Abrupt changes in global temperatures are commonplace throughout the climate record. Movements as high as 5-10°C have been recorded over periods of just a few years, and these compare with the 1.1°C warming seen today that dates back to the early 19th century. Of course, these changes are well known, but they have been downplayed of late as Net Zero political activists proclaim that the climate is breaking down owing to human emissions.
Professor Mark Maslin is a regular broadcaster on the so-called climate emergency. In October 2021, he tweeted: “The climate disaster is here. Earth is already becoming unliveable.” In 2019, he responded to an Australian think tank report stating that climate change could bring about the end of civilisation as we know it, by stating: “Maybe, just may[be], it is time for our politicians to be worried and start to act to avoid the scenarios painted so vividly.” In 2018, Maslin was one of a number of influential eco-activists who signed a letter to the Guardian saying that they would no longer “lend their credibility” by debating climate change scepticism.
In 1999, his language was more measured. In a paper he co-wrote on “sudden climate transitions”, he said: “All the evidence indicates that most long-term climate change occurs in sudden jumps rather than incremental change… the tendency of climate to change relatively suddenly has been one of the most surprising outcomes of the study of earth history, specifically the last 150,000 years.” He went on to add that some, and possibly most, large climate changes involving movements of several degrees centigrade occurred at most on a timescale of a few centuries, sometimes decades, “and perhaps even a few years”.