[Coral-List] Climate talks in the 1970s

Lenny Antonelli thevillagegreen at gmail.com
Sat Dec 19 11:04:30 EST 2009

The whole "they said there would be global cooling in the 70s" seems to be a
bit of a media myth. Yes, some scientists certainly did, but their claims
were blown vastly out of proportion by the media and that's why this story
still endures, not because of the science, as far as I can tell.

Ben is right to ask about what the peer reviewed research from the time
said. According to New Scientist: *"**A **survey of the scientific
* has found that between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers predicted
warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions
of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were
predicting warming even then."**

That's from this debunking of the 'global cooling myth' by New Scientist:

I think this is the review paper (it's a PDF):

Here's a series of links to further discussions on this from

Real Climate's own discussion of the topic

I think it's also worth noting that the few predictions of cooling there
were were based on the assumption that warming caused by CO2 would be offset
to a greater degree by cooling caused by air pollution, so there was still
an implicit assumption that human CO2 emissions cause warming. According to
the New Scientist link above, one of the main sources of the cooling notion
was a 1971 paper by NASA's Stephen Schneider, but soon afterwards Schneider
realised he had overestimated the cooling effect and underestimated the
warming potential of CO2.

Lenny Antonelli


On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 7:33 PM, Ben Richards <br at hawaii.edu> wrote:

> To answer a subsequent question raised by Dr. Shinn's YouTube videos, I
> would be interested to hear from "older" coral-listers if the level of
> scientific consensus on global cooling in the 1970s was anywhere near the
> current level of consensus on climate change?  The YouTube videos of History
> channel retrospectives on Discovery Channel-style TV shows from the 1970s
> are interesting, but certainly do not carry as much weight as a similar body
> I'of peer-reviewed papers in reputable journals.  My impression, though it
> may be false, is that the ice-age predictions of the 1970s did not have
> nearly the level of scientific backing as do current hypotheses?  Am I
> correct?
> ~ben
> <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
> Benjamin L. Richards
> Graduate Student
> Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
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