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Ed Driscoll

More From The Shivering Seventies

December 6th, 2009 - 8:51 pm

Forbes’ Garry Sutten explores “The Fiction Of Climate Science”, with a particular emphasis on the “global cooling” obsessions of the 1970s:

Many of you are too young to remember, but in 1975 our government pushed “the coming ice age.”

Random House dutifully printed “THE WEATHER CONSPIRACY … coming of the New Ice Age.” This may be the only book ever written by 18 authors. All 18 lived just a short sled ride from Washington, D.C. Newsweek fell in line and did a cover issue warning us of global cooling on April 28, 1975. And The New York Times, Aug. 14, 1976, reported “many signs that Earth may be headed for another ice age.” [Temporarily about-facing half a century of warming obsessions -- Ed]

OK, you say, that’s media. But what did our rational scientists say?

In 1974, the National Science Board announced: “During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age.”

You can’t blame these scientists for sucking up to the fed’s mantra du jour. Scientists live off grants. Remember how Galileo recanted his preaching about the earth revolving around the sun? He, of course, was about to be barbecued by his leaders. Today’s scientists merely lose their cash flow. Threats work.

In 2002 I stood in a room of the Smithsonian. One entire wall charted the cooling of our globe over the last 60 million years. This was no straight line. The curve had two steep dips followed by leveling. There were no significant warming periods. Smithsonian scientists inscribed it across some 20 feet of plaster, with timelines.

Last year, I went back. That fresco is painted over. The same curve hides behind smoked glass, shrunk to three feet but showing the same cooling trend. Hey, why should the Smithsonian put its tax-free status at risk? If the politicians decide to whip up public fear in a different direction, get with it, oh ye subsidized servants. Downplay that embarrassing old chart and maybe nobody will notice.

Sorry, I noticed.

It’s the job of elected officials to whip up panic. They then get re-elected. Their supporters fall in line.

President Obama’s science czar was a cooling advocate in the 1970s, John Tierney, the New York Times’ resident contrarian notes:

As a long-time student of John P. Holdren’s gloomy visions of the future, like his warnings about global famines and resource shortages, I can’t resist passing along another one that has just been dug up. This one was made in 1971, long before Dr. Holdren came President Obama’s science adviser, in an essay just unearthed by zombietime (a blog that has been republishing excerpts of his past writings). In the 1971 essay, “Overpopulation and the Potential for Ecocide,” Dr. Holdren and his co-author, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich, warned of a coming ice age.

They certainly weren’t the only scientists in the 1970s to warn of a coming ice age, but I can’t think of any others who were so creative in their catastrophizing.

Creative catastrophizing? Well at least Holdren is consistent in that department:

The president’s new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth’s air.John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

“It’s got to be looked at,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of taking any approach off the table.”

Nor any crises, either.

Related: At the American Thinker, “Understanding Climategate’s Hidden Decline.” In contrast, at the Washington Post, a dispatch from the flat earth society, complete with a warmed-over (pardon the pun) variation on the ancient and hackneyed moral equivalent of war trope.

Related: Speaking of Holdren, “Climategate: Obama’s Science Adviser Confirms the Scandal — Unintentionally.”

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