Tim Radford – Human ‘technosphere’ weighs 30 trillion tonnes

LONDON, 13 December, 2016 Scientists have calculated the mass of that unnatural achievement called the “technosphere”, demonstrating the scale of human activity that drives climate change. The bleak conclusion is that cities, factories, cars, railways, cameras, computers, ballpoint pens, swords, machine guns and all other manmade things now weigh about 30 trillion tonnes.

The scientists also estimate that the number of “technofossil” species is greater than the number of living species on planet Earth.

Human impact

Those 30 million, million tonnes of accumulated excavation, ore and manufacture can be seen as the physical residue of the colossal exploitation of energy, much of it in the form of fossil fuels that is returned to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to trigger global warming and potentially catastrophic climate change.

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