Publication Title

Washington Journal of Environmental Law and Policy


politics, science

Document Type



Science never has been the obstacle to the recognition of climate change. Since Arhennius did his original calculations in 1896, the scientific world was quite aware of the prospect that industrial-age levels of carbon dioxide pollution would result in increasing global temperatures and acidification of the world’s oceans. The brilliant—and striking—graphical display that we know today as the Keeling Curve started in 1957, and year after year it records the relentless upward march of these atmospheric pollutant loadings.

Through the years, necessarily, a vast number of scientific warnings, publications, findings, and predictions would be offered to the public at large, urging action to combat climate change. The pages in this journal devoted to the issue of ocean acidification are but the latest manifestation of this relentless march of science towards more understanding and deeper appreciation of the gravity of these issues.

In contrast to the slow (if erratic) march of science, the political response to climate change—particularly in the United States—has been enthusiastically absent. Even the sufferers from this political nullification policy have tipped their hats, conceding an insidious effectiveness of “just say no” tactics. There is an eerie concordance of interest between the corporate takeover of Washington, D.C. by lobbyists and the conspicuous inaction on climate change. This political denial of climate change in Washington, D.C., has endured for close to thirty years.



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