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Climate change: evidence from the geological record

Climate change is a defining issue for our time. The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That evidence is highly relevant to understanding how it may change in the future. 

The Geological Society has issued an addendum to its original Climate Change Statement published in 2010. In 2013, in light of further research, the working group was re-convened to consider whether the original statement was still fit for purpose, and if necessary to amend or add to it. The working group concluded that the original statement continues to be valid and does not need to be amended. Instead the working group produced an addendum setting out new research findings relevant to the questions raised in the original statement.

The full technical version of the addendum together with the non-technical summary, aimed at principally non-specialists and Fellows of the Society with a general interest, can be found here:

December 2013 - An addendum to the Geological Society Statement on Climate Change

In 2010 The Geological Society prepared a position statement on climate change, focusing specifically on the geological evidence. A drafting group was convened, with the aim of producing a clear and concise summation, accessible to a general audience, of the scientific certainties and uncertainties; as well as including references to further sources of information. The Council of the Society issued this statement as part of the Society’s work “to promote all forms of education, awareness and understanding of the Earth and their practical applications for the benefit of the public globally”. The statement is intended for non-specialists and Fellows of the Society. It is based on analysis of geological evidence, and not on analysis of recent temperature or satellite data, or climate model projections. It contains references to support key statements, indicated by superscript numbers, and a reading list for those who wish to explore the subject further.

November 2010 - Climate change - evidence from the geological record

Learned Societies' Climate Communiqué - COP21

Smoke_clouds_climateIn the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 scheduled for December 2015, 24 of the UK's foremost academic institutions, including the Geological Society have published a joint Climate Communiqué calling on national governments to take immediate action if they want to avert the serious risks posed by climate change. The document states that to tackle climate change, governments, including that of the UK, must seize the opportunity at climate talks in Paris in December to negotiate an agreement based on the latest scientific evidence. Pointing to that scientific evidence, the organisations say that if we are to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming in this century to 2°C relative to the pre-industrial period, we must transition to a zero-carbon world by early in the second half of the century.

July 2015 - Climate Communiqué


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