Jimmy Carter gets advice about global warming

by John Quiggin on August 22, 2019

In the course of attempting to threadjack Harry’s post on advice to new students, a commenter made the often-repeated claim ““Forty years ago (1970’s) global cooling was all the rage!””. As it happens, just before reading this comment, I received a link to some files from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. It’s a daily log or similar, and starts with a response to someone named Frank Press who had written to Carter raising concerns about CO2 emissions and global warming. The advice given to Carter was as follows:

The issue raised by Press is not new. The experts all agree that more infor­mation is needed. The energy plan indicates that nearly $3 million was being requested for ERDA to study the long-term effects of co2. (James) Schlesinger feels that the policy implications of the issue are still too uncertain to warrant presidential involvement or poli­cy initiatives. Schlesinger is examining the issue in the preparation of the FY 79 budget, and will, at that time, have the full report of the NAS study and further results from ERDA.

That accords with my memory, but not, apparently that of numerous others. Both warming and cooling were discussed in the 1970s, but there wasn’t clear evidence either way. By the 1980s, it became clear that the trend was towards warming, though it took another decade or so to produce broad scientific agreement that greenhouse gas emissions were the most likely cause and another decade for this agreement to reach near-certainty.

It’s interesting that this spurious history came up in response to my suggestion that over-60 voters, as a group, don’t display the wisdom and experience that’s used, with reference to the presumed lack of these qualities, to justify excluding children from voting. Anyone now over 60 was old enough to vote in the late 1970s when this discussion was taking place. It might be expected that, even if they weren’t following closely, they could recall the absence of any major scare over global cooling and debunk the claim that there was one.

Instead, over 60s seem to be the most prominent in pushing this theme. In part, they appear to have false memories (like visiting Disneyland and seeing Bugs Bunny) assisted by the circulation of a fake Time cover, notably by Ted Nugent (age 71).

The problem of convenient forgetfulness isn’t confined to the current 60+ cohort, or to events that happened decades ago. Ben Shapiro, who appears to be the nearest approach to an enfant terrible to be found on the political right, recently claimed that no prominent Republican had denied Obama’s legitimacy as president, apparently forgetting that the current president was a leading advocate of birtherism (Trump wasn’t alone in this).

But the prevalence of false political memory is a powerful counter to any claim that young people should be disqualified from voting because they are poorly informed. As Mark Twain didn’t say “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

{ 94 comments }

1

b9n10nt 08.23.19 at 12:11 am

Memory is not innocent; wisdom is not assured from experience.

From what we know as immediate, we can only hope to reason thence.

That roads, bustling or in solitude, gather grime and gravel,

Does not better recommend them, for any purposed travel.

2

alfredlordbleep 08.23.19 at 1:11 am

On the theme of the United States of Amnesia (a phrase Gore Vidal helped popularize)—here is a letter to the NYT editor, the paper which, of course, published The Pentagon Papers. The Times had it both ways.

To the Editor [The New York Times]:

As a postscript to A M Rosenthal’s celebration of The Times’s publication of the Pentagon Papers 20 years ago (column, June 11):

A few months after the publication of the secret study of the Vietnam War ordered by Secretary of Defense Robert S McNamara, I talked to Neil Sheehan, the Times reporter in Washington who brought the papers to the paper. Wasn’t he disappointed? How did President Nixon have the nerve to go on talking about “Hanoi breaking the Geneva agreements,” since the true story was now on record?

He answered (I took it down), “As far as I know, no one in this Administration read the Pentagon Papers. A very high official told me that commissioning the study had been a sign of weakness in McNamara. One should simply execute policy, he said.” I asked, “Well, what then about The Times itself?” Sheehan: “What about it?

I: “Times semantics still depict a war between one attacking country and one defending country.”

He: “A news story is just a piece of a whole story . The strength and the weakness of daily journalism is its specificness. A journalist cannot turn himself into a propagandist.”

I: “But he is one now, for a Government line that was exposed, as let us say, unreal.”
He: “No doubt an American journalist like all other journalists uses terms that reflect his social background. To me the Pentagon Papers help us keep our freedom to publish.”

I: “Meanwhile, back in Vietnam.”

He: “The Vietnamese are warriors. They have to do it themselves and they will. They defeated the Mongols. The spirit of man is stronger than all machines.”

(signed) Hans Koning New Haven, June 12, 1991
The writer is author of “Nineteen Sixty-Eight” (New York, 1987).

[emphasis added]

3

politicalfootball 08.23.19 at 3:24 am

The science behind global warming was well-understood before 1990. The relevant details were completely available to the public.

4

Omega Centauri 08.23.19 at 3:29 am

Memories are frequently re-enforced and rewritten/modified whenever they are accessed. With so many watching Fox News, it shouldn’t be surprising that memories have been altered.

5

rk 08.23.19 at 4:05 am

Some comments.
1)Although the basic science behind the greenhouse effect has been known for over a hundred years (see e.g. Chamberlin, 1899 https://www.jstor.org/stable/30055497) one of the earlier attempts to inform politicians about the issue was published in 1965 (see https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3227654-PSAC-1965-Restoring-the-Quality-of-Our-Environment.html). This report was authored by President Johnson’s science advisory committee.
2)The global cooling hysteria canard has been examined by Peterson et al. (https://doi.org/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1). Basically climate modelling didn’t exist in the 60’s and 70’s: the scientific community simply didn’t have the computational horsepower needed. A a result very few papers were published in that era that tried to predict future climate variations. Even in that early era, however, planetary warming was considered more likely than planetary cooling. The moral is that the popular press is almost never an accurate indicator of scientific consensus.

6

Mark 08.23.19 at 4:08 am

I remember the Greenhouse effect being in my 1974 first year high school text book . The potential for air pollution potential causing this was also discussed. Air pollution was also considered a bad thing in its own right.

7

bad Jim 08.23.19 at 5:11 am

Nuclear winter was also a topic circa 1980; I remember Carl Sagan contributing to an article in Scientific American, and my father wondering what could be done in such an eventuality. I could only respond that we were already doing the best we could by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but that wouldn’t be enough.

It’s my understanding that, were it not for greenhouse gas emissions, we might now be experiencing cooler than average conditions, which is why it’s sometimes said that burning of fossil fuels accounts for (say) 110% of the observed temperature increase.

8

Alex SL 08.23.19 at 7:46 am

Of course, even if cooling had been widely discussed in the 1970s, the argument “you eggheads once thought the earth is flat, now you have changed your mind and think it is a globe, therefore nobody can ever know anything for sure” doesn’t make sense anyway.

9

Dipper 08.23.19 at 8:08 am

… and so to the introductory passage to this

10

stostosto 08.23.19 at 11:45 am

By 1988 it was generally known as the greenhouse effect, so much so that non other than George H. W. Bush actually campaigned on it.

11

stostosto 08.23.19 at 11:47 am

“Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect forget about the ‘White House effect,'” Bush said in a 1988 campaign speech. “As president, I intend to do something about it.”

Link

12

notGoodenough 08.23.19 at 12:03 pm

[As a disclaimer, I am not a climate scientist nor do I have any expertise in this area. As a quick note, in trying to understand climate science a bit better, I have found the resources available at http://www.realclimate.org/ useful – a good explanation of data and reports in a way even I can understand.

Something I am interested in is, for people like the commentator mentioned in the OP, where exactly the sticking point is – e.g. do they think that we are changing the climate but policies to deal with this are problematic; that there is a mechanism by which humans could change the climate but we are not to any significant degree; that such a mechanism does not exist; that any observed change in the climate is due to natural variations; that there is no change in the climate at all; etc. Moreover, do they feel it is the case that all scientific consensus is suspect (e.g. are they similarly suspicious of evolution by means of natural selection, the existence of elements, etc.), or just this particular field?

I think that this does raise the broader issue of science communication (though this is hardly limited to science alone) – too often it seems easy for the evidence to be swamped by whomever has the largest megaphone. While people like Ben Goldacre have done good work, it feels as though it is very much swimming against the tide.

Of course, this does highlight the importance of topics such as epistemology, the study of the influence of media on culture, etc. Maybe, as a culture, we should be placing more emphasis on people having an introduction to these ideas – perhaps this ties in nicely with Harry´s thread :-)

13

Barry 08.23.19 at 12:49 pm

Bad Jim: “It’s my understanding that, were it not for greenhouse gas emissions, we might now be experiencing cooler than average conditions, which is why it’s sometimes said that burning of fossil fuels accounts for (say) 110% of the observed temperature in”

Off of the top of my head, any interglacial effects are on the scale of ten thousand years.

14

JimV 08.23.19 at 1:21 pm

The zombie effect is alive and well, and not just in economics. I first heard the “70’s global cooling hysteria” talking-point from a denier (Jerry Pournelle at his blog “Chaos Manor”) about a dozen years ago; researched it via Google then and quickly found it was limited to a few outspoken advocates and never came close to a scientific consensus. Meanwhile, more respected scientists such as Edward Teller and Jon von Neumann were making the more obvious point that burning fossil fuels which were laid down over hundreds of millions of years in a couple centuries was bound to increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration and cause warming by the greenhouse effect.

I suppose it is only natural that zombie ideas are entrenched.

As I wrote on the earlier thread, I am for non-voting, emeritus status for everyone over 65, including myself. Our puns are bad enough, without having to listen to our policy preferences.

15

hix 08.23.19 at 1:47 pm

There was no excuse to drive monstrous cars or burn coal for electrictiy generation (which until recently was even subsidiced in many nations) since a long time ago independent of global warming. So im not sure this even matters.

16

DCA 08.23.19 at 2:20 pm

Frank Press would be Carter’s science advisor, and very eminent geophysicist. By the 70’s it was clear that atmospheric CO2 was on the rise (20 years of the Keeling curve), with the fossil-fuel output not being soaked up by the ocean. It was also known that a rise in atmospheric CO2 ought to lead (by a fairly simple model) to global warming. Whether such warming was already happening was still unclear (40 years less data than we have for one thing) and there was room for legitimate debate about much and how fast it would be.

17

William Timberman 08.23.19 at 2:55 pm

Yes, memory is tricksy, and the older you get, the tricksier it gets. In this case, though, it seems more likely to me that a well-funded and decades long propaganda campaign, rather than aging neurons, is what’s warping older people’s memories of the past.

On Earth Day, 1970, I was 26. What I remember being concerned about on that day was not so much the greenhouse effect specifically, but rather the horrifying idea that it was precisely the vaunted success of the human species in propagating itself that would wind up strangling the entire earth — from mass species extinction to an ecological balance so overburdened as to collapse entirely.

A malthusian crisis on steroids was my fear, not global warming or cooling per se. While nuclear winter was an obvious possibility in the wake of an exchange of ICBMs between the Soviet Union and the U.S., it did not seem to me at the time to be anywhere near as credible a threat.

18

Cervantes 08.23.19 at 3:17 pm

Your chronology is off a bit. The IPCC was established in 1988 — it didn’t take another decade to establish the scientific consensus. Actually Svante Arrhenius published the conclusion that atmospheric CO2 affects the global temperature in 1896 and suggested that burning fossil fuels could change the climate.

