(Not) Your Grandma’s Climate Science

It is simply untrue that climate science is a “new” form of science. Swarts writes of a revolutionary female scientist, Eunice Foote, who studied climate science in the 1850’s. That is hardly what one would call recent. The discovery of carbon dioxide as a factor for global warming was seen by Foote in an 1856 study. John Tyndall also published a now-famous paper in 1859 identifying these gasses contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming. It has been a concern in the fossil fuel industry since the 1960’s, but has hardly been taken seriously since more recently. There was an awareness of harmful effects from more than just the coal industry at the time, but I think there was a hope of “maybe it won’t end up that bad”.

For how long this has been a concern, there is clearly some interest from certain people to keep it out of the mind of the public. The main aspects of nothing being done about climate change come down to 2 things: fear and money. These massive companies that are to blame for fossil fuel emissions obviously have interest in keeping customers without large regulations. They have enough money to be powerful over politicians and remain largely unpenalized. The other aspect to that is fear. Some politicians would rather convince the public that there is no concern for their future and sweep the threat of climate change under the rug. People are likely to vote for the person saying “There’s no need to worry! There will be a great future if you vote for me!” rather than someone admitting that there is a large problem and being honest about how it will be difficult to solve.

2 thoughts on “(Not) Your Grandma’s Climate Science

  1. Hi Analise!

    I like that you touched on the awareness of the harmful effects. I was thinking while reading them that the experiments done had a very definite connection that scientists just didn’t want to pursue yet because it wasn’t a problem. I touched on the exact same things as you, but I think one thing to consider in addition to fear and money is inertia. By that, I mean just resistance to change in general. People might think, “Well, that’s always how it’s been, so I don’t want to change that.” And that’s where we have to get people to think and stop living in their intertia. Nice blog post!


  2. I loved your post! I completely agree with your two points you made in the second paragraph. I was wondering do you think that these fossil fuel companies will ever pay for what they’ve done? I don’t know if they will, have the cigarette companies paid for peoples’ lung cancer treatment? Because, that is a very similar situation. I believe if the companies took responsibility and started transitioning into renewable energy, it would help heal the wounds they created.


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