When you know there's a big upcoming threat, how do you get big institutions to commit and follow through? And in particular, how useful is it to frighten whole populaces? Someone in a MetaTalk discussion of doom-saying and climate change made a claim that led me to ask: how did institutions get convinced to take the Year 2000 problem seriously and mitigate it? Was widespread consumer panic a necessary precondition? Would similar preconditions need to hold in order for institutions to take climate change seriously? I investigated the research literature and wrote up my findings in a blog post.