Here's an inconvenient truth for "An Inconvenient Truth": Remember what they used to call "climate change"? "Global warming." And what did they call it before that? "Global cooling." That was the big worry in the '70s: the forthcoming ice age. Back then, Lowell Ponte had a huge best seller called The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?Last October, I quoted Robert Harris from his novel Pompeii. It seems relevant to repeat that quotation here:
The answer to the first question was: Yes, it had begun. From 1940 to 1970, there was very slight global cooling. That's why the doom-mongers decided the big bucks were in the new-ice-age blockbusters.
And yet, amazingly, we've survived. Why? Because in 1970 the planet stopped its very slight global cooling and began to undergo very slight global warming. So in the '80s, the doom-mongers cast off their thermal underwear, climbed into the leopardskin thongs, slathered themselves in sun cream and wired their publishers to change all references to "cooling" to "warming" for the paperback edition. That's why, if you notice, the global-warming crowd begin their scare statistics with "since 1970," an unlikely Year Zero which would not otherwise merit the significance the eco-crowd invest in it.
But then in 1998 the planet stopped its very slight global warming and began to resume very slight global cooling. And this time the doom-mongers said, "Look, do we really want to rewrite the bumper stickers every 30 years? Let's just call it 'climate change.' That pretty much covers it."
Men mistook measurement for understanding. And they always had to put themselves at the center of everything. That was their greatest conceit. The earth is becoming warmer--it must be our fault! The mountain is destroying us--we have not propitiated the gods! It rains too much, it rains too little--a comfort to think that these things are somehow connected to our behavior, that if only we lived a little better, a little more frugally, our virtue would be rewarded. But here was nature, sweeping toward him--unknowable, all-conquering, indifferent--and he saw in her fires the futility of human pretensions. (p. 272)