Isaac Asimov: Warning of Greenhouse Effect in 1977

January 6, 2012

A lot of people have seen Science Fiction giant and chemist Isaac Asimov’s video talk from 1989 ( posted below the fold here) – but he was talking about climate change and sea level rise much earlier – as this 1977 radio interview shows.

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14 Responses to “Isaac Asimov: Warning of Greenhouse Effect in 1977”

  1. neilrieck Says:

    Doctor Isaac Asimov (not an honorary degree).

    You were once known as “the great explainer” and we really wish you were still alive today today to lead humanity out of the darkness. Your passing in 1992 left a huge intellectual hole in our society. The sci-fi world took a huge hit as well.

    Neil

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/n.rieck/Asimov-suggested-reading-order.html


  2. I’m fairly certain the interviewer is David Suzuki, so I suspect the radio interview was on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show Quirks and Quarks. Of course Dr. Suzuki is constantly under fire from denialists for his attempts to educate and energize people to take action on climate change.

  3. sailrick Says:

    “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always
    has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    Isaac Azimov

    • neilrieck Says:

      Starting in the 1970’s and mainly due to Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”, the title of “the great science explainer” slowly shifted from Isaac Asimov to Carl Sagan. Now maybe it was partly due to polarizing politics, religion and politics (eg. Jerry Falwell), or uber-conservative broadcasters like FOX, but there was almost no mention of Asimov’s death in 1992 and only slightly more attention paid to Sagan’s death in 1996. Contrast these two events with the death of Ronald Regan in 2004 then you begin to realize what North American people value.

      Food for thought: Lisa Randal’s recent book states that the main reason for shutting down the “Superconducting Super Collider” in 1993 was that the US Congress didn’t want to continue funding it (12 billion) while also bailing out the S&L banks (estimates at over 100 billion). So once again, financial hijinks diverted western society’s path. At that same time, Europe continued plans to convert the LEP into the LHC even though the fall of the Berlin Wall triggered the costly reintegration of poor East Germany with rich West Germany. What’s the point of this comparison? It looks like North Americans no longer care about big science even though this knowledge is the basis for all future technological developments. Is it any wonder why some people don’t believe we ever went to the moon? No, because it would be politically impossible to do it today (unless there was a perceived threat that your cold-war enemy might make you look bad to the rest of the world).

  4. Peter Mizla Says:

    35 years ago Asimov was way ahead of his time- he took an oblique scientific reality- not researched much- and like a clairvoyant was almost totally accurate.

  5. astrostevo Says:

    My alltime favourite SF and science author. Gem of a find here Greenman – thanks.

    I only wish Isaac Asimov – & Carl Sagan – were still around today. Sigh.

  6. astrostevo Says:

    Another possibly relevant Asimov quote :

    “The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own “national security” to be paramount above all other considerations. There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.”
    – Isaac Asimov, Pages 419-421, ,‘ I Asimov : A memoir’, Bantam Books, 1995.

    • neilrieck Says:

      Wisdom in statements like this never cease to amaze. Humanity will not be able to solve “our” current climate crisis until we adopt philosophies like this one.


  7. Not to nitpick but Asimov was actually a chemist, not a physicist. He had a Ph.D. in bio-organic chemistry from Columbia. I actually worked in the same lab space in Havemeyer Hall many many years later.

  8. prokaryotes Says:

    Methane release and Runaway Climate Change

    http://climateforce.net/2012/01/09/methane-release-and-runaway-climate-change/

    ps. There is a CBS video from decades ago with Walter Cronkite and his stark waring about global warming ( just in case you looking for more material…) http://www.videosurf.com/videos/Global+Warming?visual_search=10540

  9. prokaryotes Says:

    If you google “torrent + our angry earth” you can get the audio book of Isaac Asimov + Frederick Pohl’s scientific book about global warming. (out of print)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Angry_Earth


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