German FOCUS Magazine: Facts Show Planet Much Better Today

A mountebank fleecing incredulous gamblers (Hieronymus Bosch - Wikipedia)

How many times has the demise of the planet or humanity been predicted? How many charlatans have passed through the revolving doors of history? You’d need the resources of the Census Bureau to tally that up.

A couple of days ago I presented yet another such prediction from a scientist at the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The planet is going to hell in a hand-basket they keep telling us.  But when you boil it down, they all have one thing in common: They’ve been wrong every time. 

The charlatans of the past have been replaced by a new generation of charlatans – government-funded climate scientists who are paid to get the masses to stampede in panic into the arms of government programs, all aided and abetted by the chatterbox media.

It turns out that life as a whole on the planet has never been better.

One media outlet steps up

In Germany we’re finding out that not all the media accept what is written down on the press releases. There are a few journalists who actually do good research and the hard work of digging. German news magazine FOCUS has an uplifting and positive article about how things, by almost every measure, are far better today than anyone expected.

 The FOCUS report written by veteran journalist Michael Miersch takes a look at some of the charlatans of the past and a bit into the psychology of why end-of-the-world scenarios find such mass appeal among the gullible, who later wonder what happened when things turn out differently.

This is not to say all the world’s problems have been solved. But those problems are under much better control today then they were say 50, 100 or 200 years ago. Here are just a few of the observations made by FOCUS.

Human prosperity

The world’s population has grown 6-fold since 1800, and at the same time life expectancy has doubled. Between 1955 and 2005 inflation-adjusted average personal income has tripled for the average person on the globe.”

Many of the poor indeed have gotten much richer.


How often do we hear about the threats of industrial agriculture devouring land to feed the exploding masses of people? Guess what? Modern agriculture protects wildlife and forests. FOCUS:

With the crop yields of 1961, farmers would have needed 32 million square km of cropland to have fed the 6 billion persons on the globe in 2000. Instead they have been able to harvest the necessary amount of crops on just 15 million acres. That means an area almost the size of South America was spared the plow. Forests and savannahs were thus saved.

All thanks to modern agricultural technology, which today continues to develop nicely. Yet, today, many greens are busily bemoaning the very agriculture that has rescued millions of sq km of forests and wildlife from primitive manaul agricultural practices. Worse, they also want us to fuel our cars with bio-diesel, which would require the extra deforestation of millions of sq km.

And so how do today’s results compare to the projections made by “intellectuals” like Paul Ehrlich? Clearly he has earned a top spot in that elite Club of Rome Crackpots, along with Al Gore, James Hansen and others. And another thing:

Inflation-adjusted prices for food have fallen 75% since 1950.

In fact, food has become so bountiful that bureaucrats are now whining about the social problems of obesity.

Today there are two things that could reverse the tremendous progress that agriculture has made – the Green Movement (think bio-diesel and organic farming) and global cooling. Guess which side (skeptic or alarmist) wants to see both?

Good news are never welcome by alarmist malcontents, who are psychologically sustained by daily doses of misery, pessimism and promises of catastrophe. This keeps Institutes like the PIK running.

On the other hand, optimists who maintain a positive, stay-the-course outlook for the future are viewed by the malcontents as simple-minded, naive and ignorant. Funny how the optimists always turn out to be right.

Miersch writes:

Completely contrary to what we hear day in and day out from the newspapers and TV, whether it’s war, hunger, illiteracy, political suppression, or environmental pollution, all of the world’s evils are shrinking.

That’s especially obvious with air pollution, which has reduced to such an extent in western countries that control freaks and tree huggers are now forced to call the non-pollutant CO2 a pollutant just to have something to do.

On poverty, peace and prosperity

First let’s recall, that all of Eastern Europe and much of South America were governed by dictators less than 50 years ago. Thankfully, they’ve fallen and things have gotten much better with free markets in control. FOCUS writes:

The United nations has determined that poverty receded more in the second half of the 20th century than in the 500 years before it.

Miersch then drives it home, using Germany as an example:

Germans who are now retiring belong to the first generation that has gotten to know peace, freedom, and prosperity as permanent fixtures in their lives. This has never happened in their history.

Isn’t apocalypse tough? But looking at the German media today, you’d think times couldn’t be worse – the planet is threatened by an imminent climate catastrophe that is “hidden in fog – but it’s there!”  

