There’s nothing new about climate change, nor prognostications that “this time we’re doomed for sure!”
About a half century after the northern hemisphere finally began warming its way out of a five century-long Little Ice Age, an 1895 New York Times feature warned, “Prospects of Another Glacial Period; Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again.”
Within another quarter century the threat became dire. According to a 1923 Chicago Tribune headline, “Scientist Says Arctic Ice Will Wipe Out Canada.”
Ten years later, in 1933, the U.S. Weather Bureau seemed optimistic that maybe our neighbors to the north might dodge those galloping glaciers after all, noting a “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather… Is our climate changing?”
By 1938, the Chicago Tribune reported: “Experts puzzle over 20-year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities throughout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades.”
That same year — and incidentally one much warmer than now — the Royal Meteorological Society predicted that “Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”
Yup … little doubt about that change thing. And for a while, it seemed like a warming climate welcome.
As the Washington Post noted in 1939, “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right … weathermen have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer.”
By 1952, a New York Times feature titled “Our Changing Climate” confirmed, “…we have learned that the world has been getting warmer in the last half century.”
And for a while, until the '70s — that warming was generally regarded quite favorably, although with mixed blessings.
The U.S. News and World Report observed in 1954 that “…winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing.”
The New York Times reported good news for shippers in 1969, noting that “…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two.”
The following year, all bets on any warm blessings were off, as The Washington Post advised in 1970, “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters — the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight.”
And the reason for this reversal?
A Boston Globe feature that year, “Scientist Predicts a New Ice Age by 21st Century,” blamed population growth.
The article warned: “Air pollution may obliterate the sun and cause a new ice age in the first third of the next century if population continues to grow … demands for cooling water will boil dry the entire flow of the rivers and streams of continental United States.”
A Washington Post article the following year, “U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming,” quoted S.J. Rasool, a researcher associated with NASA and Columbia University, who predicted that: “in the next 50 years, the fine dust man constantly puts in the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning could screen out so much sunlight the average temperature could drop by six degrees … sufficient to trigger an ice age!”
Yes … an immediate eyeball-freezing human-caused climate emergency.
Science Digest trumpeted alarm in 1973: “At this point, we do not have the comfortable distance of tens of thousands of years to prepare for the next ice age. Once the freeze starts, it will be too late.”
In 1974, The New York Times wrote, “… the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure … mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence.”
A Time magazine editorial that year said, “Telltale signs are everywhere — from unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.”
Science News ran a 1975 feature titled “The Ice Age Cometh,” with an image depicting New York City being swallowed by a glacier which noted a clear and urgent threat … and the National Academy of Sciences agreed.
By 1978, The New York Times proclaimed that an “International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling in Northern Hemisphere.”
Ten years later, and after having warned of an impending ice age over the previous two-and-a half decades, then-Sen. Al Gore’s 1988 Committee on Science Technology and Space Hearings heralded an opposite man-caused crisis.
The featured witness was NASA Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen, whose testimony was summarized by the Associated Press banner, “NASA Scientist: We’re Toast.”
Hansen, who was subsequently arrested three times in climate protests, said: “We are seeing a tipping point right before our eyes … in five to ten years, the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer.”
Al Gore echoed that prediction to a German TV audience at the U.N.’s climate conference, warning that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in five years.”
(It’s still there.)
As a matter of fact, NONE of the dire apocalyptic doomsayer predictions have come true.
Nevertheless, we are experiencing disastrous economic and social consequences of needless climate-alarm energy policies premised upon precautionary “worst case” climate model projections that even leading scientific contributors to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now admit are running far too hot.
As reported in the prestigious journal Nature, the latest round of more than 50 of the newest simulations assessed by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 6 (CMIP6) are based upon myriad complex, poorly understood influences, interrelationships, and rough statistical “garbage in-garbage out” assumptions.
Titled “Climate simulations: recognize the ‘hot model’ problem,” the May article emphasizes: “Earth is a complicated system of interconnected oceans, land, ice and atmosphere, and no computer model could ever simulate every aspect of it exactly.”
Since different models vary in their complexity, “each makes different assumptions about and approximations of processes that happen on small scales, such as cloud formation.”
As NASA’s current Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt told the renowned journal Science, "It’s become clear over the last year or so that we can’t avoid this admission” that the models can’t be trusted as a policy instrument because “You end up with numbers for even the near‐term that are insanely scary — and wrong.”
And that’s where we are once again back to today.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is "Archi.tectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design" (2022). Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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