Long Before Newsweek Admitted Error, MRC Study Captured the Cooling Hype

As my colleague Matt Sheffield noted yesterday, Newsweek has finally admitted they were wrong about global cooling in the 1970s.

The admission comes after Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) cited on the Senate floor, among other things, "Fire and Ice," a study by the MRC's Business & Media Institute about the media's 100+ year history of hyping climate change.

Here's a sample of the May 17 study pertaining to Newsweek's coverage from the 1970s.

Newsweek was equally downbeat in its article “The Cooling World.” “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically,” which would lead to drastically decreased food production, it said.

“The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only ten years from now,” the magazine told readers on April 28 the following year.

This, Newsweek said, was based on the “central fact” that “the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down.” Despite some disagreement on the cause and extent of cooling, meteorologists were “almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

Despite Newsweek’s claim, agricultural productivity didn’t drop for the rest of the century. It actually increased at an “annual rate of 1.76% over the period 1948 to 2002,” according to the Department of Agriculture.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.