Sunday, March 7, 2010

Plus ça change

Popular Science now offers free access to their complete archives, going back 137 years.

For fun, type in "global warming" to their search engine, and read some of the articles that come up (unfortunately, you can't copy the text from the viewer). For example:

[reader letter]
In Reversing the Greenhouse [Aug], you make several false assumptions. The first is that global warming is a settled issue; many reputable scientists disagree. You also posit that the only alternative to burning fossil fuels for electricity is gigantic solar-powered satellites. There is a far better method of generating non-polluting power - nuclear plants. Instead of advocating pie-in-the-sky schemes and adding to unfounded public fears about nuclear power, wouldn't you be better advised to help educate a technology-illiterate populace about its relative safety and advantages?
-William R Chandler, Boise, Idaho
[editors' response]
We never said global warming was a "settled issue." What is true is that a majority of experts on climate and the atmosphere have reached a consensus that the increasing release of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, will probably result in increased global warming.

The year? 1991.

PS - Be sure to check out their 3-part series on global warming, featuring James Hansen and Stephen Schneider. Part 1 is in the August 1989 issue.

The closing paragraph of part 1 reads:
. . . in a poignant letter last August [August 1988] to the British journal Nature, F. Kenneth Hare, chairman of the Climatic Planning Board of Canada, warned that there will never be proof absolute enough to persuade every doubter that a buildup of greenhouse gases is directly responsible for global warming. But as a scientist and adviser to his government, he wrote, "I can and do tell them that they should base their environmental planning on the assumption that the greenhouse warming will continue and accelerate. There will always be conservatives who decline to go this far. At the age of sixty-nine I can no longer afford to be conservative."
Dr. Hare died in 2002.

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