Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rewriting history, enshrining fallacy

Given that 2000 years of non-tree-ring proxy data show nothing extraordinary about the warming of the past two centuries, this proposal by British scientists seems to be a bit over the top:

A HEATED scientific row is brewing as British geoscientists lead a push to establish a new chapter in the history of Earth - one based on human activity.

Led by geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, of the University of Leicester, the rabble-rousers argue that changes wrought since the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago are so profound they are now visible in the physical and living fabric of the planet.

As a result, they have called for the creation of a new Epoch in the official geological time scale, one they have named the Anthropocene.

Along with Eons, Eras, Periods and Ages, Epochs are classifications of Earth history based on characteristic changes in the layers, or strata, of rocks.

Writing in the latest issue of GSA Today, a publication of the Geological Society of America, Dr Zalasiewicz and 20 like-minded experts claim there is "sufficient evidence" of human-induced changes to plants, animals, oceans and lands to warrant recognition of the Anthropocene by the official geological time lords, the International Commission on Stratigraphy. Their proposal came at the same time as the American Geophysical Union at the weekend released its updated position on climate change.