State of Folly 4 - How Michael Crichton was wrong: 1970s Global Cooling

This is the fourth in a series of posts related to Michael Crichton's State of Fear, which I just read this summer. [previous posts here and here and here]

On page 394, the "arch-villain" Henley (in the plot, he is the key character behind the efforts to manufacture big climate events) says:

"Back in the 1970s, all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming.  They thought the world was getting colder.  But once the notion of global warming was raised, they immediately recognized the advantages.  Global warming creates a crisis, a call to action.  A crisis needs to be studied, it needs to be funded, if needs political and bureaucratic structures around the world.  And in no time at all, a huge number of meteorologists, geologists, oceanographers suddenly became 'climate scientists' engaged in the management of this crisis."
Crichton presents this again as some sort of fact.  Of course, those who have actually done any research know that scientists did not widely share the view that the earth was cooling in the 1970's.  This is one of those commonly stated misconceptions.  In fact, since the book was written, an excellent report (pdf) published by the American Meteorological Society, which surveyed the scientific literature of the time, concluded that most scientists actually believed the opposite: that humans were likely to warm the world if, in fact, we had not already started.

There was some concern from scientists at the time that "in the absence of" rising CO2 levels from human activities that we might have been moving towards another ice age within a couple of thousand years.  However, the huge impact humans have had on the climate (and are still propagating) totally overwhelm any countervailing cooling trend.  Sorry, Crichton, wrong again.

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