Clair C. Patterson likely saves the world twice in the 20th Century and most folks don’t know who he was. Patterson was the scientist who fought big business in America and political allies in the 1950s and 1960s and proved that lead poisoning in the atmosphere stemmed primarily from auto fumes, i.e. Ethel or leaded gasoline.
By the 1950s Patterson had noted through his research that people on planet earth were already suffering and dying from increased atmospheric lead poisoning starting in the 1920s when the Ethel (lead) was first added regularly to fuels to reduce knocks.
Lead in U.S. gasoline was banned in the 1970s thanks to Clair Patterson’s tireless campaigning. The subsequent banning of lead in fuels in other countries around the globe in the following year and decades has saved untold thousands of lives--and possibly helped millions to avoid suffering unnecessarily due to man-made lead in the atmosphere.
In fighting for the health of millions, the brilliant scientist Patterson, who discovered the age of the earth in the 1950s, was one of the first to study glaciers to interpret climate change in the 20th century.
Interestingly, Clair Patterson’s other research also led scientists to warn of the global dangers of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were also banned in the U.S. 1970s and subsequently around the world starting in the mid 1980s. CFCs were identified as the primary culprit behind the depletion of the Ozone in the world’s atmosphere.
Until the 1970s refrigeration technologies & related industries around the planet earth had been expanding the usage of CFCs for decades.
AFTER BEING SAVED TWICE—WHAT NOW?
With the passing of Clair Patterson at the end of the last millennium, our planet has needed new scientific heroes.
One of the more important modern heroes, i.e. walking in the footsteps of the forgotten Clair Patterson, has been Dr. James Hansen. Dr. Hansen first spoke to Congress in 1987 about the threat of global warming to our’ and future generations here on earth.
According to the report and interviews on Democracy Now this past Friday, called “Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming”, http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/21/censoring_science_inside_the_political_attack
Dr. Hansen’s reports for the U.S. science agencies have been censored many times in the past two decades. For example, this occurred around 1990 under the George Herbert Walker Bush administration and then again in this very decade through the antics and weak cover-ups of scientific facts and data analyses by the current George W. Bush administration.
Despite his battles with both NASA, Karl Rove, and others in the Bush administrations who have tried to shut him up, Dr. Hansen has time and again made his voice and the finding of the research from the Goddard Instituted public and well-circulated.
For example, a NASA report last spring 2007 clearly stated the findings of empirical studies and modeling trumpeting the concern for the adverse role that man-made climate change was having on atmospheric warming: “NASA and Columbia University Earth Institute research finds that human-made greenhouse gases have brought the Earth's climate close to critical tipping points, with potentially dangerous consequences for the planet.”
WILL SCIENTIFIC HEROES WIN OUT—OR BAD POLITICAL SPIN?
In short, despite 7-8 years of trying to squelch the facts, the light of truth is shining from NASA and other scientific communities around the world, global warming is a worse threat than ever.
Not since man-made CFCs and man-made lead products threatened the globe through the 1980s has the world faced a greater threat.