In 1969, Richard Nixon’s presidential advisor, Daniel Moynihan, summarised for the President the general concern of scientists about “the carbon dioxide problem”. This report was recently released.
Moynihan’s memo reads, in part:
“It is now pretty clearly agreed that the CO2 content in the atmosphere will rise 25% by 2000. This could increase the average temperature near the earth’s surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit. This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.”
These predictions were wide of the mark:
•Rather than increasing by 81 parts per million as the “pretty clearly agreed” experts feared, CO2 rose by only 45 parts per million.
•Rather than spiking by 3.9 C (7 degrees F), the actual temperature increase between 1969 and the year 2000 was a practically imperceptible 0.3 C. Which means the experts were off by 1200 percent.
•Most embarrassing of all, rather than rising 305 cm (10 feet), sea level increased by a paltry 10 cm (3.9 inches). Which means the experts overestimated that particular danger by 2950 percent.
Moral of the story: no one has ever been able to predict the future. Not even highly educated, highly regarded government advisors.