A newspaper article in 1912 warned about climate change.

The debate over coal continues to rage across America. As recently as the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was talking up “clean coal” while Hillary Clinton was on the defensive about what to do about people working in the coal industry.

But it turns out, experts have been aware of the threat for a long time. As in more than 100 years.


A 1912 article in the  Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette entitled, “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate” laid out the numbers clearly:

The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.

Reading the brief article it almost seems too far ahead of its time. Were people really warning about the potentially devastating effects of coal to the Earth’s atmosphere?

Facebook

It’s so shocking people thought it was fake. It’s not.

After the article was shared on social media, some people quickly chimed in claiming it was a hoax. The website Snopes investigated and quickly confirmed the article was very real.

In fact, the brief story was taken from an more in-depth investigative article published in March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics.

Further, Snopes points out that there are public accounts of the scientific warnings of global warming dating back at least to 1896.

The debate over climate change is so 20th century.

There’s a fair debate about how to handle the devastating impact of climate change. There’s no debating man’s role in contributing to it.

The experts understood this more than 100 years ago. Even major oil companies like Shell openly discussed the issue back in the 1960’s.

And yet our politicians are still engaging in a fruitless discussion over it today as if it’s up for debate. It’s not. It’s time to take a page from 1912 and do something about climate change today while we still can.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

Keep Reading Show less