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Global Cooling: Environmental Nightmare Scenario of the 1970s

Neatorama has many posts about global warming, which is generally agreed upon by today's scientists as real and a cause for concern.

But did you know that in the 1970s, the concern was the exact opposite? Here's a story about global cooling:

INTRODUCING Newsweek's Aug. 13 cover story on global warming "denial," editor Jon Meacham brings up an embarrassing blast from his magazine's past: an April 1975 story about global cooling, and the coming ice age that scientists then were predicting. Meacham concedes that "those who doubt that greenhouse gases are causing significant climate change have long pointed to the 1975 Newsweek piece as an example of how wrong journalists and researchers can be." But rather than acknowledge that the skeptics may have a point, Meacham dismisses it.

"On global cooling," he writes, "there was never anything even remotely approaching the current scientific consensus that the world is growing warmer because of the emission of greenhouse gases."

Really? Newsweek took rather a different line in 1975. Then, the magazine reported that scientists were "almost unanimous" in believing that the looming Big Chill would mean a decline in food production, with some warning that "the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Moreover, it said, "the evidence in support of these predictions" -- everything from shrinking growing seasons to increased North American snow cover -- had "begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it."

Link: Boston Globe Editorial | The Article at Extreme Mortman | Newsweek's Global Warming Cover Story - via Scribal Terror

Sure, anyone who attended gradeschool or highschool in the 1970s remembers the "coming Iceage" Global Cooling scare that was drilled into our heads constantly. It served as a fitting replacement for the "Duck and Cover" drills.

The fact that today's "esteemed experts" have completely reversed the warnings of the last generation's "esteemed experts" belies the fact that none of these alarmists really know what they are talking about. It's all a scam to extract money for government sponsored research, sale of carbon indulgences (errr... I meant "credits"), &c.

The earth has had dramatic heating and cooling cycles for millions of years before mankind. The contemporaneous presence of mankind for a couple hundred year during one of of the swings IN NO WAY establishes causality !!! It's a boondoggle aimed at grabbing your wallets and handicapping Western civilization for the benefit of the 3rd World. If the the last couple hundred years had been on a cooling swing (like they thought it was 30 years ago), they would have blamed that on mankind as well. Pure hokum.

Straight talk from Sid.
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Good points, Sid. A bit conspiracy-theory-ish, but not totally whacked. However, to completely dismiss the impact of climate change (in one form or another) is irresponsible. Alarmists on both sides have done their job in creating apathy, but that hasn't made the problem of toxicity in even our local environments go away.

What most people choose to gloss over in regards to global "warming" is that this very warming will inevitably lead to the ice caps melting (it's already happening), which in turn decreases the salinity and temperature of the ocean...which would lead to the cessation of the ocean currents that create our current weather patterns. And if the currents cease, what happens?

An ice age.
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Up until the 16th century, the accepted scientific fact was that the universe orbited the Earth.
I believe that was proven to be untrue.

I was always taught that the sun's temperature would increase until it burned out. Perhaps this is just part of that process.
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Now wait, I think we all remember that there were a bunch of wild-eyed freaks suggesting the Global Ice Age like Alvin Toffler-esque people suggesting that we'd have to contact UFOs or use pyramid power to keep warm. I remember a local news report on this where it was a pyramid power weirdo facing off a square scientist who talked about global warming. I'm 40, I remember 1975, not well, but well enough to call bull on this one- people didn't take the ice age seriously- they thought it was bogus. Compare this to Global Warming and you end up looking really foolish.
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I can't believe it, already the first post is by an asshat who dismisses global warming in the face of all evidence and common sense. No wonder the world is going down sh_t creek without a paddle.
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I remember lying in bed in Calgary scared to death that a glacier was going to burst through the wall while I was asleep. I had no concept of glacial motion, but as an elementary school studen I was ripe for the panic that the environmentalists wanted to create, as they do now.

The warnings were dire and the people who made these predictions were the Gores of their day, like Paul Ehrlich.

The difference, DCer, is that we have a far broader means of communication in 2007 than existed in 1973. We had only 2-3 channels in Calgary and didn't get any US channels until cable around 1973 (and then only ABC and CBS).

Had the means to promote global cooling as a theory been as widely available as the means to promote warming, it would have been a much larger movement for a much longer time.
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I'm 41, so I remember it better than you :-)

Try actually reading that Newsweek article from 1975. It WAS being taken VERY seriously then. Experts were "united" on veracity of the cooling taking place.

