Despite many claims to the contrary, the 1970’s global cooling fears were widespread among many scientists and in the media. Despite the fact that there was no UN IPCC organization created to promote global cooling in the 1970s and despite the fact that there was nowhere near the tens of billions of dollars in funding spent today to promote man-made global warming, fears of a coming ice age, showed up in scientific literature, at scientific conferences, voiced by prominent scientists and throughout the media.
Newsweek Magazine even used the climate “tipping point” argument in 1975. Newsweek wrote April 28, 1975 article: “The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”
But on October 24, 2006, Newsweek admitted it erred in predicting a coming ice age in the 1970’s. (NYT: Obama’s global warming promoting science czar Holdren ‘warned of a coming ice age’ in 1971 – September 29, 2009 & also see: NASA warned of human caused coming ‘ice age’ in 1971 – Washington Times – September 19, 2007 and also see: 1975 New York Times: “Scientists Ask Why World Climate is Changing, Major Cooling May Be Ahead”, May 21, 1975 and see: 1974 Time Magazine: “Another Ice Age,” June 24, 1974
A Small Sampling of 1970’s Reports Warning of Global Cooling:
Excerpt: “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.” – Newsweek – April 28, 1975 “The Cooling World”
Excerpt: “The world “could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts,” read a July 9, 1971 Washington Post article. NASA scientist S.I. Rasool, a colleague of James Hansen, made the predictions. The 1971 article continues: “In the next 50 years” — or by 2021 — fossil-fuel dust injected by man into the atmosphere “could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees,” resulting in a buildup of “new glaciers that could eventually cover huge areas.” If sustained over “several years, five to 10,” or so Mr. Rasool estimated, “such a temperature decrease could be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”
New York Times: Obama’s global warming promoting science czar Holdren ‘warned of a coming ice age’ in 1971 – September 29, 2009 – By John Tierney – Excerpt: In the 1971 essay, “Overpopulation and the Potential for Ecocide,” Dr. Holdren and his co-author, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich, warned of a coming ice age. They certainly weren’t the only scientists in the 1970s to warn of a coming ice age, but I can’t think of any others who were so creative in their catastrophizing. Although they noted that the greenhouse effect from rising emissions of carbon dioxide emissions could cause future warming of the planet, they concluded from the mid-century cooling trend that the consequences of human activities (like industrial soot, dust from farms, jet exhaust, urbanization and deforestation) were more likely to first cause an ice age. (See also: Obama Science ‘Czar’ John Holdren’s 1971 warning: A ‘New Ice Age’ likely – September 23, 2009)
1977 book “The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age” – CIA Feared Global Cooling – Excerpt: In the early 1970s, top CIA thinkers concluded that changing weather was “perhaps the greatest single challenge that America will face in coming years”. As a result they ordered several studies of the world’s climate, the likely changes to come and their probably effect on America and the rest of the world. The studies conclude that the world is entering a difficult period during which major climate change (further cooling) is likely to occur. That is the consensus of the Central intelligence Agency, which highlights the fact that we are overdue for a new ice age. Many climatologists believe that since the 1960s, the world has been slipping towards a new ice age. ….the evidence suggests that change will be a return to a climate that was dominant from the seventeenth century to about 1850. Soviet weatherman Mikhail Budyko believes that 1 2.8F drop in the average global temperature would start glaciers on the march. If the temperature should fall by another 0.7F, it could usher in a ninety-thousand year tyranny if ice and snow.
Excerpt: The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. […] The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.” […] Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve.
