This past week marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson receiving an important letter detailing an urgent problem that scientists had been worrying about for some time--global warming.
Yes. In 1965, global warming was already a thing. By the '70's, those climate scientists had built some pretty good predictive models. Why, by the '70's, as I've mentioned before, scientists working for Exxon already understood what their product was likely to do to the environment. (That seems to causing the company a bit of a tiff in NY. As it should, because purposefully misinforming the public to maintain profits when it is a matter of life and death down the line is dastardly.) Even President Nixon, despite his other faults, took the environment seriously. I mark the decline in seriousness regarding the environment from the political right as beginning with Reagan's order to take Carter's solar panels down. From thence, it became a mixed bag leading to a downright environment antipathy by the last Bush Administration--they may have set progress on acting on remediating climate change back in the worst way.
Now, it looks like we might be teetering on the threshold of, well, paying a little bit of attention and getting started on talking back to the companies that have been trying to sell us fossils fuel for low prices and at high costs. (Not a bit too soon, I'll add.) Some people have slammed the activism that led to President Obama rejecting Keystone XL pipeline, I think missing the point that that pipeline was just one piece of a broader problem people have with not just climate change, but a sense that they are being screwed over by big companies. How many mine cave-ins, oil rig fires, oils spills, drinking water contaminations, and global climate change-fueled epic weather events do you need before you get mad as hell? Why would folks want this thing potentially oozing into their backyards?
This is not to say that retrograde people who don't quite get it aren't going to try to apply their failure to understand the climate change issue to intimidate the people who do in service of the industry that still has money to...donate to political campaigns, I guess? But as people continue to experience weather that reflects the change of actual climate, perhaps this sort of thing will get less popular.
Over the last 50 years, certainty regarding what's happening has only increased. That's not a hoax. That's history. And history is what we'll be if we don't catch on.