19

anonymousse 08.23.19 at 3:21 pm

“It’s interesting that this spurious history came up in response to my suggestion that over-60 voters, as a group, don’t display the wisdom and experience that’s used, with reference to the presumed lack of these qualities, to justify excluding children from voting. Anyone now over 60 was old enough to vote in the late 1970s when this discussion was taking place. It might be expected that, even if they weren’t following closely, they could recall the absence of any major scare over global cooling and debunk the claim that there was one.”

Bizarre bizarre bizarre. I brought up the idea in the previous post: I’m not over 60, so I don’t have false memories of the 1970’s.

Any reader here can easily google the global cooling ‘scare’ from the 1970’s, and see the entire discussion laid out in about 5 minutes. The most significant finding? Look up Peter Gwynne. He wrote an article for Newsweek discussion global cooling and its likelihood of continuing.

The most significant aspect of it? He now refutes his own article-based on scientific progress since that time.

Why is that significant? Because of your statement, above. “It might be expected that, even if they weren’t following closely, they could recall the absence of any major scare over global cooling and debunk the claim that there was one.” In other words, it is odd for you to expect folks alive in the 1970’s to debunk the existence of a global cooling discussion, when the only debunking going on is the author of the article that actually made the argument!

You really expect us to debunk the existence of an article that the author has specifically addressed (in Inside Science, May 21, 2014)? He may be right, he may be wrong. But its hard to argue that his article didn’t exist (kudos for trying, though).

I think what you mean (without saying it) is that the global cooling consensus wasn’t as universal as the global warming consensus is today, and consensus is a good proxy for scientific accuracy, so its ok to question scientific arguments that were overthrown in the past (i.e. that have been disproven by time), but its doubleplusungood to question scientific arguments made today because they haven’t been overthrown (the fact that time hasn’t passed in order to offer the opportunity to overthrow them is an uncomfortable side effect). Two horrible horrible flaws: 1) scientific consensus isn’t a proxy for scientific accuracy, and 2) believing something just because not enough time has passed to test it is a lousy epistemology. But you know that already.

anon

20

Jim Harrison 08.23.19 at 3:36 pm

Memory is a social phenomenon. Individuals can remember particular things on their own, obviously, but not very well or very long. There’s nothing anomalous about the false memory of an era when scientists were warning about new ice age. In fact, I can only justify calling it false because of paper records and the help of a different we than Fox and Friends. (Insert rant here about how on many topics, psychology is to sociology as astrology is to astronomy.)

21

Jim Buck 08.23.19 at 4:19 pm

The Rocket Summer (From the Martian Chronicles)

22

Anarcissie 08.23.19 at 4:25 pm

Back in the 1940s, it must have been, I saw a picture in a newspaper of men burning smudge pots in orange groves in Florida to avert freezing. I asked a nearby adult why, since it did not seem that smudge pots would produce much heat. ‘The smoke they produce will reflect back the heat from the ground, and also capture heat from sunlight, thus raising the temperature,’ the adult said. I thought about this for awhile. Later I asked the same adult, ‘Won’t the smoke from the things people do, like driving and running machines and so on, make the earth hotter?’ ‘Yes,’ said the adult, ‘No doubt we will soon see palm trees growing in New York.’ Perhaps that was not entirely humor. Later — still in the 1940s, I imagine — I saw an article to similar effect in some magazine like Popular Science. So — a child could figure it out, or even a science reporter, not 60 but 70 years ago. Later, I must have missed the Global Cooling thing, because I don’t remember it, possibly because there was no evidence for it.

But driving monstrous cars and burning coal — yes, of course we must do that. And gobble ground cows. It’ll solve the problem.

23

Peter Dorman 08.23.19 at 4:34 pm

Appreciations to Cervantes for mentioning Arrhenius, who received a Nobel Prize, not primarily for his work on modeling what we now understand to be the climate/carbon cycle system, but it was noticed. I was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin in the mid-70s, where I took a course from John Steinhart, who used his coauthored energy textbook. It had a full chapter on carbon fuels and climate change. Nothing in any of this on cooling; it was all greenhouse.

24

Thomas P 08.23.19 at 6:13 pm

It had been clear for a century that carbon dioxide causes warming. The speculation about cooling was based on the possibility that sulphur emissions that cause cooling would, at least in the short term, dominate. Then we started to reduce sulphur since it had other bad effects on the environment.

For a more detailed account of the history of global warming science, this book available online is useful:
https://history.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

25

mbw 08.23.19 at 6:39 pm

To Cervantes: Yes, but Arrhenius didn’t really pin down his prediction to within the modern error bars until 1906, so it hasn’t quite had time to sink in.

To notGoodenough: One climate “skeptic” I know, an extremely intelligent person working in a mathematical field, has at times told me
1. Global warming isn’t happening.
2. It’s natural, not caused by us.
3. It’s good, not bad.
4. Anyway, it’s too late to stop it.
I pointed out that these views were not exactly consistent. He acknowledged that but didn’t care. He’s a libertarian.

26

bianca steele 08.23.19 at 6:57 pm

I was a child in the 70s, and not a scientist. My memory is that there was an emphasis on the greenhouse effect, and later a hysteria about a new ice age, and after that there was very little in the news, other than maybe a shrug like “how can we tell?” I don’t think this is my memory playing tricks on me, and I don’t think I have any self interest in learning about global warming at 30 rather than 15, and I’m not sure whether the OP means to suggest that I should “remember” Carter’s internal memos.

It’s of course possible that the press, and every intelligent person, just knew that warming was true and cooling wasn’t, and gave up on saying it because cooling was just so dumb. It’s also possible that the press decided it couldn’t distinguish between the truth and falsity of the two theories, and just gave up on talking about it. It’s possible that the government was responsible for making a decision between doing something about warming everyone knew about and pretending it wasn’t happening, and they forced the press to go along. It’s possible, I suppose, that there are dozens of articles in the popular press that anyone could find in the Reader’s Guide in ten minutes, and that present day writers aren’t mentioning, out of fear of insulting readers’ intelligence, but this seems to me to be the least likely of them.

I think everyone knows that cutting edge scientific research leads even general educated knowledge, sometimes by many years. I don’t understand why on this subject people pretend to have forgotten that. I’d personally like to see a plausible history of the period that doesn’t pretend to believe in ESP.

27

Bob Michaelson 08.23.19 at 7:29 pm

To go rather off-topic while expanding on DCA’s comment (#16), I am often taken aback by statements such as “a response to someone named Frank Press” which always, as far as I can recall, come from Brits or Commonwealth authors. As DCA mentions, Press is a very eminent geophysicist. As one can easily learn via Google, he was an advisor to four U.S. Presidents and served two terms as President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences – roughly equivalent to being President of the Royal Society. If I write something that mentions Michael Atiyah, for example, I wouldn’t use the (rather disparaging, to my ears) phrase “someone named Michael Atiyah” – I would say e.g. “distinguished mathematician Michael Atiyah” and assume that a reasonably knowledgeable person would have heard of Atiyah, or at the very least could google to learn about him. Is this “someone named” phrase a default used by Brits/Commonwealth types to refer to Usonians (to use a term coined by “someone named” Frank Lloyd Wright)? Or does it go beyond that – to, for example, “someone named” Gabriel García Márquez? Does it ever get applied to a famous or even a distinguished Brit?

28

Ogden Wernstrom 08.23.19 at 8:02 pm

In the 1970s, there were different theories of which way global average temperature was going to go, and the cooling theories were already on-the-wane (and I think they never had been dominant). When data started to narrow the possibilities, I wouldn’t expect anyone to stick with the cooling theories.

In 1998, I met someone (who I had known via email) who asserted that the dire consensus in the 1970s was that we were entering another ice age, and he made the argument that the change-of-direction to warming was just a way to keep the research money flowing, or some such conspiracy. That was the first time I’d heard that argument. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I used something akin to bad Jim @7, and thanked that physicist for pointing out that we have created global warming so strongly that it has overcome the bigger trend toward an ice age. He attacked me for lack-of-scientific-rigor and -ability-to-understand, and stormed off. (At that time, I believe he had already retired from Los Alamos Nat’l Lab; I think his PhD was in Physics.)

He has never addressed me directly since then. (We have attended at least 5, at most 10 similar conferences in the years since. Global warming is way-off-topic, but his comments came at the end of a presentation about visiting the local fossil beds…which show a cycle of temperature changes since long before mankind….)

On another note: I like to ask AGW-deniers if they’ve seen that film from 1973, Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston. It’s set in a then-future New York City….

How can anything survive in a climate like this? A heat wave all year long. A greenhouse effect. Everything is burning up.

I suppose that was some conspiracy, playing the long game. (If they could plant Obama’s birth announcement in a 1961 newspaper, planting global warming in a 1973 movie and hiring a future hero of right-wing reactionaries to star in it doesn’t seem like too big a stretch.) We don’t have much time until 2022….

29

Jake Gibson 08.23.19 at 9:24 pm

I’m reminded of the controversy over the Big Bang. Einstein was skeptical at first,but later
came into agreement. Fred Hoyle stayed a denier until his death. Seems he was a little bit of a crank in his later years.

30

Alex SL 08.23.19 at 11:43 pm

Reading over the new comments I am now a bit confused. What exactly is the claim about a supposed cooling scare in the 1970s? Is it that scientists were predicting the onset of a new ice age, or is it that they were predicting anthropogenic cooling from atmospheric pollution, from dust and soot particles?

Interestingly, both of those are apparently happening, only vastly outweighed by the greenhouse effect. When I was an undergrad our palynology prof shocked the auditorium by casually pointing out that we are due for the next ice age sometime in the next 1,000->10,000 years, and it is indeed getting gently cooler once the effect of carbon emissions is removed (see bad Jim @7). I also read very recently that the high-altitude particle exhaust from air travel cools the planet short-term, ironically masking part of the long-term warming caused by the carbon emissions from air travel, and ironically this is going to lead to an additional jump in warming once we will stop using airplanes.

Whichever of these two is the argument, a problem here is that many people find it difficult to deal with complex systems affected by multiple processes with different effects.

31

bad Jim 08.24.19 at 3:08 am

I can’t find the source for my “110%” (or whatever) figure, but I did find Record heat despite a cold sun. It’s about decadal solar variability rather than Milankovich cycles.

The point of bringing up the nuclear winter scenario was to emphasize that, back then, global warming seemed a more distant threat than nuclear war.

32

John Quiggin 08.24.19 at 7:16 am

Cervantes @18 I’m aware of the timing for the IPCC. It wasn’t until TAR 2 (1995) that it the core elements of AGW were established. On the history, it goes back before Arrhenius. Among the notable early contributors was Eunice Foote, who had to have a male scientist present on her behalf.

Bianca @26 That’s pretty much what I said in the OP “Both warming and cooling were discussed in the 1970s, but there wasn’t clear evidence either way” though I think “hysteria” is way too strong. Among the many things we worried about then, global temperature change, in either direction, was way down the list. The point of the quote is that there was never a scientific consensus supporting global cooling, as is suggested by rightwingers. Rather, the majority view leaned towards warming but the evidence remained too uncertain for action in the 1970s

Bob M @27 mea culpa As I read it, the person raising the alarm sounded like a random member of the public, so I thought Google wouldn’t be useful so far back. I should have checked.

