OF COOLING, WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
By David Schweppe
February 15, 2019
I remember when The Weather Machine (1975) was on PBS back when I was in junior high school. I even requested a received a booklet that contained a summary of the show. I'm still looking through my stuff to find that booklet. In the late seventies we had the evidence and the leading scientists were certain that we were entering another period of global cooling. The winters of 1978 and 1979 as well as the winters of the early and mid eighties just added to the evidence.
And then it... stopped. The extremely hot drought of the summer of 1987 may have marked the change. Mt. Pinatubo blew in 1991 (I think I remember hearing something about that eruption would stalled the climb in temperatures, not sure on that).
The big issue in the 1970s was sulfur dioxide and other pollutants. So we worked on that and our air got cleaner (we sent the polluting factories to east Asia.)
In the 1980s it was the ozone hole. We were all going to fry if something wasn't done about fluorocarbons. So we got rid of aerosols. (The ozone hole is supposed to be "healed" in a few years - was that because of our decrease in use of fluorocarbons or was that due to "climate change"? Could make the argument either way.)
By the 1990s I remember experiencing warmer winters. Al Gore wrote his first book, published in time for the 1992 primaries, called Earth in the Balance (1991). Global Warming became more of "a thing," especially by the mid-2000s when we experienced the 2005 hurricane season with Hurricane Katrina. Aerosols and SO2 were no longer the highlighted pollutants; CO2 made its way to the top of the danger list. By that time also Hollywood got into the game with movies in which the climate disasters were human caused. And, of course, Al Gore remade himself as the Climate Prophet with his book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth (2006?). He even made several predictions of what would happen climate-wise over the course of then next decade.
But something happened. The increase in temps "paused." (Others, including NASA say there has not been a pause.) And Al Gore's predictions of Arctic ice being gone by now, along with other dire predictions, did not occur. Add to that, in 2009 "Climategate" came public - word got out that collected data was being manipulated to show more warming than there really was.
A few years later (to my recollection), the phrase "global warming" was replaced with "climate change." And proponents made sure "human-caused" was added to the phrase "climate change." And during this time something else also began to occur - those who were skeptical about "human-caused" climate change were deemed "climate deniers." Even President Obama on August 31, 2015 used the label against anyone skeptical about humans being the cause of climate change. Climate Change / Global Warming was no longer was a debate concerning science; it began to take on the attributes of a religion. You don't accept and adhere to the truths of Climate Change? You are a heretic, a "denier." At the very least, you will be ostracized. Some even went so far as to say "climate denial" should be a punishable crime. There's a play entitled, "Kill Climate Deniers." And the New York Times in November 2018 stated that climate denialism is a depravity (google "climate deniers should be killed"). A crime? Be killed? Depravity? Science is about seeking the truth not forcing individuals into a set of beliefs. By truth I mean things like 1+1=2 and 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O.
I encourage you to watch The Weather Machine (1975). At the time, the scientists involved were absolutely certain of their findings. Just as Al Gore was absolutely certain of the argument he made back in 2006.
Then watch the latest PBS show, "The Incredible Weather Machine." Just be aware that forty or so years from now the scientists in IWM may well be proven wrong to a degree or three... just like those scientists from the 1970s who were involved in the making of the first Weather Machine documentary.
And one more thing. Just as there is a call for separation of church and state, there should be a call for separation of science and state. Science has become politicized through funding and lobbyists. That funding and lobbying taints and biases the results... even if the results hold true.