Regardless, you still can't refute my primary assertion:
"The earth has had dramatic heating and cooling cycles for millions of years before mankind. The contemporaneous presence of mankind for a couple hundred year during one of of the swings IN NO WAY establishes causality !!! "
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"most scientist" do NOT agree that global warming is a concern. In fact, the vast majority of climatologists say that there is insufficient data to have an opinion one way or another.
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animal. most scientist actually do agree that global warming is a serious threat. I'm too lazy to get the study for you, and i know you're going to see this as an incredibly biased source, but Al Gore covers that in his movie/book. I'm not suggesting you take that at face value, but go look at his works cited list and check some of those studies out before you make claims like that.
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Global warming is just the flavor of the day. Growing up it was "acid rain." Oh my gawd, that was all we heard in the 80's: how horrible acid rain was. Hell, Diff'rent Strokes even had a special episode about it. But, nowadays we don't hear anything about "acid rain." The rain forests aren't getting the attention anymore when that was big in the '90's. So now in the 2000's we have global warming. So if we wait a few years, the next environmental doomsday idea will come along and the media will be freaking out everyone with whatever that will be.
Funny how so many scientists see what they want to see (so they'll get more funding).
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Uhhh... do you really think that acid rain went away just because you don't here about it on the news? Do you understand the definition of the phrase "head in the sand?" I have a friend who is fighting this issue in China, where the pH of rain has dropped steadily. That post about acid rain really sums up science education in the US, doesn't it... it's not on the news, so it MUST not be a problem anymore.



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I think it's a tragedy that the entire issue has become so politicized. Considering that 90% of the time, you can peg someone's political party (in the U.S. at least) by their stance on global warming (climate change, whatever).

What bothers me most about the anti-global warming crowd is that many of them use the evidence against it as a blanket excuse not to care about pollution and fire up the smokestacks. On the other hand, my biggest gripe with pro global warming types is sensationalism and general cluelessness in their arguments. I would almost hazard that those with a clue who could argue for global warming stay quiet in the fear they'll get lumped in with people like Sheryl "one square of toilet paper" Crow.
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As an engineer who develops emission control systems for a living, I get a bit piqued when folks like 'andrew' confuse carbon dioxide with "pollution". Carbon Dioxode is (along with water vapor) the natural product of PERFECT COMBUSTION. Every species in the animal kindom creates CO2 and exhales it on every breath. Your own CO2 emissions are constant unless you "off" yourself.

If you are burning ANYTHING that contains any carbon atoms, you are going to make CO2, no matter how good your pollution controls are! The only ways to get rid of CO2 are to spend MORE energy making elemental carbon out out it (essentially turning it back into coal -- gobs of energy needed for this!) or compressing it (more energy) and sequestering it into tanks or deep underground (more energy).

Confusing CO2 with real pollutants like hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, aldehydes, &c. minimizes the effects of these and just marks one as somebody who never took (or passed!) chemistry. If you want yourself taken seriously be people who know better, it's a good idea to stop doing this.

Analyze the issue like a trained scientist or engineer. Concurrence does not imply causality. People are looking at one tiny (miniscule!) little sliver of time (the 200 years since the start of the Industrial Revolution) on an earth that has been heating and cooling (in swings much longer & at often at MUCH faster rates!) for an estimated 4.5 BILLION years. Do that math! 200/4,500,000,000 = 0.0000044%! The earth's temperature has almost never been flat; it's always been in a cycle up or down.

It is fine to study and learn more, but there's no reason to go crazy on the advice of people like AL Gore -- he's a lawyer and politician with zero training in science or the scientific method. Everyone is free to have hunches, but to treat a theory extrapolated from such a tiny (in the epoch of time) piece of data as fact and threaten and name-call skeptics is a different matter... it's poor science, frankly.

Oh, I'm not implying that there is a "vast global warming conspiracy" but I think almost all of the leaders in the movement have either money or power to gain. The loyal "foot soldier" masses are largely sincere, yet scientifically-naive environmentally conscious folk (Ed Begley types). I don't condemn these people, but miss no opportunity to attmept to educate them as to their folly.

Straight talk from Sid.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded: "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations".

The basic conclusions reached by the IPCC have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is the only scientific society that officially rejects these conclusions.
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Scientific rigor isn't about taking a vote. If it were, we'd still be working off Caloric Theory. A lot of absolute geniuses of the day (Lavoiser, Laplace, Carnot, et al) thought it was correct. But it stayed a THEORY and people continued testing it until it was eventially disproven and replaced with modern Thermodynamics.

The global warming cult has gotten to point of fascism; if you express skeptism, they call you bad names and try to destroy your credentials.
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