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Leopardi (1832) on…Climate Change

Wholly convinced that civilizations make climate milder as they progress, Italian poet and essayist extraordinaire Giacomo Leopardi wrote about Anthropogenic Climate Change around 1832 (from “Thoughts”, “Pensieri”):

(39) […] I think everybody will remember having heard from his parents several times, just as I remember hearing from mines, that years have become colder than they were, and winters longer; and that when they were younger, already around Easter they would leave the winter clothes for the summer ones; whilst such a change today, or so they say, is only bearable in May, and sometimes in June.

And not many years ago, some physicists seriously searched for a cause to this alleged cooling of the seasons. Some said it was the fault of the deforestation of the mountains, and some others said something else I don’t remember: all to explain a fact that is not happening: because actually, on the contrary, it has been noted, for example, in quotes from ancient writers, that Italy at the time of the Romans must have been cooler than today.

That is wholly believable as experience makes apparent that as the men’s civilization progresses, so the air, in the lands inhabited by them, gets progressively milder: and such an effect has been evident in America where, so to speak, according to memory, a fully-fledged civilization has replaced in part a barbarian state, and in part empty deserts. […]

[One and a half centuries ago Magalotti wrote] in the Family Letters: “It is certain that seasons’ natural order is worsening. Here in Italy it is common saying and lamentation that the half-seasons have disappeared; and in this confusion, it’s without doubt that the cold is advancing. I have heard my father that in his youth, in Rome, on the morning of Easter Sunday, everybody would change into summer clothes. Nowadays whoever can afford not to sell his shirt, I can tell you he’s very careful not to abandon any winter piece of clothing”. This is what Magalotti wrote in 1683.

Italy would be cooler than Greenland, if between then and now, it would have cooled as much as they were saying at the time.

It goes almost without saying that the continuous cooling that is said to be occurring due to intrinsic reasons in the Earth mass, is of no interest whatsoever with the present thoughts, as it is so slow to be impossible to appreciate in tens of centuries, let alone a few years.


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