33

Peter T 08.24.19 at 9:44 am

Surely one point here is that policy makers have access to the best scientific advice on the planet, at whatever notice and on whatever topic they choose. Any Australian Minister, for instance, could arrange a briefing from experts at the Bureau of Meteorology or CSIRO or National Academy of Sciences at a day or two’s notice. That they persist in casting doubt on climate change is deliberate wilful ignorance.

This was also true in the 80s, 90s and since. And holds for the US, UK and any other country on earth. Moreover, it is surely part of the duty of public office to obtain the best advice possible and alert the public to the issues – to lead and inform the debate.

There is also a strange view of science in some responses here. One does not have to be a climate scientist, but just a minimally scientifically-educated person, to know that some scientific truths are much more firmly grounded than others – in many cases so firmly grounded that their contravention is a matter for cranks (Newton’s Laws or the Laws of Thermodynamics are examples, but there are many others). That CO2 – and water vapout – absorb and re-emit infra-red and that warmer atmospheres hold more water are in this class – the one established for over 150 years and tied to much else in physics, the other for over 300 years and so firmly established that every industrial operation since Newcomen relies on it.

34

J-D 08.24.19 at 9:52 am

mbw

… an extremely intelligent person …
I pointed out that these views were not exactly consistent. He acknowledged that but didn’t care.

That’s not what I would call extremely intelligent.

35

Faustusnotes 08.24.19 at 10:02 am

It’s so depressing to see this shit on an academic blog. The global cooling distraction was made up from whole cloth by deniers 15 years ago and has been repeatedly debunked. It’s not even worth talking about and no one who continues to push it is honest.

36

Hidari 08.24.19 at 10:55 am

If anyone cares, AGW was first discovered in 1856 (yes you read that right), although the fact that the discoverer was a woman has probably helped this knowledge to be suppressed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_Newton_Foote

Though the original paper remained obscure Tyndall’s work (which may or may not have drawn on Foote’s discovery) helped to popularise the idea in the 1850s and 1860s.

Further work was done to develop the theory in the 1880s and 1890s by the likes of Arrhenius and Högbom.

Beginning in 1938, Guy Stewart Callendar published a series of papers which essentially proved the reality of AGW (please note, this is before any of us were born). His predictions are essentially not far off current predictions of temperature rises.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Stewart_Callendar

Increasing concern was shown about AGW throughout the 1950s and 1960s (given that, as I noted earlier the theory had by now been proven).

For example: a 1968 report stated: ‘If the earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur, including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans, and an increase in photosynthesis. [..] Revelle makes the point that man is now engaged in a vast geophysical experiment with his environment, the earth. Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bring about climatic changes.’

‘A survey of the scientific literature from 1965 to 1979 found 7 articles predicting cooling and 44 predicting warming (many other articles on climate made no prediction); the warming articles were cited much more often in subsequent scientific literature’.

And so onto the present day.

In other words, the idea that AGW is in any sense a new or radical or innovative theory is ridiculous. The theory of AGW predates the theory of natural selection (i.e. Darwinism), quantum mechanics, relativity, the big bang theory etc. etc. etc. There are very very very few scientific theories that are as well established as AGW and this has been the case for a good 50 years.

In other words, literally nobody reading this has been alive at any point when AGW was not the scientific mainstream hypothesis, unless vampires or other members of the undead community are regular readers of CT comments thread.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_climate_change_science

Which makes the fact that, so far, we have done essentially nothing to deal with this oncoming species* threatening cataclysm all the more perplexing.

*The species in question being ours.

37

Hidari 08.24.19 at 11:34 am

@25

(He’s) ‘an extremely intelligent person’

‘He’s a libertarian.’

Are you sure you’re talking about the same person in these two sentences?

38

otpup 08.24.19 at 1:12 pm

Part of what was happening in the 70’s is that it had just been established that the onset of Ice Ages could be orders of magnitude faster than previously believed. Previously, it had been thought that the beginning of an Ice Age would take place over 10,000’s of years of slowly increasing glaciation. Evidence turned up however that large areas could suddenly be be covered in snow (years without summer) reducing surface albedo and resulting in qualitatively cooler weather over night, relatively speaking.
So part of the media (and genuine intellectual) buzz was about the fact a new doomsday scenario had entered public consciousness. This realization preceded (historically if not logically) the nuclear winter idea. This I got from watching geology specials as a kid.

39

casmilus 08.24.19 at 5:38 pm

The 1967 Doctor Who story “The Ice Warriors” is set in a future Warth undergoing another Ice Age. I have always assumed this storyline was picked because the theme of “new Ice Age” was buzzing in pop science.

40

notGoodenough 08.24.19 at 7:33 pm

Anonymousse @ 19

Firstly, thank you for continuing the discussion – I certainly appreciate being given the opportunity to see where you are coming from.

Point 1.

I think we seem to have different views on scientific consensus?

When I say there is a strong scientific consensus that X is the most likely explanation, here is what that means: 1) A wide range of scientists, all of whom have considerable expertise and experience relevant to the fields being examined, have looked at this from a wide range of different approaches, using different tools, techniques, methodologies, and independently come to the same conclusion; 2) the explanation fits the available evidence; 3) we are able to make predictive models which subsequently are in agreement with measurements, and as we continue to refine these models they become increasingly accurate.

In short, the important bit it isn’t that the scientists agree, but rather that the evidence agrees.

Moreover, a consensus doesn’t rely on “just” agreement – there are (you should not be surprised to learn) ways to evaluate scientific accuracy of propositions. We can, for example, get confidence levels from techniques and tools, we can run multiple models to see the degree of correlation, we can run Bayesian analysis, and we can use the predictive models we make to compare to future results.

And the scientific consensus is based on all this (the evidence, the data, the models, the predictions, the level of accuracy of all of that) being in very strong agreement.

In short, that is quite a lot to handwave away as being unreliable.

Now, respectfully, I don’t think the insinuation that there is a vast Orwellian conspiracy of scientists ignoring any disagreement is particularly helpful, or indicative or reality.

It is not “doubleplusungood to question scientific arguments made today because they haven’t been overthrown”.

However, if you want to challange a scientific consensus in the sense that I mean it (i.e. a large amount of evidence, predictive models shown to be accurate, etc.), then you have to show some your evidence to justify that. And if you want to seriously challange something which is backed by a large body of evidence, you probably have to provide quite a lot of quite strong evidence. Even then, you still have to account for everything accounted for by that model. So, in short you can question, but if it is essentially “I don’t believe you” then I don’t think it is very supprising if people don’t take that as a knockout blow.

Point 2.

You say “believing something just because not enough time has passed to test it is a lousy epistemology”.

I agree!

I am however slightly surprised that, given scientists have ways to evaluate the confidence level of their propositions, you don’t think that this is something already given consideration by the people who study this stuff for a living – particularly given that our ability to get money is fairly dependent on our ability to justify what we say (and it would seem to follow that if you are repeatedly wrong about things it will be increasingly difficult to be taken seriously).

So, how much is sufficient time to test a proposition?

Well, again, since we can determine the accuracy of our data collection, the accuracy of our modelling, then test the models to see if they conform with reality, I think that that is a pretty good amount of testing.

On what basis do you disagree? And, since you seem to have evaluated somehow that AGW has been “rushed out”, can you say by which time (assuming the AGW models continue to comport with reality) you would say sufficient time has passed?

General discussion

I think it is fair to say that you are unconvinced that AGW is sufficiently demonstrated for you to accept it?

I would, if you are agreeable, like to narrow down a little as to what your point of disagreement is.

Do you think that we are changing the climate but policies to deal with this are problematic; that there is a mechanism by which humans could change the climate but we are not actually doing this to any significant degree; that such a mechanism does not exist; that any observed change in the climate is due to natural variations; that there is no change in the climate at all; some other point I haven’t thought of; etc.

How have you come to that conclusion?

What evidence would change your mind?

41

bianca steele 08.24.19 at 10:20 pm

@32

I guess by “hysteria” I meant that the press wasn’t substantiated by reality (at least that’s how I remember yesterday), but it’s a fair criticism. My clearest memory of this is discussing it in my backyard with a neighbor kid when I must have been around ten, and the source was probably TV news or Popular Science. If the same thing was coming from better sources, I wasn’t aware of it, but it must have been loud and/or shrill if we were aware of it. What I don’t recall is public discussion of the Bush Admin. (I) hearings on global warming reporting them as in any way definitive.

I don’t think anyone’s mentioned the ozone hole. The fact that it had gotten smaller was supposed to be a big deal in the early 90s as I recall.

I’d guess I’d probably heard that there was a growing consensus on global warming earlier, but I feel like I must have heard there was no serious question about it at all for the first time on a random, I.e., not science related, Internet board, sometime around 2000.

42

ph 08.25.19 at 1:05 am

Pr. Michael Mann refuses to release his regression data in British Columbia court case. https://principia-scientific.org/breaking-news-dr-tim-ball-defeats-michael-manns-climate-lawsuit/

The politicization of the climate science debate is a major obstacle to sensible discourse. Climate scientists refusing to provide data to the larger academic community is a larger one, imho. I’m sure Pr. Mann believes he is fully justified in withholding information deemed essential by the British Columbia Supreme Court. However, to me it’s inexplicable. In my own area, history-culture-audiences, we submit all our research to peer scrutiny and the move is increasingly towards open source publications. If there’s a problem with Mann’s research, it needs to be publicly aired and discussed in order to move past these sorts of needless debates. The East Anglia CRU emails in which one key player asserted that he’d rather destroy his data than subject it to scrutiny says something truly horrible about the quality of climate-science research standards.

These are own goals and entirely avoidable. Provide all the data publicly and take the hits that may result so that the rest of us can have a greater level of trust in the integrity of the science, please.

I do not believe, btw, that your own research, John, falls into the same sloppy category and I’d be astonished if you ever tried to conceal the data you employ to arrive at your conclusions.

43

bad Jim 08.25.19 at 6:57 am

The good folks at the Pew Research Center have evinced some frustration with the general public for not paying attention to their findings. Most of those who accept the reality of climate change vastly underestimate the near unanimity of scientific opinion. When asked, people guess a bare majority, which is to say that the conventional wisdom is that it’s a matter of contention. It is not.

Pew surveyed a sample of thousands of members of the AAAS (subscribers to Science) and found 90% in accord. Earth scientists polled a bit higher. This was, I think, five years ago. Evolution polled at 99%.

The National Academy of Sciences, the American Astronomical Society, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Physical Society, just to name the most relevant disciplines, NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, the CIA and their counterparts around the globe are all in agreement.

This can only be, of course, a dark satanic conspiracy, but the unanswered question is whose? Cui bono? Pagan, silicon-enhanced sun worshippers? Bird obliterating wind turbine architects? Feral feminist Stalinist vegans?

44

Hidari 08.25.19 at 9:16 am

Just to add some more probably uninteresting ramblings to this…the whole point of the OP was that the Right has essentially created false memories, wherein ‘we’ were all worried about global cooling in the 1970s. As not a few people have pointed out this is simply false. We were not worried about global cooling in the 1970s, or at any other time.

The tiny germ of truth in it comes, so to speak, in two parts.

