Pick up any 40-year-old science textbook – on chemistry, biology, geology, physics, astronomy or medicine – and you’ll find a slew of “facts” and theories that have been proven wrong or are no longer the “consensus” view. Climatology is no exception.
Back in the 1970s, many scientists warned of global cooling – and fretted that a new ice age brought on by fossil fuel use would cause glaciers to expand, wreaking havoc. They predicted every conceivable disaster, short of roving herds of wooly mammoths stampeding through ice-covered streets. (The possibility of cloning a well-preserved mammoth could buttress the next scary ice age scenario.)
Newsweek’s 1975 cover story “The Cooling World” breathlessly reported that, “after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down.” Meteorologists are “almost unanimous” that the trend will “reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century,” it intoned, and “the resulting famines could be catastrophic.”
The CIA, NASA, National Academy of Sciences and many news organizations issued similar alarums.Dr. John Holdren, now President Obama’s science adviser, joined Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich in penning an essay that warned: “The effects of a new ice age on agriculture and the supportability of large human populations scarcely need elaboration here. Even more dramatic results are possible, however; for instance, a sudden outward slumping in the Antarctic ice cap, induced by added weight, could generate a tidal wave of proportions unprecedented in recorded history.”
The Chicken Little ice age never arrived. Instead, the new “consensus” view is that our planet now faces fossil-fuel-induced catastrophic global warming. A 2006 Newsweek story conceded that its ice age theme had been “spectacularly wrong.” But the admission came amid decades of Newsweek, Time and even BusinessWeek and National Geographic stories about an imminent global warming “apocalypse.”
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