A Brief on the History of Climate Change – Part 2
The fact that Climate Change is a real issue has been established by climate scientists for several decades. But where did it all begin? When did people start to realise that something was wrong with our climate? In this blog post we analyse the periods between 1960 and 2000.
The History of Climate Change: 1965 – 1989
In 1965 – the human population just crossed the 3 billion mark – a US Presidential Advisory Committee panel warns that the greenhouse effect was of “real concern”. Then, in 1975, the term “global warming” is put into the public domain for the first time by American scientist Wallace Broecker through a scientific paper.
The year 1988 saw a landmark event with the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was instituted to collect and study evidence on climate change. A year later, the then prime minister of UK, Margaret Thatcher, warns about the perils of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations and calls for a global treaty on climate change. The very next year, CO2 emissions reache six billions tonnes a year.
The History of Climate Change: 1990-1998
The IPCC released its first assessment report in 1990, concluding that temperatures had risen by 0.3-0.6°C in the last 100 years, and warned that humanity’s actions were definitely contributing to the trend. The report played a major role in the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro two years later. The Convention’s chief objective was that of “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
The IPCC released its second report in 1995, and stated definitively that human activity was behind discernible climate change. Then, in 1997 the landmark Kyoto Protocol was agreed, with developed nations pledging to reduce their emissions by 5% by 2008-2012.
A year later, strong El Nino conditions, along with persistent global warming, produce the warmest year on record, with the average global temperature rising by 0.52°C over the 1961-90 baseline figure.