Sunday, March 09, 2008

Deniers' canard blown out the water

Gordon: "No such thing as global warming."

Peter: "Why do you say so?"

Gordon: "In the '70s scientists were predicting global cooling, now they predict global warming."

Peter: "So they got that wrong?"

Gordon: "Sure did."

Peter: "So... I thought you didn't believe in global warming?"

Gordon:

Peter: "Just read Realclimate! They now have a study on what climate scientists really were saying in the '70s."

clipped from www.realclimate.org
"How can we believe climate scientists about global warming today when back in the 1970s they told us an ice age was imminent?"
If, indeed, climate scientists predicted a coming ice age, it is worthwhile to take the next step and understand why they thought this, and what relevance it might have to today's science-politics-policy discussions about climate change. If, on the other hand, scientists were not really predicting a coming ice age, then the argument needs to be retired.

Between 1965 and 1979 we found (see table 1 for details):

  • 7 articles predicting cooling
  • 44 predicting warming
  • 20 that were neutral

In other words, during the 1970s, when some would have you believe scientists were predicting a coming ice age, they were doing no such thing. The dominant view, even then, was that increasing levels of greenhouse gases were likely to dominate any changes we might see in climate on human time scales.

blog it

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whether the science said it or not, there was even greater media hysteria then about a new ice age than there is now about warming. Not only that. Scientists told us by 2000, we would run out of food, oil and every useful industrial mineral known to man.

Scientists and newspapers thrive on fear.

Ganesh S said...

exactly. "The State of Fear" as chrichton rightly said. When there may be sudden changes in weather conditions when a butterfly just flaps its wings-several thousand kms away-, its ridiculous to predict anything about the climate 30 years since now. Will it rain in ur area tomorrow? can u say that with certainty? the problem with us is that we wont, by any chance, accept that we know nothing about the environment.