Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

A protester is seen holding a placard during a climate change demonstration. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As Deadly Heat Waves Sweep Globe, Research Shows Planet Warming at Rate Not Seen in 2,000 Years

"Even when we push our perspective to the earliest days of the Roman Empire, we cannot discern any event that is remotely equivalent—either in degree or extent—to the warming over the last few decades."

Jake Johnson

As France, India, the U.S., and other nations face unprecedented and deadly heat waves, new research published Wednesday showed the planet has warmed more quickly in recent decades than at any point in the past 2,000 years.

The new research, published in the journals Nature and Nature Geoscience, draws upon historical data which demonstrates warming in the 20th century has been more rapid and widespread than in the past, refuting climate deniers' common refrain that current warming is part of a natural cycle.

As the BBC reported, the research team "reconstructed the climate conditions that existed over the past 2,000 years using 700 proxy records of temperature changes, including tree rings, corals and lake sediments" and "determined that none of these climate events occurred on a global scale."

By contrast, the new research (pdf) states, "the warmest period of the past two millennia occurred during the twentieth century for more than 98 percent of the globe."

"This provides strong evidence that anthropogenic global warming is not only unparalleled in terms of absolute temperatures," said the scientists, "but also unprecedented in spatial consistency within the context of the past 2,000 years."

Scott St. George, a physical geographer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said of the new research that the "familiar maxim that the climate is always changing is certainly true."

"But even when we push our perspective to the earliest days of the Roman Empire," St. George added, "we cannot discern any event that is remotely equivalent—either in degree or extent—to the warming over the last few decades."

The research comes as people across the globe are pressuring their governments to treat the climate crisis as an emergency and act accordingly.

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, thousands of people in more than 150 countries are expected to take part in climate strikes in September.

"Our house is on fire—let's act like it," says the strikes' call-to-action. "We demand climate justice for everyone."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Corporate Dems of US Senate Blamed as GOP Texas Governor Approves 'Rigged' Voting Maps

"We must protect our democracy with federal legislation immediately and defeat these cynical politicians at the ballot box."

Jessica Corbett ·


'An Act of Cowardice': 21 Israel-Based Groups Condemn Terror Label for Palestine NGOs

The organizations called the designation "a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work."

Brett Wilkins ·


The Facebook Papers Spur More Calls to 'Break Them Up!'

Other critics are demanding a "full, independent, outside investigation" of the tech titan as whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to the U.K. Parliament.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is an Emergency': Oxfam Says Rich Nations' $100 Billion Climate Pledge Not Good Enough

"Time is running out for rich nations to build trust and deliver on their unmet target."

Andrea Germanos ·


Progressives Vow to 'Push Very Hard' to Keep Agenda From Being Gutted Beyond Recognition

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said House Democrats "are fighting to tackle the climate crisis, expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing, and guarantee family leave in America."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo