Climatology was once a small and often overlooked branch of science. But important discoveries made as early as the 19th century have contributed to what is the most important field of scientific study in the world today. Listed below are some key dates in climate change history.
The 3 1/2-hr. conference call brought together nearly two dozen of the nation's best minds on the subject of air quality -- and many of them were steamed. As the scientists of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, they are rarely overruled on their recommendations about how the government should react to the latest and best research on the dangers of dirty air. Seven months ago, they warned the EPA in a letter that unless it made at least modest reductions in the amount of airborne soot, thousands of Americans would die prematurely each year. But last December, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, citing "the best available science," ignored their counsel. On the phone call last week, an exasperated Dr. James Crapo, professor of medicine at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center, told his fellow scientists, "We need to write another letter and this time take a stronger stand."
In a happy harmonic convergence, Groundhog Day falls only two days after the State of the Union Address this year. Some days, I'd feel better with Punxsutawney Phil in the Oval Office -- at least he doesn't lie about the weather. The Bush administration is now trying to stop NASA's top climate scientist from speaking out on the need for prompt action on global warming. As far as we know, the groundhog isn't suppressing anyone, he just calls it as he sees it.