About the Anthropocene

The dominant influence on Earth’s climate & environment is human activity fuelled by the world energy system. This has been identified as a new geological age named the Anthropocene1 2 3 4, which amounts to a biosphere emergency.

This newsfeed shows chronologically ordered summaries of articles and studies about the Anthropocene.

Further information can be found by clicking on the tags shown at the end of each summary, or by using the search function in the top right of the page.

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Particularly worrying summaries are –

  • Humanity devouring itself and the planet

    “At the moment,” writes Warren Hern, “we are the most misnamed species on the planet: Homo sapiens sapiens—’wise, wise man.’ Not.” Hern, 84, physician and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder, thinks the name he coined for his new book provides a much more accurate description of humanity in the 21st…


  • Exxon profit triples to record $20 billion

    ExxonMobil reported $19.7 billion in third-quarter net profit, or $4.68 a share, almost triple the $6.8 billion, or $1.57 a share, earned a year ago. The company was “driving volumes at a time when clearly the world really needs our products”, Kathy Mikells, Exxon’s chief financial officer. The largest US oil company’s results were echoed…


  • Almost 70% of animal populations wiped out since 1970, report reveals

    Earth’s wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and pollute on an industrial scale. From the open ocean to tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles…


  • World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points

    World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points

    The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study. It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date. These include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge…


  • Major sea-level rise is ‘now inevitable’

    Major sea-level rise from the melting of the Greenland ice cap is now inevitable, scientists have found, even if the fossil fuel burning that is driving the climate crisis were to end overnight. The research shows the global heating to date will cause an absolute minimum sea-level rise of 27cm (10.6in) from Greenland alone as…


  • 90% of marine species at risk of extinction by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed

    An international team of researchers looked specifically at 25,000 species, including fish, bacteria, plants and protozoans living in the top 100 meters of the world’s oceans. They found that under the scenario in which emissions lead to global atmospheric temperature increases of 3 to 5˚C, approximately 90% of all marine life will disappear. They also…


  • Corinne Le Quéré: ‘Could we just adapt to climate change? The answer is no’

    In the 2000s, Le Quéré was a lead author of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won a Nobel Peace Prize. Today she bridges science and policy, sitting on the UK’s government advisory group, the Climate Change Committee, and chairing France’s equivalent, the High Council on Climate. Boris Johnson, who as…


  • Even temporarily overshooting 2°C would cause permanent damage to Earth’s species

    Unless urgent action is taken, emissions are expected to cause the planet to continue heating rapidly over the next few decades, prompting the global average temperature to overshoot the Paris agreement’s target, which aimed to limit warming to between 1.5°C and 2°C. A period of higher temperatures will occur in the middle of this century…


  • Boom and Bust Coal 2022

    The world has more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants, for a total capacity of nearly 2,100 gigawatts (GW). An additional 176GW of coal capacity is under construction at more than 189 plants. A further additional 280GW is planned at 296 plants, equivalent to the current operating fleets of the United States and Japan combined. In…


  • The great climate backslide: How governments are regressing worldwide

    From the U.S. to China, in Europe, India and Japan, fossil fuels are staging a comeback, clean energy stocks are taking a hammering, and the prospects for speeding the transition to renewable sources of power are looking grim. That’s even as renewable energy costs have fallen rapidly and investment in clean technologies is soaring. Oil…


  • The Extinction Crisis

    Earth now faces a global extinction crisis never witnessed by humankind. Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades. Every taxon is in trouble – Amphibians: More than 33% of the known 6,300 species are at risk of extinction. Birds: 12% of known 9,865 species are…


  • Covid recovery to drive all-time emissions high: IEA

    Carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high by 2023 as just two percent of pandemic recovery finance is being spent on clean energy. “Not only is clean energy investment still far from what’s needed to put the world on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century, it’s not even enough to prevent global emissions from…


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Footnotes
  1. Crutzen PJ, Stoermer EF. The ‘Anthropocene’. IGBP Newsletter. 2000 May; 41:17-18, http://www.igbp.net/download/18.316f18321323470177580001401/1376383088452/NL41.pdf.()
  2. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Haywood, A., & Ellis, M. (2011). The Anthropocene: a new epoch of geological time?. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 369(1938), 835-841, https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsta.2010.0339.()
  3. Gaffney, O., & Steffen, W. (2017). The anthropocene equation. The Anthropocene Review, 4(1), 53-61, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2053019616688022()
  4. Steffen, W., Rockström, J., Richardson, K., Lenton, T.M., Folke, C., Liverman, D., Summerhayes, C.P., Barnosky, A.D., Cornell, S.E., Crucifix, M. and Donges, J.F., 2018. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(33), pp.8252-8259, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/160477113.pdf()