Kenneth Richard provides a detailed and damning account in NoTricksZone of the attempt to cover up global cooling in the 1970s by William Connolley:
Beginning in 2003, software engineer William Connolley quietly removed the highly inconvenient references to the global cooling scare of the 1970s from Wikipedia, the world’s most influential and accessed informational source.
It had to be done. Too many skeptics were (correctly) pointing out that the scientific “consensus” during the 1960s and 1970s was that the Earth had been cooling for decades, and that nascent theorizing regarding the potential for a CO2-induced global warming were still questionable and uncertain.
Not only did Connolley — a co-founder (along with Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt) of the realclimate.com blog — successfully remove (or rewrite) the history of the 1970s global cooling scare from the Wikipedia record, he also erased (or rewrote) references to the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age so as to help create the impression that the paleoclimate is shaped like Mann’s hockey stick graph, with unprecedented and dangerous 20th/21st century warmth.
A 2009 investigative report from UK’s Telegraph detailed the extent of dictatorial-like powers Connolley possessed at Wikipedia, allowing him to remove inconvenient scientific information that didn’t conform to his point of view.
“All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it —more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.“
After eviscerating references to 1970s global cooling scare and the warmer-than-now Medieval Warm Period from Wikipedia, and after personally rewriting the Wikipedia commentaries on the greenhouse effect to impute a central, dominant role for CO2, Connolley went on to team up with two other authors to publish a “consensus” manifesto in 2008 that claimed to exp”ose the 1970s global cooling scare as a myth, as something that never really happened.
Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck (2008, hereafter PCF08) published “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, hoping to quash once and for all the perception that there were scientists in the 1960s and 1970s who agreed the Earth was cooling (and may continue to do so), or that CO2 did not play a dominant role in climate change.
The Concoction Of ‘Consensus’ Achieved Via Exclusion
The primary theme of PCF08 can be summarized in 4 succinctly quoted sentences from the paper:
“[T]he following pervasive myth arose [among skeptics]: there was a consensus among climate scientists of the 1970s that either global cooling or a full-fledged ice age was imminent. A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. … During the period from 1965 through 1979, our literature survey found 7 cooling, 20 neutral, and 44 warming papers. … There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.”
William Connolley and colleagues claimed that the determination of scientific “consensus” regarding global cooling and the influence of CO2 on climate during the 1970s could be divined by counting scientific publications that fell into arbitrarily-defined categories which allowed them to intentionally exclude hundreds of papers that would undermine the alleged myth-slaying purpose of the paper.
The PCF08 authors decided that when “quantifying the consensus” (by counting publications), a scientific paper could only be classified as a “cooling” paper if it projected that future temperatures would (continue to) decline, or that a “full-fledged ice age was imminent.” Papers published during the arbitrarily chosen 1965-’79 era that affirmed the climate had already been cooling for decades, that this cooling wasn’t a positive development, and/or that the effects of CO2 on climate were questionable or superseded by other more influential climate change mechanisms … were not considered worthy of classification as a “cooling” paper, or as a paper that disagreed with the claimed “consensus” that said the current (1960s-’70s) global cooling will someday be replaced by CO2-induced global warming.
Of course, the global cooling scare during the 1970s was not narrowly or exclusively focused upon what the temperatures might look like in the future, or whether or not an ice age was “imminent”. It was primarily about the ongoing cooling that had been taking place for decades, the negative impacts this cooling had already exerted (on extreme weather patterns, on food production, etc.), and uncertainties associated with the causes of climatic changes.
By tendentiously excluding 1960s and 1970s publications that documented global cooling had been ongoing and a concern, as well as purposely excluding papers that suggested the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 forcing is weak or questionable relative to other mechanisms, the authors could brazenly claim that there were only 7 papers published in the scientific literature between 1965 and 1979 that disagreed with the “consensus” opinion that global warming would occur at some point in the future (due to CO2 increases). According to PCF08, there were 44 papers that fell into the latter warming-is-imminent-due-to-CO2 category from 1965-’79, ostensibly entitling them to claim that dangerous anthropogenic global warming projections “dominated” the scientific literature even then.
Read the full report here.