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First Life

The earth is where human life began, starting as bacteria and evolving into homo sapiens. It is stunningly beautiful and ideally suited to human life. Planets such as this are rare. After 2 billion years homo sapien was a conscious, intelligent and sentient species living in harmony with nature.

When humans lived as hunter-gatherers they took what nature provided. Eventually agritulture became the dominant way of acquiring food. There were two major consequences of this: human diets were less healthy because the variety of foods was smaller and a large part of the population began other activities: war, slavery, power, dominace, etc.

After over two millenia mechanical means were used that required power, either human, animal or water. However, with the invention of the steam engine the use of fossil fuels expanded and was adopted for many uses eventually including motor cars and the generation of electric power. In 1829 Joseph Fourier described the generation of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and its light refkecting properties and in 1959 Edward Teller (see below) pointed out the dangers of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The fuel companies did good research and confirmed this, but down-played and hid the results of their research.

The use of fossil fuels grew rapidly as is shown in Figure 1 below. The extra carbon dioxide trapped a greater part of the heat resulting from sunlight and the temperature of the atmosphere, the land and the oceans began to increase. By the time of Jim Hansen’s testimony to Congress in 1988 carbon dioxide was having a significant effect.

The great puzzle, which is the topic of this website, is why the use of carbon dioxide kept accelerating despite the knowledge that the earth was warming. The population as a whole did not understand what was happening, fuel suppliers wanted to continue making mmoney and the scientists were powerless to change behavior, or rather, did not adopt any methods that might attract enough attention to the problem.

By this time the weather was creating havoc with the climate (see the slide show below). However, the amount of carbon dioxide continued to grow until serious and permanent damage to the planet was done and efforts to limit use of fossel fuels met with limited success. Warning of catastrophic effects were given by scientists to no avail.

The topic of this website is why humans continued activities that could eventually destroy the earth.

Below: A selection of images from a few of the disasters that were either a direct result of warming or made worse by warming. Below that a typical forcast of the range of temperatures that might happen depending on the results of getting the planet back under control.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/opinion/exxon-climate-change.html

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