When Did We First Learn About Global Warming

Global warming is the rising of Earth’s average surface temperature, attributed to a build-up of atmospheric emissions known as greenhouse gases that trap heat near the surface of the planet. The concept of global warming has been around since 1896 when Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius first theorized that doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere would result in warming of around 5 degrees Celsius. This was just the start of a long discussion about the effects of industrialisation and increasing greenhouse gas emissions on global temperature.

In the early 1900s, American geophysicist T. C. Chamberlin further developed Arrhenius’ work and argued that industrialisation and burning of coal could lead to global warming. Although the full implications of his work were only fully appreciated in the later part of the 20th century, it was a crucial step in the understanding of global warming.

In the 1950s scientists began to become increasingly concerned about the development of industrial processes and their impacts on global environment. That same decade, British scientist Guy Callendar published a paper linking rising CO2 levels with warming global temperatures. These influential findings inspired other scientists to explore the Earth’s climate more carefully. By 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) had completed their work, confirming the fears of earlier researchers.

Despite the seminal work of Arrhenius and others, it took until the early 2000s for the subject of global warming to become firmly entrenched in the public consciousness. As scientific research progressed, it revealed that climate change had been occurring for several decades. Later scientific studies further revealed that the emission of greenhouse gases due to human activity was the primary cause of rising global temperatures.

As people around the world began to take notice of the impacts of global warming, public pressure grew to take action. In 2001, President George W. Bush announced the US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, a worldwide climate treaty aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US action was seen as a blow to global efforts to combat climate change, although other nations soon began to focus their efforts on developing green energy sources.

While it may seem clear now that global warming has been a growing concern since the late 19th century, its popularity and prominence on the global agenda has waxed and waned over the years. What is clear is that the scientific community has always had an interest in the topic and continually strived to understand the true impact of rising global temperatures. With improved technology and access to vast amounts of data, the effects of climate change are now unmistakable and serve as a reminder of the need for collective action.

Today, governments and organisations are increasingly responding to the global threat of climate change. Nevertheless, it is important for citizens to find ways to minimise their own contribution to the problem. Simple steps such as choosing public transport over private vehicles, reducing consumption of animal products, and embracing renewable energy sources, can all make a substantial difference in lowering global emissions and ultimately, combat global warming.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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