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The Climate Has Changed Before. But This Is Different

Peter Campbell - The Guardian
November 13, 2017
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Climate Change Report: Findings contradict President Trump's policies (TRT World)

The United States government recently published the Climate Science Special Report authored by 13 federal agencies, which states unequivocally that climate change is occurring and it is caused by human actions. The report follows several months of uncommonly strong hurricanes caused by warmer-than-typical ocean temperatures. The Trump Administration responded to the report by stating: “The climate has changed and is always changing.”

Climate change is part of life on planet Earth; however, context is needed to understand past change and the current situation. Archaeology can explain how temperature change of just a few degrees cause extreme weather events, affect crops, and impact human lives. It also shows how the current changes are different from those in the past. A satellite image shows Hurricane Irma, center, in the Caribbean Sea, Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean, and Hurricane Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.

Looking deep into time, anatomically modern humans lived during three epochs: Pleistocene, Holocene, and now Anthropocene. Earth during the Pleistocene was very different from today; the epoch was characterized by a harsh climate, strong winds and storms, and large ice sheets. Climate was highly variable and humans survived in small nomadic groups for around 190,000 years through this period.

... When discussing climate change, scientists are referring to global climate. Humans have not previously impacted global climate; however, archaeology shows that our ancestors did make global impacts in other forms. For instance, the amount of atmospheric lead found in Greenland ice cores demonstrates that lead manufacturing from the 6th century BC through the 4th century AD affected the global atmosphere, peaking during the Roman Period. Additionally, many civilizations caused environmental change within their geographic region that significantly impacted their ability to survive.

Archaeology does not show previous anthropogenic climate change, but it does demonstrate that humans can have a global impact and there are numerous examples of large-scale environment degradation affecting societies. In many cases, the archaeological record shows that human societies do not react well to change.

Read the rest at The Guardian

Related: Canada Teams with Mexico, 15 U.S. Governors on Climate Change (Radio Canada International)


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