Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Global warming: an older debate than I thought

Check out this article on the Smithsonian Magazine. Here's an excerpt:
As the tumultuous century was drawing to a close, the conservative Yale grad challenged the sitting vice president’s ideas about global warming. The vice president, a cerebral Southerner, was planning his own run for the presidency, and the fiery Connecticut native was eager to denounce the opposition party.

The date was 1799, not 1999—and the opposing voices in America’s first great debate about the link between human activity and rising temperature readings were not Al Gore and George W. Bush, but Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster.

(Read more:
That's right, dear old Mr. Jefferson believed in global warming, and Noah Webster refuted his ideas. In fact, his detailed studied basically settled the question for at least a century and a half.

How old is the idea that the earth has been warming?
For more than two millennia, people had lamented that deforestation had resulted in rising temperatures. A slew of prominent writers, from the great ancient naturalists Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder to such Enlightenment heavyweights as the Comte de Buffon and David Hume, had alluded to Europe’s warming trend.
The take-home message isn't that global warming isn't happening, or that human activity has nothing to do with it. But it is good to be reminded that there's really nothing new under the sun.

(No pun intended.)

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