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  1. HBE - Global Warming - Ashleigh Steeles - 4721950
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    “When did the scientific community become aware of, and concerned about, the phenomenon of global warming?” I am attempting to answer this question by researching and analysing scientific papers.

    To date, through my research I have already found that the scientific community became aware of global heating and the release of CO2 into the atmosphere in 1938 (Source 2). However, there was a delay between this research being published and further research being conducted (Source 3). Moreover, carbon dioxide was first theorised to be leading to an increase in global temperatures as early as 1896 (Source 1). This creates a timeline and an answer to the first part of my question: when did the scientific community become aware of the phenomenon of global warming?

    The establishment of this timeline prompts further questions such as: why was global warming not immediately realised for the threat it was, and when did this change? This has in part been answered in the five analysed sources, especially Source 2 and 3, as both the primary research paper and secondary historical tome point to the widespread belief that the earth’s oceans could “absorb” and “processes” the carbon dioxide being released. This belief was prevalent and (from what I have read so far) uncontested until the late 1950s, when Keeling conducted his research. Moreover, Source 2 actually suggests that an increase in carbon dioxide and heating the world a margin could be beneficial for agriculture – something that I did not expect. Hence, I will need to conduct further investigation into when the “turning point” occurred and the scientific world widely released and accepted this was, in fact, a problem.

    Source 5 further exemplifies this as the article conveys concern over the changing climate, but the scientist being interviewed dismiss this concern by downplaying the severity of global warming, based on the available knowledge at the time. Source 5 is also a valuable addition to my research/list as it mentions the 1850s as the start of temperature increases, unlike all other sources, and names a number of leading climatologists during the 1950s. This provides me with a platform from which to conduct further research.

    Interestingly, Source 7, a newspaper article from 1947, features a Swedish scientist warning that the oceans may be liable to rise. As I have found that there was no widespread alarm for global warming in the broader scientific community, I am intrigued by “outliers” like this that “pieced it together” earlier, before Keeling proved global warming to be dangerous as the oceans lacked the sufficient “processing” power required to filter the CO2 (Source 3). I intend to consider this further in my final research report.


    Source 4 summarises the changing history of concern regarding global warming and hence helps me to answer the proposed question. It provides a concise summary that supports Source 3’s narrative, as well as drawing on key research in Sources 1 and 2. It concludes with an account of the current attempts at rectifying and lessening global warming around the world which, as a book composed in 1993, helps me to narrow the timeline of my search for a “turning point” to answer the second part of my question: when did the scientific community become concerned about global warming?


    The assorted Trove newspapers in this list provided the initial basis of my research, and provide some notable observations. Firstly, Arrhenius’ theory (Source 1) was not published for ten years, until 1906 (Source 6). This discrepancy between the scientific community’s exposure to research and global warming, and the public's, provides with me with a secondary question to consider: when did the general public become aware of, and concerned with, the phenomenon of global warming? I intend to research this further in my final report.

    11 items
    created by: public:avs443 2016-09-15
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  2. Meat Boycott 1910s
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    13 items
    created by: public:avs443 2017-10-13
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  3. Pol Pot
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    created by: public:avs443 2016-09-08
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