The global body tasked with naming geological eras, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, has rejected the proposed Anthropocene epoch, the controversial ‘geological’ epoch in which mankind allegedly dominates natural processes. The international commission has now rejected the proposal and has instead split the Holocene Epoch into three different geological ages, all of which were primarily shaped by natural, not human factors.
Excerpts from The Australian:
Behind the scenes is a smaller story of thwarted ambition over whether or not human impact on the planet should define a new geological age.
The [Hothouse Earth] paper by Steffen and his 15 co-authors, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a leading science journal, was titled “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene”. Anthropocene is the name proposed for a new geological epoch defined by human impact on Earth.
All going well, the naming of this new era might have coincided with the release of the paper by Steffen, a member of Australia’s Climate Council. However, the global body tasked with naming geological eras, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, had other ideas. Last month, rather than announce a new Anthropocene Epoch, it declared it would split the Holocene Epoch, in which we have been living for the past 12,000 years, into three ages.
The decision has unleashed rancour, with claims of ethical lapses, scientific misrepresentation and unseemly publicity-seeking among those determined to declare the age of human planetary impact is upon us.
The ICS says we are living in the Meghalayan Epoch, the third of the three new ages that started about 4250 years ago. The epoch is defined by a mega-drought that caused the collapse of a number of civilisations in Egypt, the Middle East, India and China, about 2250 years BCE. The name comes from the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya where a stalagmite recovered from a cave provided chemical evidence of the drought.
Defining a geological epoch around human impact has become highly politicised and the decision is considered a blow to those pushing hardest for tough action on climate change.
ICS’s decision is clearly a blow to those pushing hardest for tough action on climate change. The decision is something Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science at University College London, says “has profound philosophical, social, economic and political implications”.
Full story here.
h/t to The GWPF which also has the article