In 1970, global cooling was the worry.  Some of the same guys who fretting about the coming ice age now sweat global warming once it became popular.  Why does anyone listen to them?

Watt, by the way, wasn’t worried about automotive pollution because he thought we would run out of oil.  “By the year 2000,” he proclaimed, “if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say,`Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say,`I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

These guys could make a mortuary cheerful.  Fortunately, none of their predictions came to pass.  Instead, things got better.

According to the EPA, from 1980 to 2008…

  • Ambient carbon monoxide declined 79%.  Emissions declined 58%.
  • Ambient ground level ozone fell 25%.  Emissions fell 49%
  • Ambient levels of lead plunged 92%.  Emissions plunged 96%.
  • Ambient nitrogen dioxide dropped 46%.  Emissions dropped 40%.
  • Ambient sulfur dioxide is down 71%.  Emissions are down 56%.

All of this happened against a backdrop of economic and population growth, making the reductions even more remarkable.  By any and all measures, the air is getting cleaner every year. Water is cleaner.  Endangered species are recovering.  There are fewer toxic wastes.  No one even talks about the ozone hole anymore.  Global warming has halted and considering we just experienced the coldest winter in more than 100 years, may even be reversing.

Our scarce resources are less scarce too.  According to the Energy Information Administration, proven oil reserves have increased 111% between 1980 and 2010.  Natural gas reserves jumped 157% over the same time period.  With new shale discoveries, both are even higher now.

You wouldn’t know anything about the improving environment or abundance of available energy if you talk with the environmentalists.  They’re too busy screaming that the glass is about empty to notice that it’s gone from half full to three quarters full.

The environmental movement is about scarcity and doing without.  Less is more, they say.