New Zealand newspaper runs climate change story, August 14, 1912.
Popular Mechanics explained that spewing CO2 into the air "tends to... raise its temperature."
On August 14, 1912, a New Zealand newspaper’s “science notes and news” section ran a blurb headlined, “Coal consumption affecting climate.” An Australian paper ran the same headline and blurb the previous month.
As the full clipping read (emphasis added), “The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.”
The fact-checking website Snopes.com verified the authenticity of those clippings and traced the story to the caption in a lengthy article in the March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics on “The effect of the combustion of coal on the climate — what scientists predict for the future.”
Illustration and caption on coal and climate change from March 1912 Popular Mechanics.
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