The Extinction Clock

Welcome to the Extinction Clock. Any time we hear of a credible prediction of doom, we'll be sure to add it to the list!

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November 6, 2019: For anyone who wants to the the Mickey Mouse signature from the "World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency" article published in BioScience, we've added a copy of the PDF list to the Internet Archive, it's also available in the Supplemental File S1 zip file on the article page.
Clock Prophecy Date Doomsday Prophecy Doomsday Date Successful Prediction Share / Vote Up
 
October 6, 1970
America subject to water & food rationing, says Paul Ehrlich (Stanford).
From the Redlands Daily Facts (page 3), quote: "America will be subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980".
Related: Simon-Ehrlich wager.
December 31, 1973 No.
 
June 24, 1974
New Ice Age, 'no indication of reversing', causing droughts and affecting grain-exporting countries.
From Time magazine, quote: "the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. [...] satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. [...] Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. [...] Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. [...] But there is a peril more immediate than the prospect of another ice age. [...] Even if temperature and rainfall patterns change only slightly in the near future in one or more of the three major grain-exporting countries-the U.S., Canada and Australia -global food stores would be sharply reduced [...] Warns [Kenneth] Hare: 'I don't believe that the world's present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row'".
December 31, 1975 No.
 
April 1, 1970
Population will completely outstrip food supply, says Paul Ehrlich (Stanford).
From Mademoiselle magazine, quote: "Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years".
April 1, 1980 No.
 
August 10, 1969
Everyone will be vaporized, according to Paul Ehrlich (Stanford).
From The New York Times (page 53), quote: "We must realize that unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years".
December 31, 1988 No.
 
During 1974
Peak ozone depletion increasing skin cancer rates by 1990.
From a United Press International (UPI) report, quote: "estimates report that ozone destruction would not reach its peak until about 1990 [...] ozone destruction will result in an additional 8,000 cases of skin cancer by 1990 and at least one prediction that incidence of skin cancer could be much higher".
Related: Canstat: A digest of facts and figures on cancer (November 2007).
December 31, 1989 No.
 
September 26, 1988
Drinking water to 'dry up' in the Maldives.
From the Canberra Times (page 6), quote: "But the end of the Maldives and its people could come sooner if drinking water supplies dry up by 1992, as predicted".
December 31, 1991 No.
 
February, 1989
Running out of landfill space, says EPA.
J. Winston Porter, from the Solid Waste Dilemma: An Agenda for Action report (executive summary), quote: "But we're running out of space to bury it in existing landfills; more than one third of the nation's landfills will be full within the next few years and many cities are unable to find enough acceptable sites for new landfills or new combustors".
Related: Three Myths about Trash (Mises Institute).
February 28, 1994 No.
 
April, 1970
25 years before 75% to 80% of all living animals become extinct.
Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look magazine, quote: "Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct".
December 31, 1994 No.
 
March 7, 1956
Global peak oil by 2000.
From Forbes, quote: "Hubbert projected that the global peak in crude oil production would occur around the year 2000 at 34 million bpd [barrels per day]. In reality, crude oil production in 2000 was more than twice as high at about 75 million bpd. Further, while conventional crude oil production did flatten around 2005, more than a decade later there is no evidence that it has begun to decline".
Related: Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, by M. King Hubbert.
December 31, 1999 No.
 
May 18, 1972
Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2000.
From The Tuscaloosa News, Washington (AP), quote: "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2,000".
December 31, 1999 No.
 
June 30, 1989
U.N. predicts disaster if global warming not checked by 2000.
From The Associated Press (AP), quote: "A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000".
December 31, 1999 No.
 
April, 1970
Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years, says George Wald (Harvard).
In relation to the first Earth Day event, quote: "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind".
April 1, 2000 No.
 
April, 1970
Global Cooling by 2000, according to Emeritus Prof. Kenneth Watt (UC Davis)
In relation to the first Earth Day event, quote: "The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age".
April 1, 2000 No.
 
