Climate Refugees, Not Found
REVIEW & OUTLOOK APRIL 21, 2011 WSJ.com
Discredited by reality, the U.N.'s prophecies go missing.
In 2005, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) published a color-coded map under the headline "Fifty million climate refugees by 2010." The primary source for the prediction was a 2005 paper by environmental scientist Norman Myers.
Six years later, this flood of refugees is nowhere to be found, global average temperatures are about where they were when the prediction was made—and the U.N. has done a vanishing act of its own, wiping the inconvenient map from its servers.
The map, which can still be found elsewhere on the Web, disappeared from the program's site sometime after April 11, when Gavin Atkins asked on AsianCorrespondent.com: "What happened to the climate refugees?" It's now 2011 and, as Mr. Atkins points out, many of the locales that the map identified as likely sources of climate refugees are "not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world."
The program's spokesman tells us the map vanished because "it's not a UNEP prediction. . . . that graphic did not represent UNEP views and was an oversimplification of UNEP views." He added that the program would like to publish a clarification, now that journalists are "making hay of it," except that the staffers able to do so are "all on holiday for Easter."
The climate-refugee prediction isn't the first global warming-related claim that has turned out to be laughable, and everyone can make mistakes. More troubling is the impulse among some advocates of global warming alarmism to assert in the face of contrary evidence that they never said what they definitely said before the evidence went against them.
These columns have asked for some time how anyone can still manage to take the U.N.-led climate crowd seriously. Maybe the more pertinent question is whether the climateers have ever taken the public's intelligence seriously.