30 Years Later: When Global Warming First Headlined News Around The World

30 Years Later: When Global Warming First Headlined News Around the World

Sometimes, it feels as if the eighties were only ten-years ago; where the music was alive and the fashion was bolder than that of today’s cat walks. But of deeper, darker parts of the eighties that made the decade shrivel in fear and curiosity made the eighties sort of like a love-hate relationship between two friends. There was the Space Shuttle Challenger, which exploded shortly after lift-off. There was the murder of singer, songwriter, former Beatle John Lennon. The AIDS Virus was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Ronald Reagan announced defense plan called “Star Wars.” Michael Jackson thrilled us all with “Thriller.” Two bodyguards assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. And then there was the time where Global Warming, in 1988 – not known to many then – broke the news around the world, where, at first, a tinkle of news coverage from around the world covered basic hypothesis that carbon dioxide emitted by fuel burning could warm the planet’s climate, with record heat and fires from the Amazon rain forest to Yellowstone National Park.

At first, of course, the global concerns about deforestation, acid rain, and damage to the ozone layer (from certain synthetic chemicals), global warming went from being an esoteric news item, to appearing on the front pages of newspapers, as well as the leading headlines on major news networks. James Hansen (1941), a NASA climate scientist, on June 23, told a US Senate committee that “human-produced greenhouse gases were measurably heating the climate.”

During that summer, scientists and diplomats gathered in Canada for the Toronto Conference On The Changing Atmosphere. They had recommended that global reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed that year, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to advise the world’s nations on climate risks and responses.

And yet, exactly 30 years later, our world is still under the pressure of climate change; and we often wonder: will it ever end?

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