Nick Gillespie has a trenchant op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that reviews many of the false alarms of the last decade while previewing some other problems that will be blown all out of proportion in the next 10 years.
"Peak oil," for instance:
You don't have to be a global-warming alarmist to wonder just when the world's oil reserves are finally going to dry up and drive the price of oil through the roof, thereby ushering in a glorious age of energy created by hamsters on exercise wheels or some other renewable source. Conservatives who are into energy independence (such as former Gov. Sarah Palin) are also rooting for "peak oil," the moment at which oil reserves go into irreversible decline, as it means that increasing domestic production will become politically possible.
The funny thing is, peak oil has been predicted with regularity for decades now and something always gets in the way: new reserves are discovered, prices collapse due to economic slowdowns, new technologies extract more fuel from less supply. Look for a new peak-oil panic the moment the world economy unambiguously recovers and demand rises. And after gas prices climb up to $4 a gallon before dropping again to $2.50.
Huge new fields have been discovered offshore near Brazil and Cuba while the estimate of US reserves keeps rising. There is no doubt that demand will continue to rise substantially over the next decade. The problem for the alarmists is that there is no evidence - yet - that we are not finding new supplies fast enough to satisfy that new demand. Until that gap between supply and demand comes about, oil will continue its price volatility but stop short of proving we are at "peak oil."
Read the rest of Nick's entertaining piece for some other problems we needn't worry about.