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The climate change we caused is here for at least 50,000 years – and probably far longer

By Jan Zalasiewicz, Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Leicester
Colin Waters, Honorary Professor, Department of Geology, University of Leicester
Jens Zinke, Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Leicester
Mark Williams, Professor of Palaeobiology, University of Leicester
In February 2000, Paul Crutzen rose to speak at the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme in Mexico. And when he spoke, people took notice. He was then one of the world’s most cited scientists, a Nobel laureate working on huge-scale problems – the ozone hole, the effects of a nuclear winter.

So little wonder that a word he improvised took hold and spread widely: this was the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological epoch, representing an Earth transformed by the effects of industrialised humanity.

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