Myths/global warming predictions have failed

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This article is under construction and should not be used as a reference.
Myth: A number of predictions about global warming have failed to come true.

Myth

Examples

  • "For decades now, those concerned about global warming have been predicting the so-called "tipping point" — the point beyond which it'll be too late to stave off catastrophic global warming. It seems like every year the "tipping point" is close to being reached, and that the world must get rid of fossil fuels to save the planet. That is, until we’ve passed that deadline and the next such "tipping point" is predicted."[1]

Reality

Saying "the tipping point passed and nothing happened" is about as sane as saying "it's cold today in Alaska, so global warming is a myth." When you drive off a cliff, it can be quite some time before you hit the ground.

Additionally, these "predictions" are made by politicians trying to get people to feel some sense of urgency about the problem – not by climate scientists trying to make accurate statements. It would nonetheless be entirely true to say that every year in which we continue to burn carbon at the present rate (or even to burn it in any significant quantity), the resulting global warming will be worse – but it is very difficult to motivate people with that sort of statement.

For any politician who honestly wants to inspire action, it becomes almost unavoidably tempting to phrase the situation in terms of some black-and-white battle that is winnable in the short term. There's no magic bullet (short of converting to sustainable fuels overnight, which is impossible), and there is no way to undo the damage that has already been done; we can only try to prevent the damage that hasn't yet been done, so that things won't be even worse.

Footnotes