1: People were worried about global warming in the 1970s, but they were a lot more worried about nuclear war. So nuclear war so to speak, ‘hogged’ all the dystopias (e.g. Riddley Walker, Threads etc.). It wasn’t that people didn’t think global warming was happening. They did. They just thought that global cooling caused by nuclear war would get us first.

2: Global warming was seen as an issue but along with a huge range of other environmental issues. As someone above pointed out, Harry Harrison’s ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ is mainly about overpopulation, but it’s also about global warming. A lot of other books (e.g. Stand on Zanzibar, Timescape, the innumerable YA novels of the 1970s about the environment) are more generally about ecological collapse, and climate change is seen as being part of that collapse, but climate change isn’t particularly singled out as being any more important than the other factors (deforestation, pollution, a declining amount of land available for farmland etc.).

You only need to look at the movies of the period to see that global warming and environmental issues were far more important than any alleged ‘fear of a new ice age’. Whereas there are numerous films of the period and later which implicitly (Soylent Green, Blade Runner) or explicitly (Waterworld, The Day after Tomorrow) talk about global warming, where are the big budget Hollywood movies talking about a new ice age?

There aren’t any.

Indeed, the only books I can think of which talk about this are The World in Winter (from 1962) and Anna Kavan’s ‘Ice’ which is not really science fiction in any meaningful sense. This short list is dwarfed by the long list of books, starting from the 1950s, talking about a world which warms for one reason or another (The Drowned World, a number of books by P.K. Dick etc. etc. etc.) or which, to repeat, talk about ecological collapse more generally, in which global warming is one of many reasons for this collapse.

45

Barry 08.25.19 at 11:27 am

“The politicization of the climate science debate is a major obstacle to sensible discourse. “

Then stop doing it.

46

Ed 08.25.19 at 1:00 pm

47

vasiliy 08.25.19 at 1:38 pm

This from admittedly fallible memory, not documentary evidence:
In the 1970s, there was concern over cooling due to particulate and sulphur emissions. The sulhpur was also linked to acid rain which was damaging (and threatening much worse) forests and waterways in the Northeast. Attention was directed toward tall-chimneyed power plants in the Midwest.

A major effort was directed toward drastically reducing both pollutants which showed almost immediate results. If one recalls, besides the constant evil of coal, one of the primary culprits was high-sulphur petroleum from Venezuela. At about the same time, greenhouse gasses replaced particulates / sulphur as the public’s bogeymen. The 180˚ pivot from cooling to warming was noted by none other than that noted environmental scientist Rush Limbaugh who surmised that we had done too good a job and that we should consider inserting some sulphur aerosols into the atmosphere to counteract the greenhouse effect. His “science” was clearly cockamamie; but he was addressing the national dialogue as it was, correct or not.

48

anonymousse 08.25.19 at 1:54 pm

NotGoodEnough-
OK, I’ll bite.
First: originally, I made one and only one claim (in a different post): that in the 1970’s, there was a valid scientific argument that global cooling was occurring. I never claimed it was right, and I never claimed it was ‘more valid’ than global warming. I merely referenced it.
This (original) post is devoted to the argument that such a scientific argument didn’t exist, and that those who do claim so are guilty of suffering from ‘false memories.’

Can we agree (based on many responses in this comment thread-not only mine), that this post is simply not correct? Can we agree that there was a valid scientific argument (now not believed) that global cooling was (or could have been) a thing?-that its not simply a case of ‘false memories,’ or ‘convenient forgetfulness’?

Having said that: I followed up in a response in the response thread a couple of additional points/arguments-specifically “1) scientific consensus isn’t a proxy for scientific accuracy, and 2) believing something just because not enough time has passed to test it is a lousy epistemology.”

My point is this (I think this is pretty obvious, but it apparently needs explicit explanation): there was a reasonably accepted scientific argument that the earth was cooling in the 1970’s. It wasn’t universally accepted, and may have been a ‘strong minority’ (or plurality) view among scientists. It is no longer accepted by almost anybody, due to the existence of an additional 35 years of data (which generally refute it).

There is a quite widely accepted scientific argument that the earth is warming, in the 2010’s- today. I don’t believe that this argument (in spite of being more popular) is epistemologically different from the global cooling argument from 35 years ago-specifically because I believe global temperatures may be subject to variation in cycles greater than 20-40 years in length. Just because the tools at our disposal in the 1970’s were more crude than the tools available today, and 35 years after the fact the 1970’s argument seems to be refuted, doesn’t justify confidence in the argument today (before 35 years have passed).

Or, another way to think about it: there was a global cooling theory that, due to the collection of 35 years of contrary data, is no longer believed. Epistemologically, the same argument for global warming would be ‘we won’t know until we have collected 35 (or more) years of data refuting or supporting it.’ But that’s not the argument being used: instead, the argument being used is ‘we know because today’s argument (global warming) is contrary to yesterday’s argument (global cooling), and we have better computers.’

The presence of a scientific theory that was refuted yesterday should inspire cynicism (or, at least, hesitancy) in believing similar scientific theories today. But it doesn’t.

Here is another example: when I was paying more attention to global warming (about 10 years ago), there was always the statement that ‘the last decade is the hottest decade on record. (ergo, global warming is valid). What went unmentioned (at the time) was the fact that the SECOND hottest decade on record was… the 1930’s. Logically, if the hottest decade on record (this last one) proves global warming, then the second hottest decade on record (75 years ago) should DISPROVE global warming. But it never did. People seemed to suspend argument (‘hot decades prove global warming’) with data inconsistent with it (‘hot decades 75 years ago should then disprove global warming-but we won’t mention that’).

A similar thought process applies here. ‘Scientists agree that global warming is real’ is the current argument, but ‘scientists agreed that global cooling was real in the 1970’s, but they were disproven’ should yield cynicism towards the first belief. It doesn’t, instead the response is ‘the belief wasn’t as widespread,’ or ‘we have better computers’ or, in the case of the original post, ‘that belief didn’t exist, and is simply a product of false memories or willful self-deception.’

Finally: see the last post before this (by ph). There is enough questionable stuff on the part of global warming proponents that my cynicism, independent of this argument and post, remains.

anon

49

Barry 08.25.19 at 3:36 pm

50

bianca steele 08.25.19 at 3:47 pm

I assume @43 is intended to include some irony. Educated people surely understand not only that scientific knowledge evolves over time and that its distribution progresses unevenly, but that there are different knowledge communities with boundaries that aren’t 100% porous. (Read enough books complaining about 19th century figures’ willful refusal to criticize their beliefs in light of genetics and you’ll have that detail pounded into your skull for life, for better or worse.) “Why didn’t people understand yesterday what I discovered today?!” can hardly be a serious complaint. Someone is not doing their job.

51

Lee A. Arnold 08.25.19 at 3:49 pm

Ph #42: “Pr. Michael Mann refuses to release his regression data in British Columbia court case.”

Who cares? The hockey stick graph has been refined & verified dozens of times since the original reconstruction in 1999, and it now looks like this:
http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/figures/WGI_AR5_Fig5-7.jpg

52

Lee A. Arnold 08.25.19 at 4:38 pm

Michael Mann says it’s a lie that hockey stick data and code are not available (and have been for over a decade)
https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/1165641439532986368

53

Dave Heasman 08.25.19 at 7:11 pm

“The farther away we can get from them the better. Anyhow, they evolved to meet the Ice
Age; we have to evolve to meet the Fire Age, just the opposite. So we need that chitinous-type skin, that rind and the altered metabolism that lets us sleep in midday…”

From The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. 1965? I read it a year or two later and have remembered the chitin ever since. It seemed not entirely outre at that time.

54

bianca steele 08.25.19 at 8:13 pm

@48 “questionable stuff”

As far as I can tell, global warming may be the first example of an important matter where the public was educated primarily by their peers and would-be peers online. That’s not a situation designed to dampen cynicism, but it’s not related to the reliability of the science.

55

Donald 08.25.19 at 9:00 pm

Anonymousse-

I am curious to see if anyone will have the patience to dismantle that massive pile of cynical bad faith reasoning you gave in comment 48. I don’t. All you have demonstrated is that there is no argument you can’t dismiss. People used to think the geocentric hypothesis fit both the data (no stellar parallex) and common sense, so we should be cynical about anything astronomers claim.

56

faustusnotes 08.26.19 at 1:35 am

It’s really not worth bothering with any of the cynical lies being peddled here, but just for the hell of it I’ll add that ph is wrong, it’s not “regression data” that Mann supposedly refuses to release, it’s PCA data.

These people can’t get anything right, but insist on lecturing us about how everyone else is a fraud.

57

JimV 08.26.19 at 3:13 am

“What went unmentioned (at the time) was the fact that the SECOND hottest decade on record was… the 1930’s.”

Less than one minute of googling finds this:

“The year 1934 was a very hot year in the United States, ranking sixth behind 2012, 2016, 2015, 2006, and 1998. However, global warming takes into account temperatures over the entire planet, including the oceans. The land area of the U.S. accounts for only 2% of Earth’s total surface area. Despite the U.S. sweltering in 1934, that year was not especially hot over the rest of the planet, as you can see on the 1934 map below. Globally, 1934 temperatures were actually cooler than average for the 20th century.”

Google finds no claim that the 1930’s was the second hottest decade on record. It does find a claim that it was the second highest decade in the USA, similar to the above.

“… scientists agreed that global cooling was real in the 1970’s,”

There was no such consensus. The statement could be defended as, as well there were at least two scientists who made that claim, but that is hardly a basis for any conclusion.

We know, from empirical data, that CO2 concentration has been increasing since the 1800’s and that its second derivative is positive. We know CO2 produces the greenhouse effect. In 1959, Edward Teller predicted:

“At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say [then] whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one, or 5.”

Since then scientists have been studying all the various climate effects for over 50 years, and have reached a strong, international consensus. They have done their jobs and given us the best estimate available. It will probably be refined further in years to come, but has passed the point of reasonable doubt.

(Sources: Skeptical Science, and The Guardian; approximately ten minutes work to find. I of course encourage people to check for themselves, as I try to check the claims that come off the top of my head before posting them, so as not to be guilty of false witnessing.)

58

bad Jim 08.26.19 at 7:25 am

I’m not sure I understand Bianca Steele’s comment @50, assuming it’s directed at my comment @43, in which all the paragraphs but the last are statements of fact: the scientific consensus is broad and deep, something the merchants of doubt take great pains to obscure.

The early deficiencies of the theory of evolution would not be my first choice as an examples of the problematic nature of a scientific consensus, since the intricate apparatus of investigation and publication which we now take for granted did not then exist; Darwin did not seem to be aware of Mendel’s work.

Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift is a more apt and more contemporary example. He was not a geologist, and his rather impressive research was apparently published in the wrong journals. More to the point, he offered no explanation of how continents could wander. Once the sea floors were mapped, the evidence for what became known as plate tectonics was overwhelming, and a scientific consensus rapidly converged.

Around 1964 Scientific American published an article on “Quasi-Stellar Radio Objects”, impossibly powerful extremely distant galaxies. At the time, dark holes were an obscure subject of speculation. Within a few decades the presence of such at the center of nearly every galaxy became the conventional wisdom.

