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  • Writer's pictureMartin Zhao

Climate Change’s Uncovered Past

There's no doubt that climate change has become a big topic in the past decades. Climate change threatens people with food and water scarcity, increased flooding, extreme heat, disease, and economic loss. Human migration and conflict can be a result. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. In fact, the climate change problem was first brought up by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Svante calculated the effect of a doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide to be an increase in surface temperatures of 5–6 degrees Celsius. This 1902 article attributes a theory that coal combustion could eventually lead to human extinction.

Some big companies that earned profits from natural resources realized the environmental change during the 1950s, but they decided to withhold the truth. Exxon became aware of climate change as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation by InsideClimate News. ExxonMobil refused to spread this information with the public and even went as far as to spend billions hiding the facts and spreading misinformation. An approach similar to those seen in the tobacco wars of the 20th century. Both industries were well aware that their products wouldn’t stay profitable once the world was enlightened of the risks, therefore leading to the development of strategies on how to communicate with the public and how to navigate it.

That's the tragedy humanity faced in the 20th century, people were not given the right information and people were not able to find the right information. Fortunately, with the development of science, technology, and good media, people have several media outlets to get the latest, factual, trustable, information. This has led to greater change and movements for humanity and its safety and wellbeing.

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