Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the ECI/School of Geography and the Environment and in the Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and is Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.
Around the turn of the millennium, Eugene Stoermer and Paul Crutzen suggested we are living in a new geological epoch, possibly the first in which a single species, humankind, was reshaping planetary systems on a global scale. When did this so called 'Anthropocene' begin? When, and how, might it end? Is this really a significant event in Earth history, or is it ridiculously hubristic for us to consider our own influence on the world comparable to the massive and often cataclysmic events that have shaped the planet in the past? I will talk about the evidence for, and against, the notion of an Anthropocene epoch, and what it might mean for us to live on a planet which, for better or for worse, we increasingly control.