The fact that the earth's atmosphere acts to warm the planet and that carbon dioxide plays a role in that was first hypothesized by French mathematician Joseph Fourier 200 years ago.
At the turn of the 20th Century, a Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927), calculated that the burning of fossil fuels could one day lead to the warming of the planet. Other scientists dismissed the idea but by the 1950’s it was confirmed through measurments taken on Mauna Lua in Hawaii by Charles David Keeling.
Keeling's measurements produced the now famous Keeling curve. Further measurements have been made ever since with increasing accuracy. You can see the current state of the curve as well as this years readings for yourself.
Shortly after Keeling published his findings President Lyndon Johnson gave the first address to congress that mentioned climate change. "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels."
Nearly 20 years ago, in June 1988 Dr. James Hansen, a leading scientist with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies,testified before congress that global warming had already begun. He told the Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that a warming trend he identified, was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.
Evidence that his testimony was taken seriously by then President George H. W. Bush comes from a recently declassified 1989 memorandum presidential advisers states:
“If climate change within the range of current predictions (1.5 to 4.5 degrees centigrade by the middle of next century) actually occurs, the consequences for every nation and every aspect of human activity will be profound.“
So why was this document was classified “ Confidential” and kept hidden until now?
Climate change deniers often make the argument that science was predicting a global cooling back in the 1970's. Actually that's not true either. The number of peer reviewed articles on climate that appeared in the period from 1965 to 1979 are overwhelmingly of the opinion the planet is warming - 44 versus just 7 that argued the planet was cooling.
That NOAA data may soon be taken off line by the Trump Administration, though it was paid for with your tax dollars and belongs to you.