The Washington Times has a good editorial today on the subject, and even goes so far as to reprint the 1975 Newsweek cover story on the alarm of scientists about global cooling. Note this language in particular:
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the 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.”
I’m not at all sure that the scientists of the mid-70s were so unanimous about all this, but then again, I’m not so sure that scientists today are quite as unanimous if they’re often protrayed. If the UN had set up an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the 1970s, I’m pretty sure that the Newsweek article would have been a pretty good precis of what made it through to the Summary for Policy Makers.
And here’s the conclusion:
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. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
Thank goodness that policy-makers did ignore these proposed solutions.
Meanwhile, a recent scientific study has discovered that Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle was 5-10 degrees Celsius warmer than today during the last interglacial period.