Of course, in 1954, there was little sense of urgency. The possibility of global climate change was a bit of esoterica in the physical chemistry world: The number of people in the world who were familiar with Arrhenius's work on this subject dating from the 19th century could probably be numbered on the fingers of one or two persons.
From my perspective though, I must say that the urgency of the matter is no where near expression as action. Too often on hearing about the subject, people issue vague platitudes about how we need more renewable energy - as if saying the word "renewable," somehow was a palliative salve.
Energy however is a physics concept. The unit of energy is the joule, often expressed - on a macro scale - as the exajoule, the exajoule being 10 to the 18th power joules.
Trends in solar energy are available on line dating back to 1992.
(Note that one thousand megawatt-hours is equal to 3.6 trillion joules, or 0.000036 exajoules.)
The results should disturb anyone with an ounce of sense who thinks that all we need to do is to wait just a little longer for the solar ship to come in.
The production in absolute energy terms produced for solar energy actually fell from 2004 to 2005. In 2004, the total solar energy production in the US was 0.00207 exajoules. In 2005 it was 0.00195 exajoules.
The electrical demand of the US as a whole is available from the EIA for the years 1994 to 2004:
The view is even more unsettling - at least, again, if you see solar energy as a serious tool against climate change - if one looks at the matter in percentage terms.
In 1996 the percentage of electricity provided by solar power peaked: It was 0.0151% of US electrical energy in that year. As of 2004, the percentage had fallen to 0.0145%.
I know that many of us would like to believe that solar energy is a more serious option in the energy future than its history suggests. However a sober evaluation of the actual state of affairs belies this hope.
One of the most important steps in solving a vast problem like global climate change is a wholly realistic view. We must resist the temptation to lie to ourselves. The matter is far too serious to be addressed by seeing what we want to see as opposed to what is really there.