Not sure why I was reminded of this today, but here’s a John von Neumann quote from 1955:
The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industry’s burning of coal and oil — more than half of it during the last generation — may have changed the atmosphere’s composition sufficiently to account for a general warming of the world by about one degree Fahrenheit.
(I’ve seen this collected in The Neumann Compendium and The Fabulous Future: America in 1980.)
This is not new knowledge.
We’be known about it longer even than that! Fourier was the first to hint at the correct mechanism and John Tyndall was both able to demonstrate that “carbonic acid” (as he called carbon dioxide) created a greenhouse effect and measure that effect in highly industrialized London. There’s a short book on this that I haven’t read:
Click to access Historical_Perspectives_on_Climate_Change.pdf
The political economy difference between local and global warming is that global warming is a *non-excludable* externality, which cannot even in theory be dealt with via Coasean ideas. Whereas London could conceivably trade a factory with another city for cleaner local air, the whole world cannot.