July 17, 1954
Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2004.
From the The Argus (AAP), quote: "The ice-packed Arctic Ocean might become navigable in another 25 or 50 years if the present 'warming-up' tendency of the Polar region continued".
July 17, 2004 No.
 
May 3, 2007
Brisbane and Adelaide to 'run out of water', says Prof. Tim Flannery (Melbourne).
From the Australian Financial Review: "Environmental researcher Tim Flannery has warned that Brisbane and Adelaide ... could run out of water by year's end. He said the country was facing a 'catastrophic' situation".
December 31, 2007 No.
 
April 27, 2008
Arctic summers ice-free 'in 2008'.
From the ABC News, quote: "You know when climate change is biting hard when instead of a vast expanse of snow the North Pole is a vast expanse of water. This year, for the first time, Arctic scientists are preparing for that possibility".
August 31, 2008 No.
 
March, 2008
Adelaide 'may run out of water by early 2009', says Prof. Tim Flannery (Melbourne).
From a Jetstar in-flight article (page 11), quote: "The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009".
March 31, 2009 No.
 
October 19, 2009
'50 days to save the world' according to British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown (Labour Party).
From the BBC, quote: "Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the 'impasse'. [...] The costs of failing to tackle the issue would be greater than the impact of both world wars and the Great Depression combined, the prime minister said".
December 8, 2009 No.
 
May 1, 2008
50 million climate refugees by 2010, according to UNEP.
From the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library, quote: "Fifty million climate refugees by 2010".
December 31, 2009 No.
 
December 12, 2007
Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'.
From the BBC, quote: "Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007, [...] So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative".
December 31, 2012 No.
 
August 18, 2011
Arctic summers ice-free 'early as 2013'.
From a 350.org science factsheet, quote: "It is melting so fast that scientists now believe the Arctic could have no ice in the summertime as early as 2013, which is 80 years ahead of what had been predicted just a few years ago".
December 31, 2012 No.
 
June 10, 2013
Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2014.
From Sierra Club Canada, Paul Beckwith (Ph.D student), quote: "I have become even more confident about my prediction of total Arctic sea ice destruction in 2013. [...] I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how any sea ice will be left after this year’s summer ‘melt season’. I acknowledge that my sea ice-collapse timeframe is considered ‘out-there’ when compared to mainstream climate models... [...] I really hope I’m wrong folks but I just don’t see it any other way".
December 31, 2013 No.
 
June 2, 2009
6 years before passing 'point of no return'.
From the ABC TV special, Earth 2100, quote: "2015 is only six years away, but many experts say that if the world has not reached an agreement to massively reduce greenhouse gases by then, we could pass a point of no return".
December 31, 2014 No.
 
July 24, 2013
Arctic to be ice-free in 2 years, and create a 'methane catastrophe'.
From The Guardian, quote: "...the ice in September will be gone in a very short while, perhaps by 2015. In subsequent years, the ice-free window will widen, to 2-3 months, then 4-5 months etc, and the trends suggest that within 20 years time we may have six ice-free months per year. [...] The loss of sea ice leads to seabed warming, which leads to offshore permafrost melt, which leads to methane release, which leads to enhanced warming, which leads to even more rapid uncovering of seabed".
July 24, 2015 No.
 
May 24, 2006
10 years before the world reachs a point of no return, according to Al Gore.
As the writer/host of the An Inconvenient Truth film, Al Gore said that humanity had only 10 years left before the world would reach a point of no return.
May 24, 2016 No.
 
September 17, 2012
Expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within 4 years.
From The Guardian, quote: "One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. In what he calls a 'global disaster' now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for 'urgent' consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures".
September 17, 2016 No.
 
