Climate change is a major issue, and many people brush it off because it’s seen as an issue from the recent past. Based on the findings of scientists John Tyndall and Eunice Foote, the claim that climate change is only a present issue couldn’t be further from the truth. John Tyndall was the scientist that first confirmed the greenhouse effect. In 1861, Tyndall performed an experiment that tested how well various atmospheric gasses absorbed heat. When he saw how high the heat absorption was for carbon dioxide, he came to a realization. Tyndall claimed that if there were changes to the atmosphere there would be changes to the climate, and especially, “Such changes… may have produced all the mutations of climate…” (Reidy 13). Eunice Foote was also a scientist that made important climate discoveries in the mid 1800’s. Her research focused around the heat absorption and retention of carbon dioxide, discovering that it took long periods of time for cooling to occur. In the 1850’s, she concluded that, “an atmosphere of that gas would give our earth a high temperature” (Schwartz, New York Times). Another point to past research to is oil companies, specifically Exxon. They were performing research on the effects of carbon dioxide in the 1970’s, finding that “the company’s knowledge of climate change dates back to 1977” (Hall, Scientific American).
With knowledge of the true past of climate change research, I’m not surprised but I am disappointed. One researcher was undiscovered till now because their legacy fizzled out before they were published, and another for their gender and rank as a scientist. Then lastly, profit got in the way of credible research findings. I feel that there might’ve been a difference in initiative if more previous research could’ve made it into the mainstream earlier.