Skip to comments.They've got that global warming thing down cold (In 1975 icecaps were to be covered with soot)
Posted on 07/26/2008 7:48:32 PM PDT by Libloather
They've got that global warming thing down cold
Posted on Wed, Jul. 23, 2008
By GLENN GARVIN
Penn & Teller's Bull----!
10-10:30 p.m. Thursday, Showtime
I've seen lots of things on Penn & Teller's Bull----!, television's only investigative-journalism program run by comic magicians: Hidden-camera pranks where yuppie fools blather on about designer water that actually came from a garden hose. New Age health nuts allowing mollusks to crawl around on their faces to soak up the health benefits of slug slime. Naked people floating around in a zero-gravity chamber for a show on NASA. I don't actually know what that one was supposed to prove, but Penn & Teller share my first rule of journalism, that naked is always good.
But one thing I haven't seen is grim; the show is just too much fun for that. So when Thursday's episode on environmentalism opened with a morose-looking Penn Jillette waving a magazine as he recited one ecotastrophe after another -- drought in Africa, flooding in Pakistan and Japan, snowless winters in New England and Northern Europe -- I snapped to attention. ''It says right here in Time magazine -- the weather's gone nuts and we humans are to blame!'' Teller wailed. ``We have bleeped up the environment and now we're going to pay for it!''
Yeah, that global warming is pretty bad. You know, Al Gore says -- oops, never mind. Turns out Penn's not reading from the infamous Time cover story of 2006 on global warming, the one headlined BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED. No, this Time is from 1974, and the headline is, ANOTHER ICE AGE? And all those violent paroxysms of nature are the pernicious work of global cooling.
Yes, back in the days of disco, the news media echoed with predictions of the world's imminent demise from ice rather than fire. Newsweek warned that temperatures had already dropped ''a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.'' By 1985, Life declared, ``air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earth by one half.''
A MAJOR COOLING WIDELY ACCEPTED TO BE INEVITABLE, agreed The New York Times, adding in an editorial: ''Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.'' To be fair, this was nothing new at The Times. It had been predicting the world was on the verge of turning into a Popsicle since at least 1895 -- GEOLOGISTS THINK THE WORLD MAY BE FROZEN UP AGAIN, a headline said back then. Perhaps the editors figured that if they printed the story often enough, they were bound to get it right, if only because of the law of averages.
I sometimes find myself longing for the good old days of the Ice Age scare, because at least back then, dissent was possible. When Newsweek in 1975 proposed fighting off those inexorable glaciers by ''melting the arctic cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,'' it had the grace to concede that some scientists worried just a teensy bit that these solutions ``might create problems far greater than they resolve.''
These days, deviating from the orthodoxy on global warming -- not just questioning whether it exists, but how much of it is due to human activity, or if the results might be a little less ruinous than the Climate Cassandras predict -- is almost enough to get you thrown in jail. And I mean that literally. James Hansen, the former Gore science advisor who's been one of the foremost doomsayers on global warming, recently said that oil company executives who argue against him ``should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.''
Consider it a certainty that the Climate Police will lock up Penn & Teller after Thursday's show. Not only does it feature interviews with some scientists who aren't totally sold on the idea that the Earth is toast, it whispers an even more inconvenient truth: A lot of the scariest global-warming tales are told by people who stand to make a buck by scaring you.
At one end of the scale is a Santa Fe therapist who treats patients for what she calls ''eco-anxiety'' by giving them what she calls ''river rocks'' -- actually, it's gravel picked up from her driveway -- to remind them that ''you do come from Earth and you are connected.'' (The most scandalous thing about this ''treatment'' is that it works: ''Whenever I'm by a rock, holding it, I feel grounded,'' explains one grateful patient.)
At the other is Al Gore, who's made a post-political career out of warning that we're on the brink of ''epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves.'' A couple of years ago, Gore suffered some minor embarrassment when a Tennessee think-tank revealed that his 20-room Nashville mansion uses 17 times the electricity of the average American home. Unabashed, Gore explained that he was ''offsetting'' his electric gluttony by buying carbon credits -- that it, putting money into green projects, would save as much energy as his home wasted.
