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October 4 2012

Ancient Romans, Chinese Helped Warm Planet


(Newser) Human activity contributed to climate change long before the Industrial Revolution, according to new research. Scientists analyzing ice core samples from Greenland found a spike in emissions of the greenhouse gas methane during a 200-year period around 2,000 years ago, when the ancient Roman and Chinese empires were at their peak, reports the Los Angeles Times. Researchers believe the rise was caused by the widespread use of charcoal as fuel and the burning of large areas of forest to clear farmland.

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