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A Brief History of Climate Change and the First Giant Step in History to Fight It

A Brief History of Climate Change and the First Giant Step in History to Fight It

Jun 7, 2014

For centuries people have known about the dangers of global climate change.

Yes, centuries.

Ancient Greeks and 19th century Americans debated about how cutting down our forests could impact our fragile ecosystem and climate.  The first to officially propose the idea of the greenhouse effect was in 1896 by famous Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.  This was long before cars or cell phones or any industry that we know today.

In the 1930s scientists realized that the US and North Atlantic region had warmed significantly during the previous half century but this was soon dismissed as a mild natural cycle.

As the decades progressed, people, civilians and scientists alike, began to take notice of our shifting climate and by the 1970s, curiosity about climate change turned into an anxious concern with the rise of environmentalism.  It was during this time that an analysis of Northern Hemisphere weather statistics showed a cooling pattern that had begun in the 1940s.

In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cautiously established a consensus that stated “…although the climate system was so complex…it was much more likely than not that our civilization faces severe global warming” (aip.org).

Rising Sea Levels

What our beaches will be like.

Now, thirteen years later, there is little debate that we are on the brink of a global catastrophe, with sea levels rising by the centimeter each year and sound predictions that say in fifty years, sea levels will start to rise by the meter, putting many of our beloved coastal cities at great risk.  This is just some of the horrific problems are world is destined to face without immediate action.

After decades of evidence and debate, one man has decided to rise above and make the first big move to combat this inevitable crisis.  On Monday, June 2nd, President Obama announced to reduce the nation’s biggest source of pollution blamed for global warming-carbon emission from power plants.  It proposes a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would reduce such emissions by 30% by 2030.  According to the EPA, the proposed new rules would reduce carbon pollution by the same amount as removing two-thirds of all the automobiles from American streets.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy stated, “For the sake of our families’ health and our kids future, we have a moral obligation to act on our climate.  When we do, we’ll turn risks on climate into business opportunity.  We’ll spur innovation and investment, and we’ll build a world-leading clean energy economy”.

President Barack Obama

Obama addresses the nation.

Thank you, Obama.  It is about time.

For more information, check out:

The History of Global Climate Change

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

The Future of Rising Sea Levels

NSF On Rising Sea Levels

 

 

Andrea Kuipers - I am a well versed, interdisciplinary scientist with a background in marketing, media, & journalism. I am currently finishing up degree number five at Cal State University Fullerton & working in a biochemical/biotechnology lab engineering proteins. Linkedin

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