Flashback 1971: Scientists Predict Burning Coal Will Cause The Next Ice Age

iceageThe world is on the verge of another ice age. Well, at least that’s what scientists told us in the 1970s: burning fossil fuels like coal would cause the world to plunge into another ice age in the 21st Century.

“The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts,” the Washington Post reported on July 9, 1971, quoting Dr. S. I. Rasool of NASA and Columbia University.

According to Rasool, fine dust from fossil fuel use would block out so much sunlight that the Earth’s “average temperature could drop by six degrees.” Rasool added that “such a temperature increase could be sufficient to trigger an ice age!”

Basically, pollutants from burning coal and other fuels tend to reflect solar energy back into space. Scientists were worried that such man-made aerosols would block out so much sunlight that global temperatures would drop — just like how volcanoes can cause some atmospheric cooling.

Worry among the scientific community was apparently so strong that Gordon MacDonald, President Nixon’s science advisor, said that fossil fuel-driven cooling was “one of the serious problems” facing the world. MacDonald added that Rasool’s predictions were “consistent with estimates I and others have made.”

So what “solution” to global cooling did scientists come up with? Banning fossil fuel use. The Post reported that scientists wanted mankind to stop using coal, gas and oil and start using nuclear power — pollution controls just weren’t enough, according to the Post.

Scientists, of course, have changed their tune since the 1970s, saying that fossil fuels are causing global warming, not cooling. While aerosols from fossil fuels do have a slight cooling effect (the extent of which is being debated), scientists say carbon dioxide emissions are trapping heat and warming the world.

Oddly enough, the solutions scientists pushed to fight global cooling and warming are the same: ban fossil fuels and use low-carbon energy. The only difference from the 1970s and today is that environmentalists pushing green energy from solar and wind, not nuclear power.

But even in the 1970s there was a debate over whether or not human activities were cooling or warming the globe. Scientists who argued the global was warming won out, culminating in the testimony of NASA scientist James Hansen who testified before Congress in 1986 that carbon dioxide would warm the planet 2 to 4 degrees by 2010.

Read more at http://barbwire.com/2015/04/03/flashback-1971-scientists-predict-burning-coal-will-cause-the-next-ice-age/

7 Responses to Flashback 1971: Scientists Predict Burning Coal Will Cause The Next Ice Age

  1. Roads April 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm #


    • L. E. Deaux April 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      The alarm over CO2 trapping too much heat is ridiculous in as much as the earth’s atmosphere (EA) is at 390 ppm near the alltime low during a 4.54 billion year history. The planet didn’t cook 3.9 billion years ago when the atmosphere was 35% CO2 or 600 mya when it was still 5% CO2. It isn’t going to cook now because as a gas, the cumulative sum of kenetic energy input and feedback from all energizing sources is ehat causes mean climate. In strictly mathematic terms: CO2 (AtWt 40) is by weight 22% < important than an =weight of water (AtWt 18). There is 41x the H2O as CO2 in the EA. Therefore water is 50 x as important as CO2 in trapping LWR. But LWR is not the only reason kenetic energy is stored and measured in air. All of the rest of the EA while not technically composed of LWR trapping gas O2 and N2 still obtains enormous excitation in the UV and mid frequency, and visual frequency spectrums. Excitation is as relevant as absorption. eK input is still input. Water and carbon-dioxide store just 1/36th of ALL atmospheric eK. So CO2 is but 1/50th of the importance of water and 1/1800th the importance of all of EA in determining global mean climate at a given moment in modern times. CO2 is also quickly regulated by an expanding botancal biomass world-wide (in short geo-time frames like a few centuries). We should be more woried about the Holocene comng to an end…and the next ice age. Not global warming! Mas is impacting climate negligibly.

  2. riverp April 23, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    It is true that some aerosols are a consequence of fossil-fuel burning, have a cooling effect due to their ability to reflect light, and could therefore have the potential to induce cooling, however, I am afraid this article fails to address CO2, the main consequence of fossil-fuel burning and its effect, which is understood to be the main driver of climate change (or global warming) due to its increasing amount in the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that keeps the temperature of the earth at a habitable temperature; without it the earth would be about 33 degrees Celsius (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler. Therefore, without really having to make this argument too complicated it is seemingly only logical that an increase of this gas would consequently increase the temperature of the earth, and in turn change the climate in the long run because as the amount of CO2 increases, temperature increases, and as the amount of CO2 decreases so does the temperature.

  3. Lindsey J. April 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    In the 1970’s it is not true that most scientist were warning of another ice age due to the burning of fossil fuels. It is actually the opposite. The majority of scientist studying climate change agreed that the burning of fossil fuels would lead to an increase in temperatures world wide. This is because greenhouse gasses that are released by burning fossil fuels traps infrared radiation and does not allow that energy to leave Earth. This adds to an increase in temperature.

  4. Tom Robbins June 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    You can walk this climate alarmist (take your pick, Ice Age or death by fire), since before the turn of the 20th century… so sad. And now how do they get around no warming for two decades? Well change the data of course! Oh when science becomes industry, and political ties drive science to create terribly destructive policy, it goes on and on – and despite all the waste of money, a Trillion bucks between the US and Europe, NOTHING has been done to clean air or water – does anyone even ask why that is. Do you really think our leadership cares a rats behind about our climate? How many times do we have to be lied to before we speak up and say no more! And R vs. D, won’t do it, they are paid by the same institutions….. goodbye democracy, hello fascism..

  5. Ryan June 10, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    Just because people are angry about how “science as an industry” is treating the global climate change issue DOES NOT make climate change any less real. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH with the most unbiased sources you can find and FORM YOUR OWN OPINION about whether or not climate change is a hoax. IF what all these evil scientists are saying actually turns out to be true then it will be a very large problem for everyone on this planet. We all have a responsibility to give the claims about global warming serious thought. Do not form your opinions because of what you have read on liberal or conservative political sites, or because of what you have heard from politicians. Listen to the people who actually care about this issue because they honestly believe it is important.

    • William Avitt August 21, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      “Just because people are angry about how “science as an industry” is treating the global climate change issue DOES NOT make climate change any less real.” No, the vast majority of evidence AGAINST anthropogenic climate change make it not real. The “unbiased” sources you claim to adhere to have been caught fudging the data too many times. They aren’t just wrong at this point, they are downright lying. Why do these studies always start at the Industrial Revolution? Well, because we just happened to be coming out of a cooling period then, so they can show the globe steadily warming since the Industrial Revolution. Would seem to bear out the hypothesis, wouldn’t it? The world industrializes and then starts to warm. But when you go back FURTHER than the Industrial Revolution, you see that the Earth is not at its warmest point in history even now. It’s been hotter, even BEFORE we ever thought about burning fossil fuels. The Earth goes through natural warming and cool periods, sometimes drastic ones at that. We have been coming out of a cooling period for the past 150 or so years. Now, we haven’t seen ANY warming in 18 years, despite using more energy now than ever. It is YOU, sir, who needs to do your own research, and REALLY look into this stuff. Climate Change is not caused by man. Never was. You’re being dooped.

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