I spent a few days with my wife in Amsterdam, and so blogging was a bit on the light side. Today’s story is a short one about acid rain and forest die-off. Most people over 40 will certainly recall that one.
Whenever scientists are completely wrong, they hope no one will notice years later and that all will be forgotten.
Such is the case of the 1970s forest die-off scare (acid rain). Back then a “consensus” of scientists warned that the Earth’s forests were being wasted away because of acidic rain produced by man’s emissions from the burning fossil fuels. Lots of background info on this here,
The first warnings of an acid rain induced forest die-off in Germany were sounded by scientist Bernhard Ulrich, who warned that polluted rain was causing the soil to become too acidic for trees, which in turn would soon get very ill and die. Moreover by 1983 there was a claimed consensus. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) recently wrote on the forest die-off scare:
In the year 1983, an extremely informative study that recently appeared and maintained that during the course of this alarm debate, that there was not a single forest scientist in Germany who did not agree with this diagnosis.”
The leading German daily then summarizes that the acid rain, forest die scare turned up in the end being just a wave of hysteria that had gripped the scientific community. Today nobody hears about the acid rain; the problem has literally just vanished from existence. FAZ writer Jürgen Kaube even asks in his piece: “What ever happened to forest die-off?”
We suspect the same will be true of global warming in about 20 years time. Maybe sooner – especially when we look at the recent record high sea ice levels, recent cooling weather sweeping across the USA and the dozens of predictions of a coming climate cool-down coming from experts.