Professor Stephen Schneider converted from warning of a coming ice age in the 1970s to promoting of man-made global warming fears today. In the 1970s Professor Stephen Schneider was one of the leading voices warning the Earth was going to experience a catastrophic man made ice-age. However he is now a member of the UN IPCC and is a leading advocate warning that the Earth is facing catastrophic global warming. In 1971, Schneider co-authored a paper warning of a man-made “ice age.” See: Rasool S., & Schneider S.”Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141 – Excerpt: ‘The rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.” Schneider was still promoting the coming “ice age” in 1978. (See: Unearthed 1970’s video: Global warming activist Stephen Schneider caught on 1978 TV show ‘In Search Of…The Coming Ice Age’ – September 20, 2009) By the 1980’s, Schneider reversed himself and began touting man-made global warming. See: “The rate of [global warming] change is so fast that I don’t hesitate to call it potentially catastrophic for ecosystems,” Schneider said on UK TV in 1990.
1975 New York Times: “Climate Changes Called Ominous,”, June 19, 1975 – Harold M. Schmeck, – p. 31. Excerpt: “The most drastic potential change considered in the new report is an abrupt end to the present interglacial period of relative warmth that governed the planet’s climate for the past 10,000 years. […] The report also noted that periods of benign climate comparable to the present are unusual and have existed for about 8 percent of the last 700,000 years.”
1974 New York Times: “Climate Changes Endanger World’s Food Output,”, August 8, 1974 – Harold M. Schmeck – p. 35. Excerpt: A recent meeting of climate experts in Bonn, West Germany, produced the unanimous conclusion that the change in global weather patterns pose a severe threat to agriculture that could lead to major crop failures and mass starvation. […] The drop [in global temps] since the 1940s has only been half a degree, but some scientists believe this is enough to trigger changes that could have important effects on the world’s weather and agriculture.
1975 New York Times: “Scientists Ask Why World Climate is Changing, Major Cooling May Be Ahead”, May 21, 1975 – By Walter Sullivan – Excerpt: Sooner or later a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable. Hints that is may already begun are evident. The drop in mean temperatures since 1950 in the Northern Hemisphere has been sufficient, for example, to shorten Britain’s growing season for crops by two weeks.
1974 Time Magazine: “Another Ice Age,” June 24, 1974 – Excerpt: However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, 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. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age. […] 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. […] Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.
Newsweek admitted it erred in reporting on predictions of a coming ice age in the 1970’s – October 24, 2006 – Excerpt: It took 31 years, but Newsweek magazine admitted it was incorrect about climate change. In a nearly 1,000-word correction, Senior Editor Jerry Adler finally agreed that a 1975 piece on global cooling “was so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future.” Even then, Adler wasn’t quite willing to blame Newsweek for the incredible failure. “In fact, the story wasn’t ‘wrong’ in the journalistic sense of ‘inaccurate,’” he claimed. “Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen – even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov – saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production,” Adler added. However, the story admitted both Time magazine and Newsweek were wrong on the subject – Newsweek as recently as 1992.
Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels, a prominent critic of the man-made global warming fears today, recalls how pervasive the coming ice age scare was when he was in graduate school. “When I was going to graduate school, it was gospel that the Ice Age was about to start. I had trouble warming up to that one too. This (greenhouse) is not the first climate apocalypse, but it’s certainly the loudest,” Michaels said.
1970: First Earth Day Promoted Ice Age Fears – Excerpt: At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1970, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”
1976 Book: “The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun” By Lowell Ponte – Excerpt: “This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.”
Earth Day 1970: Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling: “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000…This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.”
Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, who was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article “Another Ice Age” citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article “The Cooling World” citing Bryson) converted into a leading global warming skeptic before his death in 2008. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms “sky is falling” man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “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,” Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” he added. (LINK)
Fire and Ice: Journalists have warned of climate change for 100 years, but can’t decide weather we face an ice age or warming,” Business and Media Institute, By R. Warren Anderson, Dan Gainor, Dan (2006) – Excerpt: The media have warned about impending climate doom four different times in the last 100 years. Only they can’t decide if mankind will die from warming or cooling.
Mitchell, J. Murray, Jr. (1975). “A Reassessment of Atmospheric Pollution as a Cause of Long-Term Changes of Global Temperature.” In Global Effects of Environmental Pollution, edited by S. Fred Singer. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Even more on 1970’s global cooling warnings here.