Concerns about climate change may have grown more prominent in recent years, but signs of brewing problems were first reported by the scientific community in the late 1950s. At the time, it was being considered as a distant possibility in the 21st century for which the world should be prepared, Live Science reported citing Spencer Weart, historian and retired director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in Maryland.
The concerns did not become serious until later, reaching greater scientific attention in the 1980s, the report added.
However, the history of people’s concern about climate change may not go back to the last century alone. The report claims that people’s interest in understanding how human activities affect climate change actually dates back thousands of years.
The report cites references from Weart’s book, “The Discovery of Global Warming” to assert that concerns about climate change existed in ancient Greece. From 1200 BC. This was the first documented discussion on climate change and focused only on the local region, the report added.
Weart claims that Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius became the first person to imagine the impact of global climate change on the existence of mankind in 1896. It was at this time that he published his calculation showing that the emission of more carbon dioxide would harm the planet in London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science.
The work of Svante Arrhenius then served as the basis for 19th century scientist Joseph Fourier who showed that the Earth would be a much cooler place without an atmosphere. Other scientists of the time, John Tyndall and Eunice Newton Foote used the work of Arrhenius to separately demonstrate the heat trapped by carbon dioxide and water vapor and suggested that an atmosphere could do the same. , according to the Live Science report.
Although Arrhenius’ accuracy proved to be largely accurate, it was not widely accepted at the time.
Scientific opinion on climate change concerns began to take shape in the 1950s thanks to two key experiments. The first one led by Roger Revella in 1957 showed that the ocean would not absorb all of the carbon dioxide released by mankind’s industrial fuel emissions and that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would eventually increase by significantly.
Another study published by Charles Keeling in 1960 detected increasing levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. The first alarm around the impact of human activities was raised and it was followed by other studies tracing climate change and its impact on the existence of humanity.
In the late 1980s, the scientific community finally recognized that this was a problem requiring immediate attention. The Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere was the first time scientists and politicians came together to address climate change as a global threat to Earth’s atmosphere.
Concerns and efforts to minimize the effects of climate change only increased thereafter.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)