3.3 Climate Change in Congressional Hearings: The Early Years

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 2:45 PM
Room 231/232 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Bradford Johnson, Hill Heat, Washington, DC

A review of Congressional hearings and climate policy reports from 1950 to 1980 finds that scientists first brought to policymakers the existential threat posed by fossil-fuel pollution of the climate in the 1950s. The cycle of scientific mobilization and pushback from industry and industry-friendly actors that continues today began in the 1960s. The existence of this cycle helps explain why contemporary accounts of the history of climate policy incorrectly claim that the scientific consensus and policy mobilization on global warming began in the 1980s or later. Changes in the prevailing political climate and in the behavior of the global climate are also examined.
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