Sustainable Energy

Humans are changing climate 170 times faster than nature, say researchers

Lukas Schulze | Getty Images

Research co-led by the Australian National University (ANU) claims that the actions of humans are causing the earth's climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces.

The so-called Anthropocene (the term used for the increasing influence of humans on earth) equation has been calculated to look at the impact of humans on our planet, the ANU said in a news release on Sunday.

"Over the past 7,000 years the primary forces driving change have been astronomical - changes in solar intensity and subtle changes in orbital parameters, along with a few volcanoes," Will Steffen, of the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Climate Change Institute at ANU, said in a statement.

"Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions over the past 45 years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate," Steffen added.

The researchers' paper was published in The Anthropocene Review, and looked at how human activity was impacting the trajectory of the earth's system.

"We are not saying the astronomical forces of our solar system or geological processes have disappeared, but in terms of their impact in such a short period of time they are now negligible compared with our own influence," Steffen added.

The research comes amid concerns in some quarters regarding President Trump's previous comments on the environment. In 2012, for example, Trump tweeted that the concept of global warming had been "created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Last November, however, Trump was asked by the New York Times whether he thought human activity was connected to climate change. Trump responded by saying he thought there was "some connectivity. There is some, something."