"The Forgotten History Of Climate-Change Science"

Science discovered the "greenhouse effect" back in the 1820s. Republicans and oil companies only started denying it very recently.

"Whatever their motivation, the voices arguing against the scientific consensus on climate change often treat the research and analysis supporting that consensus as an aberration. In the denialist 'through-the-looking-glass' distortion of scientific history, climate studies can appear as some kind of crooked new invention of an imagined California cabal of Birkenstock-wearing environmentalists. By treating climate science as a field too new, unstable and politicized to trust, denialists in this country have to blunt a real debate over real responses.

So, let's set the record straight. When was human-driven climate change discovered and when did the world of politics/policy first take notice?

We could begin in the 1820s when first suggested that gases in the atmosphere trap some of the sun's heat like glass in a greenhouse (hence the 'greenhouse effect'). We could also begin in the 1860s with measuring the capacity of water vapor and CO2 to trap infrared light (the ground under your feet emits long wavelength infrared radiation after it is warmed by the incoming sunlight which arrives mostly at shorter wavelengths). It was Tyndall who came up with the potent metaphor of greenhouse gases as a 'blanket' covering the Earth."

Adam Frank reports for NPR May 13, 2014.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014