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Friday, October 28, 2016

How man-made climate change was predicted over a century ago

There is a fascinating article in the Independent today in which they feature a newspaper clipping from 1912 in which the inevitability of man-made climate change was outlined:

The clip was printed in a New Zealand paper, the Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, on 14 August 1912. Fifteen years after the piece was published the world’s carbon emissions reached 1 billion tonnes a year.

The clip highlighted the negative effects of burning coal, such as increased temperatures - owing to the large amounts of carbon dioxide burnt into the atmosphere.

As Quartz explains, scientist Joseph Fourier discovered that the earth’s temperature might have been regulated by the earth’s atmosphere in the 1820s. Forty years after he died the evidence was proven by John Tyndall who discovered that certain gases trap carbon dioxide and heat. However, Tyndall was proven to be inaccurate as he did not focus on coal being burnt – his focus was on mining.

Swedish scientist Arrhenius then developed Tyndall’s theory. Arrhenius went on to say that fossil fuel combustion can potentially lead to global warming.

As the paper says carbon dioxide levels around the world are increasing year after year. They add that the world currently produces, approximately, 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the world a day. The news clip states that in 1912 the world would have experienced 7 billion tonnes, the world now produces more than 5 times the previous daily amount.

If only we had heeded the warnings given 104 years ago.
I just wonder what it will be like in fifty years down the line..the amounts of CO2.
I think the answer is to plant trees like mad- a type of intensive afforestation in all available land to try and achieve some balances. Organisations like the UN and EU should lead the way.
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