Pebbled: Climate change and predictions for the future that were wildly wrong



Climate change is an anti-developer’s dream. It’s a topic everyone is familiar with and it can assign dire warnings to virtually anything, because it is a prediction of the future.  

Remember I asked you to develop your own filter so you can pick your experts? Before you panic, check if the source has correctly predicted anything.  Nonetheless, regulations have been established that account for that fear-based future.  I’ll introduce one in a bit.  In the meantime, recognize this about the future.  Identify and examine these last ditch arguments about development projects in Alaska.    

“Well it might be alright for now, but what about the unknowable future?”

The predictions have been all wrong for generations. From the Competitive Enterprise Institute, just a few of the more flamboyantly wrong predictions:

1966: Oil gone in 10 years

1967: Dire famine by 1975

1968: Overpopulation

1969: Everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam by 1989

1970: World will use up all its natural resources by 2000

1970: Urban citizens will require gas masks by 1985

1970: Nitrogen buildup will make all land unusable

1970: Decaying pollution will kill all the fish

1970s: Killer bees!

1970: Ice Age By 2000

1970: America water rationing by 1974 and food rationing By 1980

1971: New Ice Age coming by 2020 or 2030

1972: New Ice Age by 2070

1972: Oil depleted in 20 years

1974: Space satellites show new Ice Age coming fast

1974: Another Ice Age?

1974: Ozone depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life’

1976: Scientific consensus planet cooling, famines imminent

1977: Department of Energy says oil will peak in 1990s

1978: No end in sight to 30-year cooling trend

1980: Acid rain kills life in lakes

1980: Peak oil in 2000

1988: Regional droughts (that never happened) in 1990s

1988: Temperatures in DC will hit record highs

1988: Maldive Islands will be underwater by 2018

1989: rising sea levels will obliterate nations if nothing done by 2000

1989: New York City’s West side highway underwater by 2019

1996: Peak oil in 2020

2000: Children won’t know what snow is

2002: Famine in 10 years if we don’t give up fish, meat, and dairy

2002: Peak oil in 2010

2004: Britain will be Siberia by 2024

2005: Manhattan underwater by 2015

2006: Super hurricanes!

2008: Arctic will be ice free by 2018

2008: Al Gore predicts ice-free Arctic by 2013

2009: Prince Charles says we have 96 months to save world

2009: UK Prime Minister says 50 Days to ‘Save the planet from catastrophe’

2009: Al Gore moves 2013 prediction of ice-free Arctic to 2014

2013: Arctic ice-free by 2015

2014: Only 500 days before “climate chaos”

We deal with climate every day in our lives. We can handle the future.  We prepare to the best of our ability; we monitor how that preparation is doing; and we react to adjust that preparation. You do it all the time with your insurance policies, your finances, your education, your job and so forth.

In the Pebble project, the developer had excellent knowledge of the climate at the site because of the existence of the Iliamna airport about 18 miles away.  The project has nearly 80 years of meteorological data.The engineering requirements for the main water collection pond are formidable.  

Here is how you must design it:

First, account for the wettest 20 consecutive years at the site, then lay over that the largest snowpack in 100 years, with the assumption that it will all melt in 24 hours (that’s a bunch of heat and wind).  

Add to that the largest 24-hour rainfall in the data (which you might expect in July or August). Then add additional safety (called freeboard) to the holding capacity.  

This accounts for the “500-year flood” with an additional safety margin.  

This is required even though the last 17 years have shown less precipitation than the average and the last 30 years have very little variance.  Now, the requirement is not terribly hard to design for; it just means you will have to build a bigger containment pond than you might otherwise, and there is nothing lost having it about 1/3 full for the life of the mine.  

What frustrates me a little is this simple reality; if such events happened, if you really believed they were remotely possible, to heck with the mine that by this engineering requirement would still be standing; what about the villages along the rivers in Bristol Bay?  They would all be washed to the bay.  So what if the mine is still standing? If these are conceivable future events, let’s begin to fortify or relocate the human beings certain to be in danger with or without a mine.

The “Pebbled” series at Must Read Alaska is authored by Mark Hamilton. After 31 years of service to this nation, Hamilton retired as a Major General with the U. S. Army in July of 1998. He served for 12 years as President of University of Alaska, and is now President Emeritus. He worked for the Pebble Partnership for three years before retiring. 

Pebbled 1: Virtue signaling won out over science in project of the century

Pebbled 2: Environmental industry has fear-mongering down to an art

Pebbled 3: The secret history of ANWR and the hand that shaped it

Pebbled 4: When government dictates an advance prohibition

Pebbled 5: EPA ‘just didn’t have time’ to actually go to Bristol Bay

Pebbled 6: The narrative of fear

Pebbled 7: The environmentalists who cried wolf

Pebbled 8: Build your media filter based on science, not narrative

Pebbled 9: The history of hysteria

Pebbled 10: Mining 101


  1. Wow! All of this from Einstein Hamilton? A non-scientist who swelled the budget and university bureaucracy while University of Alaska President? Under his command …….spent millions reenforcing the Schools that actively promote anthropogenic climate crisis, as well as $ multi-million Native Cultural Centers on campus that exclude non-Natives. All of this while
    compressing and consolidating the Mining School into a niche’ department strictly to appease the “semi-friendly” Liberal Schools. If General Hamilton was commanding a real war, the enemy could pull back the drapery and take away the megaphone long enough to watch a whimpering surrender. Hipocrites and
    appeasers (and those looking for proxy fights and personal profit) don’t win wars. Thanks general, for coming to the battle with your water pistol and go-kart.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. I wonder if the general ever enrolled in a mining course or a petroleum technology course at UAF? Both are taught there, but relocated to a little corner at the end of the hallway across from the palatial Native Cultural Center that the general built. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.

    • You might want to do some research. You don’t have to be an expert to read and gather information. Maybe you should try research.

      • Research is the cash cow for university budgets. Ask Hamilton. He brought tons of it to the UA while president. Now that the ice is shrinking, polar bears are starving, methane is percolating, and forest fires are raging, research money is paying ex post facto dividends.
        All of that Hamilton UA research money was spent defending the environment. Now, Hamilton champions mining projects and oil development. It seems Hamilton is either very confused, or profits well as a mercenary to both sides. And as a man who double or triple dips into retirement after living a luxurious life at the University, what exactly is his point?

  2. I’m beginning to suspect that Suzanne and Mark took me up on my suggestion … that they continue Mark’s column, just to annoy his dissenters.
    Best guess is that his dissenters are NRDC, Trout U, EPA activists and the like, who are commenting simply as part of their pumping DONATIONS campaign. It’s evident because none of them have countered anything Mark has said, throughout the previous 10 articles so far.
    Regardless, I appreciate learning more about mining and the EnviroNazis agendas. Prior to the Pebble battle I had no idea what a cash cow environmental activism was. Hundreds of millions of dollars, just for scaring people into giving them money.

    • Note – Most guest articles, no matter which news media, usually end at 10 installments. This is Mark’s 11th. Looks like Mark’s dissenters have contributed to MRAK readership. They have certainly contributed to Mark’s credibility, as they have demonstrated absolutely none.

  3. Just one question who made these predictions? Where is his data and research coming from? Was it someone who just wants to stir the pot? Or is there validity here? The only thing I learned here is Mark sounds like a angry man with a vendetta and now I know to scroll past whenever his name or articles come up.

  4. Mr. Hamilton’s dates and predicted dire events include everything I’ve read and learned about climate change/ global warming since high school.
    Those who’ve never researched and read about the conflicting science will always dismiss the findings of others. Their loss.

  5. Why didn’t Hamilton come out with his findings and opinions WHILE he was UA President? His timing and post-presidency assertions seem mighty self-serving.

  6. Speaking of being wrong Hamilton, you mentioned in your immediately prior article here on MRAK that you could go fishing in a tailing pond and implied that dam failures were a problem prior to jet travel but not now. Then you splattered some detritus about a fishing tournament supposedly held in a tailing pond that exists only in your mind no doubt hoping that the reader might incorrectly infer from your drivel that the fish were edible.

    A more pertinent example for your article would have been something reasonably current like the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse of 2014.

    You came close to killing UA simply by being freakishly wrong and unabashedly so. If you’re hoping for an audience that doesn’t recall the value of your perspective you’ll need to go outside the state.

    • There’s a lot of MRAK readers who don’t want to get involved with, nor become targets in the comment section. They no doubt email Suzanne, just as I do, and voice support, and with hard cash. Tens of thousands of unique visits, with many more repeat visits, which shows MRAK’s popularity, and influence. Where are you popular? Where is your voice regarded? Trouser? Mary? Artful? Paul? With the EnviroNazis? With NRDC, Trout U, or the EPA activists, Has your attacking Mark paid off in additional donations? Are your efforts proving to be cost effective? Huh, Huh, Huh?

  7. Nuclear Winter. Acid Rain. Man-made Global Warming. Man-made Climate Change. Killer Bees. War of the Worlds. End of Days. One World Government. Lisa Murkowski re-elected. Be afraid. VERY afraid.

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