A Timeline of Climate Science and Policy

1856

August 23 — Eunice Foote’s paper Circumstances affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays was presented in Albany, N.Y. at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution.

Circumstances affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays,” Eunice Foote, The American Journal of Science and Arts

1861

January — John Tyndall, The Bakerian Lecture: On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction

1862

January 25 — “Radiation and Absorption,” The American Railway Times

1863

August 1 — “On the Earth’s Climate in Paleozoic Times,” T. Sterry Hunt, published in American Journal of Science and Arts, November 1863

1865

September 7 —President’s address, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Manchester Guardian

1868

June 29 — T. Sterry Hunt, reported in Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette

1869

January 30 — T. Sterry Hunt, reported in Scientific American

1878

September 7 — “A Cosmical Atmosphere,” New-York Daily Tribune

1882

December 7 —H.A. Phillips in Nature vol 27, p. 127.

1883

January 6 — The Daily Republican of Monongahela, Penn.

Monongahela, PA Daily Republican, January 6, 1883

1894

Arvid Högbom. “Om Sannolikheten För Sekulära Förändringar I Atmosfärens Kolsyrehalt.”Svensk kemisk Tidskrift 6: 169–77. (On the probability of global changes in the level of atmospheric carbonic acid).

1896

April —Arhenius, Svante. “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground.” Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science. Arrhenius’s paper is the first to quantify the contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect (Sections I-IV) and to speculate about whether variations in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide have contributed to long-term variations in climate (Section V).

p. 267
p. 268

1897

November — Chamberlin, Thomas C. “A group of hypotheses bearing on climatic changes.” The Journal of Geology 5.7 (1897): 653–683. Chamberlin integrates carbon-dioxide-driven climatic change with plate tectonics and precession.

1898

October 23 — Summary of Chamberlin’s work appears in Pittsburgh Daily Post.

1899

September— Chamberlin. “An Attempt to Frame a Working Hypothesis of the Cause of Glacial Periods on an Atmospheric Basis” published in The Journal of Geology, Volume 7.

1900

August 19 — Charlotte Observer. Optimism about future humanity’s environmental wisdom, from Thomas Jefferson Jackson See:

1901

January — Nils Ekholm, “On the variations of the climate of the geological and historical past and their causes.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

1902

October 23 — Morganton, N.C. News-Herald

1904

Charles Van Hise, University of Wisconsin, “A Treatise on Metamorphism” pp 463–465:

1904, Dr Van Hise, University of Wisconsin, “A Treatise on Metamorphism”.
p. 463
p. 464
p. 465

1906

Svante Arrhenius publishes Världarnas utveckling (see 1908 below).

1907

Das Werden der Welten, the German translation of Arrhenius’s Världarnas utveckling, is released.

1908

Svante Arrhenius publishes Worlds in the Making, the English translation of Världarnas utveckling (1906).

Worlds in the making: the evolution of the universe, by Svante Arrhenius (p. 63)

1912

March—Popular Mechanics, Francis Molena

Remarkable Weather of 1911,” Popular Mechanics, Francis Molena

1916

The Data of Geochemistry, Third Edition, by Frank Wigglesworth Clarke. U.S.G.S. Bulletin 616. “The controversy is not yet ended” on the question of the atmospheric carbon dioxide as a climatic regulator.

1924

A. J. Lotka, Elements of Physical Biology, p. 249

1928

June 9 — Hartford Courant

1932

May 8 — The Boston Globe

1938

April—Guy Callendar’s manuscript “The artificial production of carbon dioxide and its influence on temperature,” is published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. Callendar submitted his work on May 19, 1937. Callendar’s work was utterly ignored for well over a decade; its first citation was in 1950, and first major citations in 1956.

“The artificial production of carbon dioxide and its influence on temperature,” Guy S. Callendar (1938)

1941

Climate and Man, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1941. Incorrectly rejects the influence of carbon dioxide on climate, claiming the “theory received a fatal blow when it was realized that carbon dioxide is very selective as to the wave lengths of radiant energy it will absorb.”

