As governments around the world consider more rigorous controls on carbon emissions to fight the effects of global warming, I’ve noticed that many critics of these measures are quick to cite the fact that many scientists during the 1970’s were talking about global cooling and the beginning of a new Ice Age.
At first, this seems like a compelling argument against regulating carbon emissions, but that was the 1970’s and this is 2007. Climate change is extremely difficult to predict and a climate study in 2007 is going to be much more accurate considering the advances technology during the last several decades. Plus, there were more pressing problems then the carbon dioxide emissions that trap heat in the lower atmosphere. Scientists, politicians, and public were focused on particulate and sulfuric acid pollution because of problems like acid rain. In addition, it was feared that all this particulate matter in the atmosphere would block some of the sun’s energy and cause the surface to cool down. Finally, there was evidence that the planet was entering into the ice age part of the planet’s climate cycle. (This is a big topic that deserves a lot of articles, so stay tuned for that.)
Anyway, as laws that mandated cleaner air were (for the most part) a success, more and more attention was directed towards carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists began to realize that warming effects were overwhelming the trend of global cooling!
So, the moral of the story is that bringing up climate science from the 1970’s isn’t really an effective argument because of the advances in technology.
Stay tuned for more on climate change on our planet: look for articles about the past, present, and future of our climate.
Posted by Tim Roth, author of the political blog Think Anew and Act Anew
1. “Remember Worries About Global Cooling?”