• 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.

Earth as a complex system

Earth behaves as a complex system. Complex systems can respond abruptly to changes within the system - these abrupts changes can be highly non-linear. There is strong evidence that the Earth system is prone to such abrupt changes.

Human-induced global change has pushed the Earth system into a no-analogue state — where climatic and other environmental conditions are outside of the range of the last half million years (at least), increasing the likelihood of unpredictable changes with potentially harmful consequences.
 
Exploring and quantifying Earth system interactions is therefore extremely important.
 
The Earth system perspective demands a new scientific approach and innovative conceptual and technical tools. Separate Earth system components, properties and processes — such as the composition and circulation pattern of the atmosphere — still need to be investigated, but should be studied as integral parts of a system, so as to understand their interactions and feedbacks.
 
Furthermore, in the era of global change, humanity must also be considered a part of the Earth system. Indeed, IGBP includes the human social, cultural and economic systems as within the Earth system.

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  • Jun 24 - Jul 2, 2015

    8th World Environmental Education Congress: Planet and People - How can they develop together


    Who should come? The congress is an international meeting point for everyone working with education for environment and sustainable development or which have an interest in the field. WEEC 2015 is as such an opportunity to learn more about the latest in environmental and sustainability education, to discuss with people from all over the world, to share your own work and to learn from others. We are expecting participants from a wide range of countries. Are you maybe a researcher, educator, student, decision-maker, NGO or media working with or having an interest in education for environment and sustainable development, or are you just curious? Welcome!Are you interested in sharing your research or sharing good examples regarding education for environment and sustainable development? Perhaps you work with an interesting education model which you would like to share through for example a workshop? In that case we recommend you to submit an abstract by the 19 of December, 2014. The registration for the congress opens on the 15 of November, 2014.Examples of participants:
    • Researchers and educators at universities
    • Teachers teaching all ages
    • Students
    • Folk high-schools
    • Local, regional and national government agencies, municipalities
    • Officials from international organizations
    • NGOs
    • Managers of parks and protected areas
    • Private companies who are interested in environmental and sustainability issues and in education
    • Media/press
    The congress will discuss the role and importance of education for environment and sustainability at all levels ; both in higher education and for lower ages .Two main categories of abstracts can be submitted: academic abstracts and practitioner abstracts. As such, practitioner abstracts could be a description for example of a teaching model regarding environment and sustainability.
  • Aug 23 - Aug 28, 2015

    14th International Swiss Climate Summer School



  • Global Change Magazine No. 83


    This issue features a special section on carbon. You can read about peak greenhouse-gas emissions in China, the mitigation of black carbon emissions and the effect of the 2010-2011 La Niña event on gl...

  • Global Change Magazine No. 82


    This issue features a full-spread infographic on deltas at risk, accompanied by a Q&A with IGBP Chair James Syvitski. You can also read about coastal megacities, the progress in crystallising the Sust...
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