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Slide 16

So let’s put things in a little perspective.  At the top of this slide I’ve plotted a timeline for the past 10 billion years, with the present at the right-hand end.  There just past the middle is the birth of the planet, some 4 1/2 billion years ago, and just over 2 billion years ago, the origins of life.  The second line on the slide magnifies the last one percent of the history—the last 100 million years.  It includes the extinction of the dinosaurs, and there, some 3–4 million years ago, is “Lucy,” the protohuman skeleton from Ethiopia.  If we expand the last one percent of that line—the most recent million years, we see our own subspecies emerge some 200 thousand years ago.  And the last one percent of that gives us the history of civilization—the last 10,000 years.  The industrial age—modern civilization as we know it—is thus one percent of one percent of one percent of two percent of the history of the planet, and in that time we’ve burned through 100 million years of fossil fuel creation.