1953

May 5 — The Washington Post

The New York Times article, May 24, 1953
Depiction of the carbon and water cycles from Life Magazine’s “The World We Live In: Part IV: The Canopy of Air,” Lincoln Barnett, June 8, 1953
from Life Magazine’s “The World We Live In: Part IV: The Canopy of Air,” Lincoln Barnett, June 8, 1953, p. 97

1954

April 23 — Irish Times

Brown, H., Epstein, S., Lowenstam, H. & McKinney, C. R. proposal to API: “The Determination of the Variations and Causes of Variations of the Isotopic Composition of Carbon in Nature.” From the Division of Geological Sciences, the California Institute of Technology, 1954

1955

September 25 — The New York Times

1956

March 8 — Hearing on appropriations for the International Geophysical Year, Independent Offices Subcommittee, House Committee on Appropriations

Roger Revelle testimony, hearing on appropriations for the International Geophysical Year, March 8, 1956
The New York Times article, October 8, 1956

1957

May 1 — Hearing on appropriations for the International Geophysical Year, Independent Offices Subcommittee, House Committee on Appropriations

Testimony of Roger Revelle, hearing on appropriations for the International Geophysical Year, May 1, 1957

1958

The Unchained Goddess, Bell Laboratory Sciences Series film

“The Unchained Goddess,” a Frank Capra film with Dr. Frank C. Baxter, Bell Laboratory Sciences Series
Roger Revelle testimony, hearing on the International Geophysical Year, House Committee on Appropriations, June 2, 1958

1959

February 18 — Hearing on the International Geophysical Year, Roger Revelle and Harry Wexler

Prepared statement of Roger Revelle, hearing on the International Geophysical Year, February 18, 1959
Prepared statement of Dr. Harry Wexler, hearing on the International Geophysical Year, February 18, 1959
Edward Teller, Energy and Man Symposium, November 1959

1960

November 14— In “New Portrait of Our Planet: II,” Life Magazine continues its coverage of findings from the International Geophysical Year. With assistance from Roger Revelle and Charles Keating, the extended article concludes that “man unwittingly is carrying out the largest-scale weather-control experiment of all time by upsetting nature’s balance of carbon dioxide.”

New Portrait of Our Planet: II,Life Magazine November 14, 1960

1961

March 16— Roger Revelle

1963

1963 marks the birth of the climate-policy report. The Conservation Foundation’s report is a call to action, warning of the danger of humanity continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Implications of rising carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. The Conservation Foundation, 1963.
Excerpt from Implications of rising carbon dioxide content, 1963
Excerpt from Implications of rising carbon dioxide content, 1963
Excerpt from Implications of rising carbon dioxide content, 1963
Committee report from hearings on the Clean Air Act of 1964, September 9, 1963

1965

October 1965 —Climate and the heat budget of the central Arctic, J. O. Fletcher, Rand Corp.

Excerpt from Restoring the Quality of Our Environment, 1965
Excerpt from Restoring the Quality of Our Environment, 1965
via “Early oil industry knowledge of CO2 and global warming,” Ben Franta, Nature Climate
Excerpt from Weather and Climate Modification, 1965

1966

We see a backlash to the calls for action, with the emergence of a “study the problem” caucus linked to the National Academy of Sciences.

Excerpt from Weather and Climate Modification: Problems and Prospects, 1966
Leland Haworth testimony, hearing on weather modification, February 21, 1966
Gordon J. F. MacDonald testimony, hearing on weather modification, February 24, 1966
Testimony of John Gardner, hearing on air pollution, Air & Water Pollution Subcomittee, Senate Committee on Public Works, June 7, 1966
Air Pollution and the Mining Industry,” James R. Garvey, Mining Congress Journal
Testimony of Walter Hibbard, Bureau of Mines, and Thomas Malone, Travelers Insurance, hearing on adequacy of technology for pollution abatement, House Committee on Science, August 4, 1966

1967

February 2—Ivan Bennett Jr. at hearing on Air Pollution — 1967: S 780 and related matters pertaining to the prevention and control of air pollution

Hearing on Construction of Nuclear Desalting Plants in the Middle East, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, October 20, 1967

1968

Changing Climate, J. O. Fletcher, Rand Corporation

Changing Climate, J. O. Fletcher, Rand Corporation
Rep. Emilio Daddario opening statement
Rep. Spark Matsunaga statement at hearing on environmental quality
Donald Hornig
Walter Orr Roberts, AAAS President, letter submission

1969

Progress Means Pollution: An Idea Whose Time Has Come…And Gone, Frank Potter, Jr.