August 1, 2008
100 months to save the world, a 'Green New Deal' needed.
From The Guardian, quote: "We found that, given all of the above, 100 months from today we will reach a concentration of greenhouse gases at which it is no longer 'likely' that we will stay below the 2C temperature rise threshold. [...] So what can our own government do to turn things around today? Over the next 100 months, they could launch a Green New Deal".
Realted: 100 Months: Technical note from the New Economics Foundation.
Realted: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced a 'Green New Deal' select committee 23 months after the original 100 months had already passed.
December 1, 2016 No.
 
January 30, 2007
'No snows' on Mount Kilimanjaro by 2017, according to Al Gore.
From CBS News, quote: "Within a decade, there will be no more snows on Mount Kilimanjaro. The same heat that evaporates more moisture into the air pulls it out of the soil, and this can be very damaging for farmers and people who depend on the land for their livelihood".
Note: A similar claim was also made in the An Inconvenient Truth film.
Related: Snows of Kilimanjaro defy global warming predictions, from MassLive (2019).
December 31, 2016 No.
 
December 20, 2009
Hoover dam will not longer provide drinking water or electricity.
From the MSNBC documentary, Future Earth 2025, quote: "As water levels drop, by 2017 hoover dam will no longer provide drinking water to Las Vegas, Tucson, and San Diego. And it stops generating electricity to Los Angeles. And if nothing is done, the reservoir will be a dry hole by ...".
December 31, 2016 No.
 
August 21, 2016
Arctic summers ice-free by 2017.
From The Guardian, quote: "There is a clear trend down to zero for summer cover. [...] Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. There will still be about a million square kilometres of ice in the Arctic in summer but it will be packed into various nooks and crannies...".
Related: Arctic sea ice reaches second lowest minimum in satellite record, from the NSIDC.
August 21, 2017 No.
 
September 26, 1988
Maldives to be flooded within 30 years.
From the Canberra Times (page 6), quote: "A gradual rise in average sea level is threatening to completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands within the next 30 years, according to authorities".
December 31, 2018 No.
 
October 16, 2009
10 year window before climate change is a threat to national security, says Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass).
From the HuffPost, quote: "Scientists tell us we have a 10-year window - if even that - before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible. The threat is real, and time is not on our side. [...] Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now. [...] Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and - yes - even to American national security".
October 16, 2019 No.
 
February 21, 2004
President warned 'climate change will destroy us'.
From The Guardian, quote: "Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters. [...] major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world".
December 31, 2019
Not yet.
 
January 18, 2007
Snowdon, Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains, and the Cambrian Mountains will be 'snow-free by 2020'.
From The Independent, quote: "But Snowdon may lose its snow cover within 13 years as a result of climate change, Welsh scientists say. [...] Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) disclosed that this winter's accumulation is the lowest since records began 14 years ago. With only a couple of snowfalls this winter, the total depths measured are way down on previous years and, if the trend continues, any kind of the cover could disappear by 2020 [...] Lembit Opik, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales and the MP for Montgomeryshire, said: 'Snow-capped Snowdon has been an iconic Welsh image for centuries. It is shocking to think that in just 14 years, snow on this great mountain could become nothing but a permanent and distant memory.' The CCW predicts that the Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains and the Cambrian Mountains will also be snow-free by 2020".
Related: Snowdonia Mountains Winter Season 2019- 20.
December 31, 2019
Not yet.
 
November, 2011
Possible 'adverse health impacts in Australia from climate change' by 2020.
From Climate Commission's 'The Critical Decade: Climate Change and Health' report, quote: "We need to act now. Decisions we make from now to 2020 will determine the severity of climate change health risks that our children and grandchildren will experience. The longer we wait, the more serious the consequences. [...] Figure 8: Possible timeline of some future adverse health impacts in Australia from climate change". Graphic showing: "Extreme weather events: deaths, hospital admissions, mental health disorders", "Dengue fever", and "Gastroenteritis" to increase from 2010 to 2019 cited from an unpublished article by McMichael in 2011.
Related: Dengue fever virtually eradicated from Far North Queensland, scientists say, from the ABC.
December 31, 2019
Not yet.
 
