April 23 News: 75 Years Ago A Steam Engineer Showed Global Warming Was Happening

75 years ago this month, a steam engineer in England named Guy Stewart Callendar used his avid interest in meteorology to publish a landmark study in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society linking fossil fuel burning to global warming. Two modern climatologists have published a paper in the same journal checking — with modern techniques and measurements — just how accurate Callendar was. [Guardian]

Dr. Ed Hawkins and Prof. Phil Jones write:

In hindsight, Callendar’s contribution was fundamental. He is still relatively unknown, but in terms of the history of climate science, his paper is a classic. He was the first scientist to discover that the planet had warmed by collating temperature measurements from around the globe, and suggested that this warming was partly related to man-made carbon dioxide emissions…

People were sceptical about some of Callendar’s results, partly because the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere was not very well known and because his estimates for the warming caused by CO2 were quite simplistic by modern standards. It was only in the 1950s, when improved instruments showed more precisely how water and CO2 absorbed radiation, that we reached a better understanding of its importance. Scientists at the time also couldn’t really believe that humans could impact such a large system as the climate – a problem that climate science still encounters from some people today, despite the compelling evidence to the contrary.

EPA rated the adequacy of the State Department’s draft environmental impact statement regarding the Keystone pipeline as having “insufficient information” for a host of reasons. [LA Times]

16 of 29 states are considering legislation that would repeal or curtail their renewable portfolio standards, at the behest of companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody coal. [Bloomberg]

A Senate committee will consider energy efficiency legislation proposed by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman. [The Hill]

Louisiana faces greater risks from the impacts of global warming, which complicates its close relationship with oil and gas interests. [National Journal]

Juliet Eilperin summarizes what the Obama administration has done for the climate and environment so far, and what is left to do. [Washington Post]

Check out this interactive graphic that shows how much each state’s temperature has increased since the first Earth Day in 1970 (spoiler alert: they all increase). [Climate Central]

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill was even dirtier and more dangerous than most Americans thought. [Newsweek]

Another Indian state has more than 500 megawatts of solar energy capacity. [CleanTechnica]

A community wind farm in South Dakota won 600 local investors through some innovative financial techniques. [Renew Economy]

25 Responses to April 23 News: 75 Years Ago A Steam Engineer Showed Global Warming Was Happening

  1. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Excellent post. Yes. Past writings on energy and environment problems need to be reviewed to give them more accurate inference.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Pakistan farmers grapple with climate change
    Government attempts a new insurance scheme to protect farmers from floods and other worsening weather problems.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    A Republican senator on climate change: It’s real, we need to fight it

    Unlike many of her Republican colleagues in the Senate, Murkowski believes that climate change is real. She adds: “It doesn’t make sense to argue about how much global warming is caused by man—whether it’s 5% or 50%. The best approach is to have a no regrets policy.” To combat climate change, she argues that the nation needs to pursue all forms of energy but to move more towards cleaner and cleaner fuels as time progresses. “We owe it to ourselves to keep healthy this marvelous world we’ve been given.”

    Even if she hypes natural gas and untapped reserves i welcome the new rhetoric.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    The controversial proposed pipeline would bring millions and millions of barrels of oil from Canada’s oil sand fields to refineries in the southern U.S. Environmentalists worry about oil sands, which generate more greenhouse than regular crude and also about pipeline spills in sensitive areas. Murkowski says that “the Canadians have been working hard to make oil sands less carbon intensive, and that the project will create many well-paying American jobs.” Will it get built? “I go back and forth on this every day but in the end I think it will,” she says. “But if Obama approves it, he may have to block some other project like ANWR to please his supporters in the environmental movement.”

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Chemicals maker DuPont’s (DD.N) quarterly profit more than doubled as the worst dry spell in decades encouraged U.S. farmers to buy its drought-hardy seeds and crop-protection products to boost yields.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Days after the House voted to strip a 22-year-old reference to climate change from Texas law, a House committee heard testimony on Earth Day about the adverse effects that climate change could bring to the state.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    The hearing came just days after the House voted to strike a provision referring to climate change from Texas Law. House Bill 788, authored by state Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, attempts to reclaim regulatory powers for the state from the EPA. Currently, the EPA issues permits to industrial facilities that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases.

    HB 788 aims to let the state regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. But in the process it strikes five words from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s mandate, which date from 1991. The provision allows the TCEQ to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for the purpose of controlling “climatic changes, including global warming.”

    The bill passed 119-23, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

  8. Lawrence N. Allen says:

    This is a great article for those whose agenda based reality has convinced them that Al Gore invented climate change.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report
    Trillions of dollars at risk as stock markets inflate value of fossil fuels that may have to remain buried forever, experts warn

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Forget a Chicken in Every Pot—America Needs a Solar Panel on Every Roof
    The remedy to America’s addiction to foreign oil isn’t natural gas, it’s the free power of the sun.

    This story is atm top on reddit.

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Pipeline to Arctic port mulled by Alberta government
    Calgary firm hired to do feasibility study of pumping oilsands bitumen to Tuktoyaktuk

  12. prokaryotes says:

    How Ontario Is Putting an End
    To Coal-Burning Power Plants
    Ontario is on the verge of becoming the first industrial region in North America to eliminate all coal-fired electrical generation. Here’s how Canada’s most populous province did it — and what the U.S. and others can learn from it.

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    wondering how long it would take for the extreme weather to start affecting airlines…

    Air Canada shares lose 14% on profit slump – Business – CBC News
    The dramatic recovery of Air Canada’s shares took a step back Monday as they plummeted after the airline reported disappointing first-quarter results.

  14. Paul Magnus says:

    its now a perfect storm for the insurance industry…

  15. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Chaos · 43 like this
    5 minutes ago ·

    Flooding in Ontario’s cottage country reaches record levels
    Officials say water levels are higher than ever recorded

  16. prokaryotes says:

    Intensification of winter transatlantic aviation turbulence in response to climate change

    Atmospheric turbulence causes most weather-related aircraft incidents1. Commercial aircraft encounter moderate-or-greater turbulence tens of thousands of times each year worldwide, injuring probably hundreds of passengers (occasionally fatally), costing airlines tens of millions of dollars and causing structural damage to planes1, 2, 3. Clear-air turbulence is especially difficult to avoid, because it cannot be seen by pilots or detected by satellites or on-board radar4, 5. Clear-air turbulence is linked to atmospheric jet streams6, 7, which are projected to be strengthened by anthropogenic climate change8. However, the response of clear-air turbulence to projected climate change has not previously been studied. Here we show using climate model simulations that clear-air turbulence changes significantly within the transatlantic flight corridor when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is doubled.

    Our results suggest that climate change will lead to bumpier transatlantic flights by the middle of this century. Journey times may lengthen and fuel consumption and emissions may increase.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And the monarch butterfly approaches extinction.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:


  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Flying, inevitably, will get kinda bumpy. I wonder when the first plane to be downed, or torn apart, by some weird atmospheric disturbance, will occur?

  20. LarsW says:

    The Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was on the same track in 1896, and he was following the work of others.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And Buenos Aires, La Plata…