Looking a little more closely into it, Bull----! points out that Gore was actually purchasing those carbon credits from . . . himself. He did it by investing money in his own company Generation Investment Management, which buys stocks in companies that make green technology -- technology that Gore is constantly lobbying governments to adopt or mandate. ''So Al makes money when people buy carbon credits through his company,'' says a Gore critic. It's not only good to be green, but profitable, too.
I'm not surprised if you're surprised that Gore might have a financial interest in screaming about the end of the world. Reporters who fall asleep chanting the mantra follow the money have been heinously lax in practicing it on the global warming story.
Last November, when NBC insisted that every single program on the network that week would have a green theme, nobody seemed to notice that the network was in effect running a massive product-placement ad for its corporate parent General Electric. GE has invested massive amounts of money in solar panels, wind power and other so-called clean-energy technologies for which there will be virtually no consumer demand unless Congress passes laws requiring them.
But practically no reporters were interested in that story -- certainly not those at NBC News, which also participated in Green Week by inserting stories into its shows. When I asked network anchor Brian Williams if this wasn't corporate manipulation of his newscast, he shook his head vigorously. ''Not at all,'' he insisted. ''I've got no problems with it. It's not any different than The New York Times editorial board sitting down and saying the newspaper is going to do a series of stories on some particular subject.'' Maybe, if The New York Times were owned by, say, Halliburton, and the board of directors ordered up a series on, say, the need to invade Iraq. But I don't have time to argue about it right now. I'm pretty sure I hear the Climate Police at my door.
April 28, 1975
There are ominous signs that the Earths weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon
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. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
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.
A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earths average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the little ice age conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data, concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.
Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
The worlds food-producing system, warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAAs Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago. Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
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.
What ever happened to acid-rain?
it was replaced by purple rain
Back then, in the 70s, Liberals were concerned about Global Cooling. Now they’re concerned about Global Warming. Their solution in either case is the same: Higher taxes & more regulations. Lately they’ve even added income redistribution.
Record Alaskan cold????
The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North—started with ethanol
So far, this has been the coldest July on record in this part of Alaska. Anchorage didn't get an official 70 degree day until July 4. NWS Offical statistics here.
Don’t get me goin’ on ethanol......
And THERE is the rub.
It is clear, and has been for a very long time, that liberals, being what and who they are, have little to do with their minds. That statement makes a HUGE assumption.
All I can say is that Chicken-Little was a liberal — his areas of interest and activities were not only non-productive, but were very limited....(/s)
I keep thinking it was the winter of 76 or 77 that the northern Chesapeake Bay froze at the Bay Bridge. Something like a 200 year event. There was a lot of talk about a new ice age.
...They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot...
that was in 1975. Yesterday I came across an article that suggested moving the polar bears to the Antarctic -
Didn't they care about the poor polar bears in 1975?
Humans, using them, were sure to trigger the next Ice Age. Stealing atmospheric heat, for indoor use...etc.
...and a decade ago, conservatives were using this as evidence that the Clear Air legislation was causing us problems and should be backed off...
...and now we're supposed to claim that we have no influence on climate?
>sigh< I can't keep up... ...both sides are nuts.
I promised you a giggle...
Crimes against humanity, I can understand Hanson saying; but what does buggering little boys & animals have to do with it?
Isn't accusing them of "crimes against nature" just plain malicious, salacious, slanderous smearing?
Can they sue?
Oh Mighty Prophet of Holy Gore, WORDS HAVE MEANING...something your scare tactic trumpetings and multiply messaged "data" don't.
Didn't they care about the poor polar bears in 1975?
I promised you a giggle.
Indeed! I 'bout fell out of the chair laughing.
moving the polar bears to the Antarctic/
Were they taking the seals too? Wht will those bears eat?
Won’t they endanger the penguins? What about the poor penguins who already live there? Maybe they didn’t want hungry polar bears being moved into their home.
Do a search on NAPAP - see what you find. ($500 million study)
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