The future

So what lies in the future now that we have seen that every apocalyptic warning heard earlier in history has ended up being just fly-crap in the wind? The business of apocalypse is a big industry and involves lots of money – so don’t expect the end-of-world-charlatans to go away. There’s more money in it today than ever.

Being wrong every time isn’t going to deter today’s modern charlatans. They have a whole new line-up of catastrophes in their bag of tricks: climate change, biodiversity, ocean acidification, species extinction, to name some. And, there are plenty of malcontents out there who want to hear more, more, more.

But I suspect, like the earlier scares of the past, we’ll soon be able to put those on the list of seriously endangered species as well. Here today, extinct tomorrow.

15 responses to “German FOCUS Magazine: Facts Show Planet Much Better Today”

  1. Ed Caryl

    Very Good, Pierre!! Excellent points.

  2. DirkH

    Helgoland fights against sea level rise; inhabitants have voted to increase the area of the island by 1 km^2. Quick, somebody tell them that it’s unnatural.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Nothing new. Helmut Kuhne sang about a similar project “Wir Holen Den Mount Everest Nach Sylt”

      1. Bernd Felsche

        There was a time when silly ideas reported in radio news bulletins would be followed up by an appropriate tune from the DJ.

        Alas, we’re too “sophisticated” to do that sort of thing nowadays.

  3. Ike


    “Between an initial capture in late August and a recapture in late October 2008, a radio-collared adult female polar bear in the Beaufort Sea made a continuous swim of 687 km over 9 days and then intermittently swam and walked on the sea ice surface an additional 1,800 km.”

    Whats the reason for swiming that far? AGW!!! -> read full story (German) here:,1518,741707,00.html


    1. Ike
  4. Slimething

    If Dana is reading this thread, I’d like to know why while bashing Joe Bastardi at Joe Romm’s blog recently you erroneously stated the stratosphere is cooling when it clearly has been warming since ~ 1994. Further, the cooling that did take place previously occurred in two steps following El Chichon and Mt, Pinatubo volcanoes respectively. There is no evidence human co2 emissions had anything to do with it.

  5. Paddy

    Ike: It occurred to me that polar bears might instinctively navigate to minimize the effects from adverse ocean currents and tidal flows. Otherwise, they could spend a fair amount of their time swimming in one place or even going backwards. Also, wonder if the instinctively recognize positive currents and optimize speed over the ground.

    All saltwater sailors know the problems associated with travel at relatively low speeds over long distances that include strong currents. I wonder if bears travel over great circle routes rather than the rhumb line. It would be interesting to learn the extent, if any, that polar bears can navigate.

  6. DirkH

    Pierre, maybe we should mention that the Focus article is based on the book “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley. For the people here who don’t read the German article itself.

    1. DirkH

      And they also have an interview with him,

      in which he mentions, amongst others, Indur Goklany, WUWT guest poster and book author, as one of the people who influenced him!

  7. R. de Haan

    The planet is doing fine. It is our industrial civilization and human kind that’s under siege.
    We all know that the climate change doctrine is not about climate but politics.
    Therefore it is good to know that the attack is not only directed at our use of fossil fuels for which at this moment in time there is no alternative
    especially if we look beyond energy use for heating, cooling and propulsion.
    Without carbon fuels and our petrol chemical industry we wouldn’t
    be able to feed our people, we wouldn’t have plastics, textiles, computers or medicine.
    We are living on a carbon planet and we have a carbon society. All life depends on carbon and to attack this i.m.o is nothing less than a criminal act.

    In this perspective I think it is good to know that a similar attack is directed at our food chain. Chemicals that have secured healthy food and have been tested during a period of over 50 years of use are under attack to.

    Alan Caruba has the story here and I really think we should expand our critical views beyond the climate related issues because there are
    forces out there who simply want to kill us.

  8. R. de Haan

    26. Januar 2011 at 19:46 | Permalink | Reply
    “If Dana is reading this thread, I’d like to know why while bashing Joe Bastardi at Joe Romm’s blog recently you erroneously stated the stratosphere is cooling when it clearly has been warming since ~ 1994. Further, the cooling that did take place previously occurred in two steps following El Chichon and Mt, Pinatubo volcanoes respectively. There is no evidence human co2 emissions had anything to do with it”.

    Dana is simply on wrong side. So you will never get a rational answer to your questions and you will never be able to settle a debate until you’re dead. Capiche?

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