I’m old. I first heard of continental drift before the ocean maps were made, I read that first article about quasars. Global warming, in contrast, is something which has been taken for granted at least since Arrhenius.

59

Hidari 08.26.19 at 8:25 am

I’d just like to echo @55: ‘anonymousse’s’ post is genuinely a masterpiece of smear, innuendo, and bad faith argumentation, so well done him (or her).

For example, please note that in paragraph one: there was, apparently, a ‘valid scientific argument’ for global cooling (in the 1970s)….(the word ‘valid’ is doing a lot of work here, but still).

However by paragraph 9, ‘scientists agreed that global cooling’ (was happening, in the 1970s), with the word ‘scientists’ presumably meaning ‘all’ or ‘most’ scientists: a statement that is total and complete bullshit from start to finish, as no small number of commentators have pointed out. And no evidence is provided for either of these claims, at any point. Nor is the contradiction ever acknowledged or hinted at.

As I say, a masterpiece.

60

Collin Street 08.26.19 at 9:13 am

I am curious to see if anyone will have the patience to dismantle that massive pile of cynical bad faith reasoning you gave in comment 48.

It’s not bad faith! It’s just incompetence. I’m not going to read this one, because it’s going to be a torrent of shit and all, but I’ve read a lot of similar material and you see exactly the same mistakes each time.

For example: this is the classic one, evidence for thesis X is treated as evidence against thesis Y. This isn’t actually wrong! in the right context and with the right handling; if you need to work out what your best-option-to-hand is then this sort of bayesian approach makes sense, as long as you remember that it’s not reliable…

… but if you’re seeking certainty rather than just best-guess then it’s bullshit. Still more if you think you have reached certainty, proved your case by amassing affirming evidence without considering the contradicting.

Essentially they try and do everything inductively, even the things you can’t do inductively. Because they don’t know how to do deduction and don’t know that you have to use induction to get certain results. It looks like bad faith, but it’s just the same as an undiagnosed colourblind person trying to describe colours: they guess at distinctions they cannot recognise.

Once you see the thinking process behind it it all snaps into focus.

[because deduction you have to be taught, see. Induction the brain is wired for, but deduction you need to be taught. If you’re clever enough and you set your sights low enough you can work out everything you need without ever having to learn how deduction works, even be clever — fast — with the everyday stuff and think you’re intelligent [which you are, as far as that goes], but induction can never rule out possibilities mathematically-completely and if that’s what you need to do and you’re trying to do it without having learned how to do deductive reasoning… it’s going to look like what we have here, innit.]

[by the way, all the above I induced, which means it’s only probably correct, not actually-guaranteed-correct. Induction and native-cleverness is pretty useful, but it’s not everything: trained skill matters.]

61

notGoodenough 08.26.19 at 9:14 am

Anonymousse @ 48

Well, this is very disappointing.

“OK, I’ll bite.”

It may surprise you to learn that I wasn’t trying to trick you, to back you into a position you don’t hold, or to find something you say to latch onto and argue against.

What I am interested in is trying to ensure my model of reality is as close as I can possibly make it to “the truth”. To that end, I was trying – rather hard – to establish what your position is, to see what your concerns are, and to see if I agree. It was, after all, entirely possible you could have raised some issues that are of concern, maybe you could point to some flaw in the reasoning or methodology which I could then examine – and either Steelman my position, or see that there is something I need to look into.

In short, while some blog comments were unlikely to change either of our positions, I was hoping this could at least have been a fruitful and interesting discussion.

But apparently not.

First: originally, I made one and only one claim (in a different post): that in the 1970’s, there was a valid scientific argument that global cooling was occurring. I never claimed it was right, and I never claimed it was ‘more valid’ than global warming. I merely referenced it.
This (original) post is devoted to the argument that such a scientific argument didn’t exist, and that those who do claim so are guilty of suffering from ‘false memories.’

This is a pretty dishonest comment.

The OP says “Both warming and cooling were discussed in the 1970s, but there wasn’t clear evidence either way.”

That quite clearly does NOT say “such a scientific argument didn’t exist”. Given that it is fairly easy to look at what the OP actually wrote, I can only conclude that this is not a misunderstanding on your part, but in fact a deliberate lie aimed to muddy the waters. Given that it is very easy for people here to look at what has actually been written, this is not only very dishonest, but also insultingly lazy of you.

Let’s continue – here is your original quote which people took issue with:

“Forty years ago (1970’s) global cooling was all the rage!”

That is not “in the 1970’s, there was a valid scientific argument that global cooling was occurring” nor is it “there was a valid scientific argument (now not believed) that global cooling was (or could have been) a thing”.

That statement is saying that the global cooling model was “all the rage!”, i.e. at the least very popular and likely a majority view.

What several people have pointed out is that global cooling was not “all the rage” in the scientific community.

Had you bothered to read some of things people have linked to, such as this literature review:
https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1

It would be very obvious that from 1965 to 1979 (the exact period you are talking about) global cooling has not been a majority opinion.

Since you frequently lie about what people have said, let me state this very simply for you:

Global cooling, in the period of 1965 to 1979, was not a model held by the majority of scientists.

That is not “global cooling was never discussed”, nor is it “global cooling studies never existed”, it is “global cooling was not a majority opinion in that period”.

This is very simple, please stop lying about what people have said.

” But that’s not the argument being used: instead, the argument being used is ‘we know because today’s argument (global warming) is contrary to yesterday’s argument (global cooling), and we have better computers.’”

That is not the argument I said. That is not the argument the OP advanced.

Once again, you are breathtakingly dishonest and strawmaning people who disagree with you.

Here is what I said

“In short, the important bit it isn’t that the scientists agree, but rather that the evidence agrees.”

and

“Moreover, a consensus doesn’t rely on “just” agreement – there are (you should not be surprised to learn) ways to evaluate scientific accuracy of propositions. We can, for example, get confidence levels from techniques and tools, we can run multiple models to see the degree of correlation, we can run Bayesian analysis, and we can use the predictive models we make to compare to future results.”

That is not “we have better computers now”. That is, I think pretty clearly, “in the last 40 years, we have accumulated more data to evaluate from multiple lines of research from multiple fields. As we can evaluate the accuracy of these, we can determine our confidence level. With the increasing amount of data, advances in modelling, improvements in our understanding of the complex system which is our climate, etc. there is an increase in confidence. As the confidence levels are currently very high, we can reasonably say the evidence for AGW is sufficient to warrant acceptance as the mostly likely explanation – based on the available evidence at this time”.

Once again you have lied about what someone has said, and handwaved their nuanced discussion as being “science good. fire bad. ugh ugh.”

“The presence of a scientific theory that was refuted yesterday should inspire cynicism (or, at least, hesitancy) in believing similar scientific theories today. But it doesn’t.”

Maybe because global cooling wasn’t refuted yesterday? Maybe because global warming has been a model considered more likely since at least 1972? Maybe because the scientific consensus is based on increasing amounts of data refining models, and not because a shadowy cabal of evil scientists decide that X is now the story?

Maybe if you could stop misrepresenting what people have actually said for 30 seconds, we could have actually had a discussion?

A similar thought process applies here. ‘Scientists agree that global warming is real’ is the current argument, but ‘scientists agreed that global cooling was real in the 1970’s, but they were disproven’ should yield cynicism towards the first belief. It doesn’t, instead the response is ‘the belief wasn’t as widespread,’ or ‘we have better computers’ or, in the case of the original post, ‘that belief didn’t exist, and is simply a product of false memories or willful self-deception.’

Again, you simply lie about what people have said, and the arguments that they have advanced. This is now to a degree where it is obvious you are not in good faith.

Again, the argument isn’t “we have better computers”. The argument isn’t “global cooling never existed”.

The argument is:

“Based on limited datasets at the time, scientists advanced theories of global cooling and global warming, with the majority of scientists not advancing either. The global warming theory was more accepted, and – as more data and evidence was collected – became so strongly backed by evidence that it has become now widely accepted as a highly likely model of the climate.”

Again, this isn’t “scientists agree so we have to take their word”, because it isn’t a popularity contest. The point, as you are repeatedly and willfully ignoring, is that the consensus is based on the evidence, and that the confidence level, based on the evidence, is sufficiently high that it has become a generally accepted model.

”Finally: see the last post before this (by ph). There is enough questionable stuff on the part of global warming proponents that my cynicism, independent of this argument and post, remains.”

Yet you don’t point to anything – just some vague “well, we can’t trust people blindly” smear.

As someone who has been a scientific researcher for some decade or more, I am aware that there are problems with the field. Anyone reading Goldacre, for example, can see that there are issues with how research is carried out and promulgated.

The problem is that you are not pointing to specific examples you think demonstrate a problem with the methodology or the science involved. You are simply handwaving in the general direction of one specific Climatologist, and saying “but his emails….”

As if the emails proved anything. These were illegally hacked from some people’s computers, trawled through by bad actors seeking to take things out of context and explicitly to discredit the work, and the best, the absolute best knock-out best they could come up with was “oh this guy has used the word ‘trick’ as a colloquial expression to mean ‘the best way to approach this problem’, well clearly this proves the hundereds of people, from all around the world, who have been studying this for 40 or more years are ALL evil and ALL lying and ALL in cahoots.

You dishonest smearmonger.

In conclusion

Had you bothered to answer any of my questions regarding the point of disagreement, had you responded to people’s actual comments rather than making arguing against strawman versions of them, had you – in fact – exhibited any intellectual honesty at all in your comment, I would have been interested in talking to you.

Because *I* want to be as correct as possible, and if there is a problem with something I believe, I want that highlighted so I can investigate and – depending on the evidence – either strengthen my position, or change my mind.

Apparently, though, you don’t seem interested in having that conversation.

I don’t like to attribute states of mind to other people, because I don’t have access to mind reading equipment. But your repeated false statements, inability to address people’s actual statements, etc. can only lead me to the conclusion you are not acting in good faith.

And that’s a pity – you had the opportunity to discuss, present your case, set out your arguments and evidence. You could have made a good argument for being skeptical about claims for AGW. You didn’t do that.

You just said “well, scientists can be wrong too, duh duh”, as if we don’t have ways to measure how likely an explanation is. As if there isn’t an entire field of science which is dedicated to measuring accuracy. As if these aren’t problems that people have been dealing with since the inception of the scientific method. As if David Hume hadn’t talked about epistemology. As if we have no way to attribute confidence to a theory which is proportional to the evidence. As if hundreds of years of people refining methodology doesn’t exist. As if it isn’t obvious that you are someone throwing rhetorical shit at a discipline and ignoring when people address your points.

I wanted to get a better understanding of your position – you obfuscated and lied.

I had hoped to learn more about the position of climate skeptics – all I have learned is that you *specifically* cannot be engaged with. At all. Because you lie. Repeatedly. In ways which are very easy to see.

While I didn’t expect either of us would change our minds (after all, this is just a discussion on a blog comment section) I had hoped we could at least have a good, honest discussion and clarify our respective positions. Instead, you have just wasted my time.

I hope, at some point in your life, you become more interested in having discussions to uncover the truth, rather than trying to score points in a debate which only exists in your mind.

