Rearview: Paul Ehrlich; Global Cooling

Source: S&A Digest

On global warming, we do have a position. It is the uber-bunk of our time, the big lie that’s too popular for politicians to ignore. Ironically, today’s big lie is the exact opposite of the last big lie, which was spawned by Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb, a best-selling book of the early 1970s. Ehrlich, a professor at Stanford University, predicted the world’s population would grow too rapidly to be supported by farming, resulting in a mass famine. Ehrlich wrote that in 10 years England would cease to exist because everyone there would starve to death. Part of the drama was the risk of global cooling.

As Dennis Gartman reminded me today, a 1975 Newsweek cover story proclaimed:

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… 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. 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… 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.

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