60 Minutes Promotes Paul Ehrlich’s Failed Doomsaying One More Time
Stanford University biologist and perennially wrong doomster Paul Ehrlich appeared on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday where he once again declared, “I and the vast majority of my colleagues think we’ve had it; that the next few decades will be the end of the kind of civilization we’re used to.”
Ehrlich made himself (in)famous when he in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb: predicted that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970’s the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Instead of rising as Ehrlich predicted, the global crude death per 1,000 people has fallen from 12.5 in 1968 to 7 in 2019 before ticking up to 8 in the pandemic year of 2020.
At least CBS correspondent Scott Pelley acknowledged, “The alarm Ehrlich sounded in ’68 warned that overpopulation would trigger widespread famine. He was wrong about that. The green revolution fed the world.” Nevertheless, Pelley credulously reports Ehrlich’s assertion that the world is undergoing a Sixth Mass Extinction owing to humanity’s rising population and consumption. Paleontologists have identified five previous mass extinction events during the past 450 million years in which something like three-quarters of species disappeared due to events like supervolcano eruptions and asteroid strikes.
In fact, just as positive trends in global agricultural productivity that were already underway 50 years ago nullified Ehrlich’s prophecy of inevitable famines that would kill hundreds of millions, current trends in agricultural productivity, population, urbanization, and dematerialization will likely negate his extinction auguries and predictions of civilizational collapse. Why? Because an increasingly wealthy and technologically adept humanity will be withdrawing from nature over the course of this century.
As the result of continuing increases in crop productivity, the world has reached peak agricultural land which means that more land will be freed up to revert to nature as the century evolves. In addition, global human population will likely peak around 2050 and begin falling. Furthermore, people will be depopulating the landscape as they move into cities. Currently, some 56 percent of humanity live in cities and that number is projected to increase to 68 percent by 2050 and 85 p
Article from Reason.com