with a timeline for
the Climate Change debate.
Not surprisingly, the BBC News has published a much nicer page discussing the same subject… you can find the page here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8285247.stm
What? You’re still here? Ok, then let’s review.
- 1859: John Tyndall determines that coal gas, a mix of methane, carbon dioxide and other gases, strongly absorb infrared radiation.
- 1890: Samuel Pierpont Langley and Frank Washington Very publish their measurements of atmospheric CO2
- 1896: Svante August Arrhenius publishes his findings on CO2 and the Greenhouse Effect
- 1906: Arrhenius and Knut Ångström finish wrangling over how much CO2 influences temperature and Arrheius publishes the “final” version of his Greenhouse Law. (To wit: ΔF = α ln(C/C0) which is still used today).
- 1908: Arrhenius publishes Worlds in the Making to talk about Global Warming and how wonderful it would be (Arrhenius was a native of Sweden.)
- 1920 through 1941: Milutin Milanković revises James Croll’s theory about earth’s orbit. He publishes work on solar cycles and how they affect the earth’s climate (Milanković Cycles)
- 1948: Methane detected in the atmosphere
- 1952: Lewis D. Kaplan shows that water vapor has little to no effect on atmospheric absorption of heat, but that CO2 has a lot.
- 1959: Scientific community begins to warn that humans may be causing the planet to warm.
- 1965: President’s Science Advisory Committee observes that, “By the year 2000 the increase in atmospheric CO2 … may be sufficient to produce measurable and perhaps marked changes in climate.”
- 1965: President Lyndon Johnson included warnings about climate change in a Special Message to Congress
- 1970’s: Climate scientists find more greenhouse gases and continue to see warming trends. Popular news media talks about coming ice ages, in spite of the fact that 86% of scientists are predicting warming. (Great article at ClimateProgress for debunking the sensationalist spawned Ice Age myth. (http://climateprogress.org/2008/11/10/killing-the-myth-of-the-1970s-global-cooling-scientific-consensus/)
- 1975: Veerabhadran Ramanathan found that a CFC molecule could be 10,000 times more effective in absorbing infrared radiation than a carbon dioxide molecule.
- 1979: JASON committee predicts that carbon dioxide will double and a temperature rise of 2-3 degrees C. would be achieved by 2035. Polar warming would be as high as 10-12 degrees C. (The Long Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate: preliminary report (1979; JSR-78-07; JSR-79-04)
- 1979: The Charney and Woodwell (National Academy of Science) reports warn that immediate action should taken to address “Global Warming”
- The Global 2000 Report to the President was released in 1980 by the Council on Environmental Quality and the United States Department of State.
Commissioned by President Jimmy Carter on May 23, 1977, and was directed by Gerald O. Barney. It was based on worldwide data collected by different institutions. These data and information were used in computer models to make projections for the future based on trends for the next decades. The study was translated into Germany in the same year of its publication. An additional report under the title “Global Future: Time to Act” was published 1981.
This is the second study after The Limits to Growth that started discussion about possible future trends like global warming, energy scarcity, explosive population growth, plant and fauna species eradication, genetic diversity extinction, and a global economic system based on unlimited wants with earth’s immutably limited resources, etc.
It concluded with:
“If present trends continue, the world in 2000 will be more crowded, and more vulnerable to disruption than the world we live in now. Serious stresses involving population, resources, and environment are clearly visible ahead. Despite greater material output, the worlds people will be poorer in many ways than they are today.”
- 1988: The UN forms the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.ipcc.ch)
- 1988: The National Energy Policy Act introduced to reduce Global Warming. (Never passed)
- 1992: President Bush (the 41st President) signs up to the The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro. The Senate ratifies.
And then we lost our minds.
- 1997: US is party to the Kyoto Protocol
- 1998: U.S. Senate adds new requirements for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol
- 2001: President Bush (the 43rd) will not submit Kyoto Protocol for ratification, citing worries about placing a strain on the economy.