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106 years ago a newspaper made an eerily accurate global warming prediction but everyone ignored it

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Mike Rampton
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106 years ago a newspaper made an eerily accurate global warming prediction but everyone ignored it

We should, uh, probably have done something about this

It’s easy to feel as though global warming was invented in the 1980s by the presenters of Blue Peter, and that before then it just wasn’t a thing. Sure, the Industrial Revolution had made a charred, lifeless wasteland of reasonable amounts of Britain long before that point, and there were these huge refuse sites that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, but we weren’t doing any actual damage to the planet, right?

Wrong. It turns out that over a century ago, people were well aware of the hideous and irreparable destruction we were wreaking on the Earth and its atmosphere. 106 years ago this week, in August 1912, a New Zealand newspaper (or “Newzpaper”) called the Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette printed a small piece that incredibly accurately pinpointed exactly what coming generations would continue to do to ruin our beautiful world. 

Here’s the paper:

106 years ago a newspaper made an eerily accurate global warming prediction but everyone ignored it 1

Firstly, good LORD that’s dense. Old papers were heavy going. Break it up with some cartoons, you goddamm monsters. 

Secondly, let’s have a closer look at the fifth story in the third column.

Which says:

“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.”

106 years ago a newspaper made an eerily accurate global warming prediction but everyone ignored it 2

That’s… That’s exactly what is happened. The terminology isn’t quite there (it’s called an ozone layer, you stupid old idiots!) but that’s basically it. It was all worked out, all that time ago. And we did absolutely nothing.

Dreadful.

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Mike Rampton

Mike Rampton is extraordinarily old, like some sort of giant mountain.

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