Oxford environmentalist wildly predicted 50 million climate refugees
By Peter Foster
Alarmist projections fall apart as they fail to materialize. Junk theories tend eventually to be junked. A case of the former is the failure last year of 50 million “climate refugees” to appear on schedule. An example of the latter is a recent study that suggests that forecasts of species loss have been significantly exaggerated.
What links these two cases is the man who both made the 50 million projection and was also perhaps more than any other person responsible for hyping the extinction scare, Oxford environmentalist Norman Myers. Intriguingly, the more Prof. Myers is proved wrong, the more he goes on the attack, while his backers castigate critics rhetorically for just not “caring” about refugees and extinction.
Prof. Myers’ projections of 50 million climate refugees by 2010 was enthusiastically pushed by the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, in a website map put up in 2005. When blogger Gavin Atkins pointed out earlier this year that the areas that were meant to witness a refugee exodus had in fact shown healthy population growth, UNEP removed the map. The problem was that UNEP had funded Prof. Myers’ research, which had been widely regurgitated by other UN agencies and governments, and cited in the alarmist U.K. Stern review.
Stephen Castles of the International Migration Institute at Oxford declared that Prof. Myers’ methodology was crude and his projections “absolute nonsense.” When Prof. Myers was interviewed by the BBC, instead of defending his methodology, he proceeded to point out how many countries and refugee camps he had visited — as if science were based on Air Miles. He suggested that the lack of evidence was analogous to the fact that “You can’t prove that smoking causes cancer.” He told New Scientist: “It may be very difficult to demonstrate that there are 50 million climate refugees, but it is even harder to demonstrate that there are not.”
This is not the first time that Prof. Myers has been linked to wild exaggerations in the cause of promoting “an entirely new mode of Earthling existence.” In his 1979 book, The Sinking Ark, while acknowledging that the current recorded rate of species loss was one a year, he “supposed” that one million species might be lost by the end of the 20th century, i.e. 40,000 a year. The millennium has come and gone, but there is no evidence that even a score of species have disappeared, let alone a million. (Financial Post)