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The Long and Warming Road
1800: At the dawn of the industrial revolution, planet's CO2 concentration is around 280 ppm—38% lower than today.
1896: Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius publishes first study tying CO2 emissions to fossil fuels.
1937: University of Wisconsin geographer Glenn Trewartha helps coin the term "greenhouse effect."
1938: English engineer G.S. Callendar asserts that CO2 increases are warming the planet, suggests this will make cold areas more habitable.
1958: Scientists begin to track CO2 levels and soon observe increases. First official studies show level at 315 ppm.
1960: Soviet Union publishes essay titled "Man Versus Climate" that advocates deliberate planet heating to unthaw Arctic and boost farm output.
April 22, 1970: First Earth Day. US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) created 5 months later.
1975: National Academy of Sciences report warns of "serious worldwide cooling" in the next 100 years, sparking fears of new ice age.
July 1981: A young US representative from Tennessee, Albert Gore Jr., organizes climate change hearing on Capitol Hill. Media attendance sparse.
1985: Scientists at Villach conference in Austria reach consensus that global warming is happening and international treaties needed to curb emissions.
1988: UN-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established to assess state of knowledge on climate change.
1989: National Association of Manufacturers along with oil and auto companies form Global Climate Coalition to fight carbon restrictions.
1992: At Rio Earth Summit, US blocks calls for serious action; President George H.W. Bush declares, "The American way of life is not negotiable."
1995: UN-led international climate negotiations begin.
December 11, 1997: First global climate treaty, Kyoto Protocol, adopted.
November 12, 1998: President Bill Clinton signs the Kyoto Protocol, a symbolic gesture; Senate has already rejected it 95-to-0.
March 2001: President George W. Bush withdraws US from Kyoto treaty.
2001: Hottest year on record.
July 28, 2003: US Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) says on Senate floor that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
Summer 2003: Heat wave hits Europe; 35,000 die.
Continued below . . .
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