William Connolley claims imminent global cooling was never predicted by the scientific community in the 70's. He has documented this on his website and reiterated this on realclimate.org as well.
Despite all of this, Senator Inhofe has been waving around a 1975 Newsweek article titled "A cooling world" which claimed scientists thought we were heading for a "little ice age". Inhofe used this to discredit the scientific community. These actions seem to have prompted Newsweek to re-examine their old article. In this self-review they reference Connolley:
The point to remember, says Connolley, is that predictions of global cooling never approached the kind of widespread scientific consensus that supports the greenhouse effect today. And for good reason: the tools scientists have at their disposal now—vastly more data, incomparably faster computers and infinitely more sophisticated mathematical models—render any forecasts from 1975 as inoperative as the predictions being made around the same time about the inevitable triumph of communism.That makes it seem like Newsweek was trying to imply that scientists were making predictions about imminent global cooling. Yet they dismiss this mishap by saying the technology just wasn't very good back then and the consensus wasn't very strong so those predictions couldn't be trusted. Yet somehow we should forget all of those "mistakes" and trust the current predictions. Newsweek continued to defend themselves by saying: In fact, the  story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate". Well here we have a problem. The website that Newsweek links to actually conflicts with their defense. Also, the author of that website William Connelly, responded to the most recent Newsweek article by telling us "not to take your science stories from the mass media". Given this conflict, I decided to buy the 1975 National Academy of Sciences report and see for myself. The report is titled "Understanding Climatic Change, A Program for action" and is featured in the picture above. A picture that I took with my very own camera. The ISBN# is 0-309-02323-8.
So what does it say inside?
At the bottom of page V of the forward it says:
Unfortunately, we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines it's course. Without this fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate-neither in short-term variations nor in any in its larger long-term changes.Wow. It says we "can't predict climate". So what does it say we need to do? What actions are needed? Lets skip to page 9 which is the beginning of the chapter titled Summary of Principle Conclusions and Recommendations. It lists 6 recommendations. They are:
1) Adopt a national program to study the climate
2) Analyze climate data from conventional instruments, satellites, etc.
3) Develop a program to monitor and index all climate data.
4) Accelerate research on climate.
5) Adopt an international program to study climate. (same as #1 but just international)
6) Try to reconstruct the history of the earths pre-industrial climate via tree rings, fossils, etc.
There is no doom and gloom, no national emergency, there are no dire predictions of the world coming to an end. It's just a bunch of scientists saying there might be a problem but we don't know because nobody has studied this crap. So please exercise some common sense and hire someone to study the earth. In short, it is exactly how William Connelley describes it on his website.
So where did Newsweek get their information to claim their story was accurate? Who made those predictions? I don't know. In 1975 Newsweek said "Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the little ice age" but they never said who those "Others" were. Considering the National Academy of Sciences is the premier authority on this subject, and both Science and Nature are devoid of gloom and doom, I'm not sure their source matters. Were there scientists back then that were worried? Sure, there will always be someone that fears the unknown. Is that fear in any shape or form comparable to current models or projections? Well since that fear never made it into either peer review or the national policy recommendations via the NAS, there seems to be a clear distinction between the two.
Newsweek should stand up and admit their mistakes. Maybe after they do that the industry shills will stop using Newsweek's error to discredit the entire scientific community.
Scans of the NAS book's forward: