In his classic book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (originally published in 1941), Charles Mackay discusses how difficult it is to forecast the future, yet how fascinated and focused on this people become. Just how difficult, I came to realize today.
In researching recent literature on global warming, I came across the following quote, made in 1990: "Our projections on global warming suggest that by the year 2000, we will begin to see rapid changes over vast areas. In parts of the North, we expect to see stately old trees beginning to die back. The warmer temperature will make many trees vulnerable to insect attacks and different blights. Hikers will increasingly find themselves among dead trees. Loggers will have to choose between harvesting the dead timber and glutting the lumber and paper industries. And the diebacks will affect water supply and erosion rates. It's really overwhelming."
I wondered what idiot made this forecast --- and discovered that it was me, in Harper's magazine. The complete reference is: Pollan, M., Daniel B. Botkin, Dave Foreman, James Lovelock, Frederick Turner, Robert D. Yaro. (1990). "Only Man's Presence Can Save Nature." Harper's magazine (April issue) pp. 37-48.