• China’s emissions glimpsing the peak

    China recently announced its intention to peak its carbon-dioxide emissions. How soon could the emissions peak and at what absolute value? Libo Wu explores.
  • The greening of the Southern Hemisphere

    The 2010-2011 La Niña weather event brought lush vegetation to vast semi-arid regions in the Southern Hemisphere and altered the delicate balance of the global carbon sinks. Owen Gaffney explores how La Niña might change in the future and what that might imply.

Climate and beyond:

Knowledge Production about Planet Earth and the Global Environment as Indicators of Social Change

January 23, 2013 - January 25, 2013
The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research of the University of Bern, the Institute of History of the University of Bern and the History Department of the University of Zurich are organising a conference to bring together historians of the earth sciences and environmental historians. It aims to explore the social, cultural and political changes induced by earth scientists and the knowledge and institutions they have created over the last two centuries.

Scope of the Conference
The conference will look at the issue of social change through the lens of earth matters. What do we learn about societies, their norms and collective mentalities by analysing how people dealt with planet earth, its history, climate, surface patterns, or the mechanisms underlying its dynamic structure? Topics of the precirculated papers include, for instance, the debate on desertification in the 19th century, the idea of deep time for social thinking about the future or the history of Arctic research. Each paper presentation will be followed by 20 minutes of comment and discussion. Invited speakers are Erhard Oeser (Vienna, A) and Naomi Oreskes (San Diego, USA). The public evening lecture is given by Joachim Radkau (Bielefeld, D).

The conference will take place at the University of Bern close to the medieval city centre of Bern which is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. Bern is a short train ride from the Alps of the Bernese Oberland offering excellent skiing.

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