Bright blue sky over dry field.

Kebimbangan Iklim selama Lima Puluh Tahun

SYDNEY – Pada bulan November 1965, Presiden Amerika Serikat Lyndon B. Johnson menerima laporan pemerintah pertama yang memperingatkan bahaya yang diakibatkan oleh pembakaran bahan bakar fosil dalam jumlah besar. Lima puluh tahun termasuk waktu yang lama dalam politik, sehingga sungguh menakjubkan betapa sedikitnya upaya yang dilakukan sejak saat itu untuk mengatasi ancaman, dengan tetap menjalankan business as usual.

Dengan uraian yang prediktif, komite penasihat ilmiah Presiden Johnson memperingatkan bahwa pelepasan karbon dioksida ke atmosfer akan menyebabkan kenaikan suhu global yang lebih tinggi, lapisan es mencair dan permukaan air laut meningkat pesat. “Manusia tanpa disadari melakukan eksperimen geofisika secara besar-besaran,” para ilmuwan memperingatkan. “Selama beberapa generasi manusia membakar bahan bakar fosil yang secara perlahan bertumpuk di bumi selama 500 juta tahun terakhir…perubahan-perubahan iklim yang dihasilkan oleh kenaikan kadar karbon dioksida akan berbahaya dari sudut pandang manusia.”

Ramalan komite ini tidak mengejutkan; keberadaan efek gas rumah kaca telah dikenal dalam ilmu pengetahuan sejak fisikawan Perancis Joseph Fourier mengemukakan pada tahun 1824 bahwa atmosfer bumi berfungsi sebagai insulator yang membatasi penghantaran panas. Dan pada tahun 1859, fisikawan Irlandia John Tyndall dilakukan percobaan laboratorium yang menunjukkan kekuatan pemanasan karbon dioksida yang kemudian mengarahkan fisikawan Swedia dan penerima Nobel, Svante Arrhenius, untuk memprediksi bahwa pembakaran batubara akan menghangatkan bumi – satu hal yang ia pandang sebagai potensi perkembangan yang positif.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/JmhPaXi/id;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now