Now, however, I now have no interest in discussing this topic with you any further. Because a) you cannot be trusted to actually act in good faith and b) you are clearly just wasting my time.

If you continue to post lies about what I have said, I will point that out, but I will no longer respond to you.

62

Dipper 08.26.19 at 9:41 am

From a UK wildlife POV, if your evidence for global warming was just that of wildlife, it would not have been clear until this century that it was happening.

Cetti’s Warblers started to colonise the UK in the a970’s, but it was slow going, and only this century did they really get going and they were present just about everywhere in the south, until The Beast From the East eliminated them from Norfolk and East Anglia although they are now back there. Little Egrets started spreading in the 1990s but they are a rare bird into this century, whereas now you hardly look at them they are so common.

With insects, the northward drift of butterflies has been noted for a while, but it is only recently that species such as Willow Emerald Damselfly, Tree Bumblebee, Ivy Bee, Southern Migrant Hawker have become well established.

My understanding on the data was that the plateau post 1998 did cause a lot of soul-searching amongst climate scientists, and lead to further investigations of ocean currents. So now we understand a bit more about the fact the oceans operate as a heat sink, and they release the excess heat in bursts, not continually.

63

anonymousse 08.26.19 at 1:38 pm

“That quite clearly does NOT say “such a scientific argument didn’t exist”.”
Here’s what he wrote.

“It’s interesting that this spurious history came up…”
” Anyone now over 60 was old enough to vote in the late 1970s when this discussion was taking place. It might be expected that, even if they weren’t following closely, they could recall the absence of any major scare over global cooling and debunk the claim that there was one.”
“Instead, over 60s seem to be the most prominent in pushing this theme. In part, they appear to have false memories…”
“The problem of convenient forgetfulness…”
“But the prevalence of false political memory…”
Take it away, scholar! (you dishonest smearmonger!)

“That statement is saying that the global cooling model was “all the rage!”, i.e. at the least very popular and likely a majority view.”

I have qualified that original statement in my follow on post, in exactly the way you quoted. Are you responding to my post, by ignoring that post, and quoting my original statement?
The major motivation behind the ‘all the rage’ comment is the mentioned article in Newsweek. Is that not ‘at the least very popular?’
Bad Jim states that he remembers nuclear winter being a topic in 1980, and that his understanding is that the globe would be cooling if it weren’t for greenhouse gases.
biance steele remembers a ‘hysteria about a new ice age’.
otpup says “Part of what was happening in the 70’s is that it had just been established that the onset of Ice Ages could be orders of magnitude faster than previously believed.”
vasiliy says “In the 1970s, there was concern over cooling due to particulate and sulphur emissions.”

How much more evidence do you need to accept that global cooling was a thing in the 1970’s? How much more evidence do you need to understand that my stating ‘global cooling was all the rage’ doesn’t equate to ‘scientific consensus had been achieved regarding global cooling’? The argument existed. It was serious enough for many folks to remember it 40 years later. It was popular enough to appear in Newsweek as a seriously considered theory of global climate.
A simple throw away line in a comment thread about advice to new students has become a scientific litmus test because you can’t see the forest for the trees. (you smeary dishonestymonger!)

anon

64

notGoodenough 08.26.19 at 2:14 pm

Dipper @ 62

As someone who was born in East Anglia, may I just say:

“Egrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.”

You may now proceed to boo…..

65

bianca steele 08.26.19 at 4:31 pm

bad Jim: I was referring to the bit about Pew. They do fine work, but don’t you think it’s a little misleading to refer to a scientific fact a “their findings”? And have they expressed frustration (in which case I assume you have a link or other reference), or is that sentence your supposition? Their finding is a poll, the results of which were presumably new to them, otherwise they wouldn’t have done the study, much less to the people they want to educate (which they also wouldn’t do if they thought everyone already knew).

If scientists are happy discarding science popularizations and science journalism in favor of polls, . . . I haven’t seen the poll demonstrating that yet.

Why you’re educating me about the evolution of science when that’s exactly what I was talking about isn’t clear.

66

Barry 08.26.19 at 4:45 pm

Dipper: “My understanding on the data was that the plateau post 1998 did cause a lot of soul-searching amongst climate scientists, and lead to further investigations of ocean currents. So now we understand a bit more about the fact the oceans operate as a heat sink, and they release the excess heat in bursts, not continually.”

I’d love to see any evidence of that. 1998 was an El Nino year, and was therefore should have been on the high side.

To others – the denialists seized on a spike in 1998, which had a known cause. They then spend a decade or so using that as their starting point, which was a blatant case of cherry-picking. They did this until the trend caught up with the spike. And now they are recycling a zombie lie. See the graph at: https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

67

James 08.26.19 at 5:24 pm

Michael Moorcock’s The Ice Schooner was another 70s era (1969 to be precise) SF book set on a future frozen earth.

68

Barry 08.26.19 at 5:35 pm

Dipper 08.26.19 at 9:41 am

” From a UK wildlife POV, if your evidence for global warming was just that of wildlife, it would not have been clear until this century that it was happening. “

My casual observation has been that the study of climate involves lots of cross-disciplinary work. And there’s always freakish things going on. Where I am in Michigan, I’ve seen black squirrels move 30-40 miles south over 30 years. Usually, black animals are trading off camouflage for better solar heating, so in the absence of anything else, this would be ‘proof ‘ of at least localized cooling.

69

faustusnotes 08.27.19 at 1:51 am

Dipper, you’re talking about evidence of the effects of warming. It’s likely that the temperature of the UK (and the globe) is far better understood than any single animal population.

As for the “Plateau”, the small number of scientists who took that seriously were making a mistake, based on a misunderstanding of statistics, and shouldn’t have done so. The plateau is irrelevant to the issue of global warming and should have been treated as the non-serious deception that it was presented as. It’s nice that we learnt a bit more about ocean circulation as a result of some people’s efforts to deal with it, but politically all that did was make further delays to what was already known by then to be an urgent need for action.

Everything the denialists do on this topic is disingenuous bullshit, and it’s a waste of time to engage with them. We simply need to amass the political power required to bulldoze them and their tobacco-funded lies into the ash heap of history.

70

John Quiggin 08.27.19 at 4:25 am

I was following the debate in 1998. In that year, the deniers were busy pointing out that this was an El Nino spike and should not be taken as representative of the trend. This was one of the rare times that they were in agreement with mainstream science. As soon as 1998 was safely in the past, they reset the clock to begin in that year. It was about that time that I concluded that it was pointless to attempt argument with these people based on any notion of scientific evidence or expertise

https://johnquiggin.com/2003/09/06/right-wing-postmodernism/

71

Charles S 08.27.19 at 5:15 am

anonymousse-

The problem with your argument that there was some popular culture discussion of some misunderstood research related to (a) the initiation of ice ages and (b) the global cooling effects of aerosol pollution is not that you claim that such a pop culture phenomenon occurred. The problem is that you then use the existence of a pop-culture misunderstanding of science to claim (a) that that research was in disagreement with global warming research in the 1970s and (b) to claim that because that research about global cooling was supposedly wrong that therefore you can dismiss any other random bit of scientific research as wrong.

The research on the cooling effects of aerosol pollution was accurate. All else held equal, a continued massive increase in aerosol pollution would have caused significant global cooling. Indeed, the rise in aerosol pollution from 1940-1970 was partially responsible for the slight downward trend in global temperatures during that period, and existing levels of aerosol pollution are currently estimated to be responsible for about 0.5 C global cooling. That research on aerosols and global cooling was part and parcel of the developing climate modeling science and serves as a supporting part of the scientific understanding of global climate processes and to our understanding of the threat of global heating. The ice age research was more about understanding the length of ice ages and interglacials, and that research was also correct and has also been a useful part of understanding global climate processes.

So, this:

A similar thought process applies here. ‘Scientists agree that global warming is real’ is the current argument, but ‘scientists agreed that global cooling was real in the 1970’s, but they were disproven’ should yield cynicism towards the first belief. It doesn’t, instead the response is ‘the belief wasn’t as widespread,’ or ‘we have better computers’ or, in the case of the original post, ‘that belief didn’t exist, and is simply a product of false memories or willful self-deception.’

is just utter nonsense from start to finish.

72

bad Jim 08.27.19 at 6:58 am

This is a link that popped up for the Google search “pew survey aaas members”. As I recall, this isn’t the first time they’d surveyed the scientific population on this question. It shouldn’t be surprising that the good people who dedicate themselves to public opinion research might be annoyed that their results are not more widely known.

I told those two stories of rapid convergence to a scientific consensus on hitherto outlandish hypotheses because I thoroughly enjoyed watching them unfold, and also to emphasize the acceleration of the scientific enterprise in the twentieth century.

It annoys me no end that people who carry in their pockets a very capable and internationally connected personal computer could dispute such simple stuff as vaccines or evolution or climate change, but the phone works like a dream, giving whatever you want or whatever you fear.

73

John Quiggin 08.27.19 at 6:59 am

I don’t think there is much benefit in explaining further to anonymousse and other denialists that they are arguing in bad faith. This sharpens the point raised in the discussion of Harry’s post – life is short and at some point you have to stop wasting your time and attention on people who don’t deserve it.

That doesn’t mean we should ignore denialists. It’s important to understand what they are doing and be ready to make this clear to those who are genuinely confused. That’s why I bother with efforts like the OP.

74

Hidari 08.27.19 at 7:41 am

If anyone cares, anonymousses’s dishonest tactic here is what CT’s very own John Holbo termed The Two Step of Terrific Triviality (based on something Foucault once said about Derrida). The trick here is:

1: State something that is uninteresting, but factual (in this case, that a small minority of climate scientists thought that there was a possibility of global cooling at some point in the future, in the 1970s).

2: Using creative language, deliberately ambiguous phraseology, or outright lies, imply something interesting (but false). In this case, imply that a majority of climate scientists were convinced of the reality of global cooling in the 1970s, and draw huge implications from this.

3: Repeat the interesting (but false) claim. BUT (and here’s the clever bit!) when challenged, revert back to the uninteresting but true claim discussed in ‘1’, preferably in a tone of mock outrage, or head shaking about declining intellectual standards. (‘How could you possibly accuse me of….’ ‘It’s obvious that what i was saying was….’)

4: When the fuss detailed in ‘3’ has gone away, go back to making the claims stated in ‘2’.

5: Repeat until dead.

The old saw about not wrestling with a pig springs to mind.

75

Charles S 08.27.19 at 8:07 am

I agree that arguing with anonymousse and other denialists is mostly a waste of time, but I think if the moderators of a forum choose to allow denialists to post lies and misinformation, there is some value in directly rebutting the lies and correcting the misinformation, for the benefit of other readers who may not be familiar with the specifics.

I definitely believe that simply disallowing comments from denialists is a preferable route to go (and simply banning them entirely seems like a decent deterrent for the bullshitting regulars who only dabble in denialism).

76

Trader Joe 08.27.19 at 11:45 am

Maybe its too late in the strand for this, but I remember the discussion in the 1970s about the same way as Bianca described @26 and how JQ responded @32.

