CANBERRA, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Humans are causing the Earth's climate to change 170 times faster than nature, researchers from Canberra's Australian National University (ANU) have said.
ANU co-researcher and climate expert, Professor Will Steffen said on Sunday that his team developed the Anthropocene equation, a mathematical process to track the "impact of human activity on the Earth system".
"Over the past 7,000 years, the primary (natural) forces driving change have been astronomical, changes in solar intensity and subtle changes in orbital parameters, along with a few volcanoes. They have driven a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century," Steffen said in a statement released at the weekend.
"(Meanwhile) human-caused greenhouse gas emissions over the past 45 years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate.
"We are not saying the astronomical forces of our solar system or geological processes have disappeared, but in terms of their impact in such a short period of time they are now negligible compared with our own influence."
Steffen said scientists have a "simple equation" to "give the current situation clarity."
"They could us the data to show climate skeptics the impact which humans have had on the climate and therefore environment.
"It also places the contemporary human impact in the context of the great forces of nature that have driven Earth system dynamics over billions of years," he said in the statement.
Meanwhile Steffen also took the opportunity to say that humans still "had time" to prevent many negative effects of climate change, but admitted time was "rapidly running out".
"The global economy can function equally well with zero emissions. Research shows we can feed nine billion people, the projected world population by 2050, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time," he said.