I think like a lot of things in the sciences global warming wasn’t exactly discovered by one person. Rather several people built on each other’s work, so it’s the type of thing that was discovered or validated as a result of many different researchers’ accumulated efforts. As early as 1899 Nils Eckholm, a Swedish meteorologist publicly held that burning coal would raise the earth’s temperature, but he saw this as a good thing, a means to prevent an Ice Age. In 1938, G.S. Callendar, a British steam engineer, presented a paper to the Royal Meteorological Society that argued CO2 emissions from human activity were causing a small rise in temperatures. In the 1950s geophysicist and geochemist Gilbert Plass also reiterated the idea of global warming, warning that it could bring damage. That same decade Roger Revelle, a geologist who gave himself the title of “granddaddy of global warming” worked with Hans Seuss to further confirm Plass’s calculations concerning temperature rise and carbon emissions. Despite all the work mentioned (and a lot more unmentioned) the media and government bodies seemed to mostly ignore global warming until scientist James Hansens’s 1988 testimony in front of the U.S. congress. If anyone should get credit for pushing global warming into the light it should probably be Hansen.
I agree with americalibre‘s assessment. Saying that one person discovered global warming is like saying that Al Gore invented the internet when in fact several universities started networking their computers before anyone decided to make the connections global. However, Al Gore still gets the credit for it because he pushed it to the forefront much like James Hansen pushed global warming to the forefront. However, we can’t forget all the pioneers who helped to shape the concept.
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