Peter Berkeley passed this item along from Snopes:

A 14 August 1912 article from a New Zealand newspaper contained a brief story about how burning coal might produce future warming by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

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.


  1. From Columbia U:

    “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

    Those were the words of James Hansen, then the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to the U.S. Senate Energy committee on a sweltering June day in 1988. Thirty years on, the overwhelming consensus from scientists is that Hansen was right—and most would say that far too little has been done since to address the threat.

    1988 turned out to be the hottest year since modern instrumental records began in the 19th century. That mark has since been broken, in 1990, 1998, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

    Since that was written 2018 became the hottest year on record.

    Then …..

    As late as 2008 the Republican Party platform called for action against climate change; today, the U.S. administration has exorcised those very words from web sites and we are the sole nation on the planet to withdraw from the Paris climate accords. Predictably, the Wall Street Journal marked the anniversary with an opinion piece by two associates of the libertarian Cato Institute claiming that Hansen, and all the major scientific bodies of the world including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been wrong all along.

    It must be noted that the Post and Cato Institute are owned by people with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, the major source of emissions. This may be classified as deeply shameful, anti-science editorializing contrary to the findings of other major industries such as insurance underwriting (a major critic of emissions), but it’s not at all surprising.

    Already 1/5th of the new century has gone by. Will we ever become smarter?

  2. Excellent find! We have just hit the first century and while we may be not as dependent on coal per capital, we have shifted to liquid carbon (saving grace is that gasoline produces less CO2 than coal per unit of energy). But I don’t think, or at least hope, we would still be burning carbon-based fuels for energy by the next half of this century. By 2050-60 it should be a minority source of energy and by the end of this century energy may not be an issue anymore….

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