Over the past decade, leftist theology has preached relentlessly about the impending global warming crisis. As awareness has turned to panic, enviro-scare tactics have millions of Americans “going green” to the extreme. Yet, what many people don’t realize (or remember, for that matter) is a similar campaign that scientists and the media waged back in the 1970s—a movement aimed at addressing what adherents referred to as the “global cooling” phenomenon.
One can easily surmise the campaign’s basic tenant—that the Earth was cooling down at disastrous rates. Now, a mere 40 years later, some of the same individuals who worked incessantly to convince the world that the Earth was experiencing a downward trend in temperature are claiming the exact opposite. The lede from a Newsweek article written in 1975 looks as though it were lifted from a frantic Al Gore op-ed:
“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.”
Aside from waging warnings about the Earth’s food supply, a drop in possible food output by 1985 and other apocalyptic warnings, the article also stated the following: “The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down.”
Flying in the face of contemporary warnings about the dangers associated with melting ice caps, in the 1970s some climatologists actually proposed purposely melting portions of the ice caps in an effort to curb the effects of global cooling (others thought the effects of such an experiment would be too dangerous). Today, global warming enthusiasts claim that these same ice caps are melting on their own, an odd contradiction considering the warnings that were uttered just decades ago.
This inconsistency is only the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended). The Business and Media Institute (BMI) points to The New York Times’s bizarre switch from issuing warnings about global warming in the 1950’s to global cooling declarations in the 1970’s, then back again to global warming obsession in 2005. According to BMI:
“Referring to the 1970s as being part of a 10,000-year period of warmth in between ice ages, the [Times] wrote, ‘There seems to be little doubt that the present period of unusual warmth will eventually give way to a time of colder climate.’”
In a 1974 science article entitled, “Another Ice Age?” Time Magazine also jumped on the global cooling bandwagon, writing:
“…when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing.”
As cited in its reasoning for supporting the cooling phenomenon, Time listed the following: thicker ice in the waters around Iceland, a global drop in mean temperature and the southern migration of the armadillo, among other then-convincing points of evidence.
And now, for the bombshell—the probable causes of the alleged global cooling phenomenon. Aside from blaming changes in the Earth’s tilt and distance from the sun for possible climate change, Time also mentioned potential human involvement. Sound familiar?
“Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin’s Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.”
So, to summarize: before man was blamed for emitting too many fossil fuels, thus resulting in rising temperatures, he was blamed for releasing dust and partials so much so that the sun was not able to adequately heat the Earth. Anyone else confused? Could it be that the Earth is simply moving through natural processes? Bryson, who later became an opponent of global warming and of human activity playing any role in climate change, stated:
“All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd…Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air.”
Unfortunately, Bryson’s views are overlooked by scientists intent on proving human impact on the earth’s temperature. In recent years, some researchers have attempted to debunk the notion that global cooling was a universally-accepted phenomenon, instead claiming that a the majority of scientific thought has always been more focused on global warming. While there was surely no consensus on either global warming or cooling, there was enough buzz in the 1970’s to have major media in full-out warning mode about the near-apocalyptic dangers of cooling temperatures. Clearly, the theory had enough steam to be considered halfway viable, especially considering its placement in mainstream outlets.
As global warming skepticism grows, exploring scientific meanderings like the global cooling panic of the 1970s is increasingly important. Treating our environment better is an important tenant that can improve health and ensure stable living conditions for future generations, but the obsessive nature and tactics of global warming proponents borders on the irrational. Let’s all agree to treat to atmosphere a little better, but let’s do so in the name of conservation rather than focusing on the obsessively fictional whims of the “scientific” elite.
Billy Hallowell is a conservative writer. In 2009, he launched RENEWtv, an online “TV” show intended to discuss the reformation of the GOP. Hallowell’s work can currently be read on Big Journalism, Big Hollywood, Big Government, The Daily Caller, Billy Hallowell Online, Family Security Matters, Urban Conservative and other related outlets.