Human activity is causing climate to change 170 faster than natural forces

by | Feb 13, 2017 | News

By: Ruth Escarlan

A mathematical equation has found that human activity is causing the earth’s climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces.

The Anthropocene equation was developed by Will Steffen, a professor at the Australian National University, and Owen Gaffney, director of international media and strategy at Stockholm Resilience Centre. The research-article was published in The Anthropocene Review on Friday.

“We tried to follow Einstein’s maxim of making everything as simple as possible but not simpler,” said Gaffney.

Steffen and Gaffney wrote in their research-article that for the past 4.5 billion years, astronomical (solar irradiance) and geophysical (volcanic activity, weathering and tectonic movement) factors were the leading causes to change the “Earth System.”

However according to the paper, “human activities now rival the great forces of nature,” and “in the last six decades, anthropogenic forcings have driven exceptionally rapid rates of change in the Earth System.” This is known as the Anthropocene era.

The purpose of the research paper is to “mathematically formalize the Anthropocene in terms of the rate of change of the Earth system providing an unequivocal statement that industrialized societies,” said Gaffney, adding that industrialized societies have led to pollution, global warming, rise of sea levels and deforestation,” said Gaffney.

“We felt that there is a lot of data out there about how fast the Earth is changing and how humans – industrialized societies to be more specific – are causing this change. However, it seems no one had quite attempted to synthesize all this information and formalize it in this way before,” Gaffney explained.

But campaigner with member of an international environmental organization known as  350.org says this research will help not raise awareness for climate change.

“The only thing that’s going to help mankind, meaningfully deal with climate change, is social movement. Organizing, direct action, civil disobedience at a scale that has never been imagined by man-kind. That’s going to get the conversation going, but even that, I don’t know if that’s going to be enough to deal with the current political – geo-political circumstances that are taking place,” said Clayton Thomas-Müllersaid, a campaigner with the group.

“It’s the era of the Anthropocene, the era where human impact has become so great that we’re impacting systems that’s out of planetary scale… our biggest contributor to climate change is fossil-fuels,” said Müller-Thomas.