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Climate change: evidence from the geological record

Climate change is a defining issue for our time. The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That evidence is highly relevant to understanding how it may change in the future. 

map of antartica with black background  In 2018, 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 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 report was approved by Council 25 November 2020, and published in the Journal of the Geological Society on 28 December 2020. The findings, and their implications for future climate change, are highlighted in the Executive Summary

This statement supersedes the 2010 statement entitled “Climate change - evidence from the geological record” and the 2013 addendum, which have been archived. 

You can also read our Joint Communique on tackling climate change, which was signed in July 2015, ahead of COP21.

November 2020 - Geological Society of London Scientific Statement: what the geological record tells us about our present and future climate

July 2015 - Climate Communique

Climate Change Symposium 2021

On 26-27 May 2021, the Society hosted a conference entitled Climate Change in the Geological Record. You can view the talks from day 1 and day 2 via the Society's YouTube channel. The conference abstract book is available here