John E. Naugle prepared statement, hearing on NASA budget authorization, House Committee on Science & Aeronautics, March 3, 1969
John E. Naugle prepared statement, hearing on NASA budget authorization, March 11, 1969
John E. Naugle testimony, hearing on NASA budget authorization, March 11, 1969
Donald Hearth testimony, hearing on NASA budget authorization, March 11, 1969
Donald Hearth testimony, hearing on NASA budget authorization, March 11, 1969
Lloyd Tupling, Sierra Club, testimony, May 26, 1969
Joe Edmiston testimony, June 23, 1969
Edward Radford testimony, Public Works Appropriations hearing, October 15, 1969
Edward Radford prepared testimony, Public Works Appropriations hearing, October 15, 1969
Rep. Melvin Price interrogates Lee A. DuBridge about the greenhouse effect, October 28, 1969
James Ramey testimony criticizing Edward Radford, October 30, 1969
Harry Perry testimony, November 4, 1969
Rep. Melvin Price (D-Ill.) interrogates Dr. John Ludwig on the greenhouse effect

1970

January 27 — Hearing on the environmental effects of producing electric power

Testimony of Dr. A. J. Haagen-Smit
Testimony of Malcolm Peterson, January 29, 1970
Interrogation of Dr. Peterson by Rep. Craig Hosmer (R-Calif.)
Interrogation of Kenneth Pomeroy by Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.)
Benjamin Shaine, LCV, April 3, 1970
“The Emergent Right to a Decent Environment,” Charles Maechling, Jr., August 1970

1971

— The Environment — Past, Present, and Future, by Abel Wolman, published in appendix to hearings before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy on AEC Licensing Procedure and Related Legislation, 1971

Anonymous Nature editorial, February 19, 1971
Caroll Wilson’s June 1971 address to the EEI, as printed in the EEI Bulletin
Eugene Guccione, senior editor of Engineering and Mining Journal, in The New York Times, August 28, 1971

1972

January—Conference at Brown University on “The Present Interglacial: How and When will it End?” attended by 42 scientists(?) [hard to find attendee list] from around the world. Organized by geologists George J. Kukla and Brown geological sciences chair R. K. Matthews. (Letter to Nixon is sent December 3.) Kukla was a major “new ice age” proponent and a persistent global-warming denier.

1973

Weather and climate modification: problems and progress, Committee on Atmospheric Sciences, National Research Council.

Testimony of Reid Bryson, hearing on U.S. and the world food situation, Senate Agriculture Committee, October 18, 1973

1974

March 29 — Stephen Lukasik, Senate hearing on ARPA

1975

Understanding Climatic Change: A Program for Action, United States Committee for the Global Atmospheric Research Program, National Research Council

1976

January — The Genesis Strategy: Climate and Global Survival, Stephen Schneider with Lynne E. Mesirow, published by Plenum. Reviewed by Walter Orr Roberts (glowing), Helmut Landsberg (very negative).

Dr. Bert Bolin testimony, May 18, 1976

1977

Energy and Climate: Studies in geophysics, by the Panel of Energy and Climate of the Geophysics Study Committee, National Academy of Sciences. A very strong warning about global warming. Panel chaired by Roger Revelle.

1978

Carbon dioxide and the “greenhouse effect”: an unresolved problem, Irene M. Smith, IEA Coal Research

1978 National Climate Program Act findings and purpose, 15 U.S.C. 2901–2

1979

February 12–23 — First World Climate Conference in Geneva.

Excerpt from the Woodwell Report, 1979

1980

February 9—Meeting of the American Petroleum Institute CO2 and Climate (AQ-9) Task Force in NYC, attended by representatives from Exxon, SOHIO, and Texaco. Stanford University scientist John A. Laurmann made a sobering prediction that global economic catastrophe would come from global warming by 2025–2050.

http://insideclimatenews.org/sites/default/files/documents/AQ-9%20Task%20Force%20Meeting%20%281980%29.pdf
Global 2000 Report, pp. 36–37

1981

Climate Change and Society: Consequences of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, William Kellogg and Robert Schware, Aspen Institute.

1982

Living with the changed world climate, Walter Orr Roberts & Edward J. Friedman, Aspen Institute.

1983

Changing Climate: Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee, National Academy of Sciences.

1986

June 10–11—“Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change,” convened by Senator John Chafee. Witnesses include Sen. Al Gore, James Hansen, Steven Leatherman, Andrew Maguire, Sherwood Roland, Robert Watson, George Woodwell, and Carl Wunsch.

1987

January 28—“Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change,” joint hearing of the subcommittees on environmental protection and hazardous waste and toxic substances of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Witnesses include Wallace Broecker, Ralph Cicerone, David Doniger, Gordon J. MacDonald, John Negroponte, J. Craig Potter, V. Ramanathan, and Tom Wigley.

1988

June 23 — Senate hearing on the greenhouse effect and climate change.

1989

January 8 — The Washington Post publishes “The Greenhouse Climate of Fear” by climate denier Patrick J. Michaels.

Stephen Schneider testimony, February 21, 1989
Patrick J. Michaels testimony