Climate meddling dates back 8,000 years

Climate meddling dates back 8,000 years

Cutting down trees put carbon in the atmosphere long before the industrial revolution

By Alexandra Witze, 16:01 PM March 29, 2011

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SANTA FE, N.M. — People started influencing their home planet’s climate millennia before the industrial revolution’s fossil fuel–burning machines began spewing carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, a new study suggests.

Clearing land — first to hunt and gather, and then to farm — removed trees that otherwise would have soaked up carbon dioxide. The new work suggests that humans working the land put nearly 350 billion metric tons of carbon — many t...

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