Axel Barrett History

History of Climate Change and Global Warming

Here’s an attempt to give a short history and to list all the inventions and milestones that, directly and indirectly, played their part in climate change and global warming.

3500 BC

Sumerians invent the wheel.

3000 BC

Sumerians invent money; the Shekel.

1st Century BC & AD

Vitruvius invents the term “AeolisPila”, the ball of Aeolus (Greek god of air and wind).

Heron of Alexandria (Egypt) describes a steam-powered device with rotating parts called an aeolipile (Hero engine), considered the first steam engine.

900 AD

Chinese invent gun powder.

1000 AD

Chinese invent the gun.


The Treaty of London is the starting point for the first “global” power covering most regions of the world and imposing a new world order based on trade; the Empire on which the sun never sets.


Establishment of the first important stock exchange in Amsterdam.


British ironmonger Thomas Newcomen invents the first widely used steam engine starting Industrial Revolution and industrial scale use of coal.


Start of industrial revolution, a period of transition in the production method from hand production (manufacture and artisanat) to machine production (automation). Industrial revolution starts with textiles industry.


First steam-powered automobile was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot.


Franco-Swiss inventor Isaac de Rivaz invents first internal combustion engine called the de Rivaz Engine.


French physicist Joseph Fourier describes the Earth’s natural “greenhouse effect”.


Hungarian priest Ányos Jedlik builds the first car with electric engine.

Electric cars became popular end of 19th and beginning of 20th until technical developments and mass production of gasoline vehicles.


Karl Benz builds the first “production” vehicle considered as the first true automobile.


The first use of the name ‘El Niño’ to describe a climatic phenomenon appeared in South America. The term did not mean what it does today.


Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius concludes that industrial-age coal burning will increase natural greenhouse effect.


First mass-produced electric vehicles appeared in America.


Ford Motor Company mass produces the first automobile on a moving assembly line.


The Southern Oscillation was named “El Nino” in 1924 and its discovery can be traced back to colonial attempts to forecast the Indian monsoon in the late-nineteenth century.


Term “Greenhouse Effect” is invented.


British engineer Guy Callendar says temperatures had risen over the previous century, CO2 concentrations had increased over the same period and that both were related.


US oceanographer Roger Revelle and chemist Hans Suess say that seawater will not absorb all the additional CO2 entering the atmosphere.


Monitoring station is established by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Hawai.


Global Cooling movement. Earth cooled down between 1940-1970 due to boom in aerosol pollutants which reflected sunlight away from earth.


US scientist Wallace Broecker invents the term “global warming”.


First developments towards trading of emission certificates based on the “offset-mechanism” taken up in Clean Air Act.


The Montreal Protocol is agreed, restricting chemicals that damage the ozone layer.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established under the UN to provide scientific views on climate change and its political and economical impact.


UK PM Margaret Thatcher warns in UN speech that “We are seeing a vast increase in the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere… The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto.”


The international community began the process to tackle GHG emissions when 160 countries agreed on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro.


Toyota launches the “Prius”, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle.


The Kyoto Protocol was agreed. Developed nations pledge to reduce emissions by an average of 5% by the period 2008. Emission trading is established.


The Kyoto Protocol becomes international law for signatories.


Al Gore launch his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”.


First Tesla Roadsters are delivered to customers. The Roadster was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells.


China overtakes the US as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter.


Emails from a server belonging to the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit are released and published revealing a conspiracy referred to as the “ClimateGate” affair.


Paris Agreement are signed, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance.


Greta Thunberg starts her “school strike for climate”.


Multi-city school “strike for climate” actions.


Pandemic referred to as the “Corona” or “Covid19” virus caused massive confinement measures in many countries leading to a reduction of more than 50% of CO2 production in these countries; the most impactful measure that involuntarily reduced CO2 production.


  • Relation between Global warming and climate change.
  • Is there global warming, global cooling or none?
  • What is the cause of climate change and global warming: human activity, natural cycle, solar cycle or combination?
  • Can the process be slowed down, stopped or reverted?
  • What action should be taken to stop or slow down climate change and / or global warming?
  • Is fight for global warming a genuine scientific concern to improve living conditions for future generations or conspiracy to control ressources or impose economic vision / agenda.


A brief history of climate change

Greenhouse effect


Electric car

The Discovery of ENSO

Emissions trading

Stock Exchange

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