New climate change report from the IPCC issues ‘code red for humanity’
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases a new and devastating report on the danger climate change has on the world.
USA TODAY, Associated Press
The claim: An article from 1912 warned coal consumption can have a negative impact on climate
A viral image of a 1912 newspaper clip circulating on social media claims scientists have known for more than a century that coal consumption can have a negative effect on climate.
The image of the newspaper article, shared to Facebook on Aug. 12 by the page Historic Photographs, is titled, “Coal Consumption Affecting Climate,” and it says the coal burned in furnaces around the world is causing an effect that “may be considerable in a few centuries.” It’s dated Aug. 14, 1912.
The same photo was shared to Twitter on Aug. 12 in a tweet with more than 16,000 likes, with the caption, “Climate change prediction from 1912.” In the replies, some were skeptical about the authenticity of the article.
But the article in question is authentic, originally published more than 100 years ago.
And it has proven true, as today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says, “the burning of coal, natural gas and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse emissions.”
USA TODAY reached out to the poster for comment, and they noted Snopes had previously identified the clipping as legitimate.
Fact check: Posts falsely claim 95% of energy for charging electric cars comes from coal
Article is authentic
The text in the article originates from a March 1912 report in the magazine Popular Mechanics titled, “Remarkable Weather of 1911: The Effect of the Combustion of Coal on the Climate – What Scientists Predict for the Future.”
The same phrasing was published on Aug. 14, 1912, in the New Zealand newspaper Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, which is the publication shown in the viral image. Prior to that, it appeared in The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, an Australian newspaper, on July 17, 1912.
“The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year,” the article reads. “When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.”
Reports about coal burning and its effect on the atmosphere date back to the 1800s, according to The New York Times.
In an April 1896 paper titled, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground,” Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, suggested a link between carbon dioxide levels and temperature.
Our rating: True
The claim that an article from 1912 warned coal consumption can have a negative impact on climate is TRUE, based on our research. The article first appeared in Popular Mechanics in March 1912, then was republished in other newspapers that same year.
Our fact-check sources:
- Popular Mechanics, March 1912, Remarkable Weather of 1911
- The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, July 17, 1912, Coal Consumption Affecting Climate
- Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette, Aug. 12, 1912, Coal Consumption Affecting Climate
- The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2016, Coverage of Coal’s Link to Global Warming, in 1912
- Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, April 1896, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground
- Snopes, Oct. 18, 2016, Did a 1912 Newspaper Article Predict Global Warming?
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app, or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
Credit: Source link