Peter U. Clark and co-authors have published an ambitious paper that aims to integrate current anthropogenic climate change into a long term timeline. Clark et al. use historical data on the relationship between carbon dioxide and sea level temperature to assess changes in earth’s climate over the last 20,000 years and the impact of these changes on the development of human civilization. The historical data suggests that the changes in climate brought about in the twenty and twenty-first centuries may well have consequences that endure for the next 10,000 years. Thus, climate change needs to be discussed in a broader historical context which the authors feel is absent from current policy discussions. The abstract and full text article can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2923.html.