GeolSoc Policy Statement: Climate Change (December 2020)

In recent weeks (late December 2020), the Geological Society of London have issued an updated Policy Statement: “What the geological record tells us about our present and future climate”.

This work feeds on from 2018, when the Geological Society of London and the UK Paleoclimate Society jointly convened an expert panel to assess the current state of understanding of climate change in the geological record.

The group of 16 researchers used published literature and comments submitted from Geological Society of London Fellows to construct an up-to-date assessment of the geological record of climate change. The report also details what the resulting records of past climate can tell us about future climate change, with a particular focus on ancient CO2-driven warming. 

The Policy Statement explains: “Geology is the science of how the Earth functions and has evolved and, as such, it can contribute to our understanding of the climate system and how it responds to the addition of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere and oceans. Observations from the geological record show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are now at their highest levels in at least the past 3 million years.”

And goes on to conclude: “whilst atmospheric CO2 concentrations have varied dramatically during the geological past due to natural processes, and have often been higher than today, the current rate of CO2 (and therefore temperature) change is unprecedented in almost the entire geological past.”

The full report can be read here.

As a firm of geoscientists we are invested in what we can learn from the geological past, and also hugely invested in how human induced changes to the climate may impact future generations. See our newsfeed for recent examples of our investments in sustainability initiatives, including providing renewable power for our offices, purchasing and protecting large areas of rainforest, and blended working to significantly reduce the energy footprint of our operations.

Collectively, there is so much that we can all do to limit climate change. For more information and a wealth of resources, please visit The Geological Society of London’s website.






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