 years ago — and there’s no end in sight. Technology, creativity, individual ingenuity, entrepreneurship, science, innovation, and individual drive under improved governance structures continue to raise human living conditions around the word.

However, despite man’s ongoing triumph and achievement, the population and environmental alarmists keep on bombing. And they keep getting it wrong, wrong and wronger.

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