I just listened to a podcast by climate scientist Murry Salby to the Sydney Institute entitled “Global Emission of Carbon Dioxide: The Contribution from Natural Sources.”
During question time toward the end of the recording (55min 15sec) he says:
Just a historical note, the guy who started this was a Swedish chemist whose lab I used to work at Stockholm by the name of Arrhenius. He won the Nobel Prize for chemistry and for his understanding of the temperature dependence of chemical reactions he got the Nobel Prize. He got into this and he started the whole global warming thing because he was actually trying to explain ice ages and he saw CO2 varied and temperature varied and he figured maybe CO2 caused the Ice Age. Now I don’t think anyone believes that anymore …
In other words, the whole idea of that global warming is caused by CO2 came out of the need to explain what caused the Ice Age—a mystery that still eludes modern scientists.
In the Wikipedia entry on Arrhenius it says:
He was the first person to predict that emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other combustion processes would cause global warming. Arrhenius clearly believed that a warmer world would be a positive change. From that, the hot-house theory gained more attention. ….
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