September 5, 2012
'End of Australian snow' by 2020.
From GriffthNews, quote: "Griffith's Associate Professor Catherine Pickering has researched the effects of declining snow cover and hotter summers on the Australian Alps. [...] 'We’ve predicted by 2020 to lose something like 60% of the snow cover of the Australian Alps,' she said. [...] 'In a few years the amount of water that ski resorts will need to make snow is going to exceed the amount of water that's used by Canberra. And it looks like we are heading back towards dry conditions, so where will they get the water?'".
Related: Australian Alps: ski seasons.
June 6, 2020 Not yet.
 
December 20, 2009
Hoover dam to be a 'dry hole by 2021'.
From the MSNBC documentary, Future Earth 2025, quote: "As water levels drop, by 2017 hoover dam will no longer provide drinking water to Las Vegas, Tucson, and San Diego. And it stops generating electricity to Los Angeles. And if nothing is done, the reservoir will be a dry hole by 2021".
December 31, 2020 Not yet.
 
July 24, 2019
18 months to take action, says Prince Charles.
From the BBC, quote: "'I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival,' said Prince Charles, speaking at a reception for Commonwealth foreign ministers recently".
January 24, 2021 Not yet.
 
July 9, 1971
U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming.
From The Washington Post, quote: "The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. [...] 'In the next 50 years,' the fine dust man constantly puts into the atmosphere by fossil fuel-burning could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees".
July 31, 2021 Not yet.
 
April 18, 2003
Crash course towards massive species extinction, says Defenders of Wildlife.
Nina Fascione, Vice President for Field Conservation Programs at Defenders of Wildlife, quote: "Frankly, it looks like we're on a crash course towards massive species extinctions in the next 20 years [...] We could lose one-fifth or 20% of our species within the next two decades. That's a very short amount of time".
April 18, 2023 Not yet.
 
November 3, 2009
Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro 'to disappear in 20 years'.
From The Telegraph (UK), quote: "More than 85 per cent of the ice that covered the three peaks of Africa's highest mountain has disappeared in the last 100 years and the rest is melting at such a rate it will be gone by 2030. [...] Their research shows that the melting is the worst in more than 11,000 years, when the ice was formed and is uncovering layers of dust not seen for thousands of years. It has even unlocked radioactive fallout from the American 1951-52 'Ivy' atomic tests that were embedded in the ice".
December 31, 2029 Not yet.
 
October 15, 2019
Australian MP, Mark Butler (Labor) moves motion to declare a 'climate emergency' in Federal Parliament.
From a notice of motion to the House of Representatives, quote: "...efforts to cut greenhouse admissions need to be strengthened to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts; [...] failing to meet the goals of the Paris Accords would have unprecedented and devastating environmental, economic, societal and health impacts for Australia".
Note: The motion did not contain a specific date, however the motion referred to Parris Accords, which has INDC goals for set 2025 and 2030.
December 31, 2029 Not yet.
 
October 8, 2018
12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN. Delegates 'hugging' & 'in tears'.
From The Guardian, quote: "The world's leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. [...] according to the 1.5C study, which was launched after approval at a final plenary of all 195 countries in Incheon in South Korea that saw delegates hugging one another, with some in tears".
October 8, 2030 Not yet.
 
June 13, 2019
This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.
From essay 28, quote: "In October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark warning: enact urgent measures to limit global warming within the next twelve years or irrevocably deplete the ecosystems that sustain human life on Earth".
October 31, 2030 Not yet.
 
January 21, 2019
'The world is going to end', says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Quote: "We're, like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change".
January 21, 2031 Not yet.
 
July 27, 2019
Carbon dioxide to 'run out', says Greta Thunberg (16 year old activist).
In a speech made to the Paris National Assembly, quote: "That amount of carbon dioxide will run out in about 12 years of current business as usual".
July 27, 2031 Not yet.
 
