The ersatz existential environmental crisis that led to the original Earth Day
50th Anniversary of Earth Day
The Environmentalist Playbook
By: George Noga – April 19, 2020
The incredible, but 100% true, story described in this post is about the advent of the environmental movement and how it led to the first Earth Day; moreover, it resulted in a playbook environmentalists have used over and over ever since that time. This is the fourth in our series on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day; the previous parts are on our website: www.mllg.us. The final part is next week.
In the mid 1960s an existential environmental crisis threatened Earth; lakes, rivers and forests were dying. Scientists were certain they identified the cause and that it was man-made. Nascent environmentalists became alarmed and organized for action. Politicians quickly fell into line. International conferences, including at the United Nations, were convened and a war on coal (the putative cause) was declared.
Public alarm was intense; in Sweden and Germany hysteria reached fever pitch. The media outdid themselves with hyperbole, sensationally asserting that the planet was dying. The National Academy of Sciences and the EPA said that the evidence of its cause was overwhelming. The President of the United States formed a blue-ribbon scientific working group to study the problem. International protocols were signed. When the next US president expressed skepticism, 3,000 scientists protested. Cap and trade legislation was pending in Congress. Then came a huge bombshell!
Every environmental scare since 1970 followed the same playbook.
The blue-ribbon scientific working group (National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program or NAPAP) found that the science was mostly wrong. The principal cause of the problem was changes in land use which resulted in calcium depletion in the soil which, in turn, vastly reduced the acidity of forest floors. The emissions from burning coal in power plants was not the principal cause. Based on the NAPAP report, the problem was rectified and the planet saved. To this day, the EPA never has admitted it was wrong and it still clings to the discredited zombie science of coal emissions.
As you undoubtedly have discerned by now, the preceding story was about acid rain. Although coal emissions as a principal cause of acid rain has been debunked, it provided a dress rehearsal and a template that environmentalists would use over and over again. They used it for global cooling and the coming of the new ice age in the 1970s. This was followed by global warming in the 1980s which morphed into today’s climate change. But it all began with the environmentalists’ acid rain dry run.
The Environmentalist Playbook
Every environmental scare since the 1960s has used the same playbook. First, an existential threat to the planet is conjured. Scientists, funded by government, study the problem and claim to be absolutely certain they identified the cause; anyone who disagrees is branded a denier or even a heretic. International organizations jump onto the bandwagon and issue politically motivated studies and protocols. The media then glom onto the crisis and sensationalize it with apocalyptic headlines.
The public, especially impressionable school children, panics. Politicians, not wanting to allow any crisis go to waste, use it as a pretext to demand more power and money and to further their other not-so-hidden agendas. And, of course, so-called environmentalists never will admit of having doubt or entertain the notion that they might be wrong and if proven wrong they continue to deny the facts.
There is one other common feature of the environmentalist playbook: they are proven wrong. They were wrong about the cause of acid rain. They were spectacularly wrong about global cooling and the coming of a new ice age. The final story is not yet written about climate change but, at a minimum, the environmentalists have grossly exaggerated the significance of the anthropogenic component.
On this golden anniversary of the environmental movement, take a few moments to reflect on the playbook environmental alarmists first learned with acid rain and have used for the last 50 years. Now that you understand their game plan, you shouldn’t be vulnerable to manipulation by pseudo environmentalists peddling junk science.