Download a podcast of Curt Stager presenting ‘Climate whiplash: What happens AFTER global warming?’ for The Environment Institute.
Curt Stager is a paleoecologist, educator, and science journalist whose research for the last three decades has dealt with the climatic history of the eastern United States, Peru, and Africa. A “reformed climate skeptic” whose earlier doubts about human influences on climate have long since been settled by the weight of scientific evidence, he has published numerous technical articles in journals including Science and Quaternary Research, and has written extensively for general audiences in periodicals such as National Geographic and Adirondack Life.
Most debate over global warming looks only as far ahead as 2100 AD, but what happens after that? As Curt Stager, author of “Deep Future: the next 100,000 years of life on Earth,” argues, our fossil fuel emissions will interfere with climates for much longer than most of us, scientists included, yet realize. Even in the best-case scenario, the world won’t fully recover for tens of thousands of years, and possibly much longer. What will life in that shockingly deep future be like? Some will win and some will lose. On the bright side, we’ve already prevented the next nation-crushing ice age. But as the Earth finally starts to cool down again, “climate whiplash” will force people, animals, and plants to reverse their adaptive strategies. Losers may then become winners – but exactly how the future plays out is ultimately up to us as we search for a sane, sustainable path forward in this new geologic epoch, the “Age of Humans.”