April 16, 1970
Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century.
From The Boston Globe (page 18), quote: "Air pollution may obliterate the sun and cause a new ice age in the first third of the next century if population continues to grow and the earth's resources are consumed at the present rate, a pollution expert predicted yesterday".
March 31, 2033 Not yet.
 
December 20, 2009
Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035.
From the MSNBC documentary, Future Earth 2025, quote: "Scientists predict the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, as a warming planet leads to both evaporation and melting of the ice".
December 31, 2034 Not yet.
 
October 25, 2019
U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change.
From Motherboard (Vice), quote: "According to a new U.S. Army report, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war. The study found that the US military itself might also collapse. This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes".
Related: Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army report (August 1, 2019).
August 1, 2039 Not yet.
 
November 15, 2019
Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2044.
From Phys.org (Science X), quote: "But according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists, human-caused climate change is on track to make the Arctic Ocean functionally ice-free for part of each year starting sometime between 2044 and 2067".
Related: An emergent constraint on future Arctic sea-ice albedo feedback, from Nature Communications (November 11, 2019).
December 31, 2043 Not yet.
 
September 30, 2019
1-2 feet of sea-level rise in the Seattle area (Center for Climate Integrity).
From the Seattle Times, quote: "Coastal flooding will increase as sea levels rise, and extreme events like hurricanes and storm surges will become more common and more severe. The diversity and numbers of marine fish and wildlife will decline due to warming water, shrinking habitats and dying coral reefs. [...] Local forecasters estimate 1-2 feet of sea-level rise in the Seattle area by 2050, and the Center for Climate Integrity estimates that Washington state will need to build more than 1,600 miles of sea walls at a cost of $24 billion to help deal with rising waters".
December 31, 2049 Not yet.
 
October 29, 2019
Rising seas could leave coastal cities underwater 'by 2050', reigniting 'armed conflict' and 'likelihood of terrorism'.
From the New York Times, quote: "Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the world's great coastal cities. [...] The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by midcentury. [...] Southern Vietnam could all but disappear. [...] In Thailand, more than 10 percent of citizens now live on land that is likely to be inundated by 2050 [...] In Shanghai, one of Asia's most important economic engines, water threatens to consume the heart of the city and many other cities around it. [...] much of Mumbai, India's financial capital and one of the largest cities in the world, is at risk of being wiped out. [...] Alexandria, Egypt, founded by Alexander the Great around 330 B.C., could be lost to rising waters. [...] Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, could be mostly underwater [...] Further loss of land to rising waters there 'threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region, which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism,' said General Castellaw, who is now on the advisory board of the Center for Climate and Security".
Related: New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding, from Nature Communications.
December 31, 2049 Not yet.
 
May 10, 2019
Increasing natural disasters, drought and heatwaves (The Australia Institute).
From the Dawson Climate Assessment report (page 1), quote: "Unless strong action is taken on climate change, by 2070, well within our children's lifetime, the electorate of Dawson is projected to experience: Up to 25 percent increase in evaporation, Up to 50 percent reduction in rainfall, Up to 100 percent increase in heatwave days per year, Increasing fire risk, A 90-130 percent increase in the frequency of droughts and floods".
December 31, 2069 Not yet.
 
November 7, 2019
80% of Emperor penguins will be extinct by 2100 without Paris Agreement.
From The Australian (AAP), quote: "University of Canterbury scientist Michelle LaRue, co-author of a new study, says current rates of climate change will imperil the emperor penguin. [...] 'If global climate keeps warming at the current rate, we expect emperor penguins in Antarctica to experience an 86 per cent decline by the year 2100,' the paper's lead author, seabird ecologist Stephanie Jenouvrier said. [...] Should the world hold to 1.5 degree warming - the goal of the Paris Agreement; the centrepiece UN accord aimed at reducing emissions - emperor penguin populations are forecast to slide by 19 per cent".
Related: The Paris Agreement objectives will likely halt future declines of emperor penguins, from Global Change Biology (November 7, 2019).
December 31, 2099 Not yet.

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