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Belmont Club

The Hierophant in the Living Room

June 20th, 2011 - 1:42 pm

In 2005 “the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations University declared that 50 million people could become environmental refugees by 2010, fleeing the effects of climate change.” Three years later, the President of the General Assembly repeated the warning that disaster was right around the corner.

In 2008, Srgjan Kerim, president of the UN General Assembly, said it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010. A UNEP web page showed a map of regions where people were likely to be displaced by the ravages of global warming. It has recently been taken offline but is still visible in a Google cache.

These are just some of remnants of a whole industry that had grown up around preparing for doomsday.  And what a doomsday it was! With victims in the tens of millions and special new terminology all of its own.

The term for the expected multitude of displaced persons was environmental migrant. Other terms included “forced environmental migrant”, “environmentally motivated migrant”, “climate refugee”, “climate change refugee”, “environmentally displaced person (EDP)”, “disaster refugee”, “environmental displacee”, “eco-refugee”, “ecologically displaced person” and “environmental-refugee-to-be”.  Whether term you preferred, they would move in desperate hordes along the surface of the earth. Large sums of money were spent reviewing asylum laws. There was little doubt among international agencies about the size of the catastrophe they believed they were facing. As the saying went, the consensus was clear.

Jodi Jacobson (1988) is cited as the first researcher to enumerate the issue, stating that there were already up to 10 million ‘Environmental Refugees’. Drawing on ‘worst case scenarios’ about sea-level rise, she argued that all forms of ‘Environmental Refugees’ would be six times as numerous as political refugees. By 1989, Mustafa Tolba, Executive Director of UNEP, was claiming that ‘as many as 50 million people could become environmental refugees’ if the world did not act to support sustainable development . In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  declared that the greatest single consequence of climate change could be migration, ‘with millions of people displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and severe drought’. In the mid-1990s, Norman Myers became the most prominent proponent of this ‘maximalist’ school, stating that there were 25 million environmental refugees in the mid-1990s, and claiming that this figure could double by 2010, with an upper limit of 200 million by 2050. Myers argued that the causes of environmental displacement would include desertification, lack of water, salination of irrigated lands and the depletion of bio-diversity. He also hypothesised that displacement would amount to 30m in China, 30m in India, 15m in Bangladesh, 14m in Egypt, 10m in other delta areas and coastal zones, 1m in island states, and with otherwise agriculturally displaced people totalling 50m by 2050. More recently, Myers has suggested that the figure by 2050 might be as high as 250 million.

These claims have gained significant currency, with the most common claims being that 150-200 million people will be climate change refugees by 2050. Variations of this claim have been made in influential reports on climate change by the IPCC  and the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change  as well as by NGOs such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace Germany  and Christian Aid  and inter-governmental organisations such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO, IOM  and UNHCR.

To prepare for a catastrophe of this size required policy changes and international commitment.  Above all it required the grant of money and power to those who were going to save us.

There was only one problem. The predicted catastrophe never happened. Spiegel notes that the Memory Hole historical revision machine is now working overtime to conceal this rather embarrassing lapse in judgment. “But now the UN is distancing itself from the forecast: “It is not a UNEP prediction,” a UNEP spokesman told SPIEGEL ONLINE. The forecast has since been removed from UNEP’s website.”

Peter Foster, looking back on Norman Myer’s predictions, which were quoted extensively by the authorities preparing for the disaster, noted that Myers had a real talent for getting things spectacularly wrong.

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.

Not that it mattered, because as Foster noted, Myers is still a hero even to those who debunked him, because he meant well. “Stephen Castles, the Oxford don who said that Prof. Myers’ refugee projections were ‘absolute nonsense,’ nevertheless also claimed that scaring people in order to take action on climate change was ‘a very laudable motive.’ Oli Brown of UNEP suggested that Norman Myers deserved praise for sticking his ‘head above the parapet.’”

If Governments were in the habit of believing astrological predictions about the end of the world, they would be held up to ridicule. But in 2006 the Australian Labor Party proposed that “Australia should prepare to accept climate change refugees from Pacific island nations likely to ‘sink’ under rising sea levels.” The former head of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economic, Ross Garnaut said in 2009 that “The South Pacific countries will end up having their populations relocated to Australia or New Zealand, the rest of the world expects that and in the end, we’re likely to accommodate that, so there’s a solution there.”

Australia and New Zealand are still waiting.

President Obama’s 2011 National Security Strategy document declared it was preparing to meet “the change wrought by a warming planet [that] will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources”, expending a major effort to control carbon emissions and invest in Green Energy resources. The administration takes the threat of “climate change”, including refugees, so seriously that the EPA disapproved the Texas Environmental regulations, a move which threatens the economy of a state which has generated more than a third of all new jobs in America since the recession. And why not? What’s a few million jobs compared to preventing doomsday? There are serious acts by serious leaders in anticipation a definite event — like preparing for the Rapture.


When broadcaster Harold Camping predicted the End of the World would take place on May 21, 2011, his failed predicton was widely reviled by the media. When the fatal day came and went without incident, Camping was ridiculed ceaselessly. That’s natural, because getting blamed for predictions that don’t come true are the occupational hazard of mystics and prophets.

But official fortune-tellers have a special get-out-of-jail card. They can soothsay and be proven wrong time and again without consequence. Like Myers they can be absolutely mistaken by several orders of magnitude and in the sign of his coefficient to boot, and yet emerge with their scientific and academic reputations intact. But the official warlocks are far more dangerous than men like Camping, who was a private individual with a private flock. He at least never spent tax money to prepare for a doomsday which never came. Nor did he use government authority to enact regulations to designed to forestall their fake prophecies.

That’s his bad luck. If Camping had been in the Global Warming rather than the religious business he would even now be making his next prediction before an official UN body. He might even be advising President Obama. Peter Foster asks, “perhaps the biggest question is this: Given the non-appearance of those 50 million refugees, why has nobody made a bigger deal of the non-extinct million species? One projection seems certain: As the ark of his dubious science sinks below the non-rising waters of reality, you won’t receive any apologies from Norman Myers.”

No you won’t receive any apologies from Norman Myers. In all likelihood the same cast of characters is even now preparing grant proposals to push their latest scam, which will owe any predictive power it has to pure chance rather than to operation of science or logic. The Global Elite has become, in the first decades of the 21st century, as superstition ridden as any of the illiterate chieftains of old. Established religion is back. And the taxpayer is footing the bill.

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