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    James Madison - A Prescient President.
    By Patrick Lockerby | September 19th 2012 08:15 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Patrick

    Retired engineer, 60+ years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics....

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    James Madison - A Prescient President.

    We are changing our planet's atmosphere.

    It is widely known that G.S. Callendar warned of this in 1938.

    It is virtually unknown that James Madison warned of it in 1818, in the form of a rhetorical question:

    The atmosphere is not a simple but a compound body. In its least compound state, it is understood to contain, besides what is called vital air, others noxious in themselves, yet without a portion of which, the vital air becomes noxious. But the atmosphere in its natural state, and in its ordinary communication with the organized world, comprises various ingredients or modifications of ingredients, derived from the use made of it, by the existing variety of animals and plants. The exhalations and perspirations, the effluvia and transpirations of these, are continually charging the atmosphere with a heterogeneous variety and immense quantity of matter, which together must contribute to the character which fits it for its destined purpose of supporting the life and health of organized beings. Is it unreasonable to suppose, that if, instead of the actual composition and character of the animal and vegetable creation, to which the atmosphere is now accommodated, such a composition and character of that creation were substituted, as would result from a reduction of the whole to man and a few kinds of animals and plants, is the supposition unreasonable, that the change might essentially affect the aptitude of the atmosphere for the functions required of it; and that so great an innovation might be found, in this respect, not to accord with the order and economy of
    nature.'

    James Madison - Address to the Agricultural Society of Albemarle Virginia
    Niles' Weekly Register March to September 1818.
    http://archive.org/details/nilesweeklyregis14balt



    Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

    Comments

    Hank
    Well, I see your James Madison and raise you a Thomas Jefferson and a Noah Webster.
    MikeCrow
    that the change might essentially affect the aptitude of the atmosphere for the functions required of it
    Fortunately for us, a few hundred ppm of CO2 isn't it.

    Hi Patrick, glad to see you're feeling better!
    Never is a long time.
    And I thought we were supposed to believe Al Gore made it up from scratch.