Gale Christianson, Greenhouse. NY: Walker and Company, 1999.


Joseph Fourier in the 1820's were among the earliest speculations on changes in the atmosphere due to heat trapping gas exhaust from combustion.


"This is the sort of evidence that has lead at least some scientists to conclude that the signature of the increasing green house effect is already here -- not just something calculated for the 21st century, but here now."

Carl Sagan January, 1990.


Greenhouse: The 200-year Story of Global Warming

Gale E. Christianson    (NYC, NY: Walker & Co., 1999)

book"it is we who deceive ourselves"     Jean Jacques Rousseau


Part One       The Time Travellers

H.G. Wells: “The past is but the beginning of a beginning and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn”

Part Two       The World Eaters

Herman Melville, “All my means are sane; my motive and my object mad.”

Part Three    “The Dwellers in the Crystal Palace”

Walter Lippmann: “...we are involved in the world’s problems.”


ivy line


Part One

1          The Guillotine and the Bell Jar                            
2          The Cryptic Moth                 
3          “Endless and as Nothing”

Part Two       The World Eaters

4          Quest for the Black Diamond  
5           Cleopatra’s Needles    
6          Vulcan’s Anvil                      
7          The Phantom of the Open Hearth          
8          “The Dynamo and the Virgin”   

Part Three    “The Dwellers in the Crystal Palace”

9          Native Son   
10       “Never A Man”          
11       Threshold    
12       A Tap on the Shoulder       
13       Pendulum                
14       A Death in the Amazon
15       The Climatic Flywheel       
16       Cassandra’s Listeners     
17       Signs & Portents                
18       Scenarios    
19       Kyoto 

ivy line


Hints that something is amiss
Edith's checkerspot butterfly's range extended north; coral reefs bleaching worldwide.


carbon 13 isotopes in marine sediments are consistent with a major gas release
acts as a tracer of warmer ocean temperatures and a release of methane (from a cold trap)


17-43% loss of wetlands (EPA) due to a 2 foot sea level rise.


Political agreements to reduce carbon dioxide pollution

Kyoto Protocol (1997): Nation's C02 emissions had been proposed to be cut back (reduced):
              USA 7% reduction below 1990 levels
              Japan 6% reduction
              EUC 8% reduction

How: Set an energy course for decades to come.
… coal fired plants converted to natural gas,
… fuel efficient automobiles,
… ending fossil fuel subsidies that keep price of oil and coal artificially low!

Kyoto negotiations: "immensely important turning point." Adams (NRDC)

"historic landmark in environmental protection."

Clapp (NET)

"we are dancers in the ring, unable to see the beginning the middle or the end."

Eleven major US corporations: at its inception joined the Pew Center for Global Change


Whirlpool, 3M, Toyota, Sunoco, United Technologies, Lockheed-Martin
agreeing that:

"enough is known of the scientific and environmental impacts of climate change for us to take actions to address the implement market-based mechanisms were adopted in principle." i.e. saving and replanting forests. "no panacea"–is necessary–but not sufficient–cleaner technology and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels [gas, oil, coal].

Kazakhstan and Argentina have agreed voluntarily to cut emissions.

We need
financial incentives, technological research, demonstration projects at cutting greenhouse gas emissions

"...polls show that up to two-thirds of the voting public are deeply concerned about the future of the environment."


Earth rise

"The Earth seems to have developed a fever…"

Henry Pollack, University of Michigan, physicist.



Recent IPCC findings: Third Assessment | Fourth assessment | Fifth Assessment

Archer | Archer conclusion | Christianson | Crowley | Gelbspan | James Hansen, 04 : Hansen 06 | McKibben| Musil | Schmidt | Weart | Wigley