Article

The Development of the Concept of Dangerous Anthropogenic Climate Change

Spencer Weart

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199566600.003.0005

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

The Development of the Concept of Dangerous Anthropogenic Climate Change

Preview

From ancient times people suspected that over the course of centuries human activity could change the climate of a territory. Meanwhile the discovery of ice ages in the distant past proved that climate could change all by itself, perhaps even globally, with momentous consequences for human life. It seemed obvious that such massive changes could only be caused by forces vastly beyond anything that humanity could command. This article examines different aspects of climate change as an evolving threat to humanity in its anthropogenic contexts. It also explains the idea of climate change began to worry some people in the 1930s. People had also started to realize that the human population and industry were increasing exponentially. It was in the early 1970s that the rise of environmentalism accompanied public doubts about the benefits of human activity for the planet.

Keywords: anthropogenic climate change; global warming; global temperature; climate science; green house effect

Article.  7834 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Public Administration

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