Bright blue sky over dry field.

Der Klimawandel: Fünfzig Jahre Zaudern

SYDNEY – Im November 1965 erhielt US-Präsident Lyndon B. Johnson den ersten Regierungsbericht, der vor den Gefahren durch das Verbrennen großer Mengen fossiler Brennstoffe warnte. Fünfzig Jahre sind eine lange Zeit in der Politik, daher ist es erstaunlich, wie wenig seither geschehen ist, um die Bedrohung abzuwehren, die damit einhergeht, dass man einfach so weitermacht wie immer.

Johnsons wissenschaftlicher Beraterausschuss warnte davor, dass durch die Emission von Kohlendioxid in die Atmosphäre die Erdtemperatur steigen würde, was wiederum Polarkappen zum Schmelzen und Meeresspiegel zum Steigen bringen würde. „Ohne es zu ahnen, führt der Mensch ein enormes geophysisches Experiment durch,” warnten die Wissenschaftler. Innerhalb weniger Generationen verbrennt er die fossilen Brennstoffe, die sich in der Erde langsam über die letzten 500 Millionen Jahre angesammelt haben… Die klimatischen Veränderungen, die durch den erhöhten CO2-Gehalt hervorgerufen werden könnten, können dem Menschen schaden.”

Der Weitblick des Ausschusses ist keineswegs überraschend, die Existenz des Treibhauseffekts ist der Wissenschaft bekannt, seit der französische Physiker Joseph Fourier 1824 entdeckte, dass die Erdatmosphäre als Isolator fungiert und Wärme speichert, die sonst entweichen würde. 1859 führte der irische Physiker John Tyndall Laborexperimente durch, die die wärmende Kraft von CO2 nachwiesen und den schwedischen Nobelpreisträger Svante Arrhenius dazu bewegten, vorherzusagen, dass das Verbrennen von Kohle die Erde wärmen würde - was er als potenziell positive Entwicklung ansah.

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