- Greenhouse gases, global warming, climate change, fossil fuels, carbon dioxide
How to Cite
Because of the threat of global warming due to the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, energy use is the central factor in creating a sustainable future. Anthropogenic climate change is real, but climate change deniers insist that carbon pollution is not a threat and that the science behind climate change is flimsy at best and a sham at worst. In fact, efforts to understand Earth’s climate and why the planet’s temperature is what it is date back to the early 19th century, and I review that history in this paper. Earth’s atmosphere was first likened to a greenhouse in the 1820s; CO2 was first shown to be a greenhouse gas in the 1860s; the idea that burning fossil fuels could change the Earth’s temperature was proposed in 1896; the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was first shown to be inexorably rising in the 1950s. The science of climate change has a long and distinguished pedigree.