• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Interconnected risks and solutions for a planet under pressure - overview and introduction

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (2012)
Stafford Smith M, Gaffney O, Brito L, Ostrom E and Seitzinger S
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2012.01.011
Vol 4; Issue 1: pp. 3-6
The year 2012 should be a seminal moment in history. Twenty years have passed since the 1992 Rio Summit on Sustainable Development and ten years since the 2002 Amsterdam Global Change Conference that consolidated the concept of Earth system science.

Since 1992, science has made giant strides in expanding knowledge on how our Earth system functions. But there is a growing gloom that global decision making is failing to keep up with the pace of change. We are failing in our new role as planetary stewards, a role that is now crucial to sustaining human development and, even, the survival of civilisation as we have come to know it in the benign environmental conditions of the past few millennia.

In 2012, we must make a new and innovative commitment to protecting our planet and managing global-scale risks to human development. One place to do this is at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June, an event which should be informed by the latest science on both risks and solutions.

In this spirit, the Global Environmental Change Programmes of the International Council for Science convened the Planet Under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions conference in March 2012, and commissioned a series of policy briefs (http://www.icsu.org/rio20/policy-briefs) to contribute the best and most recent science to Rio+20. This volume brings together a suite of papers, commissioned in parallel to support the policy briefs, and to articulate the research agenda for the next decade. It thus responds to a clear sense of threats, of solutions, of barriers to action, and of a potential way ahead: this is also the framing of the conference, which has the twin goals of contributing to Rio+20, and, beyond that, of charting the next decade of global environmental change research.

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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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