Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth

Please note this event has changed date (to 28 September) and venue (to the Innovations Theatre).

A new book presenting future projections of the Earth's bio-geosphere

On the 27 January, 2017, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the arms of its doomsday clock to 2.5 minute to midnight, the closest it has been since 1953, with implications for humanity and nature. This book elaborates projections by the Atomic Scientists, presenting blueprints of a future geologic period, climate and biosphere based on our current understanding of the Earth's history and current developments in the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system. By the second decade of the 21st century it appears that, rather than channel its efforts into protecting its planetary biosphere and living species, Homo sapiens continues to sink its remaining resources into weapons, including nuclear weapons. With time, possibilities become probabilities-heralding a transition from the Anthropocene to a new geological period dominated by elevated temperatures, analogous to the Pliocene (2.6 - 5.3 Ma ago), or the Miocene (5.3 - 23 Ma ago) when mean global temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees Celsius warmer and sea levels 20 to 40 meters higher than pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 higher than 500 ppm with residence time on the order of thousands of years would delay the subsequent glacial cycle. Under 6 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial temperatures humans are likely to survive in polar regions, relatively cold high-altitude mountain valleys and high volcanic islands. In some areas subsistence farming may be possible. A new cycle would commence.The way to avoid such consequences is to divert human efforts to reduce carbon emissions and attempt to draw-down atmospheric CO2.

About the speakers

Dr Andrew Glikson, an Earth and paleo-climate scientist, graduated at the University of Western Australia. He has conducted geological surveys of the oldest geological formations in Australia, South Africa, India and Canada, studied large asteroid impacts, including effects on the atmosphere and the oceans, the effects of fire on human evolution and the mass extinction of species.

The book will be introduced by Professor Clive Hamilton. Professor Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. Since 2008 he has been Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.

Professor John Hewson will chair the book launch.