The CIA’s “global cooling” files
A high-priority government report warns of climate change that will lead to floods and starvation. ‘Leading climatologists’ speak of a ‘detrimental global climatic change’, threatening ‘the stability of most nations’. The scenario is eerily familiar although the document — never made public before — dates from 1974. But here’s the difference: it was written to respond to the threat of global cooling, not warming. And yes, it even mentions a ‘consensus’ among scientists
How is it that the parallels between that 1970s panic and today’s have been so little remarked upon? And it doesn’t stop there. There have even been recent attempts to label the ‘global cooling consensus’ a ‘myth’, most notably in a well-publicised article by Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck published by the American Meteorological Society in September 2008.
Well, plus ça change. It’s easy to miss what you do not look for. […]
Or is the problem with the general public, who cannot talk about climate except in doom-laden terms, and for whom the sky is the last animist god? This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise — much as it pains politicians and scientists — that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.