Today's a crucial anniversary. Twenty years ago today one of the federal government's leading scientists first told a U.S. Congressional hearing that global warming was a certainty, and it was already underway. June 23, 1988. A generation has been born and grown into teenagehood since then. An entire industry of doubters, nay-sayers, debunkers and anti-Goreophiles have organized and been funded since that fateful day.
There've been twenty more years of scientific research, data-collecting, even an international agreement, Kyoto Protocol. And twenty years later on this day that same scientist once again testifies before a Congressional Committee. Once again hot air will rise as science predicts. Once again no action will ensue as political science predicts. But twenty years of warnings did give us humans a fair shot at doing something, so when the blame game is finally played on global warming, there's one persevering American scientist who should be blameless.
Here's an interesting online piece by an environmental reporter who first covered global warming, "The Greenhouse Effect" was the term in vogue, back in 1988. He explores what's happened, and what's not happened since then. Not too much has changed, here's an excerpt from a article written twenty years ago: "even as the developed nations of the world cut back on fossil fuel use, there will be no justifiable way to prevent the Third World from expanding its use of coal and oil. How can the developed countries expect that China, for example, which has plans to double its coal production in the next 15 years in order to spur development, will be willing or even able to change course?"
Note how he optimistically assumed the US, Canada, et al. would curtail oil and coal use? How sweet that a reporter could be so hopeful back then.
Among those who favor international action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, one favorite target has emerged. Here's a harsh verbal indictment--no legal charges pending--of major energy companies.