However great your task or the challenge ahead, it’s better to do something rather than nothing. We may only be as small as a grain of sand on the beach, but we can make a lasting impact especially if we work together.
— Peter Hawkins
Although Dr. Hawkins was not addressing climatology with his quote, it accurately expresses a common philosophy employed by most environmentalists. Are the skeptics of mankind’s complicities in causing global warming (or climate disruption, or whatever is the term du jour) guilty of negligence in the face of potential global catastrophe? Are the “deniers” who disdain costly regulations over individual liberty guilty of the sin of “doing nothing” when it would be far more ethical “to do something”? Let’s take a look at recent climatological history.
As late as the 1970s, the world’s leading scientists predicted that the earth was headed for an ice age that would wreak havoc on civilization if we were not adequately prepared. Real Science and Popular Technology.net have collected numerous news articles (with their accompanying “scientific” graphs) that predicted a global catastrophe was imminent, lest we do something immediately to prepare for it. Here are just a few:
- A New York Times article (1/5/78) sported the headline, “International team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere.” While a minority of the climate scientists was not concerned, the majority urged that federal policy be instituted to make preparations. A majority of scientists couldn’t be wrong, could they?
- A Newsweek article (4/28/75) cites April of 1973 as having produced “the most devastating outbreak (of tornadoes) ever recorded.” It also noted that NOAA’s satellite pictures confirm a “sudden, large increase in northern hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72.” Further, NOAA’s scientists found that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. “diminished by 1.3 percent between 1964 and 1972.” All these examples and more were used as clear and compelling evidence that global cooling was inevitable.
- The journal Science (7/71) published an article fearing that typical consumer aerosols were contributing to observed global cooling, stating that they “reduce the surface temperature of Earth.” Curbing aerosol use was presumed to help stem the pending global freeze.
- A CIA report (1974) concludes that the global cooling trend that started in the 1960s has been “confirmed” by science. For the first time, the CIA officially considered a pending climate threat with such a concern that it altered its international relations policies due to the destabilizing political impacts expected to arise from vast crop harvest failures and tremendous population relocations that were sure to follow.
Does this theme of climate alarmism sound familiar? Contemporary science had “concluded” that we were all doomed to a frigid life of local starvation and global political unrest if we did not take immediate and significant actions. Yet what would the world have look like today, had we felt compelled then to “do something — anything” at the time, based on the best available research promoted by an impressive consensus of scientists?
What if we had employed the actions promoted by concerned climate activists, such as covering the arctic ice cap with black soot, increasing its melting rate in order to maintain the sea levels? Or stockpiling millions of tons of American grains in silos at the expense of exporting it to foreign countries that could not produce enough grain to feed their own people? Or pumping tons of extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to counteract the coming freeze by inducing… global warming? Would it really have been more ethical for us to just “do something — anything” in the face of less than universal scientific consensus, in the holy name of saving our planet? I do not think this is what Dr. Hawkins meant when he encouraged us into “making a lasting impact.”