Wood- and coal-burning fires shroud English towns in smoke. Local regulations attempt to control the problem but fail. Atmospheric concentrations of CO
Industrial Revolution begins in Manchester, England. Coal powers the mills.
French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Fourier suggests that the earth’s atmosphere traps heat produced by the sun.
Irish physicist John Tyndall confirms Fourier’s theory that atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide trap heat. First oil well in United States is drilled in Pennsylvania.
Various European inventors create experimental gasoline-powered automobiles.
Standard Oil Trust controls 88 percent of US oil refining. By 1904 Standard Oil controls 91 percent of production and 85 percent of final sales.
Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius is the first to calculate that continued burning of coal and other fossil fuels will lead to a hotter earth; later wins a Nobel Prize.
America’s first environmental law is passed. The Rivers and Harbors Act makes it a misdemeanor to dump refuse into navigable waters without a permit.
Henry Ford begins selling the gas-powered Model A automobile.
America’s first solar-powered electrical plant is built in St. Louis by the Willsie Sun Power Company. Soon another plant is built, in the Mojave Desert at Needles, California. But within a few years Willsie is driven out of business by cheaper coal/gas facilities.
City of Pittsburgh creates a smoke inspector’s office and passes ordinances to regulate local air pollution. Air improves.
There are 7.5 million gas-powered cars in the United States.
The term "greenhouse effect" is coined by Glenn Thomas Trewartha, a professor whose obscure textbook on weather describes how water vapor, CO
Smog chokes the small industrial town of Donora, Pennsylvania. In five days twenty people die, and 6,000 are sick or hospitalized. Air pollution becomes a national political issue.