This is your Father’s Climate Science: A Climate Crock Blast from the Past

November 8, 2010

Many climate deniers still seem to think global warming was invented by Al Gore, in 2006.  As this recently uncovered recording from 1956 shows, the outlines of climate change science have been clear for many decades.

I showed this to my 25 year old son, who happened to be home from school. He watched in silence, but I knew what he was going to say. “It makes me angry. They’ve known about this for all these years.” I don’t have a good answer for him. I hope I have an answer for his children.

Here’s the 1956 “Excursions in Science” radio presentation in its entirety.

More Greenhouse history: One of the most commonly heard crocks is, “In the 70s, they said there’d be an Ice Age”.  I took this one on as one of my first Climate Crock vids, many months ago.

The point is further underscored by this interview with the late Stephen Schneider, when he was still a young scientist, raising the alarm about global warming in 1979.

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10 Responses to “This is your Father’s Climate Science: A Climate Crock Blast from the Past”

  1. NevenA Says:

    Peter, your DenialCOTW videos are just perfect. Not too short, not too long, filled to the brim with accurate information.

    I’m going to try to donate every time a new one comes out.

  2. greenman3610 Says:

    I’ll try not to wear you out, but I have a couple of mini-posts coming up this week.


  3. [...] fact, the threat of global warming pollution has been understood since the 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the enactment of U.S. climate legislation would [...]

  4. daveburton Says:

    In the 1930s-1940s, and into the 1950s, they worried about global warming. But from the early 1960s through most of the 1970s the consensus fear was of a new ice age, due to man-made air pollution. I’m not saying there were no skeptics, but the dire threat of a new ice age was taught as scientific near-certainty in American high schools. I was there, and I remember it.

    But you don’t have to take my word for it. Read for yourself:
    A Newsweek Magazine article on climate change, a Time Magazine article on climate change, and quotes from many other similar articles, such as these:

    “After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder.” — New York Times, Jan. 30, 1961

    “Like an outrigger canoe riding before a huge comber, the earth with its inhabitants is caught on the downslope of an immense climatic wave that is plunging us toward another Ice Age.” — Los Angeles Times, Dec. 23, 1962

    “By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half… .” — Life magazine, January 1970

    Because of increased dust, cloud cover and water vapor, “the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine, Jan. 26, 1970

    “The United States and the Soviet Union are mounting large-scale investigations to determine why the Arctic climate is becoming more frigid, why parts of the Arctic sea ice have recently become ominously thicker and whether the extent of that ice cover contributes to the onset of ice ages.” — New York Times, July 18, 1970

    “In the next 50 years, fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun’s rays that the Earth’s average temperature could fall by six degrees. Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, could be sufficient to trigger an ice age.” — Washington Post, July 9, 1971

    “It’s already getting colder. Some midsummer day, perhaps not too far in the future, a hard, killing frost will sweep down on the wheat fields of Saskatchewan, the Dakotas and the Russian steppes…” — Los Angles Times, Oct. 24, 1971

    “An international team of specialists has concluded from eight indexes of climate that there is no end in sight to the cooling trend of the last 30 years, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.” — New York Times, Jan. 5, 1978

    Here’s a nice video narrated by Leonard Nimoy, which aired in 1977 or 1978. That’s the late Stephen Schneider near the end fretting about “the risk of an ice age” (and worrying that if we tried to mitigate it with geoengineering it could backfire), and Nemoy summarizing the consensus view: “Clearly, one of the future’s great problems will be to survive the next ice age.”

    • greenman3610 Says:

      Your inability to distinguish between inaccurate press distortions and scientific literature is probably part of your problem. Look into it.

  5. daveburton Says:

    So you think that Time Magazine, Life Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, Leonard Nimoy, Stephen Schneider, and my own crystal clear memory are all distorters and liars, Peter? Why do you think they they would do that?

    OTOH, there’s not a conservative source in that entire list (except, arguably, the last one), so maybe you’re right, that they should not be trusted. ;-)

    • greenman3610 Says:

      again, you are unable to distinguish between refereed, and non-refereed sources.
      They are not dishonest, merely, like so many deniers, ignorant.

      • daveburton Says:

        So you think they just made that stuff up, and that wasn’t really what the expert consensus was back them. Uh huh.

        Say, BTW, would you be interested in foolproof investment, in a fantastic bridge, which I just happen to have for sale in Brooklyn? It is old, but well-maintained, and in excellent condition, and since I need cash I’ll sell it to you for pennies on the dollar.

  6. daveburton Says:

    Will you show this to your 27yo son, Peter? Or to anyone else who believes the crock claim that there was no ice age scare in the 1970s, or thinks that “They’ve known about [anthropogenic global warming] for all these years?”

    The truth is cool.


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