GLIKSON, Andrew. "Death of billions and likely demise of civilization"

Dr Andrew Glikson is a paleo-climate and earth scientist at the Australian National University (ANU). The Western Australian Glikson Crater is named in his honor (see: ).


Dr Andrew Glikson on climate sceptics and the likely death of billions and end of civilization (April 2009):  “As indicated by Clive Hamilton in New Matilda ( ) there is little evidence the “climate change skeptics” worry their misunderstanding of climate science may lead to the death of billions and the likely demise of civilization.  The legal status of disinformation campaigns aimed at the promotion of substances of proven fatal consequences, such as ozone-destroying CFCs, or the release of CO2 to levels over 350 ppm ( 20080407.pdf ), may yet prove to be the Achilles heel of global civilization “ [1].

Andrew Glikson (Australian Earth and Paleoclimate scientist) on looming climate catastrophe, climate genocide and “existential calamity for civilization and nature”(2016): “Little mention is made of the existential threats posed by the climate and nuclear issues in the context of the current elections in the US and Australia. According to the world’s climate research institutions and the bulk of the peer reviewed scientific literature, the Earth has now entered a critical stage at which amplifying feedback effects to global warming transcend points of no return. Manifestations of a shift in state of the climate include; current rise in CO2 at 3.3 parts per million per year, the fastest recorded for the last 65 million years; extreme rises in Arctic temperatures; a plethora of extreme weather events such as cyclones, floods and fires; demise of habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef where corals die due to high water temperatures and coral bleaching; and other developments. The extreme rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the onset of the industrial age, and the corresponding rise in mean global temperatures as a direct result of the rise in carbon gases, pose an existential risk to the future of nature and civilization. The consequences of further burning of the vast carbon reserves buried in sediments and in permafrost and bogs can only result in a mass extinction of species  which rivals that of the five great mass extinctions in Earth history… It follows that, where and when the majority of authoritative scientific institutions (NASA, NOAA, NSIDC, Hadley-Met, Tyndale, Potsdam, CSIRO, World Academy of Science, IPCC and so on), based on the bulk of the evidence, indicate beyond reasonable doubt that open-ended emissions of greenhouse gases inevitably lead to a major shift in the terrestrial climate, and thereby the demise of humans and of species, a toleration and/or condoning of continuing emissions by governments contravenes at the very least the spirit of international laws… 1. Since the mid-1980s an abrupt rise in the temperature levels of the atmosphere, driven by an increase in concentration of greenhouse gases arising from release of >600billion ton of carbon (GtC) to the atmosphere is leading to an extreme shift in state of the atmosphere-ocean system, such has no precedence in the recorded geological history, with the exception of events which resulted in the mass extinction of species, including massive volcanism, extra-terrestrial impacts and large-scale release of methane. 2. As a direct consequence of the above, as well as reduction of the transient protection by industrial sulphur dioxide since mid-1980s, mean global temperatures have risen since about 1970 by more than 0.6o Currently, had it not been for the aerosols, mean global temperature would have been higher by an additional near to 1oC. 3. Allowing for the masking effect of sulphur aerosols, the total rise in temperature since the onset of the industrial age ~1750 is reaching levels similar to those of the Pliocene period (~2.6 – 5.3 million years ago). The shift is occurring at the fastest rate recorded by paleoclimate studies. Whereas many species can adapt to gradual environmental changes, the current temperature rise rate resulting from ~2-3 parts per million (ppm) CO2/year may not be sustained. 4. The current change is manifested by an increase in the rate of melting of the major ice sheets, accelerating sea level rise and a rise in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, reflecting elevated energy level of the atmosphere-ocean system. 5.The consequences of continuing carbon emissions and consequent rise of mean global temperatures would render large parts of the Earth’s land surfaces uninhabitable due to temperature rise, droughts, storms and flooding of coastal, deltas and lower river regions by sea level rise – estimated as about 25+/-12 meters under Pliocene conditions, constituting an existential calamity for civilization and nature. 6. Excepting injection of transient short residence-time sulphur aerosols, the arrest of current climate trend would require (A) a meaningful reduction in current rate of carbon emission(~9 GtC/year) and (B) development of new methodologies for draw-down of atmospheric CO2, by at least 50 ppm, requiring research efforts on a global scale” [2]. 


[1]. Andrew Glikson, ”Earth’s atmosphere tracking toward a mid-Pliocene-like state”, Countercurrents, 3 April 2009: .

[2]. Andrew Glikson, “The climate Titanic and the melting icebergs”, Countercurrents, 30 June 2016: .