A 53-year-old journal warned us about coal-related climate change
This journal was recently accidentally recovered by engineer Chris Cherry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
A research article published in Mining Congress Journal in August 1966 warned us about the adverse effects of coal on the environment.
The paper was written by James Garvey, Bituminous Coal Research Inc., a company that developed pollution control equipment. He discussed the state of pollutants and their regulation in the coal industry at the time.
The journal states that "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."
"Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London,” it added.
The article is followed by a 'Discussion' by James R. Jones, Combustion Engineer for Peabody Coal Co., who suggested “The coal industry is not alone in receiving the brunt of restrictive limitations. Process emissions of all kinds are under scrutiny – odours, gases, vapours, particulates, etc.”
While concluding the discussion, he mentions that the “Situation is Urgent”, and, “There is a matter of urgency being placed on this subject of air pollution control. We are in favour of cleaning up our air. Everyone can point to examples in his own comment where something should be done. Our aim, however, is to have a control that does not precede the technical knowledge for compliance. We are, in effect, “buying time”. Removal of sulfur from coal and SO2 from flue gases are just two of these.”
Earlier, reports suggest that many companies including Exxon Mobil and Shell were aware of the damages caused by coal. Another report suggests that the US president, Lyndon Johnson, was warned about climate change 50 years ago. A newspaper from 1912 also predicted the consequences of coal.
This journal was recently accidentally recovered by engineer Chris Cherry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. It was found in a stack of vintage journals that was about to be discarded.