The recent UN climate summit in Glasgow was predictably branded as our “ last chance ” to tackle the “ climate catastrophe ” and “ save humanity .” Like many others, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry warned us that we have only nine years left to avert most of “catastrophic” global warming.
Almost every climate summit has been branded as the last chance. Setting artificial deadlines to get attention is one of the most common environmental tactics. For the past half-century we have continually been told that time has just about run out. This message is spectacularly wrong and leads to panic and poor policies.
Two years ago, Britain’s Prince Charles announced we had just 18 months left to fix climate change. This wasn’t his first attempt at deadline-setting. Ten years earlier, he told an audience that he “had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world.”
In 1989, the head of the United Nations’ Environment Program declared we had just three years to “win — or lose — the climate struggle.” In 1982, the UN was predicting planetary “devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust” by the year 2000.
For the rest of this column: https://financialpost.com/opinion/opinion-half-a-century-of-climate-panic-hasnt-worked-lets-get-smarter