Did Frederick Brodie Discover the World's First Environmental Kuznets Curve? Coal Smoke and the Rise and Fall of the London Fog
In: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present
AbstractIn a paper presented to the Royal Meteorological Society, Brodie (1905) presented a data series that presaged the modern Environmental Kuznets Curve: in the decades leading up to 1890, the number of foggy days in London rose steadily, but after 1891, the fogs began to subside. Brodie attributed the rise and fall of the London fog to variation in emissions of coal smoke, arguing that before 1890 Londoners burned excessive amounts of soft coal, while in the years following, a series of legal, demographic, and technological changes mitigated the production of coal smoke. This paper asks two questions. First, are Brodieâs underlying data trustworthy? Do other, independent sources of evidence same patterns Brodie identified? Was Londonâs atmosphere becoming more polluted and foggy for most of the nineteenth century, only to improve around 1890? Second, if so, is Brodieâs interpretation of the data correct? Can the changes in Londonâs atmosphere be attributed to changes in the production of coal smoke, or were they the result of some broader meteorological phenomenon. The evidence we present here is consistent Brodieâs data and interpretation.
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- Karen Clay & Werner Troesken, 2010. "Did Frederick Brodie Discover the World's First Environmental Kuznets Curve? Coal Smoke and the Rise and Fall of the London Fog," NBER Working Papers 15669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
- N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
- Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
- Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)
- Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
- Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters
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