Coal Knew Too: Explosive Report Shows Industry Was Aware of Climate Threat as Far Back as 1966

September 10, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it. 

The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday.

“It wasn’t just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago,” tweeted HuffPost editor Kate Sheppard.

The story uses a discovery by Chris Cherry, professor of civil engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to show industry foreknowledge of the ramifications of extractive technologies over 50 years ago. Cherry found the evidence in a 1966 copy of the Mining Congress Journal he was given by his father-in-law. 

In the journal, James R. Garvey, president of now-defunct research firm Bituminous Coal Research Inc., describes the future consequences of coal.

“There is evidence that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing rapidly as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels,” Garvey wrote. “If the future rate of increase continues as it is at the present, it has been predicted that, because the CO2 envelope reduces radiation, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase and that vast changes in the climates of the earth will result.”