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Climate change madness: The fate of the planet now depends on Kickstarter

Every footnote tells a story. But a nugget in the minutes of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) Working Group on Oceanography, dated March 2, 1956, marks the beginning of a particularly important tale.

In the IGY meeting, two U.S. scientists, Roger Revelle and Hans Suess, pushed for government funding to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's ocean and atmosphere. Their goal: "a clearer understanding of the probable climatic effects of the predicted great industrial production of carbon-dioxide over the next 50 years."

That's right: Way back in the 1950s scientists were already focused on gathering data that would help them test the theory that human-caused production of CO2 was likely to cause climate change.

Revelle and Seuss were successful in their recommendation. The upshot of the meeting: A young post-doctoral student at CalTech, Charles Keeling, received enough funds to further his passion for measuring CO2. Keeling, according to the New York Times, was "the first person in the world to develop an accurate technique for measuring carbon dioxide in the air."

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