Scientists warned about climate change in 1965. Nothing was done?

PXL_20230602_130259904 More of the same, of course, so I won't waste too much of your time. knowablemagazine saysA report to the US president sounded an alarm — humankind was ‘conducting a vast geophysical experiment’ by burning fossil fuels and filling the atmosphere with an ‘invisible pollutant.’ But a slick campaign by Big Oil led to confusion, politicization and dire consequences for the planet. But as usual, we should pause and wonder if this is actually true. And, as usual, it isn't. The report to the Prez is truthy - and that was in 1965. The mag then asks So why weren’t climate scientists listened to earlier? Why did this warning direct to the president of the United States not lead to any significant efforts to change course for decades thereafter? And Oreskes (for it is her, as I'm sure you guessed) replies But by the 1980s... the science becomes more specific, more quantitative. And in 1988, the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is created specifically to summarize and assess the scientific evidence on this problem, in order to report to governments, who would then act upon it... that’s when the fossil fuel industry changes course. And that’s when they make what I consider to be a fatal and, in my opinion, tragic choice: Rather than accepting the science and beginning to think how they could change their business model to address the problem, they go down the path of disinformation and obstruction. And that is true too, or true enough for our purposes.

So what is false: the idea that we knew what was going on in 1965, and Evil Oil Companies somehow derailed this. Because that is drivel: by their own timeline, there was more than two decades between their precious report of 1965 and the disinfo. The truth, of course, is that we didn't know what was going on as early as 1965.

Note that the report-to-the-Prez in 1965 is only truthy, because they fail to note that the bits dealing with CO2 are shuffled off into an appendix; see Retread: Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions?


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Naomi's self-confessed aversion to primary sources on the history of science - I saked her to her to face at a Belcher seminar years ago, is well placed in theis case , because some rattling good stuff was consigned to the appendices of the White House report .

When it came to the question of what should be done as a first response rapid CO2 induced warming , none other than Roger Revelle, seconded by the redoubtable Wally Broecker , proposed raising equatorial ocean albedo with bright particles to counteract atmospheric solar forcing !

It's too bad Roger didn't include the 1965 report as part of Al Gore's Harvard course work in 1968:


William M. Connolley said...

Nice. I must make more of that. Given the reverence that people pretend to have for these people and their work, it would be amusing to confront them with what was actually said. Not that it will make a blind bit of different, obvs.