Friday, February 22, 2008

Global cooling in the '70s

Doyle Rice of USAToday:

The supposed "global cooling" consensus among scientists in the 1970s — frequently offered by global-warming skeptics as proof that climatologists can't make up their minds — is a myth, according to a survey of the scientific literature of the era.


The study reports, "There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age.
I was only in my teens in the '70s, but I remember the reports that we might be entering a new ice age. I never got the impression that there was a "consensus" on the issue, but rather that some scientists were tossing the idea around and had begun to look into it.

I generally take a look at any global warming related articles I come across, and have gone so far as to dig around for more information on several occasions. I haven't paid close attention to this particular argument, but I can't say I've "frequently" come across skeptics claiming there was a "consensus" on global cooling back in the '70s. And I certainly don't recall any skeptic claiming that scientists of the '70s said that an ice age was "imminent."

I'm sure the "consensus" claim has been made by some; people say a lot of things. But to set this up as some type of huge "myth" that needs "debunking" (as the article's headline reads) is a stretch. Even if the claim has been made far more often than I've noticed, skeptics would then only be guilty of the same transgression as their counterparts: claiming a consensus where none exists. It's not as if skeptics have made this the underpinning of their case (as have the "warmers.")

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