An Inconvenient Truth

I ripped off Al Gore for the title.

As early as 1856 Eunice Foote was performing experiments on “Circumstances affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays” by monitoring the temperature of glass cylinders filled with carbon dioxide and various other gases placed in sunlight. She noticed cylinders filled with carbon dioxide warmed more than the moist air which warmed even more than dry air leading her to conclude “an atmosphere of that gas (CO2) would give our earth a high temperature.” 

In 1861 John Tyndall, an experimental physicist, published a paper to the Royal Society of London containing his findings related to atmospheric gases and their absorption of infrared radiation. He postulated that such absorption rates may produce great effects on the climate. This publication marked the first known experimental confirmation of what is now known as the natural greenhouse effect.

James Garvey’s article titled “Air Pollution in the Coal Industry” was published in August 1965. It states in no uncertain terms that carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere are increasing rapidly and will continue to do so resulting in temperature increases that will cause sea level rise that would impact densely populated coastal cities such as Los Angeles and New York. 

Shannon Hall’s piece accuses oil and gas company giant Exxon Mobile of funding extensive greenhouse gas research in the 1970s but then went on to openly question the legitimacy of climate science, sowing skepticism in the general public that persists to this day. 

Oil and gas companies have fuckloads of money. It seems like they would like to keep it this way. Wealth buys power and influence. If I am an oil tycoon and I have more money than the wind and solar guys, I can afford to give more of that money to politicians, and take them out to fancy dinners on my yacht and convince them not to pass any bills or laws that will prevent me and my oil friends from continuing to rape the earth for oil so I can buy a whole fleet of yachts.  Of course, this is somewhat of a simplification of the issue and several other factors – general science denial, job loss, the cost of transitioning fully to new energy sources, jurisdiction, ect. – make the issue of climate change and tough one to solve.  

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