So, when climate change burst onto the scene in 1988, I doubt too many hardcore environmentalists were surprised.(1)
Carbon dioxide gets a few pages in the 1972 ‘Limits to Growth’ book, which went through numerous printings. The earliest Australian book I have been able to find (so far!) is this –
‘Environmental Boomerang’, published in 1973 by Jacaranda Press, who may well now be owned by Wiley. was written by Len Webb, a giant of Australian rainforest science, and by all accounts all-round good bloke. His account of the state of the knowledge at the time is fair and succinct (see below)
Here’s the relevant bit-
In 1974 a senior Australian civil servant asked some scientists to look into climate change. ‘Nothing to see here’ came the answer. Then, the following year a more formal request was made, more work done and ‘probably nothing to see here’ came back in 1976. Of which more another time…
(1) Personally, in 1982 I remember my class teacher talking about some television show that talked of atmospheric pollution lasting 1500 years.