The 1975 Newsweek article was a pretty big deal. Its hard to relate to now, but at the time Newsweek was viewed as a highly respectable news source. This was pre-CNN and of course pre-internet. Cronkite on CBS and Newsweek were probably 1 and 2 as far as where people got their news and believable – serious clout. The Times and other newspapers were also highly respected, but not readily available outside of their publishing area and accordingly didn’t have the mass influence.

I’d suggest there is no news source today that enjoys the credibility Newsweek enjoyed at that time – that’s why the article, even though it was ultimately proved wrong, is given such high credence particularly among older people around at that time. Newsweek didn’t publish junk – if they put it out, it deserved respect and consideration as that was the reputation they had earned.

I find it similar in concept to the Lancet article which is essentially the back-bone of much of the anti-vaccination movement. It was also thoroughly debunked, but at the time of publication it was a highly respectable source and was accorded that level of seriousness, even if it too was proved wrong.

77

Collin Street 08.27.19 at 12:28 pm

People don’t do excluded middles, say, in bad faith. It’s not that effective and it blows your credibility: skill shows through even when you’re pretending to be skillless. The bad logic you see isn’t that of a trained/skilled person trying to mislead you but of someone who doesn’t know that they don’t know what they’re doing.

78

politicalfootball 08.27.19 at 1:49 pm

I don’t think there is much benefit in explaining further to anonymousse and other denialists that they are arguing in bad faith.

Trollology is the science of modern politics. At least for those of us in the US, if we don’t engage the trolls, we are disengaging from public policy entirely.

That isn’t meant to contradict you. I don’t have a good answer for how one can confront trolls without feeding them.

anonymousse:

The presence of a scientific theory that was refuted yesterday should inspire cynicism (or, at least, hesitancy) in believing similar scientific theories today. But it doesn’t.

I wonder what makes a theory “similar” to global cooling. Surely evolution — based on historical sciences and direct observation — is “similar” to global cooling. What other fundamentals of modern science do we need to be skeptical of? Should we be scouring our 40-year-old Newsweeks for evidence of something on page 64 that might contradict modern science? If that is your standard, what can we accept of science at all?

But does that matter? We know global warming is happening, just as surely as we know the age of the earth is measured in billions of years. It makes no difference at all that “similar” beliefs — that the world is only 6,000 years old, or a few hundred million years old — were wrong.

Even typing that out, I can see how futile it is. But I also don’t think “bad faith” explains the thing that is happening here. Anonymouse and ph et al have defective epistemologies. I don’t think they have any grip at all on how one goes about determining the truth — or, perhaps, they don’t define “truth” as corresponding to factuality. Or they don’t see the pursuit of truth as a useful and appropriate goal.

I’m still working on it. But if we are going to understand the Trump/Boris Anglosphere — indeed, if we’re going to confront global warming — we need to work out constructive responses to non-factuality.

79

bianca steele 08.27.19 at 4:38 pm

I think it’s unfortunate how much space and air was taken up on the Internet in its early days by battling squadrons of “skeptics,” the ones who insist on deciding everything for themselves and the ones who insist on a kind of epistemic class system in which the initiated (almost literally, initiation turns out to be what they have in mind, rather than education, enlightenment, or something more classical) are held to be of one mind and the rest (presumably ignorant, religion-addled, or corporate-minded) aren’t entitled to ask them for explanations.

More fortunately, that has little to do with what the rest of the world was thinking and doing at the time. But they’re evidently still around and still dominate many online spaces, often despite the strenuous efforts of the proprietors to transform them. Books with a distribution beyond the intellectual elite are starting to appear, as far as climate change goes, and they’ll probably have less and less influence as time goes on.

80

Dipper 08.27.19 at 4:39 pm

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”, from Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the IPCC report in 2007, discussed here. So I think I have some justification for my view that the post 1998 hiatus did cause some soul searching.

Memory is a very unreliable source. Furthermore those who make a living out of prediction soon learn to build deniability into their predictions. Every year I predict above average rainfall, although that may not happen. Half the time I am clearly right, the other half – I said it may not happen this year, so I was right again.

81

bt 08.27.19 at 10:11 pm

Well, when I was in college, 1978-82, I was attending a science – engineering oriented school in upstate New York. Not a liberal hotbed in any way. Besides, this was before conservatives were willing to bend reality in quite the ways that they do now.

More than one professor in the earth science areas was already teaching that CO2 rise was happening, that it had been properly measured and that greenhouse warming was coming. Perhaps no one knew how much and when etc, but it was presented as a sure thing at the time and get ready for it.

This has been coming for a long, long time.

82

John Quiggin 08.28.19 at 5:27 am

Hidari @74 Thanks, I was going to mention the Two-Step

83

Barry 08.28.19 at 2:18 pm

Dipper: ““The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”, from Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the IPCC report in 2007, discussed here. So I think I have some justification for my view that the post 1998 hiatus did cause some soul searching.”

No, you have a quote from a guy.

84

Doug Alder 08.28.19 at 7:25 pm

Slightly off topic. If you have access to a VPN in Canada you can see https://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/the-memory-mirage an excellent documentary on memory. A good example of the fragile nature of eyewitness accounts is 9/11. People remember fairly accurately actual traumatic events but with each recalling/retelling the surrounding facts (where they were. who they were with etc.) change.

85

derrida derider 08.29.19 at 2:46 am

Global warming due to CO2 has long figured in the long list of possible ways our civilisation might end, along with such things as phosphorus depletion and a Great Extinction killing the bees. A new ice age might also have been there. Apocalyptically-inclined people have always had such a list, but of course nuclear war used to easily top it.

As others said, it was not until measurement and modelling became good enough in the 80s that AGW rose to the top of the list (it’s called science), aided by the end of the Cold War relegating nuclear war to the second division. Mind you I think nukes ought still to be in the first division, even if no longer the premiers.

The really, really frustrating thing about AGW is that it was economically an easily manageable problem, and it is still controllable at very acceptable economic cost. But the political will has never been there because of selfish bastards and tribal ignoramuses, all of whose graves deserve to be pissed on (if they are not underwater).

86

Slappy 08.29.19 at 11:48 am

“consensus is a good proxy for scientific accuracy”

Except when your doctor told you, after your cardiac event, get plenty of rest.

Millions of human across the globe died as a result of that consensus. That is my response, by the way, to the folks who say, see, science corrects itself, isn’t that wonderful. Which is zero consolation to the millions of humans who died.

And can I get my refund for all those antacids when there was that theory of stress ulcers? We’re living in a world of more bacterial species than I can contemplate. H. pylori. [sarcasm on] Will wonders never cease [sarcasm off].

Next:

The really, really frustrating thing about AGW is that it was economically an easily manageable problem, and it is still controllable at very acceptable economic cost.

That statement is laughable. There’s the one group in Europa, offering advice and all the ways to help. But even they conclude that if we do all they ask, what with continuing increase in human population and the desire of third world to live first world, by 2050, CO2 emissions will be 1% less than today. So much for easily controllable. Maybe you might want to actually think about dealing with the consequences. I know, hard, since the last thing that humans ever want to do is deal with the consequences.

Lastly, I live in Hawaii, Oahu, specifically. We won’t be underwater anytime soon. Neither will Tuvalu.

“Sea-level rise and increased storminess are expected to destabilize low-lying reef islands formed on coral reef platforms, and increased flooding is expected to render them uninhabitable within the coming decades. Such projections are founded on the assumption that islands are geologically static landforms that will simply drown as sea-level rises. Here, we present evidence from physical model experiments of a reef island that demonstrates islands have the capability to morphodynamically respond to rising sea level through island accretion. Challenging outputs from existing models based on the assumption that islands are geomorphologically inert, results demonstrate that islands not only move laterally on reef platforms, but overwash processes provide a mechanism to build and maintain the freeboard of islands above sea level. Implications of island building are profound, as it will offset existing scenarios of dramatic increases in island flooding. Future predictive models must include the morphodynamic behavior of islands to better resolve flood impacts and future island vulnerability.”

As well:

“Previous research by the team, which used aerial photos going back as far as 1943 to track changes to the 101 islands that make up the Tuvalu archipelago, found that overall there was a net gain in land area of 2.9 percent or 73.5ha over the past 40 years.

Just what you expected, right?

Lastly, some of you, please, some of were alive. And we saw it on the TV:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1kGB5MMIAVA#!

https://youtu.be/ZtyM9mPbMUo

https://www.mrctv.org/videos/abc-climate-video

And in the paper:

1970 – Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age – Scientists See Ice Age In the Future (The Washington Post, January 11, 1970)

1970 – Is Mankind Manufacturing a New Ice Age for Itself? (L.A. Times, January 15, 1970)

1970 – New Ice Age May Descend On Man (Sumter Daily Item, January 26, 1970)

1970 – Pollution Prospect A Chilling One (Owosso Argus-Press, January 26, 1970)

1970 – Pollution’s 2-way ‘Freeze’ On Society (Middlesboro Daily News, January 28, 1970)

1970 – Cold Facts About Pollution (The Southeast Missourian, January 29, 1970)

1970 – Pollution Could Cause Ice Age, Agency Reports (St. Petersburg Times, March 4, 1970)

1970 – Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century (Boston Globe, April 16, 1970)

1970 – Pollution Called Ice Age Threat (St. Petersburg Times, June 26, 1970)

1970 – Dirt Will Bring New Ice Age (The Sydney Morning Herald, October 19, 1970)

1971 – Ice Age Refugee Dies Underground (The Montreal Gazette, Febuary 17, 1971)

1971 – Pollution Might Lead To Another Ice Age (Schenectady Gazette, March 22, 1971)

1971 – Pollution May Bring Ice Age – Scientist Rites Risk (The Windsor Star, March 23, 1971)

1971 – U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming (The Washington Post, July 9, 1971)

1971 – Ice Age Around the Corner (Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1971)

1971 – New Ice Age Coming – It’s Already Getting Colder (L.A. Times, October 24, 1971)

1971 – Another Ice Age? Pollution Blocking Sunlight (The Day, November 1, 1971)

1971 – Air Pollution Could Bring An Ice Age (Harlan Daily Enterprise, November 4, 1971)

1972 – Air pollution may cause ice age (Free-Lance Star, February 3, 1972)

1972 – Scientist Says New ice Age Coming (The Ledger, February 13, 1972)

1972 – Ice Age Cometh For Dicey Times (The Sun, May 29, 1972)

1972 – There’s a new Ice Age coming! (The Windsor Star, September 9, 1972)

1972 – Scientist predicts new ice age (Free-Lance Star, September 11, 1972)

1972 – British Expert on Climate Change Says New Ice Age Creeping Over Northern Hemisphere (Lewiston Evening Journal, September 11, 1972)

1972 – Climate Seen Cooling For Return Of Ice Age (Portsmouth Times, September 11, 1972)

1972 – New Ice Age Slipping Over North (Press-Courier, September 11, 1972)

1972 – Ice Age Begins A New Assault In North (The Age, September 12, 1972)

1972 – Weather To Get Colder (Montreal Gazette, September 12, 1972)

1972 – British climate expert predicts new Ice Age (The Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 1972)

1972 – Scientist Sees Chilling Signs of New Ice Age (L.A. Times, September 24, 1972)

1972 – Science: Another Ice Age? (Time Magazine, November 13, 1972)

1972 – Geologist at Case Traces Long Winters – Sees Ice Age in 20 Years (Youngstown Vindicator, December 13, 1972)

1972 – Ice Age On Its Way, Scientist Says (Toledo Blade, December 13, 1972)

1972 – Ice Age Predicted In About 200 Years (The Portsmouth Times, December 14, 1972)

1973 – The Ice Age Cometh (The Saturday Review, March 24, 1973)

1973 – ‘Man-made Ice Age’ Worries Scientists (The Free Lance-Star, June 22, 1973)

1973 – Fear Of Man-made Ice Age (Herald-Journal, June 28, 1973)

1973 – Possibility Of Ice Age Worries The Scientists (The Argus-Press, November 12, 1973)

1973 – Weather-watchers think another ice age may be on the way (The Christian Science Monitor, December 11, 1973)

1974 – Ominous Changes in the World’s Weather (Fortune, February 1974)

1974 – Atmospheric Dirt: Ice Age Coming? (Pittsburgh Press, February 28, 1974)

1974 – New evidence indicates ice age here (Eugene Register-Guard, May 29, 1974)

1974 – Another Ice Age? (Time Magazine, June 24, 1974)

1974 – 2 Scientists Think ‘Little’ Ice Age Near (The Hartford Courant, August 11, 1974)

1974 – Ice Age, worse food crisis seen (The Chicago Tribune, October 30, 1974)

1974 – Imminent Arrival of the Ice (Radio Times, November 14, 1974)

1974 – Believes Pollution Could Bring On Ice Age (Ludington Daily News, December 4, 1974)

1974 – Pollution Could Spur Ice Age, Nasa Says (Beaver Country Times, December 4, 1974)

1974 – Air Pollution May Trigger Ice Age, Scientists Feel (The Telegraph, December 5, 1974)

1974 – More Air Pollution Could Trigger Ice Age Disaster (Daily Sentinel, December 5, 1974)

1974 – Scientists Fear Smog Could Cause Ice Age (Milwaukee Journal, December 5, 1974)

1975 – Climate Changes Called Ominous (The New York Times, January 19, 1975)

1975 – Climate Change: Chilling Possibilities (Science News, March 1, 1975)

1975 – B-r-r-r-r: New Ice Age on way soon? (The Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1975)

1975 – Cooling Trends Arouse Fear That New Ice Age Coming (Eugene Register-Guard, March 2, 1975)

1975 – Is Another Ice Age Due? Arctic Ice Expands In Last Decade (Youngstown Vindicator, March 2, 1975)

1975 – Is Earth Headed For Another Ice Age? (Reading Eagle, March 2, 1975)

1975 – New Ice Age Dawning? Significant Shift In Climate Seen (Times Daily, March 2, 1975)

1975 – There’s Troublesome Weather Ahead (Tri City Herald, March 2, 1975)

1975 – Is Earth Doomed To Live Through Another Ice Age? (The Robesonian, March 3, 1975)

1975 – The Ice Age cometh: the system that controls our climate (The Chicago Tribune, April 13, 1975)

1975 – The Cooling World (Newsweek, April 28, 1975)

1975 – Cooling trend may signal coming of another Ice Age (The Sun, May 16, 1975)

1975 – Scientists Ask Why World Climate Is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead (PDF) (The New York Times, May 21, 1975)

1975 – Summer of A New Ice Age (The Age, June 5, 1975)

1975 – In the Grip of a New Ice Age? (International Wildlife, July-August, 1975)

1975 – Oil Spill Could Cause New Ice Age (Milwaukee Journal, December 11, 1975)

1976 – The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? [Book](Lowell Ponte, 1976)

1976 – Ice Age Predicted (Reading Eagle, January 22, 1976)

1976 – Ice Age Predicted In Century (Bangor Daily News, January 22, 1976)

1976 – It’s Going To Get Chilly About 125 Years From Now (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 23, 1976)

1976 – Worrisome CIA Report; Even U.S. Farms May be Hit by Cooling Trend (U.S. News & World Report, May 31, 1976)

1977 – Blizzard – What Happens if it Doesn’t Stop? [Book] (George Stone, 1977)

1977 – The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age [Book] (The Impact Team, 1977)

1977 – The Ice Age Cometh… (New York Magazine, January 31, 1977)

1977 – The Big Freeze (Time Magazine, January 31, 1977)

1977 – Has The Ice Age Cometh Again? (Calgary Herald, February 1, 1977)

1977 – Space Mirrors Proposed To Prevent Crop Freezes (Bangor Daily News, February 7, 1977)

1977 – We Will Freeze in the Dark (Capital Cities Communications Documentary, Host: Nancy Dickerson, April 12, 1977)

1978 – The New Ice Age [Book] (Henry Gilfond, 1978)

1978 – Winter May Be Colder Than In Last Ice Age (The Deseret News, January 2, 1978)

1978 – Current Winters Seen Colder Than In Ice Age (The Telegraph, January 3, 1978)

1978 – Winter Temperatures Colder Than Last Ice Age (Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene Register-Guard, January 3, 1978)

1978 – Little Ice Age: Severe winters and cool summers ahead(Calgary Herald, January 10, 1978)

1978 – Winters Will Get Colder, ‘we’re Entering Little Ice Age’(Ellensburg Daily Record, January 10, 1978)

1978 – Geologist Says Winters Getting Colder (Middlesboro Daily News, January 16, 1978)

1978 – It’s Going To Get Colder (Boca Raton News, January 17, 1978)

1978 – Another Ice Age? (Kentucky New Era, February 12, 1978)

1978 – Another Ice Age? (Reading Eagle, February 13, 1978)

1978 – Believe new ice age is coming (The Bryan Times, March 31, 1978)

1978 – The Coming Ice Age (In Search Of TV Show, Season 2, Episode 23, Host: Leonard Nimoy, May 1978)

1978 – An Ice Age Is Coming Weather Expert Fears (Milwaukee Sentinel, November 17, 1978)

1979 – A Choice of Catastrophes – The Disasters That Threaten Our World [Book] (Isaac Asimov, 1979)

1979 – The New Ice Age Cometh (The Age, January 16, 1979)

1979 – Ice Age Building Up (Ellensburg Daily Record, June 5, 1979)

1979 – Large Glacial Buildup Could Mean Ice Age (Spokane Daily Chronicle, June 5, 1979)

1979 – Ice Age On Its Way (Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 7, 1979)

1979 – Get Ready to Freeze (Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 12, 1979)

1979 – New ice age almost upon us? (The Christian Science Monitor, November 14, 1979)

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=eUUuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NVgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7182,4543021&dq=ice+age+scientists&hl=en

Which is not to say that because of that they are wrong now. Simply to say that please don’t tell what we live through. Thank you.

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J-D 08.29.19 at 9:12 pm

Slappy

Nobody has denied that there were newspaper headlines like the ones you cite.

However, newspaper headlines along the lines of ‘Scientists Predict X’ are lies more often than not. (Lots of newspaper headlines are misleading or worse: nearly every headline that begins with the word ‘Why’, for example.) Nobody should rely on newspaper headlines as a guide to current scientific understanding.

Scientists were aware in the 1970s of factors that might cause global temperature to fall. They weren’t wrong, and their understanding has not been refuted by later work. However, scientists were also aware in the 1970s of factors that might cause global temperature to rise. What scientists didn’t know in the 1970s, because insufficient data had been collected, but do know now (not refuting previous theories but building on them, thanks to additional data collection and analysis) is that a warming influence (burning of fossil fuels by humans) is swamping the cooling influences (currently; and has been doing so for decades; and no end to this trend is in prospect, in the absence of drastic reductions in the burning of fossil fuels).

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Faustusnotes 08.29.19 at 10:27 pm

Nice list their small, it covers five years and contains not a single scientific article!

Can we not confuse “scientific consensus” with the Wakefield affair? His article was fraudulent, using fake data and unethical research, and should t have been published in the lancet – its publication was a failure of ethics by the journal. That article was attacked immediately by scientists and didn’t overturn established consensus. It was a set up intended to protect Wakefield’s investment in a rival vaccine and a thoroughly unethical misuse of the journal. The situation has nothing in common with global warming science.

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politicalfootball 08.29.19 at 10:39 pm

I know that when I look for climate science, the first place I consult is the Youngstown Vindicator.

But Slappy, tell me, if an article on page A9 of the Deseret News renders science unreliable, then why pursue science at all? Why accept anything that doesn’t deliver perfect results on the first try?

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bt 08.30.19 at 12:27 am

“I know that when I look for climate science, the first place I consult is the Youngstown Vindicator.”

—–

Or the Bible for that matter. As James Inhofe, the great US Senator from Oklahoma, has stated, only God himself can change the weather.

–>This is from the Web Site Market Watch on April 22 2015, where you can find this important story. So we can add that to Slappy’s list of scholarly citations from very informed people.

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Charles S 08.30.19 at 1:58 am

Dipper:

Memory is a very unreliable source. Furthermore those who make a living out of prediction soon learn to build deniability into their predictions. Every year I predict above average rainfall, although that may not happen. Half the time I am clearly right, the other half – I said it may not happen this year, so I was right again.

Oh look, yet another two-step of terrific triviality. It takes a lot of something to break out this maneuver yet again immediately after Hidari had described it.

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faustusnotes 08.30.19 at 2:30 am

Further investigation reveals that slappy’s list is a slaphappy copy-paste from the John Locke Foundation. A bunch of them are actually the same article in different newspapers (like how multiple newspapers all report the same AP release), so the numbers don’t reflect the actual content of the news. Some of them are reporting on the well known and scientifically accurate 10,000 year trend to the next ice age. One of them is from a geologist paid by oil companies (who also hilariously predicts penguins in the Great Lakes, what an expert!). Some are (correctly) discussing the role of aerosols in cooling the planet between 1940 and 1970, with extrapolation of the consequences if that process continues (it didn’t, because people reacted to their warnings). Some also include discussion of global warming as a real future risk.

It really is ridiculous that people continue to beat this drum. And let’s not forget that lots of global warming denialists have been writing in major newspapers for 10 years now predicting global cooling (they keep delaying the date of onset as the world warms but don’t give up their quixotic quest). It really is madness that people are still taking this junk seriously.

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Peter T 08.30.19 at 6:25 am

Just what is this “science” that tells us things? My science education ended in high school but was quite sufficient to tell me the difference between radiative physics and biology. That the former is so well understood that most people carry small devices that can communicate long distances and provide them their location to within a few metres, while the latter is much less so should be obvious on a moment’s reflection.

Moreover, that more CO2 will exert a warming influence is not inferred from measurement (although it was first observed empirically). It’s a consequence of the structure of the molecule and the laws of thermodynamics, which are constituent of the universe. It’s as certain as anything can be. This warming may be offset by other factors – most known with reasonable certainty (eg sulfate aerosols or changes in orbital position), some still under investigation – is acknowledged. The measurements are mostly a way of checking for offsets.

There is a directly-measured energy imbalance. If you don’t grasp that more energy going in than coming out MUST have have a warming effect you really don’t understand much at all.

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John Quiggin 08.30.19 at 11:22 am

The John Locke foundation wouldn’t be living up to its name if it wasn’t dishonest, self-serving and generally evil.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/06/locke-treatise-slavery-private-property/

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