通往哥本哈根的科学之路

柏林——1859年6月10日,在查尔斯·达尔文的著作《物种起源》问世6个月前,物理学家约翰·廷德尔在伦敦皇家学会进行了一系列不同寻常的实验演示。演示会由阿尔贝亲王亲自主持。即便如此,无论是阿尔贝亲王、廷德尔还是台下那些受人景仰的听众都不可能预料到150年后这次实验的结果将在多大程度上主宰世界。

这个月,来自世界各地的数千人,包括众多国家首脑将汇集哥本哈根,力求达成大幅削减二氧化碳这种无色无味气体大气排放的相关协议。尽管某些大国在会议召开前试图降低人们对于成果的期望值,但这次会议仍然被誉为二战结束后最重要的会议。廷德尔实验是这次会议的核心议题。

但廷德尔并非始作俑者,真正的始作俑者是法国天才约瑟夫·傅立叶。出身孤儿的傅立叶在修道士的教育下长大,18岁就当上教授,在回国开始科研生涯前曾担任拿破仑的埃及总督。1824年,傅立叶发现了我们星球的气候为何如此温暖——比简单计算能量平衡所得出的结果要高出好几十度。太阳光带来热能,而地球则将热能反射回太空——但能量得失的数据并不平衡。傅立叶意识到大气中的某种气体能够捕获热能。他把自己的发现称为 l’effet de serre ,也就是温室效应。

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