• The Story of Climate Change.

    Want to understand climate change, it's origins, and why this matters?

  • An introduction.

    Scientific data has proven that global temperature in the last few hundred thousand years has had lengthy periods of downward and upward inclination. These trends were without anthropogenic (human-caused) tendencies, meaning global temperature at this time was only affected by naturally occurring events. These events are commonly referred to today as "natural disasters” (volcanic eruption, natural forest fires, meteor strikes, et cetera).

     

    Although natural disasters occur without human involvement, anthropogenic climate change has now increased the devastation and severity of these natural disasters. Today, anthropogenic climate change has affected and now generated a plethora of environmental issues that have influenced us morally, socially, politically, and economically. With the global average of 405 ppm (parts per million) of carbon in the atmosphere, the highest amount in scientific recorded history, Earth’s average temperature consecutively and consistently becomes hotter every year after the next.

     

    Check out NASA's research on the scientific origins of climate change.

  • Let's begin with 1750.

    In scientific terms when referring to Earth’s climate, this would be considered the “pre-industrial” era and is concluded that global atmospheric carbon dioxide is between 280 ppm and 290 ppm. This is the way it's been for millennia prior; we know this because of work conducted by dozens of independent researchers analyzing fossil and soil samples.

  • 1760-1870

    The initial stages of the Industrial Revolution begin to take place and completely alter the way humans live and interact with their environment.

     

    The use of coal as fuel becomes universal due to the mass adoption of steam-powered ships and trains. This will sharply increase the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere and will then initialize what is now known as the Greenhouse Gas Effect. Check out this video that briefly explains the Greenhouse Gas Effect.

     

    Improved sanitation practices, as well as more efficient agricultural practices, lead to an exponentially increasing human population. Human population reaches 1 Billion roughly around the year 1804. By 1870, the global atmospheric CO2 is 287.7 ppm.

  • 1870-1910

    The final stages of the Industrial Revolution come to an end with even more life-altering advancements. Electricity and the light bulb are invented which substantially changes the way cities are constructed and navigated. Coal mining increases sharply to meet the new demand for electricity. Pesticides like DDT, fertilizers, and other chemicals for agriculture are invented and heavily utilized. Simultaneously, humans begin using more efficient agricultural practices, subsequently using and consuming livestock at a higher rate.

     

    Learn about the correlation between agriculture and climate change.

  • 1914-1918

    World War I occurs and produces a heavy industrial economy in which causes more air pollution. The War will kick off a global culture of heavy industrial development. Global atmospheric CO2 is now 302.8 ppm after World War 1 has officially ended.

  • 1901-1930

     

    An oil boom in Texas and the Persian Gulf generates an incredible amount of cheap energy, causing much of the world to become dependent on oil as a fuel source. Although the first gasoline-powered cars were invented in 1876, they only become popular in the 1920's thanks to the availability of cheap oil. This is where our modern reliance on the automobile begins.

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    Check out this article explaining the Texas Oil Boom, and this article on cars and air pollution.

     

    Human population reaches 2 Billion. Global atmospheric CO2 reaches 307.5 ppm once the Roaring Twenties comes to an end.

  • 1939-1959

    World War II occurs and boosts the industrial culture faster than ever before both during and after the war.

     

    In 1945, the US Office of Naval Research funds numerous fields of science and gives scientists a chance at better understanding climate change. From this point, various breakthroughs and discoveries will occur to shift our views on science and the environment.

     

    Global atmospheric CO2 rises to 310.3 ppm at the conclusion of the war.

     

    In 1957, the Soviet Sputnik satellite is launched and causes more tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, but also becomes a way for more scientific studies on climate to begin.

     

    Human population reaches 3 billion, and global atmospheric CO2 becomes 316 ppm.

  • 1965-1970

     

     

     

     

    In 1965, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences organizes a conference to understand the causes of climate change. The notable part of the conference is a quote stating: “We are just now beginning to realize that the atmosphere is not a dump of unlimited capacity.” Global atmospheric CO2 rises up to 320 ppm.

     

    In 1970, President Richard Nixon establishes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), resulting in a more serious effort to tackle environmental issues (including climate change) on a federal level in the United States. Learn more about the origins of the EPA.


    Simultaneously, the world’s leading funder of climate change research, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is established, and the first Earth Day occurs to spread awareness about environmental issues. Global atmospheric CO2 levels at 325.54 ppm.

  • 1973-1976

     

    In 1973, the first energy crisis takes place during the Arab Oil Embargo, where access to oil from the Arabian Peninsula is suddenly cut off. For the first time in history, there is broad concern about whether or not there are sufficient reserves for sustaining the planet’s increasing dependence on oil. What is the Arab Oil Embargo?

     

    In 1974, US scientist Wallace Broecker introduces the world to the term "global warming" in the title of one of his scientific papers. Read Wallace Broecker’s paper.

     

    More scientific studies indicate that methane, ozone, and CFCs affect and contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. This will then lead to the creation of more laws banning such chemicals. What are CFCs?

     

    Global atmospheric CO2 becomes 331.36 ppm. The world population reaches 4 billion.

  • 1979-1986

    In 1979, another energy crisis occurs, this time thanks to a new semi-governmental organization called OPEC. (Learn more about OPEC). This time around, because the price of oil is so high for so long, consumers and companies begin to care strongly about energy efficiency. Nuclear energy rises to the forefront as a highly efficient power source.

     

    The same year, a nuclear reactor at the Three Mile Island power plant melts down, becoming the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. The Three Mile Island accident, broken down.

     

    A few years later, in 1984, the Bhopal Disaster (also known as the Union Carbide Incident) takes place. As a result of corporate negligence and a series of employee mishaps, over 30 tons of methyl isocyanate is released, killing over 16,000 people and injuring over 500,000. The incident instantly becomes one of the worst industrial accidents in history. What is the Bhopal Disaster?

     

    Then, in 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine experiences a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, becoming the worst nuclear disaster in history and rendering an entire region of Eastern Europe uninhabitable.


    Watch an explanation of Chernobyl and learn about it's environmental effects.

     

    Global atmospheric C02 is now at 347.15 ppm.

     

  • 1973-1976

     

    In 1973, the first energy crisis takes place during the Arab Oil Embargo, where access to oil from the Arabian Peninsula is suddenly cut off. For the first time in history, there is broad concern about whether or not there are sufficient reserves for sustaining the planet’s increasing dependence on oil. What is the Arab Oil Embargo?

     

    In 1974, US scientist Wallace Broecker introduces the world to the term "global warming" in the title of one of his scientific papers. Read Wallace Broecker’s paper.

     

    More scientific studies indicate that methane, ozone, and CFCs affect and contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. This will then lead to the creation of more laws banning such chemicals. What are CFCs?

     

    Global atmospheric CO2 becomes 331.36 ppm. The world population reaches 4 billion.