Some sobering news.
For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces.
“For four billion years the rate of change of the Earth system has been a complex function of astronomical and geophysical forces plus internal dynamics: Earth’s orbit around the sun, gravitational interactions with other planets, the sun’s heat output, colliding continents, volcanoes and evolution, among others,”
“In the equation, astronomical and geophysical forces tend to zero because of their slow nature or rarity, as do internal dynamics, for now. All these forces still exert pressure, but currently on orders of magnitude less than human impact.”
According to Steffen these forces have driven a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century.
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years, on the other hand, “have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate,” he said.
Meanwhile, William Harper, the leading candidate to be our Trump’s science advisor has this to say:
"One of our problems in climate is that you need long-term good science—for example long-term temperature records, long-term records of CO2, and it’s very hard for the government to support that kind of stuff,”
4 billion years may sound like some long-term science, but it’s all a matter of perspective I guess. From the Ars article:
He suggested we could double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and not see the temperature budge much and that the planet's history supports this conclusion (it doesn't). He continued to say that warmth and carbon dioxide would give agriculture a big boost (field studies suggest otherwise): "I see the CO2 as good, you know," he said. "Let me be clear: I don’t think it’s a problem at all, I think it’s a good thing.”
It’s great Harper supports long term research and all, but it’s pretty important to actually accept the findings of the research.