Wednesday, May 16th 2012, 7:25 AM EDT
The Mayans reportedly forecast the world would end this Dec. 21 or at least the present era would. Modern doomsayers, though, tend to be less specific.
In a New York Times Op-Ed piece last week, top U.S. global-warming activist James Hansen predicted that if Canada proceeded to exploit the oil in its vast tarsands reserves and America did nothing, it would be "game over" for the climate.
Game over? Yes, sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities, the demo-addicted NASA scientist insisted, and global temperatures would become intolerable.
"Twenty to 50 per cent of the planet's species would be driven to extinction," he said. "Civilization would be at risk."
Updated by Kenneth P. Green
Peter Kent, Canada's environment minister, was quick to dismiss Hans-en's rant as hyperbole, fearmongering and "unscientific slander."
And former Greenpeace leader Patrick Moore, the Vancouver-based consultant for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and other industry groups, called Hansen a notorious grandstander.
"It is all the politics of apocalypse," Moore told me Saturday, adding that if we don't burn the oil from western Canadian oilsands, we will burn it from somewhere else - with less or no democracy and poorer environ-mental regulations.
Hansen, he noted, was science adviser to former U.S. vice-president Al Gore who "takes Hansen's pronouncements and hypes them up another 10 notches."
Moore will be talking about all this today at a lunch at Vancouver's Four Seasons Hotel, hosted by the right-wing Fraser Institute, where he'll no doubt have a sympathetic audience.
However, Hansen, Gore and Co. are clearly far from alone in their views, especially in the Lower Mainland where doomsayers are everywhere.
Earlier this month, Vancouver economist Marc Lee of the left-wing Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives claimed climate change resulting from our rampant fossil-fuel combustion had pushed the world into a new era of "bizarre" weather anomalies.
"The big question is whether car-bon emissions can be stabilized at some level by human collective action or whether we will soon pass critical thresholds that will trigger a runaway climate-change scenario," he said.
Runaway climate change? Other doomers believe an oil shortage will lead to a Mayan-style collapse of society, with population levels possibly falling below pre-industrial-revolution levels.
Myself, I don't worry too much about dire climate predictions because so often they turn those who make them, or believe them, into fools.
I'm also mindful that, as Moore points out, the Greens oppose pretty well every kind of energy, except that from windmills and solar panels.
They seem to desire a zero-risk, toxic-free world, however impossible that might be. They don't like oil or moving oil by tanker or pipe-line, even though the real economy - as opposed to their make-belief one - largely depends on this natural resource being transported from one place to another.
Moore says they've basically abandoned science and logic, taking positions that are so anti-human: "Their prescription would basically destroy civilization."
Well, I wouldn't go that far. But certainly, by constantly whipping up climate hysteria and demonizing our job-generating resource industries, our eco-zealots appear to be working overtime to prevent regular folks from, well, keeping their heads above water.
Read also: Environmentalists to Canada: Drop dead
- Kenneth P. Green - blog.american.com