Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the present day. At the beginning the question: What do we actually know about the change? A few weeks later, shortly after the Climate Summit in Madrid at the beginning of December, the year 2020 will begin. Then the rules of the Paris Climate Agreement will take effect, another opportunity to turn the wheel around.
Moments like these have been around for a long time but almost nothing has been done in the climate system so far. Rather, global change is accelerating further. To deal with it is one of the biggest challenges of the present.
How do we live when it gets hotter?
What do we even know about climate change? And if we draw the necessary conclusions from the knowledge. Like no other moment in recent history, autumn shows 37 years ago what went wrong in tackling the global crisis.
On 12 November 1982, MB Glaser, the environmental manager of Exxon Mobil, signed a memo addressed to the management of the oil company.
Under the slogan “CO2, greenhouse effect”, it presented how the in-house experts see “the topic, which is receiving increasing attention in the scientific and public press”.
The memo disappeared quickly in the drawer. The content was apparently too hot for those responsible.
Amazingly accurate Climate forecasts
From preindustrial 280 to 340 ppm (parts per million air molecules), the carbon dioxide concentration had already increased, it said in the report, and the Exxon scientists formulated for everyone understand the burning of more fossil fuels, i.e. also Exxon petroleum, and the deforestation of rainforests.
The researchers also anticipated what that meant for the future: “Our best estimate has shown that doubling the current carbon dioxide concentration could increase the global temperature by about 1.3 to 3.1 degrees”.
The carbon dioxide concentration is now around 410 ppm, the planet has been heated by almost a degree since industrialization. Exxon’s long-term forecast, more than three degrees by 2080 – is also surprisingly in line with current figures from the intergovernmental and Nobel Peace Prize-winning IPCC. This was of course only six years later founded.