Not all anniversaries are to celebrate. Some, like the one we are going to mention below, only serve to remind us that Corporations and states often do not make the best decisions about what is desirable for human beings. and for the planet. They are even capable of hiding the damage that an activity can cause, just so as not to see its benefits reduced.
Seventy years ago, in 1954, a foundation sponsored by major American automobile companies funded an investigation that recognized the negative impact that the emission of CO2 due to human activities could cause in the atmosphere. Despite this information and being able to do something about it, the oil and coal companies and automobile companies that funded this research continued to act as if the problem did not exist.
The report on CO2 and the silence of those responsible
Air Pollution Foundation is the paradoxical name of the foundation created by 18 automobile companies, including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, which entrusted the research to scientist Charles David Keeling, and which was to revolve around pollution levels in the air. western United States. Keeling conducted his research over the course of a year, and the result was quite alarming.
However, it was not new news. Even before this study began, the foundation’s research director had already warned automobile corporations in a letter. The content was about the negative changes to the climate and the atmosphere in general, which was causing the uncontrolled emission of gases. This is the case of CO2, a direct product of the burning of fossil fuels derived from coal and oil.
Keeling’s research also served to launch CO measurements2 in the atmospherewhich began to be made regularly starting in 1958. The data at that time was barely a third of what exists today: 422 parts per million, 50% above what was before the beginning of the industrial era (around 1760).
Late decisions to save the environment
In later years, the automobile industry in general, and coal and oil companies in particular, Not only did they ignore the conclusions of Keeling’s investigation, they financed disinformation campaigns Worldwide. These campaigns continue today, especially when talking about climate change and global warming.
Also is true that There were some changes in the production of fuels (to eliminate the most harmful components for human and environmental health), and in the design of engines and filter systems to reduce gas emissions.
But the most important changes, such as putting a deadline on the production of cars with combustion engines, and investment in true alternatives such as electric cars, were the result of political and social pressure exerted on corporations by different governments and environmental groups. . Also for greater scientific evidence, even if all these companies knew what they were doing wrong for 70 years.