Bad environmental and resource scares

Forecasting Principles has provided an extract from Julian Simon's The Ultimate Resource 2 describing the alarming forecasts and the actual outcomes of environmental and resource scares over the, mostly recent, years.

Often phenomena seem so novel that only expert judgment could be used to make forecasts about them. The directors of the Global Warming Analogies Forecasting project have found that, at least for the global warming alarm phenomenon, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 NIV).

Having compiled their own list of analogies to the phenomenon, they found that Julian Simon had compiled a list of “bad environmental and resource scares” for his 1997 book The Ultimate Resource 2. With the kind permission of the Simon family, the Forecasting Principles website has transcribed Julian Simon's list of scares and their outcomes and posted it on the pages.

Other lists of scares have been compiled by Aaron Wildavsky (But is it true? A citizen's guide to health and safety issues), Allan Mazur (True warnings and false alarms: evaluating fears about the health risks of technology, 1948-1971), Geoffrey Kabat (Hyping Health Risks: Environmental hazards in daily life and the science of epidemiology), and Booker and North (Scared to Death. From BSE to global warming: Why scares are costing us the Earth).

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