CANBERRA, Australia — The subject of climate change continues to be a heated source of debate between America’s political parties, but a new study may give those who refuse to put the issue front and center a reason to think twice.
According to researchers at The Australian National University, human-caused emissions are heating the earth 170 times faster than natural occurrences. The research was published earlier this month in The Anthropocene Review.
Will Steffen, co-researcher and professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Climate Change Institute at the university, explains that his research team developed a groundbreaking mathematical equation to reach their results. The equation, now called the Anthropocene equation, is the first of its kind designed to determine how much influence humans have on climate change.
Steffen acknowledges that humans are not the sole factor in influencing climate change. However, it has become clear to him that the influences caused by humans are in fact, the most prominent.
“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 says in a university release.
The researchers found that “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.”
“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. They have driven a rate change of 001 degrees Celsius per century” Steffen explains.
Still, Steffen went on to clarify that our planet can still be saved by shifting our habits.
“The global economy can function equally well with zero emissions,” he says. “Research shows we can feed nine billion people – the projected world population by 2050 – and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.”
According to NASA, 97 percent of climate scientists believe humans are the cause of warming trends over the past century.